Tag Archive: Obama White House


Politics and Legislation

NSA denies eavesdropping on Americans

A recent article regarding the National Security Agency’s new secret eavesdropping facility in Bluffdale, Utah has caught the attention of members of the House.

The article which was published last week by Wired explains how the NSA “will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.”

The article goes on to explain how the “Utah Data Center” which is a project surrounded by “immense secrecy is the final piece of a complex puzzle assembled in the past decade.”

The heavily fortified $2 billion building is said to have the capabilities “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks,” the article added.

EndtheLie.com

http://EndtheLie.com/2012/03/22/nsa-denies-eavesdropping-on-americans/#ixzz1puDZLP5a

Marine charged for criticizing Obama

On Wednesday Marine Sgt. Gary Stein was notified by the Marine Corps that he was in violation of the Pentagon’s policy for blatantly condemning President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Stein’s actions could now lead to his dismissal and a possible downgrade in ranking.

The Marine who is based in Camp Pendleton, California, created a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party,” which currently has approximately 19,000 likes and has photos showcasing slogans such as “NObama” and “One Nation, under Obama, with poverty and unemployment for all,” has been under the microscope since 2010.

Stein was first warned by his superiors two years ago after he launched the social media page on Facebook critiquing Obama care. Stein offered to remove the page while he revised the rules at the bidding of his superiors.

According to Stein, after the revision of the rules he determined he was not in violation.

http://rt.com/usa/news/marine-stein-page-president-219/

GOP leadership rankled by resolution calling for attorney general’s head

By Jordy Yager

More than 100 Republicans in the House are clamoring for Eric Holder’s head, but GOP leaders are reluctant to vote on a measure suggesting the ouster of the U.S. attorney general.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/217475-house-gop-leadership-rankled-by-calls-for-attorney-generals-head

McCaskill deals serious blow to BRAC

By Jeremy Herb

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Wednesday that she will not let new rounds of base closures pass her subcommittee this year, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the Pentagon’s plans for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in its 2013 budget.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/217421-sen-mccaskill-deals-serious-blow-to-bracs-chances

Courtly battle in healthcare case

By Jess Bravin

The fight over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul has featured nearly three years of name-calling and shouting matches. But don’t expect to hear supporters accused of creating “death panels,” or opponents of preferring the uninsured to “die quickly,” when the issue lands at the Supreme Court next week.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577291420805600542.html?mod=ITP_pageone_1

House approves the repeal of cost-cutting healthcare board

By Pete Kasperowicz

The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation that would repeal a government board tasked with finding Medicare savings, and institute medical tort reform across the country.

Members approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a 223-181 vote in which only seven Democrats supported the bill and 10 Republican opposed.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/217583-house-passes-health-board-repeal-medical-tort-reform-bill

Senate passes bill on insider trading, sends measure to Obama

By Alexander Bolton

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation barring lawmakers from using insider information for personal profit, sending the bill to the White House.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act already approved by the House passed the upper chamber easily by a vote of 96-3.

The Senate action circumvents a thorny amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) requiring political intelligence operatives to regularly report their activity. The Senate adopted the Grassley proposal by a vote of 60-39 in February, but the GOP-controlled House opposed the Grassley’s language and did not include it in its version.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/217639-senate-passes-insider-trading-bill-sending-measure-to-obama

On the News With Thom Hartmann:Obama Announces Fast-Track Approval of Keystone Pipeline Segment, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Only five banks control more than half of all the industry’s assets, President Obama announced the fast-track approval of the southern leg for the existing Keystone pipeline today in Oklahoma, Democrats try to curb influence of SuperPACs, and more.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8046-on-the-news-with-thom-hartmann

Economy

Nigel Farage on the Euro

Uploaded by MightyDemocracy on Mar 13, 2012

Nigel Farage commenting on Barroso’s message that the signing of the European Fiscal Compact treaty signifies the “irreversibility of the euro.” 13/03/2012
Van Rompuy re-‘elected’ as president of Europe: http://mightydemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/11/emperor-of-europe-and-future-of-n…

Spain’s Economy, Front and Center

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.:

“I’ve always viewed Spain, not Greece, as the quintessential euro crisis country. With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government balking – rightly – at further austerity, the focus is now where it arguably should have been all along. And with Spain now front and center, the essential wrongness of the whole European policy focus becomes totally apparent. Spain did not get into this crisis by being fiscally irresponsible; see the little comparison on the chart on this page.”

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8034-spains-economy-front-and-center

Wars and Rumors of War

After Bales’ Arrest, Military Tried to Delete Him From Web

David Goldstein and Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Besides waiting nearly a week before identifying the Army staff sergeant who’s accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers, the US military scrubbed its websites of references to his combat service. Gone were photographs of the suspect, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, as well as a recounting in his base’s newspaper of a 2007 battle in Iraq involving his unit that quoted him extensively. But not really.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8038-after-bales-arrest-military-tried-to-delete-him-from-web

Bahrain Medics Show Trial: This Is Not Syria, Therefore No Western Outcry

by Finian Cunningham

Bahrain’s disgraceful show trial of medical staff is set to continue, with news this week that 20 doctors and nurses are to be retried in a civilian court on trumped-up charges of subversion against the US-backed regime.

The medics were already sentenced by a military tribunal (a military tribunal!) to up to 15 years in prison after months of being held in illegal detention, denied legal counsel and subjected to torture.

Moving their case to a civilian court is presumably meant to signal a concession by the regime. But what it illustrates is that the Al Khalifa royal rulers of Bahrain are unreconstructed despots who are implacably set against accepting any kind of democratic reform.

The persecution of the majority Shia population – 70 per cent of the island – by an unelected Sunni elite is business as usual as epitomized by the vindictive targeting of medics whose only “crime” was that they treated hundreds of people injured in the state’s brutal crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.

Recently, Washington has been doing its PR best to present the monarchy in the Persian Gulf kingdom as being belatedly open to reform – this after a year of unrelenting repression against a largely peaceful pro-democracy uprising.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29903

US Mercenary “Took Part” in Gaddafi Killing; Sent to Assist Syrian opposition

US government officials requested that an American private security firm contact Syrian opposition figures in Turkey to see “how they can help in regime change,” the CEO of one of these firms told Stratfor in a company email obtained by WikiLeaks and Al-Akhbar.

James F. Smith, former director of Blackwater, is currently the Chief Executive of SCG International, a private security firm with experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. In what appears to be his first email to Stratfor, Smith stated that his “background is CIA” and his company is comprised of “former DOD [Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”

“We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection,” he explained to Stratfor. (doc-id 5441475)

In a 13 December 2011 email to Stratfor’s VP for counter-terrorism Fred Burton, which Burton shared with Stratfor’s briefers, Smith claimed that “[he] and Walid Phares were getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.”

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/blackwater-veteran-took-part-gaddafi-killing-asked-us-help-syrian-opposition

Environmental

About That Dimock Fracking Study: Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals

Christine Shearer, Truthout:

“Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 issued a statement last week that its preliminary tests of water samples near drilling and fracking sites in the Pennsylvania town of Dimock showed no health concerns, the group Water Defense and ‘Gasland’ director Josh Fox went to Dimock to look at the EPA summaries themselves, which they say do report high levels of explosive methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8021-about-that-dimock-fracking-study-results-did-show-methane-and-hazardous-chemicals

Whistle Blowers

Bradley Manning Prosecution Incurably Infected by Government Misconduct

Kevin Zeese, Bradley Manning Support Network:

“Last week I spent two days in court for a pretrial motions hearing in the court martial of Bradley Manning, the private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks that showed widespread unethical and illegal behavior by the Department of Defense and State Department. Manning has suffered the fate the Queen put on Alice when she was in Wonderland, ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’ By the time his court martial is actually held he will have been incarcerated for more than two years, one of those years was spent in solitary confinement. But, that is only one of many obvious injustices Manning is being subjected to.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8039-bradley-manning-prosecution-incurably-infected-by-government-misconduct

Activism

What happened to our government? (opinion)

(NaturalNews) When I was a little kid growing up in Newark and going to Bergen Street elementary school, I remember a teacher reading something to us in class one day. It went something like this:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

These words are from our Declaration of Independence, and unfortunately, not from our Constitution. And from these principles, we Americans, lay claim to a rather unique and somewhat revolutionary legacy. That being that every person can lay claim to his or her own sovereignty just by being born, and that these rights don’t come from any government or person.

One of the basic principles on which our country was founded is that individuals have all these rights. Unfortunately, we give away some of them to our government. This is done voluntarily as it is not the law.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035302_government_liberty_happiness.html#ixzz1puM7vMRm

Misc

Obama threatens rare earth trade war against China – but why?

By Jonathan Benson, March 22 2012

(NaturalNews) In the spirit of election season political posturing, the Obama White House has announced that it is filing a trade lawsuit against China for restricting exports on rare earth metals and other materials used in the production of touchscreen mobile phones, military weapons, laptop computers, and various other high-tech devices. The poster child administration of meaningless political rhetoric, Obama and Co. has taken a convenient interest in China’s misdealings with the U.S. and…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035313_Obama_trade_war_China.html

The Invisible Poverty of “The Other America” of the 1960s Is Far More Visible

Peter Dreier, Truthout:

“Fifty years ago (in March 1962) Michael Harrington wrote a book, ‘The Other America: Poverty in the United States’ – a haunting tour of deprivation in an affluent society – that inspired Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to wage a war on poverty. This slim, 186-page volume became a best-seller and became required reading for social scientists, elected officials, college students, members of study groups sponsored by churches and synagogues, reporters and intellectuals, the new wave of community organizers and the student activists who traveled to the South to join the civil rights crusade.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8040-michael-harrington-and-deprivation-in-an-affluent-society

Monday, March 19, 2012
Internet service providers to launch biggest digital spying operation in history on July 12


Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
Activist Post
Internet service providers (ISPs) across the United States are set to voluntarily begin a digital surveillance operation so large that nothing can even come close in the history of espionage.
Starting on July 12, 2012, if you download software, videos or music which are potentially protected by copyright, you very well might find yourself targeted by any of America’s behemoth ISPs.
Possibly the most troubling aspect of this is that these corporations are putting these so-called anti-piracy measures in place on a wholly voluntary basis in accordance with a deal with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Obama White House.
After that date, some users might find their bandwidth choked off completely until they sign some kind of agreement saying that they will not download materials which are potentially protected by copyright.
The RIAA and MPAA have been making a concerted effort to stifle internet freedom under the guise of fighting piracy across the world, largely with the help of the government of the United States.
This latest announcement is likely related to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which was signed by Obama without any input from the people of the United States whatsoever.
The seemingly arbitrary July 12 deadline was announced by RIAA CEO and star lobbyist Cary Sherman to a conference in New York, according to CNET.
The digital surveillance operation is dubbed a “graduated response” scheme since supposedly users will have a bit of leniency afforded to them upon their first alleged infraction.
ISPs including AT&T, Time Warner Cable (which I myself am unfortunately forced to use due to a near monopoly in my market), Comcast, Cablevision, and Verizon, will be spying on the activities of users in an attempt to spot potential copyright infringement.
As I have previously pointed out, this would require something known as “deep packet inspection” wherein literally every bit of data is analyzed by the ISP.
For many people, this represents nothing less than an egregious and unacceptable breach of privacy, especially since people are monitored even when they do absolutely nothing wrong.
The so-called “graduated response” scheme, also known as the “six-strikes” plan goes something like this:
ISPs monitor all activity and data transfers of every single one of their customers.
If a subscriber is suspected of or found to be illegally downloading copyrighted content, said user receives a so-called “educational notice.” This notice informs them that IP addresses associated with their account have been linked to allegedly downloading copyrighted content illegally. The notice will likely outline the potential penalties for copyright infringement including fines of up to $150,000 per infringement.
If the customer continues the activities which resulted in the first notice, the ISP will continue to send “confirmation notices” in order to make sure that the user received the earlier notices.
If alleged copyright infringement continues, the ISP can then throttle the bandwidth of the user, essentially turning that cable connection you pay for into the equivalent of dialup, or potentially even cut off internet access completely. They could even restrict internet access to selected major websites like Facebook or Google and even share the information on alleged repeat offenders with other service providers. This could create a de facto internet blacklist which could prevent customers from getting internet service from any ISP after being labeled a “repeat offender.”
If the user agrees to stop sharing files which are allegedly protected by copyright, the ISP can then lift the restrictions. The actual details of this agreement are unclear at this point. Apparently, the user can still be subject to lawsuits for copyright infringement for their activities, which could be a highly lucrative income source for the entertainment industry with the help of ISPs who can pinpoint alleged acts of infringement and identify the individual engaging in such activities.
CNET reports that ISPs have the option to skip the so-called “mitigation measures” and as of yet none of the major providers have publicly committed to cutting off Internet access completely.
However, if the massive (and arguably undue) influence of the RIAA and MPAA continues to sway the big industry players, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started cutting off the Internet access of users for supposedly repeatedly sharing files which might by under copyright.
This is a fantastic way for ISPs and the entertainment industry to circumvent the failed attempts to pass the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and perhaps even go beyond what this legislation could be capable of.
The entertainment industry is clearly enthused by the prospect of monitoring every single bit of data transferred between Internet users, evidenced by the fact that they will pay most of the costs involved in the project.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), on the other hand, points out that the “graduated response” protocol is non-transparent and that copyright holders could exploit ISPs to target individuals even in cases where their claims might not be valid.
The EFF is also attempting to get ISPs to agree to claim reviews being conducted by a neutral third party as well as giving internet users a kind of “due process” before having their bandwidth throttled or being disconnected entirely.
For some, having their Internet connection throttled heavily or cut off completely could mean a major business setback, income loss, etc., and without some semblance of due process involved it would be very easy for the media giants to wreak havoc on Americans who work from home based on alleged copyright infringement.
The EFF similarly pointed out that the defenses provided to users against a claim of copyright infringement leave quite a bit to be desired.
Users are given only six predetermined defenses, “and even the six enumerated defenses are incomplete,” according to the EFF.
“For example, the ‘public domain’ defense applies only if the work was created before 1923 — even though works created after 1923 can enter the public domain in a variety of ways,” the EFF explained.
There has yet to be a coordinated outcry from the technology sector as there was in response to SOPA and PIPA, leading to blackouts and boycotts of the legislation’s supporters.
Hopefully we will see something similar, although honestly I would be surprised if companies like Google came out against this since this could be such a boon for government surveillance and Google has close government ties which just seem to get tighter.
I see this program as having the potential to be much more sinister than it seems, especially since the automatic monitoring of Internet activity requires an incredibly intrusive process like deep packet inspection.
This could also be used to better track the Internet activity of people who oppose the actions of the government of the United States, under the guise of combating domestic terrorism.
In a nation where just about anything can make you into a suspected terrorist in the eyes of the government, I would truly be surprised if they didn’t leverage this to their advantage.
Such technology could also help restrict access to certain websites with “objectionable” content, namely alternative news websites.
Worst of all, if the data collected by this system is stored indefinitely – which it seems it will be since they need to identify alleged repeat offenders – it could be used as yet another private sector partner for the United States government’s Big Brother activities.
However, this would make methods of intelligence collection like Google and Facebook (which has been busted spying on private text messages of users) seem like the equivalent of the now primitive manual eavesdropping.
Hopefully this plan can see widespread opposition leading to boycotts and massive financial pressure on the gigantic ISPs participating in the program. Perhaps if we can identify the Internet service providers who refuse to take part in the program and show them our support by patronizing them, the biggest ISPs will take note and back away from the scheme.
If you know of any ISPs who have come out publicly against this or voiced their opposition in one way or another, please make me aware of this by emailing me at Admin@EndtheLie.com.
I would love to help promote such an effort, but currently I am unaware of any alternatives, especially in my area where I have the choice of either no Internet or Time Warner Cable or paying exorbitant fees to get Verizon hooked up; but since Verizon is taking part as well, it would be completely pointless.
Help us push back against this unbelievably massive domestic surveillance apparatus and spread the word!
This article first appeared at End the Lie
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm — 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE.  If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com