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What’s a Conservative Ideology and What’s a Liberal Ideology?

 Liberal  Comments Off on What’s a Conservative Ideology and What’s a Liberal Ideology?
Jun 242016
 

Updated on February 9, 2011

I used to carpool with an old, blind professor to the small college I attended and he use to tell me, paraphrasing Gore Vidal, that politics came from two words: poli, meaning many, and tics, meaning blood sucking vermin. Unfortunately, his somewhat suspect etymology, while proving technically untenable, has turned out to be largely correct in principle.

In American politics, where power has become everything, ideology has become a bastard step-child. American politicians think more about how they can fool the masses or get around popular democracy to further their ends than they do about what they truly believe in, if they actually believe in anything?

Of course, it is not my intent to sweep every single politician under the bus with a broad brush, so for this hub it must be understood that I am speaking in general terms.

There are two major ideologies in American politics. Understanding these helps us understand each other politically and enables us to make sense of what at times seems senseless. These ideologies are labeled conservative and liberal. Although these terms have changed definitions over the years, I will use them as they are currently defined.

If you took a strip of paper that was blue on one end and gradually changed colors until it was red at the other end, you would end up with a spectrum of colors. At some point toward the center of the strip you could get into a few arguments as to whether the color was red, purple, or blue. It is that way with the liberal and conservative ideologies, so I will be concentrating on the ends of the strip, so to speak, and not the middle.

At the core of it, Conservatives base there ideology on what they see as reason and logic and it is individualistic by nature, whereas a liberal’s ideology is based on emotion and ideals and is collective by nature. A liberal is interested in curing society’s ills by social engineering. A conservative is interested in curing society’s ills by individuals exercising their own choices to better themselves. Because of this, conservatives view centralized power with deep suspicion. Liberals on the other hand see centralized power as an opportunity to affect great change for good.

Because of the fundamental differences in the way conservatives and liberals approach the solutions to society’s challenges, it should come as no surprise that they have radically different views on the role of government.

The Liberal View

A liberal wants the government deeply involved in our lives. It is often seen as a parent to us allor the big tent. They believe that the government can force society to confront its ills and legislate and enforce the cures. A liberal point of view diminishes the individual’s responsibility and believes people are victims or victimizers. This point of view does not see individuals as having power to rise above their circumstances in large numbers and therefore a savior must be found to “level the playing field.”

They point to the example of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Without government intervention, they argue, the rights of minorities would never have been acknowledged nor would there be equal rights for all. In fact the civil rights movement is the basis of the modern liberal’s political ideology, and proof that it is essentially correct.

This conviction motivates them to use all means available to impose their vision of goodness on the masses. If they can’t get the populous to support their agenda then they will get the courts to legislate it. This is because they firmly believe that their agenda is for the greater good of society.

Liberalism is naturally sympathetic with socialism and suspicious of individualism and even though it shares the same long-term goals as conservatism it’s approach, as you can see, is radically different.

The Conservative View

Even though the conservatives share with liberals the desire for a better society, they differ sharply in what role the government should play. In a nutshell, conservatives view the role of government as “the less the better.” Since they see the combined strength and sufficiency of the individual as the only honest cure for society they believe that the role of government should be restricted to functions that support and protect individual liberty. They are very suspicious of government interference in individual rights, and they do not see differences in socioeconomic groups as a bad thing since, in their view, it is every individual’s right to change those circumstances by choice and action.

They view the government’s attempts at redistribution of wealth through its tax codes, its interference in commerce by regulations, and its welfare entitlements as enabling individuals to shirk responsibility for their own lives and rely on the government to take care of them. They reason that the more the government takes responsibility for his or her well being away from the individual, the weaker and more dependent society will become.

At this point in American politics the two ideologies have taken a back seat to power, but if they were brought to bear on our government which would be the best: Socialist Democracy, or an independent go-it-alone capitalist democracy? I would submit to you that the extremes of both ideologies are dangerous and would deepen problems in American society and that one, tempered with the other, might be the best ideology of all.

For example: if we have a struggling class in America, we could provided training opportunities for people who wanted to succeed and would put forth efforts on their own behalf instead of entitlement programs that accomplish nothing and consume copious amounts of money? Along with such programs would also come the responsibility for the recipients to put forth efforts on behalf of their own welfare.

We need to have a heart that includes tough love and foresight, one that looks at America’s opportunities and does not retreat into a defensive posture from the world around it. One that can realize the true nature of the threats against America and America’s way of life. Not a vision that feels good at the thought of America sinking down to the level of the third world, but instead one that forges on a head and shows the way for the third world to follow.

America must continue to provide unparalleled opportunities, but not bend to whiners and self proclaimed victims who want to short-cut the system and reap benefits they never earned. We must in sympathy try to teach fishing, quit giving fish and realize that poverty is not always the rich or the government’s fault. But we must not march on, leaving people behind who, with a little instruction and help, can become productive and successful. In doing this we must also have the heart firm enough to leave those behind who refuse all help and demand instead to be fed from the public coffer’s without a contribution of their own.

We must leave classism, racism, and bigotry behind, regardless if it is the old-school-hard-hearted variety wacky right, or the soft feel-good, guilt-washing, variety of the wacky left. No class of Americans should be punished or be held back based on the color of their skin in order to “even the score.” We need to let go of power and take hold of responsibility; quit giving the media oracle status, and get the job done.

So you go out and finally spend the dough on a weed whacker and after figuring out how to assemble it, you fuel it up, after doing a short chem lab on fuel mixing, and then you move briskly into the aerobics section of…

The face, jaws, and neck are one of the places on our bodies that people view to get an impression of who we are so it is important to reduce fat from your face and here’s how…

Obama’s rise to power was nothing short of spectacular. It was so rapid that it left many of people playing catch up as to just who he was, but it is no longer difficult to understand where Obama is coming from…

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What’s a Conservative Ideology and What’s a Liberal Ideology?

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War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

“The War on Drugs” is an American term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.[6][7] This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by United States President Richard Nixonthe day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Controlduring which he declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted”, but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term “war on drugs”.[8][9][10] However, two years even prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a “war on drugs” that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.[11] Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.[12]

On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowskethe Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term “War on Drugs”, because Kerlikowske considers the term to be “counter-productive”.[13] ONDCP’s view is that “drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated… making drugs more available will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe”.[14] One of the alternatives that Kerlikowske has showcased is the drug policy of Sweden, which seeks to balance public health concerns with opposition to drug legalization. The prevalence rates for cocaine use in Sweden are barely one-fifth of those in Spain, the biggest consumer of the drug.[15]

In June 2011, a self-appointed Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”[16] The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.[14]

The first U.S. law that restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The first local laws came as early as 1860.[17]

In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, with exceptions for religious and medical use.

In 1920, the United States passed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), enacted to carry out the provisions in law of the 18th Amendment.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established in the United States Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585).[18]

In 1933, the federal prohibition for alcohol was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly supported the adoption of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The New York Times used the headline “Roosevelt Asks Narcotic War Aid”.[19][20]

In 1937, the Marijuana Transfer Tax Act was passed. Several scholars have claimed that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry,[21][22][23] largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[21][23] These scholars argue that with the invention of the decorticator, hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.[21][24] These scholars believe that Hearst felt[dubious discuss] that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, United States Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the DuPont’s new synthetic fiber, nylon, and considered[dubious discuss] its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.[21][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] However, there were circumstances that contradict these claims. One reason for doubts about those claims is that the new decorticators did not perform fully satisfactorily in commercial production.[32] To produce fiber from hemp was a labor-intensive process if you include harvest, transport and processing. Technological developments decreased the labor with hemp but not sufficient to eliminate this disadvantage.[33][34]

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what Im saying? We knew we couldnt make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Although Nixon declared “drug abuse” to be public enemy number one in 1971,[37] the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914.[38][39]

The Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 210-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs. Robert DuPont, the “Drug czar” in the Nixon Administration, stated it would be more accurate to say that Nixon ended, rather than launched, the “war on drugs”. DuPont also argued that it was the proponents of drug legalization that popularized the term “war on drugs”.[14][unreliable source?]

On October 27, 1970, Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which, among other things, categorizes controlled substances based on their medicinal use and potential for addiction.[38]

In 1971, two congressmen released an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; ten to fifteen percent of the servicemen were addicted to heroin, and President Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one”.[38][40]

In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.[38]

In 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[41]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[42][43] which mandated a national anti-drug media campaign for youth, which would later become the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.[44] The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug czar,[38] and it was first implemented in 1989 under President George H. W. Bush,[45] and raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.[46] These activities were subsequently funded by the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1998.[47][48] The Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 codified the campaign at 21 U.S.C.1708.[49]

The Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report on June 2, 2011 alleging that “The War On Drugs Has Failed”. The commissioned was made up of 22 self-appointed members including a number of prominent international politicians and writers. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin also released the first ever National Prevention Strategy.[50]

On May 21, 2012, the U.S. Government published an updated version of its Drug Policy.[51] The director of ONDCP stated simultaneously that this policy is something different from the “War on Drugs”:

At the same meeting was a declaration signed by the representatives of Italy, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States in line with this: “Our approach must be a balanced one, combining effective enforcement to restrict the supply of drugs, with efforts to reduce demand and build recovery; supporting people to live a life free of addiction”.[53]

According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates which deliberately disproportionately targeted African Americans.[55] This was also confirmed by John Ehrlichman, an aide to Nixon, who said that the war on drugs was designed to criminalize and disrupt black and hippie communities.[56]

The present state of incarceration in the U.S. as a result of the war on drugs arrived in several stages. By 1971, different stops on drugs had been implemented for more than 50 years (for e.g. since 1914, 1937 etc.) with only a very small increase of inmates per 100,000 citizens. During the first 9 years after Nixon coined the expression “War on Drugs”, statistics showed only a minor increase in the total number of imprisoned.

After 1980, the situation began to change. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.[57] The US Department of Justice, reporting on the effects of state initiatives, has stated that, from 1990 through 2000, “the increasing number of drug offenses accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% of the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates.” In addition to prison or jail, the United States provides for the deportation of many non-citizens convicted of drug offenses.[58]

In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the “War on Drugs” resulted in the incarceration of one million Americans each year.[59]

In 2008, the Washington Post reported that of 1.5 million Americans arrested each year for drug offenses, half a million would be incarcerated. In addition, one in five black Americans would spend time behind bars due to drug laws.[60]

Federal and state policies also impose collateral consequences on those convicted of drug offenses, such as denial of public benefits or licenses, that are not applicable to those convicted of other types of crime.[61]

In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the possession or trafficking of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine,[62][63][64][65] which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.[66] This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986.[67] Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison. On the other hand, possession of 500grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.[63][64] In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1.[66]

According to Human Rights Watch, crime statistics show thatin the United States in 1999compared to non-minorities, African Americans were far more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences.[68]

Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[63] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races,[69] even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users.[63]

Anti-drug legislation over time has also displayed an apparent racial bias. University of Minnesota Professor and social justice author Michael Tonry writes, “The War on Drugs foreseeably and unnecessarily blighted the lives of hundreds and thousands of young disadvantaged black Americans and undermined decades of effort to improve the life chances of members of the urban black underclass.”[70]

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided that the government needed to make an effort to curtail the social unrest that blanketed the country at the time. He decided to focus his efforts on illegal drug use, an approach which was in line with expert opinion on the subject at the time. In the 1960s, it was believed that at least half of the crime in the U.S. was drug related, and this number grew as high as 90 percent in the next decade.[71] He created the Reorganization Plan of 1968 which merged the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs within the Department of Justice.[72] The belief during this time about drug use was summarized by journalist Max Lerner in his celebrated[citation needed] work America as a Civilization (1957):

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply.[73]

Richard Nixon became president in 1969, and did not back away from the anti-drug precedent set by Johnson. Nixon began orchestrating drug raids nationwide to improve his “watchdog” reputation. Lois B. Defleur, a social historian who studied drug arrests during this period in Chicago, stated that, “police administrators indicated they were making the kind of arrests the public wanted”. Additionally, some of Nixon’s newly created drug enforcement agencies would resort to illegal practices to make arrests as they tried to meet public demand for arrest numbers. From 1972 to 1973, the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement performed 6,000 drug arrests in 18 months, the majority of the arrested black.[74]

The next two Presidents, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, responded with programs that were essentially a continuation of their predecessors. Shortly after Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 he delivered a speech on the topic. Reagan announced, “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.”[75] For his first five years in office, Reagan slowly strengthened drug enforcement by creating mandatory minimum sentencing and forfeiture of cash and real estate for drug offenses, policies far more detrimental to poor blacks than any other sector affected by the new laws.[citation needed]

Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias,[dubious discuss] Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress. This legislation appropriated an additional $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs. More importantly, it established 29 new, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. In the entire history of the country up until that point, the legal system had only seen 55 minimum sentences in total.[76] A major stipulation of the new sentencing rules included different mandatory minimums for powder and crack cocaine. At the time of the bill, there was public debate as to the difference in potency and effect of powder cocaine, generally used by whites, and crack cocaine, generally used by blacks, with many believing that “crack” was substantially more powerful and addictive. Crack and powder cocaine are closely related chemicals, crack being a smokeable, freebase form of powdered cocaine hydrochloride which produces a shorter, more intense high while using less of the drug. This method is more cost effective, and therefore more prevalent on the inner-city streets, while powder cocaine remains more popular in white suburbia. The Reagan administration began shoring public opinion against “crack”, encouraging DEA official Robert Putnam to play up the harmful effects of the drug. Stories of “crack whores” and “crack babies” became commonplace; by 1986, Time had declared “crack” the issue of the year.[77] Riding the wave of public fervor, Reagan established much harsher sentencing for crack cocaine, handing down stiffer felony penalties for much smaller amounts of the drug.[78]

Reagan protg and former Vice-President George H. W. Bush was next to occupy the oval office, and the drug policy under his watch held true to his political background. Bush maintained the hard line drawn by his predecessor and former boss, increasing narcotics regulation when the First National Drug Control Strategy was issued by the Office of National Drug Control in 1989.[79]

The next three presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama continued this trend, maintaining the War on Drugs as they inherited it upon taking office.[80] During this time of passivity by the federal government, it was the states that initiated controversial legislation in the War on Drugs. Racial bias manifested itself in the states through such controversial policies as the “stop and frisk” police practices in New York city and the “three strikes” felony laws began in California in 1994.[81]

In August 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law that dramatically reduced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine, which disproportionately affected minorities.[82]

A substantial part of the “Drug War” is the “Mexican Drug War.” Many drugs are transported from Mexico into the United States, such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin.[citation needed]

The possession of cocaine is illegal in all fifty states, along with crack cocaine (the cheaper version of cocaine but has a much greater penalty). Having possession is when the accused knowingly has it on their person, or in a backpack or purse. The possession of cocaine with no prior conviction, for the first offense, the person will be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison or fined $1,000, or both. If the person has a prior conviction, whether it is a narcotic or cocaine, they will be sentenced to two years in “prison”, $2,500 fine. or both. With two or more convictions of possession prior to this present offense, they can be sentenced to 90 days in “prison” along with a $5,000 fine.[83]

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug worldwide. The punishment for possession of it is less than for the possession of cocaine or heroin. In some states in the US the drug is legal. Over 80 million of Americans have tried this type of drug. The Criminal Defense Lawyer article claims that, depending on the age of person and how much the person has been caught for possession, they will be fined and could plea bargain into going to a treatment program versus going to “prison”. In each state the convictions differ along with how much of the “marijuana” they have on their person.[84]

Crystal meth is composed of methamphetamine hydrochloride. It is marketed as either a white powder or in a solid (rock) form. The possession of crystal meth can result in a punishment varying from a fine to a jail sentence. When the convict possessed a lot[clarification needed] of meth on their person, the sentence will be longer.[85]

Heroin is an opiate that is highly addictive. If caught selling or possessing heroin, a perpetrator can be charged with a felony and face twofour years in prison and could be fined to a maximum of $20,000.[86]

Some scholars have claimed that the phrase “War on Drugs” is propaganda cloaking an extension of earlier military or paramilitary operations.[7] Others have argued that large amounts of “drug war” foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.[6]

From 1963 to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, marijuana usage became common among U.S. soldiers in non-combat situations. Some servicemen also used heroin. Many of the servicemen ended the heroin use after returning to the United States but came home addicted. In 1971, the U.S. military conducted a study of drug use among American servicemen and women. It found that daily usage rates for drugs on a worldwide basis were as low as two percent.[87] However, in the spring of 1971, two congressmen released an alarming report alleging that 15% of the servicemen in Vietnam were addicted to heroin. Marijuana use was also common in Vietnam. Soldiers who used drugs had more disciplinary problems. The frequent drug use had become an issue for the commanders in Vietnam; in 1971 it was estimated that 30,000 servicemen were addicted to drugs, most of them to heroin.[9]

From 1971 on, therefore, returning servicemen were required to take a mandatory heroin test. Servicemen who tested positive upon returning from Vietnam were not allowed to return home until they had passed the test with a negative result. The program also offered a treatment for heroin addicts.[88]

Elliot Borin’s article “The U.S. Military Needs its Speed”published in Wired on February 10, 2003reports:

But the Defense Department, which distributed millions of amphetamine tablets to troops during World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War, soldiers on, insisting that they are not only harmless but beneficial.

In a news conference held in connection with Schmidt and Umbach’s Article 32 hearing, Dr. Pete Demitry, an Air Force physician and a pilot, claimed that the “Air Force has used (Dexedrine) safely for 60 years” with “no known speed-related mishaps.”

The need for speed, Demitry added “is a life-and-death issue for our military.”[89]

One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon’s Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico. The effort began with an intense inspection crackdown that resulted in an almost shutdown of cross-border traffic.[90] Because the burden on border crossings was controversial in border states, the effort only lasted twenty days.[91]

On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of the government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, tolerated his drug trafficking activities, which they had known about since the 1960s.[92][93] When the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.[92] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[92] When CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations “liability” for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of tolerating his drug operations.[92] Operation Just Cause, whose purpose was to capture Noriega and overthrow his government; Noriega found temporary asylum in the Papal Nuncio, and surrendered to U.S. soldiers on January 3, 1990.[94] He was sentenced by a court in Miami to 45 years in prison.[92]

As part of its Plan Colombia program, the United States government currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year of military aid, training, and equipment to Colombia,[95] to fight left-wing guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), which has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[96]

Private U.S. corporations have signed contracts to carry out anti-drug activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp, the largest private company involved, was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department.[97]

Colombian military personnel have received extensive counterinsurgency training from U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, including the School of Americas (SOA). Author Grace Livingstone has stated that more Colombian SOA graduates have been implicated in human rights abuses than currently known SOA graduates from any other country. All of the commanders of the brigades highlighted in a 2001 Human Rights Watch report on Colombia were graduates of the SOA, including the III brigade in Valle del Cauca, where the 2001 Alto Naya Massacre occurred. US-trained officers have been accused of being directly or indirectly involved in many atrocities during the 1990s, including the Massacre of Trujillo and the 1997 Mapiripn Massacre.

In 2000, the Clinton administration initially waived all but one of the human rights conditions attached to Plan Colombia, considering such aid as crucial to national security at the time.[98]

The efforts of U.S. and Colombian governments have been criticized for focusing on fighting leftist guerrillas in southern regions without applying enough pressure on right-wing paramilitaries and continuing drug smuggling operations in the north of the country.[99][100] Human Rights Watch, congressional committees and other entities have documented the existence of connections between members of the Colombian military and the AUC, which the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist group, and that Colombian military personnel have committed human rights abuses which would make them ineligible for U.S. aid under current laws.[citation needed]

In 2010, the Washington Office on Latin America concluded that both Plan Colombia and the Colombian government’s security strategy “came at a high cost in lives and resources, only did part of the job, are yielding diminishing returns and have left important institutions weaker.”[101]

A 2014 report by the RAND Corporation, which was issued to analyze viable strategies for the Mexican drug war considering successes experienced in Columbia, noted:

Between 1999 and 2002, the United States gave Colombia $2.04 billion in aid, 81 percent of which was for military purposes, placing Colombia just below Israel and Egypt among the largest recipients of U.S. military assistance. Colombia increased its defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 to 4.19 percent in 2005. Overall, the results were extremely positive. Greater spending on infrastructure and social programs helped the Colombian government increase its political legitimacy, while improved security forces were better able to consolidate control over large swaths of the country previously overrun by insurgents and drug cartels.

It also notes that, “Plan Colombia has been widely hailed as a success, and some analysts believe that, by 2010, Colombian security forces had finally gained the upper hand once and for all.”[102]

The Mrida Initiative is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America. It was approved on June 30, 2008, and its stated aim is combating the threats of drug trafficking and transnational crime. The Mrida Initiative appropriated $1.4 billion in a three-year commitment (20082010) to the Mexican government for military and law enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice and training to strengthen the national justice systems. The Mrida Initiative targeted many very important government officials, but it failed to address the thousands of Central Americans who had to flee their countries due to the danger they faced everyday because of the war on drugs. There is still not any type of plan that addresses these people. No weapons are included in the plan.[103][104]

The United States regularly sponsors the spraying of large amounts of herbicides such as glyphosate over the jungles of Central and South America as part of its drug eradication programs. Environmental consequences resulting from aerial fumigation have been criticized as detrimental to some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems;[105] the same aerial fumigation practices are further credited with causing health problems in local populations.[106]

In 2012, the U.S. sent DEA agents to Honduras to assist security forces in counternarcotics operations. Honduras has been a major stop for drug traffickers, who use small planes and landing strips hidden throughout the country to transport drugs. The U.S. government made agreements with several Latin American countries to share intelligence and resources to counter the drug trade. DEA agents, working with other U.S. agencies such as the State Department, the CBP, and Joint Task Force-Bravo, assisted Honduras troops in conducting raids on traffickers’ sites of operation.[107]

The War on Drugs has been a highly contentious issue since its inception. A poll on October 2, 2008, found that three in four Americans believed that the War On Drugs was failing.[108]

At a meeting in Guatemala in 2012, three former presidents from Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia said that the war on drugs had failed and that they would propose a discussion on alternatives, including decriminalization, at the Summit of the Americas in April of that year.[109] Guatemalan President Otto Prez Molina said that the war on drugs was exacting too high a price on the lives of Central Americans and that it was time to “end the taboo on discussing decriminalization”.[110] At the summit, the government of Colombia pushed for the most far-reaching change to drugs policy since the war on narcotics was declared by Nixon four decades prior, citing the catastrophic effects it had had in Colombia.[111]

Several critics have compared the wholesale incarceration of the dissenting minority of drug users to the wholesale incarceration of other minorities in history. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, for example, writes in 1997 “Over the past thirty years, we have replaced the medical-political persecution of illegal sex users (‘perverts’ and ‘psychopaths’) with the even more ferocious medical-political persecution of illegal drug users.”[112]

Penalties for drug crimes among American youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment more difficult.[113] Thus, some authors maintain that the War on Drugs has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities.[113]

According to a 2008 study published by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron, the annual savings on enforcement and incarceration costs from the legalization of drugs would amount to roughly $41.3 billion, with $25.7 billion being saved among the states and over $15.6 billion accrued for the federal government. Miron further estimated at least $46.7 billion in tax revenue based on rates comparable to those on tobacco and alcohol ($8.7 billion from marijuana, $32.6 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).[114]

Low taxation in Central American countries has been credited with weakening the region’s response in dealing with drug traffickers. Many cartels, especially Los Zetas have taken advantage of the limited resources of these nations. 2010 tax revenue in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, composed just 13.53% of GDP. As a comparison, in Chile and the U.S., taxes were 18.6% and 26.9% of GDP respectively. However, direct taxes on income are very hard to enforce and in some cases tax evasion is seen as a national pastime.[115]

The status of coca and coca growers has become an intense political issue in several countries, including Colombia and particularly Bolivia, where the president, Evo Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, has promised to legalise the traditional cultivation and use of coca.[116] Indeed, legalization efforts have yielded some successes under the Morales administration when combined with aggressive and targeted eradication efforts. The country saw a 12-13% decline in coca cultivation[116] in 2011 under Morales, who has used coca growers’ federations to ensure compliance with the law rather than providing a primary role for security forces.[116]

The coca eradication policy has been criticised for its negative impact on the livelihood of coca growers in South America. In many areas of South America the coca leaf has traditionally been chewed and used in tea and for religious, medicinal and nutritional purposes by locals.[117] For this reason many insist that the illegality of traditional coca cultivation is unjust. In many areas the US government and military has forced the eradication of coca without providing for any meaningful alternative crop for farmers, and has additionally destroyed many of their food or market crops, leaving them starving and destitute.[117]

The CIA, DEA, State Department, and several other U.S. government agencies have been implicated in relations with various groups involved in drug trafficking.

Senator John Kerry’s 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concludes that members of the U.S. State Department “who provided support for the Contras are involved in drug trafficking… and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly receive financial and material assistance from drug traffickers.”[118] The report further states that “the Contra drug links include… payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.”

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb published reports in the San Jose Mercury News,[119] and later in his book Dark Alliance,[120] detailing how Contras, had been involved in distributing crack cocaine into Los Angeles whilst receiving money from the CIA. Contras used money from drug trafficking to buy weapons

Webb’s premise regarding the U.S. Government connection was initially attacked at the time by the media. It is now widely accepted that Webb’s main assertion of government “knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers” was correct.[121] In 1998, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz published a two-volume report[122] that while seemingly refuting Webb’s claims of knowledge and collaboration in its conclusions did not deny them in its body.[123] Hitz went on to admit CIA improprieties in the affair in testimony to a House congressional committee. Some of Webb’s work acknowledging is now widely accepted.

According to Rodney Campbell, an editorial assistant to Nelson Rockefeller, during World War II, the United States Navy, concerned that strikes and labor disputes in U.S. eastern shipping ports would disrupt wartime logistics, released the mobster Lucky Luciano from prison, and collaborated with him to help the mafia take control of those ports. Labor union members were terrorized and murdered by mafia members as a means of preventing labor unrest and ensuring smooth shipping of supplies to Europe.[124]

According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in order to prevent Communist party members from being elected in Italy following World War II, the CIA worked closely with the Sicilian Mafia, protecting them and assisting in their worldwide heroin smuggling operations. The mafia was in conflict with leftist groups and was involved in assassinating, torturing, and beating leftist political organizers.[125]

In 1986, the US Defense Department funded a two-year study by the RAND Corporation, which found that the use of the armed forces to interdict drugs coming into the United States would have little or no effect on cocaine traffic and might, in fact, raise the profits of cocaine cartels and manufacturers. The 175-page study, “Sealing the Borders: The Effects of Increased Military Participation in Drug Interdiction”, was prepared by seven researchers, mathematicians and economists at the National Defense Research Institute, a branch of the RAND, and was released in 1988. The study noted that seven prior studies in the past nine years, including one by the Center for Naval Research and the Office of Technology Assessment, had come to similar conclusions. Interdiction efforts, using current armed forces resources, would have almost no effect on cocaine importation into the United States, the report concluded.[126]

During the early-to-mid-1990s, the Clinton administration ordered and funded a major cocaine policy study, again by RAND. The Rand Drug Policy Research Center study concluded that $3 billion should be switched from federal and local law enforcement to treatment. The report said that treatment is the cheapest way to cut drug use, stating that drug treatment is twenty-three times more effective than the supply-side “war on drugs”.[127]

The National Research Council Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs published its findings in 2001 on the efficacy of the drug war. The NRC Committee found that existing studies on efforts to address drug usage and smuggling, from U.S. military operations to eradicate coca fields in Colombia, to domestic drug treatment centers, have all been inconclusive, if the programs have been evaluated at all: “The existing drug-use monitoring systems are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions that the nation must make…. It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect.”[128] The study, though not ignored by the press, was ignored by top-level policymakers, leading Committee Chair Charles Manski to conclude, as one observer notes, that “the drug war has no interest in its own results”.[129]

In mid-1995, the US government tried to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors to disrupt the market of this drug. According to a 2009 study, this effort was successful, but its effects were largely temporary.[130]

During alcohol prohibition, the period from 1920 to 1933, alcohol use initially fell but began to increase as early as 1922. It has been extrapolated that even if prohibition had not been repealed in 1933, alcohol consumption would have quickly surpassed pre-prohibition levels.[131] One argument against the War on Drugs is that it uses similar measures as Prohibition and is no more effective.

In the six years from 2000 to 2006, the U.S. spent $4.7 billion on Plan Colombia, an effort to eradicate coca production in Colombia. The main result of this effort was to shift coca production into more remote areas and force other forms of adaptation. The overall acreage cultivated for coca in Colombia at the end of the six years was found to be the same, after the U.S. Drug Czar’s office announced a change in measuring methodology in 2005 and included new areas in its surveys.[132] Cultivation in the neighboring countries of Peru and Bolivia increased, some would describe this effect like squeezing a balloon.[133]

Similar lack of efficacy is observed in some other countries pursuing similar[citation needed] policies. In 1994, 28.5% of Canadians reported having consumed illicit drugs in their life; by 2004, that figure had risen to 45%. 73% of the $368 million spent by the Canadian government on targeting illicit drugs in 20042005 went toward law enforcement rather than treatment, prevention or harm reduction.[134]

Richard Davenport-Hines, in his book The Pursuit of Oblivion,[135] criticized the efficacy of the War on Drugs by pointing out that

1015% of illicit heroin and 30% of illicit cocaine is intercepted. Drug traffickers have gross profit margins of up to 300%. At least 75% of illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted before the traffickers’ profits were hurt.

Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, described U.S. foreign drug policy as “failed” on grounds that “for 10 years, there has been a considerable sum invested by the Peruvian government and another sum on the part of the American government, and this has not led to a reduction in the supply of coca leaf offered for sale. Rather, in the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, it grew 10-fold.”[136]

At least 500 economists, including Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman,[137]George Akerlof and Vernon L. Smith, have noted that reducing the supply of marijuana without reducing the demand causes the price, and hence the profits of marijuana sellers, to go up, according to the laws of supply and demand.[138] The increased profits encourage the producers to produce more drugs despite the risks, providing a theoretical explanation for why attacks on drug supply have failed to have any lasting effect. The aforementioned economists published an open letter to President George W. Bush stating “We urge…the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition… At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.”

The declaration from the World Forum Against Drugs, 2008 state that a balanced policy of drug abuse prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provides the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms and call on governments to consider demand reduction as one of their first priorities in the fight against drug abuse.[139]

Despite over $7 billion spent annually towards arresting[140] and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses in 2005[citation needed] (FBI Uniform Crime Reports), the federally funded Monitoring the Future Survey reports about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain”. That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.[141] The Drug Enforcement Administration states that the number of users of marijuana in the U.S. declined between 2000 and 2005 even with many states passing new medical marijuana laws making access easier,[142] though usage rates remain higher than they were in the 1990s according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.[143]

ONDCP stated in April 2011 that there has been a 46 percent drop in cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 65 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.[144] At the same time, a 2007 study found that up to 35% of college undergraduates used stimulants not prescribed to them.[145]

A 2013 study found that prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis had decreased from 1990 to 2007, but the purity of these drugs had increased during the same time.[146]

The legality of the War on Drugs has been challenged on four main grounds in the US.

Several authors believe that the United States’ federal and state governments have chosen wrong methods for combatting the distribution of illicit substances. Aggressive, heavy-handed enforcement funnel individuals through courts and prisons, instead of treating the cause of the addiction, the focus of government efforts has been on punishment. By making drugs illegal rather than regulating them, the War on Drugs creates a highly profitable black market. Jefferson Fish has edited scholarly collections of articles offering a wide variety of public health based and rights based alternative drug policies.[147][148][149]

In the year 2000, the United States drug-control budget reached 18.4 billion dollars,[150] nearly half of which was spent financing law enforcement while only one sixth was spent on treatment. In the year 2003, 53 percent of the requested drug control budget was for enforcement, 29 percent for treatment, and 18 percent for prevention.[151] The state of New York, in particular, designated 17 percent of its budget towards substance-abuse-related spending. Of that, a mere one percent was put towards prevention, treatment, and research.

In a survey taken by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was found that substance abusers that remain in treatment longer are less likely to resume their former drug habits. Of the people that were studied, 66 percent were cocaine users. After experiencing long-term in-patient treatment, only 22 percent returned to the use of cocaine. Treatment had reduced the number of cocaine abusers by two-thirds.[150] By spending the majority of its money on law enforcement, the federal government had underestimated the true value of drug-treatment facilities and their benefit towards reducing the number of addicts in the U.S.

In 2004 the federal government issued the National Drug Control Strategy. It supported programs designed to expand treatment options, enhance treatment delivery, and improve treatment outcomes. For example, the Strategy provided SAMHSA with a $100.6 million grant to put towards their Access to Recovery (ATR) initiative. ATR is a program that provides vouchers to addicts to provide them with the means to acquire clinical treatment or recovery support. The project’s goals are to expand capacity, support client choice, and increase the array of faith-based and community based providers for clinical treatment and recovery support services.[152] The ATR program will also provide a more flexible array of services based on the individual’s treatment needs.

The 2004 Strategy additionally declared a significant 32 million dollar raise in the Drug Courts Program, which provides drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration. As a substitute for imprisonment, drug courts identify substance-abusing offenders and place them under strict court monitoring and community supervision, as well as provide them with long-term treatment services.[153] According to a report issued by the National Drug Court Institute, drug courts have a wide array of benefits, with only 16.4 percent of the nation’s drug court graduates rearrested and charged with a felony within one year of completing the program (versus the 44.1% of released prisoners who end up back in prison within 1-year). Additionally, enrolling an addict in a drug court program costs much less than incarcerating one in prison.[154] According to the Bureau of Prisons, the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in 2006 was $24,440.[155] The annual cost of receiving treatment in a drug court program ranges from $900 to $3,500. Drug courts in New York State alone saved $2.54 million in incarceration costs.[154]

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War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …
Jun 172016
 

If you think the Supreme Court is poised to expand or restrict gun rights sometime soon, don’t hold your breath.

As handwringing continues over what might have prevented the Orlando massacre– an old-time filibuster sparked by it even broke outin the Senate on Wednesday — the justices are about to consider a state gun control law enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to its docket, the court on Thursday will weigh whether to take up Shew v. Malloy, a case with all the elements that could make it emblematic for the battle over the Second Amendment’s meaning.

It’s a dispute between a host of gun rights groups, businesses and individual gun owners against Connecticut over the constitutionality of a sweeping regulatory regime that bans so-called “assault weapons” — semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines of the very sort used in Newtown and Orlando.

Back in October, an appeals court in Manhattan said the Connecticut law and a similarly restrictive law in New Yorkwere constitutional –and the plaintiffs vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.

Tom King, the head of New York’s biggest gun rights group, even said he was “happy” to have lost the case because that meant his organization could now ask the highest court of the land to decide the issue once and for all.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

But then Justice Antonin Scalia died. And suddenly,the gun lobby’s calculations changed — including King’s, who told the New York Daily News weeks after Scalia’s death that it was “just the wrong time” to continue the fight in the absence of a reliable conservative vote at the Supreme Court.

That might explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) glowingly pointed to the National Rifle Association’s opposition to Merrick Garland, the president’s high court nominee, to rationalize his own refusal to hold a vote and a hearing for Garland.

None of this matters, and yet it matters a great deal.

Because despite the pleas from gun rights advocates who still want the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the weapons ban, the justices could wield all kinds of reasons not to touch the case with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in clarifying the scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of Scalia’s magnum opus in District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time recognized a fundamental right to gun ownership in the home. But to echo King, it’s just not the right time — not with a short-staffed Supreme Court, a volatile political environment, and a nomination fight that may very well continue after President Barack Obama’s successor takes office.

As things stand now, all signs point to an extremely quiet and uncontroversial Supreme Court term beginning next October — a dry season that will stand in stark contrast to the current term’s constitutional blockbusters on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, to name only a few.The court just isn’t taking many new cases.

This paucity of potential big decisions aside, the courthassent some signals that the Second Amendment is safe, even as it has rejected dozens of cases challenging gun control measures across the country, leaving lower courts as the final decision-makers.

Over the protest of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court refused in December to review an appeals court decision that effectively upheld an assault weapons ban in a small Illinois town. Thomas said that decision treated the Second Amendment as a second-class right.

But in March, a month after Scalia’s death, the justices tipped their hand the other way, ruling that a Massachusetts ban on stun guns may violate the right to bear arms, quietly but forcefully endorsing the late justice’s Heller decision.

The Second Amendment extends … to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” the court said in a very brief rulingthat no justice signed his or her name to.

But writing separately, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have gone further, asserting that indeed, gun ownership for self-defense is a “fundamental right” while making clear that Americans’ safety shouldn’t be “left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.”

Fighting words, as well as fodder for debate about where the court may go next on guns.

It is precisely this seeming tension within the Supreme Court — plus the political fallout from Scalia’s vacancy and all the work that other courts are doing to make some sense of the Second Amendment — that indicates why the justices probably won’t pull the trigger on the next big gun rights case soon.

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Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

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Illuminati Truths | Mystery of the Iniquity

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati Truths | Mystery of the Iniquity
Apr 282016
 

Now, first of all this is taken from the internet. I cannot account for all the statements as the truth. This person also has a YOUTUBE account, recently started. I will post what has been brought forth as of today.

1: First of all, if you do not believe me then I am sorry. I am here to tell the truth, and nothing that is written by me is false exaggeration nor science fiction. This information is real, it is true, it is reality, and it is time for it to be told.

I was a member of the Illuminati for 47 years. I was recruited when I was 19 years old. I have posted here off and on over the past year. (Some of the posts are mine, others are my brothers, mainly they are his) The information that I am about to unfold is very revealing and very dangerous. I am one of seven people in the history of the Illuminati that have performed the Departure Ritual. I knew that I needed to get out when I had something revealed to me at a meeting in June of 2010. For years I was in line with the beliefs, motives, and actions of the Illuminati, but it recently became too much for me to bear, and I had to extinguish my sacred contract.

My reason for coming here is to reveal EVERYTHING about the Illuminati. How you become a member, what the organization is about, what the organization does, and the future plans that we have.

I will be back to make my first post when I can see that this thread has enough attention for me continue. Any time in the near future when I begin to reveal the secrets of the Illuminati, I need to ensure that there are enough people paying attention so that my efforts do not go to waste. Once I see that this thread has a substantial amount of views and replies, I will make my first post.

Here is a preview of some of the things that I will reveal:

Barack Obama is not a member of the Illuminati, he is something much, much worse.

The new space flights which are planes that can briefly enter orbit are not as fun as they seem, they are an Illuminati tool.

Denver, Colorado is an evil place

Aliens are a little different than what mainstream teaches us

The information I have is essential!

2: This post will be about how the Illuminati recruited me and what exactly I had to go through.

When I was nineteen years old, I fell into some money through some connections with friends and some successful investments of some money that I had made throughout my childhood. I got involved in some backroom deals and saw my money begin to grow. As I attended college at Harvard in 1964, I begin to become increasingly rich, and my influence on campus grew as well through my participation in various clubs, and organizations. Some friends and I began to serve as quasi-stock brokers while still at Harvard. I made tons of cash during that year, and was very powerful and influential on campus.

One night as I was walking back to my dorm shortly after midnight, I was approached by two men in black suits. I initially assumed that they were going to investigate my business activity because some of it was not exactly legal. They asked me to come with them and I followed them into the basement of a two story house a couple streets over from my dorm room. They sat me down at a table and asked me if I was willing to make a deal. They would not tell me what deal I would be making, but just continually asked if I would be willing to make a deal. I half-assed agreed that I would, and that is when the biggest man that I have ever seen walked through some closet doors and sat down in a chair directly opposite from me. A television was wheeled in front of me and on it was playing a video of the JFK assassination. The man that was sitting opposite me asked who I thought shot JFK. I naturally said Lee Harvey Oswald. All three of the men laughed, and the video changed to show that the shot that killed JFK actually came from the front seat of the car. It is very hard to make out in the videos that we normally see, but in the version that this man was showing me, it was obvious that the driver of the car was the one who shot JFK. The man asked if I thought that he was capable of doing this, and I did not know what to say. He told me that he was capable of anything. He detailed the story of the Illuminati. How it had formed in the 1700s and how the Illuminati was behind the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, World War I and II, the Vietnam War, and he told me about how a terrorist attack on two buildings would change the world forever.

Two chicken bones were placed in front of me, and I was told that I would be joining the Illuminati. If I did not, then they would kill me on the spot. They told me to take the chicken bones to a crossroad on the outskirts of town, and I had to bury them, then spill my own blood over top of the spot where they were buried. The two men in suits accompanied me, and I performed the ritual. After it was done, I was taken to a large mansion which I was told was mine now. I was given numerous cars, countless women, and a vault that was full of money. I was left with instructions that I had made a deal with Lucifer himself, and that if I did not follow directions, then I would be used in the most unpleasant way.

3: The first time that I was really used by the Illuminati was during the presidential election of 1968. I was called to Denver, CO to partake in a meeting in early February. I was chauffeured to the meeting location, and the windows of the limo were blacked out, so I still to this day do not know exactly where the meeting was held. I was very relieved to find out that the meetings of the Illuminati were not satanic or cultish other than that everything in the room was completely red. A man stood up in front of the room and introduced himself as Rorie Rothschild. He gave us our instructions by saying that it was already put in place that Richard Nixon would be president of the United States. I was astonished to know that this group picked who was going to be the POTUS, but I soon found out that every president in American history has been a puppet of the Illuminati. My assignment was to position myself in Washington D.C., and to work to incite rioting and turmoil after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Yes, I knew about the assassination of MLK before it occurred. The assassination occurred in April if I am correct, and I knew about it in February. It was decided that MLK was a dangerous man because of the way that he was creating a following in the way that he was. The truth is that MLK was approached by the Illuminati and asked to join, but he is one of the view that rejected and somehow escaped death. The elite in the group decided to let him live for awhile, for pure entertainment, but when they were ready for him to die, they made sure he did, and they planned when he would. I was in D.C. at the time of the assassination, and I made the mistake of spreading the word that MLK was dead, an hour before he had actually been shot. Thankfully no one notices, and widespread riots ensued.

Many other people were placed in many other major cities. The purpose of killing MLK at the time that he was assassinated was to serve as a distraction to the coming murder of Bobby Kennedy. The Illuminate had already killed JFK, and they were not about to let another Kennedy make a run for the presidency. The Kennedy family turned out to be a challenge for the Illuminati, but they were taken care of. Remember a few years ago when Ted Kennedy was taken out of a dinner for health problems? He was actually strangled in the bathroom by an Illuminati member.

Anyway, after Bobby Kennedy was murdered. The path to the presidency was clear for Richard Nixon who had already been indoctrinated with what the Illuminati wanted to do. The war in Vietnam was a massive opportunity for many people to make a ton of money, and that they did. Nixon was instructed far before the election to continue the fighting in Vietnam.

**Announcing the Birth of the New World Order**

4: Enough with the history, I was just telling that to show you that I was in the Illuminate for a great deal of time. I was involved with some horrible things, but now I want to uncover the current activities of the Illuminati. The activities that caused my departure.

Obama is the grand puppet of them all. Barry Sotero, yes that is his real name, was born in an Illuminati bunker far beneath the ground in Finland. He was groomed to become POTUS. He was indoctrinated from the beginning with the teachings of the Illuminati, with the plans for the New World Order, and with the plans that he was supposed to execute. Barry did not emerge from this bunker until the time that he was twenty three. All photographs and accounts of him before this time are fabricated by the Illuminati. However, the Illuminati forgot one major thing. A birth certificate. It was decided after the mistake that it would seem too fishy to display one now magically, so do not ever expect anyone to reveal it, because it was never made. Barry, who entered into the world as Barack Obama, is the most evil man on this planet. It is not by his own design, but because he is being fed his instructions. If you thought the healthcare bill was a big deal, you have no idea what Obama will unveil in the coming year. A plan is in place, and has already began to be executed that will create a personal army for Obama. The oil that gushed from the pipes in the Gulf was infested with microbodies that plant themselves in the brains of the infected, and can be activated remotely to control the infected. Mostly, these microbodies planted themselves in the minds of children. Remember Obamas address to students that was so controversial? That event was used to transmit radio waves that allowed for the planting of these microbodies in the childrens minds.

Supposedly, and this is the part that I do not know for a fact, this army will never be activated for physical warfare, but they will be used to secure re-election of Obama for many, many years to come. The amendment in the Constitution that restricts the president to serving two terms will be struck out of the Constitution, and Obama will embark on a six term reign during which we will see the destruction of the Middle East.

5: In a nutshell

Aliens are real. There is constant inter-galactic war between them. The grand plan is to involve Earth in their warfare so that human beings can be enslaved in the new world order.

Space flights are being used to carry out MASSIVE Chemical implantation. You all have heard of chem-trailing. Think about it on a global scale. When the governments of the world became exposed because of people like you that exposed chem-trailing, they needed a new way to carry out their operations. Space flights allow them to carry out chem-trailing on a massive scale by placing the chemicals right inside Earths atmosphere. The chemicals then mix with the clouds and upper atmospheric winds to transport the chemicals across a large area. These space flights need to be stopped before it is too late.

6: A question asked:

If I got to choose one place if TSHTF, it would be the Rocky Mountain range, its got water, food, totally self sufficient everything, They could seal off and be their own country if need be, also all the military and Norad and whats underground, inside the mountain and more

There was a plan in WW2 that if things went badly, the US govt. would retreat to Colorado and make a stand.

Theres rumors of caverns in the Sangres still containing prepositioned supplies such as old Sherman tanks.

Colorado contains sufficient resources to instigate the rebuilding of the entire nation.

The answer: This is correct.

7: There are underground research facilities in Colorado where the government is conducting research on how to massively control the population. They are testing it on the citizens of Denver, CO.

8:Aliens are real. There is constant inter-galactic war between them. The grand plan is to involve Earth in their warfare so that human beings can be enslaved in the new world order.

9: These aliens would easily destroy us in minutes. Far more advanced that we are. However, the Illuminati has planned to stage attacks with them in order to place Earth;s population under martial law.

10: Kennedy was strangled because they were warning him to back off some research he was doing into Bobbys death.

11: To the person who wants to know about Obama meeting aliens in the underground bunkers. This has never happened. Obama has not communicated with the aliens. Only the top notch Illuminati members have. They have a constant line of communication with them. The event that I was speaking of where the aliens will stage attacks on Earth will not occur until after World War III does.

World War III is planned to happen in the next five years. The spark is going to be an Israeli attack on Iran. As Obama is the grand puppet president of the Illuminati. Israel is the grand puppet state. Israel will directly attack Iran with missiles, Iran will respond, and World War III will ensue. It is at this time that Venezuela and North Korea will begin attacking their enemies, China will enter, Russia will enter, and there will be a massive global war on our hands. This war is planned to last for at least 7 years, and towards the end of these 7 years, alien lifeforms will stage their attacks on the major countries of the world.

These alien attacks serve the purpose of ending World War III. There is no other way that the citizens of the warring countries would put aside their bad sentiments created by war to fight a common enemy other than if the common enemy are extra-terrestrials.

The only reason that the Illuminati is manufacturing World War III is to destroy some of the world leaders who do not directly fall under their influence. It is also to make many people very , very rich.

These alien attacks will cause the people of the Earth to join together in common defense against the alien lifeforms, but it will also pave the path to the New World Order.

12:(this is transcript from his you tube video)

World War 3 is planned to happen in the next five years. The spark is going to be an Israeli attack on Iran. As Obama is the grand puppet president used by the Illuminati. Israel is the grand puppet state. Israel has already been given permission by the United States and the European Union to directly attack Iran whenever it feels that it is safe to do so. An attack was almost initiated during the summer of 2009; however, the election crisis in Iran at the time proved inopportune to attack. Most people would assume that a time of chaos would be a great time to attack; however, many of the key Iranian political leaders were out of the country at the time for their own safety.

Israel will directly attack Iran with missiles, Iran will respond, and World War 3 will ensue. It is at this time that Venezuela and North Korea will begin attacking their enemies, China will enter, Russia will enter, and there will be a massive global war on our hands. This is another reason that Obama will be allowed to be re-elected past the normal 2 term limit. This war is planned to last for at least 7 years, and towards the end of these 7 years, alien lifeforms will stage their attacks on the major countries of the world.

These alien attacks serve the purpose of ending World War 3. There is no other way that the citizens of the warring countries would put aside their bad sentiments created by war to fight a common enemy other than if the common enemy are extra-terrestrials.

The only reason that the Illuminati is manufacturing World War III is to destroy some of the world leaders who do not directly fall under their influence. It is also to make many people very , very rich.

These alien attacks will cause the people of the Earth to join together in common defense against the alien lifeforms, but it will also pave the path to the New World Order.

The Illuminati has made a deal with these alien life forms. When the New World Order is secured, and select groups of people are placed in containment camps, people such as dissenters, rebels, and other revolutionaries, these people will be handed over to the aliens for them to do experimentation on. The alien culture is very advanced; however, they are not as advanced as they would like to be because they do not have human beings to experiment on. The aliens that are in business with the Illuminati cannot be experimented on in the same way that humans can because they are built and formed in much of a different way in which I am not entirely familiar.

The Illuminati has worked out a very intensive strategy to secure the New World Order, and it will be accomplished by staging a form of false flag attack with these aliens. In return, these aliens receive an inextinguishable supply of experimental beings on which they can perform the many operations that they wish. The Illuminati will secure its New World Order and will establish Obama as the head of it. He will continually be under Illuminati influence and will carry out the next stage of the plan to secure control of all of the worlds oil.

The oil crisis that we are familiar with, the one where the experts say that we are running out, is entirely untrue. There are hundreds of untapped oil reserves in the Middle East. When the New World Order is secured, Obama will ensure that these oil reserves fall into the hands of the Illuminati, and they will be tapped to ensure a great deal of cash flow for the Illuminati. He will secure these oil reserves by destroying the Middle East and reducing it to dust. Russia, China, and the United States will invade the Middle East from all directions claiming that Muslims are dissenters to the New World Order. The first step of this plan has already been initiated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was necessary for the United States to already have a multitude of troops on the ground in the Middle East, and it is for this reason that George W. Bush pushed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I do not think it is necessary to say that nine eleven was a false flag. This is something that we already knew. Planes were hijacked by operatives brainwashed by the Illuminati, and plastic explosives were used to bring down the towers.

The first step to the destruction of the Middle East, and the establishment of the United States as the new oil kings was initiated on that day.

13: This is the only deal that I know of. However, in my opinion, once the deal is done, the New World Order will proceed to attack and conquer these alien lifeforms. Do not let the general public fool you, we have the capability of reaching other galaxies, and have done it.

14: We can reach Mars, and we have. You just do not know about it. The first human landed on Mars in November of 1999.

15: If the next 7.0+ occurs in Venezuela, then I will be able to tell you something about future events. If one does not occur in Venezuela, then these earthquakes mean nothing as of right now.

16: Ben Bernanke is a very, very evil man. He controls over half of the US money supply personally. He can do anything he wants with it without any consequences.

Rahm Emmanuel was groomed much in the same way that Obama was, and Emmanuel will play the lead role in a HUGE event very soon.

17: Bernanke is an agent of Warren Buffett.

18: The first Mars landing to my knowledge occurred in 1999. The astronauts who performed the landing were murdered upon their return.

19: question: Do you knoow of project pegasus and the history of sending people to a MARS base since the 60s?

Answer: The project was attempted; however, their was not significant funding at the time due to other activities that the organization was pursuing. The project was resumed in the seventies, but the main scientists were no longer willing to work on it. It was eventually abandoned.

Alex Jones is not as innocent as he makes himself sound. He has been in on everything for awhile.

20: question: ..and how exactly did they get past the radiation belt without getting fried?

Answer: Actually I do know about this. Any radiation or obstacles that they encountered were redirected by use of lasers, but radiation and obstacles were also consumed by a generator that produced a mini black hole directed towards whatever was in the way.

This black hole was then destroyed by several remotely detonated explosions inside of it.

These explosions served the purpose of decreasing the gravity in the black hole which destroyed the black hole while preserving the radiation and other obstacles.

21: Cheney was an idiot. He served no role in anything that the Illuminati carried out. He was pretty much a pawn used to divert attention. He tried to play a role, but was never allowed.

A tomahawk cruise missile hit the Pentagon; launched from a ship in the Atlantic.

A plane really hit the ground in PA. Again, an attention diversion. They felt that they needed a feel good story.

Yes, planes hit the towers, and the towers collapses because of explosives already planted on the joists.

Larry Silverstein was the brains behind it all.

Building 7 was used as an operations base. It needed to be demolished to protect information and people.

22: The operatives that hijacked the plane were told to crash it in PA. That is what I know to be true.

23: (regarding911) NORAD never really mobilized to do anything. There was no need to stand them down. NORAD is ran by the government, which is controlled by the Illuminati. See where I am going here?

24: The Anti-Christ is not going to be a single person. It is also very ironic.

The Anti-Christ is Israel.

25: (question)How long till the US economy goes under?

(answer)It wont. World War 3 will kick off at the perfect time to prevent collapse.

26: Hitler committed suicide in the way that most believe he did. Merkel is not his daughter; however, a coming chancellor will be his grandson.

27: The North American Union will form at the start of WW3 as a trade/ defense alliance.

28: A city will burn on November 11, 2011. I am not sure which. Only know that a city will burn to the ground.

29: Islam will be destroyed by killing the Muslims. Christianity will be destroyed by discrediting it. Judaism will not be destroyed, but will gain power. All other religions will fall into irrelevance.

30: Now, we are going to talk about the Anti-Christ being Israel.

I am not talking about the Jewish people, or the people of Israel itself, but I am talking about the state of Israel. As I mentioned earlier, Israel is the grand puppet state of the Illuminati. When the modern Israeli state was formed in 1948, it was all part of a master plan. This plan ties into the long term plan to demolish the Middle East. After World War 2, it was decided that land would be taken from the Palestinians, and this land would be declared the Jewish homeland that they had been driven from many years ago. We all know that fighting ensued between Israel and Palestine, and this violence continues today. Palestine is a state that has defied the control of the Illuminati. They were presented with the opportunity of protection when Israel was formed; however, they rejected, and they will one day be demolished in the most horrific manner. The whole point of the establishment of Israel is to place an Illuminati-influence government directly in the area. Israel is carrying out the order of the Illuminati, and has been since its formation.

I have already detailed the role that Israel will play in sparking World War 3 by a preemptive strike on Iran. However, the influence of Israel on world affairs will span far more than that. Israel will be virtually invincible during World War 3. It will prevail through Iranian attacks, but in the final stages of the war, it will fall under Russian attack. It is in these final stages that the alien attacks will take place, and all worldly fighting will cease. The Illuminati will use this time to establish their New World Order, which will be based in Israel. It is from Israel that the New World Order will execute their evil policies that will eventually lead to the destruction of the world as we know it. The Jews will be banished from Israel yet again, and the people that occupy the land will be a people that lack any form of religion. As I stated, Islam will be destroyed through elimination of the Muslims, Christianity will be destroyed through destruction of its credibility, and once these two religions are eliminated, religion as we know it will cease to exist in worldly affairs. Israel is the state that will carry out the execution of religion.

This is the grand plan of the Illuminati to establish a New World Order that is entirely a One World Order. Israel is the Anti Christ. A beast that will rise from the sea, a sea of turmoil, with many heads, led by many leaders.

Let me talk about religion for a little while. Religion was manufactured long ago by men who wished to control the masses. Different religions were created in different places to suit the needs and beliefs of the area, and it was intended to serve as a crutch. The leaders of these regions used religion to enslave their people, and religion continues to be such an evil. In essence, religion was the first form of mind control.

When the Illuminati was formed, it was evident that religion was something that could keep the masses dumb and ignorant to what was really happening around them. Is this not what has happened? Because of religion, the Illuminati has been able to work in secret for many, many years.

See the original post:
Illuminati Truths | Mystery of the Iniquity

 Posted by at 4:42 pm  Tagged with:

Offshore Banking – The New York Times

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on Offshore Banking – The New York Times
Apr 202016
 

Latest Articles

S.E.C. Held Up by Democrats | Criminal Inquiry Into Panama Papers Tax Avoidance Claims | Chinese Consortium to Buy Lexmark

The disclosures of hidden wealth in the Panama Papers have focused attention on the secrecy offered under American law to offshore companies.

By CELESTINE BOHLEN

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have agreed to share information on company ownership and that urged the Group of 20 Nations to do the same.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

The resignation of Jos Manuel Soria, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, comes at a time of turmoil in Spanish politics, after inconclusive elections in December.

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The tax code is rigged to give Americas biggest corporations a free ride.

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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The revelations of a vast off shore industry require new laws and new transparency, not finger-pointing, President Juan Carlos Varela says.

By JUAN CARLOS VARELA

Mr. Cameron, the British prime minister, admitted that he had bungled his response to questions about his inheritance from his father, who had an offshore investment company.

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The prime minister has condemned offshore accounts used to avoid taxes, but leaked documents show that his family has profited from an offshore investment fund.

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The Financial Conduct Authority has given 20 lenders and other financial institutions until April 15 to respond to the request.

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While most nations have agreed to share information to root out tax havens, Panama has dragged its feet.

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The new Obama administration rules will ultimately discourage companies from investing in the U.S.

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Readers react to disclosures about the use of tax havens by prominent political figures and their families and associates worldwide.

S.E.C. Held Up by Democrats | Criminal Inquiry Into Panama Papers Tax Avoidance Claims | Chinese Consortium to Buy Lexmark

The disclosures of hidden wealth in the Panama Papers have focused attention on the secrecy offered under American law to offshore companies.

By CELESTINE BOHLEN

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have agreed to share information on company ownership and that urged the Group of 20 Nations to do the same.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

The resignation of Jos Manuel Soria, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, comes at a time of turmoil in Spanish politics, after inconclusive elections in December.

By RAPHAEL MINDER

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left Pakistan to receive medical treatment in London in the middle of an unfolding scandal over his familys offshore wealth.

By SALMAN MASOOD

Many in Africa have long known that billions of dollars are being spirited away to tax havens every year, making their lives even more precarious.

By ALAN COWELL

The tax code is rigged to give Americas biggest corporations a free ride.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Officials said they were looking for evidence of illegal activities during the search of the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore accounts.

By KIRK SEMPLE

The proposed rules, in the works before the Panama Papers leak, are intended in some ways to lift the veil on similar types of corporate secrets.

By JAMES KANTER

The leaked documents show the many ways offshore shell companies are used to conceal the ownership of art. Heres a look at three cases.

By SCOTT REYBURN

The British prime minister confronted the Labour Party in Parliament in a spirited debate over economic fairness that was set off by the Panama Papers.

By STEVEN ERLANGER and SEWELL CHAN

David Lammy, a member of the Labour Party, asked Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain about property owned by offshore companies, what he called dirty money.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The revelations of a vast off shore industry require new laws and new transparency, not finger-pointing, President Juan Carlos Varela says.

By JUAN CARLOS VARELA

Mr. Cameron, the British prime minister, admitted that he had bungled his response to questions about his inheritance from his father, who had an offshore investment company.

By STEVEN ERLANGER

The prime minister has condemned offshore accounts used to avoid taxes, but leaked documents show that his family has profited from an offshore investment fund.

By KIMIKO DE FREYTAS-TAMURA

First Ashley Madison accounts, now offshore accounts?

By YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR

The Financial Conduct Authority has given 20 lenders and other financial institutions until April 15 to respond to the request.

By REUTERS

While most nations have agreed to share information to root out tax havens, Panama has dragged its feet.

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The new Obama administration rules will ultimately discourage companies from investing in the U.S.

By DIANA FURCHTGOTT-ROTH

Readers react to disclosures about the use of tax havens by prominent political figures and their families and associates worldwide.

Original post:
Offshore Banking – The New York Times

 Posted by at 10:44 am  Tagged with:

U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times

 NSA  Comments Off on U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times
Jan 142016
 

National Security Agency has found way to replace program that collected Americans’ emails in bulk; it continues to analyze social links revealed by American’s email patterns, but without collecting Internet metadata within United States, and with less oversight by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. MORE

Judge Richard J Leon of United States District Court for District of Columbia orders National Security Agency to stop collecting records for an individual Verizon customer, just weeks before program is scheduled to be shut down and replaced; says program is most likely unconstitutional. MORE

European Parliament issues strongest support yet for Edward J Snowden, recognizing him as ‘whistle-blower and international human rights defender’; designation is non-binding and while former National Security Agency contractor is currently in Russia, no countries in Europe have offered Snowden permanent asylum to date. MORE

Federal appeals court allows National Security Agency bulk phone records program to continue until it will end as decreed by bill passed by Congress, thereby avoiding definitive ruling on whether program is violation of Fourth Amendment’s constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. MORE

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden opens Twitter account, garnering more than 160,000 followers in single hour; opening Tweet contains joke about NSA phone surveillance. MORE

Newly declassified report on NSA surveillance program under Pres George W Bush contextualizes clash in 2004 between Bush and his attorney general, who was hospitalized at time, over program’s scope and legality; bedside debate led to president retroactively authorizing collection of domestic phone records, which have since been deemed illegal. MORE

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules NSA may continue collecting phone records of millions of Americans until new law set to ban practice goes into effect in late November 2015. MORE

Documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden reveal that AT&T’s collaboration with agency on Internet spying operations was far more extensive than that of other telecommunications companies; unique and especially productive partnership provided NSA with billions of emails as well as assistance in wiretapping of all Internet communications at United Nations headquarters. MORE

Release of 350 page document from 2010 sheds light on surveillance program established by Bush administration to counteract terrorism after September 11; call records of millions of Americans obtained by National Security Agency under secret interpretation of provision in Patriot Act was deemed illegal by appeals court ruling in early May. MORE

Obama administration announces that National Security Agency will no longer be permitted to keep old phone records used to analyze links between callers in search of terrorism suspects after Nov 29, 2015. MORE

National Security Agency sponsors dozens of free overnight and day camps around country that aim at introducing middle- and high-school-age students to cyber-security tools and techniques; camps are part of effort to reach out to potential recruits for next generation’s cybersecurity workforce. MORE

American Civil Liberties Union asks federal appeals court to shut down part of National Security Agency program that collects American phone records in bulk, move that may set up conflict between regular court system and secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. MORE

WikiLeaks releases American intelligence document containing telephone numbers of high-ranking German government officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkels top aides and senior figures from previous administrations; document, dating back to 1990s, adds to controversy surrounding United States intelligence service practices. MORE

Newly leaked material by Wikileaks revisits question of when and how much spying National Security Agency did on German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel; files also cover discussions about Germany’s position on Greek debt crisis. MORE

Embattled Brazilian Pres Dilma Rousseff plays down concerns about 2013 spying scandal during White House visit, saying she has accepted Pres Obama’s pledge that National Security Agency’s wiretapping has ended; Rousseff’s visit seems focused on courting American investment as she grapples with tanking economy at home. MORE

American Civil Liberties Union says it will ask United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit to issue injunction to halt once-secret National Security Agency program in which records of domestic phone calls were collected in bulk; NSA was given go-ahead to resume program by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and ACLU request may pit two courts against one another. MORE

Mattathias Schwartz First Words column contends word ‘relevant,’ when used by National Security Agency, expands to include all information gathered in bulk collection of phone records; says use of word allows spying on citizens with impunity, since no information is irrelevant. MORE

French government reacts with modulated response to information published by WikiLeaks and media groups that United States’ National Security Agency spied on French presidents and other senior officials from 2016 to 2012. MORE

British intelligence documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden to The Guardian news media describe American drone strikes that killed Khadim Usamah, along with other such airstrikes and counter-terrorism efforts; documents raise possibility British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters aided American targeted strikes. MORE

WikiLeaks releases documents saying United States National Security Agency eavesdropped on last three French presidents, Francoise Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. MORE

Harald Range, Germany’s federal prosecutor, announces that he has dropped formal investigation of accusations that National Security Agency eavesdropped on cellphone owned by Chancellor Angela Merkel, citing lack of evidence. MORE

Classifed National Security Agency documents provided by Edward J Snowden indicate Obama administration, sans public notice, has expanded agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international internet traffic to hunt for evidence of malicious computer hacking; disclosures come at time of pernicious cyberattacks, but also of increased scrutiny of legal rights for more government surveillance. MORE

Op-Ed article by Edward J Snowden expresses satisfaction that two years after he revealed extent of National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, there is now wide consensus that such activities were illegal and many of them have been stopped; warns that while progress has made, right to privacy is still under threat. MORE

News Analysis; Pres Obama’s revision of National Security Agency’s phone record collection program seeks to tailor program to his own competing aims of addressing privacy concerns while preserving means of monitoring terrorist activity; in so doing, Obama has solidified his ownership of controversial program begun by predecessor George W Bush. MORE

Senate passes bill scaling back federal government’s extensive surveillance of American phone records, and Pres Obama signs it; legislation signifies significant overhaul of national security policy formed after 9-11 terrorist attacks, and is rebuke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who fought forcefully against lessening government surveillance powers. MORE

Sen Rand Paul’s libertarian stance on national security issues, including his rather lonely fight against National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, has endeared him to supporters of his father Ron Paul during former congressman’s past presidential bids; many of the elder Paul’s backers have been slow to warm to Sen Rand Paul, questioning his commitment to his father’s ultra libertarian ideals. MORE

Obama administration is pressing Senate not to substantially alter House-passed USA Freedom Act, given that authorizations for National Security Agency have lapsed and any changes to bill’s provisions would necessarily entail lengthy negotiations that could delay agency’s reinstatement. MORE

Congressional Memo; Sen Mitch McConnell, after losing battle to extend National Security Agency programs, is being forced to embrace a House-passed NSA overhaul that he fears will weaken national security. MORE

News Analysis; interviews with intelligence experts suggest that there are several available workarounds as National Security Agency grapples with temporary expiration of Patriot Act provisions that allowed it to gather phone records en masse; key aspect is ‘grandfather clause’ that maintains powers for any investigation that was begun before June 1, 2015; records can also be obtained by grand jury subpoena if necessary. MORE

Provisions of Patriot Act allowing government to amass phone records temporarily expires following caustic Senate session in which Sen Rand Paul blocked extension; revised edition of law, which will curtail some bulk data collection by National Security Agency, is likely to pass in coming week; developments reflect profound shift in American attitudes toward data collection since days following Sept 11 attacks. MORE

Republican Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has been shunned and mocked by colleagues in his party, succeeds in temporarily blocking vote on renewal of section of Patriot Act that gives broad surveillance authority to National Security Agency. MORE

Battle in Congress over National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is being waged among different Republican factions, with defense hawks squaring off against libertarians and new members clashing with old; Senate has been tasked with creating passable compromise bill, feat likely to prove challenging. MORE

Pres Obama presses Senate to pass legislation known as USA Freedom Act, warning that allowing National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs to lapse will make country more vulnerable to terrorist attack. MORE

Editorial welcomes fact that provisions within Patriot Act giving federal authorities broad surveillance powers, which led to National Security Agency’s collection of bulk phone data, are set to expire; calls for thorough debate regarding such surveillance powers and underscores necessity of balancing such powers with meaningful judicial oversight. MORE

Obama administration urges Congress to reach deal on legislation governing National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records before June 1 deadline, warning that failure to do so will leave United States vulnerable to terrorist attacks. MORE

Pres Obama issues warning to Senate about risks attendant upon lawmakers failing to renew surveillance programs authorized by USA Patriot Act; it is unlikely that lawmakers will pass extension before scheduled expiration date, which means Obama administration and National Security Agency will lack legal authority to carry out such programs for some time. MORE

Congressional leaders, with deadline looming, take unusual step of working during recess to reach agreement on changes to USA Freedom Act that would rein in National Security Agency’s phone data collection authority. MORE

Obama administration is examining how expiration of three counterterrorism laws allowing government to collect telephone and other data will affect future of effort, even as bulk collection of phone records winds down; at issue is treatment of phone records already collected by government and investigations already under way; Senate remains divided on whether to continue or replace National Security Agency’s phone records program. MORE

Senate’s failure to advance legislation on National Security Agency reform highlights discord among Republican leaders; after failing to get extension of federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has found promises he made about Senates operation hard to keep. MORE

Senate rejects legislation that would revise Patriot Act to limit federal government’s bulk collection of phone records; vote, and subsequent failure of short-term measure to extend program beyond June 1 expiration date, raises likelihood that government will lose access to phone records after deadline, creating security vulnerability. MORE

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden, facing espionage charges in United States and living in exile in Russia, is speaking by video to audiences worldwide and gaining victories both in Congress and federal court; has no apparent prospect of leaving Russia soon, as prosecutors show no inclination to offer him acceptable plea bargain. MORE

News Analysis; House vote to end and replace National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is striking because open debate about cost of national security has been rare in 14 years since Sept 11 attacks; highlights question of where to draw line between advantages of secrecy and demands for openness in shadow of war on terror that shows no sign of abating. MORE

House of Representatives approves, 338 to 88, bill to halt National Security Agency’s collection of data related to Americans’ phone records under Patriot Act; vote places high pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring Senate, which is more divided on issue, into line with House ahead of June 1 deadline. MORE

Brian McFadden The Strip comic offers up variety of real-life conspiracies that American voters should be concerned about, such as current campaign financing laws, police brutality and National Security Agency spying on Americans. MORE

Federal appeals court’s decision that National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is illegal complicates bipartisan effort in Congress to overhaul program. MORE

United States Court of Appeals rules National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ bulk phone records is illegal; three judges say Patriot Act does not cover domestic calling records; provision is set expire June 1, and ruling is liable to ratchet up Congressional tension. MORE

Editorial applauds ruling by three-judge federal appeals panel, which determined National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal; holds decision is just in time as Congress is now in debate over reauthorizing section of Patriot Act that allows government to sweep records of those suspected of involvement in terrorist acts. MORE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel finds herself in midst of domestic controversy over depth and extent of country’s role in European spying; 2002 agreement on intelligence sharing between Germany and United States is under duress after reports that German intelligence agency BND indulged in spying on corporations and individuals at behest of National Security Agency. MORE

Germany’s foreign intelligence service, knows as BND, is being accused of spying on European companies, and possibly individuals; reports say monitoring was done at request of National Security Agency, which BND denies. MORE

News Analysis; proposal to limit bulk collection of domestic telephone data, centerpiece of legislation advancing in Congress, is meeting little opposition from National Security Agency itself; lack of pushback from the agency underscores just how dubious insiders were about the program from the start. MORE

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U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times

The Coming Defeat of NATO – Washington Free Beacon

 NATO  Comments Off on The Coming Defeat of NATO – Washington Free Beacon
Oct 032015
 

Screenshot from YouTube

BY: Matthew Continetti October 2, 2015 5:00 am

The North AtlanticTreaty Organization, established in 1949, has 28 members devoted to the idea of collective security. Prediction: By the time President Obama leaves office in 2017, the NATO pledge of mutual defense in response to aggression will have been exposed as worthless. Objectively the alliance will have ceased to exist. The culprits? Vladimir Putinand Barack Obama.

Right now the world is focused on the Middle East: Russian jets and bombers, operating from an expanding air base in Syria, strike opponents of dictator and war criminal Bashar al-Assad. The Russians say they are going after Islamic Statebut theres no evidence they are doing so. Nor do they have reason to, considering the aimof Putins war is to preserve Assads rule and to expand, for the first time in decades, Russias sphere of influence into the Middle East.

Key to Putins strategy, write analysts Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan, is the doctrine of reflexive control: establishing facts on the ground in such a way that the enemy chooses Russias preferred course of action voluntarily, because it is easiest and all the others appear much more difficult and risky, if not impossible.

Doesnt have to be this way. Moscows propaganda notwithstanding, Russia is a weak state with a deteriorating military capability, whose claim to great power status is based on its nuclear arsenal. But, by acting decisively and provocatively, Putin has found the means by which to reassert Russian sovereignty and preeminence and ward off challenges to his authoritarian regime.

Revisit Putins 2007 speech to the Munich security conference, where he said the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in todays world. The expansion of NATO, he went on, represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. Then came the threat: Russia is a country with a history that spans more than 1,000 years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy. We are not going to change this tradition today.

The next year the governments of GermanyandFrance, frightened by Putins rhetoric and reliant on Russian energy and arms deals, scuttledthe U.S. attemptto offer NATO membership to the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine. Deprived of NATOs security guarantee, both of these small and poor and new democracies became open prey. Putin invaded Georgia in 2008. Hecontinues to exert influence there.

The techniques of reflexive control found their ultimate patsy in Barack Obama. When it became clear in 2013 that the president had no interest in enforcing his red line against chemical weapons use in Syria, Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov pounced. Lavrov suggested in public that Russia would assist the United States in destroying Assads WMD stockpile. Obama, whose greatest fear is a major deployment of U.S. ground forces in the Middle East, couldnt help sayingyes. Suddenly Americawas partnering with the governments of Russia and Syria (and by extension Iran) to inspect and remove the munitions. This decision not only averted U.S. interventionand gauranteedAssads survival. ItallowedAssad to gas his population in the future.

In 2014, when protests forced Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych to flee to his backers in Moscow, Putin saw an opportunity to reclaim Ukraine from the West. His military buildup on Ukraines eastern border deterred NATO from harsh reprisals when the Russian parliament annexed Crimea. The techniques of maskirovkadisinformation and deceitprovided cover for Russias arming and training and staffing of anti-Kiev rebels in the east.

Sanctions and nasty words have not exacted enough of a cost to stop Putin from instigating and perpetuating a civil war whosedeath toll is in the thousands. President Obama has overruled his advisers and refuses to provide lethal defensive arms for pro-Western Ukrainians, believing, amazingly, that helping Kiev defend itself would escalate the situation.The Ukraine conflict is now frozenPutin can switch it on and off at will. Hisgoals remain: to efface Western pretentions to ideological and military supremacy, and to replace President Petro Poroshenko with a Kremlin stooge.

Two weeks ago, in a phone call with itsprime minister, Vice President Biden signaledAmerica will support Montenegros application for NATO membership. Good for him. But we should recognize nonetheless that this move is a fig-leaf. Itobscures the fact that Obama would otherwise be the first president in a generation not to preside over an expansion of NATO. So the White House supports a strategically insignificant nation surrounded by member states. Woo-wee. Its a metaphor for this administrations lackadaisical commitment to the allianceand for Europes.

The Kremlin has noticed this ambivalence. Russian intervention in Syria is about more than propping up Assad. Russian leadership of a pro-Assad coalition that includes Iran and Iraq effectively displaces America as the most influentialexternal power in the region. Russian provocations have forced Washington to plead for de-confliction, handing Moscow freedom of action over Syrian, and possibly Iraqi, airspace. And the location of the Russian base opens an additional front in Putins war against NATO.

Less than 50 miles from the border of Turkeya NATO memberthe Bassel al-Assad airbase gives Putins air force the ability to buzz and overfly not only Turkey but also U.S. allies Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. It also would allow, write the Kagans, his aircraft to shadow the U.S. Sixth Fleet around the Eastern Mediterranean. He could force Turkey and its NATO allies to establish standing combat air patrols along the southern Turkish border. The chances of a deadly incident increase every day.

Putin is boxing in NATO. His next target is the Baltic States. Last Sunday on 60 Minutes, he explained that the reason he has called the collapse of the Soviet Union the worst thing to happen in the last century isthat, in an instant, 25 million people found themselves beyond the borders of the Russian state. His goal is to reclaim themto unify Russians living abroad in the Baltics, in Ukraine, and beyond.

Raimonds Vejonis, president of Latvia, tells the Wall Street Journal that Russian sorties over the Baltics nations are on the rise. In his full interview with Charlie Rose, Putin singled out Lithuania: More than half of the citizens have left the country, he lied. Can you imagine a situation where more than half of the Americans left the territory of the United States? It would be a catastrophe!

Try this scenario: Sometime in the next 16 months, civil unrest breaks out in one or more of the Baltic States. Its the Russian population, calling for independence from the central government and closer ties to Moscow. Fighting erupts as Russian tanks mass along the border and jets fly over Riga or Vilnius or Tallinn. They are all targets. Take Vilnius: While there are few ethnic Russians in Lithuania, it is the land bridge between Mother Russia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Supplying Kaliningrad wouldbe Putins casus belli.

The Baltic authorities call on NATO to respondinvoking Article Four of the charter, which requires consultations, and possibly Article Five, requiring force.But the West is distracted. Europe is overwhelmed by crises in Greece and Ukraine, by the U.K. referendum to leave the E.U., by ongoing Muslim migration to the north. The United States is occupied by its presidential election, by Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, by economic shocks.

The cries for assistance go unheard. The Obama administration has refused even to try to secure permanent forward bases in the Balticswhich wouldprovide a credible deterrentapparently due to the belief that providing for a real defense is provocative. We are too busy, too self-absorbed, too confused to worry about promises made years ago. Obama wont arm the Ukrainians. What makes us think hed defendthe Lithuanians or Latvians or Estonians?

Before the White House recovers from its surprise at events in the Baltics, Putin will have achieved his strategic goals and established reflexive control over the situation. PresidentObama and Chancellor Merkel and Secretary of State Kerry are sure to proclaim that the arc of history will defeat Russia, even as they accommodate themselves to Putins reality. NATO will be exposed as a covenant without the sword. And millions of East Europeans will come under Vladimir Putins thumb. Victims of the Kremlins avarice. Victims of Obamas weakness.

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The Coming Defeat of NATO – Washington Free Beacon

Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot …
Oct 032015
 

During a press conference this afternoon, the president mocked gun rights supporters for supposedly spreading conspiracy theories about his desire to take away guns from law abiding citizens.

Obama described gun rights supporters as absolutists who denounced gun control as somehow an assault on freedom or communistic or a plot by me to, you know, take over and stay in power forever or something.

I mean, there are all kinds of crack pot conspiracy theories that float around there, he continued. Some of which by the way are ratified by elected officials in the other party on occasion.

He dismissed the notion that the issue of mass shootings was somehow just a mental problem.

There are hundreds of millions of angry young men around the world, most of them dont shoot, he insisted. The only thing we can do is make sure that they dont have an entire arsenal when something snaps in them.

Obama suggested that gun control supporters shouldnt vote for Democrats even if they were good on other issues they cared about.

Even if theyre great on other stuff for a couple of election cycles, you got to vote against them and let them know precisely why youre voting against them, he said.

He encouraged gun control supporters to be single issue voters, like gun rights supporters who agreed with the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has had a good start, you know. Theyve been at this for a long time, he said.

Theyve perfected what they do, you have got to give them credit they know how to stir up fear, they know how to stir up their base, they know how to raise money, they know how to scare politicians, they know how to organize campaigns and the American people are going to have to match them in their sense of urgency if were actually going to stop this.

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Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot …

NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …
Sep 192015
 

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (“warrantless wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of allegedly foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the touted war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the terrorist surveillance program,[1] part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. However, it has been discovered that all U.S. communications have been digitally cloned by government agencies, in apparent violation of unreasonable search and seizure. The excuse given to avoid litigation[citation needed] was that no data hoarded would be reviewed until searching it would be legal. But no excuse has been offered the initial seizure of the data which is also illegal,[citation needed] according to the U.S. Constitution.[citation needed]

Critics, however, claimed that the program was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and its handling of several controversial issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration allegedly ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court.[2] Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has allegedly continued operating under the new FISA guidelines despite campaign promises to end warrantless wiretapping.[3] However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.[4]

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts were not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13]The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14]Bill Keller, the newspaper’s former executive editor, had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential Election, and the story that was ultimately published was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004. The delay drew criticism from some in the press, arguing that an earlier publication could have changed the election’s outcome.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times.[16] The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.[17]

Gonzales said the program authorized warrantless intercepts where the government had “a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda” and that one party to the conversation was “outside of the United States.”[18] The revelation raised immediate concern among elected officials, civil right activists, legal scholars and the public at large about the legality and constitutionality of the program and the potential for abuse. Since then, the controversy has expanded to include the press’ role in exposing a classified program, the role and responsibility of the US Congress in its executive oversight function and the scope and extent of presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.[19]

In mid-August 2007, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in two lawsuits challenging the surveillance program. The appeals were the first to reach the court after dozens of civil suits against the government and telecommunications companies over NSA surveillance were consolidated last year before the chief judge of the Northern District of California, Vaughn R. Walker. One of the cases is a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, focusing on allegations that the company provided the NSA with its customers’ phone and Internet communications for a vast data-mining operation. Plaintiffs in the second case are the al-Haramain Foundation Islamic charity and two of its lawyers.[20][21]

On November 16, 2007, the three judgesM. Margaret McKeown, Michael Daly Hawkins, and Harry Pregersonissued a 27-page ruling that the charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, could not introduce a key piece of evidence in its case because it fell under the government’s claim of state secrets, although the judges said that “In light of extensive government disclosures, the government is hard-pressed to sustain its claim that the very subject matter of the litigation is a state secret.”[22][23]

In an August 14, 2007, question-and-answer session with the El Paso Times which was published on August 22, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell confirmed for the first time that the private sector helped the warrantless surveillance program. McConnell argued that the companies deserved immunity for their help: “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies”.[24] Plaintiffs in the AT&T suit subsequently filed a motion with the court to have McConnell’s acknowledgement admitted as evidence in their case.[25]

The program may face an additional legal challenge in the appeal of two Albany, New York, men convicted of criminal charges in an FBI anti-terror sting operation. Their lawyers say they have evidence the men were the subjects of NSA electronic surveillance, which was used to obtain their convictions but not made public at trial or made available in response to discovery requests by defense counsel at that time.[26]

In an unusual related legal development, on October 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Joseph P. Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, is appealing an April 2007 conviction on 19 counts of insider trading by alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. According to court documents unsealed in Denver in early October as part of Nacchio’s appeal, the NSA approached Qwest about participating in a warrantless surveillance program more than six months before the Sep 11, 2001, attacks which have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its efforts. Nacchio is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.[27] According to a lawsuit filed against other telecommunications companies for violating customer privacy, AT&T began preparing facilities for the NSA to monitor “phone call information and Internet traffic” seven months before 9/11.[28]

On August 17, 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said it would consider a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union which asked the intelligence court to make public its recent, classified rulings on the scope of the government’s wiretapping powers. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, presiding judge of the FISC, signed an order calling the ACLU’s motion “an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing.”[29] The FISC ordered the government to respond on the issue by August 31, saying that anything involving classified material could be filed under court seal.[30][31] On the August 31 deadline, the National Security Division of the Justice Department filed a response in opposition to the ACLU’s motion with the court.[32]

In previous developments, the case ACLU v. NSA was dismissed on July 6, 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[33] The court did not rule on the spying program’s legality. Instead, its 65-page opinion declared that the American Civil Liberties Union and the others who brought the case including academics, lawyers and journalists did not have the legal standing to sue because they could not demonstrate that they had been direct targets of the clandestine surveillance.[34] Detroit District Court judge Anna Diggs Taylor had originally ruled on August 17, 2006 that the program is illegal under FISA as well as unconstitutional under the First and Fourth amendments of the United States Constitution.[35][36][37]Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, discovered that at the time of the ruling Taylor “serves as a secretary and trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”[38] On February 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union, letting stand the earlier decision dismissing the case.[39]

On September 28, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825).[40] That bill now has been passed to the U.S. Senate, where three competing, mutually exclusive, billsthe Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the DeWine bill), the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the Specter bill), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S.3001) (the Specter-Feinstein bill) were themselves referred for debate to the full Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 13, 2006.[41] Each of these bills would in some form broaden the statutory authorization for electronic surveillance, while still subjecting it to some restrictions. The Specter-Feinstein bill would extend the peacetime period for obtaining retroactive warrants to seven days and implement other changes to facilitate eavesdropping while maintaining FISA court oversight. The DeWine bill, the Specter bill, and the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (passed by the House) would all authorize some limited forms or periods of warrantless electronic surveillance subject to additional programmatic oversight by either the FISC (Specter bill) or Congress (DeWine and Wilson bills).

On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders by letter that the program would not be reauthorized by the President.[2] “Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” according to his letter.[42]

On September 18, 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet-privacy advocacy group, filed a new lawsuit against the NSA, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other government agencies and individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless surveillance. They sued on behalf of AT&T customers to seek redress for what the EFF alleges to be an illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. An earlier, ongoing suit by the EFF may be bogged down by the recent changes to FISA provisions, but these are not expected to impact this new case.[43][44]

On January 23, 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor when it urged U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to set aside a ruling in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation et al. v. Obama, et al.[45] The Obama administration also sided with the former administration in its legal defense of July 2008 legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits accusing them of complicity in the eavesdropping program, according to testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder.[46]

On March 31, 2010, Judge Vaughn R. Walker, chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance”, the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.[47]

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment against the United States and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim against Mueller.[48]

The Trailblazer Project, an NSA IT project that began in 2000, has also been linked to warrantless surveillance. It was chosen over ThinThread, which had included some privacy protections. Three ex-NSA staffers, William Binney, J. Kirke Wiebe, and Ed Loomis, all of whom had quit NSA over concerns about the legality of the agency’s activities, teamed with Diane Roark, a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, to ask the Inspector General to investigate. A major source for the IG report was Thomas Andrews Drake, an ex-Air Force senior NSA official with an expertise in computers. Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun published a series of articles about Trailblazer in 20062007.

The FBI agents investigating the 2005 The New York Times story eventually made their way to The Baltimore Sun story, and then to Binney, Wiebe, Loomis, Roark, and Drake. In 2007 armed FBI agents raided the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe. Binney claimed they pointed guns at his head. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None were charged with crimes except for Drake. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, as part of Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on leakers.[49][50] The charges against him were dropped in 2011 and he pled to a single misdemeanor.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) regulates U.S. government agencies’ carrying out of physical searches, and electronic surveillance, wherein a significant purpose is the gathering of foreign intelligence information. “Foreign intelligence information” is defined in 50 U.S.C.1801 as information necessary to protect the U.S. or its allies against actual or potential attack from a foreign power, sabotage or international terrorism. FISA defines a “foreign power” as a foreign government or any faction(s) of a foreign government not substantially composed of US persons, or any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. FISA provides for both criminal and civil liability for intentional electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.

FISA provides two documents for the authorization of surveillance. First, FISA allows the Justice Department to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) before or up to 72 hours after the beginning of the surveillance. FISA authorizes a FISC judge to issue a warrant for the electronic cameras if “there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. 1805(a)(3). Second, FISA permits the President or his delegate to authorize warrantless surveillance for the collection of foreign intelligence if “there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. 50 U.S.C. 1802(a)(1).[51]

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order that authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct surveillance of certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant from the FISC as stipulated by FISA (see 50 U.S.C.1802 50 U.S.C.1809 ). The complete details of the executive order are not known, but according to statements by the administration,[52] the authorization covers telephone calls originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda or its affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US. The legality of surveillance involving US persons and extent of this authorization is at the core of this controversy which has steadily grown to include:

About a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) which authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The administration has argued that the language used in the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to exercise those powers “incident to the waging of war”, including the collection of enemy intelligence, FISA provisions notwithstanding.[8]

On January 20, 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee along with lone co-sponsor Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. Res. 350, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate that Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens.”[55][56] This non-binding resolution died in the Senate without being brought up for debate or being voted upon.[57]

Because of its highly classified status, little is publicly known about the actual implementation of the NSA domestic electronic surveillance program. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit including limited technical details known to him personally in support of a class-action lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in federal district court in San Francisco in January 2006 on behalf of AT&T customers who alleged that they had been damaged by the telecommunications corporation’s cooperation with the NSA. The lawsuit is called Hepting v. AT&T.[60][61]

A January 16, 2004 statement by Mr. Klein includes additional technical details regarding the secret 2003 construction of an NSA-operated monitoring facility in Room 641A of 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T.[62][63]

According to Klein’s affidavit, the NSA-equipped room uses equipment built by Narus Corporation to intercept and analyze communications traffic, as well as perform data-mining functions.[64]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry analyzed potential security risks posed by the NSA program, based on information contained in Klein’s affidavits as well as those of expert witness J. Scott Marcus, a designer of large-scale IP-based data networks, former CTO at GTE Internetworking and at Genuity, and former senior advisor for Internet Technology at the US Federal Communications Commission.[65] They concluded that the likely architecture of the system created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by government agents.[66]

Journalist Barton Gellman reported in the Washington Post that David Addington who was at that time legal counsel to former Vice President Dick Cheney was the author of the controlling legal and technical documents for the NSA surveillance program, typing the documents on a TEMPEST-shielded computer across from his desk in room 268 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and storing them in a vault in his office.[67][68][69]

The NSA surveillance controversy involves legal issues that fall into two broad disciplines: statutory interpretation and Constitutional law. Statutory interpretation is the process of interpreting and applying legislation to the facts of a given case. Constitutional law is the body of law that governs the interpretation of the United States Constitution and covers areas of law such as the relationship between the federal government and state governments, the rights of individuals, and other fundamental aspects of the application of government authority in the United States.[70]

However, there are analogies between the NSA Spying Scandal (20012007) and Hewlett-Packard spying scandal (2006)[71] that may ease to predict the court outcomes. HP, in order to find the leak source of its board strategic minutes revealed to press, employed several contractors to investigate the leak issue but without engaging any external legal firm and supervisory stakeholder. Contractors, under supervision of the HP’s internal investigation team, confidentially used false pretense and social security numbers a spying technique namely Pretexting for obtaining phone records of suspicious board members and several journalists. Later on, the HP’s surveillance extended beyond the board of directors leaking issue and became a conspiracy for interest of the probe initiators; through which it was claimed that the informational privacy rights of even innocent employees and directors of the board, who had nothing to do with the board leaks, were violated.

In October 2006, HP’s chairwoman Patricia Dunn and HP’s former chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker and several private investigators were charged for criminal cases under California Penal Code such as

All of these charges were dismissed.[72]

18 U.S.C.2511(2)(f) provides in relevant part that “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in 50 U.S.C.1801(f) … and the intercept of domestic [communications] may be conducted.” The interpretation of this clause is central to the controversy because both sides agree that the NSA program operates outside of the procedural framework provided by FISA. The interpretive conflict arises because other provisions of FISA, including the criminal sanctions subpart 50 U.S.C.1809 include an “unless authorized by statute” provision, raising the issue of statutory ambiguity. The administration’s position is that the AUMF is an authorizing statute which satisfies the FISA criteria.

The U.S. Supreme Court faced a similar issue in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where the government claimed that the AUMF authorized the President to detain U.S. citizens designated as an enemy combatant despite its lack of specific language to that intent and notwithstanding the provisions of 18 U.S.C.4001(a) which requires that the United States government cannot detain an American citizen except by an act of Congress. In that case, the Court ruled:

[B]ecause we conclude that the Government’s second assertion [“that 4001(a) is satisfied, because Hamdi is being detained “pursuant to an Act of Congress” [the AUMF] is correct, we do not address the first. In other words, for the reasons that follow, we conclude that the AUMF is explicit congressional authorization for the detention of individuals … and that the AUMF satisfied 4001(a)’s requirement that a detention be “pursuant to an Act of Congress”

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld however, the court rejected the government’s argument that the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to establish military commissions in violation of the UCMJ. The opinion of the Court held:

Neither of these congressional Acts, [AUMF or ATC] however, expands the President’s authority to convene military commissions. First, while we assume that the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004)) (plurality opinion), and that those powers include the authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see id., at 518; Quirin, 317 U. S., at 2829; see also Yamashita, 327 U. S., at 11, there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in Article 21 of the UCMJ. Cf. Yerger, 8 Wall., at 105 (“Repeals by implication are not favored”)

Determining when explicit congressional authorization is and is not required appears by this decision to require a court to first determine whether an implicit authorization would amount to a “repeal by implication” of the governing Act.

The exclusivity clause also raises a separation of powers issue. (See Constitutional law issues below)

The arguments against the legality of the NSA fall into two broad categories, those who argue that FISA raises no Constitutional issues and therefore the NSA program is illegal on its face

Common to both of these views is the argument that the participation of “US persons” as defined in FISA 50 U.S.C.1801 renders the objectional intercepts “domestic” in nature.[73] Those advocating the “no constitutional issue” position, argue that Congress has the authority it needs to legislate in this area under Article I and the Fourth Amendment[74] while those who see a constitutional conflict[75] acknowledge that the existing delineation between Congressional and Executive authority in this area is not clear[76] but that Congress, in including the exclusivity clause in FISA, meant to carve out a legitimate role for itself in this arena.

The administration holds that an exception to the normal warrant requirements exists when the purpose of the surveillance is to prevent attack from a foreign threat. Such an exception has been upheld at the Circuit Court level when the target was a foreign agent residing abroad,[77][78] a foreign agent residing in the US,[79][80][81][82] and a US citizen abroad.[83] The warrantless exception was struck down when both the target and the threat was deemed domestic.[84] The legality of targeting US persons acting as agents of a foreign power and residing in this country has not been addressed by the US Supreme Court, but has occurred at least once, in the case of Aldrich Ames.[85]

The Administration’s position with regard to statutory interpretation, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is to avoid what it has termed the “difficult Constitutional questions” by

This argument, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is based on the language of the AUMF, specifically, the acknowledgment of the President’s Constitutional authority contained in the preamble; “Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”, and the language in the resolution itself;

[Be it resolved] [t]hat the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

The administration also adds that the program is legal under Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act entitled Enhanced Surveillance Procedures,[citation needed] although it is not relying upon the domestic law enforcement provisions of the PATRIOT Act for authorization of any of the NSA program activities.[citation needed] The President had said prior to this, that Americans’ civil liberties were being protected and that purely domestic wiretapping was being conducted pursuant to warrants under applicable law, including the Patriot Act.[87]

These arguments must be compared to the language of the FISA itself, which states:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.[88]

Because the law only authorizes the President to bypass the FISA court during the first 15 days of a war declared by Congress (see “Declaration of war”), the administration’s argument rests on the assumption that the AUMF gave the President more power than was understood as absolutely implicit in any Congressional “declaration of war” at the time of the statute’s enactment. However, as a “declaration of war by the Congress” encompasses all military actions so declared, no matter how small, brief or otherwise constrained by Congress, the above citation could be seen as setting not a default or typical level of Presidential wartime authority, but instead a presumptive minimum, which might more often than not be extended (explicitly or implicitly) by Congress’s war declaration.

According to Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan: “It is true, of course, that a president’s failure to report to Congress when he is required to do so by law is a serious matter, but in reality the reporting requirement was a technicality that a President could not be expected to know about.”[89] In regard to this program, a Gang of Eight (eight key members of Congress, thirteen in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional Sessions) have been kept informed to some degree:

Under the National Security Act of 1947, 501503, codified as 50 USC 413-413b,[90] the President is required to keep Congressional intelligence committees “fully and currently” informed of U.S. intelligence activities, “consistent with … protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” For covert actions, from which intelligence gathering activities are specifically excluded in 413b(e)(1), the President is specifically permitted to limit reporting to the so-called “Gang of Eight”.[91]

The administration contends that with regard to the NSA surveillance program, the administration fulfilled its notification obligations by briefing key members of Congress (thirteen individuals in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional sessions) have been briefed on the NSA program more than a dozen times[citation needed] but they were forbidden from sharing information about the program with other members or staff.[citation needed]

On January 18, 2006 the Congressional Research Service released a report, “Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions”.[92][93] That report found that “[b]ased upon publicly reported descriptions of the program, the NSA surveillance program would appear to fall more closely under the definition of an intelligence collection program, rather than qualify as a covert action program as defined by statute”, and, therefore, concluded there was no specific statutory basis for limiting briefings on the terrorist surveillance program to the Gang of Eight.[94] However, the report goes on to note in its concluding paragraph that limited disclosure is also permitted under the statute “in order to protect intelligence sources and methods”.[95]

Thus, although the specific statutory “Gang of Eight” notification procedure for covert action would not seem to apply to the NSA program, it is not clear if a limited notification procedure intended to protect sources and methods is expressly prohibited. Additionally, should the sources and methods exception apply it will require a factual determination as to whether it should apply to disclosure of the program itself or only to specific sensitive aspects.

The constitutional debate surrounding executive authorization of warrantless surveillance is principally about separation of powers (“checks and balances”). If, as discussed above, no “fair reading” of FISA can be found in satisfaction of the canon of avoidance, these issues will have to be decided at the appellate level, by United States courts of appeals. It should be noted that in such a separation of powers dispute, the burden of proof is placed upon the Congress to establish its supremacy in the matter: the Executive branch enjoys the presumption of authority until an Appellate Court rules against it.[citation needed]

Article I vests Congress with the sole authority “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” and “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The U.S. Supreme Court has used the “necessary and proper” clause of Article I to affirm broad Congressional authority to legislate as it sees fit in the domestic arena[citation needed] but has limited its application in the arena of foreign affairs. In the landmark Curtiss-Wright decision, Justice Sutherland writes in his opinion of the Court:

The [“powers of the federal government in respect of foreign or external affairs and those in respect of domestic or internal affairs”] are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.

Article II vests the President with power as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” and requires that he “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.

The U.S. Supreme Court has historically used Article II to justify wide deference to the President in the arena of foreign affairs.[citation needed] Two historical and recent Supreme Court cases define the secret wiretapping by the NSA. Quoting again from the Curtiss-Wright decision:

It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relationsa power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.

The extent of the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief has never been fully defined, but two U.S. Supreme Court cases are considered seminal in this area:[96][97]Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer and Curtiss-Wright.

In addition, two relatively new cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, have clarified, and in the case of Hamdan limited, the scope of executive power to detain and try suspected terrorists as enemy combatants.

In Hamdan, the Court’s opinion in footnote 23, rejected the notion that Congress is impotent to regulate the exercise of executive war powers:

Whether or not the President has independent power, absent congressional authorization, to convene military commissions, he may not disregard limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 637 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring). The Government does not argue otherwise.

Whether “proper exercise” of Congressional war powers includes authority to regulate the gathering of foreign intelligence, which in other rulings[citation needed] has been recognized as “fundamentally incident to the waging of war”, is a historical point of contention between the Executive and Legislative branches.[8][98]

As noted in “Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information”, published by The Congressional Research Service:

A review of the history of intelligence collection and its regulation by Congress suggests that the two political branches have never quite achieved a meeting of the minds regarding their respective powers. Presidents have long contended that the ability to conduct surveillance for intelligence purposes is a purely executive function, and have tended to make broad assertions of authority while resisting efforts on the part of Congress or the courts to impose restrictions. Congress has asserted itself with respect to domestic surveillance, but has largely left matters involving overseas surveillance to executive self-regulation, subject to congressional oversight and willingness to provide funds.

The same report makes clear the Congressional view that intelligence gathered within the U.S. and where “one party is a U.S. person” qualifies as domestic in nature and as such completely within their purview to regulate, and further that Congress may “tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power”:

The passage of FISA and the inclusion of such exclusivity language reflects Congress’s view of its authority to cabin the President’s use of any inherent constitutional authority with respect to warrantless electronic surveillance to gather foreign intelligence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee articulated its view with respect to congressional power to tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power:

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and helps guard against “unreasonable” searches and seizures by agents of the government. It is solely a right of the people that neither the Executive nor Legislative branch can lawfully abrogate, not even if acting in concert: no statute can make an unreasonable search reasonable, nor a reasonable search unreasonable.

The term “unreasonable” is deliberately imprecise but connotes the sense that there is a rational basis for the search and that it is not an excessive imposition upon the individual given the motivation for and circumstances of the search, and is in accordance with customary societal norms. It is conceived that a judge will be sufficiently distanced from the authorities seeking a warrant that they can render an impartial decision unaffected by any prejudices or improper motivations they (or the legislators who enacted a law they are seeking to enforce) may harbor.

An individual who believes their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by an unreasonable search or seizure may file a civil suit for monetary compensation and seek a court-ordered end to a pattern or practice of such unlawful activities by government authorities, although the plaintiff will need to have evidence that such a wiretap is taking place in order to show standing (Amnesty International v. Clapper). Such civil rights violations are sometimes punishable by state or federal law. Evidence obtained in an unlawful search or seizure is generally inadmissible in a criminal trial.

The law countenances searches without warrant as “reasonable” in numerous circumstances, among them (see below): the persons, property, and papers of individuals crossing the border of the United States and those of paroled felons; in prisons, public schools and government offices; and of international mail. Although these are undertaken as a result of statute or Executive order, they should not be seen as deriving their legitimacy from these, rather, the Fourth Amendment explicitly allows reasonable searches, and the government has instituted some of these as public policy.

The Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States (1967), that the monitoring and recording of private conversations within the United States constitutes a “search” for Fourth Amendment purposes, and therefore the government must generally obtain a warrant before undertaking such domestic recordings.

The Supreme Court has also held in Smith v Maryland (1979) that citizens have no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in the business records (sometimes termed metadata) of their communications. This means that the court can subpoena data such as the numbers that an individual has phoned, when and, to a limited degree, where (subject to Jones v. United States) the phone conversation occurred, although a full judicial warrant would be required for the government to acquire or admit audio content from the telephone call. Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT act, the FBI can subpoena some or all such records from a business record holder using a warrant applied for in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The protection of “private conversations” has been held to apply only to conversations where the participants have not only manifested a desire but also a reasonable expectation that their conversation is indeed private and that no other party is listening in. In the absence of such a reasonable expectation, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and surveillance without warrant does not violate it. Privacy is clearly not a reasonable expectation in communications to persons in the many countries whose governments openly intercept electronic communications, and is of dubious reasonability in countries against which the United States is waging war.

The law also recognizes a distinction between domestic surveillance taking place within U.S. borders and foreign surveillance of non-U.S. persons either in the U.S. or abroad.[99] In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that the Constitution does not extend protection to non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, so no warrant would be required to engage in even physical searches of non-U.S. citizens abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of warrantless searches targeting foreign powers or their agents within the US. There have been, however, a number of Circuit Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of such warrantless searches.[100] In United States v. Bin Laden, the Second Circuit noted that “no court, prior to FISA, that was faced with the choice, imposed a warrant requirement for foreign intelligence searches undertaken within the United States.”[101] Assistant Attorney General William Moschella in his written response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee explained that in the administration’s view, this unanimity of pre-FISA Circuit Court decisions vindicates their argument that warrantless foreign-intelligence surveillance authority existed prior to FISA and since, as these ruling indicate, that authority derives from the Executive’s inherent Article II powers, they may not be encroached by statute.[102] In 2002, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (Court of Review) met for the first time and issued an opinion (In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001) which seems to echo that view. They too noted all the Federal courts of appeal having looked at the issue had concluded that there was constitutional power for the president to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance. Furthermore, based on these rulings it “took for granted such power exits” and ruled that under this presumption, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” Professor Orin Kerr argues in rebuttal that the part of In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001 that dealt with FISA (rather than the Fourth Amendment) was nonbinding obiter dicta and that the argument does not restrict Congress’s power to regulate the executive in general.[103]

Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, Suzanne Spaulding, former general counsel for the Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate, and former Counsel to the President John Dean, contend that FISA clearly makes the wiretapping illegal and subject to the criminal penalties of FISA,[104] (in seeming disagreement with the FISA Court of Review finding above) and that the president’s own admissions already constitute sufficient evidence of a violation of the Fourth Amendment, without requiring further factual evidence. Professor John C. Eastman, in his analysis, prepared at the behest of the House Judiciary Committee, comparing the CRS and DOJ reports, concluded instead that under the Constitution and ratified by both historical and Supreme Court precedent, “the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies. Moreover, it should go without saying that such activities are a fundamental incident of war.”[105]

Orin S. Kerr, associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School[106] and a leading scholar in the subjects of computer crime law and internet surveillance,[107] points to an analogy between the NSA intercepts and searches allowed by the Fourth Amendment under the border search exception.

The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States “or its functional equivalent.” (United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985)). The idea here is that the United States as a sovereign nation has a right to inspect stuff entering or exiting the country as a way of protecting its sovereign interests, and that the Fourth Amendment permits such searches. Courts have applied the border search exception in cases of PCs and computer hard drives; if you bring a computer into or out of the United States, the government can search your computer for contraband or other prohibited items at the airport or wherever you are entering or leaving the country. See, e.g., United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.)…At the same time, I don’t know of a rationale in the case law for treating data differently than physical storage devices. The case law on the border search exception is phrased in pretty broad language, so it seems at least plausible that a border search exception could apply to monitoring at an ISP or telephone provider as the “functional equivalent of the border,” much like airports are the functional equivalent of the border in the case of international airline travel…the most persuasive case on point: United States v. Ramsey, [held] that the border search exception applies to all international postal mail, permitting all international postal mail to be searched.

Evidence gathered without warrant may raise significant Fourth Amendment issues which could preclude its use in a criminal trial. As a general rule of law, evidence obtained improperly without lawful authority, may not be used in a criminal prosecution.[citation needed] The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of warrantless searches (which has been broadly defined by the court to include surveillance) targeting foreign powers or their agents, the admissibility of such evidence in a criminal trial nor whether it is permissible to obtain or use evidence gathered without warrant against US persons acting as agents of a foreign power.[citation needed]

The National Security Act of 1947[108] requires Presidential findings for covert acts. SEC. 503. [50 U.S.C. 413b] (a) (5) of that act states: “A finding may not authorize any action that would violate the Constitution or any statute of the United States.”

On August 17, 2006, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in ACLU v. NSA that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unconstitutional under the Fourth and First Amendments and enjoined the NSA from using the program to conduct electronic surveillance “in contravention of [FISA or Title III]”.[36] In her ruling,[109] she wrote:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has indisputably violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

Even some legal experts who agreed with the outcome have criticized the reasoning set forth in the opinion.[110] Others have argued that the perceived flaws in the opinion in fact reflect the Department of Justice’s refusal to argue the legal merits of the program (they chose to focus solely on arguments about standing and state secrets grounds).[111]

On October 4, 2006, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled that the government can continue the program while it appeals the lower court decision.[112][113]

On July 6, 2007 the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had no standing.

The Court found that:[114]

[T]he plaintiffs do not and because of the State Secrets Doctrine cannot produce any evidence that any of their own communications have ever been intercepted by the NSA, under the TSP, or without warrants. Instead, they assert a mere belief, which they contend is reasonable and which they label a well founded belief,…

Implicit in each of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries is the underlying possibility which the plaintiffs label a “well founded belief” and seek to treat as a probability or even a certainty that the NSA is presently intercepting, or will eventually intercept, communications to or from one or more of these particular plaintiffs, and that such interception would be detrimental to the plaintiffs’ clients, sources, or overseas contacts. This is the premise upon which the plaintiffs’ entire theory is built.

But even though the plaintiffs’ beliefs based on their superior knowledge of their contacts’ activities may be reasonable, the alternative possibility remains that the NSA might not be intercepting, and might never actually intercept, any communication by any of the plaintiffs named in this lawsuit.

Corporate secrecy is also an issue. Wired reported: In a letter to the EFF, AT&T objected to the filing of the documents in any manner, saying that they contain sensitive trade secrets and could be “used to ‘hack’ into the AT&T network, compromising its integrity.”[115] However, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker stated, during the September 12, 2008 hearing in the class-action lawsuit filed by the EFF, that the Klein evidence could be presented in court, effectively ruling that AT&T’s trade secret and security claims were unfounded.

The majority of legal arguments supporting the NSA warrantless surveillance program have been based on the War Powers Resolution. There have not been any other noteworthy types of supporting legal arguments. The War Powers Resolution has been questioned as unconstitutional since its creation, and its adaptation to the NSA warrantless surveillance program has been questionable.

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NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …

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Second Amendment Foundation

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Second Amendment Foundation
Sep 132015
 

By SAF Admin on September 11, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Responding to statements made by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes Thursday to KING 5 News that the so-called gun violence tax is not too drastic, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation which is (read more)

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By SAF Admin on August 24, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The nations three leading firearms organizations joined forces today to sue the City of Seattle over adoption of a retail sales tax on guns and ammunition in what they allege is a clear violation of Washington States (read more)

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By SAF Admin on August 21, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and Florida Carry have asked a circuit court judge to assess fines of $5,000 against city officials in Tallahassee for failing to repeal local gun control ordinances that conflict with (read more)

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By SAF Admin on August 13, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Calguns Foundation (CGF) today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a Santa Clara County resident, challenging the city, its police (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 23, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA This weeks announcement by the Obama administration that new citizens can recite the Oath of Allegiance without declaring they will bear arms on behalf of the United States is another subtle swipe at the right to keep and bear (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 20, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation today responded to published reports that the Obama administration is pushing to prevent citizens collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if they have problems managing their own affairs (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 9, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Criminal charges have been dropped against a Nebraska man whose expensive firearms collection was seized in a case involving a misdemeanor conviction some years ago for carrying a knife that was an eighth-inch too long, and the (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 7, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation has named Andrew Gottlieb as its new director of Outreach and Development, representing the second generation of family activism in promoting and defending the right to keep and bear arms.

Gottlieb (read more)

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By SAF Admin on June 24, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation is encouraged that a federal appeals court has ruled 2-1 that Stephen Dearths challenge of a federal law that prevents citizens living abroad from buying firearms while visiting in the United States (read more)

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By SAF Admin on June 23, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The auction of an 1849 Colt Baby Dragoon revolver that once belonged to the late James Brady will help the Second Amendment Foundation battle restrictive gun laws and educate the public about the right to keep and bear arms.

A (read more)

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Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Aug 172015
 

TEXANS, ITS TIME SOMEONE SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

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Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Six takeaways from the NRA convention

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Apr 132015
 

A pack of 2016 Republicans made their pitch for president Friday before the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville, blasting the Obama administration for what they described as an erosion of freedom while punctuating their remarks with sharp enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights.

The contenders also used the principles behind gun rights to fire off criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of national security, further signaling the influential role that foreign policy is expected to have in the presidential election.

More than 70,000 people descended upon Music City to attend the convention, but tickets to see the candidates speak in a five-hour long forum was limited to about 5,000 people.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the only declared candidate on stage Friday. Other potential contenders included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

1. Candidates show off gun credentials

As tradition at the annual NRA gathering, the speakers tried to establish their own longstanding history with guns in different ways. Santorum held up his concealed carry card before the audience and boasted that his wife requested ammunition for an upcoming birthday.

Walker talked about bow-hunting, while Huckabee perused the firearm vendor hall and later listed on stage the guns he grew up with, including his first BB gun at the age of five. “I still have the same gun in mint condition,” he said.

Perry screened a video showing off his shooting skills (the same video was also shown at the 2013 NRA convention). The former governor also crowed about the gun manufacturers he recruited to Texas from other states.

For Bush, the NRA meeting was a chance to tout his record, including his A+ rating from the NRA, before a conservative crowd that’s largely skeptical of him due to his more moderate positions on immigration and Common Core.

Bush proclaimed to the audience that he’s “been with you in trenches” as an “NRA life member since 1986.” He also listed the gun rights measures he enacted or maintained as former governor, and defended the stand your ground laws in Florida that became a hot topic following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

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Six takeaways from the NRA convention

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The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

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Apr 132015
 

Libertarianism the philosophy of personal and economic freedom has deep roots in Western civilization and in American history, and its growing stronger. Two long wars, chronic deficits, the financial crisis, the costly drug war, the campaigns of Ron Paul and Rand Paul, the growth of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the revelations about NSA abuses have pushed millions more Americans in a libertarian direction. The Libertarian Mind, by David Boaz, the longtime executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is the best available guide to the history, ideas, and growth of this increasingly important political movement.

Boaz has updated the book with new information on the threat of government surveillance; the policies that led up to and stemmed from the 2008 financial crisis; corruption in Washington; and the unsustainable welfare state. The Libertarian Mind is the ultimate resource for the current, burgeoning libertarian movement.

He is a provocative commentator and a leading authority on domestic issues such as education choice, drug legalization, the growth of government, and the rise of libertarianism. Boaz is the former editor of New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981. The earlier edition of The Libertarian Mind, titled Libertarianism: A Primer, was described by the Los Angeles Times as a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas. His other books include The Politics of Freedom and the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.

His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate, and he wrote the entry on libertarianism at the Encyclopedia Britannica. He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows, and has appeared on ABCs Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, CNNs Crossfire, NPRs Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, The McLaughlin Group, Stossel, The Independents, Fox News Channel, BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other media.

Virginia: April 16 Hampden-Sydney College: The Libertarian Mind with Author David Boaz April 18 Young Americans for Liberty state convention, Blacksburg: http://www.yaliberty.org/convention/state/2015/va

Texas: April 22 Southern Methodist University: http://oneil.cox.smu.edu/events April 22 Americas Future Foundation, Dallas, TX: https://www.facebook.com/events/433923173452893/

Missouri April 30 St. Louis http://www.cato.org/events/cato-institute-policy-forum-st-louis-april July 7 or 8 Kansas City Public Library

Nevada July 8-11 FreedomFest, Las Vegas

Washington D.C. July 26 31 Washington D.C. Cato University http://www.cato.org/cato-university/2015

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The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

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Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians

 Misc  Comments Off on Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians
Apr 132015
 

In a recent post , famed economist Paul Krugman claims that there basically arent any libertarians out there because public opinion breaks down neatly along a liberal-conservative spectrum where almost everyone who favors government intervention in the economy is a social liberal and almost everyone who is skeptical of it is a social conservative. But Krugman cites no data to support his conclusion. And, in fact, extensive survey data contradicts it.

The relevant evidence has been catalogued by David Boaz, polling guru Nate Silver (who is far from being a libertarian himself), and economist Bryan Caplan. Depending on what measures you use, anywhere from about 10% to as many as 44 percent of Americans hold generally libertarian views in the sense that they favor strict limits on government power in both the economic and social spheres. I believe the lower estimates are more credible than the higher ones. But even the former are still a substantial fraction of the population.

Most of these people arent as consistent and thoroughgoing in their views as libertarian intellectuals are. But the same can be said of most conservatives and liberals in the general public relative to intellectual advocates of those viewpoints. At least within the Republican Party (which is a major focus of Krugmans post), the percentage of libertarians is rapidly increasing; younger Republicans are much more libertarian on social issues than their elders, while still being skeptical of government intervention in the economy.

Krugman also claims that almost no one holds views that are the opposite of libertarianism: combining social conservatism with support for extensive government intervention in the economy (he calls such people hardhats, though public opinion researchers more commonly call them populists). This too is clearly false. As Boaz and Caplan note, surveys show a substantial number of people who fall into that category. In recent years, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both ran campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination on such a platform, and both attracted substantial support. Perhaps even more telling, George W. Bushs policies as president included a combination of social conservatism and the biggest new welfare state program in some forty years, as well as a major expansion of federal government involvement in education. Bush and his advisers clearly believed there were enough hardhats out there to make this program politically viable. In Europe, the combination of social conservatism and economic interventionism is even more common than in the US, as witness the recent resurgence of parties such as Frances National Front, which combine right-wing nationalism with support for a large welfare state. As a libertarian myself, Im no fan of hardhat/populist ideologies. But I cant deny that there are large numbers of people who support them.

Admittedly, Krugmans claim might be right if we interpret his framework literally. He defines libertarians as people who combine social liberalism with the view that there should be no social insurance. As David Boaz notes in his critique, the latter is an extreme definition that would exclude such prominent libertarian thinkers as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek (both of whom were willing to accept a strictly limited welfare state); it would also rule out the vast majority of those people who hold roughly libertarian views in the general population. But if Krugman means that definition literally, it would also prove there are no conservatives either. After all, very few people who consider themselves to be conservatives favor the complete abolition of the welfare state, as opposed to its restriction to levels smaller than that favored by the left. In the 2012 election, the GOP even ran on a platform attacking Obama for supposedly cutting Medicare too much.

Its also possible to try to justify Krugmans claim by arguing that most of those people who hold seemingly libertarian views havent thought carefully about their implications and are not completely consistent in their beliefs. This is likely true. But it is also true of most conservatives and liberals. Political ignorance and irrationality are very common across the political spectrum and only a small minority of voters think carefully about their views and make a systematic attempt at consistency. Libertarian-leaning voters are not an exception to this trend. But it is worth noting that, controlling for other variables, increasing political knowledge tends to make people more libertarian in their views than they would be otherwise.

Finally, Krugman is wrong to suggest that the difference between supporters and opponents of more extensive government intervention in the economy is solely or even primarily about social insurance that breaks down traditional structures of authority. In many places, early expansions of government intervention in the economy were in part intended to reinforce rather than break down traditional structures of authority, which is one reason why it was often pioneered by right-wingers like Otto von Bismarck. More recently, there are have been many forms of government intervention that tend to benefit the relatively affluent and and well-connected interest groups at the expense of the poor. If you dont want to take my word for it, read Krugmans own recent columns on zoning and farm subsidies.

In his critique of Krugmans post, Bryan Caplan suggests that Krugmans neglect of readily available evidence in this case gives us reason to doubt his reliability more generally. I dont go quite that far. As I see it, this is yet another case where a pundit gets into trouble by pontificating on issues outside their expertise.

Even if you are a brilliant Nobel Prize-winning economist like Krugman, its easy to go wrong in commenting on a subject you may not have much knowledge about. Moreover, in dealing with such issues, we are more likely to act like political fans and default to simplistic frameworks that make it easy to feel good about our own views, while dismissing those of the opposition.

In this case, postulating a simplistic one-dimensional distribution of political opinion enables Krugman to claim that virtually all of the people who oppose his views on government intervention in the economy do not, in reality, love liberty, and also to ignore the fact that many people who endorse a large welfare state also have illiberal social views. These assumptions make it easy to divide the world into good guys who want to break down traditional forms of authority and bad guys who want to maintain them. But, however comforting it might be, this approach fails to capture the true distribution of political opinion.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians

 Posted by at 2:43 pm  Tagged with:

GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call
Apr 112015
 

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

Nearly all of the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls wereonstage Friday attheNational Rifle Association’s annual leadership conference in Nashville, a GOP cattle-call of sortsthat gavethepotential candidates a chance to trumpet their Second Amendment bona fides.

Attendees heardfrom a majority of the GOP’s first- and second-tier presidential primary contenders, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Texas governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump.

Notable absences? Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom have a prickly relationship with the NRA and were not invited to attend — Paul because of his affiliation with another gun-rights group and Christie who scores low on the NRA’s scorecard. Paul told Bloomberg that it was the group’s loss, not his: “To not be invited, probably, will serve more to cast aspersions on their group than it would on me. Because my record’s pretty clear. It probably looks a little bit petty for them not to invite a major candidate because I raised money for other Second Amendment groups.”

For those candidates who made the cut, today wasa critical campaign stop. The Post’s David A. Fahrenthold reported on the role of gun rights in the GOP last month:

Even for those who dont own [guns],they are a bellwether of individual liberty, a symbol of what big government wants and shouldnt have. … As the 2016 campaign gets going, guns and hunting will inevitably be part of its political theater. That may offer a chance for longtime gun-owning candidates to stand out….Already, on the campaign trail, several contenders have used their support for guns as a way to signal broader conservative bona fides. In a party full of internal arguments, this is one thing few will argue with.

Find the speech highlights below.

Bobby Jindal

Biggest applause line: “You sometimes get the idea that president Obama and Hillary Clinton believe that these are just crazy right-wing ideas…But these are not the ideas of a right wing conspiracy. These are the pillars of our nation. And thats why I was glad to write the law in Congress after Hurricane Katrina ensuring that never again can the government seize your firearms after a disaster.”

Biggest flop: “I remember the days when Hollywood actually liked the First Amendment. Well maybe they havent read the First Amendment lately. Theyre too busy dealing with record-low movie attendance.”

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GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call

 Posted by at 6:42 am  Tagged with:

Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds
Apr 112015
 

April 10, 2015|4:46 pm

Protesters against U.S. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court is set to deliver on Thursday its ruling on President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul, his signature domestic policy achievement, in a historic case that could hand him a huge triumph or a stinging rebuke just over four months before he seeks re-election.

When Evangelicals are exposed to arguments defending their own free speech and religious freedom, they become more accepting of extending similar rights to their political foes, a new study found.

“Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: How Rights Talk Affects the Political Process,” by political scientists Paul Djupe, Denison University; Andrew Lewis, University of Cincinnati; and Ted Jelen, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, will be presented this month at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The researchers sought to understand if the recent culture war battles between sexual freedom and religious freedom (see, for example, here, hereand here) would lead to greater or lesser division and intolerance among the combatants. (This paper focuses on the conservative side but they suggest they will also be studying the liberal side.)

In an article for the political science blog The Monkey Cage, the authors explain that their research “has identified a fascinating silver lining [to those culture war battles]. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. That is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.”

(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, presenting “The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations,” at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Aug. 30, 2014.

The study used a survey experiment. A sample of 2,141 respondents, including 274 Evangelicals and 1,867 non-Evangelicals, were divided into groups exposed to different messages from hypothetical political candidates and clergy. These messages were about pro-life protestors, the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, teaching creationism, and a photographer declining to work at a same-sex wedding. Each group had messages based upon either morality, free speech, religious liberty, and a less specific message that was used as the control group. The study also used a number of control measures that are common in studies of tolerance education, ideology, political interest, gender, age, and democratic norms.

The respondents were also asked to identify which groups they either “like the least” or “disagree with the most” from among these options: immigrants, Tea Party members, Muslims, homosexuals, Christian fundamentalists, or atheists. For the full sample, the non-Evangelicals chose Christian fundamentalists as their least liked group, followed by the Tea Party. Evangelicals chose atheists as their least liked group, followed by Muslims and the Tea Party.

The rest is here:
Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_) – Video

 NSA  Comments Off on Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_) – Video
Apr 082015
 



Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_)
President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes discusses the Iran deal on “The Lead.” – LoneWolf The Three Muskadoggies(_)

By: LoneWolf Sager

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Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_) – Video

 Posted by at 11:51 am  Tagged with:

Rand Paul poised to launch presidential bid

 Misc  Comments Off on Rand Paul poised to launch presidential bid
Apr 072015
 

For Rand Paul, it’s all led to this moment.

Since riding the tea party wave into the Senate in 2010, Paul has carefully built a brand of mainstream libertarianism — dogged advocacy of civil liberties combined with an anti-interventionist foreign policy and general support for family values — that he bets will create a coalition of younger voters and traditional Republicans to usher him into the White House.

The test of that theory begins Tuesday when the Kentucky senator is expected to make official what has been clear for years: He’s running for president.

The formal announcement will come at a rally in Louisville and he’ll immediately hit the campaign trail, swinging through New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada — the states that traditionally vote first in the primaries and caucuses.

In a preview of his likely message, Paul’s political operation released a video saying that on Tuesday, “one leader will stand up to defeat the Washington machine and unleash the American dream.”

So far, Paul joins only Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as a declared candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. But the field is certain to grow in the months ahead with Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and others eyeing a campaign. Marco Rubio, a Florida GOP senator, is expected to launch his campaign next week.

For now, the nomination is up for grabs with no clear front-runner. Paul came in third place at 12 percent in a CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans. Bush led the pack at 16 percent while Walker came in second at 13 percent.

Ron vs. Rand Paul

Paul, the son of former Texas congressman and three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul, will build on his father’s legacy as a candidate eager to bring civil liberties to the forefront of the national dialogue. He’s already used his perch on Capitol Hill to draw attention to those issues, including a 13-hour filibuster two years ago blasting the Obama administration’s drone policies and a lawsuit against the National Security Agency’s phone metadata collection effort.

But Paul, 52, will split from his father in one important way: his approach to the campaign. Where Ron Paul often focused on creating a libertarian movement, Rand Paul is planning a more strategic, less purist operation that could have a hope of competing in a general election.

Continue reading here:
Rand Paul poised to launch presidential bid

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:

Rand Paul poised to launch presidential campaign

 Misc  Comments Off on Rand Paul poised to launch presidential campaign
Apr 072015
 

Since riding the tea party wave into the Senate in 2010, Paul has carefully built a brand of mainstream libertarianism — dogged advocacy of civil liberties combined with an anti-interventionist foreign policy and general support for family values — that he bets will create a coalition of younger voters and traditional Republicans to usher him into the White House.

The test of that theory begins Tuesday when the Kentucky senator is expected to make official what has been clear for years: He’s running for president.

The formal announcement will come at a rally in Louisville and he’ll immediately hit the campaign trail, swinging through New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada — the states that traditionally vote first in the primaries and caucuses.

A poster from the Rand Paul for President campaign.

READ: Can Rand Paul escape his father’s shadow?

In a preview of his likely message, Paul’s political operation released a video saying that on Tuesday, “one leader will stand up to defeat the Washington machine and unleash the American dream.”

So far, Paul joins only Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as a declared candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. But the field is certain to grow in the months ahead with Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and others eyeing a campaign. Marco Rubio, a Florida GOP senator, is expected to launch his campaign next week.

For now, the nomination is up for grabs with no clear front-runner. Paul came in third place at 12% in a CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans. Bush led the pack at 16% while Walker came in second at 13%.

Paul, the son of former Texas congressman and three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul, will build on his father’s legacy as a candidate eager to bring civil liberties to the forefront of the national dialogue. He’s already used his perch on Capitol Hill to draw attention to those issues, including a 13-hour filibuster two years ago blasting the Obama administration’s drone policies and a lawsuit against the National Security Agency’s phone metadata collection effort.

But Paul, 52, will split from his father in one important way: his approach to the campaign. Where Ron Paul often focused on creating a libertarian movement, Rand Paul is planning a more strategic, less purist operation that could have a hope of competing in a general election.

See the article here:
Rand Paul poised to launch presidential campaign

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:



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