In the USA..United Surveillance AmericaNSA Has Built Its Own, Secret, Warrantless, Shadow Social Network, And You've Already Joined It
Monday, September 30, 2013 8:58 EDT
Soon after the very earliest reporting on Ed Snowden's leaked documents about PRISM, the folks from Datacoup put together the very amusing GETPRSM website, which looks very much like the announcement of a new social network, but (the joke is) it's really the NSA scooping up all our data and making the connections. It's pretty funny. Except, of course, when you find out that it's real. And, yes, that seems to be the latest revelation out of Ed Snowden's leaks. The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras (what a combo reporting team there!) detailing how the NSA has basically built its own "shadow" social network in which it tries to create a "social graph" of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant. And, note, this is relatively new:
The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.
The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.
There were apparently two policy changes that allowed this to happen, and both occurred in the past three years. First, in November of 2010, the NSA was allowed to start looking at phone call and email logs of Americans to try to help figure out associations for "foreign intelligence purposes." Note that phrase. We'll come back to it. For years, the NSA had been barred from viewing any content on US persons, and the NSA, President Obama and others have continued to insist to this day that there are minimization procedures that prevent spying on Americans. Except, this latest revelation shows that, yet again, this isn't actually true.
The second policy change came in January of 2011, when the NSA was told it could start creating this massive "social graph" on Americans without having to make sure they weren't Americans any more, as indicated above.
Somewhat amazingly, the new report notes that in 2006, the NSA asked the Justice Department for permission to do exactly this sort of thing, and was rejected, saying that a "misuse" of that kind of data "could raise serious concerns." Indeed, it could, and does raise serious concerns, but apparently the current administration just doesn't give a crap.
If all of this sounds familiar, it's almost exactly what the feds tried to setup in 2002 with the Orwellian name Total Information Awareness. Except that time (right after 9/11, when you'd think the public would be at its most receptive to such programs), as word got out about the program, the public rightly flipped out, and we were told the program was shuttered. Except, as some have been arguing for years, it was never shuttered, it was just rebuilt in secret.
And, of course, the NSA is still willing to defend this massive breach on Americans' privacy:
An agency spokeswoman, asked about the analyses of Americans’ data, said, “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.”
“All of N.S.A.’s work has a foreign intelligence purpose,” the spokeswoman added. “Our activities are centered on counterterrorism, counterproliferation and cybersecurity.”
Note the continued shift in language. For a while, they kept saying that the NSA does no surveillance on Americans at all. At all! They insisted that would be illegal. Then, later, people started to note that they would use the phrase "targeting foreign intelligence" which had just enough (barely) wiggle room to get people to think that they were only looking at non-US person data and content, but really meant as long as the overall investigation "targeted" foreign intelligence, it was fine. Now they're even walking back from that, and saying that apparently it's fine to spy on Americans without a warrant so long as there's "a foreign intelligence justification." In short: if you can come up with some excuse for how it might impact something foreign, the NSA can spy on Americans without a warrant.
That's no limitation at all. In fact, such a rule is meaningless. We already know that the NSA gets every telephone record handed over because they claim it's "necessary" to "connect the dots" on foreign terror plots. And, similarly, now they're arguing that they can look at anything else so long as they claim that there's a "foreign intelligence justification." That means they have no limits. They just have to come up with some wacky reason to claim that so-and-so might have foreign connections that are important to know about, and voila, their life is open for the NSA to dig in, all without any oversight or a warrant.
Somewhat surprisingly, the already disclosed phone metadata dragnet is actually not used for this social network effort, but that doesn't mean the NSA is lacking in data with which to create this shadow spying social network. It uses the NSA's taps on fiber optic networks, the ones that collect a ton of internet data, as Dianne Feinstein confirmed last week.
The N.S.A. documents show that one of the main tools used for chaining phone numbers and e-mail addresses has the code name Mainway. It is a repository into which vast amounts of data flow daily from the agency’s fiber-optic cables, corporate partners and foreign computer networks that have been hacked.
The documents show that significant amounts of information from the United States go into Mainway. An internal N.S.A. bulletin, for example, noted that in 2011 Mainway was taking in 700 million phone records per day. In August 2011, it began receiving an additional 1.1 billion cellphone records daily from an unnamed American service provider under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which allows for the collection of the data of Americans if at least one end of the communication is believed to be foreign.
Um. That's an awful lot of records on Americans. And yet, we're still being told that the NSA doesn't spy on Americans? Yeah, right.
Anyway, it appears that the GETPRSM social network has been in existence for quite some time now, and don't worry if you haven't received your invite. You've already joined.
***************NSA stores metadata of millions of web users for up to a year, secret files show
• Vast amounts of data kept in repository codenamed Marina
• Data retained regardless of whether person is NSA target
• Material used to build 'pattern-of-life' profiles of individuals
• What is metadata? Find out with our interactive guide
theguardian.com, Monday 30 September 2013 17.35 BST
The National Security Agency is storing the online metadata of millions of internet users for up to a year, regardless of whether or not they are persons of interest to the agency, top secret documents reveal.
Metadata provides a record of almost anything a user does online, from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords. This can be used to build a detailed picture of an individual's life.
The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that the NSA keeps only the content of messages and communications of people it is intentionally targeting – but internal documents reveal the agency retains vast amounts of metadata.
An introductory guide to digital network intelligence for NSA field agents, included in documents disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden, describes the agency's metadata repository, codenamed Marina. Any computer metadata picked up by NSA collection systems is routed to the Marina database, the guide explains. Phone metadata is sent to a separate system.
"The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target," the analysts' guide explains. "This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development."
The guide goes on to explain Marina's unique capability: "Of the more distinguishing features, Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection." [Emphasis in original.]
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the NSA was using its metadata troves to build profiles of US citizens' social connections, associations and in some cases location, augmenting the material the agency collects with additional information bought in from the commercial sector, which is is not subject to the same legal restrictions as other data.
The ability to look back on a full year's history for any individual whose data was collected – either deliberately or incidentally – offers the NSA the potential to find information on people who have later become targets. But it relies on storing the personal data of large numbers of internet users who are not, and never will be, of interest to the US intelligence community.
Marina aggregates NSA metadata from an array of sources, some targeted, others on a large scale. Programs such as Prism – which operates through legally compelled "partnerships" with major internet companies – allow the NSA to obtain content and metadata on thousands of targets without individual warrants.
The NSA also collects enormous quantities of metadata from the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet. The agency has placed taps on undersea cables, and is given access to internet data through partnerships with American telecoms companies.
About 90% of the world's online communications cross the US, giving the NSA what it calls in classified documents a "home-field advantage" when it comes to intercepting information.
By confirming that all metadata "seen" by NSA collection systems is stored, the Marina document suggests such collections are not merely used to filter target information, but also to store data at scale.
A sign of how much information could be contained within the repository comes from a document voluntarily disclosed by the NSA in August, in the wake of the first tranche of revelations from the Snowden documents.
The seven-page document, titled "The National Security Agency: Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships", says the agency "touches" 1.6% of daily internet traffic – an estimate which is not believed to include large-scale internet taps operated by GCHQ, the NSA's UK counterpart.
The document cites figures from a major tech provider that the internet carries 1,826 petabytes of information per day. One petabyte, according to tech website Gizmodo, is equivalent to over 13 years of HDTV video.
"In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that," the document states. "However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review.
"The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world's traffic in conducting their mission – that's less than one part in a million."
However, critics were skeptical of the reassurances, because large quantities of internet data is represented by music and video sharing, or large file transfers – content which is easy to identify and dismiss without entering it into systems. Therefore, the NSA could be picking up a much larger percentage of internet traffic that contains communications and browsing activity.
Journalism professor and internet commentator Jeff Jarvis noted: "[By] very rough, beer-soaked-napkin numbers, the NSA's 1.6% of net traffic would be half of the communication on the net. That's one helluva lot of 'touching'."
Much of the NSA's data collection is carried out under section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act. This provision allows for the collection of data without individual warrants of communications, where at least one end of the conversation, or data exchange, involves a non-American located outside the US at the time of collection.
The NSA is required to "minimize" the data of US persons, but is permitted to keep US communications where it is not technically possible to remove them, and also to keep and use any "inadvertently" obtained US communications if they contain intelligence material, evidence of a crime, or if they are encrypted.
The Guardian has also revealed the existence of a so-called "backdoor search loophole", a 2011 rule change that allows NSA analysts to search for the names of US citizens, under certain circumstances, in mass-data repositories collected under section 702.
According to the New York Times, NSA analysts were told that metadata could be used "without regard to the nationality or location of the communicants", and that Americans' social contacts could be traced by the agency, providing there was some foreign intelligence justification for doing so.
The Guardian approached the NSA with four specific questions about the use of metadata, including a request for the rationale behind storing 365 days' worth of untargeted data, and an estimate of the quantity of US citizens' metadata stored in its repositories.
But the NSA did not address any of these questions in its response, providing instead a statement focusing on its foreign intelligence activities.
"NSA is a foreign intelligence agency," the statement said. "NSA's foreign intelligence activities are conducted pursuant to procedures approved by the US attorney general and the secretary of defense, and, where applicable, the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court, to protect the privacy interests of Americans.
"These interests must be addressed in the collection, retention, and dissemination of any information. Moreover, all queries of lawfully collected data must be conducted for a foreign intelligence purpose."
It continued: "We know there is a false perception out there that NSA listens to the phone calls and reads the email of everyday Americans, aiming to unlawfully monitor or profile US citizens. It's just not the case.
"NSA's activities are directed against foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements from US leaders in order to protect the nation and its interests from threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
***************US government shuts down some services as Congress exceeds deadline
Recriminations fly as Republican rancour over Obamacare leads to first federal shutdown in two decades
theguardian.com, Tuesday 1 October 2013 08.47 BST
Barack Obama addresses US troops on Armed Forces Television promising that active duty service personnel abroad will be exempt from the government shutdown.
The US government was forced to begin closing swaths of non-essential services on Tuesday morning after frantic rounds of late night political sparring failed to avert the first federal shutdown in nearly two decades.
As a midnight deadline to extend Congressional spending authority ticked ever closer, Republicans staged a series of last-ditch efforts to use a once-routine budget procedure to force Democrats to abandon their efforts to extend US health insurance.
Three separate attacks on the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, were staged by the House of Representatives, only to be rejected in turn by the Democrat-controlled Senate, which accused Republicans of holding the country to ransom.
Shortly before midnight, Senate majority leader Harry Reid marked the end of the process by rejecting House calls for formal talks to reconcile their conflicting positions, arguing it was impossible to negotiate with a “gun to our heads”.
“This is a very serious time in the history of our country,” Reid said. “Millions of people are going to be affected tomorrow and the Republicans are still playing games”
An estimated 800,000 federal workers will be forced to stay at home from Tuesday under a stalemate that could drag on for days and disrupt services as varied as national parks and the US space programme.
The White House has drawn up a list of essential staff who are legally allowed to carry on working, but President Barack Obama warned that a shutdown would have an immediate affect on the fragile US economy.
“We do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the president to sign a Continuing Resolution before the end of the day tomorrow, October 1,” said a White House statement issued shortly before midnight.
“Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.”
Obama also issued a statement to military employees after signing a Republican-proposed law that exempts active-duty servicemen from the effects of the shutdown, but will not protect civilian workers.
“I know the days ahead could mean more uncertainty, including possible furloughs,” Obama said. “You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress.”
House speaker John Boehner denied that Republican tactics were responsible for the shutdown, insisting Democrats were to blame for refusing to negotiate over Obamacare.
“I didn't come here to shut down the government,” Boehner told one of several heated House debates.
“I came here to fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable federal government. But here we find ourselves in this moment dealing with a law that’s causing unknown consequences and unknown damage to the American people and to our economy. And that issue is Obamacare.”
But Democrats are confident that US public opinion will continue to hold Republicans to blame for what could be days of disruption until a deal can be struck.
They argue that Republicans are using underhand methods to overturn a law that was passed four years ago, ratified by the supreme court and endorsed by voters at the last presidential election.
Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, said: “If we surrender to hostage-taking tonight, these guys would be back within a couple of weeks without a shadow of a doubt. What we are dealing with tonight is an extraordinary anti-democratic act.
************Don’t fall prey to ‘both sides-ism’: Republicans are to blame for government shutdown
By Michael Cohen, The Guardian
Monday, September 30, 2013 15:36 EDT
There is a frustrating tendency in American political reporting to adopt a position of “both sides-ism” – as in, “both sides” are equally to blame for the nation’s chronic political dysfunction. Sometimes, it must be said, this assessment is correct. After all, the US political system was practically designed to breed legislative gridlock.
Not this time, however.
There is one party that is solely to blame for the first government shutdown in 17 years. And it’s the Republican party.
Indeed, the debate happening in Washington right now is not even between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not even about the deficit, or the budget, or government spending priorities. Rather, it is one strictly occurring between Republicans who are trying to find some magic bullet to destroy “Obamacare” – the country’s fiscal health be damned.
In the House of Representatives, bills that would allow the government to continue to operate were amended with provisions defunding or delaying Obamacare. This is, for Democrats, a nonstarter. The reason is obvious: the Affordable Care Act is the president’s signature achievement and he is not going to sign a bill that undoes or even delays it.
Nor should he. Obamacare is the law of the land. It was passed by Congress, signed by the president, upheld by the US supreme court, and it is already going into effect. There is no reason for President Obama to be cowed by such legislative extortion.
Yet, rather than accept the reality of Obamacare, Republicans are using the prospect of a government shutdown and/or a default on the nation’s debt to try to stop it.
In key respects, this dispiriting series of events is the logical conclusion of the Republican party’s descent into madness. The GOP has become a party dominated by a group of politicians who are fundamentally nihilistic, contemptuous of democracy and willing (even proud) to operate outside the long-accepted norms of American democracy.
In the US system of government, compromise is perhaps its most essential element. Republicans must work with Democrats; the House of Representatives must work with the Senate; and both bodies must find common ground with the president. It’s not always pretty, but it generally works.
The problem today is that the modern GOP thinks about compromise in the same way that imperial Japanese soldiers thought about surrender in the second world war. At least in defeat, Republicans can argue they fought to the last; but by compromising, they would be surrendering their principles.
That’s the only explanation for how members of the party can view the possibility of a government shutdown – or even worse, the catastrophe of debt default – as somehow a better option than reconciling themselves to the abomination that, bizarrely, they believe Obamacare to be.
Granted, this isn’t the view of all Republican office-holders – or even a majority. But it is the view of the party’s most extreme supporters, and today, it’s these individuals who are guiding the party’s leadership.
In fact, if the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, were to bring a clean budget bill to the House floor, with no provisions defunding or delaying Obamacare, it would almost certainly pass – with Democrats and Republicans joining together to support it. It would then get majority approval in the Senate and be signed by President Obama.
So, why hasn’t that happened yet? Because Boehner has pledged only to pass legislation that has the support of enough Republican members (unaided by Democrats) to be enacted. Since that is impossible right now, the government will shut down.
In the end, however, we have a pretty good sense of how this will turn out. The government will shut down for a few days, but perhaps more; and the US will come perilously close to a debt default. In the end, however, semi-sane Republicans will come to their senses, concede defeat and pass a budget resolution and debt limit extension with Democratic support.
That the US will have come to such a pass – for no reason other than the extremism of the Republican party – is an important reminder of who is blame for the governing dysfunction that has come to define the US democracy today.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013
*************Boehner Refuses To Allow Vote on Popular Democratic Bill That Would Avoid Government Shutdown
By: Jason Easley
Sep. 30th, 2013
House Republicans are admitting that the clean Continuing Resolution that passed the Senate would pass the House, but John Boehner won’t allow a vote on it.
Senate Democrats put out a video of Republicans admitting that the Senate bill would pass the House if Boehner would allow a vote on it.
The video clip features NBC’s Chuck Todd saying that the group of House Republicans who would vote in favor of the Senate passed bill that would fund the government without touching the ACA is growing. The clip featured Republicans Raul Labrador of Iowa and Tom Cole of Oklahoma admitting that their are enough Republican votes in the House to pass the Senate’s version of the CR.
If the votes are there, then why don’t they stop playing games and pass this already?
The answer is Speaker John Boehner. The Speaker won’t allow the Senate bill to come to the House floor for a vote. Boehner is being guided by the whims of tea party Republicans, who have vowed to raise holy heck if the House passes a clean CR that doesn’t get rid of Obamacare. This isn’t the first time that Rep. Boehner has allowed himself to be guided by the extremists. The sequester cuts could have been avoided earlier this year, but John Boehner refused to allow a vote on a popular Democratic sequester replacement bill.
Dozens of House Republicans would vote for the Senate bill today if it was brought to the floor. Democrats know this, which is why they aren’t going to budge. Eventually, Boehner will crack and allow a vote on the Senate bill. The House will pass it. The president will sign it, and the tea party will be defeated again.
Republicans are working around the clock trying to blame Harry Reid for the likely government shutdown. The real responsibility for this mess rests with a series of terrible decisions that have been made by John Boehner. The Speaker is the one who decided to cave in to the extremists in his own caucus. It was Boehner who decided to let the House send the Senate passed CR back to them with the delay Obamacare language reinserted. Most importantly, it is Rep. Boehner who is shutting down the government by refusing to allow his own Republicans to vote on a bill that they would support.
The bulk of the responsibility for the potential re-tanking of the economy rests with John Boehner.
**************Treasonous House Republicans Are Giddy With Joy Over Shutting Down The Government
Sep. 30th, 2013
Boehner destroy the nationIt is natural for human beings to feel good for someone they know is excited and happy they are finally achieving a long sought-after goal, especially after years of hard work and perseverance. It is a sad fact of life, though, that throughout history there have been human beings that get excited and enjoy deliberately causing pain and suffering to other people. Yesterday House Republicans were absolutely giddy with joy they were finally achieving their two-and-a-half year goal of shutting down the government. It is highly probable that they are particularly excited their hard work will affect millions of American citizens and a laundry list of government employees enumerated in a 2011 contingency plan the last time Republicans tried to shut down the government.
There cannot be many Americans left who are unaware that Republicans love causing harm to the American people, the economy, and the government they have campaigned vehemently against over the past two years, and few should be surprised they are excited they are close to shutting it down. In fact, after House Republicans voted to shut down the government unless Democrats acquiesce to Republican ransom demands unrelated to government funding, teabagger Michele Bachmann said “We’re very excited! It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.” Texas Republican congressman John Abney Culberson clapped his hands and celebrated the upcoming government shutdown Republicans lusted after for two-and-a-half years and could barely contain himself as he said, “It’s wonderful! We’re 100 percent united.” It is difficult to imagine taxpayer-funded congressional Republicans being so excited over shutting down the government of the people they were elected to serve, but there is no accounting for what makes Republicans happy.
No American should be surprised Republicans are tickled they get to wreak more havoc on America because just a little over two years ago House Speaker John Boehner said “I’m pretty happy I got what I wanted” after causing a credit downgrade, killing a million jobs, and adding $18.9 billion to the nation’s deficit besides setting the stage for sequestration and indiscriminate cuts to the defense of the United States. Boehner and Republicans were very pleased with themselves for keeping their sequester cuts in place in their continuing resolution that will kill 750,000 jobs before year’s end and about a million more next year as well as ravaging jobs in the defense industry crucial to the national security of the United States. One wonders just how much Republican joy is because they are harming the United States economy and government during a time of war, or if the 66% of Republican and 79% of teabagger voters are part of the happy conspiracy supporting House Republicans deliberate plot to weaken the United States while Americans are fighting a war in Afghanistan.
According to Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, “any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information.” Republicans deliberately harmed the U.S. economy in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, and the resulting sequestration cuts began affecting the defense industry on March 1 2013. Coupled with using extortion for political gain, the Republican plot to shut down the government must be regarded as one part of several subversive acts to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies. The Treason Clause is particularly applicable to Republicans because they were, and are, weakening the United States during a time America is at war in Afghanistan.
The Republicans lust to shut down the government is for reasons typical of traitors unwilling to accept they do not control the government. First, like the last time Republicans shutdown the government, a Democrat is in the White House, and second, this Democrat in the White House is an African American the fascist power behind Republicans cannot manipulate so they are pleased the government, including regulatory agencies they cannot destroy, will be shut down. It is important for Americans to remember that Republicans threatened to shut down the government since they controlled the House in 2011, and it explains why Boehner and teabaggers are excited that finally they get to deny millions of Americans access to vital services, withhold hundreds-of-thousands of public servants’ pay, and a land another blow to the nation’s economic recovery during a time of war.
Republicans are probably most joyous that they set up a scenario that whether the President and Democrats pay the ransom to keep the government running or not, millions of Americans will be adversely affected. Republicans will use any extreme measure to shut down the government and they hedged their bets by including a conscience clause giving Christian medical providers the legal right to withhold medical care from gays and single mothers, and gave extremist Christians the right to force their employees to adhere to their religious beliefs. House Republicans knew in advance Democrats or the President would not go along with theocratic amendments in the continuing resolution the same as they knew delaying the ACA’s implementation would never fly; so they included them to assure they could shut down the government. The Affordable Care Act is just the reason du jour for a shut down that, like the looming debt ceiling crisis, is cover for inflicting more economic damage on the nation during a time of war.
Even though America is at war in Afghanistan, it is believable Republicans are excited they get to further weaken the economy and thus the ability of the United States to protect national security interests at home and around the world. Republicans want a government shutdown to harm the economy more than they want to eliminate the ACA, and regardless they think they are “doing the right thing,” shutting down the government and damaging the economy is treason according to Article III, Section 3. Any person who deliberately endangers the American economy during a time of war is guilty of treason, and it applies to House Republicans, their maniacal leader Senator Ted Cruz, 66% of Republican and 79% of teabagger voters, various Koch entities inciting opposition to the health law, and the Heritage Foundation that devised the health law and now campaigns to shut down the government if it is not eliminated.
Republicans know the health law is good for Americans, and although esteemed economic expert Paul Krugman contends conservatives “don’t understand” the policy behind the ACA, that is just not true. They understand it perfectly and know it is already succeeding or they would not take extraordinary measures to see it eliminated; including shutting down the government and harming the economy in a time of war. With national security agencies preparing to lay off personnel when the shutdown occurs, hundreds-of-thousands of defense industry employees already facing furloughs and job losses, and economic recovery hanging in the balance, it is time for Americans to face the reality that the Republican Party is deliberately jeopardizing this nation’s security and for that they are guilty of treason.
******************Tea Party – Pee on America and Call this Experiment in Democracy Over
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Sep. 30th, 2013
ted-cruz-meet-the-pressIt is indicative of Republican extremism that Ted Cruz and other Republicans insist that Democrats doing what Republicans want is “compromise.” Remember when Ted Cruz told David Gregory Sunday that delaying Obamacare is the “essence of a compromise,” that it is Demcorats who have adopted an “absolutist position.”
First Cruz insisted Obamacare be defunded. He insisted Democrats do exactly what he and other Republicans wanted – and had voted 44 times to achieve.
Now he insists Obamacare be delayed for a “at least” one year. He insists Democrats give him what he wants. If he doesn’t get it, he will shut down the government.
“And even now, what the House of Representatives has done is a step removed from defunding, it’s delaying it,” he added. “Now, that’s the essence of a compromise… On the other side, what have the Democrats compromised on? Zero. Nothing.”
He calls this compromise.
Compromise is both sides giving a little and meeting somewhere in the middle. Republicans aren’t willing to do that. From the very beginning of Obama’s presidency they have insisted that Democrats do precisely what they say, or America gets it – right in the head.
Nobody is fooled by Cruz and his word-play. Delaying Obamacare for “at least” a year is the same as killing it.
Rand Paul told Face the Nation yesterday,
“I’ve said all along it’s not a good idea to shut down the government, but I also think it’s not a good idea to give the president 100 percent of what he wants on Obamacare without compromise.”
What Cruz and Paul will continue to ignore is that Obamacare is a law. It is not reasonable to speak in terms of giving Obama “100 percent of what he wants” when what he wants is for the House to meet America’s obligations. The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, upheld by the Supreme Court, and the Republicans refuse to fund it. This is not even remotely reasonable. Paul’s position is nonsensical and absurd.
They want America to believe Obama is the architect of the shutdown. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), for example, told Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer Sunday that Obama is “driving the shutdown.”
“He wants control of the checkbook,” Blackburn said.
What Blackburn and Paul are ignoring is that the Republicans are refusing to pay America’s legal debts – that Congress has already spent the money they are now fighting about. This is not about extra spending. This is not about Obama wanting to control the checkbook but about Republicans behaving legally and writing a check for debts they’ve already incurred.
Let’s look at an example: If Cruz owned a store and a customer bought something and then refused to pay it, Cruz would be incensed. He would tell the customer that he incurred a debt that he was now legally obligated to pay. Few of us would think the customer was within his rights to insist in exchange, Cruz change the name of his store.
One has nothing to do with the other.
But that is the game Cruz and his fellow tea partiers are playing.
And the thing is, Obamacare, while not perfect, works. The insurance is not expensive and people who don’t have it will be able to get it – even people that insurance companies can now legally reject. NBC News posted a guide just this morning answering pertinent questions about the healthcare law. It is pointed out that the government will even help people pay for their insurance, that even families making up to $94,000 could get a subsidy.
What makes the tea party games worse is that people don’t want them to shut down government over Obamacare. Indeed, people don’t want Obamacare delayed or eliminated.
Paul Begala wrote on CNN Sunday that
Obamacare clocks in at just 29% support in a recent CNBC poll. So you’d think that the Republicans’ position of repealing the ACA would be more mainstream. But you’d be wrong.
That same CNBC poll shows that Americans oppose defunding Obamacare, with only a little more than one-third of voters saying they want it defunded. They want to mend it, not end it.
What’s worse for the Republicans, when the question shifts to whether you support shutting down the government and/or defaulting on U.S. debt in order to kill Obamacare, the GOP position loses by a crushing 59 to 19 percentage points. When you’re down to just 19% of your countrymen and -women supporting your crusade, it’s time (as we say in Texas) to pee on the fire and call the dogs: The hunt’s over.
Who, precisely, we must ask ourselves, are Cruz and Paul and others fighting for if it is not the American people? As Jason Easley wrote here yesterday, “Cruz and his small band of Republican ACA defunders aren’t defending the poor and middle class. They are trying to keep them locked into a system that either denies them health insurance, or makes it unaffordable.”
As President Obama has pointed out, they are also not fighting for the Constitution. It is quite clear that House Republicans feel they are the only branch of government and that the executive and judicial branches are superfluous.
One thing is for certain: the tea party isn’t planning to pee on Begala’s metaphorical fire. Their plan is to pee on America and call the dogs: this experiment in democracy is over.
*************Progressives target McConnell and Boehner over government shutdown
By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, September 30, 2013 14:23 EDT
In a statement released Monday, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said would launch a series of online ads in Kentucky, Ohio, and Washington D.C. targeting Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Speaker John Boehner over the looming government shutdown. They aim to have the ads viewed 1 million times.
“The way a government shutdown ends must be that Republicans cave — not that Democrats cave by cutting vital programs like Social Security. With this ad campaign, we’re making sure Republican leaders feel the heat back home,” PCCC co-founder Adam Green said.
***************Republicans Wig Out On NSYNC After Informative Tweet about ObamaCare
By: Sarah Jones
Sep. 30th, 2013
Conservatives hate ObamaCare so much that after NSYNC tweeted a link to help inform the public about the healthcare law.
*NSYNCVerified account @NSYNC
Love, hate, or just confused by it -learn all you can about the Affordable Care Act which starts enrolling tomorrow! http://www.healthcare.gov
Love, hate, or just confused by it -learn all you can about the Affordable Care Act which starts enrolling tomorrow! http://t.co/yJk1kjpm2J
— *NSYNC (@NSYNC) September 30, 2013
Responses were not too good (swear words were edited out for our gentle readers). These are all of the responses, not just the negative replies from Republicans:
1. Sara @SJHotel 3h
@NSYNC UNFOLLOW #byebyebye
2. Arlan @ArlanWasHere 2h
Whoa. “@NSYNC: Love, hate, or just confused by it -learn all you can about the Affordable Care Act! http://www.healthcare.gov
3. Michelle Lancaster @SkiGarmisch 2h
@NSYNC BYE BYE BYE! No #Obamacare !
4. @jdonels @jdonels 2h
@NSYNC f*ck you
5. SunnyRight @sunnyright 2h
@NSYNC So your solution to “learn” about it is to direct everyone to a pro-ObamaCare website. Propaganda. Lovely.
6. Michelle Malkin @michellemalkin 2h
@NSYNC Learn about all the self-employed small biz owners losing their health plans because of Obamacare! ==> http://twitchy.com/2013/09/22/hey-know-what-you-get-to-keep-with-obamacare-cancellation-notices/
7. jim palmer @spiv 2h
@NSYNC go pitch for AARP instead
8. EEÉ @EEElverhoy 2h
Oh good grief. MT @NSYNC: Love, hate, or just confused by it -learn all you can about the ACA which starts enrolling tomorrow!
9. Gary Eaton @garysteveneaton 2h
@EEElverhoy @NSYNC WTF?!
10. EEÉ @EEElverhoy 2h
Calling all 11yr old girls! MT @NSYNC: learn all you can about the ACA which starts enrolling tomorrow! http://www.healthcare.gov
11. Annie Lowrey @AnnieLowrey 1h
Oh dear. RT @NSYNC Love, hate or just confused by it: learn all about the ACA which starts enrolling tomorrow! http://www.healthcare.gov
12. Julie Borowski @JulieBorowski 1h
.@NSYNC I LIKED 98 DEGREES BETTER THAN YOU GUYS ANYWAY.
13. Daniel Solomon @Dan_E_Solo 1h
Healthcare, no strings attached. MT @NSYNC Learn all you can about the Affordable Care Act! http://www.healthcare.gov
14. ***SnarkySpice*** @CassiaSpice 55m
I used to like you. How sad that you’re now liberal #puppets. @NSYNC
• ★♥ Harriet Baldwin @HarrietBaldwin 33m
.@NSYNC Sick have Medicaid. Elderly have Medicare. Young ppl won’t buy Obamacare. They’ll pay the fine. Why are you in with this #EpicFail?
• Hans-Hermann Hophead @red_mercer 19m
@NSYNC LOOK AT ALL THESE ANGRY WHITE FOLKS
So, here’s a warning to all you brands out there: Don’t you dare follow the law or try to educate American citizens about it, or else conservatives are gonna get you. You are not allowed to even mention it, let alone try to inform them about the law, forget endorsing it. Pretending as if you have no opinion on the law is not good enough. If you’re not a rabid hater of the law, they hate you.
On the plus side, if you have been annoyed by conservatives greedily banging on about their Medicare while decrying government run healthcare, this is your golden opportunity to lose them. All you have to do is tweet a link to the government’s website regarding a law, and presto! Conservatives will hate you so much that they’ll finally leave you alone.
And they say ObamaCare is good for nothing.
Republicans brainwashed their base a little too well against ObamaCare, especially since it was based on their own ideas. Now they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, with a angry base that refuses to forget “death panels”.
So much for conservatives defending Ted Nugent et al with screeches about “free speech”. And who can forget how angry Republicans get when liberals use their wallet to object to political opinion like Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut”. But if a band dares to tweet a link to information about a law, well, freedom dies.
Updated: 8:26 PM to clarify that these are all of the responses, not just the negative responses from Republicans.
*************Republicans Get Called Out for Playing ‘Hide and Sneak’ with Women’s Rights
By: Sarah Jones
Sep. 30th, 2013
While they were destroying the economy, Republicans did not forget about their War on Women, so please don’t feel left behind, ladies.
Republicans sneaked a moral conscience provision in their defundy/delay ObamaCare measure passed on Sunday. That’s code for insurance doesn’t have to pay for your birth control, you “sluts”. This little doodad was slipped in during a House Rules Committee on Saturday evening. All of the Republican men who fathered children they have been denying also offered to pay back support.
Naturally, the National Organization for Women was “appalled” by the actions of House Republicans and called them out for playing hide and sneak with women’s health. Clearly, NOW operates in the past when women had “rights” and we trusted women to make their own decisions.
In a press release issued Monday, NOW asked, “What about a woman’s conscience?”
This outrageous measure is an aggressive continuation of the Republicans’ War on Women. Republicans are playing “hide and sneak” as they attempt to enact birth control restrictions while hoping no one is paying attention. What the radical fringe that now controls the GOP hasn’t figured out yet is that women — including the 99 percent of sexually active women who have used birth control — are not so easily fooled. Women voters will hold them accountable for their continuing attacks on our access to basic reproductive healthcare.
No woman — no matter who she works for — should be denied health care as basic as contraception. Politicians who vote to restrict birth control will undoubtedly pay a price at the polls in 2014.
Here’s a clue, NOW: Republicans don’t think women are human beings (see their many attempts to compare us to barn animals), so therefore, in their mind, women do not have a conscience. Refer to your Binders Full of Women for clarification, and please stop raising silly points.
Never mind the fact that birth control reduces abortions and forget about your crippling endometriosis and fibroids, girls, or the fact that 1.5 million women rely on the birth control pill for exclusively non-contraceptive purposes. Republicans are against birth control because you look better in the kitchen.
In fact, a 2011 Guttmacher study found that “more than half (58%) of all pill users rely on the method, at least in part, for purposes other than pregnancy prevention—meaning that only 42% use the pill exclusively for contraceptive reasons.”
Remember when Republicans pledged that they wouldn’t stuff unpopular issues into must pass legislation? “Advance Legislative Issues One at a Time: We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with “must-pass” legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.”
Not so much.
So when Republicans refused to push back against conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a “slut”, it wasn’t because they are weak, fear-driven children. It’s because secretly they agreed with him when he said:
“What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”
The Republican idea is that birth control is directly related to sex and Republicans are generally against sex unless the person engaging in it is a male elected official having an affair or breaking the law (Sanford, Vitter). Republicans are also allegedly against abortions, and anyone who is not logic impaired can sort out the relationship between birth control and abortion (birth control was designed to prevent pregnancy, hence it’s name), but they are still against birth control because – - sex. Females having sex. Females making choices. UGH. Binders full of women having sex and not asking permission. Double UGH.
Never mind that pregnancy that almost killed you, this is all about slut shaming.
The War on Women is alive and well, patriots.