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No Agenda Texas Meetup Announcement

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 04:30

Heil Everybody,

A group of No Agenda Producers is putting on a Texas No Agenda Meetup, and we want slaves like you charged up and ready to attend!

In Episode 523 you may have heard that I (Producer RJ) wanted to hold a meeting in Spring, TX. With Adam Curry now skulking among us in the Drone Star State, I figured we could put together a group and meet up with him. In a sudden turn of events, John made the claim that he would come on out to meet us if we were firing black powder rifles.

Having John jump on a plane to attend a meeting would be a feat accomplished only by a rare few. This won't happen without the support of both donors and boners alike.

We are currently planning on having the event in Austin over a weekend in September. Plans are still being put together, and we could use both ideas and help from everyone to put on the most kick-ass No Agenda Meetup ever. If you would like to attend, get updates on the event, help us plan, or even just want to pitch in some of your cash (sorry, no water and blankets will be accepted), send us an e-mail here, or e-mail

Updates will be coming soon, so make sure you sign-up to get added to our No Agenda Texas Meetup update list.

Thanks for your support,

Sir David Dolson (the Drunk Philosopher), Producer Ryan Turner (the Database Monkey) & Producer RJ Hegedus

New NA Amazon Giblet

ITM Adam and John

Just letting you know that

I'm continuing to propagate the message by releasing my first kindle

giblet (aka short story). It's called The Foot on the Shore and it's a

story about an old man and his dog who find a severed foot on a beach...

Unfortunately the deal I had to publish One Day in Gitmo

Nation has fallen through but I'm working on getting it republished

myself, and I have a few other No Agenda stories in the works including

one called "Death by Autopen".

Keep up the great work. I've attached the Kindle version of the latest story for you both.


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OPINION-Supreme Court strikes down key section of Defense of Marriage Act | Human Events

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 14:01

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, ruling on equal-protection grounds. The section in question denied federal benefits to same-sex coupled married in states that permit such marriages '' a possibility that was essentially hypothetical at the time DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, but there are now a dozen states with gay marriage laws, plus the District of Columbia'... and presumably now California, whose Proposition 8 banning gay marriage was passed by the people, but effectively nullified by state courts and the government. The Supreme Court decided not to hear a case that would have enforced Prop. 8 in California, ruling that the plaintiffs did not have proper standing.

Some who supported the goals of DOMA were nevertheless troubled by the points Justice Anthony Kennedy raised in his majority opinion:

The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

There have long been concerns that DOMA would be struck down on these grounds. Marriage is a very portable institution. A couple married in one state may easily move to another, while federal law makes distinctions for married couples in numerous ways. Writing at the Ace of Spades blog, Gabriel Malor compiled a quick list of consequences from the demise of DOMA Section 3: ''Gay spouses may now file joint taxes, may donate jointly, may petition for legal residence for non-citizen spouses, may now obtain changes to their passports (married name corrections) the same as straight spouses. Military gay spouses are now entitled to the same survivor, housing, PX, and travel benefits as straight spouses.''

That's why supporters of DOMA thought it was necessary: because a few states could legalize gay marriage, and then spread their decision to other, resisting states through the power of the federal government. It's also the reason opponents thought DOMA was vulnerable on Constitutional grounds. Combined with the Court's refusal to hear the Proposition 8 case from California, it's a big strategic victory for same-sex marriage, which is an aggressive change to the existing social order. There is no comparable way for defenders of that order to spread their influence in such a viral fashion; a state that outlaws same-sex marriage cannot transmit its preference through the federal network.

The dissenting justices were Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts. Justice Scalia thought the Supreme Court should not have decided the case, writing that the Supreme Court should have no power to invalidate the ''democratically adopted'' Defense of Marriage Act. Doing so was a ''jaw-dropping'' assertion of ''judicial supremacy over the people's representatives in Congress and the Executive.'' His dissent was absolutely blistering:

The Court is eager'--hungry'--to tell everyone its view of the legal question at the heart of this case. Standing in the way is an obstacle, a technicality of little interest to anyone but the people of We the People, who created it as a barrier against judges' intrusion into their lives. They gave judges, in Article III, only the ''judicial Power,'' a power to decide not abstract questions but real, concrete ''Cases'' and ''Controversies.'' Yet the plaintiff and the Government agree entirely on what should happen in this lawsuit. They agree that the court below got it right; and they agreed in the court below that the court below that one got it right as well. What, then, are we doing here?

Justice Scalia is here referring to the case that reached the Supreme Court, in which the widow in a New York same-sex marriage, Edith Windsor, was sent an enormous estate-tax bill by the IRS. Windsor argued that she would not have been required to pay this bill if the Defense of Marriage Act didn't prevent her from being recognized as a spouse under federal law. The Obama Administration did not stand up to defend the law under challenge, so in essence the government and the plaintiff came before the Supreme Court to receive its official blessing on something they already agreed upon. Scalia saw this as an appalling use of Supreme Court power to overturn a law duly passed by Congress and signed by a previous President. He also doesn't think the Supreme Court should be in the business of re-defining marriage, and he doesn't like the way the majority built unflattering opinions about the supporters of traditional marriage into its ruling. He expounds on this at great length in his dissenting opinion, which can be read in full here.

Maggie Gallagher, who writes frequently on marriage and is a fellow at the American Principles Project, wondered how far this new standard for overturning democracy will be taken:

Justice Kennedy has invented a new standard of ''heightened scrutiny'' for laws which are new or unusual'--that is to say most new laws: ''DOMA's unusual deviation from the usual tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage here operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with the federal recognition of their marriages.'' Kennedy unfairly and illegitimately makes ''custom'' and ''tradition'' a sufficient reason to overturn the democratic branch of government'--a standard which has never been applied when Congress passes new laws that affirm new leftist values.

Kennedy's decision is not law, it is Justice Kennedy's moral values written into our Constitution, and interfering with our rights as Americans to pass laws that accord with our values on marriage. Kennedy's decision is the Roe v. Wade of this generation, not this generation's Brown v. the Board of Education. Like Roe, Kennedy stepped in to disenfranchise millions of voters' concerns to tilt unfairly the scale of justice controversial moral issue trending in a liberal direction. But like Roe the deep questions involved in marriage will not simply go away: At the heart of the gay marriage argument is an untruth: unions of two men or women are not the same as unions of husband and wife. The law cannot make it so, it can only require us to paint pretty pictures to cover up deep truths embedded in human nature.

Today's decisions didn't impose same-sex marriage from coast to coast, but as the celebrating proponents of SSM would be happy to tell you, they've greatly diminished the options available to dissenters through representative democracy and federalism. The Defense of Marriage Act didn't outlaw same-sex marriage; it prevented the federal government from recognizing it, in ways that would inevitably affect people in states that did not authorize it.

So'... where do you go to vote against gay marriage now? Proponents of same-sex marriage may be pleased that the answer is, increasingly, ''you can't.'' Perhaps they should be a bit more worried about what else the American people will be told they're not allowed to vote against. Lots of other groups believe they have causes nobody can disagree with in good faith.

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:16

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 26, 2013

I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal '' and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today's decision, and I've directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation's commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision '' which applies only to civil marriages '' changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.

Defense of Marriage Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:31

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (Pub.L. 104''199, 110 Stat. 2419, enacted September 21, 1996, 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C) is a United States federal law that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states. Until a portion of the act (Section 3) was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2013, it also restricted federal marriage benefits.

DOMA passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by PresidentBill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Section 3 of DOMA had codified the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors' benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Clinton and key legislators have changed their positions and advocated for DOMA's repeal. The Obama administration announced in 2011 that it had determined that section 3 was unconstitutional and, though it would continue to enforce the law, it would no longer defend it in court. In response, the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives instructed the House General Counsel to defend the law in place of the Department of Justice (DOJ).[1]

Section 3 of DOMA was found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.[n 1] The U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional on June 26, 2013, both "as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment"[2] and as an abbrogation of states rights to federal recognition.

BackgroundThe issue of same-sex marriage attracted mainstream attention infrequently until the 1980s. A sympathetic reporter heard several gay men raise the issue in 1967 and described it as "high among the deviate's hopes".[3] In one early incident, gay activist Jack Baker brought suit against the state of Minnesota in 1970 after being denied a marriage license to marry another man, and in Baker v. Nelson the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples did not violate the United States Constitution. Baker later changed his legal name to Pat Lynn McConnell and married his male partner in 1971, although the marriage was not legally recognized.[4][5] A 1972 off-Broadway play, Nightride, depicted, in the author's words, "a black''white homosexual marriage".[6][n 2] In 1979, IntegrityUSA, an organization of gay Episcopalians, raised the issue as the Episcopal Church in the U.S. considered a ban on the ordination of homosexuals as priests.[7][n 3]

The New York Times said the question was "all but dormant" until the late 1980s when, according to gay activists, "the AIDS epidemic... brought questions of inheritance and death benefits to many people's minds."[8] In May 1989, Denmark established registered partnerships that granted same-sex couples many of the rights associated with marriage.[8] In the same year, New York's highest court ruled that two homosexual men qualified as a family for the purposes of New York City's rent-control regulations.[8] Within the movement for gay and lesbian rights, a debate between advocates of sexual liberation and of social integration was taking shape, with Andrew Sullivan publishing an essay "Here Comes the Groom" in The New Republic in August 1989 arguing for same-sex marriage: "A need to rebel has quietly ceded to a desire to belong", he wrote.[5] In September 1989, the State Bar Association of California urged recognition of marriages between homosexuals even before gay rights advocates adopted the issue.[8]

Gary Bauer, head of the socially conservativeFamily Research Council, predicted the issue would be "a major battleground in the 1990s".[8] In 1991, Georgia Attorney General Michael J. Bowers withdrew a job offer made to a lesbian who planned to marry another woman in a Jewish wedding ceremony.[9] In 1993, a committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released a report asking Lutherans to consider blessing gay marriage and stating that lifelong abstinence was harmful to gay and lesbian couples. The Conference of Bishops responded, "There is basis neither in Scripture nor tradition for the establishment of an official ceremony by this church for the blessing of a homosexual relationship."[10] In a critique of radicalism in the gay liberation movement, Bruce Bawer's A Place at the Table (1993) advocated the legalization of same-sex marriage.[11]

In Baehr v. Miike (1993), the Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that the state must show a compelling interest in prohibiting same-sex marriage.[12] This finding prompted concern among opponents of same-sex marriage that same-sex marriage might become legal in Hawaii and that other states would recognize or be compelled to recognize those marriages under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

TextThe main provisions of the act were as follows:[13]

Section 2. Powers reserved to the statesNo State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.Section 3. Definition of marriageIn determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.Section 3 was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2013.

EnactmentGeorgia Representative Bob Barr, then a Republican, authored the Defense of Marriage Act and introduced it in the House of Representatives on May 7, 1996. Senator Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma, introduced it in the Senate.[14] The House Judiciary Committee stated that the Act was intended by Congress to "reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality."[15] The Act's congressional sponsors stated, "[T]he bill amends the U.S. Code to make explicit what has been understood under federal law for over 200 years; that a marriage is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex."[16]

Nickles said, "If some state wishes to recognize same-sex marriage, they can do so". He said the bill would ensure that "the 49 other states don't have to and the Federal Government does not have to."[14] In opposition to the bill, Colorado Rep. Patricia Schroeder said, "You can't amend the Constitution with a statute. Everybody knows that. This is just stirring the political waters and seeing what hate you can unleash."[14] Barr countered that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution grants Congress power to determine "the effect" of the obligation of each state to grant "full faith and credit" to other states' acts.[14]

The 1996 Republican Party platform endorsed DOMA, referencing only section 2 of the act: "We reject the distortion of [anti-discrimination] laws to cover sexual preference, and we endorse the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent states from being forced to recognize same-sex unions."[17] The Democratic Party platform that year did not mention DOMA or marriage.[18] In a June 1996 interview in the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate, Clinton said, "I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or reconsidered."[19] In the same year, in response to a citizen's letter, he also wrote that "raising this issue is divisive and unnecessary."[20]

Some Democrats viewed the legislation as politically motivated rather than a response to societal developments. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts called DOMA the "Endangered Republican Candidates Act"[21] and said it was "a mean-spirited form of legislative gay-bashing designed to inflame the public four months before the November election."[22] Gay and lesbian rights organizations found there was little time to lobby in opposition, because the Clinton administration preferred to have DOMA become law as quickly as possible and not become an issue in the fall presidential campaign.[21] Kennedy led an effort to pass hiring and employment protection for gays and lesbians, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), in concert with DOMA, but the effort failed in the Senate by one vote.[22]

The bill moved through Congress on a legislative fast track and met with overwhelming approval in both houses of the Republican-controlled Congress, passing by a vote of 85''14 in the Senate[23] and a vote of 342''67 in the House.[24] Democratic Senators voted for the bill 32 to 14 (with Pryor of Arkansas absent), and Democratic Representatives voted for it 118 to 65, with 15 not participating. All Republicans in both houses voted for the bill with the sole exception of the one openly gay Republican congressman, Rep. Steve Gunderson of Wisconsin.[25] The sole independent in the House, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, voted against the bill. On the day it passed the House, a White House spokesman called the legislation "gay baiting".[26]

Though he personally did not support gay marriage, Clinton also was against passing the Defense of Marriage Act, feeling it was an insult to many of his gay friends.[27] However, after Congress had passed the bill with enough votes to override a presidential veto,[27] Clinton decided to sign the bill into law in order to avoid the type of political damage he encountered earlier in his presidency when he underestimated the public's opposition to his attempt to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US military.[27] Clinton, who was traveling when Congress acted, signed it into law promptly upon returning to Washington, D.C., on September 21, 1996.[21] The White House released a statement in which Clinton said "that the enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against any person on the basis of sexual orientation".[21] In 2013, Mike McCurry, the White House press secretary at the time, recalled that "His (Clinton's) posture was quite frankly driven by the political realities of an election year in 1996."[27]

Clinton did not mention the issue in his 2004 autobiography.[28] Over time, Clinton's personal views on same-sex marriage shifted. In July 2009, he said, "I personally support people doing what they want to do. I think it's wrong for someone to stop someone else from doing that [gay marriage]."[29] Clinton added that he personally supported same-sex marriage but did not believe it is a "federal question", stating, "I think all these states that do it should do it."[30] On March 7, 2013, in an op-ed he wrote for the Washington Post, Clinton urged the Supreme Court, which would shortly hear arguments on United States v. Windsor, to overturn DOMA.[31][32]

ImpactThe General Accounting Office issued a report in 1997 identifying "1,049 federal statutory provisions classified to the United States Code in which benefits, rights, and privileges are contingent on marital status or in which marital status is a factor".[33] In updating its report in 2004, the GAO found that this number had risen to 1,138 as of December 31, 2003.[34] With respect to Social Security, housing, and food stamps, the GAO found that "recognition of the marital relationship is integral to the design of the program[s]." The other major categories the GAO identified were veteran's benefits, including pensions and survivor benefits; taxes on income, estates, gifts, and property sales; and benefits due federal employees, both civilian and military. Among many specifics, it noted the rights of the widow or widower of the creator of a copyrighted work and certain financial disclosure requirements that include the spouses of members of Congress and certain officers of the federal government. Education loan programs and agriculture price support and loan programs also implicate spouses. Financial aid to "family farms" is restricted to those in which "a majority interest is held by individuals related by marriage or blood."[33]

Because the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) controls most employee benefits provided by private employers, DOMA removes some tax breaks for employers and employees in the private sector when it comes to health care, pension, and disability benefits to same-sex spouses on an equal footing with opposite-sex spouses. ERISA does not affect employees of state and local government or churches, nor does it extend to such benefits as employee leave and vacation.[35]

Under DOMA, persons in same-sex marriages are not considered married for immigration purposes. U.S. citizens and permanent residents in same-sex marriages cannot petition for their spouses, nor can they be accompanied by their spouses into the U.S. on the basis of a family or employment-based visa. A non-citizen in such a marriage cannot use it as the basis for obtaining a waiver or relief from removal from the U.S.[36]

Following the end of the U.S. military's ban on service by open gays and lesbians, "Don't ask, don't tell," in September 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that DOMA limited the military's ability to extend the same benefits to military personnel in same-sex marriages as their peers in opposite-sex marriages received, notably health benefits.[37] Same-sex spouses of military personnel are denied the same access to military bases, legal counseling, and housing allowances provided to different-sex spouses.[38]

Political debateThe 2000 Republican Party platform endorsed DOMA in general terms and indicated concern about judicial activism: "We support the traditional definition of 'marriage' as the legal union of one man and one woman, and we believe that federal judges and bureaucrats should not force states to recognize other living arrangements as marriages.[39] The Democratic Party platform that year did not mention DOMA or marriage in this context.[40]

Bush administrationIn 2004, President George W. Bush endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples because he thought DOMA vulnerable: "After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization. Their actions have created confusion on an issue that requires clarity."[41] In January 2005, he said he would not lobby on its behalf, since too many U.S. senators thought DOMA would survive a constitutional challenge.[42]

Obama administrationPresident Barack Obama's 2008 political platform endorsed the repeal of DOMA.[43][44] On June 12, 2009, the Justice Department issued a brief defending the constitutionality of DOMA in the case of Smelt v. United States, continuing its longstanding practice of defending all federal laws challenged in court.[45] On June 15, 2009, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese wrote an open letter to Obama that asked for actions to balance the DOJ's courtroom position: "We call on you to put your principles into action and send legislation repealing DOMA to Congress."[46] A representative of Lambda Legal, an LGBT impact litigation and advocacy organization, noted that the Obama administration's legal arguments omitted the Bush administration's assertion that households headed by opposite-sex spouses were better at raising children than those headed by same-sex spouses.[45]

On February 23, 2011, Attorney GeneralEric Holder released a statement regarding lawsuits challenging DOMA section 3. He wrote:[47]

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.

He also announced the administration intended to enforce the law, as distinct from defending it in court, "unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law's constitutionality."[47]

In a separate letter to Speaker of the HouseJohn Boehner, Holder noted that Congress still had the ability to participate in these lawsuits in lieu of the Justice Department.[48]

On February 24, the Department of Justice notified the First Circuit Court of Appeals that it would "cease to defend" Gill and Massachusetts as well.[49] On July 1, 2011, the DOJ, with a filing in Golinski, intervened for the first time on behalf of a plaintiff seeking to have DOMA section 3 ruled unconstitutional, arguing that laws that use sexual orientation as a classification need to pass the court's intermediate scrutiny standard of review.[50] The DOJ made similar arguments in a filing in Gill on July 7.[51]

In June 2012, filing an amicus brief in Golinski, two former Republican Attorneys General, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft, called the DOJ's decision not to defend DOMA section 3 "an unprecedented and ill-advised departure from over two centuries of Executive Branch practice" and "an extreme and unprecedented deviation from the historical norm".[52]

On June 26, 2013, section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote.

Congressional interventionOn March 4, 2011, Boehner announced plans to convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to consider whether the House of Representatives should defend DOMA section 3 in place of the Department of Justice,[53][54] and on March 9 the committee voted 3''2 to do so.[55]

On April 18, 2011, House leaders announced they had selected former United States Solicitor General Paul Clement to represent BLAG,[56] and Clement, without opposition from other parties to the case, filed a motion to be allowed to intervene in the suit "for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section III" of DOMA.[57][58] On April 25, 2011, King & Spalding, the law firm through which Clement was handling the case, announced it was dropping the case. On the same day, Clement resigned from King & Spalding in protest and joined Bancroft PLLC, which took on the case.[59] The House's initial contract with Clement capped legal fees at $500,000,[60] but on September 30 a revised contract raised the cap to $1.5 million.[61] A spokesman for Boehner explained that BLAG would not appeal in all cases, citing bankruptcy cases that are "unlikely to provide the path to the Supreme Court....[E]ffectively defending [DOMA] does not require the House to intervene in every case, especially when doing so would be prohibitively expensive."[62]

Repeal proposalsOn September 15, 2009, three Democratic members of Congress, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Jared Polis of Colorado, introduced legislation to repeal DOMA called the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill had 91 original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives[63][64] and was supported by Clinton, Barr, and several legislators who voted for DOMA.[65] Congressman Barney Frank and John Berry, head of the Office of Personnel Management, did not support that effort, stating that "the backbone is not there" in Congress. Frank and Berry suggested DOMA could be overturned more quickly through lawsuits such as Gill v. Office of Personnel Management filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).[66][67]

Following Holder's announcement that the Obama Administration would no longer defend DOMA section 3 in court, on March 16, 2011, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in the Senate again[68] and Nadler introduced it in the House.[69] The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10''8 in favor of advancing the bill to the Senate floor, but observers believed it would not gain the 60 votes needed to end debate and bring it to a vote.[70]

Challenges in federal courtNumerous plaintiffs have challenged DOMA. Cases from the middle of the first decade of the 21st century upheld the law:

In re Kandu, a same-sex couple in the state of Washington, who had married in Canada, attempted to file a joint bankruptcy petition, but were not allowed to do so.[71][72]Wilson v. Ake, an unsuccessful attempt by a Florida same-sex couple, married in Massachusetts, to have their marriage license accepted in Florida.[n 4]More recent cases have focused on section 3's definition of marriage. The courts, using different standards, have all found section 3 unconstitutional. Requests for the Supreme Court to hear appeals have been filed in five cases, listed below (with Supreme Court docket numbers):

Golinski v. Office of Personnel ManagementGolinski v. Office of Personnel Management is a challenge to section 3 of DOMA in federal court based on a judicial employee's attempt to receive spousal health benefits for her wife. In 2008, Karen Golinski, a 19-year employee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, applied for health benefits for her wife. When the application was denied, she filed a complaint under the Ninth Circuit's Employment Dispute Resolution Plan. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in his administrative capacity, ruled in 2009 that she was entitled to spousal health benefits,[74] but the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it would not comply with the ruling.

On March 17, 2011, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White dismissed the suit on procedural grounds but invited Golinski to amend her suit to argue the unconstitutionality of DOMA section 3,[75] which she did on April 14.[76] Following the Attorney General's decision to no longer defend DOMA,[47] the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), an arm of the House of Representatives, took up the defense. Former United States Solicitor GeneralPaul Clement filed, on BLAG's behalf, a motion to dismiss raising arguments previously avoided by the Department of Justice: that DOMA's definition of marriage is valid "because only a man and a woman can beget a child together, and because historical experience has shown that a family consisting of a married father and mother is an effective social structure for raising children."[77][78] On July 1, 2011, the DOJ filed a brief in support of Golinski's suit, in which it detailed for the first time its case for heightened scrutiny based on "a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people, by governmental as well as private entities" and its arguments that DOMA section 3 fails to meet that standard.[50][79]

On February 22, 2012, White ruled for Golinski, finding DOMA "violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution." He wrote that section 3 of DOMA could not pass the "heightened scrutiny" or the "rational basis" test. He wrote,[80]

The Court finds that neither Congress' claimed legislative justifications nor any of the proposed reasons proffered by BLAG constitute bases rationally related to any of the alleged governmental interests. Further, after concluding that neither the law nor the record can sustain any of the interests suggested, the Court, having tried on its own, cannot conceive of any additional interests that DOMA might further.

The case is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, but on July 3, 2012, the DOJ asked the Supreme Court to review the case before the Ninth Circuit decides it so it can be heard together with two other cases in which DOMA section 3 was held unconstitutional, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services.[81]

Gill and MassachusettsOn March 3, 2009, GLAD filed a federal court challenge, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, based on the Equal Protection Clause and the federal government's consistent deference to each state's definition of marriage prior to the enactment of DOMA. The case questioned only the DOMA provision that the federal government defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.[82][83] On May 6, 2010, Judge Joseph L. Tauro heard arguments in the U.S. District Court in Boston.[84]

On July 8, 2009, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a suit, Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. The suit claims that Congress "overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people."[85] Judge Tauro heard arguments in Massachusetts on May 26, 2010.

On July 8, 2010, Judge Tauro issued his rulings in both Gill and Massachusetts, granting summary judgment for the plaintiffs in both cases.[86][87] He found in Gill that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In Massachusetts he held that the same section of DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment and falls outside Congress' authority under the Spending Clause of the Constitution.[88][89] Those decisions were stayed after the DOJ filed an appeal on October 12, 2010.[90]

On November 3, 2011, 133 House Democrats filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in Gill and Massachusetts, asserting their belief that section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional.[91] Included among the members of Congress signing the brief were 14 members who had voted for the bill in 1996.[91] Seventy major employers also filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs.[92] A three-judge panel heard arguments in the case on April 4, 2012, during which the DOJ for the first time took the position that it could not defend section 3 of DOMA under any level of scrutiny.[93] On May 31, 2012, the panel unanimously affirmed Tauro's ruling, finding section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional.[94][95] On June 29, BLAG filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court.[96] The DOJ did so on July 3, while asking the Supreme Court to review Golinski as well.[81] The Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a response to both petitions adding the Spending Clause and Tenth Amendment issues as questions presented.[n 5]

United States v. WindsorOn November 9, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison filed United States v. Windsor in New York on behalf of a surviving same-sex spouse whose inheritance from her deceased spouse had been subject to federal taxation as if they were unmarried.[97][98] New York is part of the Second Circuit, where no precedent exists for the standard of review to be followed in sexual-orientation discrimination cases. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a brief supporting Windsor's claim on July 26, 2011.[99]

On June 6, 2012, Judge Barbara Jones ruled that based on rational basis review, section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional and ordered the requested tax refund be paid to Windsor. The plaintiff commented, "It's thrilling to have a court finally recognize how unfair it is for the government to have treated us as though we were strangers."[100] Windsor's attorneys filed a petition of certiorari with the Supreme Court on July 16, asking for the case to be considered without waiting for the Second Circuit's review.[101]

On October 18, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's ruling that section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.[102][103] It was the first federal court of appeals decision to find that a law targeting gays and lesbians is subject to intermediate scrutiny.[104]

On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Oral arguments were heard on March 27, 2013. The Court declared section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional on June 26, 2013, "as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."[105][106]

Pedersen v. Office of Personnel ManagementPedersen v. Office of Personnel Management is a case filed by GLAD in Connecticut on behalf of same-sex couples in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, in which GLAD repeats the arguments it made in Gill.

On July 31, 2012, Judge Vanessa Bryant ruled that "having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision. The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution."[107] She held that "laws that classify people based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny by courts" but determined section 3 of DOMA "fails to pass constitutional muster under even the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny."[108][109] The case is currently on appeal to the Second Circuit, and on August 21, 2012, Pedersen asked the Supreme Court to review the case before the Second Circuit decides it so it can be heard together with Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services.[110]

Other casesOther cases challenging DOMA include:[111]

Smelt v. Orange County and Smelt v. United States, In February 2004, Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer sued Orange County, California, in federal court for refusing to issue them a marriage license. The district court ruled that the couple did not have standing to challenge section 2 of DOMA and rejected their challenge to the constitutionality of section 3. On May 5, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the suit,[112] and on October 10 the United States Supreme Court refused to consider the couple's appeal.[113] On March 9, 2009, the same couple, having legally married in California, filed Smelt v. United States, challenging the constitutionality of DOMA and California's Proposition 8.[114] District Judge David O. Carter dismissed the case on August 24, because the couple had not applied for and been denied any federal benefit and therefore lacked "an injury in fact."[115]Bishop v. United States (formerly Bishop v. Oklahoma), two lesbian couples in Oklahoma, one of which couples sought a marriage license and the other to have the state recognize either their Canadian marriage or their Vermont civil union.[116][117]Dragovich v. Department of the Treasury, No. 10-1564 (N.D. Cal.), a class action in which California same-sex couples seek equal access to California's long-term care insurance program for public employees and their families. U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken on May 24, 2012, found section 3 of DOMA and certain IRS regulations violated the plaintiffs' equal protection rights.[118] Briefs in an appeal to the Ninth Circuit are due October 29.[119]Hara v. Office of Personnel Management, No. 09-3134 (Fed. Cir.) Hara is one of the plaintiffs in Gill.Torres-Barragan v. Holder, No. 10-55768 (9th Cir.) An immigration-related DOMA challenge in which the district court rejected the constitutional challenges. No longer being appealed.[120]Cozen O'Connor, P.C. v. Tobits and Farley, No. 11-00045-CDJ, Pennsylvania, in which two parties dispute who inherits the proceeds of a law firm's profit-sharing plan under ERISA and DOMA. The DOJ has filed a brief in the case arguing the unconstitutionality of DOMA.[121][122]On April 5, 2012, Chief Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the federal court clerk to reimburse Christopher Nathan, a court employee, for the costs of health insurance coverage for his same-sex spouse comparable to that denied him by section 3 of DOMA.[123] On November 21, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference affirmed Ware's decision and ordered the court to determine the amount due Nathan and pay him within 10 days.[124]Military and veterans casesOn October 13, 2011, Carmen Cardona, a U.S. Navy veteran, filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims seeking disability benefits for her wife that the Veterans Administration and the Board of Veterans Appeals had denied.[125] Cardona is represented by the Yale Law School Legal Services Clinic.[126] At the request of BLAG, which is defending the government's action, and over Cardona's objections, the court postponed oral argument in Cardona v. Shinseki pending the Supreme Court's disposition of writs of certiorari in other DOMA cases.[127]

On October 27, 2011, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) brought suit in federal court on behalf of several military servicemembers and veterans in same-sex marriages. In a November 21 filing in the case of McLaughlin v. Panetta, they wrote, "Any claim that DOMA, as applied to military spousal benefits, survives rational basis review is strained because paying unequal benefits to service members runs directly counter to the military values of uniformity, fairness and unit cohesion." The benefits at issue include medical and dental benefits, basic housing and transportation allowances, family separation benefits, visitation rights in military hospitals, and survivor benefit plans.[128] The case was assigned to Judge Richard G. Stearns. One of the plaintiffs in the case, lesbian Charlie Morgan, who was undergoing chemotherapy, met with an assistant to Boehner on February 9, 2012, to ask him to consider not defending DOMA.[129] The case is on hold at the request of both sides in anticipation of the outcome of two other First Circuit cases on appeal, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services.[130] On February 17, the DOJ announced it could not defend the constitutionality of the statutes challenged in the case and passed the defense to BLAG.[131] In May 2012, the parties filed briefs arguing whether BLAG has a right to intervene.[132]

Tracey Cooper-Harris, an Army veteran from California, sued the Veterans Administration and the DOJ in federal court on February 1, 2012, asking for her wife to receive the benefits normally granted to spouses of disabled veterans.[133] BLAG sought a delay in Cooper-Harris v. United States pending the resolution of Golinski, which the attorneys for Cooper-Harris, the Southern Poverty Law Center, opposed. The court denied BLAG's motion on August 4.[134]

Bankruptcy courtIn May 2011, DOMA-based challenges by the Department of Justice to joint petitions for bankruptcy by married same-sex couples were denied in two cases, one in the Southern District of New York on May 4 and one in the Eastern District of California on May 31. Both rulings stressed practical considerations and avoided ruling on DOMA.[135][136]

On June 13, 2011, 20 of the 25 judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California signed an opinion in the case in re Balas and Morales that found that a same-sex married couple filing for bankruptcy "have made their case persuasively that DOMA deprives them of the equal protection of the law to which they are entitled." The decision found DOMA section 3 unconstitutional and dismissed BLAG's objections to the joint filing:[137][138]

Although individual members of Congress have every right to express their views and the views of their constituents with respect to their religious beliefs and principles and their personal standards of who may marry whom, this court cannot conclude that Congress is entitled to solemnize such views in the laws of this nation in disregard of the views, legal status and living arrangements of a significant segment of our citizenry that includes the Debtors in this case. To do so violates the Debtors' right to equal protection of those laws embodied in the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. This court cannot conclude from the evidence or the record in this case that any valid governmental interest is advanced by DOMA as applied to the Debtors.

A spokesman for House Speaker Boehner said BLAG would not appeal the ruling,[139] On July 7, 2011, the DOJ announced that after consultation with BLAG it would no longer raise objections to "bankruptcy petitions filed jointly by same-sex couples who are married under state law".[140]

Immigration casesBi-national same-sex couples are kept from legally living in the United States by DOMA's section 3, which prevents one spouse from sponsoring the other for a green card.[141] Following some uncertainty after the Obama Administration determined section 3 to be unconstitutional, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reaffirmed its policy of denying such applications.[142] With respect to obtaining a visitor's visa, Bureau rules treat bi-national same-sex spouses the same as bi-national opposite-sex unmarried partners under the classification "cohabiting partners".[143]

Tim Coco and Genesio J. Oliveira, a same-sex couple married in Massachusetts in 2005, successfully challenged this policy and developed a model since followed by other immigration activists.[144] The U.S. refused to recognize their marriage, and in 2007 Oliveira, a Brazilian national, accepted "voluntary departure" and returned to Brazil. They conducted a national press campaign[145] A Boston Globe editorial commented, "Great strides toward equality for gays have been made in this country, but the woeful fate of Tim Coco and Genesio Oliveira shows that thousands of same-sex couples, even in Massachusetts, still aren't really full citizens."[146] The editorial gained the attention of Senator John F. Kerry, who first lobbied Attorney GeneralEric Holder without success.[147] He then gained the support of Homeland Security SecretaryJanet Napolitano, who granted Oliveira humanitarian parole, enabling the couple to reunite in the U.S. in June 2010.[148] Humanitarian parole is granted on a case-by-case basis at the Secretary's discretion.[149]

On September 28, 2011, in Lui v. Holder, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected a challenge to DOMA, citing Adams v. Howerton (1982).[150] The plaintiffs in that case had unsuccessfully challenged the denial of immediate relative status to the same-sex spouse of an American citizen.[151][152] Early in 2012, two bi-national same-sex couples were granted "deferred action" status, suspending deportation proceedings against the non-U.S. citizen for a year.[153][154] A similar Texas couple had a deportation case dismissed in March 2012, leaving the non-citizen spouse unable to work legally in the United States but no longer subject to the threat of deportation.[155]

On January 5, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago decided the suit of a same-sex binational couple. Demos Revelis and Marcel Maas, married in Iowa in 2010, sought to prevent the USCIS from applying section 3 of DOMA to Revelis's application for a permanent residence visa for Maas and, in the court's words, "that their petition be reviewed and decided on the same basis as other married couples."[156] Judge Harry D. Leinenweber, a Reagan appointee, denied the government's motion to dismiss. BLAG has argued for the suit to be dismissed.[157] In July the court stayed proceedings until mid-October because the USCIS is considering denying the plaintiffs' request on grounds unrelated to DOMA.[158]

On April 2, 2012, five bi-national same-sex couples represented by Immigration Equality and Paul, Weiss filed a lawsuit, Blesch v. Holder, in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, claiming that section 3 of DOMA violates their equal protection rights by denying the U.S. citizen in the relationship the same rights in the green card application process granted a U.S. citizen who is in a relationship of partners of the opposite sex.[157] On July 25, Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon stayed the case pending the resolution of Windsor by the Second Circuit.[159]

Immigration rights advocate Lavi Soloway reported on June 19, 2012, that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) had in four cases responded to green card denials on the part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by asking the USCIS to document the marital status of the same-sex couples and determine whether the foreign national would qualify for a green card in the absence of DOMA section 3. He said the BIA is "essentially setting the stage for being able to approve the petitions in a post-DOMA universe."[160]

On April 19, 2013, U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall ordered that a suit brought in July 2012 by Jane DeLeon, a Philippine citizen, and her spouse, Irma Rodriguez, a U.S. citizen, could proceed as a class action. The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, contend that DeLeon has been denied a residency waiver because of DOMA section 3.[161][162]

TribunalsIn 2009, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt declared DOMA unconstitutional in in re Levenson, an employment dispute resolution tribunal case, where the federal government refused to grant spousal benefits to Tony Sears, the husband of deputy federal public defender Brad Levenson.[163][164] As an employee of the federal judiciary, Levenson is prohibited from suing his employer in federal court. Rather, employment disputes are handled at employment dispute resolution tribunals in which a federal judge hears the dispute in their capacity as a dispute resolution official.

Full faith and credit casesIn August 2007, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Finstuen v. Crutcher ordered Oklahoma to issue a revised birth certificate showing both adoptive parents to a child born in Oklahoma who had been adopted by a same-sex couple married elsewhere.[165] By contrast, in 2011 Louisiana in Adar v. Smith successfully defended in federal court its refusal to amend the birth certificate of a child born in Louisiana and adopted in New York by a same-sex married couple who sought to have a new certificate issued with their names as parents as is standard practice for Louisiana-born children adopted by opposite-sex married couples.[166] The Supreme Court refused to hear the case on appeal.[167]

On October 2, 2009, a Texas judge granted a divorce to two men married in Massachusetts. On August 31, 2010, the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas reversed the lower court's ruling.[168][169] On January 7, 2011, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin allowed a divorce granted by a lower court to a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts to stand.[170] Both cases await action by the Texas Supreme Court.[171]

DOMA and state legislationA majority of the states, including some that have benefits for same-sex relationships, have restricted recognition of marriage to unions of one man and one woman either by statute or an amendment to their state constitution.[n 6] Most do not recognize same-sex unions from other jurisdictions, including other jurisdictions of the United States. States that permit same-sex marriages recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Connecticut,[173]Iowa, Maine,[174]Maryland,[175]Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia allow marriages between persons of the same sex. California, which sanctioned same-sex marriages for several months in 2008 and has a ban (Proposition 8) on same-sex marriage that is the subject of litigation, recognizes same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions as equivalent to marriages in all but name.[176]

New Mexico and Rhode Island recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[177][178] Other states that recognize same-sex marriages as civil unions or domestic partnerships include Colorado,[179] California,[180] Hawaii, Illinois,[181] Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Wisconsin. Massachusetts recognizes civil unions and domestic partnerships established elsewhere as the legal equivalent of marriage.[182]

See alsoNotes^See below: Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (two cases consolidated), Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, and Windsor v. United States.^For a review of the play see Barnes, Clive (December 10, 1971). "'Nightride'''No Apologies and No Regrets". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^For the theological background beginning in 1967, see Fiske, Edward B. (December 3, 1967). "Views on Homosexuals". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^The court held that in enacting section 2 of DOMA "Congress' actions are an appropriate exercise of its power to regulate conflicts between the laws of two different States" under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.[73]^The Commonwealth also filed its own petition in Massachusetts in case the court found the response was not the proper way to raise those issues.^Following the November 2012 elections, 30 states had constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and another 8 states had statutory bans. Both New Jersey and New Mexico have no constitutional and/or statute bans on same-sex marriages.[172]References^Jackson, Jill (March 4, 2011). "House GOP moves to defend DOMA". CBS News. "The move by Boehner to convene the legal advisory group, instead of bringing a bill to the floor, ensures that Republicans get the outcome they want since Republicans have a majority on the panel." ^"United States v. Windsor". June 26, 2013. ^Schott, Webster (November 12, 1967). "Civil Rights and the Homosexual: A 4-Million Minority Asks for Equal Rights". New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012. ^"Homosexual Wins Fight to Take Bar Examination in Minnesota". New York Times. January 7, 1973. Retrieved February 6, 2012. ^ abGeidner, Chris (May 4, 2011). "Domestic Disturbance". Metro Weekly. Retrieved February 10, 2012. ^Barton, Lee (pseudonym) (January 23, 1973). "Why Do Homosexual Playwrights Hide their Homosexuality?". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^Sheppard, Nathaniel (September 17, 1979). "Panel bids Episcopalians Bar Homosexual priests". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^ abcdeGutis, Philip S. (November 5, 1989). "Small Steps Toward Acceptance Renew Debate on Gay Marriage". New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2012. ^"Georgia Denies Gay Lawyer a Job". New York Times. October 6, 1991. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^Lewin, Tamar (October 21, 1993). "Lutherans Asked to Decide On Blessing of Gay Unions". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (November 11, 1993). "A Strong Gay Dissent On Public Spectacles". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. ^The case was originally Baehr v. Lewin. "State of Hawaii Report of the Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law, Chapter 2 Footnotes". State of Hawaii. 1995. Retrieved January 18, 2009. ^"Defense of Marriage Act". United States Government Printing Office. September 21, 1996. Retrieved January 18, 2009. ^ abcdDunlap, David W. (May 9,. 1996). "Congressional Bills Withhold Sanction of Same-Sex Unions". New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012. ^Goodwin, Liz (March 27, 2013). "Lawmakers' 'moral disapproval' of gay people in 1996 could doom DOMA law in Supreme Court". Yahoo! News. Retrieved April 23, 2013. ^"Defense Of Marriage Act 5/96 H.R. 3396 Summary/Analysis". Lectric Law Library. Retrieved July 15, 2010. ^"Republican Party Platform of 1996". 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United States, Unopposed Motion of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives to Intervene for a Limited Purpose. Retrieved April 19, 2011.^Berman, Russell; Strauss, Daniel (April 25, 2011). "GOP pushes on with marriage act defense after law firm backs out". The Hill (Washington, D.C.). ISSN 1521-1568. OCLC 31153202. Retrieved November 13, 2011. ^"Price tag on House defense of DOMA: $500k". MSNBC. April 20, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2011. ^Sonmez, Felicia (October 4, 2011). "House raises salary cap for DOMA lawyer to $1.5 million". The Washington Post. ^Schwartz, John (June 14, 2011). "A California Bankruptcy Court Rejects U.S. Law Barring Same-Sex Marriage". New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012. ^Bernie Becker (September 15, 2009). "House Dems Take Aim at Marriage Law". New York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2010. ^Eleveld, Kerry (September 15, 2009). "Respect for Marriage Act Debuts". The Advocate. 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"DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Take Two DOMA Cases, Maintains Law Is Unconstitutional". Metro Weekly. Retrieved July 3, 2012. ^Goodnough, Abby; Zezima, Katie (March 2, 2009). "Suit Seeks to Force Government to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Couples". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2009. ^""DOMA" Means Federal Discrimination Against Married Same-Sex Couples". GLAD. ^Seelye, Katharine Q. (May 6, 2010). "Marriage Law Is Challenged as Equaling Discrimination". New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2010. ^Finucane, Martin (July 8, 2009). "Mass. challenges federal Defense of Marriage Act". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 6, 2009. ^Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F.Supp.2d 374 (D.Mass. 2010). Retrieved February 10, 2012.^Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, 698 F.Supp.2d 234 (D.Mass. 2010). Retrieved February 10, 2012.^Geidner, Chris (July 8, 2010). "Federal Court Rules DOMA Sec. 3 Violates Equal Protection". Retrieved July 8, 2010. ^DOMA decisions released[dead link]^Lavoie, Denise (October 12, 2010). "Feds Appeal Mass Rulings against U.S. Marriage Law". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 13, 2010. ^ abMackenzie Weinger (November 3, 2011). "DOMA opposed by 133 House Democrats". Politico. Retrieved November 3, 2011. ^Reilly, Peter J. (November 4, 2011). "Seventy Major Employers Line Up Against DOMA". Forbes. ^Geidner, Chris (April 4, 2012). "Federal Appeals Judges Consider Whether DOMA Is Constitutional in Historic Hearing in Boston". Metro Weekly. Retrieved April 4, 2012. ^Jeffrey, Don; Dolmetsch, Chris (May 31, 2012). "Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional, Appeals Court Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 5, 2012. ^Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, No. 10-2204, slip op. (May 31, 2012).^Johnson, Chris (June 20, 2012). "Boehner appeals DOMA cases to Supreme Court". Washington Blade. Retrieved June 29, 2012. ^Schwartz, John (November 8, 2010). "Gay Couples to Sue Over U.S. Marriage Law". New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2011. ^Andrew M. Harris (February 28, 2011). "Widow's $363,000 Tax Bill Led to Obama Shift on Marriage Act". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 31, 2011. ^Geidner, Chris (July 26, 2011). "New York Attorney General Takes Edith Windsor's Side in DOMA Challenge". Metro Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2011. ^Geidner, Chris (June 6, 2012). "Another Federal Judge Finds DOMA Marriage Definition Unconstitutional, Now in Widow's Case". Metro Weekly. Retrieved June 6, 2012. ^Snow, Justin (July 16, 2012). "Widow Petitions DOMA Case to the Supreme Court". Metro Weekly. Retrieved July 16, 2012. ^Baynes, Terry (October 18, 2012). "Appeals court rules against Defense of Marriage Act". Reuters. Retrieved October 18, 2012. ^"Windsor v. USA". United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Retrieved October 18, 2012. ^Weiss, Debra Cassens (18 October 2012). "2nd Circuit Rules for Surviving Gay Spouse, Says DOMA Violates Equal Protection Clause". ABA Journal. Retrieved 18 October 2012. ^Stempel, Jonathan (January 7, 2013). "Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage cases in late March". Reuters. Retrieved January 7, 2013. ^United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. (2013).^Bolcer, Julie (31 July 2012). "Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional in Pedersen Case". Retrieved 31 July 2012. ^Geidner, Chris (31 July 2012). "Federal Trial Court In Connecticut Strikes Down DOMA's Marriage Definition". BuzzFeed Politics. Retrieved 31 July 2012. ^Geidner, Ryan J. (31 July 2012). "Bush Appointee Rules DOMA Unconstitutional". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 31 July 2012. ^Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Petition for Certiorari Before Judgment. Retrieved August 21, 2012.^"Pending cases where the Defense of Marriage Act is being challenged". February 28, 2011. ^Smelt v. County of Orange, 447 F.3d 673 (9th Cir. 2006). Retrieved August 2, 2012.^"U.S. Supreme Court refuses marriage case". ^Smelt v. United States, Notice of Removal. Retrieved November 6, 2009.^"Gay California couple's lawsuit dismissed". UPI. Retrieved February 26, 2011. ^Bishop v. Oklahoma, 447 F.Supp.2d 1239 (N.D. Okla. 2006). Retrieved February 8, 2012.^Bishop v. US, No. 04-CV-848-TCK-TLW, slip op. (N.D. Okla. November 24, 2009). Retrieved August 1, 2012.^Geidner, Chris (May 25, 2012). "Federal Judge Rules DOMA, Tax Code Force Unconstitutional Treatment For Same-Sex Couples". Metro Weekly. Retrieved May 25, 2012. ^Thomaston, Scottie (24 July 2012). "Federal defendants appeal Dragovich v. US Dept. of Treasury to Ninth Circuit". Prop8TrialTracker. Retrieved 31 July 2012. ^"Torres-Barragan v. Holder". Civilo Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. University of Michigan Law School. Retrieved January 14, 2013. ^Passarella, Gina (January 9, 2012). "U.S. Justice Department argues that Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 12, 2012. ^See also Nina Wasow, "When is a Spouse not a Spouse? Court to Consider Applicability of DOMA to Spousal Benefits Under ERISA Plan," American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter, Winter 201. Retrieved February 12, 2012.^"Same-sex benefits denial is ruled discriminatory". San Francisco Chronicle. April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. ^Egelko, Bob (November 25, 2012). "Same-sex case ruling favors gay employee". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 26, 2012. ^Dao, James (12 October 2011). "Denied Veterans Benefits Over Same-Sex Marriage, Ex-Sailor Challenges Law". New York Times. Retrieved 3 October 2012. ^"Cardona v. Shinseki". Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Yale Law School. Retrieved 3 October 2012. ^Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: Number:11-3083, accessed November 26, 2012^Geidner, Chris (November 23, 2011). "SLDN Takes Aim at DOMA". Metro Weekly. Retrieved February 11, 2012. ^Stone, Andrea (February 9, 2012). "Charlie Morgan, Lesbian Guardsman With Cancer, Meets John Boehner Staffer To Push DOMA Repeal". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 11, 2012. ^Geidner, Chris (February 16, 2012). "SLDN, DOJ Agree to 60-Day Delay in Case Challenging Gay Servicemembers' Spousal Benefits". Metro Weekly. Retrieved February 17, 2012. ^Geidner, Chris (February 17, 2012). "DOJ Won't Defend Laws Preventing Equal Treatment for Servicemembers With Same-Sex Spouses". Metro Weekly. Retrieved February 17, 2012. ^"Boehner moves to defend anti-gay DOMA in military case". Wisconsin Gazette. May 4, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2012. ^"Pasadena same-sex couple sues VA over benefits". Pasadena Sun. February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012. ^Snow, Justin (August 3, 2012). "Court Denies Motion To Stay DOMA Case Proceedings". Metro Weekly. Retrieved August 3, 2012. ^"Bankruptcy Judge Bypasses DOMA to Allow Joint Bankruptcy Filing by Same-Sex Spouses". American Bankruptcy Institute. June 3, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011. ^In re Somers and Caggiano, 10-38296, slip op. (Bky.S.D.N.Y. May 4, 2011). Retrieved June 9, 2011.^Geidner, Chris (June 13, 2011). "Bankruptcy Court: DOMA Unconstitutionally Limits Same-Sex Married Couples From Joint Bankruptcy Filing". Metro Weekly. Retrieved June 13, 2011. ^"Bankruptcy Court rules Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional". SDGLN. June 13, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011. ^Schwartz, John (June 14, 2011). "A California Bankruptcy Court Rejects U.S. Law Barring Same-Sex Marriage". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2011. ^Geidner, Chris (July 7, 2011). "U.S. Trustee Withdraws Appeal of Gay Couple's Bankruptcy Court DOMA Victory". Metro Weekly. Retrieved July 7, 2011. ^Wernick, Allan (June 10, 2009). "Vermont Senator urges same-sex marriages OK for 'immigrant spouses'". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 19, 2011. ^Geidner, Chris (March 30, 2011). "Immigration Official: 'The Hold Is Over'". Metro Weekly. Retrieved March 30, 2011. ^"B2 Classification for Cohabiting Partners". Retrieved March 28, 2011. ^Preston, Julia (May 8, 2011). "Justice Dept. to Continue Policy Against Same-Sex Marriage". New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2011. ^"Mass. ad exec fights two battles with ads". AdWeek. April 29, 2008. Retrieved August 7, 2011. ^"Reunite this family". Boston Globe. August 27, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2011. ^Trujillo, Meilssa (March 20, 2009). "Kerry Seeks Asylum For Gay Brazilian Wed In Mass.". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 7, 2011. ^Sacchetti, Maria (June 4, 2010). "Gay couple get a boost in winning bid to reunite". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 7, 2011. ^Bernstein, Nina (October 14, 2005). "A Contest of Suffering, With the U.S. as a Prize". New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2011. ^673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982).^Lui v. Holder, No: 2:11-CV-01267-SVW (JCGx) (C.D. Cal. September 28, 2011). Retrieved October 4, 2011.^Harmon, Andrew. "Judge Throws Out Binational Couple's DOMA Lawsuit". The Advocate. Retrieved October 4, 2011. ^Wong, Curtis (January 5, 2012). "Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, San Francisco Gay Married Couple, Win Deportation Reprieve For Two Years". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2012. ^Foley, Elise (February 9, 2012). "Same-Sex Couple Wins Immigration Relief, Despite Defense Of Marriage Act". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2012. ^Carroll, Susan (March 9, 2012). "Gay, married immigrant spared from deportation". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 10, 2012. ^Revelis v. Napolitano, 11 C 1991, slip op. (N.D. Ill. January 5, 2012). Retrieved March 2, 2012.^ abGeidner, Chris (April 2, 2012). "Immigration Equality Files DOMA Challenge, Obama Administration Left Them 'No Choice'". Metro Weekly. Retrieved April 2, 2012. ^Revelis v. Napolitano, granting motion to stay, July 12, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012^"Blesch v. Holder (Immigration Equality's DOMA case) put on hold". Prop8TrialTracker. Retrieved 30 July 2012. ^Geidner, Chris (June 19, 2012). "Same-Sex Couples Facing Immigration Questions Receive Temporary Relief From DOJ Immigration Board". Metro Weekly. Retrieved June 19, 2012. ^"Judge rules lesbian immigrant can challenge DOMA". U-T San Diego. April 20, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2013. ^Dobuzinskis, Alex (July 13, 2012). "Lesbian immigrant from PH challenges US gay marriage ban". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved April 23, 2013. ^560 F.3d 1145 (9th Cir. 2009).^"Federal judge rules denial of health coverage to same-sex spouse unconstitutional". Los Angeles Times. February 9, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009. ^Finstuen v. Crutcher (10th Cir. 2007). Retrieved July 11, 2011.^"Gay dads lose appeal in Louisiana birth certificate case". NOLA. April 12, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2011. ^"Supreme Court Turns Down Adoption Birth Certificate Case". The Advocate. October 11, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2012. ^Appleton, Roy (August 31, 2010). "Dallas judge's ruling saying gay couple could divorce in Texas rejected on appeal". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 31, 2010. ^In Re: Marriage of J.B. and H.B. In Re State of Texas, No.'‚05-09-01170-CV, slip op. (Tex. App. August 31, 2010).^Kreytak, Steven (January 7, 2011). "Same-sex divorce stands under appellate ruling: Attorney general did not have standing to intervene in case, court declares". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved March 13, 2011. ^Rozen, Miriam (December 17, 2012). "Lawyer in two same-sex divorce cases awaits Texas Supreme Court decision on petitions for review". Texas Lawyer. Retrieved January 18, 2013. ^"A Boost for Same-Sex Marriage". New York Times. November 13, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2012. ^Foderaro, Lisa W. (November 12, 2008). "Gay Marriages Begin in Connecticut". New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2010. ^Bouchard, Kelley (December 29, 2012). "44 couples obtain marriage licenses". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved April 23, 2013. ^Rector, Kevin (January 1, 2013). "Seven same-sex couples wed at City Hall on New Year's morning". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 1, 2013. ^Robertson, Kathy (October 12, 2009). "California to recognize some out-of-state gay marriages". ^Witte, Brian (May 18, 2012). "Same-Sex Divorce Recognized By Maryland Court Of Appeals". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2012. ^Grndley, Lucas (June 6, 2012). "Another Court Challenge, Another Loss for DOMA". The Advocate. Retrieved June 7, 2012. ^Healy, Jack (March 21, 2013). "Colorado Approves Same-Sex Unions". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2013. ^[1]^"Illinois Civil Union Law". May 27, 2011. ^Finucane, Martin (26 July 2012). "Massachusetts high court says it recognizes Vermont civil unions as marriages". Boston Globe. Retrieved 26 July 2012. "SJC: Massachusetts Recognizes California Registered Domestic Partnerships". GLAD. Retrieved October 3, 2012. BibliographyFeigen, Brenda. "Same-Sex Marriage: An Issue of Constitutional rights not Moral Opinions." 2004. 27 Harv. Women's L. J. 345."Litigating the Defense of Marriage Act: The Next Battleground for Same-Sex Marriage." 2004. 117 Harv. L. Rev. 2684.Manning, Jason (April 30, 2004). "Backgrounder: The Defense of Marriage Act". The Online News Hour. The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Retrieved January 13, 2007. "Same Sex Marriage Passage" CQ Weekly. Congressional Quarterly. May 2, 2005.United States. 104th Congress. Defense of Marriage Act. House of Representatives Committee Report. 1996.Wardle, Lynn D. "A Critical Analysis of Constitutional Claims for Same Sex Marriage." 1996. 1996 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 1.External links

Respect for Marriage Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 12:59

111th CongressThe 2009 bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York on September 15, 2009, and garnered 120 cosponsors.[8]

112th CongressThe 2011 bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York on March 16, 2011, and a U.S. Senate version was introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California on the same day. President Obama announced his support for the bill on July 19, 2011.[9]

HouseIn September 2011, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida became the 125th cosponsor of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Republican member of the U.S. Congress to announce support for the bill.[10] In December 2012, Richard Hanna and Charles Bass have become the next Republicans to cosponsor the bill.[11][12]

SenateOn July 20, 2011, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont chaired the first-ever congressional hearing on a proposal to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).[13][14] On October 25, 2011, Sen. Leahy announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee would begin debate on November 3, 2011, with a committee vote likely to happen the following week.[15] On November 3, 2011, the bill was debated in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where its passage was a foregone conclusion due to sufficient votes to pass being found in the 10 Democratic members of the committee, who are cosponsors of the bill; however, Republicans on the Committee requested the vote be delayed one week.[16] During the debate Sen. Feinstein noted that DOMA denies same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits that are provided to all other members of that class, legally married couples, including rights to Social Security spousal benefits, protection from estate taxes when a spouse passes away, and the ability to file taxes jointly and claim certain deductions.[17] The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 in favor of advancing the bill to the Senate floor.[18]

113th CongressThe bill's sponsors will not re-introduce the Respect for Marriage Act in 2013 until after the United States Supreme Court rules on the United States v. Windsor case.[19] On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Government and Marriage - Should the Government Legislate Relationships

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 22:33

Earlier this year, I sat on a gay rights panel at Mississippi College. MC, the oldest college in Mississippi, is a Southern Baptist institution with a campus policy against homosexuality. The college had been visited by the SoulForce Freedom Ride, and the student Democratic club had a really good question: Is it time for the college's policy on homosexuality to be changed?The freewheeling discussion covered a variety of topics related to same-sex relationships, ranging from demographic effects to biblical prohibitions and everything in between. The argument that I found most effective with this Baptist audience, as one of the two unambiguously pro-gay rights panelists, hinged on the sacramental role of government. Namely: What business does the government have mandating sanctity? If the government can make marriage sacred, then can it give us all a place in the world to come, too? And if there is a legal "sanctity of marriage" that the government would be interfering with by allowing marriage rights for same-sex couples, then doesn't that imply government support for some pretty controversial heterosexual marriages?

That's the only argument I had, in the entire panel, that I think stuck with my audience. Baptists have a strong history of respecting church-state separation--were it not for the Baptists in Rhode Island, we would probably have no establishment clause--and while the Southern Baptist Convention supports socially conservative policy, the anti-theocracy vibe still lives on within it. Any person of faith who believes that the government has legitimate authority over sacraments either has a very high opinion of the government or a very low opinion of sacraments.

On top of the sacramental question, though, there's another reason why the government should perhaps get out of the marriage business. Longtime reader Guy Ricklin asks a really, really good question:

Has ANYBODY addressed the idea that the government should not legislate relationships between ANYBODY..?? Contracts, yes- relationships, no.

Guy's question, while it has broad implications, is particularly relevant to the same-sex marriage debate. To answer it, let's brainstorm for a moment on what the government's "compelling interest" in marriage is, and what it isn't.First, if we accept the argument given at the top of this post, it isn't sacramental. In Jesus' time, one got married without the aid of the government. During the antebellum era, our government did not acknowledge marriages between slaves. Unless one is a government-worshipper, there is no conceivable sacramental role for the government with respect to marriage because the government is not, and could not function effectively as, a sacramental institution.

Likewise, the government has no direct, legitimate interest in the propagation of children. This is not China; in the United States, couples may freely decide whether they have children and, if so, how many. Whether you want no children, two children, or twelve children, the U.S. government has no say in the matter--assuming the children are not themselves in danger, of course.

And even if we assume for the sake of argument that the government does have a legitimate interest in promoting parenting, there is a flooded foster care system full of kids who need parents and don't have them. The government should be doing more to encourage adoption--which would also reduce the number of abortions, but that's a whole other can of worms.

So we've addressed two phony reasons for the government to get involved in marriage: Sanctity and biological reproduction. Are there any good reasons for the government to create a legislative category for relationships?

Well, it does reduce paperwork--and given how common marriage is, that's a worthwhile consideration. Imagine the attorneys' fees one would have to pay in order to secure basic marriage benefits independent of legal marriage. It would be a nightmare. And even with the assistance of attorneys, couples opting for a purely contract-based route would not be eligible for the social security and tax benefits that go along with marriage under the current system.

There's also the matter of divorce. Divorce law is tricky, especially with respect to child custody, but it would be even trickier if the government did not universally recognize common grounds for divorce, such as adultery and cruelty.

Are there ways to streamline the relationship contract process and divorce disputes without an institution of marriage? Yes, but the question then becomes how much like marriage we want the new system to be.

If we were to keep marriage but call it something else, such as, say, civil unions, then the government's pretense to a sacramental role would be gone but it would still be in the business of legislating relationships.

But the further we move away from that standard, the more complicated things become. Let's say that the government permitted domestic partnerships, with no relationship of any kind implied. Single friends and family members would routinely register for domestic partnerships with each other, reaping all of the financial and legal benefits of marriage. Until one of the parties was ready to get married, that is, at which point s/he would face a dilemma: Give up the old non-romantic domestic partnership and all of its benefits, for both parties, or give up the option of a domestic partnership with the person they've fallen in love with.

The government could resolve that dilemma by allowing individuals to have domestic partnerships with multiple people simultaneously--which would also accommodate polygamous households--but the government would have to completely eliminate marriage-based social security and tax benefits in order for that to happen. Whether this is a good idea or not, it's unlikely that it would receive much support in a country where 57% of adults receive those benefits and have grown accustomed to them. The government shouldn't legislate relationships between consenting adults--but because it does, it will probably continue to do so.

Why Is Government Involved with Marriage Anyway? | National Review Online

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 22:29

The question has been raised lately. In a paper for Heritage, Ryan Anderson addressed this fundamental question:

While respecting everyone's liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing. Adults are free to make choices about their relationships without redefining marriage and do not need government sanction or license to do so.

Government is not in the business of affirming our love. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. Nothing about it is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits. There is nothing illegal about this.

What is at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages'--and then force every citizen, house of worship, and business to do so as well. At issue is whether policy will coerce and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

Appeals to ''marriage equality'' are good sloganeering, but they exhibit sloppy reasoning. Every law makes distinctions. Equality before the law protects citizens from arbitrary distinctions, from laws that treat them differently for no good reason. To know whether a law makes the right distinctions'--whether the lines it draws are justified'--one has to know the public purpose of the law and the nature of the good being advanced or protected.

If the law recognized same-sex couples as spouses, would some argue that it fails to respect the equality of citizens in multiple-partner relationships? Are those inclined to such relationships being treated unjustly when their consensual romantic bonds go unrecognized, their children thereby ''stigmatized'' and their tax filings unprivileged?

This is not hypothetical. In 2009, Newsweek reported that there were over 500,000 polyamorous households in America.[25] Prominent scholars and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) activists have called for ''marriage equality'' for multipartner relationships since at least 2006.[26]

If sexual complementarity is eliminated as an essential characteristic of marriage, then no principle limits civil marriage to monogamous couples.

Supporters of redefinition use the following analogy: Laws defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman are unjust'--fail to treat people equally'--exactly like laws that prevented interracial marriage. Yet such appeals beg the question of what is essential to marriage. They assume exactly what is in dispute: that gender is as irrelevant as race in state recognition of marriage. However, race has nothing to with marriage, and racist laws kept the races apart. Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children, and that is why principle-based policy has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. The color of two people's skin has nothing to do with what kind of marital bond they have. However, the sexual difference between a man and a woman is central to what marriage is. Men and women regardless of their race can unite in marriage, and children regardless of their race need moms and dads. To acknowledge such facts requires an understanding of what, at an essential level, makes a marriage.

We reap the civil society benefits of marriage only if policy gets marriage right.

The state has an interest in marriage and marital norms because they serve the public good by protecting child well-being, civil society, and limited government. Marriage laws work by embodying and promoting a true vision of marriage, which makes sense of those norms as a coherent whole. There is nothing magical about the word ''marriage.'' It is not just the legal title of marriage that encourages adherence to marital norms.

What does the work are the social reality of marriage and the intelligibility of its norms. These help to channel behavior. Law affects culture. Culture affects beliefs. Beliefs affect actions. The law teaches, and it will shape not just a handful of marriages, but the public understanding of what marriage is.

Government promotes marriage to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children they might have. Promoting marital norms serves these same ends. The norms of monogamy and sexual exclusivity encourage childbearing within a context that makes it most likely that children will be raised by their mother and father. These norms also help to ensure shared responsibility and commitment between spouses, provide sufficient attention from both a mother and a father to their children, and avoid the sexual and kinship jealousy that might otherwise be present.

The norm of permanency ensures that children will at least be cared for by their mother and father until they reach maturity. It also provides kinship structure for interaction across generations as elderly parents are cared for by their adult children and as grandparents help to care for their grandchildren without the complications of fragmented stepfamilies.

If the law taught a falsehood about marriage, it would make it harder for people to live out the norms of marriage because marital norms make no sense, as matters of principle, if marriage is just intense emotional feeling. No reason of principle requires an emotional union to be permanent or limited to two persons, much less sexually exclusive. Nor should it be inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands. This does not mean that a couple could not decide to live out these norms where temperament or taste so motivated them, just that there is no reason of principle to demand that they do so. Legally enshrining this alternate view of marriage would undermine the norms whose link to the common good is the basis for state recognition of marriage in the first place.

Insofar as society weakens the rational foundation for marriage norms, fewer people would live them out, and fewer people would reap the benefits of the marriage institution. This would affect not only spouses, but also the well-being of their children. The concern is not so much that a handful of gay or lesbian couples would be raising children, but that it would be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers matter when it has redefined marriage to make fathers optional.

This highlights the link between the central questions in this debate: What is marriage, and why does the state promote it? It is not that the state should not achieve its basic purpose while obscuring what marriage is. Rather, it cannot. Only when policy gets the nature of marriage right can a political community reap the civil society benefits of recognizing it.

My latest syndicated column seeks to encourage those trying to have a more civil, constructive conversation about marriage policy and building a culture of marriage. Ryan is among them, as well as William May from Catholics for the Common Good.

Legal Definitions of Marriage in the United States | CLGS

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 22:26

How is marriage defined in the United States? Currently 37 states have passed laws which define marriage as limited to a union between one man and one woman: 33 state legislatures have passed statutes to that effect, and 4 states (Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and Nevada) have, by popular vote, passed Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs) as constitutional amendments; the Ohio state legislature is currently debating a Defense of Marriage Act. Thirteen states, therefore, do not currently have laws on their books which limit marriage to a union between one man and one woman.

StateStatute, Amendment, Court RulingStatus of Marriage Equality and Relevant Statute/Ammendment TextsAlabamaStatute"(d) No marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex"


"(e) The state of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued"; Alabama Stat. Sec. 30-1-19

AlaskaStatute and AmendmentStatute:

"A same-sex relationship may not be recognized by the state as being entitled to the benefits of marriage."; Alaska Stat. 25.05.013 (b)


"To be valid or recognized in this state, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman"; Alaska Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 25



"Marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited"; Ariz.Rev. Stat. Ann. ' 25 101



Marriage shall be only between a man and a woman. A marriage between persons of the same sex is void"; Ark. Stat. ' 9 11 109


"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"; Ca. Fam. Sec. 308.5; State Constitution similarly revised in 2008.



"(1) ...a marriage is valid in this state if: ...(b) it is only between one man and one woman"; Co. Stat. Sec. 14 2 104


Court Ruling

The state's supreme court ruled in October 2008 in favor of a constitutional right to marriage for gay and lesbian couples; the state started issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples in November 2008.


"A marriage is prohibited and void between a person and his or her ancestor, descendant, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, first cousin or between persons of the same gender";Del. Stat. Title 13 ' 101

District of Columbia

City Council Legislation

In May 2009 the Council recognized marriages of same-sex couples entered into in other jurisdictions as valid in the District.


"(1) Marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in any jurisdiction, whether within or outside the State of Florida, the United States, or any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location, or relationships between persons of the same sex which are treated as marriages in any jurisdiction, whether within or outside the State of Florida, the United States, or any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location, are not recognized for any purpose in this state."


"(3) For purposes of interpreting any state statute or rule, the term 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the term 'spouse' applies only to a member of such a union"; Florida Stat. Ann. ' 741.212


"It is declared to be the public policy of this state to recognize the union only of man and woman. Marriages between persons of the same sex are prohibited in this state"; Georgia Code ' 19 3 3.1

HawaiiStatute and Amendment


"Marriages between a man and a woman legal in the country where contracted shall be held legal in the courts of this State"; Haw. Rev Stat. ' 572 3


"The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples"; Hi. Const. Art 1, ' 23


"All marriages contracted without this state, which would be valid by the laws of the state or country in which the same were contracted, are valid in this state, unless they violate the public policy of this state. Marriages that violate the public policy of this state include, but are not limited to, same sex marriages, and marriages entered into under the laws of another state or country with the intent to evade the prohibitions of the marriage laws of this state"; Idaho Stat. ' 32 209



"(a) The following marriages are prohibited: ...(5) a marriage between 2 individuals of the same sex"; IL. Stat. Ch. 750 ' 5/212



"Sec. 1. (a) Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female. (b) A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is solemnized"; Ind. Code ' 31 11 1 1


Court Ruling

In April 2009, the State Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution guarntees the right of same-sex couples to marry; the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples that same month.



"The marriage contract is to be considered in law as a civil contract between two parties who are of opposite sex. All other marriages are declared to be contrary to the public policy of this state and are void"; Kansas Stat. Ann. ' 23 101



"(1) Marriage is prohibited and void: ...(d) Between members of the same sex"; Ky. Stat. ' 402.020


"Persons of the same sex may not contract marriage with each other"; La. C.C. Art. 89.

"A purported marriage between persons of the same sex violates a strong public policy of the state of Louisiana and such a marriage contracted in another state shall not be recognized in this state for any purpose, including the assertion of any right or claim as a result of the purported marriage"; La. C.C. Art. 3520


By state law, marriage licences should be issued to same-sex couples starting in September 2009.



Both state law and the state's constitution appear to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages.


Court Ruling

In Mary 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state's constitution guarantees the right to marry for same-sex couples; the state began issuing marriage licences to those couples that month.



"Sec. 1. Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting that unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children. A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state"; Mich. St. ' 551.1



"Marriage, so far as its validity in law is concerned, is a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential. Lawful marriage may be contracted only between persons of the opposite sex and only when a license has been obtained as provided by law and when the marriage is contracted in the presence of two witnesses and solemnized by one authorized, or whom one or both of the parties in good faith believe to be authorized, so to do. Marriages subsequent to April 26, 1941, not so contracted shall be null and void"; Minn. Stat. Ann. ' 517.01



"(2) Any marriage between persons of the same gender is prohibited and null and void from the beginning. Any marriage between persons of the same gender that is valid in another jurisdiction does not constitute a legal or valid marriage in Mississippi"; Mississippi Code Ann. ' 93 1 1



"1. It is the public policy of this state to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman"; Mo. Stat. 451.022



"(1) The following marriages are prohibited: ...(d) a marriage between persons of the same sex. (4) A contractual relationship entered into for the purpose of achieving a civil relationship that is prohibited under subsection (1) is void as against public policy."; Mont. Code Ann. ' 40 1 401


"Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska"; Neb. Const. Art 1, ' 29



"Only a marriage between a male and a female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state"; Nevada, Question No. 2

New Hampshire


The state legislature passed a law in 2007 which will enable the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in January 2010.

New Jersey


No explicit provision in state law that would prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages in other jurisdictions. Domestic partner legislation became effective in 2007.

New Mexico


No explicit provision in state law that would prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages in other jurisdictions; state employees may enter into domestic partnerships.

New York

Court Ruling

New York's Court of Appeals ruled in February 2008 that same-sex couples legally married in other jurisdictions are entitled to recognition of their marriages in New York.

North Carolina


"Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina"; N.C. Gen. Stat. ' 51 1.2

North Dakota


"Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between one man and one woman to which the consent of the parties is essential. The marriage relation may be entered into, maintained, annulled, or dissolved only as provided by law. A spouse refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife"; N.D. Stat. ' 14 03 01


Both state law and the state's constitution appear to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages.



"A marriage between persons of the same gender performed in another state shall not be recognized as valid and binding in this state as of the date of the marriage"; 43 Okl.St.Ann. ' 3.1



Both state law and the state's constitution appear to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages.


"It is hereby declared to be the strong and longstanding public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman. A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth"; Pa. Stat. 23 Pa. C.S.A. ' 1704

Rhode Island


No explicit provision in state law that would prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages in other jurisdictions.

South CarolinaStatute

"A marriage between persons of the same sex is void ab initio and against the public policy of this State"; S.C. Stat. ' 20 1 15

South Dakota


"Marriage is a personal relation, between a man and a woman, arising out of a civil contract to which the consent of parties capable of making it is necessary"; S.D. Stat. ' 25 1 1


"(b) The legal union in matrimony of only one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be the only recognized marriage in this state. (c) Any policy, law or judicial interpretation that purports to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one (1) man and one (1) woman is contrary to the public policy of Tennessee"; Tenn. Code Ann. ' 36 3 113



"(b) A marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union is contrary to the public policy of this state and is void in this state.

(c) The state or an agency or political subdivision of the state may not give effect to a:

(1) public act, record, or judicial proceeding that creates, recognizes, or validates a marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union in this state or in any other jurisdiction; or

(2) right or claim to any legal protection, benefit, or responsibility asserted as a result of a marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union in this state or in any other jurisdiction." TX Family ' 6.204


"The following marriages are prohibited and declared void: (5) between persons of the same sex"; Ut. Stat. ' 30 1 2


"A marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited. Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created by such marriage shall be void and unenforceable"; Va. Code ' 20 45.2



In April 2009 the state legislature enacted, over the Governor's veto, marriage equality legislation; the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in September 2009.


"Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female... A; Wa. Stat. 26.04.010 A(1) Marriages in the following cases are prohibited: (c) When the parties are persons other than a male and a female"; Wa. Stat. 26.04.020

West Virginia


"A public act, record or judicial proceeding of any other state, territory, possession or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of any other state, territory, possession or tribe or a right or claim arising from the relationship shall not be given effect by this state"; Wv. Stat. 48 1 18a



Both state law and the state's constitution appear to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages.



Both state law and the state's constitution appear to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages.

The Web of Language

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 22:19

Perhaps the highest-profile cases to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court this term are the two involving the definition of marriage. U.S. v. Windsor challenges the federal definition of marriage as ''a legal union between one man and one woman'' (Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], 1 USC § 7), and Hollingsworth v. Perry seeks a ruling on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage which reads, ''Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.'' Both cases concern who gets to write the definition of marriage, and what that definition says. The high court may check dictionary definitions in deciding these cases. It could defer to state laws defining marriage. Or it could simply write its own definition of marriage, because courts, like dictionaries, are in the business of telling us what words mean. In deciding these two marriage-equality cases, the highest court in the land is poised to become the highest dictionary in the land.

Judges, like the rest of us, turn to dictionaries when they're not sure about the meaning of a word. Or they turn to dictionaries when they're sure about a word's meaning, but they need some confirmation. Or they turn to a dictionary that defines a word the way they want it defined, rejecting as irrelevant, inadmissible, and immaterial any definitions they don't like.

The Supreme Court has referred to dictionaries in its opinions over 664 times. In recent years, almost every major case and many minor ones find the justices, or their clerks, thumbing through Webster's Third or the Oxford English Dictionary. And it's not just high-profile cases like District of Columbia v. Heller, the one about the Second Amendment, where definitions of words like bear arms came into play. While he was writing an opinion in a patent case, Chief Justice John Roberts looked up words in five different dictionaries. When was the last time you looked up a word in more than one dictionary?

Sometimes even five dictionaries aren't enough. In Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan (2012), Justice Samuel Alito checked ten dictionaries to prove that the word interpreter refers to someone who translates speech, not writing, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found four dictionaries supporting her view that interpreter can refer to a translator of documents as well. Complicating things even more, both justices relied on the same definitions of interpreter in Webster's Third and Black's Law Dictionary to support their opposing claims. It turns out that dictionary definitions need interpreting, just as the law does.

Why all this consulting of dictionaries by the courts? When a word is not defined in a statute, legal convention says that we're supposed to give that word its ordinary, customary, or plain meaning. But the 'ordinary meaning' of words is often in dispute: the recent case of Bullock v. BankChampaign (2013) turned on the meaning of defalcation, an obscure accounting term that has no plain meaning. But the meaning of more common words is often also up for grabs. That's why as many as 15 or 16 million civil lawsuits are filed every year, all of them based on conflicting interpretations of the words in our laws and contracts.

If the marriage-equality cases before the Court lead to dictionary look-ups, here's what the justices will find. Samuel Johnson (1755), the great English lexicographer, defines marriage as ''the act of uniting a man and woman for life.'' Noah Webster (1828), a lawyer by training, defines marriage as a specifically heterosexual union and moralizes at length about its religious virtues, something today's more modest lexicographers refrain from doing:

Marriage. n. s. The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

Above: Samuel Johnson's definition, from his Dictionary of the English Language (1755). Below: Noah Webster's definition, from An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828)

The Century Dictionary (1891), the first to be based on scientific and linguistic principles, stresses the civil nature of marriage as ''the legal union of a man with a woman for life''--nothing shocking there. But it's also the first dictionary to recognize that marriage is defined differently in different cultures. Marriage may include both common law marriage and ''plural marriage,'' or polygamy (not just abroad, the Century tells us, but even in the United States, as practiced by Mormons).

Above: The Century Dictionary defines marriage as heterosexual, but its definition takes an anthropological bent, recognizing the fluidity of wedlock practices across cultures. Below: The Century also has an entry defining plural marriage, both ''among the Mormons'' and in ''Oriental countries'' (a reference not to the Far East, but to Islam):

In contrast to the moralizing Webster, Black's Law Dictionary (2nd ed., 1910), confirms earlier definitions specifying heterosexual monogamy, but grounds the institution in civil law rather than religion:

Marriage . . . is the civil status of one man and one woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.

But the latest edition of Black's (9e) gives this more-neutral definition, ''the legal union of a couple as spouses,'' and a subentry for same-sex marriage refines the definition to take into account its treatment in various jurisdictions:

The ceremonial union of two people of the same sex; a marriage or marriage-like relationship between two women or two men .' The United States government and most American states do not recognize same-sex marriages, even if legally contracted in other countries such as Canada, so couples usu. do not acquire the legal status of spouses. But in some states same-sex couples have successfully challenged the laws against same-sex marriage on constitutional grounds.

In 2003, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11e), an authority frequently cited by the courts, added same-sex unions to its definition of marriage:

1a (1) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.

The Oxford English Dictionary, another favorite with judges, has also added same-sex marriage to its definition:

persons married to each other; matrimony. The term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex.

The OED also adds this definition of gay marriage (s.v.,gay), tracing the first use of the term back to 1971:

gay marriage n. relationship or bond between partners of the same sex which is likened to that between a married man and woman; (in later use chiefly) a formal marriage bond contracted between two people of the same sex, often conferring legal rights; (also) the action of entering into such a relationship; the condition of marriage between partners of the same sex.

And in 2011, the American Heritage Dictionary (5e) added both same-sex marriage and polygamy to its definition of marriage:

a. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife, and in some jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing legal obligations of each person to the other.

b. A similar union of more than two people; a polygamous marriage.

c. A union between persons that is recognized by custom or religious tradition as a marriage.

d. A common-law marriage.

Dictionaries have modified their definitions of marriage as social attitudes toward marriage have changed. That's because dictionaries record how speakers and writers have used some words some of the time in some contexts. The new definitions of marriage may help the Court decide its current cases. But it's also possible that the Court will ignore them, because, despite our reverence for dictionaries as the ultimate language authorities, lexicographers don't write dictionaries with the law in mind.

The courts are coming to realize this, if only slowly. In U.S. v. Costello, Judge Richard Posner rejected the government's dictionary-definition of to harbor as 'to shelter' (Costello had been convicted of ''harboring'' her partner, a convicted drug dealer and illegal alien, in violation of the Espionage Act): '''Sheltering' doesn't seem the right word for letting your boyfriend live with you.'' Quoting Learned Hand, he admonished the government attorneys ''not to make a fortress out of the dictionary,'' because dictionaries don't generally give enough information about how a word is used in context. Instead, Posner sought the meaning of harbor by googling the word.

The Supreme Court may be moving away from its reliance on dictionaries as well. In Bullock, the Court was asked to decide if defalcation, which means a reduction in the funds in an account, can be accidental, or if it must require criminal intent. Legal precedents and jurisprudence don't supply a clear answer to the question of intent. Turning to lexicographical authorities, Justice Stephen Breyer found that ''definitions of the term in modern and older dictionaries are unhelpful,'' some suggesting that defalcation is criminal, others that it's not, and still others that defalcation can be either innocent or criminal. So the Court wrote its own definition: because defalcation occurs in the same sentence of the Bankruptcy Act as fraud, embezzlement, and larceny, Breyer reasoned that, like these other terms, defalcation must require criminal knowledge or intent. And that is how the highest court now defines the word.

The Supreme Court's definitions are confined to legal contexts. We are still free to call translators of documents interpreters, but after Taniguchi, the law must define them as translators of speech. We can use defalcation to mean the accidental loss of funds, as when Uncle Billy misplaces the bank deposit in It's a Wonderful Life'--if we think of this unusual word at all. And we can still think that in the Second Amendment, bearing arms refers to military service, not sport or self-defense, but after Heller, it became grammatical to bear arms against a rabbit too.

The Supreme Court may choose not to define marriage at all--we'll know more in the next few weeks. But if it does rule that marriage includes same-sex marriage, or excludes it, no matter how we define marriage privately, we'll have to follow those definitions in dealing with the legal aspects of marriage, at least until the Court changes its mind and rewrites its dictionary.

UPDATE: On June 26 the US Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional and let stand the lower court decision making California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Opinions and dissents did not cite any dictionary definitions at all, referring instead at times to the "traditional" definition of marriage--i.e., an earlier cultural assumption that it was heterosexual in nature--and also to the federal statute defining marriage and the traditional authority of the states to define marriage. Lexicographers are off the hook this time. After all, who needs linguistic evidence when we all know what words mean anyway, right?

1 USC § 7 - Definition of ''marriage'' and ''spouse'' | Title 1 - General Provisions | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 21:57

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ''marriage'' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ''spouse'' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ''marriage'' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ''spouse'' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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An empty field implies a standard amendment."new" means a new section or new note, or all new text of an existing section or note."nt" means note."nt [tbl]" means note [table]."prec" means preceding."fr" means a transfer from another section."to" means a transfer to another section."omitted" means the section is omitted."repealed" means the section is repealed."nt ed change" and "ed change" - See the Editorial Classification Change Table [pdf].The Public Law field is linked to the development of the law in the Thomas system at the Library of Congress.

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1 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

The Government's Out-of-Date Definition of Writing : Behind the Dictionary : Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 21:54

There's a federal law that defines writing. Because the meaning of the words in our laws isn't always clear, the very first of our federal laws, the Dictionary Act--the name for Title 1, Chapter 1, Section 1, of the U.S. Code--defines what some of the words in the rest of the Code mean, both to guide legal interpretation and to eliminate the need to explain those words each time they appear. Writing is one of the words it defines, but the definition needs an upgrade.

The Dictionary Act consists of a single sentence, an introduction and ten short clauses defining a minute subset of our legal vocabulary, words like person, officer, signature, oath, and last but not least, writing. This is necessary because sometimes a word's legal meaning differs from its ordinary meaning. But changes in writing technology have rendered the Act's definition of writing seriously out of date.

The Dictionary Act tells us that in the law, singular includes plural and plural, singular, unless context says otherwise; the present tense includes the future; and the masculine includes the feminine (but not the other way around--so much for equal protection).

The Act specifies that signature includes "a mark when the person making the same intended it as such," and that oath includes affirmation. Apparently there's a lot of insanity in the law, because the Dictionary Act finds it necessary to specify that "the words 'insane' and 'insane person' and 'lunatic' shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis."

The Dictionary Act also tells us that "persons are corporations . . . as well as individuals," which is why AT&T is currently trying to convince the Supreme Court that it is a person entitled to "personal privacy." (The Act doesn't specify whether "insane person" includes "insane corporation.")

And then there's the definition of writing. The final provision of the Act defines writing to include "printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise." There's no mention of photocopying, or of computers and mobile phones, now the primary means of transmitting text, though presumably they and Facebook and Twitter and all the writing technologies that have yet to appear are covered by the law's blanket phrase "or otherwise."

Federal law can't be expected to keep up with every writing technology that comes along, but the newest of the six kinds of writing that the Dictionary Act does refer to--the multigraph--was invented around 1900 and has long since disappeared. No one has ever heard of multigraphing, or of manifolding, an even older and deader technology, and for most of us the mimeograph is at best a dim memory.

Congress considers writing important enough to the nation's well-being to include it in the Dictionary Act, but not important enough to bring up to date, and now, with the 2012 election looming, no member of Congress is likely to support a revision to the current definition that is semantically accurate yet contains no earmarks, and is able to win an up-or-down vote in the House and the Senate, be signed into law by the President, and survive a potential challenge in the courts.

Still, revision is an integral part of writing, and revising the Dictionary Act seems worth a try. For ideas about how to do this, we might consult some dictionaries, since most of them do a better job of defining writing than the authors of the Dictionary Act, whose first concern is not lexicography, but getting re-elected.

The originalists in Congress may prefer to go back to eighteenth-century dictionaries for the revision. If so, they'll find that Nathan Bailey (1736) defines writing as "the art or act of signifying and conveying our ideas to others by letters or characters visible to the eye." And Samuel Johnson (1755) defines it as "a legal instrument; a composure; a book; a written paper of any kind." Good definitions for the Age of Enlightenment, but not much help in the digital age.

Above: The definition of writing from Nathan Bailey's Dictionarium Britannicum, vol 2, 1736.Below: the definition from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755.

Believers in American exceptionalism may prefer a homegrown definition. The great American lexicographer Noah Webster (1828) calls writing "the act or art of forming letters and characters, on paper, wood, stone or other material, for the purpose of recording the ideas which characters and words express, or of communicating them to others by visible signs." Like the Dictionary Act, Webster enumerates some, but not all, of the possible kinds of writing (for example, both omit writing with lemon juice, a technology popular among children who hope to grow up to be spies). But Webster adds, "We hardly know which to admire most, the ingenuity or the utility of the art of writing." Including that last comment in a definition would endanger bipartisan support, since Democrats tend to think of writing as ingenious, while the official Tea Party position on writing is that it is utilitarian, but only when done by registered Tea Partiers. Socialists of course see writing as collaborative (there's one Socialist in the House), but that would bring about a world where writing equals Wikipedia, making it way worse than universal health care.

Above: Definition of writing from Noah Webster's An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.Below: the definition from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1961.

Webster's Third (1961) preserves much of Noah Webster's original, without the editorializing: writing is "the act or art of forming letters on stone, paper, wood, or other suitable medium to record the ideas which characters and words express or to communicate the ideas by visible signs." That's not likely to further the digital revolution. So far only the Oxford English Dictionary adds to the conventional view of writing as a visible medium the nonvisible writing done when computers transfer keystrokes to memory: "The process of causing an item of data to be entered into a store or recorded in or on a storage medium." As if to drive the point home, the OED's latest definitions are only available online.

Excerpt from the definition of writing from the online Oxford English Dictionary., 2011.

The problem with the Dictionary Act's definition of writing is that it is specific without being inclusive. The law identifies as writing a number of technologies that many people might not have considered to be writing at the time the statute was drafted. Unfortunately, this attempt at cutting-edge defining now seems quaint but retro: some of the technologies that the Act names are obsolete--even typewriters in America are more likely to be museum pieces or attic junk than writing machines--and it is silent on the new technologies that should be covered by a legal definition.

It's time for our lawmakers to acknowledge that, with more writing done with silicon chips than pen and ink, we're shifting away from mechanically reproducible text to writing on screen, and the forms which writing takes are not just visible representations of our ideas, but machine-readable strings of 1's and 0's, charged particles, nanoswitches flipping on and off, LEDs, pixels, and things not yet dreamt of in our philosophy. Writing is becoming less and less a physical object which can be grasped, or whose physical location can be fixed in time and space, and more and more something that can be coded and streamed, fragmented and rematerialized, zipped and expanded, mashed and remixed, and moved around with the fingertips on a touch screen. Try selling that to a bunch of legislators who think of the internet as a series of tubes.

Of course no legal definition that fits into a single clause can hope to define writing, but at some point Congress needs to bring the Dictionary Act into the twenty-first century by dropping out the antique writing technologies and accommodating the newest ones. (Since the Dictionary Act defines the present as including the future, the new definition of writing won't have to anticipate all the kinds of writing not yet invented.) But given the state of the economy and of the world, and the increasing political rancor at home, redefining writing is not a high legislative priority. So for now the Federal Code will continue to treat writing as the province of multigraphs, manifolds, typewriters, and mimeos. Perhaps by the time Congress gets around to revising Title 1, Chapter 1, Section 1, Facebook and Twitter will be long gone, the digital age will have given way to the next big thing, and writing itself may have become nothing more than an obsolete series of tubes.

Scalia Freaks Out in Gay Marriage Dissent

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Source: Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 23:04

Scalia Freaks Out in Gay Marriage DissentPosted on Jun 26, 2013Justice Antonin Scalia had what amounts to the equivalent of a legal meltdown in the dissent he wrote for the Defense of Marriage Act case, dismissing the majority opinion as ''legalistic argle-bargle'' and claiming that it promoted ''homosexual sodomy.''

''When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with 'whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter,' he wrote. ''Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it 'demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,' ante, at 23'--with an accompanying citation of Lawrence.''

Scalia also issued a stern rebuke of Justice Anthony Kennedy'--who wrote the 5-4 majority opinion'--and the justices who signed on to it, accusing them of painting gay marriage opponents as ''enemies of the human race.'' Talk about overly dramatic!

He wrote: ''But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority's judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to 'disparage,' 'injure,' 'degrade,' 'demean,' and 'humiliate' our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence'-- indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change, it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.''

Salon's Alex Pareene:

Scalia moans at length that Justice Kennedy's decision is mean to anti-gay marriage people. It is so mean to them! People who oppose gay marriage are the Real Victims here, because Justice Kennedy has accused them of demeaning gay people simply by wishing to deny them the right to marry.

...The actual lives of gay people '-- the specific rights and benefits denied them by DOMA and related legislation '-- never enter into Scalia's thinking, at all. What matters most is the hurt feelings of social conservatives, who have been accused of malice against homosexuals. (I never knew Scalia cared so deeply about what his political opponents thought of him. He seemed like a thick-skinned fellow before this.)

This is the gay-marriage version of the ''calling something racist is worse than racism'' argument currently so popular among aggrieved white conservatives. (Justice Roberts basically made this argument in the court's horrible Shelby County v. Holder decision. Calling former Confederate states racist is racist against former Confederate states!) It is the lamest of last-resort arguments, and I'm not sure how same-sex marriage opponents expect same-sex marriage advocates to respond to it. Most people who support gay marriage '-- which is now most Americans '-- believe that gay marriage bans are discriminatory and unfair, and based more on fear and disgust than any sort of reason or logic. There seems to be plenty of evidence '-- including evidence in Scalia's own history of opinions and statements '-- that most opposition to gay marriage is rooted in irrational dislike of gay people, with half-assed appeals to ''tradition'' laid on top. When people point that out, they are accused of accusing their opponents of being monsters. But I'd love to hear how one is supposed to say ''I think you're dead wrong on this moral question'' without sounding too judgey.

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Scalia's rage over Wednesday's decision'--at least in the Defense of Marriage Act case'--perhaps can best be characterized by comedian Andy Borowitz, who wrote a satirical item for The New Yorker in which he envisioned an angry Scalia getting arrested after attempting to burn down the Supreme Court over its ruling.

In a fitting touch, Borowitz wrote, ''Back at the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia's colleagues said they hoped he would get the help he needed, except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who said nothing.''

'--Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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History wiped clean for 2016: Hillary applauds those who lobbied to overturn law signed by her husband

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Source: Twitchy » US Politics

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 23:20

Bill Clinton has already offered praise for the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act he signed into law in 1996, and now it's Hillary's turn:

I applaud all the hard work of everyone who worked so tirelessly to make today possible.'--Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 26, 2013

Hillary's been working on the issue for a long time. However, to paraphrase her husband, it depends on what your definition of ''a long time'' is:

@CAAmyO Lol. @HillaryClinton feels so strongly about SSM she 1st publicly supported it only 100 days ago. Leadership!'...'--Razor (@hale_razor) June 26, 2013

With that historical speed bump removed, bring on 2016:

Hillary's in the game today! #DOMA MT @HillaryClinton: I applaud the hard work of everyone who worked so tirelessly to make today possible.'--Debra Gaynor (@debragaynor) June 26, 2013


Hillary evolves on gay marriage, mysteriously avoids getting Portman'd by lefties

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Your Money: How the Supreme Court Ruling Will Affect Same-Sex Spouses

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Archived Version

Source: NYT > Home Page

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:45

Gay couples have long had second-tier status when it came to their finances '-- many things were more complicated, like filing tax returns, and often more costly, like health insurance.

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, some of these issues will be wiped away. The ruling makes clear that married gay couples living in states that recognize their unions will immediately gain access to more than 1,000 federal benefits, like Social Security and family leave rights. Less certain is how couples living in the remaining 37 states will fare.

The murkiness exists because federal agencies generally defer to the states to determine a couple's marital status. Some agencies look to the laws in the state in which a couple now live, for instance, while others look to those in the state in which the couple were married.

''Unless the administration changes its practices and rules '-- and in a couple of cases, unless the law changes '-- then couples residing in a nonmarriage-equality state may not be recognized for some federal programs,'' said Brian Moulton, legal director at the Human Rights Campaign. ''Now that we have an opinion out, we will be anxiously awaiting what the administration will say about this and urging them to ensure that all married couples, regardless of where they live, are fully recognized.''

White House officials said that they had already begun analyzing the hundreds of relevant laws and statutes at issue and were working with the Justice Department to make benefits available as swiftly as possible.

But even if the administration were to apply the ruling broadly, gay married couples would still not be on entirely even ground with their heterosexual peers. Until other states approve the unions, couples will still need to travel to one of 13 states or the District of Columbia to get married. And they will still need to deal with a patchwork of state laws that could make it difficult to get a divorce or establish legal ties to their children.

Of the estimated 650,000 same-sex couples living together nationally, about 114,100 are legally married, according to the Williams Institute. But those figures could increase, given the court's other ruling on Wednesday that effectively removes legal obstacles to same-sex couples marrying in California.

Here's how many of them will be affected:

Social Security

Gay married couples living in states where same-sex marriage is legal can apply for Social Security benefits on their spouses' earnings records, as well as survivor benefits. The Social Security Administration typically looks to the states to determine whether a person is married, which could create problems for couples that move to a state where it is not.

But it is possible that benefits would extend to couples in certain civil unions and registered domestic partnerships. The agency's rules also say that if a person is not married '-- but would inherit property from a spouse as a married person would without a will according to their state's law '-- that person is also entitled to benefits.

''Though still untested while DOMA has been in place, we presume that under this provision partners in a civil union or comprehensive domestic partnership (or even in a less comprehensive domestic partnership but one in which you can inherit under state law, as in Wisconsin) could claim spousal benefits,'' said Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, a gay rights advocacy group

Federal Income Taxes

Married couples living in states where gay marriage is legal will be able to file joint federal returns. That should save some couples money, especially when one person earns much less or does not work at all. High-income couples with two working spouses will probably pay more.

That said, filing jointly can cause even lower-income couples to become ineligible for certain tax savings like the earned-income tax credit. Ultimately, the tax consequences will be based on where couples live, their income and their particular circumstances.

Couples who would have saved significant sums by filing jointly might want to consider amending their recent tax returns. Such amendments have been permitted for the last three tax years, according to Patricia Cain, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law and an expert on sexuality and federal tax law. More specifically, that means many taxpayers can refile for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. The three-year clock started on April 15 for people who filed on or before that date; those who received a filing extension have three years from the date they filed, she added.

What remains unclear is whether same-sex couples married in states where gay unions are legal could file joint federal returns if they moved to a state where they are not. ''There has been a lot of discussion about whether the I.R.S. could recognize someone married in Massachusetts but living in Georgia,'' Professor Cain said. ''I think they have the power to do that, but no one seems to think they will do that. I think they will wait for guidance from the White House.''

The other big question is whether couples in civil unions and registered domestic partnerships can file joint returns. The I.R.S. typically looks to the taxpayer's state of residence to determine whether someone is married. But a letter from the office of the chief counsel of the I.R.S., written in 2011, states that an opposite-sex couple in a civil union in Illinois should be treated as married for federal tax purposes. ''The I.R.S. would have the power to interpret the word spouse,'' Professor Cain said, adding that the Internal Revenue Code does not define the word.

Employee Benefits

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 26, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of states where gay marriage is permitted following the Supreme Court rulings on Wednesday. Gay couples marry in 13 states, not 12 states, and the District of Columbia.

Obama Nation

AP CEO Says Government Sources Won't Talk After Justice Department Probe

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Archived Version

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:04

WASHINGTON '-- The CEO of the Associated Press told an audience Wednesday that the Department of Justice has succeeded in muzzling government employees from talking to AP reporters in the weeks since the seizure of AP phone records was revealed.

''What I learned from our journalists should alarm everyone in this room and I think should alarm everyone in this country. The actions of the DOJ against AP are already having an impact beyond the specifics of this particular case,'' AP CEO Gary Pruitt told an audience at the National Press Club. ''Some of our longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking to us, even about stories that aren't about national security. In some cases, government employees that we once checked in with regularly will no longer speak to us by phone, and some are reluctant to meet in person.''

After it was made public that the Justice Department took AP Washington bureau phone records as part of the Obama administration's aggressive anti-leak operation, Pruitt said the fear among potential sources has spread to reporters from other outlets.

''I can tell you that this chilling effect is not just at AP, it's happening at other news organizations as well,'' he said. ''Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me it has intimidated sources from speaking to them.''

Pruitt said he believes government officials are happy to see the process of newsgathering become more difficult in Washington.

''The government may love this. I suspect that they do,'' he said. ''But beware the government that loves secrecy too much.''

During a question-and-answer session after his speech, Pruitt said he did not believe the Obama administration has had a different relationship with the press than past administrations, but he said that the Obama administration's aggressive attempts to prosecute leakers have put the administration's view of the press front and center.

News - South African groups trying to obtain arrest warrants for Obama

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:41

Two South African groups were trying to obtain arrest warrants on Wednesday for United States President Barack Obama, who will visit the country later this week.

Mohamed Hussain Vawda, of the Society for the Protection of our Constitution, said he had brought charges against Obama "of war crimes and crimes against humanity".

Meanwhile, the Muslim Lawyers' Association (MLA) made an urgent application to the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday for Obama's arrest, but the application was dismissed.

Vawda said his organisation had taken a different route to that of the MLA.

"There are so many groups of people opposing this visit... and the conduct of Mr Obama," he said.

In an affidavit stamped by the Barberton police, Vawda claimed Obama was directly and indirectly responsible for killing and injuring more than 3000 people, including women and 176 children, in countries which "have been no threat to the US", such as Pakistan and Syria.

He accused Obama of ordering or sanctioning the use of unmanned aerial drones to kill people the US government considered a threat to the country's safety.

"These attacks are not authorised in terms of orders issued in a court of law."

Vawda said the victims were killed on the basis of "mere accusations levelled against them".

"There is no judicial oversight to determine if these persons are indeed guilty of any alleged crimes. They are deprived of a hearing. There is no accountability at all, just simple brazen murder."

Vawda claimed the targets were mainly followers of the Islamic faith, and said this amounted to genocide.

"The urgency of this matter must be dealt with seriously," he said.

He said his attorney was due to meet the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Wednesday to take the case further.

NPA spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke said she was not aware of Vawda's affidavit or case.

"He has not met anyone at the NPA. We don't know about this case, we have no awareness of this".

Eyewitness News reported that, in dismissing the Muslim Lawyers' Association's (MLA) application, the High Court in Pretoria found that the case was not urgent, but did not rule on its merits.

Obama arrives in South Africa on Friday as part of a three-state Africa tour.

"We're very disappointed in the decision, and be that as it may, we remain hopeful that on review, we'll be successful," MLA spokesman Yousha Tayob told the broadcaster.

A campaign to arrest Obama for "crimes against humanity" was conducted in Ireland ahead of his visit there in May, according to the #Arrest Obama#May 22 website.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair is also the subject of an arrest campaign.

A website is offering a reward to anyone who attempts a peaceful citizen's arrest of Blair for "crimes against peace", and said it wanted to show him, among others, that "despite his requests for people to 'move on' from Iraq, the mass murder he committed will not be forgotten".

The Society for the Protection of our Constitution also sought an arrest warrant for Blair when he visited South Africa in 2012.

In November 2011, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal found Blair and former US president George W Bush guilty in absentia of crimes against humanity and genocide for their roles in the Iraq War.

The court acknowledged that the verdict was non-enforceable, but the findings were reported to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

At the time The Daily Maverick reported that the official UK government inquiry into the Iraq War, the Chilcot Inquiry, was set to release a report late this year.


Marc Rich, Pardoned Financier, Dies at 78 -

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:51

Marc Rich, the former fugitive oil trader and founder of the commodities trading giant Glencore International, died on Wednesday in Lucerne, Switzerland. He was 78.

The cause was a brain stroke at a hospital, according to a statement from his spokesman.

Mr. Rich courted controversy throughout his colorful career, and was indicted by the United States in the early 1980s on charges of tax evasion and illegally trading with Iran.

After being one of the country's most famous fugitives for the next two decades, Mr. Rich eventually received a pardon from President Bill Clinton on his last day in office in early 2001.

The pardon brought the oil trader back into the headlines after it was revealed that Mr. Rich's former wife, Denise Eisenberg, had given donations to the Democratic Party in 2000, according to official records.

Despite his notoriety, Mr. Rich, whose net worth was estimated at $2.5 billion, continued to work in the commodities industry, and founded Marc Rich & Company, the precursor of Glencore International, the commodities trader, which he later sold to the company's management team in 1993.

Mr. Rich was born in Antwerp, Belgium, but moved to New York with his family to escape the rise of the Nazis in Germany.

He began his career as a metals trader in the early 1970s, and gained prominence during the 1973-4 oil crisis when he circumvented the Arab oil embargo to sell oil to American companies in desperate need of supplies at increasingly high prices.

He continued to buy oil from Iran after the country's 1979 Islamic revolution despite American sanctions against the country, and remained unapologetic about his activities.

''They respected the contracts,'' Mr. Rich told Daniel Ammann, a Swiss journalist, in 2009, in reference to Iran's national oil company. ''We performed a service for them. We bought the oil, we handled the transport and we sold it. They couldn't do it themselves, so we were able to do it.''

His clients also included the apartheid regime of South Africa and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

From 1973, Mr. Rich was similarly one of Israel's most important oil suppliers for more than 20 years, and he held Israeli, Spanish and Belgian citizenship by the end of his life.

In 1983, he fled from the United States to Switzerland after he was indicted on charges of fraud, trading with Iran and evading almost $50 million in taxes. All told, the offenses would have led to more than 300 years in prison.

Over the years, Mr. Rich claimed that American authorities had attempted several times to bring him to justice, including a plan, which was never carried out, to use a helicopter in Switzerland to capture him, according to a booked published by Mr. Ammann in 2009.

After leaving the United States and renouncing his citizenship, Mr. Rich sold many of his domestic business interests, including 20th Century Fox to Rupert Murdoch for $250 million in 1984.

Glencore, the commodities company he founded, recently acquired the mining company Xstrata for around $30 billion, and has become a global giant in a number of commodities, including oil, iron ore and coal.

''We are saddened to hear of the death of Marc. He was a friend and one of the great pioneers of the commodities trading industry,'' Glencore-Xstrata's current chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, said in a statement. ''Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with his family at this time.''

He is expected to be buried in Israel on Thursday. He is survived by two daughters, Ilona Schacter-Rich and Danielle Kilstock Rich.

Agenda 21

Climate Change Scientists Kick The Fear Mongering Into Overdrive, Claim Global Warming Like ''Four Hiroshima Bombs Every Second'''...

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:29

Just in time for Obama's big speech on global warming.

Via French Tribune:

Climate scientists have given figures of rising and changing climate. These figures are almost like a warning that states that escalating temperatures are equivalent to four Hiroshima bombs in a week.

They've completely attributed the condition to human actions. This is not an unknown fact that humans have been emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in this era. This is far more emissions released during any period in history.

''All these heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere mean '... our planet has been building up heat at the rate of about four Hiroshima bombs every second '' consider that going continuously for several decades'', John Cook, Climate Communication Fellow from the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland said.

HT: Rare

Obama to unveil first-ever US climate change strategy

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Archived Version

Source: The Guardian World News

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:27

Barack Obama will be using his executive authority for the proposals, meaning they would not need approval from Congress. Photograph: Timur Emek/Getty Images

Barack Obama is due to map out America's first climate change strategy on Tuesday, cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, shoring up coastlines against flooding and sea level rise, and helping advance an international climate deal, White House officials said.

The much-anticipated speech, due at Georgetown University on Tuesday afternoon, will for the first time set out a course of actions designed to reduce the emissions that cause climate change, as well as protect Americans from its worst consequences. They offer the first clear view of how Obama intends to make good on his sweeping promises to act on climate change in his second term.

Administration officials, briefing reporters ahead of the speech, said Obama would reiterate his commitment to cutting America's greenhouse gas emissions 17% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. The president would use his executive authority to initiate a number of "steady and responsible steps" in order to meet that target.

There was no mention of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions. White House officials have flatly rejected a "carbon tax", and there was no indication whether Obama would support a version of a carbon tax now pending in the Senate.

Officials also made repeated references to "homegrown energy" and Obama's "all of the above" energy approach, suggesting a continued place for natural gas and fracking in the president's climate strategy.

The most significant element of Tuesday's speech is a commitment from Obama to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to draw up new regulations limiting emissions from power plants '' the single biggest source of carbon pollution.

"The president will be issuing a presidential memorandum directing the EPA to start the important work they are going to do, not only on new but existing coal plants as well," an official said. "The point here is that we are beginning the process."

Obama will also propose new energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances by the end of the decade, as well as an expansion of solar and wind energy projects on public lands, the officials said. The president would also announce $8bn in loan guarantees for carbon capture projects and other technologies.

The president will also announce measures to protect Americans from flooding, sea level rise and other effects of climate change, including a taskforce that will help ensure climate change is factored into future planning decisions.

Obama is highly unlikely, however, to touch on one of the biggest environmental decisions ahead of him '' the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Obama claimed climate change was one of his core issues in his inauguration address. He stoked expectations even further in his State of the Union address in February, telling Congress to act on climate change '' or he would.

Since then, however, there have been mixed signals from the White House on climate change. The White House delayed a number of environmental rules, and Obama told supporters at a number of fundraisers that the politics of climate change were hard.

It was clear, meanwhile, that the Republican-dominated Congress had no intention of taking up climate change. In the run-up to Tuesday's speech, the house speaker, John Boehner, disparaged Obama for even thinking of proposing new climate rules, telling a press conference: "I think it would be absolutely crazy."

Industry lobby groups also lined up to oppose the plan. Seven governors wrote to Obama on Monday asking him to abandon his effort, in an initiative sponsored by an organisation called Count on Coal.

Obama, however, was going ahead, the officials said. "At this point the president is prepared to act." They said none of the actions in Obama's climate strategy would require approval from Congress '' leaving the president free to rely on his existing authority and those of government agencies.

The officials said the White House hoped to propose the rules for existing power plants by June 2014, finalising the rules one year later. They said proposed rules for new plants could be forthcoming as early as September.

That timetable could set in place mechanisms to deliver meaningful cuts in America's greenhouse gas emissions by the time Obama leaves office.

But there are bound to be legal and political challenges, and it was not immediately clear how stringent the new power plant rules would be. Power plants are responsible for 40% of America's carbon dioxide emissions, and about a third of greenhouse gas emissions overall.

Environmental groups had been pressing Obama for months to instruct the EPA to draw up rules for existing plants. There was positive response to initial White House briefings on the plan.

"They are following through on what we asked for," said Kevin Kennedy, who directs the US climate programme for the World Resources Institute. "You can't be serious about reducing US greenhouse gas emissions if you are not going to take on existing power plants."

The Sierra Club, which has pushed Obama hard to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, was effusive. "This is the change Americans have been waiting for on climate. President Obama is finally putting action behind his words," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club '' although he went on to ask the president to stop the pipeline.

It was unclear before the speech whether the proposed EPA regulations would go far enough to meeting America's 17% target, which was Obama's commitment to the 2009 United Nations climate change summit at Copenhagen.

Most analysts at the time said the target was too low to avoid serious climate change. There was even greater uncertainty about whether America would be on track for the even more ambitious mid-century target of an 80% cut in emissions. That would depend on the stringency of the EPA measures, and how quickly the new rules could be adopted, Kennedy said.

Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan by Guardian


Fact Sheet: President Obama's Climate Action Plan

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Archived Version

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:40

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2013

President Obama's Plan to Cut Carbon PollutionTaking Action for Our Kids

We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that's not polluted or damaged, and by taking an all- of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids' health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. Building on efforts underway in states and communities across the country, the President's plan cuts carbon pollution that causes climate change and threatens public health. Today, we have limits in place for arsenic, mercury and lead, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want '' pollution that is contributing to higher rates of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe floods and heat waves.

Cutting carbon pollution will help keep our air and water clean and protect our kids. The President's plan will also spark innovation across a wide variety of energy technologies, resulting in cleaner forms of American- made energy and cutting our dependence on foreign oil. Combined with the President's other actions to increase the efficiency of our cars and household appliances, the President's plan will help American families cut energy waste, lowering their gas and utility bills. In addition, the plan steps up our global efforts to lead on climate change and invests to strengthen our roads, bridges, and shorelines so we can better protect people's homes, businesses, and way of life from severe weather.

While no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, we have a moral obligation to act on behalf of future generations. Climate change represents one of the major challenges of the 21st century, but as a nation of innovators, we can and will meet this challenge in a way that advances our economy, our environment, and public health all at the same time. That is why the President's comprehensive plan takes action to:

Cuts Carbon Pollution in America. In 2012, U.S. carbon pollution from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades even as the economy continued to grow. To build on this progress, the Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution'--just like we have for other toxins like mercury and arsenic '--so we protect the health of our children and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills. For example, the plan:

Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;

Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;

Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project'--like wind and solar '' on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes; designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting; and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;

Expands the President's Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;

Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 '' more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector '' through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;

Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018; and

Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.

Prepares the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country. Building on progress over the last four years, the plan:

Directs agencies to support local climate-resilient investment by removing barriers or counterproductive policies and modernizing programs; and establishes a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the Federal government can take to help strengthen communities on the ground;

Pilots innovative strategies in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts; and building on a new, consistent flood risk reduction standard established for the Sandy-affected region, agencies will update flood-risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects;

Launches an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change through a public-private partnership with the healthcare industry;

Maintains agricultural productivity by delivering tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and landowners; and helps communities prepare for drought and wildfire by launching a National Drought Resilience Partnership and by expanding and prioritizing forest- and rangeland- restoration efforts to make areas less vulnerable to catastrophic fire; and

Provides climate preparedness tools and information needed by state, local, and private-sector leaders through a centralized ''toolkit'' and a new Climate Data Initiative.

Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change. Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone. That is why it is imperative for the United States to couple action at home with leadership internationally. America must help forge a truly global solution to this global challenge by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations. For example, the plan:

Commits to expand major new and existing international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives with China, India, and other major emitting countries;

Leads global sector public financing towards cleaner energy by calling for the end of U.S. government support for public financing of new coal-fired powers plants overseas, except for the most efficient coal technology available in the world's poorest countries, or facilities deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies; and

Strengthens global resilience to climate change by expanding government and local community planning and response capacities.

Download the Full PDF ReportView the Infographic

Presidential Memorandum -- Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards

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Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 00:15

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2013


SUBJECT: Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards

With every passing day, the urgency of addressing climate change intensifies. I made clear in my State of the Union address that my Administration is committed to reducing carbon pollution that causes climate change, preparing our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speeding the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already undertaken such action with regard to carbon pollution from the transportation sector, issuing Clean Air Act standards limiting the greenhouse gas emissions of new cars and light trucks through 2025 and heavy duty trucks through 2018. The EPA standards were promulgated in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, which, at the same time, established fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks as part of a harmonized national program. Both agencies engaged constructively with auto manufacturers, labor unions, States, and other stakeholders, and the resulting standards have received broad support. These standards will reduce the Nation's carbon pollution and dependence on oil, and also lead to greater innovation, economic growth, and cost savings for American families.

The United States now has the opportunity to address carbon pollution from the power sector, which produces nearly 40 percent of such pollution. As a country, we can continue our progress in reducing power plant pollution, thereby improving public health and protecting the environment, while supplying the reliable, affordable power needed for economic growth and advancing cleaner energy technologies, such as efficient natural gas, nuclear power, renewables such as wind and solar energy, and clean coal technology.

Investments in these technologies will also strengthen our economy, as the clean and efficient production and use of electricity will ensure that it remains reliable and affordable for American businesses and families.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to reduce power plant carbon pollution, building on actions already underway in States and the power sector, I hereby direct the following:

Section1. Flexible Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants. (a) Carbon Pollution Standards for Future Power Plants. On April 13, 2012, the EPA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled "Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units," 77 Fed. Reg. 22392. In light of the information conveyed in more than two million comments on that proposal and ongoing developments in the industry, you have indicated EPA's intention to issue a new proposal. I therefore direct you to issue a new proposal by no later than September 20, 2013. I further direct you to issue a final rule in a timely fashion after considering all public comments, as appropriate.

(b) Carbon Pollution Regulation for Modified, Reconstructed, and Existing Power Plants. To ensure continued progress in reducing harmful carbon pollution, I direct you to use your authority under sections 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to issue standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, that address carbon pollution from modified, reconstructed, and existing power plants and build on State efforts to move toward a cleaner power sector. In addition, I request that you:

(i) issue proposed carbon pollution standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, for modified, reconstructed, and existing power plants by no later than June 1, 2014;

(ii) issue final standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, for modified, reconstructed, and existing power plants by no later than June 1, 2015; and

(iii) include in the guidelines addressing existing power plants a requirement that States submit to EPA the implementation plans required under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations by no later than June 30, 2016.

(c) Development of Standards, Regulations, or Guidelines for Power Plants. In developing standards, regulations, or guidelines pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and consistent with Executive Orders 12866 of September 30, 1993, as amended, and 13563 of January 18, 2011, you shall ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that you:

(i) launch this effort through direct engagement with States, as they will play a central role in establishing and implementing standards for existing power plants, and, at the same time, with leaders in the power sector, labor leaders, non-governmental organizations, other experts, tribal officials, other stakeholders, and members of the public, on issues informing the design of the program;

(ii) consistent with achieving regulatory objectives and taking into account other relevant environmental regulations and policies that affect the power sector, tailor regulations and guidelines to reduce costs;

(iii) develop approaches that allow the use of market-based instruments, performance standards, and other regulatory flexibilities;

(iv) ensure that the standards enable continued reliance on a range of energy sources and technologies;

(v) ensure that the standards are developed and implemented in a manner consistent with the continued provision of reliable and affordable electric power for consumers and businesses; and

(vi) work with the Department of Energy and other Federal and State agencies to promote the reliable and affordable provision of electric power through the continued development and deployment of cleaner technologies and by increasing energy efficiency, including through stronger appliance efficiency standards and other measures.

Sec. 2. General Provisions. (a) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law, including international trade obligations, and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to a department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(d) You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


U.S. Natural Gas Prices

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:54

Notes: Prices are in nominal dollars. Gas volumes delivered for use as vehicle fuel are included in the State annual totals through 2009 but not in the State monthly components. Through 2001, electric power price data are for regulated electric utilities only; beginning in 2002, data also include nonregulated members of the electric power sector. See Definitions, Sources, and Notes link above for more information on this table.

Remarks by the President on Climate Change

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Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 00:14

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2013

Georgetown UniversityWashington, D.C.

1:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you, Georgetown! Thank you so much. Everybody, please be seated. And my first announcement today is that you should all take off your jackets. (Laughter.) I'm going to do the same. (Applause.) It's not that sexy, now. (Laughter.)

It is good to be back on campus, and it is a great privilege to speak from the steps of this historic hall that welcomed Presidents going back to George Washington.

I want to thank your president, President DeGioia, who's here today. (Applause.) I want to thank him for hosting us. I want to thank the many members of my Cabinet and my administration. I want to thank Leader Pelosi and the members of Congress who are here. We are very grateful for their support.

And I want to say thank you to the Hoyas in the house for having me back. (Applause.) It was important for me to speak directly to your generation, because the decisions that we make now and in the years ahead will have a profound impact on the world that all of you inherit.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 did a live broadcast from lunar orbit. So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders -- the first humans to orbit the moon -'' described what they saw, and they read Scripture from the Book of Genesis to the rest of us back here. And later that night, they took a photo that would change the way we see and think about our world.

It was an image of Earth -'' beautiful; breathtaking; a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests, and brown mountains brushed with white clouds, rising over the surface of the moon.

And while the sight of our planet from space might seem routine today, imagine what it looked like to those of us seeing our home, our planet, for the first time. Imagine what it looked like to children like me. Even the astronauts were amazed. ''It makes you realize,'' Lovell would say, ''just what you have back there on Earth.''

And around the same time we began exploring space, scientists were studying changes taking place in the Earth's atmosphere. Now, scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air. That wasn't news. But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable. And what they've found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically.

That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.

The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years. Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record -- faster than most models had predicted it would. These are facts.

Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely by climate change. Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times. But we also know that in a world that's warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet. The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago -- that didn't cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.

The potential impacts go beyond rising sea levels. Here at home, 2012 was the warmest year in our history. Midwest farms were parched by the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, and then drenched by the wettest spring on record. Western wildfires scorched an area larger than the state of Maryland. Just last week, a heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures into the 90s.

And we know that the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives and lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost businesses, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. In fact, those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don't have time to deny it -- they're busy dealing with it. Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons, and states and federal governments have to figure out how to budget for that. I had to sit on a meeting with the Department of Interior and Agriculture and some of the rest of my team just to figure out how we're going to pay for more and more expensive fire seasons.

Farmers see crops wilted one year, washed away the next; and the higher food prices get passed on to you, the American consumer. Mountain communities worry about what smaller snowpacks will mean for tourism -- and then, families at the bottom of the mountains wonder what it will mean for their drinking water. Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in insurance premiums, state and local taxes, and the costs of rebuilding and disaster relief.

So the question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science -- of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements -- has put all that to rest. Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest. They've acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.

So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren.

As a President, as a father, and as an American, I'm here to say we need to act. (Applause.)

I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that's beyond fixing. And that's why, today, I'm announcing a new national climate action plan, and I'm here to enlist your generation's help in keeping the United States of America a leader -- a global leader -- in the fight against climate change.

This plan builds on progress that we've already made. Last year, I took office -- the year that I took office, my administration pledged to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent from their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. And we rolled up our sleeves and we got to work. We doubled the electricity we generated from wind and the sun. We doubled the mileage our cars will get on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. (Applause.)

Here at Georgetown, I unveiled my strategy for a secure energy future. And thanks to the ingenuity of our businesses, we're starting to produce much more of our own energy. We're building the first nuclear power plants in more than three decades -- in Georgia and South Carolina. For the first time in 18 years, America is poised to produce more of our own oil than we buy from other nations. And today, we produce more natural gas than anybody else. So we're producing energy. And these advances have grown our economy, they've created new jobs, they can't be shipped overseas -- and, by the way, they've also helped drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly 20 years. Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America. (Applause.)

So it's a good start. But the reason we're all here in the heat today is because we know we've got more to do.

In my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to come up with a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one that Republican and Democratic senators worked on together a few years ago. And I still want to see that happen. I'm willing to work with anyone to make that happen.

But this is a challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock. It demands our attention now. And this is my plan to meet it -- a plan to cut carbon pollution; a plan to protect our country from the impacts of climate change; and a plan to lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate. (Applause.)

This plan begins with cutting carbon pollution by changing the way we use energy -- using less dirty energy, using more clean energy, wasting less energy throughout our economy.

Forty-three years ago, Congress passed a law called the Clean Air Act of 1970. (Applause.) It was a good law. The reasoning behind it was simple: New technology can protect our health by protecting the air we breathe from harmful pollution. And that law passed the Senate unanimously. Think about that -- it passed the Senate unanimously. It passed the House of Representatives 375 to 1. I don't know who the one guy was -- I haven't looked that up. (Laughter.) You can barely get that many votes to name a post office these days. (Laughter.)

It was signed into law by a Republican President. It was later strengthened by another Republican President. This used to be a bipartisan issue.

Six years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants covered by that same Clean Air Act. (Applause.) And they required the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, to determine whether they're a threat to our health and welfare. In 2009, the EPA determined that they are a threat to both our health and our welfare in many different ways -- from dirtier air to more common heat waves -- and, therefore, subject to regulation.

Today, about 40 percent of America's carbon pollution comes from our power plants. But here's the thing: Right now, there are no federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution that those plants can pump into our air. None. Zero. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free. That's not right, that's not safe, and it needs to stop. (Applause.)

So today, for the sake of our children, and the health and safety of all Americans, I'm directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. (Applause.)

I'm also directing the EPA to develop these standards in an open and transparent way, to provide flexibility to different states with different needs, and build on the leadership that many states, and cities, and companies have already shown. In fact, many power companies have already begun modernizing their plants, and creating new jobs in the process. Others have shifted to burning cleaner natural gas instead of dirtier fuel sources.

Nearly a dozen states have already implemented or are implementing their own market-based programs to reduce carbon pollution. More than 25 have set energy efficiency targets. More than 35 have set renewable energy targets. Over 1,000 mayors have signed agreements to cut carbon pollution. So the idea of setting higher pollution standards for our power plants is not new. It's just time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the country. And that's what we intend to do. (Applause.)

Now, what you'll hear from the special interests and their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush the economy, and basically end American free enterprise as we know it. And the reason I know you'll hear those things is because that's what they said every time America sets clear rules and better standards for our air and our water and our children's health. And every time, they've been wrong.

For example, in 1970, when we decided through the Clean Air Act to do something about the smog that was choking our cities -- and, by the way, most young people here aren't old enough to remember what it was like, but when I was going to school in 1979-1980 in Los Angeles, there were days where folks couldn't go outside. And the sunsets were spectacular because of all the pollution in the air.

But at the time when we passed the Clean Air Act to try to get rid of some of this smog, some of the same doomsayers were saying new pollution standards will decimate the auto industry. Guess what -- it didn't happen. Our air got cleaner.

In 1990, when we decided to do something about acid rain, they said our electricity bills would go up, the lights would go off, businesses around the country would suffer -- I quote -- ''a quiet death.'' None of it happened, except we cut acid rain dramatically.

See, the problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is that it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity. (Applause.) These critics seem to think that when we ask our businesses to innovate and reduce pollution and lead, they can't or they won't do it. They'll just kind of give up and quit. But in America, we know that's not true. Look at our history.

When we restricted cancer-causing chemicals in plastics and leaded fuel in our cars, it didn't end the plastics industry or the oil industry. American chemists came up with better substitutes. When we phased out CFCs -- the gases that were depleting the ozone layer -- it didn't kill off refrigerators or air-conditioners or deodorant. (Laughter.) American workers and businesses figured out how to do it better without harming the environment as much.

The fuel standards that we put in place just a few years ago didn't cripple automakers. The American auto industry retooled, and today, our automakers are selling the best cars in the world at a faster rate than they have in five years -- with more hybrid, more plug-in, more fuel-efficient cars for everybody to choose from. (Applause.)

So the point is, if you look at our history, don't bet against American industry. Don't bet against American workers. Don't tell folks that we have to choose between the health of our children or the health of our economy. (Applause.)

The old rules may say we can't protect our environment and promote economic growth at the same time, but in America, we've always used new technologies -- we've used science; we've used research and development and discovery to make the old rules obsolete.

Today, we use more clean energy ''- more renewables and natural gas -'' which is supporting hundreds of thousands of good jobs. We waste less energy, which saves you money at the pump and in your pocketbooks. And guess what -- our economy is 60 percent bigger than it was 20 years ago, while our carbon emissions are roughly back to where they were 20 years ago.

So, obviously, we can figure this out. It's not an either/or; it's a both/and. We've got to look after our children; we have to look after our future; and we have to grow the economy and create jobs. We can do all of that as long as we don't fear the future; instead we seize it. (Applause.)

And, by the way, don't take my word for it -- recently, more than 500 businesses, including giants like GM and Nike, issued a Climate Declaration, calling action on climate change ''one of the great economic opportunities of the 21st century.'' Walmart is working to cut its carbon pollution by 20 percent and transition completely to renewable energy. (Applause.) Walmart deserves a cheer for that. (Applause.) But think about it. Would the biggest company, the biggest retailer in America -- would they really do that if it weren't good for business, if it weren't good for their shareholders?

A low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come. And I want America to build that engine. I want America to build that future -- right here in the United States of America. That's our task. (Applause.)

Now, one thing I want to make sure everybody understands -- this does not mean that we're going to suddenly stop producing fossil fuels. Our economy wouldn't run very well if it did. And transitioning to a clean energy economy takes time. But when the doomsayers trot out the old warnings that these ambitions will somehow hurt our energy supply, just remind them that America produced more oil than we have in 15 years. What is true is that we can't just drill our way out of the energy and climate challenge that we face. (Applause.) That's not possible.

I put forward in the past an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but our energy strategy must be about more than just producing more oil. And, by the way, it's certainly got to be about more than just building one pipeline. (Applause.)

Now, I know there's been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline, the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf. And the State Department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal. That's how it's always been done. But I do want to be clear: Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. (Applause.) The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It's relevant.

Now, even as we're producing more domestic oil, we're also producing more cleaner-burning natural gas than any other country on Earth. And, again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but let me say this: We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.

Federally supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas. And now, we'll keep working with the industry to make drilling safer and cleaner, to make sure that we're not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work modernizing our natural gas infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy.

The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs. It's lowering many families' heat and power bills. And it's the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the technology required for the even cleaner energy economy of the future.

And that brings me to the second way that we're going to reduce carbon pollution -- by using more clean energy. Over the past four years, we've doubled the electricity that we generate from zero-carbon wind and solar power. (Applause.) And that means jobs -- jobs manufacturing the wind turbines that now generate enough electricity to power nearly 15 million homes; jobs installing the solar panels that now generate more than four times the power at less cost than just a few years ago.

I know some Republicans in Washington dismiss these jobs, but those who do need to call home -- because 75 percent of all wind energy in this country is generated in Republican districts. (Laughter.) And that may explain why last year, Republican governors in Kansas and Oklahoma and Iowa -- Iowa, by the way, a state that harnesses almost 25 percent of its electricity from the wind -- helped us in the fight to extend tax credits for wind energy manufacturers and producers. (Applause.) Tens of thousands good jobs were on the line, and those jobs were worth the fight.

And countries like China and Germany are going all in in the race for clean energy. I believe Americans build things better than anybody else. I want America to win that race, but we can't win it if we're not in it. (Applause.)

So the plan I'm announcing today will help us double again our energy from wind and sun. Today, I'm directing the Interior Department to green light enough private, renewable energy capacity on public lands to power more than 6 million homes by 2020. (Applause.)

The Department of Defense -- the biggest energy consumer in America -- will install 3 gigawatts of renewable power on its bases, generating about the same amount of electricity each year as you'd get from burning 3 million tons of coal. (Applause.)

And because billions of your tax dollars continue to still subsidize some of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world, my budget once again calls for Congress to end the tax breaks for big oil companies, and invest in the clean-energy companies that will fuel our future. (Applause.)

Now, the third way to reduce carbon pollution is to waste less energy -- in our cars, our homes, our businesses. The fuel standards we set over the past few years mean that by the middle of the next decade, the cars and trucks we buy will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. That means you'll have to fill up half as often; we'll all reduce carbon pollution. And we built on that success by setting the first-ever standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses and vans. And in the coming months, we'll partner with truck makers to do it again for the next generation of vehicles.

Meanwhile, the energy we use in our homes and our businesses and our factories, our schools, our hospitals -- that's responsible for about one-third of our greenhouse gases. The good news is simple upgrades don't just cut that pollution; they put people to work -- manufacturing and installing smarter lights and windows and sensors and appliances. And the savings show up in our electricity bills every month -- forever. That's why we've set new energy standards for appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. And today, our businesses are building better ones that will also cut carbon pollution and cut consumers' electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars.

That means, by the way, that our federal government also has to lead by example. I'm proud that federal agencies have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent since I took office. But we can do even better than that. So today, I'm setting a new goal: Your federal government will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources within the next seven years. We are going to set that goal. (Applause.)

We'll also encourage private capital to get off the sidelines and get into these energy-saving investments. And by the end of the next decade, these combined efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings will reduce carbon pollution by at least three billion tons. That's an amount equal to what our entire energy sector emits in nearly half a year.

So I know these standards don't sound all that sexy, but think of it this way: That's the equivalent of planting 7.6 billion trees and letting them grow for 10 years -- all while doing the dishes. It is a great deal and we need to be doing it. (Applause.)

So using less dirty energy, transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, wasting less energy through our economy is where we need to go. And this plan will get us there faster. But I want to be honest -- this will not get us there overnight. The hard truth is carbon pollution has built up in our atmosphere for decades now. And even if we Americans do our part, the planet will slowly keep warming for some time to come. The seas will slowly keep rising and storms will get more severe, based on the science. It's like tapping the brakes of a car before you come to a complete stop and then can shift into reverse. It's going to take time for carbon emissions to stabilize.

So in the meantime, we're going to need to get prepared. And that's why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready. Miami Beach is hardening its water supply against seeping saltwater. We're partnering with the state of Florida to restore Florida's natural clean water delivery system -- the Everglades. The overwhelmingly Republican legislature in Texas voted to spend money on a new water development bank as a long-running drought cost jobs and forced a town to truck in water from the outside.

New York City is fortifying its 520 miles of coastline as an insurance policy against more frequent and costly storms. And what we've learned from Hurricane Sandy and other disasters is that we've got to build smarter, more resilient infrastructure that can protect our homes and businesses, and withstand more powerful storms. That means stronger seawalls, natural barriers, hardened power grids, hardened water systems, hardened fuel supplies.

So the budget I sent Congress includes funding to support communities that build these projects, and this plan directs federal agencies to make sure that any new project funded with taxpayer dollars is built to withstand increased flood risks.

And we'll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers. And we'll also open our climate data and NASA climate imagery to the public, to make sure that cities and states assess risk under different climate scenarios, so that we don't waste money building structures that don't withstand the next storm.

So that's what my administration will do to support the work already underway across America, not only to cut carbon pollution, but also to protect ourselves from climate change. But as I think everybody here understands, no nation can solve this challenge alone -- not even one as powerful as ours. And that's why the final part of our plan calls on America to lead -- lead international efforts to combat a changing climate. (Applause.)

And make no mistake -- the world still looks to America to lead. When I spoke to young people in Turkey a few years ago, the first question I got wasn't about the challenges that part of the world faces. It was about the climate challenge that we all face, and America's role in addressing it. And it was a fair question, because as the world's largest economy and second-largest carbon emitter, as a country with unsurpassed ability to drive innovation and scientific breakthroughs, as the country that people around the world continue to look to in times of crisis, we've got a vital role to play. We can't stand on the sidelines. We've got a unique responsibility. And the steps that I've outlined today prove that we're willing to meet that responsibility.

Though all America's carbon pollution fell last year, global carbon pollution rose to a record high. That's a problem. Developing countries are using more and more energy, and tens of millions of people entering a global middle class naturally want to buy cars and air-conditioners of their own, just like us. Can't blame them for that. And when you have conversations with poor countries, they'll say, well, you went through these stages of development -- why can't we?

But what we also have to recognize is these same countries are also more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than we are. They don't just have as much to lose, they probably have more to lose.

Developing nations with some of the fastest-rising levels of carbon pollution are going to have to take action to meet this challenge alongside us. They're watching what we do, but we've got to make sure that they're stepping up to the plate as well. We compete for business with them, but we also share a planet. And we have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we're going to suffer the consequences -- together.

So to help more countries transitioning to cleaner sources of energy and to help them do it faster, we're going to partner with our private sector to apply private sector technological know-how in countries that transition to natural gas. We've mobilized billions of dollars in private capital for clean energy projects around the world.

Today, I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas -- (applause) -- unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort.

And I'm directing my administration to launch negotiations toward global free trade in environmental goods and services, including clean energy technology, to help more countries skip past the dirty phase of development and join a global low-carbon economy. They don't have to repeat all the same mistakes that we made. (Applause.)

We've also intensified our climate cooperation with major emerging economies like India and Brazil, and China -- the world's largest emitter. So, for example, earlier this month, President Xi of China and I reached an important agreement to jointly phase down our production and consumption of dangerous hydrofluorocarbons, and we intend to take more steps together in the months to come. It will make a difference. It's a significant step in the reduction of carbon emissions. (Applause.)

And finally, my administration will redouble our efforts to engage our international partners in reaching a new global agreement to reduce carbon pollution through concrete action. (Applause.)

Four years ago, in Copenhagen, every major country agreed, for the first time, to limit carbon pollution by 2020. Two years ago, we decided to forge a new agreement beyond 2020 that would apply to all countries, not just developed countries.

What we need is an agreement that's ambitious -- because that's what the scale of the challenge demands. We need an inclusive agreement -'' because every country has to play its part. And we need an agreement that's flexible -- because different nations have different needs. And if we can come together and get this right, we can define a sustainable future for your generation.

So that's my plan. (Applause.) The actions I've announced today should send a strong signal to the world that America intends to take bold action to reduce carbon pollution. We will continue to lead by the power of our example, because that's what the United States of America has always done.

I am convinced this is the fight America can, and will, lead in the 21st century. And I'm convinced this is a fight that America must lead. But it will require all of us to do our part. We'll need scientists to design new fuels, and we'll need farmers to grow new fuels. We'll need engineers to devise new technologies, and we'll need businesses to make and sell those technologies. We'll need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components, but we'll also need builders to hammer into place the foundations for a new clean energy era.

We're going to need to give special care to people and communities that are unsettled by this transition -- not just here in the United States but around the world. And those of us in positions of responsibility, we'll need to be less concerned with the judgment of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of posterity. (Applause.) Because you and your children, and your children's children, will have to live with the consequences of our decisions.

As I said before, climate change has become a partisan issue, but it hasn't always been. It wasn't that long ago that Republicans led the way on new and innovative policies to tackle these issues. Richard Nixon opened the EPA. George H.W. Bush declared -- first U.S. President to declare -- ''human activities are changing the atmosphere in unexpected and unprecedented ways.'' Someone who never shies away from a challenge, John McCain, introduced a market-based cap-and-trade bill to slow carbon pollution.

The woman that I've chosen to head up the EPA, Gina McCarthy, she's worked -- (applause) -- she's terrific. Gina has worked for the EPA in my administration, but she's also worked for five Republican governors. She's got a long track record of working with industry and business leaders to forge common-sense solutions. Unfortunately, she's being held up in the Senate. She's been held up for months, forced to jump through hoops no Cabinet nominee should ever have to ''- not because she lacks qualifications, but because there are too many in the Republican Party right now who think that the Environmental Protection Agency has no business protecting our environment from carbon pollution. The Senate should confirm her without any further obstruction or delay. (Applause.) But more broadly, we've got to move beyond partisan politics on this issue. I want to be clear -- I am willing to work with anybody ''- Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians, greens -'' anybody -- to combat this threat on behalf of our kids. I am open to all sorts of new ideas, maybe better ideas, to make sure that we deal with climate change in a way that promotes jobs and growth.

Nobody has a monopoly on what is a very hard problem, but I don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real. (Applause.) We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. (Applause.) Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it's not going to protect you from the coming storm. And ultimately, we will be judged as a people, and as a society, and as a country on where we go from here.

Our founders believed that those of us in positions of power are elected not just to serve as custodians of the present, but as caretakers of the future. And they charged us to make decisions with an eye on a longer horizon than the arc of our own political careers. That's what the American people expect. That's what they deserve.

And someday, our children, and our children's children, will look at us in the eye and they'll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world? And I want to be able to say, yes, we did. Don't you want that? (Applause.)

Americans are not a people who look backwards; we're a people who look forward. We're not a people who fear what the future holds; we shape it. What we need in this fight are citizens who will stand up, and speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.

Understand this is not just a job for politicians. So I'm going to need all of you to educate your classmates, your colleagues, your parents, your friends. Tell them what's at stake. Speak up at town halls, church groups, PTA meetings. Push back on misinformation. Speak up for the facts. Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future. (Applause.)

Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. (Applause.) Remind folks there's no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth. And remind everyone who represents you at every level of government that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote. Make yourself heard on this issue. (Applause.)

I understand the politics will be tough. The challenge we must accept will not reward us with a clear moment of victory. There's no gathering army to defeat. There's no peace treaty to sign. When President Kennedy said we'd go to the moon within the decade, we knew we'd build a spaceship and we'd meet the goal. Our progress here will be measured differently -- in crises averted, in a planet preserved. But can we imagine a more worthy goal? For while we may not live to see the full realization of our ambition, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the world we leave to our children will be better off for what we did.

''It makes you realize,'' that astronaut said all those years ago, ''just what you have back there on Earth.'' And that image in the photograph, that bright blue ball rising over the moon's surface, containing everything we hold dear -- the laughter of children, a quiet sunset, all the hopes and dreams of posterity -- that's what's at stake. That's what we're fighting for. And if we remember that, I'm absolutely sure we'll succeed.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END2:32 P.M. EDT

FACT SHEET: President Obama's Climate Action Plan

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 00:17

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2013

President Obama's Plan to Cut Carbon PollutionTaking Action for Our Kids

We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that's not polluted or damaged, and by taking an all- of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids' health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. Building on efforts underway in states and communities across the country, the President's plan cuts carbon pollution that causes climate change and threatens public health. Today, we have limits in place for arsenic, mercury and lead, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want '' pollution that is contributing to higher rates of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe floods and heat waves.

Cutting carbon pollution will help keep our air and water clean and protect our kids. The President's plan will also spark innovation across a wide variety of energy technologies, resulting in cleaner forms of American- made energy and cutting our dependence on foreign oil. Combined with the President's other actions to increase the efficiency of our cars and household appliances, the President's plan will help American families cut energy waste, lowering their gas and utility bills. In addition, the plan steps up our global efforts to lead on climate change and invests to strengthen our roads, bridges, and shorelines so we can better protect people's homes, businesses, and way of life from severe weather.

While no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, we have a moral obligation to act on behalf of future generations. Climate change represents one of the major challenges of the 21st century, but as a nation of innovators, we can and will meet this challenge in a way that advances our economy, our environment, and public health all at the same time. That is why the President's comprehensive plan takes action to:

Cuts Carbon Pollution in America. In 2012, U.S. carbon pollution from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades even as the economy continued to grow. To build on this progress, the Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution'--just like we have for other toxins like mercury and arsenic '--so we protect the health of our children and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills. For example, the plan:

Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;

Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;

Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project'--like wind and solar '' on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes; designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting; and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;

Expands the President's Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;

Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 '' more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector '' through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;

Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018; and

Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.

Prepares the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country. Building on progress over the last four years, the plan:

Directs agencies to support local climate-resilient investment by removing barriers or counterproductive policies and modernizing programs; and establishes a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the Federal government can take to help strengthen communities on the ground;

Pilots innovative strategies in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts; and building on a new, consistent flood risk reduction standard established for the Sandy-affected region, agencies will update flood-risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects;

Launches an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change through a public-private partnership with the healthcare industry;

Maintains agricultural productivity by delivering tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and landowners; and helps communities prepare for drought and wildfire by launching a National Drought Resilience Partnership and by expanding and prioritizing forest- and rangeland- restoration efforts to make areas less vulnerable to catastrophic fire; and

Provides climate preparedness tools and information needed by state, local, and private-sector leaders through a centralized ''toolkit'' and a new Climate Data Initiative.

Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change. Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone. That is why it is imperative for the United States to couple action at home with leadership internationally. America must help forge a truly global solution to this global challenge by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations. For example, the plan:

Commits to expand major new and existing international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives with China, India, and other major emitting countries;

Leads global sector public financing towards cleaner energy by calling for the end of U.S. government support for public financing of new coal-fired powers plants overseas, except for the most efficient coal technology available in the world's poorest countries, or facilities deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies; and

Strengthens global resilience to climate change by expanding government and local community planning and response capacities.

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Obama warms to climate fight with direct action Congress bypass

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 03:04

Barack Obama says it's time to bypass ''flat-earthers'' and act on carbon. His plan invokes direct action'‰'--'‰doubling down on coal and power plant emissions. Giles Parkinson and Sophie Vorrath of RenewEconomy report.

It's taken just over four years for Barack Obama to deliver the climate action plan he had promised as a fledgling president. And he'll do it the only way that has ever been available to him'‰'--'‰by presidential decree.

''As a president, as a father, and as an American, I am here to say we need to act,'' Obama said, in a speech outlining his first detailed plan for confronting what he's described as a central global challenge of the 21st century. ''We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.''

Obama's climate speech in Washington DC on Tuesday is probably a final recognition that he will not be able to deliver the carbon price that he knows would be the most effective mechanism. Instead, he will invoke a sort of direct action, but one with real bite'‰'--'‰carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants will be tightly regulated, there will be a doubling of permitting for renewable generation on public lands and a renewed push on energy efficiency incentives.

Coming as it does a week after China launched the first of seven pilot emission trading schemes, it does show the worlds two biggest economies'‰'--'‰and two biggest polluters'‰'--'‰are at least moving to deliver on their promises, and are preparing the way for the more ambitious action that the science demands.

The initial reaction to Obama's proposals elicited two key responses'‰'--'‰that the power sector in the US is going to bear the brunt of emissions reduction in the US; and that there are key lessons here for Australia, which is about to unravel the suite of climate and clean energy policies that have been implemented over the last four years.

First on the power sector. Some analysts estimate the world's biggest electricity grid could be forced to cut its emissions by one quarter by 2020, and the coal sector could be forced to cut its output by around 30% to meet Obama's climate targets'‰'--'‰an outcome that was presaged by US financial markets on Monday, when shares of US coal mining companies plunged.

Adding to coal investors' woes was the news Monday that the Supreme Court would review the Court of Appeals decision to reverse the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, one of the Obama administration's key tools for improving air quality by forcing coal-fired power plants to install pollution controls.

Somewhat predictably, Republicans representing America's coal-producing states have labelled the President's proposals a ''war on coal'', warning they will drive up electricity prices and put US manufacturers at a global disadvantage. But the reality is that without a carbon price, there is not a lot else Obama can do to reduce emissions economy-wide.

The situation in the US industry is further complicated by the fact the boom in shale gas has caused a switch from coal to gas, but this is not expected to be permanent because no one expects gas prices to remain low'‰'--'‰they will either go to export parity, or supplies will dwindle because all the cheap and easily accessed gas will exhausted. Deutsche Bank notes power emissions are already 15% below 2005 levels in 2005, thanks to shale gas, but even official forecasts expect this to be pared back to a 9% fall by 2020.

The new plan has also cast serious doubt over whether the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be approved; the President says allowing it to be built ''requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.''

Obama's plans suggest a doubling of power sector abatement efforts by 2020, and the target could be as high as 23% of forecast 2020 emissions and 30% of coal plant emissions. That means a lot of retrofits (the plan also includes $8 billion in new loan guarantees for carbon-capture projects) but most likely closures, and a lot more clean energy (renewables).

In Australia, opposition climate spokesperson Greg Hunt has seized the opportunity to draw comparisons with Obama's climate plan and the Coalition's much-criticised Direct Action policy. He said on ABC Radio's AM this morning:

''The heart of any international agreement is China and the United States, India and the EU. And we've seen very promising signs from the United States, most significantly not using a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, but using direct action measures where they are specifically focusing on energy efficiency, forestry and cleaning up power stations. Whereas Australia's emissions go up under a carbon tax, in the United States they go down without a carbon tax. And it's absolutely clear, absolutely clear that there is not going to be a carbon tax in the United States.''

Climate Institute CEO John Connor has a different take. He told the ABC:

''This is certainly not direct action. This is not a centrepiece big fund which is voluntary to participate in, which is the hallmark of the Coalition plan. This is a direct regulation plan. This is a President frustrated by a hyper-partisan Congress who's blocked his calls for a cap and trade carbon market. What he's put in place now is a raft of initiatives and processes to meet a goal he set at Copenhagen.''

Connor said it's now clear Obama is stepping it up on climate action:

''He's stepped up what he's done on light vehicles in terms of emissions standards, put that into heavy vehicles. He's stepped up what he was doing for new coal-fired power plants and put that onto existing ones '...He's also stepping it up with China and wary of China's investments in clean energy and low carbon. He's made a whole lot of new mandates around renewable energy, made a whole lot of new mandates around preparing for climate impacts, but also calling for stepping up of international efforts and doing that at a bilateral level as well as at the UN.''

For others, Obama's ramped-up plan has an important message for Australia. ''In the space of a week we've seen the world's two biggest economies'‰'--'‰China and now the US'‰'--'‰take significant action against climate change,'' said WWF Australia's Will McGoldrick. ''These low-carbon moves send a clear signal that the two biggest economies in the world are serious about acting on climate change.

''Australia's response to climate change is now at an important cross-road. We need to decide whether we want to continue to be part of a global shift to clean energy, or whether we want to buck this trend by unwinding the policy platform we have in place.''

*This article was first published atRenewEconomy

"Natural Gas Is The Transition Fuel That Can Power Our Economy With Less Carbon Pollution"

Obama's Climate Joke About A 'Flat Earth Society' Actually Referenced A Real Group

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 03:17

REUTERS/Larry Downing

In a major address at Georgetown University Tuesday, President Barack Obama referred derogatorily to deniers of climate change as members of a "Flat Earth Society."But the Flat Earth Society is a real group, and its president says he believes climate change is real. He also doesn't like being used as an example of backward thinking on the issue.

"For what it's worth, the Flat Earth Society doesn't have an 'official' position on climate change. That falls a bit outside our remit," Flat Earth Soceity President Daniel Shenton told Business Insider in an email from England.

"Personally, though, I believe the evidence available does support the position that climate change is at least partially influenced by human industrialisation."

Shenton said that Obama should refer to more mainstream groups '-- like the American Enterprise Institute '-- the next time he needs a joke in a speech.

"So if President Obama wants to reference people that actively deny anthropogenic climate change, he'd probably be better served by citing groups like the American Enterprise Institute rather than the Flat Earth Society," Shenton said.

AEI has been subject to some controversy over its critiques of climate change. In 2007, The Guardian reported that it had offered scientists and economists $10,000 each to dispute a report from report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Obama earned a round of applause and some chuckles for his remarks directed at the so-called "Flat Earth Society," which he compared to "sticking your head in the sand."

"Nobody has a monopoly on what is a very hard problem, but I don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real," Obama said.

"We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it's not going to protect you from the coming storm. And ultimately, we will be judged as a people, and as a society, and as a country on where we go from here."

Shenton's full email is below:

Hi, Brett. Thanks for the email. I just checked my email about 20 minutes ago and was confused as to why my four most recent emails had "Obama" in the subject line. Now I understand!

I checked President Obama's quote from today. It's disappointing but not surprising -- I do occasionally see references to the Society in that context. Gordon Brown made a similar remark back in 2009 when referring to climate-change deniers. I generally try not to take it personally, though. I understand that most people see the Flat Earth Society's views as extremely unorthodox and perhaps a bit kooky. I'd like the public to know, though, that our views are based on extensive research and we highly value the pursuit of truth. In fact, the Society's motto is (and has been since the 1800's) "In Veritate Victoria" -- Victory in Truth.

For what it's worth, the Flat Earth Society doesn't have an 'official' position on climate change. That falls a bit outside our remit. Personally, though, I believe the evidence available does support the position that climate change is at least partially influenced by human industrialisation. So if President Obama wants to reference people that actively deny anthropogenic climate change, he'd probably be better served by citing groups like the American Enterprise Institute rather than the Flat Earth Society.


Press Release: Gen. David Petraeus Joins Team Rubicon's Board of Advisors

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:21



LOS ANGELES (6/18/13) '' Team Rubicon (TR) is pleased to announce the addition of General David Petraeus USA (U.S. Army, Retired) to its board of advisors.

General Petraeus served our Nation for some 38-1/2 years, over 37 in uniform and then 14 months as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency between 2011 and 2012. He held three four-star assignments: Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Commander of U.S. Central Command, and Commanding General of Multi-National Force''Iraq. He spent over 6-1/2 of his final 10 years in uniform deployed, in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the Mideast.

''I am delighted to be invited to serve on the Team Rubicon Board of Advisors. 'TR' is an extraordinary organization, one that both serves our nation when its communities are most in need and serves our veterans by reuniting them to once again perform missions that are larger than self. In so doing, TR provides an opportunity to contribute for those who have done so admirably in the past and seek to do so again after having taken off the uniform. It will be an honor to be involved with such a wonderful organization and to work together again with some of the best of what deservedly has come to be known as the New Greatest Generation '-- those who have served our Nation in uniform since 9/11. Beyond that, it will be a particular honor to help an outfit founded by two great former noncommissioned officers!'' said General Petraeus.

''We're honored to have General Petraeus join the team. My cofounder, William McNulty, and I personally served under his command in Iraq as part of his bold surge strategy. We look forward to him bringing the same creativity to help us solve our major strategic questions moving forward.'' said Jake Wood, Team Rubicon's President and Cofounder.

About Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. TR offers veterans a chance to continue their service by helping and empowering those afflicted by disasters, and also themselves. For more about Team Rubicon, visit


William McNulty

(310) 338-1149

Filed under: Announcements, Current Operations, Press Release by Mike Lee on June 18, 2013No Comments >>


Financier pleads guilty to $13M Facebook IPO stock scam

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Source: CNET News

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 03:12

Former Oregon gubernatorial candidate admits bilking more than 120 investors out of $13.2 million with promises of an early shot at the highly coveted pre-IPO shares.

A former Oregon gubernatorial candidate has pleaded guilty in a $13 million securities scam to sell pre-IPO shares of Facebook before the social network went public.

Craig Berkman, a Florida financier who ran for governor in 1994, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to one count each of securities fraud and wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Berkman, 71, bilked more than 120 investors out of $13.2 million with promises of an early shot at the highly coveted shares. He also admitted falsely telling investors that he had access to shares of other tech companies, including LinkedIn, Groupon, and Zynga.

Berkman, who was arrested in March after a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, used the proceeds from Ponzi-like scheme to pay off debts and fund personal expenses, including $6 million in a personal bankruptcy case, prosecutors said.

"Through various misrepresentations, Craig Berkman enticed investors with highly coveted investment opportunities, and then swindled them out of millions of dollars, using much of it for his personal benefit," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement after the plea was announced.

Berkman agreed to forfeit the $13.2 million the scheme produced as part of the plea agreement with prosecutors.

"I deeply regret my actions," a weeping Berkman told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox, according to Reuters. "I devastated my family. I apologize to them and to the investors, some of whom were dear friends. I'm very, very sorry."

Berkman is scheduled to be sentenced October 1 by Fox.

Ireland Bank$ters

BBC News - Queen on first state visit to Republic of Ireland

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:09

17 May 2011Last updated at05:51 ETThe Queen is set to begin the first visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch.

One of the biggest security operations ever mounted in the Republic is under way for the four-day trip, amid a rise in dissident republican violence.

The Irish army has made safe a pipe bomb found on a passenger bus bound for Dublin. A bomb threat to London made on Sunday was earlier investigated.

President Mary McAleese will formally welcome the Queen at her Dublin home.

King George V was the last reigning monarch to visit the country, in 1911, when what is now the Republic was then part of the UK.

The Queen was invited to visit by President McAleese, who will formally welcome the monarch at Aras an Uachtarain, her home in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

The president told state broadcaster RTE it was "an extraordinary moment in Irish history - a phenomenal sign and signal of the success of the peace process and absolutely the right moment for us to welcome onto Irish soil Her Majesty the Queen".

Mrs McAleese said the two countries were "forging a new future - a future very, very different from the past, on very different terms from the past - and I think the visit will send the message that we are, both jurisdictions, determined to make the future a much, much better place."

Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteThe relationship between the Crown and Ireland has been one of the longest and most difficult in the history of Britain's monarchy''

End QuoteNicholas WitchellRoyal correspondent, BBC NewsUK Prime Minister David Cameron said: "One hundred years on from the last time a British monarch visited Ireland, I think there is a great sense of history and occasion."

He added: "I think the real effect... will be a marker that just as we are solving some of the problems there have been between us in the past, just as we are helping each other through these difficult economic times, now is a great moment for people in Britain and people in Ireland to remember what it is we share."

Mr Cameron will join the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for part of their trip on Wednesday, while Foreign Secretary William Hague will follow the usual practice of accompanying the royals throughout their visit.

The Queen will attend events at Trinity College Dublin, the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge and Croke Park stadium.

Croke Park is the home of Gaelic games where in 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, British forces fired into the crowd at a football match, killing 14 spectators and players.

The Queen is also to make a speech at a state dinner at Dublin Castle.

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What do the people of Dublin think about the royal visit?

There are plans for the Queen and Prince Philip to visit the Irish National Stud in County Kildare, as well as the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary and a technology park in Cork.

Former prime minister Sir John Major, who helped to establish the Northern Ireland peace process in the early 1990s, said the Queen's visit would "put a seal" on the relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

"One thing you discover if you travel round the world is that the Queen has become iconic," Sir John told the BBC's Newsnight.

"If you're abroad and people talk about the Queen, they mean our Queen and I think the symbolism of her visiting Ireland - given the history of the past - will be seen as a very big event and an absolutely pivotal event in building an even better relationship in the future."

Controlled explosionContinue reading the main story''Start QuoteThe discovery of the Maynooth bomb just hours before Queen's visit is a reminder of the threat dissident republican terrorists still pose''

End QuotePeter HuntRoyal correspondent, BBC NewsThe bomb on the bus was found in a holdall in the luggage compartment on Monday night during a check in Maynooth, County Kildare, to the west of Dublin.

About 30 people who were on board the bus were taken off and transported to Dublin in another vehicle.

The device was later made safe in a controlled explosion carried out by an Irish army bomb disposal team.

The coded bomb threat relating to London, which was received on Sunday, was the first issued by Irish dissidents outside Northern Ireland in 10 years, officials said.

However, the threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Britain remains unchanged at substantial. In Northern Ireland it is severe.

Sir John said he was not worried about possible trouble during the visit.

"I think you can find people who will demonstrate against anything or anyone on any occasion, so I think there may well be a handful of people who will demonstrate, but that plainly - from what we've seen in the nine months of preparation - is not the view of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people.

"I am absolutely certain that the Queen and the [Duke of Edinburgh] will get a fantastic reception."

The cost of the unprecedented security operation is estimated at 30 million euros (£26m), with measures including:

Deployment of more than 6,000 Irish police and Defence Forces personnel onto the streets of DublinIncreased surveillance of known republican dissidentsA ring of steel, comprising 25 miles of crowd-control barriers, installed around the Irish capitalChecking of thousands of manhole covers and lamp-posts, and parking bans imposed on 30 city centre streetsFormer Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern said the four-day visit was hugely significant, and showed the "maturity" of the relationship between the country and the Queen and British government.

"Except for a tiny minority, people welcome this," he said.

why is 12 july special for northern ireland? - Y! Answers

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:07

July 12, 1691 was when the Battle of Aughrim was fought. The events and motivations leading up to the battle were complicated, but the net effect was a huge and final battle between Catholic and Protestant forces.The battle was an overwhelming victory (often labeled a massacre) for the Protestant forces, and meant that England would rule Ireland for more than 200 years. During that time the Irish language and culture, along with Catholicism in general, was brutally and violently suppressed.

Most of Ireland finally attained freedom from the now United Kingdom in the early 20th century, but six counties with protestant majorities in the northeast, now known as Northern Ireland, is still part of the UK.

And every year, on July 12, the most hateful and racist of the Protestants stage a huge celebratory parade through the heart of the various Catholic neighborhoods in Northern Ireland. This is equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan having a parade through Harlem on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and is a direct cause of the violence that has racked Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom for more than 40 years.

The Twelfth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:05

Lead-up to the TwelfthNorthern Ireland's "marching season" begins at Easter. From then until the Twelfth the Orange Order and Protestant marching bands hold numerous parades. The most common of these are lodge parades, in which one Orange lodge marches with one band. Others, such as the "mini-Twelfth" at the start of July, involve several lodges.

From June to August, Protestant, unionist and loyalist areas of Northern Ireland are decorated in a 'loyal' style. Streets and houses are bedecked with bunting and flags (mainly the Union Flag and Ulster Banner). The bunting and flags are usually flown from lamp-posts. Kerbstones may be painted red, white and blue and murals may be made. Wooden arches, bedecked with flags and Orange symbolism, are raised over certain streets.[5]

The raising of flags and arches near Irish Catholic and nationalist areas, or in "neutral" areas, had led to many violent clashes. Flying the flags of illegal loyalist paramilitaries, such as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA), is especially contentious when deliberately erected outside Catholic churches and schools.[6]

Eleventh NightMain article: Eleventh NightOn the night before The Twelfth'--the "Eleventh Night"'--huge bonfires are lit in many Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist areas of Northern Ireland. In many Protestant communities the bonfires are seen as family-friendly community celebrations. However, not all Protestants attend the bonfires and people from the Irish Catholic community avoid them. Some Eleventh Night bonfires involve sectarian and loyalist paramilitary displays. Symbols of Irish nationalism/republicanism (such as the Irish tricolour) and symbols of Catholicism are sometimes burnt on the fires.[7] Loyalist paramilitaries have also used the event to hold "shows of strength" '' which often involve masked gunmen firing volleys of shots into the air.[7] Another issue that has been raised is drunkenness and violence amongst those attending.[7] More recently, there has been criticism that most of what is burnt causes serious environmental pollution.[7] However, in recent years, there have been attempts to make the bonfires more family-friendly and environmentally-friendly.[8]

In 2012 some bonfires in Belfast burned Polish flags as well as the Irish Tricolour. The Polish Association of Northern Ireland described it as "racist intimidation".[9]

Main eventsThe main way in which the Twelfth is celebrated is through large parades involving Orangemen and supporting bands. Most of the parades are in Northern Ireland, though Orange lodges elsewhere often hold parades too. The parade usually begins at an Orange Hall, proceeds through the town and out to a large field where the marchers, their friends and family, and the general public gather to eat, drink and listen to speeches by clergymen, politicians and senior members of the Order. In the past the Twelfth has been a major venue for discussion of the political issues of the day. A church service will also be held and sometimes band prizes will be awarded.[10] Within Northern Ireland, each District Lodge usually organises its own parade. In rural districts the parade will rotate around various towns, sometimes favouring those in which there is less likely to be trouble, but in other years choosing those in which it is felt the 'right to march' needs to be defended.

Orangemen in full regalia on 12 July 2011 in Belfast

In Northern Ireland, there is a long tradition of Protestant and loyalist marching bands, which can be found in most towns. The Orangemen hire these bands to march with them on the Twelfth. The bands have a reputation as being less respectable than the Orangemen, although they are seen by many as serving the useful purpose of keeping young men from working class areas out of trouble. An instrument almost unique to these marches is the Lambeg drum. Popular songs include "The Sash" and "Derry's Walls". Explicitly violent songs such as "Billy Boys" may also be played.

The vast majority of marchers are men, but there are some all-women bands and a few mixed bands. Some all-male bands have female flag or banner carriers. There are also some Women's Orange Lodges who take part in the parades. Orangewomen have paraded on the Twelfth in some rural areas since at least the mid-20th century, but were banned from the Belfast parades until the 1990s.

Orangemen returning from the field less formally

Orangemen on parade typically wear a dark suit, an Orange sash, white gloves and a bowler hat.[8] Certain Orangemen carry a ceremonial sword. In hot weather, many lodges will parade in short-sleeved shirts. Orangewomen have not developed a standard dress code, but usually dress formally. The supporting bands each have their own uniforms and colours. Both the Orangemen and bands carry elaborate banners depicting Orange heroes, historic or Biblical scenes, and/or political symbols and slogans. The most popular image is that of King William of Orange crossing the River Boyne during the famous battle.[11]

At the field, some lodges and bands don humorous outfits or accessories and make the return journey in them, and the mood is generally more mellow, although in times of tension it can also be more aggressive.

The Northern Ireland parades are given extensive local TV and press coverage and the BBC program 'The Twelfth' is the longest running outside broadcast program in Northern Ireland.

‰riu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:50

In Irish mythology, ‰riu (Irish pronunciation: [Ëeːrʲu]; modern Irish ‰ire), also called Eri,[1] daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha D(C) Danann, was the eponymous matron goddess of Ireland.

The English name for Ireland comes from the name ‰riu and the Germanic (Old Norse or Old English) word land.

The fact that ‰riu is represented as goddess of Ireland, she is often interpreted as a modern day personification of Ireland, although since the name "‰riu" is the older Irish form of the word Ireland, her modern name is often modified to "‰ire" or "Erin" to suit a modern form.

Role and mythic portrayal[edit]With her sisters, Banba and F"dla, she was part of an important triumvirate of goddesses. When the Milesians arrived from Galicia each of the three sisters asked that her name be given to the country. This was granted to them, although ‰riu (‰ire) became the chief name in use (Banba and F"dla are still sometimes used as poetic names for Ireland, much as Albion is for Great Britain).

‰riu, Banba and F"dla are interpreted as goddesses of sovereignty.[2]

According to Seathrºn C(C)itinn the three goddesses of ‰ire, Banbha and F"dla were Badhbh, Macha and M"irr­oghan (respectively?).[3] Like ‰riu, Badhbh is also sometimes named as a daughter of Ernmas; the two goddesses may possibly therefore be seen as equivalent.[citation needed]

Different texts have attributed different personal relationships to ‰riu. Her husband has been named as Mac Gr(C)ine ('Son of the Sun').[4][5] She has also been portrayed as the lover of Elatha, a prince of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son Bres,[5][1] and as the mistress of the hero Lugh.[5]

Name and etymology[edit]The University of Wales' reconstructed Proto-Celtic lexicon gives *Î...Äwerjon- (nominative singular Î...Äwerjō) as the Proto-Celtic etymology of this name.[6] This Celtic form implies Proto-Indo-European*piHwerjon-, likely related to the adjectival stem *piHwer- "fat" (cf. SanskritpÄvan, f. pÄvarÄ and by-form pÄvara, "fat, full, abounding") hence meaning "fat land" or "land of abundance", applied at an early date to the island of Ireland. The Proto-Celtic form became *ÄweriÅ[7] in Q-Celtic (Proto-Goidelic). From a similar or somewhat later form were also borrowed Greek ἸέρνηI[w]ernÄ' and ἸÎυερνίαIouernia; the latter form was converted into LatinHibernia.

References[edit]Notes^ abLady Gregory (2004) [1905]. "The Reign of Bres". Gods and Fighting Men. Project Gutenberg. ^Astro-Theology and Sidereal Mythology^Seathrºn C(C)itinn, Foras Feasa ar ‰rinn. CELT online translation.^Lebor Gabla ‰renn. Online translation at^ abcMonaghan 2009, p. 160^Proto-Celtic'--English lexicon (archive)^Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams, ed. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Pub., 1997, p. 194Works citedBibliography[edit]Boydell, Barra. "The female harp: The Irish harp in 18th- and early''19th-century Romantic nationalism", RIdIM/RCMI newsletter XX/1 (spring 1995), 10''17.

Big Pharma

Victoza in its crosshairs, Lilly primes for marketing duel - Medical Marketing and Media

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:05

As the dust settles from the American Diabetes Association meeting this week, a marketing battle is brewing. Data presented at the big confab suggested that Eli Lilly's experimental GLP-1 analog, dulaglutide, is largely on-par, efficacy wise, with some of its would-be competition.

The three GLP-1 drugs on the market are Bristol-Myers Squibb's/AstraZeneca's Byetta and Bydureon, which are once-daily and once-weekly GLP-1s, respectively, and the once-weekly Victoza, sold by Novo Nordisk. With minimal clinical differences separating the 1.5-mg version of dulaglutide from these others, and more GLP-1s in development from other manufacturers, analysts foresee an intense battle for share of the GLP-1 market, which Barclays expects to reach nearly $2.5 billion in sales this year, rising to $7-8 billion by 2020.

To grab a piece, the Indianapolis-based drug maker has some work ahead. Most telling will be a head-to-head trial, called AWARD-6, testing dulaglutide against market behemoth Victoza. The results are expected to be out by late this year or early next. Lilly expects to submit dulaglutide for FDA approval later this year.

ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum, citing an analyst meeting he attended at Lilly last night, wrote in an investor note that the firm is ''confident'' dulaglutide will prove non-inferior to Victoza in A1c lowering. However, the two drugs' futures may not depend solely on that data. According to another note from Schoenebaum, ''Since this is a classic primary care market, other factors may perhaps be more important."These other factors could include payer strategies and discounts, an area where Lilly stands to gain. If dulaglutide is approved, Lilly will be well on its way to having a drug in every diabetes class, "from orals to GLP-1s to insulins," the analyst notes, a pharmacopeia that could prove advantageous when negotiating with health plans and government payers.

Lilly also announced at ADA more data for its oral Phase III SGLT-2 inhibitor empagliflozin, which it's co-developing with Boehringer Ingelheim, and that its regulatory filing for a novel basal insulin could come as early as 2014.Formularies notwithstanding, Novo may hold the advantage on the ground, according to Schoenebaum, as the Danish drug maker has a sizable sales force. According to its Q1 financial report, Novo stated it expects ''significant costs related to the expanded sales force and marketing investments in the portfolio of modern insulins and Victoza in the US.'' Novo Nordisk could not be reached for a statement on its growing sales force.

Lilly, too, has added numbers to its sales and distribution capabilities. Its Q1 financial statement mentions a ''small increase in its diabetes sales force to prepare for the planned launches of later-stage pipeline products.''

Strategically, Lilly appears to be trying to grow the pie before it begins to carve out its share. That's the impression Barclays analysts took from the Lilly analyst meeting. "Management indicated that 'it would be a mistake' to target switches from Victoza and that its strategy would include growing the market as opposed to taking its share,'' according to a 29-page analyst report from the bank.

That said, at least in the early going of a dulaglutide launch, "the lowest-hanging fruit would be that of BMY's once-weekly Bydureon, which has multiple shortcomings, including a need for reconstitution, a large needle (23G versus dulaglutide 29G and Victoza 32G) and the development of nodules under the skin," the Barclays report added.

Cardiovascular outcome studies could lead to greater success for the GLP-1s. Should they demonstrate a CV outcomes benefit, "we believe the GLP-1 class could experience a significant resurgence of growth," concluded the report. Schoenebaum told MM&M that dulaglutide's cardiovascular study will read out in 2018.

Voices of Victoza

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:04

Indications and UsageVictoza® (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) is an injectable prescription medicine that may improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes when used along with diet and exercise.

Victoza® is not recommended as the first medication to treat diabetes. Victoza® has not been studied in patients with history of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Victoza® is not a substitute for insulin and has not been studied in combination with prandial (mealtime) insulin. Victoza® is not for people with type 1 diabetes or people with diabetic ketoacidosis. It is not known if Victoza® is safe and effective in children. Victoza® is not recommended for use in children.

Important Safety InformationIn animal studies, Victoza® caused thyroid tumors'--including thyroid cancer'--in some rats and mice. It is not known whether Victoza® causes thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) in people, which may be fatal if not detected and treated early. Do not use Victoza® if you or any of your family members have a history of MTC or if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). While taking Victoza®, tell your doctor if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer.

Do not use Victoza® if you are allergic to liraglutide or any of the ingredients in Victoza®. Serious allergic reactions can happen with Victoza®. If symptoms of serious allergic reactions occur, stop taking Victoza® and seek medical attention. Pancreatitis may be severe and lead to death. Before taking Victoza®, tell your doctor if you have had pancreatitis, gallstones, a history of alcoholism, or high blood triglyceride levels since these medical conditions make you more likely to get pancreatitis.

Stop taking Victoza® and call your doctor right away if you have pain in your stomach area that is severe and will not go away, occurs with or without vomiting, or is felt going from your stomach area through to your back. These may be symptoms of pancreatitis.

Before using Victoza®, tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, especially sulfonylurea medicines or insulin, as taking them with Victoza® may affect how each medicine works. If you use Victoza® with insulin, you may give both injections in the same body area (for example, your stomach area), but not right next to each other.

Also tell your doctor if you have severe stomach problems such as slowed emptying of your stomach (gastroparesis) or problems with digesting food; have or have had kidney or liver problems; have any other medical conditions; or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is unknown if Victoza® will harm your unborn baby or if Victoza® passes into your breast milk.

Your risk for getting hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is higher if you take Victoza® with another medicine that can cause low blood sugar, such as a sulfonylurea or insulin. The dose of your sulfonylurea medicine or insulin may need to be lowered while taking Victoza®.

Victoza® may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea leading to dehydration, which may cause kidney failure. This can happen in people who have never had kidney problems before. Drinking plenty of fluids may reduce your chance of dehydration.

The most common side effects with Victoza® include headache, nausea, and diarrhea. Nausea is most common when first starting Victoza®, but decreases over time in most people. Immune system related reactions, including hives, were more common in people treated with Victoza® compared to people treated with other diabetes drugs in medical studies.

Please click here for Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

Novo Nordisk provides patient assistance for those who qualify.Please call 1-866-310-7549 to learn more about Novo Nordisk assistance programs.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Should Novo Nordisk dump Paula Deen for racial slurs? - FiercePharma

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:03

Paula Deen's marketing partnership with Novo Nordisk was controversial from the get-go. The TV chef is known for recipes that aren't exactly on Mom's list of healthy foods. Plus, Deen had known of her diabetes diagnosis for three years and only disclosed it publicly as she teamed up with Novo ($NVO). One of her publicists quit in protest, and fellow TV chef Anthony Bourdain took her to task on the air. After awhile, however, as Deen lost weight and made plenty of media appearances to advocate healthier living, the talk died down.

But this latest controversy makes the disclosure delay look like a tempest in a teapot. In a deposition in a harassment lawsuit, Deen admitted to using the N-word and telling racist jokes. ([I]t's just what they are, they're jokes," she said, Time reports.) Her apology hasn't played well, either; though she said she doesn't condone racism and doesn't use racial slurs these days, she attempted to explain away the remarks by citing her Old South upbringing.

The Food Network, which made Deen a household figure, has dropped her from its lineup. Her publisher, Ballantine, and restaurant partner Caesars Entertainment say they're "monitoring" the story. Novo essentially says the same thing. Deen is still a spokesperson for its Victoza brand, but the company is keeping an eye on things. It can't afford not to, with its name popping up in story after story about Deen's deposition.

"We recognize the seriousness of these allegations and will follow the legal proceedings closely," Novo said in a statement, going on to say, "We do not condone racial intolerance of any kind and have spoken to Paula about her comments in the deposition. While she takes a more proactive approach to clearing up her comments, our focus will continue to be to provide the best care possible to all of our patients where we work and live."

That leaves Novo plenty of wiggle room to say goodbye to Deen as time goes on. And it shields the drugmaker from the ire of Deen fans outraged by the Food Network's canceling her contract before the lawsuit goes to court. But as the Wall Street Journal's Lee Hawkins notes on video, Novo prides itself on diversity and social responsibility. And the company has laid out considerable time and resources on raising diabetes awareness in the African-American community. If Deen doesn't do a better job of apologizing, that work could be undone, if it hasn't been already.

- see the Timepiece- read the CBS Newsstory- get more from Bloomberg- view the WSJstory

Related Articles:Is Novo's Deen-on-diabetes campaign brilliant--or insane?Victoza weight-loss nod could rescue Novo from Tresiba delay, CEO saysNovo's exceptional first quarter still disappointsNovo envisions bonanza from U.S. weight-loss market

Novo Nordisk study shows benefits of Victoza

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:06

26 June 2013 10:57 in Pharmaceutical Company Product NewsNovo Nordisk has announced new data from a real-world study of the diabetes drug Victoza, which shows the benefits it can offer compared to alternative therapies.The retrospective study - which utilised real-world data from the IMS data warehouse - showed that Victoza delivered significantly greater improvements in blood glucose control than two commonly used type 2 diabetes therapies.

It also found that a significantly greater percentage of people with type 2 diabetes taking Victoza achieved the American Diabetes Association-recommended blood sugar level target that those receiving the other two drugs.

Victoza was launched in 2009 and has been prescribed to more than 700,000 patients worldwide since its introduction.

Dr Lawrence Blonde of the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans said: "This real-world study reinforces the outcomes seen in clinical trials demonstrating better anti-hyperglycaemic efficacy of Victoza when compared to sitagliptin or exenatide."

This comes after Novo Nordisk recently published a study that shed light on the discrimination many diabetes patients suffer as a result of their condition.

Other news stories from 26/06/2013

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Pharma Marketing Blog: Sanofi vs Novartis: Paul Sorvino vs. Paula Deen

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:01

It is rumored that celebrity southern-style chef Paula Deen will soon announce that she has diabetes (surprise) and that she is a spokesperson for Novartis's diabetes franchise (see "Rumors Say Paula Deen Has Diabetes, Will Work for Novartis"). She will compete with Paul Sorvino and daughter who are currently the diabetes spokespeople for Sanofi (see "Diabetes Costars").

How Novartis plans to position Deen as a spokesperson for diabetes awareness should really be interesting. She's not much of a proponent for healthy lifestyle changes, which PhRMA recommends should be part of every direct-to-consumer advertising campaign.

According to the article cited above, "Deen has faced withering criticism for the high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in her dishes. When Deen's cookbook for kids, 'Lunch-Box Set,' was published in 2009, Barbara Walters asked her, 'You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast. You tell them to have chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch. And french fries. Doesn't it bother you that you're adding to this?'"

In 2009, I took a road trip down south with my son (see photos here). A highlight was when we had lunch at "The Lady & Sons" '-- the restaurant Deen owns in Savannah, Ga. We ate the "fried chicken, ribs, cheesy meatloaf and sweet potatoes" for which the restaurant is famous. Here's the scene that day outside the restaurant (TIP: you may not have to wait for a table if you are willing to eat upstairs in the bar; of course, you have to be thin enough to fit on the stools, which may not work for most of these people waiting on line):

While it's a good idea to have an overweight person as a diabetes spokesperson, it's quite another to have an UNAPOLOGETIC overweight person who recommends cheesecake for kids' breakfasts! It's sort of like having a "vulture capitalist" claim he creates jobs!**********UPDATE:"The rumors that Novartis has signed a multi-million dollar spokesperson deal with Paula Deen for a diabetes treatment are not true," a Novartis rep told "Novartis is not working with Ms. Deen." See "Novartis rep: There's no deal with Paula Deen."**********

[See "My Bad! Paula Dean Shills for Novo Nordisk, Not Novartis" for a followup to this post.]

Wal-Mart Says It Won't Place Any Orders For Paula Deen-Branded Products Because Of Racist Comments She Made 27 Years Ago'...

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Source: Weasel Zippers

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 23:18

Above is a video of horrible racist Paula Deen gushing over Michelle Obama and comparing her to Jackie O (she also campaigned for Barack's presidential bid the same year).

NEW YORK (AP) '-- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is announcing that it has ended its relationship with Paula Deen a week after the Southern celebrity chef admitted using racial slurs in the past.

The world's largest retailer said it will not place ''any new orders beyond what's already committed.''

The discounter says it will work with suppliers on existing inventories.

The Bentonville, Ark., company started carrying Paula Deen-branded products at all of its U.S. namesake stores since 2011.

The latest development follows the announcement on Friday from Food Network that it was dropping her food shows. Smithfield Foods announced on Monday it was dropping her as a spokeswoman as well.


The PR Firm

Trevor FitzGibbon : Fitzgibbon Media

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:52

Trevor FitzGibbon : Fitzgibbon MediaTrevor FitzGibbon : Fitzgibbon MediaEXPERIENCED, PASSIONATE, AND BEST OF ALL FEARLESS

Trevor started FitzGibbon Media to provide domestic and global public relations strategy around cutting edge political, human rights and environmental campaigns. Through the years he has worked for a who's who in the progressive movement '-- from MoveOn to Amnesty International to Global Zero to

He helped to blow up the inhumane conditions and solitary confinement that alleged Wikileaks source, Private Bradley Manning, was forced to endure '-- the international media frenzy helped to trigger Manning's transfer from Quantico to Leavenworth Military base where he was no longer held in solitary confinement. He helped organize and place a group of active duty American officers and soldiers, stationed in Iraq, in their effort to publicly speak out and call for an end to the war.

Currently FitzGibbon is helping to lead the PR effort for a variety of campaigns including Mayors Against Illegal Guns in support of gun control measures after the Sandy Hook massacre, immigration reform and the path towards citizenship, running a hard-hitting campaign to address Climate Change, and supporting journalist Jeremy Scahill's new film, Dirty Wars that shines a spotlight on the Obama administration's targeted assassinations and drone program.

FitzGibbon has placed clients in front of a wide range of audiences on shows including ''60 Minutes,'' ''Meet the Press,'' and ''The Daily Show''.

Whether it's handling the political media relations for Trent Reznor, Pearl Jam and R.E.M in the effort to close Guantanamo and speak out against torture or orchestrating the international media strategy to eliminate nuclear weapons, FitzGibbon has effectively injected clients into the international news cycle time and time again.

a selection of trevor's favorite songs

FitzGibbon Media makes an impact in the US and abroad every day. Our expertise and aggressive strategies ensure our clients' actions, messages, campaigns and spokespersons break out, break through and get noticed. Our work is second to none.

(C) 2013 Fitzgibbon Media Website by Kaptiv8 Marketing.

Clients : Fitzgibbon Media

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:49

FitzGibbon Media makes an impact in the US and abroad every day. Our expertise and aggressive strategies ensure our clients' actions, messages, campaigns and spokespersons break out, break through and get noticed. Our work is second to none.

more about us

Exposing : Fitzgibbon Media

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:49

''Their edgy campaign strategy created such a strong public backlash that Village Voice Media split from, and it helped fuel President Obama's unprecedented human trafficking initiative. FitzGibbon Media's team went well above beyond what was expected of them and truly became a leader in the campaign's efforts.''

- Andrea PowellExecutive Director is a general classifieds website, which until recently was owned by Village Voice Media, publisher of 13 alternative weeklies around the country, including The Village Voice in New York City. In addition to hosting ads of apartments for rent and toasters for sale, hosts an ''adult'' section where ads of children for sex have appeared. Since 2010 '' when took down the ''adult services'' section of its site, which sometimes also featured sex ads of minors '' has served as the leading U.S. site for prostitution advertising, dominating 80% of the market and generating an estimated annual revenue of over $25 million from just its ''adult'' ads.

objectiveFitzGibbon Media's mission was to design and execute a cutting-edge, multi-dimensional campaign to pressure Village Voice Media to shut down's adult section. That was the narrow objective, but the larger objective was to curb child trafficking and exploitation in the U.S.

When Craigslist exited the adult services business, a number of its adult ads migrated to other sites such as, but the section's closure also precipitated a 48 percent drop in the overall volume of prostitution ads online. A similar result was sought with the campaign against

strategyJust as FitzGibbon Media started its work on this project, a scathing letter to urging the company to shut down the adult section of its site had been sent by 46 of the nation's attorneys general. The letter was significant, but without the support of a coordinated campaign to drive media attention to and build on the effort, its impact was weak.

FitzGibbon Media changed this. We devised a multi-pronged campaign strategy, which included earned and paid media, a targeted ad sanctions plan, and the involvement of political and cultural figures alike. We established a war room through which we ran our operations '' compiling research, organizing field plans, monitoring the media in real time, and performing rapid response, acting swiftly and nimbly to pull in key players and organizations from our coalition and deploying targeted actions at critical moments.

Integral to the campaign's success was the coalition we built '' a diverse and robust group of actors from around the country, ranging from national clergy to leading nonprofits to elected officials to notable musicians.

accomplishmentsVillage Voice Media was not a household name when FitzGibbon Media began its work, but through the actions of our campaign we made it one, branding it as a disgraceful company that profited off the backs of trafficked children. We accomplished this using various tactics, including:

Launching an advertiser campaign against Village Voice Media in which we urged national and local brands to pull their advertisements from all of Village Voice Media's publications. Our efforts led to blue-chip companies such as Pfizer, American Airlines, AT&T, MillerCoors, and Starbucks cutting ties with Village Voice Media;Organizing a rally and press event in front of the New York City office of The Village Voice, Village Voice Media's flagship publication. At the rally '' in which clergy, the son of The Village Voice's co- founder, New York City Council members, nonprofit organizations and activists participated '' we delivered a petition, which had collected over a quarter of a million signatures by citizens demanding Village Voice Media shut down's adult section;Implementing a paid media plan through which we (1) placed a full-page ad in The New York Times, that featured an open letter to Village Voice Media by 36 multifaith religious leaders; (2) created an edgy TV ad that aired on MSNBC, FOX News and other outlets and that generated tens of thousands of views online; and (3) placed a full-page ad adjacent to a profile of Michelle Obama in National Journal's ''Top 25 Influential Women in DC'' issue as well as in National JournalDaily;Recruiting over a dozen of the world's top musicians, including R.E.M, The Roots, The Civil Wars, Dead Confederate, members of the band Pearl Jam, and singers Alicia Keys, Daniel Bedingfield, Rosanne Cash, and Talib Kweli, to join the campaign. These artists promoted the cause through social media '' on their websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts '' and were featured in various media pieces from CNN's ''Showbiz Tonight'' to Rolling Stone.

The Law Firm

Jennifer Robinson (lawyer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 04:15

Jennifer Robinson is an Australianhuman-rights lawyer. She is the Legal Director for the Bertha Foundation in London and an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at the University of SydneyLaw School.[1]

Since 2010, Robinson has been a member of a legal team representing Assange and WikiLeaks in London.[2] Before moving to England, her most notable work was for the Institute for Advocacy and Study of Human Rights (Elsham), a human rights organisation in Papua, Indonesia for whom she was a legal-aid volunteer.

Education and volunteering[edit]She attended Bomaderry High School and graduated from the Australian National University in Canberra with a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and the University Medal and a Bachelor of Asian Studies and the Distinguished Scholar Award for Asian Studies.[3][4] She was admitted as a Solicitor in New South Wales.

In 2002, Robinson worked as a volunteer at the Institute for Advocacy and Study of Human Rights (Elsham), a human rights organisation in Papua, Indonesia until her stay was cut short by the first Bali bombings.[3]

She was an Australia-at-Large Rhodes Scholar to the University of Oxford and graduated in 2006 from Balliol College with a Bachelor of Civil Law with Distinction and a Master of Philosophy in International Public Law.[5]

Throughout her education, Robinson has worked on volunteer projects involving the accountability of multinational corporations for human rights abuses, with a particular interest in the Freeport mine in West Papua.

Whilst at Oxford University, she worked part time for the human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson. In 2008, she became Robertson's Instructing Solicitor. She led a project for the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative on Business and Human Rights.[5]

From 2009, she worked at the London law firm of Finers Stephens Innocent LLP. She became the legal adviser to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in October 2010.

In 2011, she became the Legal Director for the Bertha Foundation in London, with the task of creating and developing a global human rights and public interest law program.[5]

Alleged travel "inhibition" incident[edit]On April 18, 2012, Robinson alleged on her Twitter feed that she was delayed from checking in at London's Heathrow Airport, having been told that she was "inhibited"[6] by "certain government agencies"[7] from travelling. A security guard is alleged to have told her "you must have done something controversial"[7] while, it was claimed, the security staff phoned the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs. Robinson then tweeted "@dfat Please explain: What is the "inhibited" travel list? And why am I now apparently on it?"[8][9][10] Senator Scott Ludlum sent a tweet questioning the Department of Foreign Affairs: "@DFAT care to explain why @suigenerisjen is on your watch list? what kind of threat do human rights lawyers pose exactly?"[9] After the delay, Robinson was allowed to board her flight bound for Australia.[10]

Within hours of the question being asked by Robinson, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs is quoted as having said to Crikey magazine: ''We are not aware of any Australian Government restriction applying to Ms Robinson's travel. As an Australian with a valid passport, she would be free to return to Australia at any stage. The UK border authorities or airline of travel may be able to provide further insight on claims that she was impeded from boarding her flight.'' [10]The Guardian also reports that ""The Australian High Commission in London has no record of a call being received from UK authorities concerning her travel." [11]

After arriving in Australia and speaking personally with Nicola Roxon, Robinson tweeted that Roxon "confirmed the Australian government had nothing to do with the issue I had at Heathrow and expressed concern for protection of lawyers".[12]

Bernard Keane reported in Crikey that "inhibited person" is "not a term used by Australian agencies" but, Keane claimed, it was a term used by the United StatesDepartment of Homeland Security.[13]

Despite extensive media coverage, no independent evidence has ever been identified (other than that of Robinson) for the event occurring in the way Robinson describes.[14]

In 2008, she was one of only thirty pro bono lawyers named by the UK Attorney General as a National Pro Bono Hero.[citation needed]

References[edit]External links[edit]PersondataNameRobinson, JenniferAlternative namesShort descriptionDate of birthPlace of birthDate of deathPlace of death

The Bertha Foundation | Grantees

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Visit Site"The whole idea is to help people understand how to move from the crisis intervention stage, which has driven most of the interventions, and to work toward a long-term sustainable impact on the education system as a whole so that we emerge with an education system that performs."

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- Vince Warren, Executive Director

Visit Site"My goal as a journalist is to break the sound barrier, to expand the debate, to cut through the static and bring forth voices that are shut out. It is the responsibility of journalists to go to where the silence is, to seek out news and people who are ignored, to accurately and clearly report on the issues- issues that the corporate, for-profit media often distort, if they cover them at all."

- Amy Goodman, Broadcast Journalist

Visit Site"I am convinced that Equal Education is one of the most important new civil society formations in South Africa. It is addressing inequality and poor quality in education - two of the critical fault lines in our society - and it is also building a new generation of youth leadership based on non-racialism, non-sexism, freedom, equality and integrity."

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Visit Site"Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn't just document it. Such is the case with Granito, the astonishing new film by Skylight PIctures. Part political thriller, part memoir, Granito takes us through a riveting, haunting tale of genocide and justice that spans four decades, two films, and in many ways, Yates's own career."

- Cara Mertes, Sundance Documentary Program Director

Visit Site"As to the wonderful work of STEPS, I must concede that from all the resources from learning we have employed in classroom and informal settings over the last 15 years, your productions have made quite a significant contribution to improved quality learning experiences."

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Visit Site"The Institute's activities are diverse, but they are united by a simple idea: to give artists, at key points in the creative process, the advice, support, and, above all, the protection to tell their stories in their authentic voices."

- Robert Redford, President and Founder

Visit Site"Ubuntu recruits and train only from the communities in which we work. The Bertha Foundation supports our belief that we need to look after the health and wellbeing of our employees in the same way that we look after the children we work with in our programs. The benefits are clear: we have a fantastic, hard-working staff that brings passion and care and commitment to every aspect of their interactions. Any fortune 400 CEO will tell you that to build a strong company you must invest in your employees. The non-profit sector must stop undermining itself and begin to invest in its own institutional capacity building. BUILD is a model for this approach"

- Jacob Lief, Founder & President

Visit Site"The Umthombo Youth Development Foundation is an organisation to be championed as addressing the needs of the poorest of the poor, and to be held up as a model"

- Professor Mike Savage, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Visit Site"We are the loose ends, the have nots, the people living in the gutters, the people who will never make it in life, we have come together to create our own family, to have own identity-to create our own space. It's a program that brings all these kind of things together, love, unity, brotherliness, you know family feeling within people who've lost these things. That's the reason why when you look at the name "WeOwnTV" - it literally means this thing belongs to us."

- Arthur Pratt, Sierra Leone Manager

Visit Site"Working with WITNESS changed the way we imagined film, imagined the power of it. It was something like a shift from looking at the sea to actually swimming in it - we experienced this immersion into the texture, the process, the nuance of film as a new language we could communicate in."

- Bharati Chaturvedi, Chintan Executive Director

lara tabatznik wikipedia - Google Search

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 04:26

Brian Lara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaBrian Charles Lara, TC, OCC, AM (born 2 May 1969) is a former West Indianinternational cricket player. He is generally regarded as the best batsman of ...Lara Logan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaLara Logan (born 29 March 1971) is a South African television and radiojournalist, and war correspondent. She is the chief foreign affairs correspondentfor ...Lara, Victoria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaLara is a residential Town, 18 km north-east of Geelong, inland from the PrincesFreeway to Melbourne. Contents. 1 History; 2 Geography; 3 Education ...NEW CachedDavid Tabaznick... half because Fabian Vargas broke his ankle in that momentthe Coach Eduardo Lara has worried an ...... WAY: septiembre Cached1 Sep 2009 ... David Tabaznick... in that moment the Coach Eduardo Lara has worried an hedecide to enter a forward and a midfielder that can combine and ...Anthony Tabatznik: Executive Profile & Biography - CachedMr. Anthony Selwyn Tabatznik, Tony is the Founder of The Generics Group Ltd.Mr. Tabatznik is the Founder of Robin Hood Holdings, Ltd. Mr. Tabatznik is a ...Passengers - Ellis Island - FREE Port of New York Passenger CachedLara Freimann, 25y, Hamburg. Jankel Freimann, 19y, Hamburg. Rive Freimann,1y 6m, Hamburg ...... Abram Tabaznik, 33y, Hamburg ...In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 7 already displayed.If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.

70 Washington Penthouse Hits Market, Shows Off Telescope - Curbed NY

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 04:35

Sunday, January 30, 2011, by Bilal KhanSo, how much would you be willing to pay for those panoramic Dumbo views? The people at Halstead are hoping at least $1,700 per square foot. Penthouse G at 70 Washington Street just hit the market or $2,800,000 and it's got views to die for. In addition to the views you get 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms and 1,577 square feet. Back in 2006 this place sold for $2,240,150 so the sellers are looking at a decent profit if they get asking or close to it. Color us crazy, but judging from the pictures this listing is bound to stir up some serious interest. We get to drool over two floorplans because according to the listing it was "originally configured with two master suites, three full baths and a home office, and easily returned to this layout, the floor plan was modified to take full advantage of the views and light." In either case, that's a whole lotta terrace. We bet that telescope in the listing photos gets a lot of use, too.

70 Washington Street Brooklyn, NY



Newly Reelected President Files Charges of Espionage Act Violation

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 20:34

President Obama, flush from his Election Night victory, has charged another former government employee with violating the Espionage Act. As reported by the Associated Press:

A linguist for the Navy in Bahrain is charged under the Espionage Act with possessing classified documents '-- some of which ended up in public archives of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

James Hitselberger, who is fluent in Arabic, had the job as a federal contractor of translating documents for the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council. The council contains a unit conducting unconventional warfare, counterterrorism and special reconnaissance.

An FBI affidavit unsealed Monday says Hitselberger copied documents last spring that discussed military troop activities in the region and gaps in U.S. intelligence in Bahrain. His superiors later found the material stashed in his backpack, and investigators said they subsequently discovered additional classified material at Stanford in the "James F. Hitselberger Collection."

Hitselberger pleaded not guilty on Oct. 26.

As we have reported, Hitselberger is the seventh individual to be prosecuted by the Obama administration for allegedly violating the Espionage Act. Although he is not a whistleblower, those individuals charged with similar violations have been reportedly targeted for their efforts to expose government corruption. In fact, the others charged with espionage are targets of an apparent vendetta against whistleblowers in direct contradiction of the president's promise to protect them.

In 2008, then-president-elect Obama declared:

We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government.

Not that politicians have a habit of keeping campaign promises, but President Obama's policy of zealously pursuing, prosecuting, and punishing those who report abuses in government is remarkable for its relentlessness.

Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American Scientists' government secrecy project, is quoted in a story published by Reason magazine online, explaining, ''The administration's aggressive pursuit of leaks represents a challenge to the practice of national security reporting, which depends on the availability of unauthorized sources if it is to produce something more than 'authorized' news.''

This ferocity has come to the attention of others, as well. Speaking at a symposium on investigative reporting held in April at Berkeley, Edward Wasserman powerfully chronicled the chilling effect that the Obama administration's pursuit of whistleblowers is having on such disclosures and against the journalists who report them.

Wasserman, the Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics at Washington & Lee University, informed the audience,

[The Obama] Justice Department has conducted six prosecutions over leaks of classified information to reporters. Five involve the Espionage Act, a powerful law that had previously been used only four times since it was enacted in 1917 to prosecute spies.

The first whistleblower cited in Wasserman's address was Thomas Drake. Drake was a senior executive at the National Security Agency who made the mistake of revealing to the Baltimore Sun that the NSA's Trailblazer Project, a project intended to analyze data carried on in the United States and elsewhere through the Internet, cell phones, and e-mails, not only violated the Fourth Amendment's proscription against unwarranted searches and seizures, but it was a ''billion-dollar computer boondoggle.''

In April 2010, Drake was indicted by a federal grand jury of several crimes, including violation of the Espionage Act. A spokesperson for the Government Accountability Project reported that the government's prosecution of Drake left him devastated. ''His intelligence career is over, his finances are drained and he is personally spent,'' said Jesselyn Radack.

Early in the summer of 2011, after several expos(C)s ran in newspapers and on television, the Obama administration dropped all the charges against Drake in return for Drake's guilty plea to a misdemeanor of misusing NSA computers. Drake was sentenced to one year of probation and community service.

The New American interviewed Drake in May.

The second target of the government's attack on whistleblowers was Shamai Leibowitz, an FBI linguist who was eventually sentenced to 20 months in a federal prison for leaking documents to a blogger.

Leibowitz testified that he believed that the papers he transmitted while working for the FBI contained evidence of ''violations of the law'' including the illegal attempt by the embassy of Israel to influence American foreign policy.

In exchange for his guilty plea to one count of disclosure of classified information, Leibowitz agreed to never file petitions to look at documents related to his case and to "never disclose'' any classified or sensitive information to which he had access while on contract with the FBI.

Next on the list of those who believed (wrongly) that President Obama would keep his campaign promise to shield from prosecution those government employees brave enough to bring to light hidden abuses and waste is John Kiriakou.

Kiriakou was an agent with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who was indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury for disclosing to reporters the name of another CIA asset who was tasked with interrogating alleged al-Qaeda financier, Abu Zubaydah.

The indictment included one charge of making false statements, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, and four counts of violating federal law, including the Espionage Act '-- an offense punishable by up to 10 years in a federal prison.

In October, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and will serve up to 30 months in a federal prison.

There is little wonder why the Obama administration would seek to silence Kiriakou: In 2007, Kiriakou told ABC News that he considered waterboarding an ''unnecessary'' form of interrogation.

Wasserman then mentions two others upon whom the federal government must place the muzzle of prosecution:

Stephen Kim, a State Department analyst, allegedly told a reporter for Fox News '-- wait for it '-- that the U.S. was worried North Korea might respond to new U.N. sanctions by testing another A-bomb; and Jeffrey Sterling, who allegedly disclosed a botched CIA operation in Iran that was described in a 2006 book by a Times reporter.

A story published by Politico confirmed that ''the case [against Kiriakou] is the sixth of six leak-related prosecutions brought during President Barack Obama's term '-- a higher tally than under all previous presidents combined.''

Supporters of the president may wonder why he didn't think this through a little better and provide the whistleblowers with the protection he promised rather than seek to silence the journalists who break the stories given them by these well-informed sources.

The answer to that question was given in a comment made ''rather gloatingly'' by ''a national security representative'' to Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: ''We're not going to subpoena reporters in the future. We don't need to. We know who you're talking to.''

Given this president's propensity for rapidly and relentlessly enlarging the size and power of the surveillance state apparatus, it is certain that Dalglish's statement is truer than we would like to believe.

Hitselberger is charged with violating a section of the Espionage Act that ''prohibits unauthorized possession of defense information that could be used to injure the United States or aid a foreign power," although U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson admits that Hitselberger "did not disseminate the classified information to a 'foreign power.'"

Secrecy News broke the story of the Obama administration's prosecution of Hitselberger, reporting:

In traditional espionage cases, a suspected spy is sometimes identified by unexplained affluence or ostentatious behavior. But, as noted, this is not an espionage case and there is no question of affluence.

To the contrary, the government and the court seemed disturbed by Mr. Hitselberger's extraordinary frugality which, they suggested, might enable him to quietly vanish.

''Defendant has demonstrated his ability to live abroad and survive on his apparently modest means,'' wrote Judge Robinson. ''Defendant's pattern of residing in, and relocating to, various countries without ascertainable income bespeaks his ability to live abroad undetected with limited resources.''

Based on that reasoning, Judge Robinson ordered that Hitselberger be denied bond.

Photo of President Barack Obama: AP Images

N.S.A. Leak Puts Focus on System Administrators -

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:19

Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details about American surveillance, personifies a debate at the heart of technology systems in government and industry: can the I.T. staff be trusted?

Christopher Gregory/The New York TimesGen. Keith B. Alexander, the director of the N.S.A.

More Tech CoverageNews from the technology industry, including start-ups, the Internet, enterprise and gadgets.On Twitter: @nytimesbits.

Rick Bowmer/Associated PressAn N.S.A. data center in Bluffdale, Utah. The agency is adding a security rule akin to requiring two keys to unlock a safe.

As the N.S.A., some companies and the city of San Francisco have learned, information technology administrators, who are vital to keeping the system running and often have access to everything, are in the perfect position if they want to leak sensitive information or blackmail higher-level officials.

''The difficulty comes in an environment where computer networks need to work all the time,'' said Christopher P. Simkins, a former Justice Department lawyer whose firm advises companies, including military contractors, on insider threats.

The director of the N.S.A., Gen. Keith B. Alexander, acknowledged the problem in a television interview on Sunday and said his agency would institute ''a two-man rule'' that would limit the ability of each of its 1,000 system administrators to gain unfettered access to the entire system. The rule, which would require a second check on each attempt to access sensitive information, is already in place in some intelligence agencies. It is a concept borrowed from the field of cryptography, where, in effect, two sets of keys are required to unlock a safe.

From government agencies to corporate America, there is a renewed emphasis on thwarting the rogue I.T. employee. Such in-house breaches are relatively rare, but the N.S.A. leaks have prompted assessments of the best precautions businesses and government can take, from added checks and balances to increased scrutiny during hiring.

''The scariest threat is the systems administrator,'' said Eric Chiu, president of Hytrust, a computer security company. ''The system administrator has godlike access to systems they manage.''

Asked Sunday about General Alexander's two-man rule, Dale W. Meyerrose, a former chief information officer for the director of national intelligence, said, ''I think what he's doing is reasonable.''

''There are all kinds of things in life that have two-man rules,'' added Mr. Meyerrose, who now runs a business consulting firm. ''We've had a two-man rule ever since we had nuclear weapons. And when somebody repairs an airplane, an engineer has to check it.''

John R. Schindler, a former N.S.A. counterintelligence officer who now teaches at the Naval War College, agreed that the ''buddy system'' would help. ''But I just don't see it as a particularly good long-term solution,'' he said.

''Wouldn't it be easier to scrub all your I.T.'s for security issues,'' he asked, ''and see if there is another Snowden?''

The two-man rule ''has existed in other areas of the intelligence community for certain exceptionally sensitive programs where high risk was involved,'' he said, ''but it's not a standard procedure.''

Mr. Meyerrose and Mr. Schindler both said that software monitoring systems can also help, though they can be evaded by a knowledgeable systems administrator. The biggest issue for government and industry, they said, is to vet the I.T. candidates more carefully and to watch for any signs of disillusionment after they are hired.

''It's really a personal reliability issue,'' Mr. Meyerrose said.

Insiders of all types going rogue have become a problem for the government and industry over the last decade. One of the most prominent is Pfc. Bradley Manning, who downloaded a vast archive of American military and diplomatic materials from his post in Iraq and gave it to WikiLeaks. But there have been others, including scientists and software developers who stole secrets from American companies where they worked and provided them to China.

Now the spotlight is on the system administrators, who are often the technology workers with the most intimate knowledge of what is moving through their employers' computer networks.

In 2009, Ed Snowden said leakers "should be shot." Then he became one | Ars Technica

Booz Allen Hamilton: What You Don't Know About Snowden's Former Employer | Peace . Gold . Liberty

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 06:07

Let's take another trip down the rabbit hole, shall we?

Lost in the Edward Snowden debate is a critical look at his former employer, the company doing the spying on Americans in the first place: Booz Allen Hamilton.

Booz Allen Hamilton is a government contractor, with 99% of its revenue coming from the US government. Not only does it receive money from the NSA, but also the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Marine Corps, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and ... the IRS. In addition, Booz Allen is heavily connected to the CIA.

Among the individuals involved in running the company, we have:

James Clapper - current Director of National Intelligence (DNI), head of NSA, the man who lied to Congress about the fact that NSA is actively spying on Americans, is a former executive

Mike McConnell - a current executive of the company, had Clapper's job (DNI) during George W. Bush's administration (keep it in the family, eh?) -- he worked for Booz Allen before Bush, then worked for Bush, then back to Booz Allen after Bush

James Woolsey - former CIA Director, current executive (see Jan Helfeld's interview of Mr. Woolsey where it becomes clear that Woolsey has no interest in discussing principles, only war)

Melissa Hathaway - former executive, also worked for McConnell during the Bush administration

Ian Brzezinski - former executive, son of Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, central figure in the NWO crowd, and mastermind of Operation Cyclone

Dov Zakheim - this character is ... unbelievable:

1993 - His company, System Planning Corporation, had a subsidiary called Tridata Corporation, which was the company that "oversaw" the investigation of the 1993 WTC bombing

2000 - Part of the neocon Project for a New American Century, he is co-author of "Rebuilding America's Defenses," in which he is credited with the infamous line, "... some catastrophic and catalyzing event '' like a new Pearl Harbor."

2001 - He is appointed Comptroller of the Pentagon, in which $2.3 trillion promptly goes "missing"

2001 - Attack on 9/11 occurs; some people are suspicious of his connections, since his company, SPC, in involved in flight systems capable of remote controlling aircraft, and because he was the guy who leased 32 Boeing 767 aircraft to McDill Air Force Base (2 of the 9/11 aircraft were 767's), and McDill is close to Elgin AFB, which was the location that was to be used if Operation Northwoods had gone live

2004 - Goes to work for Booz Allen Hamilton.

2012 - Advisor on Middle East policy for Mitt Romney campaign (gee ... ya think Romney would have gone to war in the Middle East???)

Booz Allen Hamilton is owned by the Carlyle Group.

One of the big investors in the Carlyle Group was the Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia. Yeah ... THAT Bin Laden family. And instrumental in being the "go between" for Carlyle/Bin Laden was a guy by the name of George H. W. Bush. Maybe you've heard of him?

The CEO of the Carlyle Group (remember, they OWN Booz Allen Hamilton) is Frank Carlucci. Mr. Carlucci has quite a resume:

Nixon Administration - Director of the Office for Economic Opportunity (the "War on Poverty" -- and a great place to decide who gets government contracts)

Carter Administration - Deputy Director of the CIA

Reagan Administration - National Security Advisor and Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld is Carlucci's protoge)

He is or has been with the Project for a New American Century and a member of the Board of Trustees for the RAND Corporation, a CIA front that develops policies that the Military Industrial Complex then carries out.

You want a NWO guy? Carlucci is your man. And CEO of Carlyle Group, owner of Booz Allen Hamilton, spying on YOU.

At RAND, his specialty was Middle East policy. What do you know? That was also the specialty of Graham Fuller, CIA guy who was the father-in-law of Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of Tamarlan Tsarnev, suspected Boston bomber.

Speaking of the Boston bombing and Tamarlan Tsarnev, he had a couple of trips to Russia that made the news. But what did not make the news (in America, but it did in Russia) is that he went there for "training" that was funded by the Jamestown Foundation. And what do you know? The Jamestown Foundation (CIA front) has among its past board members none other than Dick Cheney and Marcia Carlucci, wife of Frank Carlucci.

See my post here about the CIA connections to the Boston bombing:

Given all their connections and government contracts, here's an interesting question: Booz Allen Hamilton has not only been involved in spying via the NSA, but they have also received no-bid contracts from the IRS. What do they know about the American people via the IRS?

Now, one of the things you will start to see if you look around at some of the big corporations these days is that many of them are involved in what they call "corporate citizenship" or something similar. What this means at the surface level is they are being "good citizens" by donating to charity. But when you go beyond the surface, you will see something else going on.

Booz Allen Hamilton donates money to the Clinton Global Initiative. The CGI is a part of the Clinton Foundation (yeah, THAT Clinton).

The Clinton Foundation has been implicated in bribery on an international level. Clinton gave himself a special little privilege while president wherein he exempted the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation from the normal rules of disclosure regarding publicly listing who its contributors were. It's a secret foundation. And it has over $200 million in assets now. And is alleged to be used as a way to funnel black money from corrupt governments around the world for behind-the-scenes deals like special oil contracts, arms dealing, US government foreign aid deals, whatever.

So folks, what you are not being told in the media about Edward Snowden's former company is that it is not only spying on you, but it is probably checking out your tax returns, too, and also receiving some of your tax money in government contracts, which it then funnels to CIA-connected/Military Industrial Complex-connected/NWO-connected individuals and organizations.

Something like this: Your tax money (taken from you by force) -> IRS -> Booz Allen Hamilton -> Clinton Foundation -> foreign bribes -> more contracts for the Military Industrial Complex -> more spending by foreign governments -> more foreign aid from the US government -> more US government spending -> more taxes needed -> more taxes from YOU.

Oh ... and they are spying on you, too.

But Edward Snowden ... yeah HE is the bad guy here. Uh huh ... move along ... nothing to see here.

- - - - -

Jimmy Wales breaks Wikipedia rules in hunt for Snowden

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Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 03:09

Wikipedia's notorious co-founder, Jimmy Wales, has launched an investigation to determine if any of the pseudonyms who edit the world's biggest encyclopedia are in fact (or suspected to be) classified security info leaker, Edward Snowden. Wales got the urge to learn more early this morning (Tuesday, June 25), asking his minions who follow his "Talk" page:

Snowden editing? -- I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere. In the media there have been reports of user accounts used on various tech discussion sites by Edward Snowden. He was apparently quite an active person online, particularly a few years back when he was younger. It seems highly likely to me that he would have edited Wikipedia - most people who fit his profile (tech savvy, internet activist types) will have done so. Do we have any evidence of that, or suspicions about that? -- Jimbo Wales

Certainly many journalists and government investigators may already be trying to match Wikipedia user accounts to the wanted fugitive Snowden.

However, a key problem for Mr. Wales is that Wikipedians aren't allowed to snoop into the identity of other other Wikipedia editors who have not disclosed their real name on Wikipedia. Certainly as the man who co-founded the Wikipedia project and who has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from speaking to assembled audiences about Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales should know better than to ask others to violate one of its community's most respected rules. But that does not appear to be the case.

Reject the accusation

As we have seen time and time again with Mr. Wales, when he is called to task by a long-time productive editor of his encyclopedia, Wales' reaction is to admonish and shun the accuser. When Belgian Wikipedia administrator "Fram" brought notice of Wales' attempt at outing Snowden's account(s), Wales reaction was not to apologize for his violation of Wikipedia policy. Instead, he reacted by saying that he considered Fram's "manufactured and implausible complaints like this to be harassment".

Despite that, the Wikipedia community seems to agree quite a bit more with Fram than with Jimmy Wales. Some editors at the administrative noticeboard picked apart Jimbo with a precision only Wikipedians could exact:

...the complaint has some merit. In the case Snowden is an editor, and could continue to edit, outing him seems a bad thing to do, just like for any other editor.

...I agree that Fram's concern has foundation, and I am concerned with Jimbo's removal [of talk] page posts, as well as his dismissal of them as 'trolling.'

...I disagree with Jimbo when he says that this isn't a case of 'outing'.

...I fully support Fram's concern here. Journalists are entititled to investigate whether Snowden had an account on Wikipedia (and if so; which account/s); Wikipedians are not entitled to speculate on Wikipedia about real-life identities.

...Jimbo, you send mixed messages when you encourage us to out a Wikipedia editor just because he's in the news.

Wales was unfazed. "Feel free to relay your concerns to me directly at my talk page. All but Fram are welcome to discuss it further." This is Wales' pattern. He frequently asks those who happen to criticize his motives or actions to never again grace his Talk page, even though he is the name and face behind the encyclopedia "anyone can edit". Apparently there are limits to one's ability to edit Wikipedia, and one of those red lines not to be crossed is criticism of Jimmy Wales.

Baltasar Garz"n announced that assumes the defense of Snowden

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 16:11

En un comunicado remitido a los medios de comunicaci"n, Garz"n asegur" que continuar con la representaci"n del fundador de Wikileaks, Julian Assange, "en la defensa del derecho fundamental a la libertad de informaci"n y de expresi"n".

El exjuez, que firma el mensaje como director del despacho ILOCAD SL, expres" su "satisfacci"n" por la reciente aprobaci"n del proyecto de resoluci"n de la Comisi"n de Asuntos Jur­dicos y Derechos Humanos de la Asamblea Parlamentaria del Consejo de Europa "que considera que aquellos que denuncian hechos delictivos en beneficio del inter(C)s general deben ser protegidos de las represalias de aquellos que los cometen".

El exanalista de la CIA Edward Snowden est en la zona de trnsito del aeropuerto moscovita de Sherem(C)tyevo sin poder comprar un billete para abandonar Rusia porque su pasaporte estadounidense est anulado, dijo una fuente del entorno del fugitivo a la agencia rusa Interfax.

Assange dijo el lunes que Snowden ha recibido un documento de refugiado del Gobierno de Ecuador para poder viajar dado que EEUU hab­a revocado su pasaporte.

El pasado domingo Garz"n se desmarc" de WikiLeaks, que hab­a anunciado a trav(C)s de su pgina web que se har­a cargo de la defensa de Snowden.

En concreto, ese d­a Garz"n asegur" que "no defender ni asesorar" por el momento al exagente y hoy confirm" que no llevar su caso.

Fuente: EFE

Hopscotch (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:58

Hopscotch is a 1980 American film directed by Ronald Neame and produced by Otto Plaschkes. It was written by Bryan Forbes and Brian Garfield, based on Garfield's novel of the same name.

The film is a comedy starring Walter Matthau as Miles Kendig, a renegade CIA agent intent on publishing a memoir exposing the inner workings of the CIA and the KGB. Sam Waterston and Ned Beatty play Cutter and Myerson, Kendig's prot(C)g(C) and his obnoxious, incompetent, and profane former boss, respectively, and are repeatedly foiled in their attempts to capture him and stop the publication of the damaging memoir. Herbert Lom is Yaskov, the sympathetic KGB agent with an equal interest in his capture. Glenda Jackson plays Isobel von Schoenenberg, his Austrian love interest who helps him stay one step ahead of his captors.

Matthau and Jackson previously appeared together in the 1978 film House Calls. Matthau's son David plays Ross, a bumbling junior CIA agent. Matthau's step-daughter Lucy Saroyan plays the pilot, Carla Fleming.

The film was received in a lukewarm manner by critics and was a moderate financial success during its release.[citation needed]The Criterion Collection released the film to DVD in 2002.

Synopsis[edit]The movie opens at Munich's Oktoberfest. Kendig and his team foil a microfilm transfer to an East German spy. However, they purposely do not apprehend Yaskov. Kendig is summoned to Washington, where his supervisor, Myerson (Beatty), is forcing Kendig into semi-retirement and a desk job because Kendig didn't arrest the Russian. Kendig resists, claiming to be "a field man", and, on his own initiative, takes leave, shredding his file en route. It is days before that is discovered. He goes to Salzburg, Austria to "hear some Mozart" and visit an old friend, Isobel Von Schoenenberg (Jackson). It is here that he seizes on the idea of writing a book exposing all the 'dirty tricks' of the CIA, KGB and other 'spy agencies'. Isobel is horrified to read the first chapter and tells Kendig that they'll all come after him to kill him. Nevertheless, he mails copies of the chapters to the various spy chiefs in the US, Russia, China, France and Great Britain. Soon enough, Myerson and Yaskov are after him, just as he wanted.

Kendig baits his pursuers by periodically informing them of his location while nevertheless staying one step ahead. Leaving Vienna, he rents Myerson's own Georgia country house, and writes a few more chapters. The CIA trace him there, but the FBI shows up as well, and hearing the firecrackers Kendig sets up to go off, start blasting away at the house with rifles in front of the frantic Myerson, who goes in to a fit of apoplexy as his house is destroyed by the FBI shooters. This scene is accompanied by the aria "Un bel D¬", the suicide scene from Madama Butterfly (Puccini).

Kendig flies to Bermuda by seaplane (piloted by a woman portrayed by Matthau's stepdaughter, Lucy Saroyan), then to London, to meet with his publisher (George Baker) to give him the last chapter of the book. Yaskov tells Cutter (Waterston), a former prot(C)g(C) of Kendig's and friend who has been tasked to pursue him, finding out that he is in London. Both the Soviets and the Americans go to London and find Kendig's hotel room, where he has left a tape recording telling them he has finished the book and that he will be escaping Britain by a small plane the next morning. He leaves a copy of the last chapter and the location of the airfield from which he plans to make his escape.

In the meantime, Kendig has contacted Isobel, who is under surveillance in Austria by the CIA. She cleverly escapes her watchers and goes to England by hovercraft. Kendig has also contracted with an engineer for a specialized electronic device for the airplane of unknown purpose.

Cutter and Myerson threaten Kendig's publisher but he rebuffs their attempts at intimidation. Kendig, on the way to the airfield, suffers a flat tire. He is assisted by the local police, who cordially invite him to wait in the station until the morning. When one policeman recognizes him from a bulletin, Kendig escapes by short-circuiting an electrical socket and stealing a police car.

He reaches the airfield in the morning, but the Americans and Russians are hovering overhead in a helicopter. He apparently takes off in his vintage biplane and is pursued by Myerson in the helicopter. He performs intricate loops in the plane evading the pistol shots from Myerson.

It is then revealed that the electronic device that Kendig had had built is a specialized remote control device. Kendig is actually still on the ground, controlling the plane from the near-ruinous former control building nearby. Once the plane has cleared the cliffs and is over the English Channel, he presses a button, exploding it, timed just as Myerson has fired at the biplane one more time. The Americans and Russians rush to the cliff, see the wreckage floating in the sea, and conclude that Kendig is dead '' except Cutter, who sees through the plan and realizes that Kendig did not die in the plane ("He better stay dead") but decides to keep this insight to himself.

Kendig meanwhile returns to meet Von Schoenenberg and they set off for the south of France. Months later, the book has become a bestseller. Kendig is in a bookstore in disguise as a Sikh to purchase a copy. He learns from the clerk that the book is very good and that there is a rumor that Kendig is still alive in Australia. Von Schoenenberg pulls him aside and scolds him for taking too many risks.

Credits[edit]Production[edit]Otto Plaschkes - producerRonald Neame - directorBryan Forbes - screenplayBrian Garfield - screenplay and novelCast[edit]Sources[edit]The film has been described as a comedic variation on the 1975 dark thriller Three Days of the Condor starring Robert Redford, using the same premise of one CIA agent pursued by others intent on covering up dark secrets of the agency'--or a comedic version of Philip Agee's rebellion.[citation needed] The movie has also been classified in the genre of post-Vietnam American comedies such as Stripes (1981) that played on the perceived incompetence of the federal government.[citation needed] The book's author explained in a documentary on the DVD that rather than basing the book on anything specific, he was unhappy with the spy movie genre, sensing that it had become more about gadgets, violence and sex than either realism or trickery, and wrote Hopscotch to be a spy novel without the sex, guns and gadgets.

The music includes many pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Notable examples include the aria "Non Pi¹ Andrai" from the opera The Marriage of Figaro, the andante movement from Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No.11, K331 (best known for the third movement, the Rondo alla turca), the Posthorn Serenade, K320 and a Rondo in D, K382.

Hermann Prey's lusty singing of "Non Pi¹ Andrai" magnificently highlights the absurd antics of the old biplane as Myerson is shooting at it. The song tells how Cherubino ("little baby"), going into the army, will no longer be a dainty favorite, just as 5-foot-7 Myerson is going to lose his power at the CIA. Also, the song describes bullets flying and even bombs exploding.

There is also the aria "Largo al Factotum" from the opera The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini. Matthau sings this as he passes a border checkpoint. The words to the aria explain how everyone is looking for the barber, and he moves fast like lightning.

Kendig has the aria "Un Bel D¬ Vedremo" ("One Beautiful Day") from Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini playing loudly on the stereo as the FBI and CIA shoot up Myerson's wife's house. The operatic contrapunto adds a surreal air of ironic justice to the events as Madame Butterfly sings how she will hide from her husband.

Matthau, who had a great personal fondness for opera, is said to have selected the soundtrack himself. The director said however that conductor Ian Frasier found many of the Mozart pieces that fit the movie.[1]

The credits also list "Once a Night" written by Jackie English and Beverly Bremers. This is the blaring song playing at the bar "The Other End" where Matthau goes to arrange his flight from Georgia.

^In Hopscotch - Criterion Collection DVD, special feature "Introduction by Neame & Garfield", director Neame stated that Matthau's agent made the suggestion that they ought to put in some Mozart because this would greatly please Matthau. As they looked into this they realized that it would much enhance the movie if Kendig loved Mozart. Ian Fraser was the arranger and found many sections of Mozart that fit the movie, but they couldn't find anything to go with Kendig typing. They asked Walter and he brought in some Mozart that went perfectly with it.External links[edit]

Wonkbook: Does Edward Snowden even exist?

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Archived Version

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:57

Welcome to Wonkbook, Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas's morning policy news primer. To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism, or ideas to Wonkbook at Gmail dot com. To read more by Ezra and his team, go to Wonkblog.

(Photo by Kin Cheung/AP)

Aeroflot flight 150, from Moscow to Havana, was packed with dozens of journalists who'd bought tickets to get a glimpse of, and maybe even an interview with, fleeing leaker Edward Snowden. But when the doors closed and the plane readied for takeoff, they made an unpleasant discovery: Snowden wasn't on the plane.

There is, of course, only one explanation for Snowden's absence: He never existed in the first place.

When you think about it in retrospect, it's all so obvious. Some lone hacker '-- a high-school dropout, no less '-- with a beautiful model girlfriend and some strongly held views about transparency sacrifices his future to expose the NSA's most secretive program and then runs to Hong Kong and then to Moscow. Oh, and his model girlfriend has a blog where she writes about life as a pole-dancing acrobat. It's all a bit too perfect, isn't it? (Editor's note for the literal minded: It is not, in fact, all too perfect, and this column is not actually suggesting Edward Snowden isn't real. It's just a conceit to make a larger point.)

The only question is motive: Why would anyone do it? The answer, as Buzzfeed's Ben Smith hints, is that it was necessary to keep the NSA programs safe. We can surmise that the information was leaking anyway, and so the government needed a distraction. Something connected to the NSA, so covering it would still feel like covering the NSA story, but that would divert much of the press from covering the actual programs.

And it's worked. Everyone is talking about ''Edward Snowden.'' The whole world knows what flight he was supposed to be on this morning and which countries he's considering as safe harbors. The term ''STELLARWIND,'' by contrast, has largely dropped out of the news.

The genius of the plan is that it offers an emotional arc and payoff that feels like it's about the NSA story. People angry about the government's actions can cheer Snowden's moxie and root for his flight. People angry about the leaks can hope the government manages to catch him. There's a new plot twist each and every day. There will, presumably, be an eventual resolution to the Snowden story, such that those following it feel they have a sense of closure and can move onto other topics.

The Exciting Adventures of Edward Snowden haven't stopped the press from digging deeper into the NSA programs, of course. The Washington Post and the Guardian have remained doggedly on the trail of the NSA programs. And just this weekend, McClatchy revealed the ''Insider Threat'' program that the Obama administration uses to keep this kind of information from leaking out.

But whereas those stories might, in another world, be leading a journalistic feeding frenzy and creating a relentless drumbeat for further revelations, in this world, it's Operation: Snowden that has managed to capture the imagination of the American people (or at least the people interested in political news). It's Operation: Snowden that's leading every news homepage and cable broadcast in the world right now. The effort has even neutralized journalistic resources that could've been devoted to the larger NSA stories (the poor reporters who got on the flight to Havana won't be able to turn around for three days, for instance). Operation: Snowden has become the NSA story.

So of course Snowden wasn't on that plane. He couldn't have been. If he'd disappeared into Cuba the Snowden story would be over and all that would be left is the NSA story. And that's not the plan.

Wonkbook's Number of the Day: 99. That's the number of days until October 1, 2013, when enrollment begins for health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act open.

Wonkblog's Graphs of the Day: This chart explains why Obama is coming forward with new climate plans.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: 1) regulating existing power plants; 2) the Supreme Court's supremely important week; 3) how to regulate finance; 4) 100 days 'til Obamacare; and 5) immigration-reform update.

1) Top story: Green on environmental policy? Here's an intro.

Obama will announce a plan to regulate existing power plants tomorrow. ''President Obama will announce his intention to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, increase appliance efficiency standards and promote renewable energy development on public lands in a speech Tuesday outlining his plan to use executive powers to address climate change'...In the speech at Georgetown University, according to individuals briefed on the matter who asked not to be identified because the plan was not yet public, Obama will detail a government-wide plan to not only reduce the nation's carbon output but also prepare the United States for the near-term impacts of global warming.'' Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.

Jonathan Chait has the essential longread on Obama's second-term climate agenda: ''[T]here is one hole in his regulatory agenda: power plants that currently exist. This is, unfortunately, a very large hole, as these plants, mostly coal, emit 40 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions. Coal is so inherently dirty that no available technology can prevent a plant from emitting unacceptable levels of greenhouse gases'...Then, a few weeks after last year's election, the Natural Resources Defense Council published a plan for the EPA to regulate existing power plants in a way that was neither ineffectual nor draconian. The proposal would set state-by-state limits on emissions. It sounds simple, but this was a conceptual breakthrough.'' Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine.

Watch: The White House released a video, ''Addressing the threat of Climate Change,'' this weekend.

Explainer:This chart explains why Obama is coming forward with new plans. Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.

What else will be in the plan? ''Administration officials indicated that his speech will also include valuable new steps to increase energy efficiency, and boost investment in wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources. We hope that the president will also announce measures to help communities become more resilient to future storms, floods, drought, heat waves, and wildfires,'' [Daniel J. Weiss, the director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress] added.'' Ben German in The Hill.

@DLeonhardt: Gotta think Obama is deliberately choosing one of busiest DC news weeks of year to give big climate speech. Still not a typical-voter topic.

Boehner: Obama climate proposal 'absolutely crazy.' ''The Ohio Republican was incredulous when asked to react to reports that the White House plans to regulate carbon emissions from power plants as part of its climate change strategy. ''I think this is absolutely crazy,'' Boehner said at his weekly press conference. ''Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs.''' Molly K. Hooper in The Hill.

It could be a long slog for Obama's climate plans. ''The rules are almost certain to bring legal challenges, but even without that the process is lengthy. The Environmental Protection Agency must first complete rules for new power plants, which have been in the works since 2011. In draft form, those rules essentially blocked the construction of new coal-fired plants. Once the draft rules are finished, environmental lawyers say, the EPA would need until at least late 2014 to propose and make final rules for existing plants. What's more, the rules would be merely guidelines for states to draw up their own plans for restricting greenhouse gases. Allowing a year for that'--plus more time for the EPA to rewrite state plans if it is dissatisfied with them'--means the process could easily stretch out to the end of Mr. Obama's second term and beyond.'' Keith Johnson and Peter Nicholas in The Wall Street Journal.

Music recommendations interlude: Creedence Clearwater Revival, ''Green River,'' 1969.

Top op-eds

LEONHARDT: The endless battle over judicial nominees. ''My goal here is to cut through the noise '-- statistical and partisan '-- and try to offer an objective reading of the fight over judges. It is one of the most consequential fights in Washington today, yet it receives a fraction of the attention that national security or legislative battles do.'' David Leonhardt in The New York Times.

KRUGMAN: Et tu, Bernanke? ''Given this grim reality '-- plus very low inflation '-- you have to wonder why the Fed is talking at all about reducing its efforts on the economy's behalf. Still, it's just talk, right? Well, yes '-- but what the Fed says often matters as much as or more than what it does. This is inherent in the relationship between what the Fed more or less directly controls, namely short-term interest rates, and longer-term rates, which reflect expected as well as current short-term rates. Even if the Fed leaves short rates unchanged for now, statements that convince investors that these rates will be going up sooner rather than later will cause long rates to rise. And because long rates are what mainly matter for private spending, this will weaken growth and employment.'' Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

DIONNE: The flawed farm bill. ''The collapse of the farm bill will generally be played as a political story about Boehner's failure to rally his own right wing. That's true as far as it goes and should remind everyone of the current House leadership's inability to govern. But this is above all a story about morality: There is something profoundly wrong when a legislative majority is so eager to risk leaving so many Americans hungry.'' E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post.

MORGENTHAU: Let shooting victims sue. ''Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, severely reducing the legal liability of gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers for reckless acts that send guns to the black market. The National Rifle Association called it ''the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in 20 years.'' This kind of legislation encourages arms dealers to turn a blind eye to the lethal consequences of what they peddle, and rewards their breathtaking irresponsibility.'' Robert M. Morgenthau in The New York Times.

Sentences interlude: ''If octopuses did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them.''

2) What you need to know about this week for the Supreme Court

Supreme Court weighs cases redefining legal equality. ''The extraordinary run of blockbuster rulings due in the space of a single week will also reshape the meaning of legal equality and help define for decades to come one of the Constitution's grandest commands: ''the equal protection of the laws.'' If those words require only equal treatment from the government, the rulings are likely to be a mixed bag that will delight and disappoint liberals and conservatives in equal measure. Under that approach, same-sex couples who want to marry would be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics could find it harder to get into college and to vote.'' Adam Liptak in The New York Times.

The Voting Right Act is on the table. ''Much of the debate has been in broad historical terms about how much the South and other parts of the country have changed, but legal experts say the greatest impact of the court's decision may lie in the low-profile world of county commissions and school boards where the provision, Section 5, does the majority of its work.'' Campbell Robertson in The New York Times.

Big Business loves this Court. ''The Supreme Court strengthened the hand of business in the session that comes to a close this week, making it easier for companies to defend themselves from the kinds of big lawsuits that have bedeviled them for decades. While the Roberts Court has long been viewed as friendly to business, the court set several notable precedents involving class-action lawsuits where plaintiffs try to pool their claims into one big case.'' Brent Kendall in The Wall Street Journal.

The Court is keeping it old school. ''In a city beset by leaks '-- a young programmer recently gave a hoard of top-secret documents to newspapers '-- the high court's annual rulings remain stubbornly opaque until they are handed out (on paper, first) by the court's public relations staff. Meanwhile, the nine justices have the luxury of appearing publicly oblivious to the swirl of social media, the angst of Washington's legal community and the voracious appetite of America's 24-hour news cycle.'' Michael D. Shear in The New York Times.

While the Court mulls gay marriage, the public shifts. '' the five years since Prop 8 passed, attitudes across America on gay marriage have moved fast. A poll this year by the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public life found that 50% of Americans support gay marriage, up from 39% in 2008. ''For a social issue in recent decades, that is quite unique,'' says David Masci, a senior researcher at the Pew Forum.'' Geoffrey A. Fowler and Vauhini Vara in The Wall Street Journal.

Real Tumblrs interlude:

3) A post-recession agenda for financial regulation

Banks present own crisis plan to Fed. ''The plan, given to the U.S. Federal Reserve at a private meeting May 22, is an effort by banks to preempt tougher rules from officials in Washington who believe banks still could pose a threat to financial stability in a crisis'...Under the proposal, the largest financial-services holding companies would be willing to hold a certain amount of debt and equity that would be used to prop up any failed bank subsidiary seized by regulators. Some banks might be forced to issue expensive long-term debt. The plan is a concession to regulators, who increasingly have been calling for banks to hold a minimum amount of long-term debt.'' Dan Fitzpatrick, Shayndi Rice, and Michael R. Crittenden in The Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street regulator races for time. ''Gary Gensler, the Goldman Sachs trader turned Wall Street regulator, may see his time atop the Commodities Futures Trading Commission end in July. The question is whether he can finish perhaps the most important piece of financial reform before he's out '' or whether the House will manage to stop him.'' Mike Konczal in The Washington Post.

Explainer: Economic data coming your way this week. Amrita Jayakumar in The Washington Post.

Can the Fed pull of the taper? ''The real economy, not just asset prices, could suffer from Fed ''tapering.'' Some indicators suggest the economy has come close to stalling repeatedly since the recession ended four years ago. Quarterly and monthly data on employment, inflation and growth are unclear on this point.'' Spencer Jakab in The Wall Street Journal.

The Bank for International Settlements continues its hard-money push. ''Efforts by the world's ''overburdened'' central banks to stabilize financial markets have allowed governments to delay necessary overhauls to their economies and banking systems, the Bank for International Settlements said in its annual report Sunday'...Structural changes in core economic areas like labor markets and social security systems, which BIS repeatedly calls for, entail tough and often unpopular political decisions.'' Brian Blackstone in The Wall Street Journal.

Here's why the markets are in turmoil. ''Many bond market funds are now showing losses for the year: Yields have jumped sharply, and prices correspondingly have fallen, because the Federal Reserve seems increasingly likely to scale back its efforts to stimulate the economy. But more broadly, sharp selloffs in higher-yielding investments have revealed where investors may have overpaid for those income streams. That was especially the case in high-dividend stocks, such as utilities, which many investors tend to view as havens. Also taking a big hit: yield-rich real-estate investment trusts.'' Tom Lauricella in The Wall Street Journal.

Will auto sales continue to boost the economy? ''Since bottoming out in 2009, when American consumers bought just 10.4 million cars and light trucks, new-vehicles sales have climbed to 11.6 million in 2010, 12.8 million in 2011 and 14.5 million last year. So far this year, they've risen 7.3% and are on track to exceed 15 million vehicles for the first time in five years'...In the first quarter, vehicle production accounted for about half of the U.S. economy's growth, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.'' Neal E. Boudette in The Wall Street Journal.

Ka-pow interlude: 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu crash test.

4) 99 days until Obamacare

Obamacare starts in 99 days. ''This is the final sprint for the Obama administration and its allies. The White House has made a conscious decision to hold off on public outreach and education until right before open enrollment '-- there's no point in pitching a product, the thinking has gone, until it's almost on the shelves. There are, arguably, two big things that need to happen between now and October. The first is technical: The federal government needs to finish building the infrastructure that allows multiple government agencies to transmit information, determining whether an individual should qualify for tax subsidies.'' Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

Explainer: 10 people, beyond Sec. Sebelius, to watch during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Elise Viebeck in The Hill.

Employers test plans that cap health costs. ''Hoping to cut medical costs, employers are experimenting with a new way to pay for health care, telling workers that their company health plan will pay only a fixed amount for a given test or procedure, like a CT scan or knee replacement. Employees who choose a doctor or hospital that charges more are responsible for paying the additional amount themselves. Although it is in the early stages, the strategy is gaining in popularity and there is some evidence that it has persuaded expensive hospitals to lower their prices.'' Reed Abelson in The New York Times.

Another ka-pow interlude: A controlled demolition of a huge bridge.

5) The latest on immigration reform

Border security is the key to immigration reform. So how do we measure it? ''In 2011, the GAO reports, border security along the Southwest was thought to be about 84 percent effective. That is, 16 percent of attempts to cross the border were successful '-- which amounted to about 85,000 people getting through. Another 61.3 percent resulted in apprehensions. And 22.7 percent of attempts were turned back. Now, effectiveness varied by sector '-- the Yuma sector, which is very well-staffed, had an effectiveness rate of 93.7 percent. By contrast, border security in the Rio Grande Valley sector was just 70.8 percent effective.'' Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.

Sen. Graham says 70 votes is a reality. ''''The bill will pass. I think we're on the verge of getting 70 votes. That is my goal,'' Graham said on ''Fox News Sunday.'' ''We're very, very close to 70 votes. The Hoeven-Corker amendment I think gets us over the top.''" Jennifer Martinez in The Hill.

'...But Sen. Paul says he won't be one of those 70. ''Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, announced Sunday he will vote against the Senate immigration reform bill because it does not guarantee border security. ''I'm all in favor of immigration reform but I'm like most conservatives in the country [in] that I think reform should be dependent on border security first,'' he said on CNN's ''State of the Union''.'' Alexander Bolton in The Hill.

Reading material interlude: The best sentences Wonkblog read today.

Wonkblog Roundup

Voters don't care how women in politics look. Danny Hayes and Jennifer L. Lawless.

Obamacare starts in 100 days. Sarah Kliff.

Obama is announcing major new climate plans Tuesday. This chart explains why. Brad Plumer.

A Wall Street regulator's race against time. Mike Konczal.

A $15 minimum wage is a terrible idea. Dylan Matthews.

Et Cetera

Longread: ''Booz Allen, the World's Most Profitable Spy Organization,'' by Drake Bennett and Michael Riley in Bloomberg Businessweek.

How the farm bill failed. David Rogers in Politico.

Deadline for rearview cameras pushed to 2015. Joan Lowy in The Washington Post.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams.

EXCLUSIVE: Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance | South China Morning Post

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Archived Version

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 20:39

A banner displayed in support of Edward Snowden in Central. Photo: AFP

Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone '' to obtain evidence on Washington's cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal.

For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency's secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.

''My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,'' he told the Post on June 12. ''That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.''

During a global online chat last week, Snowden also stated he took pay cuts ''in the course of pursuing specific work''.

His admission comes as US officials voiced anger at Hong Kong, and indirectly Beijing, after the whistle-blower was allowed to leave the city on Sunday.

Snowden is understood to be heading for Ecuador to seek political asylum with the help of WikiLeaks, which claimed to have secured his safe passage to the South American country.

Snowden, who arrived in Hong Kong on May 20, first contacted documentary maker Laura Poitras in January, claiming to have information about the intelligence community. But it was several months later before Snowden met Poitras and two British reporters in the city.

He spent the time collecting a cache of classified documents as a computer systems administrator at Booz Allen Hamilton.

In his interview with the Post, Snowden divulged information that he claimed showed hacking by the NSA into computers in Hong Kong and mainland China.

''I did not release them earlier because I don't want to simply dump huge amounts of documents without regard to their content,'' he said.

''I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists.''

Asked if he specifically went to Booz Allen Hamilton to gather evidence of surveillance, he replied: ''Correct on Booz.''

His intention was to collect information about the NSA hacking into ''the whole world'' and ''not specifically Hong Kong and China''.

The documents he divulged to the Post were obtained during his tenure at Booz Allen Hamilton in April, he said.

He also signalled his intention to leak more of those documents at a later date.

''If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.''

Two days after Snowden broke cover in Hong Kong as the source of the NSA leaks, Booz Allen Hamilton sacked him.

Demonizing Edward Snowden: Which Side Are You On?

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 10:29

As I write this, a bunch of reporters are flying from Moscow to Havana on an Aeroflot Airbus 330, but Edward Snowden isn't sitting among them. His whereabouts are unknown. He might still be in the V.I.P. lounge at Sheremetyevo International Airport. He could have left on another plane. There are even suggestions that he has taken shelter in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Moscow.

What we do know is that, on this side of the Atlantic, efforts are being stepped up to demonize Snowden, and to delegitimize his claim to be a conscientious objector to the huge electronic-spying apparatus operated by the United States and the United Kingdom. ''This is an individual who is not acting, in my opinion, with noble intent,'' General Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, told ABC's ''This Week'' on Sunday. ''What Snowden has revealed has caused irreversible and significant damage to our country and to our allies.'' Over on CBS's ''Face the Nation,'' Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, ''I don't think this man is a whistle-blower'... he could have stayed and faced the music. I don't think running is a noble thought.''

An unnamed senior Administration official joined the Snowden-bashing chorus, telling reporters, ''Mr. Snowden's claim that he is focussed on supporting transparency, freedom of the press, and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and Ecuador. His failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the U.S., not to advance Internet freedom and free speech.''

It is easy to understand, though not to approve of, why Administration officials, who have been embarrassed by Snowden's revelations, would seek to question his motives and exaggerate the damage he has done to national security. Feinstein, too, has been placed in a tricky spot. Tasked with overseeing the spooks and their spying operations, she appears to have done little more than nod.

More unnerving is the way in which various members of the media have failed to challenge the official line. Nobody should be surprised to see the New York Post running the headline: ''ROGUES' GALLERY: SNOWDEN JOINS LONG LIST OF NOTORIOUS, GUTLESS TRAITORS FLEEING TO RUSSIA.'' But where are Snowden's defenders? As of Monday, the editorial pages of the Times and the Washington Post, the two most influential papers in the country, hadn't even addressed the Obama Administration's decision to charge Snowden with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of theft.

If convicted on all three counts, the former N.S.A. contract-systems administrator could face thirty years in jail. On the Sunday-morning talk shows I watched, there weren't many voices saying that would be an excessive punishment for someone who has performed an invaluable public service. And the person who did aggressively defend Snowden's actions, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian blogger who was one of the reporters to break the story, found himself under attack. After suggesting that Greenwald had ''aided and abetted'' Snowden, David Gregory, the host of NBC's ''Meet the Press,'' asked, ''Why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?''

After being criticized on Twitter, Gregory said that he wasn't taking a position on Snowden's actions'--he was merely asking a question. I'm all for journalists asking awkward questions, too. But why aren't more of them being directed at Hayden and Feinstein and Obama, who are clearly intent on attacking the messenger?

To get a different perspective on Snowden and his disclosures, here's a portion of an interview that ABC'--the Australian Broadcasting Company, not the Disney subsidiary'--did today with Thomas Drake, another former N.S.A. employee, who, in 2010, was charged with espionage for revealing details about an electronic-eavesdropping project called Trailblazer, a precursor to Operation Prism, one of the programs that Snowden documented. (The felony cases against Drake, as my colleague Jane Mayer has written, eventually collapsed, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.)

INTERVIEWER: Not everybody thinks Edward Snowden did the right thing. I presume you do'...

DRAKE: I consider Edward Snowden as a whistle-blower. I know some have called him a hero, some have called him a traitor. I focus on what he disclosed. I don't focus on him as a person. He had a belief that what he was exposed to'--U.S. actions in secret'--were violating human rights and privacy on a very, very large scale, far beyond anything that had been admitted to date by the government. In the public interest, he made that available.

INTERVIEWER: What do you say to the argument, advanced by those with the opposite viewpoint to you, especially in the U.S. Congress and the White House, that Edward Snowden is a traitor who made a narcissistic decision that he personally had a right to decide what public information should be in the public domain?

DRAKE: That's a government meme, a government cover'--that's a government story. The government is desperate to not deal with the actual exposures, the content of the disclosures. Because they do reveal a vast, systemic, institutionalized, industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance state that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism'--far beyond.

As far as I'm concerned, that about covers it. I wish Snowden had followed Drake's example and remained on U.S. soil to fight the charges against him. But I can't condemn him for seeking refuge in a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States. If he'd stayed here, he would almost certainly be in custody, with every prospect of staying in a cell until 2043 or later. The Obama Administration doesn't want him to come home and contribute to the national-security-versus-liberty debate that the President says is necessary. It wants to lock him up for a long time.

And for what? For telling would-be jihadis that we are monitoring their Gmail and Facebook accounts? For informing the Chinese that we eavesdrop on many of their important institutions, including their prestigious research universities? For confirming that the Brits eavesdrop on virtually anybody they feel like? Come on. Are there many people out there who didn't already know these things?

Snowden took classified documents from his employer, which surely broke the law. But his real crime was confirming that the intelligence agencies, despite their strenuous public denials, have been accumulating vast amounts of personal data from the American public. The puzzle is why so many media commentators continue to toe the official line. About the best explanation I've seen came from Josh Marshall, the founder of T.P.M., who has been one of Snowden's critics. In a post that followed the first wave of stories, Marshall wrote, ''At the end of the day, for all its faults, the U.S. military is the armed force of a political community I identify with and a government I support. I'm not a bystander to it. I'm implicated in what it does and I feel I have a responsibility and a right to a say, albeit just a minuscule one, in what it does.''

I suspect that many Washington journalists, especially the types who go on Sunday talk shows, feel the way Marshall does, but perhaps don't have his level of self-awareness. It's not just a matter of defending the Obama Administration, although there's probably a bit of that. It's something deeper, which has to do with attitudes toward authority. Proud of their craft and good at what they do, successful journalists like to think of themselves as fiercely independent. But, at the same time, they are part of the media and political establishment that stands accused of ignoring, or failing to pick up on, an intelligence outrage that's been going on for years. It's not surprising that some of them share Marshall's view of Snowden as ''some young guy I've never heard of before who espouses a political philosophy I don't agree with and is now seeking refuge abroad for breaking the law.''

Mea culpa. Having spent almost eighteen years at The New Yorker, I'm arguably just as much a part of the media establishment as David Gregory and his guests. In this case, though, I'm with Snowden'--not only for the reasons that Drake enumerated but also because of an old-fashioned and maybe na¯ve inkling that journalists are meant to stick up for the underdog and irritate the powerful. On its side, the Obama Administration has the courts, the intelligence services, Congress, the diplomatic service, much of the media, and most of the American public. Snowden's got Greenwald, a woman from Wikileaks, and a dodgy travel document from Ecuador. Which side are you on?

Spy vs Spy

Is your smart meter spying on you? | Fossils & Photons '' Energy and Clean Tech | an blog

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Archived Version

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 17:17

Critics of ''smart meters'' have often warned that the advanced electricity and gas meters can invade privacy by revealing when someone is and isn't home.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, they have reason to worry.

The civil rights group on Wednesday reported that California's three big, investor-owned utilities had disclosed individual account information on thousands of their customers last year, usually to government agencies armed with subpoenas. The vast majority of those disclosures '-- 4,062 '-- were made by San Diego Gas and Electric Co.

Sometimes the agencies were seeking billing, banking and address information that would help them locate individuals, according to a memo SDG&E filed with state regulators this spring. In more than half the cases, however, investigators received energy-usage data for the customers. Thanks to smart meters, that data can reveal when a customer goes to work, heads to bed or leaves on vacation, although it's still not certain that investigators are using the information in that depth of detail.

How many records did Pacific Gas and Electric Co. release? Click here, and read on.

'' David R. Baker

NSA can eavesdrop on Americans' phone calls, documents show | Politics and Law

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:53

The Guardian newspaper posts classified documents showing intelligence analysts have broad access to intercepted communications but aren't supposed to "target" Americans.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who authorized the NSA's domestic surveillance in secret legal documents made public today.

(Credit: Getty Images)The National Security Agency has been secretly granted legal authority to operate a massive domestic eavesdropping system that vacuums up Americans' phone calls and Internet communications, newly leaked documents show.

A pair of classified government documents (No. 1 and No. 2) signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and posted by the Guardian on Thursday show that NSA analysts are able to listen to Americans' intercepted phone calls without asking a judge for a warrant first.

That appears to be at odds with what President Obama said earlier this week in defense of the NSA's surveillance efforts. "I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls and the NSA cannot target your e-mails," Obama said.

The new documents indicate, however, that NSA, CIA, and FBI analysts are granted broad access to data vacuumed up by the world's most powerful intelligence agency -- but are supposed to follow certain "targeting" and "minimization" procedures to limit the number of Americans who become individual targets of warrantless surveillance.

CNET has not verified the authenticity of the documents. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment this afternoon.

Analysts are expected to exercise "reasonable judgment" in determining which data to use, according to the documents, and "inadvertently acquired communications of or concerning a United States person may be retained no longer than five years." The documents also refer to "content repositories" that contain records of devices' "previous Internet activity," and say the NSA keeps records of Americans' "electronic communications accounts/addresses/identifiers" in an apparent effort to avoid targeting them in future eavesdropping efforts.

The Holder procedures were blessed in advance by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Guardian reported, meaning that the judges would have issued a general order that authorizes the NSA to engage in warrantless surveillance as long as it's primarily aimed at foreign targets, subject to some limited judicial oversight.

Today's disclosure jibes with what Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked top-secret documents, alleged in an online chat earlier this week. Snowden said, referring to the contents of e-mail and phone calls, that "Americans' communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant."

On Sunday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a carefully-worded statement in response to a CNET article and other reports questioning when intelligence analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. Clapper said: "The statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to Congress."

Clapper's statement was viewed as a denial, but it wasn't. Today's disclosures reveal why: Because the Justice Department granted intelligence analysts "proper legal authorization" in advance through the Holder regulations.

"The DNI has a history of playing games with wording, using terms with carefully obscured meanings to leave an impression different from the truth," Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has litigated domestic surveillance cases, told CNET earlier this week.

Jameel Jaffer, the American Civil Liberties Union's deputy legal director, said in a statement today that:

After Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act in 2008, we worried that the NSA would use the new authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans' telephone calls and emails. These documents confirm many of our worst fears. The "targeting" procedures indicate that the NSA is engaged in broad surveillance of Americans' international communications.

The "minimization" procedures that supposedly protect Americans' constitutional rights turn out to be far weaker than we imagined they could be. For example, the NSA claims the authority to collect and disseminate attorney-client communications -- and even, in some circumstances, to turn them over to Justice Department prosecutors. The government also claims the authority to retain Americans' purely domestic communications in certain situations.

The documents suggest there are some significant loopholes in domestic surveillance: if an NSA analyst reviews an intercepted communication and finds "evidence of a crime that has been, is being, or is about to be committed," it can be forwarded to the FBI or other federal law enforcement agencies.

Another loophole is "a serious harm to life or property" -- which could sweep in intellectual property -- and "enciphered" data. Communications that contain "enciphered" data, which would likely include PGP but also could mean encrypted Web connections using SSL, may be kept indefinitely.

Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls -- in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established "listening posts" that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, "whether they originate within the country or overseas." That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.

Documents that came to light in a different EFF lawsuit provide some insight into how the spy agency vacuums up data from telecommunications companies. Mark Klein, who worked as an AT&T technician for more than 22 years, disclosed in 2006 (PDF) that he witnessed domestic voice and Internet traffic being surreptitiously "diverted" through a "splitter cabinet" to secure room 641A in one of the company's San Francisco facilities. The room was accessible only to NSA-cleared technicians.

AT&T and other telecommunications companies that allow the NSA to tap into their fiber links receive absolute immunity from civil liability or criminal prosecution, thanks to a law that Congress enacted in 2008 and renewed in 2012. It's a series of amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, also known as the FISA Amendments Act.

Section 702 of the FAA says surveillance may be authorized by the attorney general and director of national intelligence without prior approval by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as long as minimization requirements and general procedures blessed by the court are followed.

Last updated at 5:45 p.m. PT

Is the Government Spying On You Through Your Own Computer's Webcam Or Microphone? | Global Research

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:19

Government '' Or Private Individuals '' May Be Watching and ListeningWe documented earlier today that - if you are near your smart phone '' the NSA or private parties could remotely activate your microphone and camera and spy on you.This post shows that the same is true for our computer.

Initially, the NSA built backdoors into the world's most popular software program '' Microsoft Windows '' by 1999.

And a government expert told the Washington Post that the government ''quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type'' (confirmed).

Reuters documented last year that the U.S. and Israeli governments can remotely turn on a computer's microphone:

Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear program in 2010 [i.e. the U.S. and Israel], according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that took credit for discovering the infections.

Kaspersky researchers said they have yet to determine whether Flame had a specific mission like Stuxnet, and declined to say who they think built it.

Cyber security experts said the discovery publicly demonstrates what experts privy to classified information have long known: that nations have been using pieces of malicious computer code as weapons to promote their security interests for several years.


The virus contains about 20 times as much code as Stuxnet, which caused centrifuges to fail at the Iranian enrichment facility it attacked. It has about 100 times as much code as a typical virus designed to steal financial information, said Kaspersky Lab senior researcher Roel Schouwenberg.

Flame can gather data files, remotely change settings on computers, turn on PC microphones to record conversations, take screen shots and log instant messaging chats.

Kaspersky Lab said Flame and Stuxnet appear to infect machines by exploiting the same flaw in the Windows operating system and that both viruses employ a similar way of spreading.


''The scary thing for me is: if this is what they were capable of five years ago, I can only think what they are developing now,'' Mohan Koo, managing director of British-based Dtex Systems cyber security company.

PC Magazine tech columnist John Dvorak writes:

From what we know the NSA has back door access into Apple, Microsoft [background], and Google. What kind of access we don't know, but let us assume it is similar to what they did about 7 years ago to AT&T. They had a secret room at Fulsom St. in San Francisco and the AT&T engineers had no control and no access to a room full of NSA equipment that had direct access to everything AT&T could do.

Microsoft is the source of the operating system for Windows and Windows cell phones. Apple controls the OS for Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Google controls the Chrome OS, Chrome Browser, and Android cell phones. The companies regularly push operating system upgrades and security updates to users on a regular basis.

Imagine however that the NSA has access to these updates at the source and has the ability to alter these update in order to install some sort of spyware on your phone, tablet, or computer. The software could turn on your camera or microphone remotely, read all your private data, or erase everything and brick your phone or computer.

Moreover '' as documented by Microsoft, Ars Technica, cnet, the Register, Sydney Morning Herald, and many other sources '' private parties can turn on your computer's microphone and camera as well.

Cracked noted in 2010:

All sorts of programs are available to let you remotely commandeer a webcam, and many of them are free. Simple versions will just take photos or videos when they detect movement, but more complex software will send you an e-mail when the computer you've installed the program on is in use, so you can immediately login and control the webcam without the hassle of having to stare at an empty room until the person you're stalking shows up.

The bottom line is that '' as with your phone, OnStar type system or other car microphone, Xbox, and other digital recording devices '' you shouldn't say or do anything near your computer that you don't want shared with the world.

Postscript: You could obviously try to cover your webcam and microphone when you don't want to use them.

But if you really want privacy, take a lesson from spy movies: Go swimming with the person you want to speak with '... since electronics can't operate in water.

Use Encryption, get singled out

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:14

Posted on Friday Jun 21st at 3:00pm

Bad news for fans of anonymizing Tor networks, PGP and other encryption services: If you're attempting to avoid the National Security Agency's digital dragnet, you may be making yourself a target, as well as legally allowing the agency to retain your communications indefinitely -- and even use them to test the latest code-breaking tools.Those revelations come via leaked documents that detail the operating guidelines for secret NSA surveillance programs authorized by Congress in 2008. Those documents include a one-page memorandum from a U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) judge, saying that the guidelines don't violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

Another one of the leaked documents, first published Thursday by the Guardian, was signed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 28, 2009 and submitted to FISA. Titled "Procedures used by NSA to minimize data collection from US persons," it details the steps that the agency's analysts are required to follow when collecting and analyzing data intercepted by the agency's surveillance programs.

Subsequently, the The Washington Post published those documents, plus two more, including the judge's secret memorandum.

[ How vulnerable is your enterprise's data? See NSA Dragnet Debacle: What It Means To IT. ]

Based on the documents, the good news is that the NSA guidelines include substantial restrictions on how agency analysts are allowed to review information relating to Americans, unless they first obtain a warrant. In general, the guidelines require strict "minimization" techniques to ensure that analysts don't collect or analyze Americans' communications, and they require analysts to delete any information that's been improperly collected -- albeit with some intelligence and law enforcement exceptions. The NSA also maintains records of Americans' names, telephone numbers and electronic communications addresses, but it uses this list to help ensure it doesn't target any of those people's communications.

"Assuming that the documents are genuine, they are broadly reassuring," said Stewart A. Baker, an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson LLP who recently served as first assistant secretary for policy for the Department of Homeland Security, in a blog post. "There are elaborate sections on making sure that attorney-client communications aren't retained, that inadvertent collections of Americans are destroyed as soon as possible, etc., etc."

When encryption is encountered, however, the gloves can come off, with analysts being allowed to retain "communications that are enciphered or reasonably believed to contain secret meaning" for any period of time. The guidelines allow this retention to occur not just for recovering the source communications but for any cryptanalysis use, suggesting that the NSA could retain encrypted communications to use as target practice for future code-breaking techniques.

Furthermore, as noted by Ars Technica, encryption may mask not only a person's identity, but also their physical location. Since the NSA guidelines say that a person "will not be treated as a United States person" without a positive identification based on name, address, electronic communication addresses or geographic location, encryption users may because classified -- at least temporarily -- as non-U.S. residents by NSA analysts.

In the event of an emergency, meanwhile, NSA analysts are allowed to throw the guidelines out the window. "If NSA determines that it must take action in apparent departure from these minimization procedures to protect against an immediate threat to human life force protection or hostage situations and that it is not feasible to obtain a timely modification of these procedures, NSA may take such action," according to the guidelines. That said, NSA is then required to report its actions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as well and to the Department of Justice, which is then charged with notifying FISA.

In general, the guidelines say that NSA analysts may retain, for six months, communications that don't contain "foreign intelligence information" but that are "reasonably believed to contain evidence of a crime that has been, is being, or is about to be committed," and they may share that information with the FBI. "There's a lot of leeway to use 'inadvertently' acquired domestic communications," Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, told The Washington Post.

Any information the NSA turns up on information security vulnerabilities -- such as zero-day exploits -- are also fair game, as the guidelines allow the agency to share the information with the FBI and other government agencies as it sees fit, and to retain those communications indefinitely.

How likely is it that the NSA might stumble upon evidence of a crime or act on it? That's unclear, although the scale of the NSA's surveillance operations is staggering. According to documents published last week by the Guardian, the NSA gleaned 3 billion pieces of intelligence from U.S. communications networks just in March 2013. That follows a Washington Post report in 2010 that said "every day, collection systems at the [NSA] intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications."

To address criticism that the NSA program is overbroad or operating on shaky legal footing, President Obama planned to meet Friday with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), a five-person independent agency that's charged with reviewing how the government balances surveillance requirements with people's civil liberties and right to privacy, reported Reuters. The board has been largely inactive since 2008, which is the year when Congress authorized the most recent secret NSA surveillance programs.

OCLOB chairman David Medine told Reuters that the board plans to hold a public hearing in July to solicit input from legal scholars and civil rights advocates on the NSA's surveillance programs. "Based on what we've learned so far, the board believes further questions are warranted," he said.

At Obama's direction, homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco asked the director of national intelligence Thursday to review information relating to FISA court opinions and see what additional information could be declassified and released to the public.

That initiative "builds on the administration's ongoing effort to declassify a significant amount of information regarding these programs," according to a White House statement. "The president's direction is that as much information as possible be made public while being mindful of the need to protect sources and methods and national security."

But Snowden's leaked documents -- of which there are reported to be at least dozens of interest -- appear to be detailing the previously withheld legal justifications for the NSA's monitoring programs faster.

Anger mounts after Facebook's 'shadow profiles' leak in bug | ZDNet

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 16:16

Summary: Facebook said Friday it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its 'shadow profile' data collection activities, and users are furious. UPDATED.

Friday Facebook announced the fix of a bug it said inadvertently exposed the private information of over six million users when Facebook's previously unknown shadow profiles accidentally merged with user accounts in data history record requests.

According to Reuters, the data leak spanned a year beginning in 2012.

Sunday, June 23, 8:15 PM PST: Updated at page bottom to reflect response statements from Facebook.

The personal information leaked by the bug is information that had not been given to Facebook by the users - it is data Facebook has been compiling on its users behind closed doors, without their consent.

A growing number of Facebook users are furious and demand to know who saw private information they had expressly not given to Facebook.

Facebook was accidentally combining user's shadow profiles with their Facebook profiles and spitting the merged information out in one big clump to people they 'had some connection to' who downloaded an archive of their account with Facebook's Download Your Information (DYI) tool.

According to the admissions in its blog, posted late Friday afternoon, Facebook appears to be obtaining users' offsite email address and phone numbers and attempting to match them to other accounts. It appears that the invisible collected information is then being stored in each user's 'shadow profile' that is somehow attached to accounts.

Users were clearly unaware that offsite data about them was being collected, matched to them, and stored by Facebook.

Looking at comments on Facebook's blog and community websites such as Hacker News, Facebook users are extremely angry that the phone numbers and email addresses that are not-for-sharing have been gathered and saved (and now accidentally shared) by Facebook.

Facebook stated in its post yesterday that the bug was resolved, but Facebook users are telling a different story today in the comments.

One man commented this afternoon, "I just downloaded the "extended backup" and I'm still viewing emails and phone numbers that are NOT PUBLIC!!!!"

Facebook explained in its post that the bug shared information about a user that had been scraped from a source other than the personal data the user had ever entered into Facebook about themselves.

The action of the bug is that if a user downloaded their own Facebook history, that user would also download email addresses and phone numbers of their friends that other people had in their address books, without their friends ever knowing Facebook had gathered and stored that information.

This data is being gathered by Facebook about individuals through their friends' information about them - harvested when a user grants Facebook address book or contact list access.

Facebook did not specify which app or contact database tool was utilized when collecting and matching offsite-sourced data about users.

The social network said that it was harvesting and matching the offsite-sourced data to user profiles - creating these shadow profiles - "to better create friend suggestions" for the user.

Facebook users are deftly reading between the lines. One commenter on Hacker News observed wisely,

The blog says the fix was made in the DYI tool. That means they would continue to maintain "shadow profiles", but would stop letting others know that FB has a shadow profile on you.

Facebook's post downplays the significance of the data breach by telling users that while six million accounts were exposed, very few people saw the personal phone and email data because it could only be seen when a user downloaded their Facebook history.

The social giant assured users their shadow profiles were shared only with Facebook users they were somehow connected to,

if a person went to download an archive of their Facebook account through our Download Your Information (DYI) tool, they may have been provided with additional email addresses or telephone numbers for their contacts or people with whom they have some connection.

Facebook did not specify in its post what is meant by "somehow connected to" and comment speculation is attempting to fill in the gaps.

According to Reuters, who spoke with a Facebook representative, the data was being exposed in this manner for about a year.

What the revelation means is that Facebook has much more information on us than we know, it may not be accurate, and despite everyone's best efforts to keep Facebook from knowing our phone numbers or work email address, the social network is getting our not-for-sharing numbers and email addresses anyway by stealing them (albeit through 'legitimate' means) from our friends.

The yearlong gap of exposure as described by Reuters creates a scenario of horrifying possibilities for any woman who has begin to experience harassment, abuse or stalking by an ex within the past year. Or, anyone being maliciously stalked and harassed by a tech-savvy aggressor (or a stalker's Facebook sock puppet) they may have accidentally friended over the past year.

This could be remedied and harm would be greatly reduced if Facebook addressed and answered the growing demands of its users to know who has seen their non-Facebook private data.

What it means for me is that even though I've been very careful not to give my phone number to Facebook or the men in my "friends," the guys I've 'friended' might have gotten my phone number anyway, regardless of my consent. I did not know they may have been able to get my phone number throughout the course of a year, and now I have no way of finding out who might have gotten my phone number.

I am glad I've never used a Facebook app or allowed Facebook access to my contacts in any way whatsoever. (Yay paranoia.) The private numbers and emails of my friends and colleagues should remain exactly that: private.

Facebook has officially stated that it does not know of any malicious use derived from the bug.

This appears to be the first time Facebook has publicly admitted that users' shadow profiles contain more than native data (such as posts or information you deleted but are retained by Facebook) and also contain data that Facebook has harvested.

Meanwhile, anger continues to rise on the Facebook post, and as of this writing there are no representatives from Facebook in the comments to quell the storm.

UPDATE Sunday, June 23, 8:15 PM PST: In an email today from Facebook Policy Communications, ZDNet learned that concern about collection, storage and shadow profiling of contact data is the sole fault of users who failed to read (or remember) the Facebook policies they agreed to when they were getting started on Facebook.

Facebook said that users should already know about the contact collection practices because they are told about it on this page. It states that their address book contacts will be saved to Facebook servers and stored, then used in cross-matching contact data to other users.

(However, I'd be remiss not to point out that this page does not tell users they are agreeing to have this type of data collection done about them, as well.)

Facebook did not directly answer my request for a statement in response to user anger regarding data being collected about them and attached to their accounts without their consent (the shadow profiles).

In answer to this question, Facebook again directs users to re-read the "Finding Friends" section of Help Center > Get Started on Facebook.

Facebook's emails did help to clarify some aspects of its users' shadow profiles - users' combined data.

Facebook's representative told me that the data is not obtained through an app or database tool. Data about you is obtained by the seemingly innocuous voluntary actions on Facebook of people you know.

In Facebook's explanation, it is obtaining data on individuals in a form of third party collection through voluntary user submission. It is reasonable to conclude that the data is only involuntarily collected and saved for the people the data is matched to - in this case, the six million accounts that were affected.

Facebook said that it would take "precise and coincidental timing" for a malicious person to use the DIY tool with intent and obtain Facebook's combined (shadow profile) data on a targeted user. Yet we know the bug was live for a year, and combined with Facebook's admission in the blog post regarding false positives, it's a fair guess on our side to suspect that a non-trivial risk remained.

Facebook did not respond to my request for a statement regarding user demands to know who had seen their shadow profile contact information.

Google Chrome's integrated Flash player allows webcam peeping | News |


Patients Put at Risk By Computer Viruses - head9 Health News

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:38

Caracas, Exeter, Cornell, USMC, Vietnam, CIA, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Fort Lauderdale, Conservative, Christian Veteran #tcot #tiot #prolife #guns #2nd #teaparty

Obama's Credibility Gap provides GOP opportunity - if it offers a growth agenda & is not just scandals

Computer Viruses Are "Rampant" on Medical Devices in Hospitals | MIT Technology Review

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:45

A meeting of government officials reveals that medical equipment is becoming riddled with malware.

Health scare: Much hospital equipment uses software that can be vulnerable to viruses.

Computerized hospital equipment is increasingly vulnerable to malware infections, according to participants in a recent government panel. These infections can clog patient-monitoring equipment and other software systems, at times rendering the devices temporarily inoperable.

While no injuries have been reported, the malware problem at hospitals is clearly rising nationwide, says Kevin Fu, a leading expert on medical-device security and a computer scientist at the University of Michigan and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who took part in the panel discussion.

Software-controlled medical equipment has become increasingly interconnected in recent years, and many systems run on variants of Windows, a common target for hackers elsewhere. The devices are usually connected to an internal network that is itself connected to the Internet, and they are also vulnerable to infections from laptops or other device brought into hospitals. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that manufacturers often will not allow their equipment to be modified, even to add security features.

In a typical example, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, 664 pieces of medical equipment are running on older Windows operating systems that manufactures will not modify or allow the hospital to change'--even to add antivirus software'--because of disagreements over whether modifications could run afoul of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory reviews, Fu says.

As a result, these computers are frequently infected with malware, and one or two have to be taken offline each week for cleaning, says Mark Olson, chief information security officer at Beth Israel.

''I find this mind-boggling,'' Fu says. ''Conventional malware is rampant in hospitals because of medical devices using unpatched operating systems. There's little recourse for hospitals when a manufacturer refuses to allow OS updates or security patches.''

The worries over possible consequences for patients were described last Thursday at a meeting of a medical-device panel at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Information Security & Privacy Advisory Board, of which Fu is a member, in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, Olson described how malware at one point slowed down fetal monitors used on women with high-risk pregnancies being treated in intensive-care wards.

''It's not unusual for those devices, for reasons we don't fully understand, to become compromised to the point where they can't record and track the data,'' Olson said during the meeting, referring to high-risk pregnancy monitors. ''Fortunately, we have a fallback model because they are high-risk [patients]. They are in an IC unit'--there's someone physically there to watch. But if they are stepping away to another patient, there is a window of time for things to go in the wrong direction.''

The computer systems at fault in the monitors were replaced several months ago by the manufacturer, Philips; the new systems, based on Windows XP, have better protections and the problem has been solved, Olson said in a subsequent interview.

At the meeting, Olson also said similar problems threatened a wide variety of devices, ranging from compounders, which prepare intravenous drugs and intravenous nutrition, to picture-archiving systems associated with diagnostic equipment, including massive $500,000 magnetic resonance imaging devices.

Olson told the panel that infections have stricken many kinds of equipment, raising fears that someday a patient could be harmed. ''We also worry about situations where blood gas analyzers, compounders, radiology equipment, nuclear-medical delivery systems, could become compromised to where they can't be used, or they become compromised to the point where their values are adjusted without the software knowing,'' he said. He explained that when a machine becomes clogged with malware, it could in theory ''miss a couple of readings off of a sensor [and] erroneously report a value, which now can cause harm.''

Often the malware is associated with botnets, Olson said, and once it lodges inside a computer, it attempts to contact command-and-control servers for instructions. Botnets, or collections of compromised computers, commonly send spam but can also wage attacks on other computer systems or do other tasks assigned by the organizations that control them (see ''Moore's Outlaws'').

In September, the Government Accountability Office issued a report warning that computerized medical devices could be vulnerable to hacking, posing a safety threat, and asked the FDA to address the issue. The GAO report focused mostly on the threat to two kinds of wireless implanted devices: implanted defibrillators and insulin pumps. The vulnerability of these devices has received widespread press attention (see ''Personal Security'' and ''Keeping Pacemakers Safe from Hackers''), but no actual attacks on them have been reported.

Fu, who is a leader in researching the risks described in the GAO report, said those two classes of device are ''a drop in the bucket'': thousands of other network-connected devices used for patient care are also vulnerable to infection. ''These are life-saving devices. Patients are overwhelmingly safer with them than without them. But cracks are showing,'' he said. (Fu was Technology Review'sInnovator of the Year in 2009.)

Malware problems on hospital devices are rarely reported to state or federal regulators, both Olson and Fu said. This is partly because hospitals believe they have little recourse. Despite FDA guidance issued in 2009 to hospitals and manufacturers'--encouraging them to work together and stressing that eliminating security risks does not always require regulatory review'--many manufacturers interpret the fine print in other ways and don't offer updates, Fu says. And such reporting is not required unless a patient is harmed. ''Maybe that's a failing on our part, that we aren't trying to raise the visibility of the threat,'' Olson said. ''But I think we all feel the threat gets higher and higher.''

Speaking at the meeting, Brian Fitzgerald, an FDA deputy director, said that in visiting hospitals around the nation, he has found Beth Israel's problems to be widely shared. ''This is a very common profile,'' he said. The FDA is now reviewing its regulatory stance on software, Fitzgerald told the panel. ''This will have to be a gradual process, because it involves changing the culture, changing the technology, bringing in new staff, and making a systematic approach to this,'' he said.

In an interview Monday, Tam Woodrum, a software executive at the device maker GE Healthcare, said manufacturers are in a tough spot, and the problems are amplified as hospitals expect more and more interconnectedness. He added that despite the FDA's 2009 guidance, regulations make system changes difficult to accomplish: ''In order to go back and update the OS, with updated software to run on the next version, it's an onerous regulatory process.''

Olson said that in his experience, GE Healthcare does offer software patches and guidance on keeping devices secure, but that not all manufacturers have the same posture. He added that the least-protected devices have been placed behind firewalls. But to do that with all a hospital's software-controlled equipment would require more than 200 firewalls'--an unworkable prospect, he said.

John Halamka, Beth Israel's CIO and a Harvard Medical School professor, said he began asking manufacturers for help in isolating their devices from the networks after trouble arose in 2009: the Conficker worm caused problems with a Philips obstetrical care workstation, a GE radiology workstation, and nuclear medical applications that ''could not be patched due to [regulatory] restrictions.'' He said, ''No one was harmed, but we had to shut down the systems, clean them, and then isolate them from the Internet/local network.''

He added: ''Many CTOs are not aware of how to protect their own products with restrictive firewalls. All said they are working to improve security but have not yet produced the necessary enhancements.''

Fu says that medical devices need to stop using insecure, unsupported operating systems. ''More hospitals and manufacturers need to speak up about the importance of medical-device security,'' he said after the meeting. ''Executives at a few leading manufacturers are beginning to commit engineering resources to get security right, but there are thousands of software-based medical devices out there.''

A New Cyber Concern: Hack Attacks on Medical Devices: Scientific American

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:43

The FDA issues guidelines to manufacturers to protect their products

By Dina Fine Maron

Hunting for computer virusesImage: (C) Hian Lim

Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way...


Computer viruses do not discriminate. Malware prowling the cybersphere for bank information and passwords does not distinguish between a home computer or a hospital machine delivering therapy to a patient. Even if a radiation therapy machine, say, is infiltrated unintentionally, malware could theoretically cause radiation doses to spike.

Medical device-makers need to protect their products from cyber attack, according to recent draft guidance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA calls for medical device manufacturers to consider the vulnerabilities that crop up when medical devices are designed to be more thoroughly integrated into networks and connected to the Internet. It asks manufacturers to draw up security plans to protect systems from malware before submitting plans for market approval. The agency also prodded hospitals to step up future reporting of any cyber attacks.

In a recent alert the U.S. Department of Homeland Security highlighted one weakness affecting approximately 300 medical devices, including drug infusion pumps, ventilators and external defibrillators. It warns that hard-coded passwords that normally allow service technicians to gain access to myriad machines could be used to make nefarious changes if they fall into the wrong hands. ''We are aware of hundreds of devices involving dozens of manufacturers that have been affected by cyber security vulnerabilities or incidents,'' says William Maisel, senior official at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. In none of these cases were specific devices or hospitals targeted nor did cyber attacks result in patient harm, at least that the FDA is aware of. A range of medical devices run on standard software such as Windows XP and are vulnerable to common viruses that plague home and office computers. Because the number of events is on the rise, Maisel says, the FDA decided it was time to issue formal guidance about the need to act.

Connecting hospital systems and devices to the Internet allows doctors to remotely study a patient's scans and computers to quickly share patient information. But it also creates new entry points where computer viruses can prey on electronic systems.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been tracking medical device infections since 2009. As The Wall Street Journal first reported, there have been 327 such incidents. Those events did not result in patient harm, says Christian Houterman, manager of Clinical Informatics and Medical Technology in the Veterans Health Administration. The incidents, however, did sometimes create headaches for patients and hefty bills for the hospital, he says.

One such incident occurred in 2010 when the Conficker computer worm infected an entire sleep lab at a VA hospital in New Jersey. All the patients had to be rescheduled, which was a challenge because many of them relied on family members to drive them to the lab. Meanwhile, to halt the infection and ensure the devices were Conficker-free, the manufacture had to reformat all the devices'--at a cost to the hospital of about $40,000, says Lynette Sherrill, deputy director for health information security at the VA. With a virus like Conficker, she says, it's not just a matter of stopping the virus from doing further damage after it may lock out users. Computer memory also has to be wiped clean of code that the virus downloads from the Internet and saves in each computer's memory'--something virus scans cannot eliminate. Conficker, a particularly pernicious virus, can also expose patient data and passwords. Attacks from malware including Conficker have occurred on medical equipment including imaging devices, eye-exam scanners and electrocardiographstress analyzers, according to the VA records.

Because many of these machines do not have specific patient information, however, the risk of patient credit card or health information being stolen is slight. Malware such as botnets'--viruses that attempt to control functions on a cadre of computers and then have them all work together to perform some illicit task'--can drain energy, slow systems down and mess with their functionality. Malware can also render a device unavailable to give care. ''I view it as we are in an entire village of houses with no locked doors,'' says Kevin Fu, a computer scientist that focused on medical devices and cyber security at the University of Michigan. ''It doesn't take a rocket scientist to think we should have some risk mitigation strategies in place, because usually the bad guys are a couple steps ahead of the good guys.''


Rules Change Sought to Permit Encryption of Sensitive Emergency Communications

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:51

06/24/2013The FCC is inviting public comments on a proposal from a Massachusetts ham to amend the Part 97 Amateur Service rules to permit the encryption of certain amateur communications during emergency operations or related training exercises. On June 7 the FCC accepted for filing a Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11699) from Don Rolph, AB1PH, and put it on public notice. It will remain open for comment until July 8. Rolph, of E Walpole, petitioned the Commission in March to suggest an additional exception to §97.113, which currently prohibits ''messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.''

''As such, encryption cannot be effectively supported by the Amateur Service,'' Rolph told the FCC in his PRM, ''and this restriction has impacted the relationship of Amateur Radio volunteers and served agencies and significantly limited the effectiveness of amateurs in supporting emergency communications.'' He pointed out that Part 97 already relaxes its encryption prohibitions with respect to satellite control link communications and model craft radio control.

Rolph cited rules already in place in Australia as a possible model for amending the rules in the US. The Australian Amateur Radio rules provide an exception for ''intercommunications when participating in emergency services operations or related training exercises.'' He suggested modifying Part 97 ''to capture the intent of the Australian regulations'' to relieve what he called ''this impediment of Amateur Radio support of emergency communications.''

In his petition Rolph suggested excepting ''intercommunications when participating in emergency services operations or related training exercises which may involve information covered by HIPAA [medical privacy requirements '-- Ed] or other sensitive data, such as logistical information concerning medical supplies, personnel movement, other relief supplies or any other data designated by Federal authorities managing relief or training efforts.''

Commenters may use the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) to comment on RM-11699 online.


Germany Said to Seek Cyprus-Style Wipeouts in ESM Bank Aid Rules - Businessweek

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 17:26

Germany is leading a push for all bank creditors except insured depositors to take losses before the euro area's firewall fund could provide direct aid to troubled financial institutions, according to two European officials.

Euro-area finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg today are battling over what losses to require for private-sector creditors, particularly while the European Union sets up broader rules on how to restructure failing banks. The ministers are trying to agree on an outline for how banks can tap the 500 billion-euro ($660 billion) European Stability Mechanism without damaging their nation's balance sheets.

Germany, Finland and the Netherlands want to require senior creditors to take losses before ESM aid could be considered, according to the two officials. This contrasts with the European Commission's view that only junior bondholders and shareholders should be written down before state-funded restructuring can begin.

If the German effort is successful, it would mean that future bank bailouts within the currency zone would look more like the rescue terms for Cyprus, rather than the path taken by Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands. The debate shows that euro-area ministers remain divided over how to break the link between banking-sector and sovereign-debt struggles a year after they offered the prospect of direct ESM aid to calm market fears.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said today that the ESM direct-aid tool won't be available until other elements of the EU's banking union strategy are fully in place. ''As regards direct bank recapitalization, all building blocks of the banking union must be in place,'' Schaeuble told reporters. With French support, Germany now has pushed to delay the bank aid rules until the EU finishes work on bank resolution and recovery legislation.

Schaeuble also said the bloc will require strict conditions on nations that seek aid to support troubled lenders. ''One can't just pump money into troubled banks without that being accompanied by reforms,'' he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rebecca Christie in Luxembourg at; Radoslav Tomek in Luxembourg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

Bank bailout: Germany requires compulsory levy of 8 per cent to savers (translation)

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 03:13



Exercise town built: Armed Forces rehearsing for the Civil War | GERMAN ECONOMIC NEWS

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:17

'žSchn¶ggersburg'' soll eine k¼nstliche 'bungsstadt der Bundeswehr heiŸen. Etwa 100 Millionen Euro l¤sst sich der Bund dieses GroŸprojekt kosten. M¶glicherweise bereitet sich die Bundeswehr damit auf Unruhen auch in Deutschland vor. Offiziell soll der Ausbildung der Truppen f¼r den Einsatz in Krisengebieten dienen.

Die Truppe soll lernen, sich unter Zivilisten im Stadtgebiet zu bewegen. Die Leopard-2-Panzer k¶nnten daher gleich verkauft werden, nach Norwegen zum Beispiel. (Foto: Flickr/Norwegian Army)

Ein gigantisches Projekt entsteht derzeit in der Colbitz-Letzlinger-Heide in Sachsen-Anhalt. F¼r die Bundeswehr soll eine neue 'bungsstadt gebaut werden, und zwar mit allem was dazu geh¶rt. Dort gibt es zwar schon 'bungssiedlungen mit den Namen 'žStullenstadt'' und 'žHottendorf'', die Soldaten sollen aber in Zukunft in 'žSchn¶ggersburg'' lernen, wie man sich in einer voll ausgestatteten Stadt verh¤lt.

N24 berichtet ¼ber die Entwicklung des Projektes:

'žAuf einer Fl¤che von rund sechs Quadratkilometern sollen insgesamt 520 Geb¤ude samt StraŸen und Kanalisation entstehen. Es wird eine Altstadt, eine Neustadt und eine Industriestadt mit Bahnhof, Krankenhaus, Hochh¤usern und Fabriken geben. Geplant sind auŸerdem ein St¼ck U-Bahn, ein Autobahnteilst¼ck und eine Flughafen-Landebahn. Auch ein Elendsviertel ist vorgesehen.''

In das Projekt sollen 100 Millionen Euro investiert werden, sagte J¶rg Jankowsky vom Wehrbereichskommando Ost in Strausberg. Auch ausl¤ndische Soldaten d¼rfen dort den Umgang mit der Zivilbev¶lkerung im Stadtbereich ¼ben. 'žK¼nftig k¶nnen an rund 240 Tagen im Jahr bis zu 1500 Soldaten pro 'bung auf den Ernstfall in Krisengebieten vorbereitet werden'', sagt Jankowsky.

Der Ernstfall k¶nnte auch innerhalb Deutschlands eintreten. Das MiŸtrauen der Politik gegen¼ber den B¼rgern steigt. Offenbar soll die Bundeswehr in die Lage versetzt werden, bei Aufst¤nden entsprechend reagieren zu k¶nnen.

Solche MaŸnahmen werden bereits in der Schweiz getroffen, wo sich die Armee auf Unruhen vorbereitet (hier). Und der j¼ngste Kampf gegen den Terror wurde in den USA gef¼hrt: Auf der Jagd nach Verd¤chtigen wurde in Watertown bei Boston der Ausnahmezustand ausgerufen, eine ganze Stadt wurde abgeriegelt (hier).

Iceland opts out of joining EU

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:34

Iceland opts out of joining EU2013 06 24From: IceNews

Iceland has withdrawn its bid to join the European Union, announced its foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson.

Three weeks after being installed in his position by the newly elected Icelandic government, the foreign minister said that ½this is how democracy works½. He explained that the new coalition government in Iceland was against the idea of joining the EU at present.

Sveinsson, who was on his first foreign visit since being appointed, said that the trip½s main purpose was to inform the European Commission that the coalition government has decided that negotiations should be put on hold for now. He added that Iceland is part of Europe and hopes to strengthen relations in other ways.

Czech commissioner Stefan Fule, who is in charge of EU membership bids, said that decision to withdraw the bid is a ½personal blow½. He explained that on a personal level it was not easy for him to accept the decision, but that professionally he respects what the elected representatives have opted to do.


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Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Italy Faces Huge Losses on Derivatives Restructured in Eurozone Crisis

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 11:50

The Financial Times notes that Italy faces billions in losses on Derivatives Restructured in Eurozone Crisis.

Italy risks potential losses of billions of euros on derivatives contracts it restructured at the height of the eurozone crisis, according to a confidential report by the Rome Treasury that sheds more light on the financial tactics that enabled the debt-laden country to enter the euro in 1999.

A 29-page report by the Treasury, obtained by the Financial Times, details Italy's debt transactions and exposure in the first half of 2012, including the restructuring of eight derivatives contracts with foreign banks with a total notional value of '‚¬31.7bn.

Experts who examined it told the Financial Times the restructuring allowed the cash-strapped Treasury to stagger payments owed to foreign banks over a longer period but, in some cases, at more disadvantageous terms for Italy.

The senior government official who spoke to the Financial Times and the experts consulted said the restructured contracts in the 2012 Treasury report included derivatives taken out when Italy was trying to meet tough financial criteria for the 1999 entry into the euro.

Three independent experts consulted by the FT calculated the losses based on market prices on June 20 and concluded the Treasury was facing a potential loss at that moment of about '‚¬8bn, a surprisingly high figure based on a notional value of '‚¬31.7bn.

Early last year Italy was prompted to reveal by regulatory filings made by Morgan Stanley that it had paid the US investment bank '‚¬2.57bn after the bank exercised a break clause on derivatives contracts involving interest rate swaps and swap options agreed with Italy in 1994.

An official report presented to parliament in March 2012 found that Morgan Stanley was the only counterparty to have such a break clause with Italy and disclosed, for the first time, that the Treasury held derivatives contracts to hedge some '‚¬160bn of debt, almost 10 per cent of state bonds in circulation.

The Bloomberg News agency calculated at the time, based on regulatory filings, that Italy had lost more than $31bn on its derivatives at then market values.

The facts seem difficult to piece together, but the amounts are significant. Some of the derivatives date back to 1994-1996 when Italy dressed up its finances to meet Maastricht treaty criteria, including a budget deficit less than 3 per cent."Italy had a budget deficit of 7.7 per cent in 1995" but the deficit magically shrunk to 2.7% in 1998, the approval year for Italy joining the eurozone. The odds of that being legitimate are approximately zero percent.

ECB president Mario Draghi was head of the Italian central bank at the time much of this took place, so it's no wonder details are scant.

Recall that Bloomberg lost a freedom of information lawsuit against the ECB regarding derivatives used to hide Greek debt on the basis "disclosure of the files would have undermined the protection of the public interest so far as concerns the economic policy of the European Union and Greece''.

I would be far more interested to see the complete Italy files, but clearly that's not going to happen either.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Record Joblessness Prompts EU Repeat of Action Pledge - Bloomberg

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 12:51

By James G. NeugerJune 27, 2013 6:29 AM EDTJobseekers enter an employment office after the opening in Madrid, Spain. Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

A year ago, European leaders pledged ''immediate action'' on growth and jobs. Since then, the euro-area economy has shrunk nonstop and unemployment has risen to a record 12.2 percent from 11.4 percent.

The solution, according to a draft statement prepared for a European Union summit starting today at 4:30 p.m. in Brussels: ''determined and immediate action'' on growth and jobs.

Neither forecasters nor the euro zone's 19 million unemployed expect the renewed vow to turn around an economy weighed down by the debt crisis and now endangered by rising interest rates in the U.S. and China, the world's pacesetters.

''Just shifting the rhetoric to a focus on growth is not going to give us growth,'' said Paul Hofheinz, president of the Lisbon Council, a Brussels research group. ''The working assumption is that we're going to have a traditional 1930s-style infrastructure-based stimulus, and that's going to give us growth. It's just not working.''

Two potential complications were taken off the table for the summit early today with accords by lower-level officials on bank-loss rules and on the bloc's 2014-2020 budget. The seven-year subsidies package will fall to 960 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) from 994 billion euros in the current budget cycle, the first cut in EU history.

Business LoansOn the growth-and-jobs front, the main undelivered promise from last June's summit involved using the European Investment Bank, the EU's project-finance arm, to channel loans to smaller businesses that were starved of credit, especially in southern Europe.

While governments did their part by supplying 10 billion euros of fresh capital, the EIB is only just getting started with its souped-up lending program, snagged by its own rules that permit loans only to high-quality borrowers. How to loosen or get around those standards is up for discussion at today's summit.

European emphasis on freeing up labor markets and cutting health-care and pension costs reflects Germany's experience with a structural overhaul that made businesses more competitive and relaunched an economy struggling with the burdens of unification in 1990.

Started in 2003, the German initiative trimmed unemployment and social benefits and made it easier to fire workers. The effort took years to bear fruit, coming too late for the project's author, Gerhard Schroeder, who in 2005 ceded the office of chancellor to Angela Merkel.

Merkel's CallMerkel used a pre-summit speech to the lower house of parliament in Berlin today to call for European countries to go further down the road of structural reform, praising ''the first, important signals'' for job growth coming from measures taken such as Spanish changes to the labor market.

Jobs rely on economic growth which in turn is dependent upon solid finances, and reducing debt while spurring the economy is no contradiction, she said. ''We can do both,'' Merkel told lawmakers. Decisions taken now will shape ''Europe's future role in the world,'' she said.

Economic desperation has forced southern European countries to do a German-style remake in a hurry. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras got a taste of the resulting frictions last week when the Democratic Left party quit his three-party coalition to protest his order to shut public broadcaster ERT, axing 2,600 jobs.

Greek ProgressSoon-to-be-fired TV personalities and technicians occupied the broadcaster's headquarters, in the sort of publicity stunt that masked economic progress. Greece, at the origins of the debt crisis, topped the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's international reform rankings for 2011-12, followed by Ireland, the second bailed-out country during the crisis. Portugal, Spain and Italy also figure in the top 10.

Not everyone buys that assessment. One critic is Jean-Claude Trichet, who spent eight years as European Central Bank president sparring with governments over deficits. Political leaders have done too little to unleash the forces of growth, squandering the benefits of low interest rates and ''unconventional'' monetary stimulus, the ex-ECB chief said.

''I would put the blame on the governance of the euro area,'' Trichet said at an Institute of International Finance panel discussion on June 25 in Paris. ''There is a great disappointment because we know what we have to do, we have a consensus on the avenues we should go, and we do not deliver.''

Slow RecognitionEuropean rules on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications show how even ideas that don't require money can be controversial. At last June's summit, the leaders pledged ''as soon as possible'' to strengthen a 2005 EU law that, for example, enables doctors or architects trained in one country to work in another.

No ''radical change'' was intended, the European Commission said when proposing the amended law in 2011. The main innovation was a European professional card, offering portable proof of the holder's qualifications. Still, the wrangling dragged on. A provisional deal wasn't struck until this month. The rules won't take effect until after a European Parliament vote in October.

Political leaders are acting faster -- or are being seen to act faster -- on the jobs crisis in southern Europe, where unemployment in the under-25 age bracket is 56.4 percent in Spain, 42.5 percent in Portugal, 40.5 percent in Italy and 62.5 percent in Greece.

'Immediate Priority'In February, the EU agreed to retarget 6 billion euros from its 2014-2020 budget for programs to fight youth unemployment. At the summit, the leaders will pledge to pay out that sum in the first two years of the period, according to a draft communique that calls youth joblessness ''a particular and immediate priority.''

Merkel, saying that the scourge of youth unemployment is a cause of the ''utmost concern,'' called today for the money to be made available ''as soon as possible.'' A jobs summit she plans to host in Berlin on July 3 with attendees including French President Francois Hollande will study how best to allocate the money, she said.

Singling out youth unemployment is misplaced, partly because the statistics overstate the problem, said Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. He said teenagers and college-aged people can continue their education, increasing their future earnings power -- an option not available to older workers.

''You are really attacking the wrong problem if you focus specifically on youth unemployment,'' Gros said. ''To the extent you make special funding available to mitigate youth unemployment, you have to take that money away from somewhere else.''

To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

Shut Up Slave/Terroists!

Negotiators Begin Work on Finalizing New Treaty to Improve Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:55

Marrakesh/Geneva, June 18, 2013PR/2013/739


More than 600 negotiators from WIPO's 186 member states began work today on finalizing a new international treaty to ease access to books for blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people. The Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco, is meeting in Marrakesh from June 18 to 28, 2013.

A signed treaty would be the culmination of years of discussions on improving access for the blind, visually impaired, and print disabled to published works in formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books. The beneficiaries will have better access to novels, textbooks and other material that they can use for education and enjoyment.

Presenting a message from His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco, Morocco's Minister of Communications and Government Spokesperson Mustapha Khalfi said the Diplomatic Conference is of ''crucial importance,'' noting: ''Now is the time to adopt the Marrakesh Treaty, and we look forward to the endorsement of the first international document in the history of the World Intellectual Property Organization that provides for exclusive exceptions and limitations to copyright as an exceptional measure in copyright doctrine.''

In his message, the King said the absence of a treaty would mean that the blind, visually impaired and print disabled ''would remain deprived of the right to equal opportunity,'' whereas a successful treaty would not only be a proud moment in WIPO history, it would also ''reflect the humanitarian depth of our collective commitment to upholding the values of mutual assistance and solidarity.'' The King's message concluded with a reminder to the international community of the ''moral obligation to remove all obstacles which prevent blind people and visually impaired persons from having access to culture, science, modern technology as well as media and communication outlets.''

''In today's globalized world, your Diplomatic Conference can help give globalization a human face through the adoption of the international treaty you will be discussing in Marrakesh. Such a treaty will enable the blind and the visually impaired to access, research and take advantage of written copyrighted material across the world,'' the King's message said.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said: ''The objective of the Diplomatic Conference is a relatively simple and straightforward one '' to alleviate the book famine that causes over 300 million visually impaired persons, the majority of them in developing countries, to be excluded from access to over 90% of published works.'' That objective, he said, would be achieved by establishing an enabling legal framework that will facilitate the production of accessible formats and their exchange across borders.

Mr. Gurry said: ''Negotiators have the task of, on the one hand, designing a workable system that will ensure that accessible formats can be produced and exchanged across borders around the world in a simple and easy manner and, on the other hand, providing assurances to authors and publishers that that system will not expose their assets to misuse in parallel markets that are not intended to serve the visually impaired and the print disabled. Their success in finding the right balance will ensure the success of the treaty.''

Negotiators have already made great headway in several negotiating sessions since the first proposals for a draft treaty were originally submitted in May 2009.

The proposal that is the basis of the Marrakesh negotiations would include a requirement for countries to introduce exceptions and limitations in their copyright laws to allow the production of books in accessible formats as well as to permit the international sharing across borders of accessible format copies for people with print disabilities.

Provisional agreement has already been reached on several essential elements of the proposal, including its beneficiaries, namely visually impaired persons, other print-disabled people or those unable because of physical disability to read a standard text.

Member states have also provisionally agreed on key definitions for the works covered by the text and the ''authorized entities1'' that would provide accessible versions of published works to persons with visual impairment or print disabilities.

But the draft text contains a number of issues which require agreement, such as whether commercial availability of accessible format works will be taken into account in deciding when digital files of such works can be transferred across borders, and how obligations on the scope of limitations and exceptions from previous international copyright treaties will be incorporated into the proposed treaty. Draft text and other material.

Those issues will be the subject of negotiations at the diplomatic conference, which is the traditional method for concluding treaties.

What's AheadUpon convocation, the diplomatic conference in Marrakesh will meet in two committees to address different types of issues: Main Committee I and Main Committee II. The first committee's mandate is to negotiate and agree on all substantive provisions and recommend them for adoption by the plenary.

The second committee is charged with negotiating and agreeing on all administrative and final clauses, such as who can join the future treaty and the conditions for its entry into force. Three other side committees are also formed: the Credentials Committee, which verifies credentials of delegations to participate in the conference and to sign the treaty; the Drafting Committee, which ensures the six language versions of the treaty are properly aligned; and the Steering Committee, which includes the chief officers of all the committees and ensures the process is on track.

When all committees finalize their work, the treaty is sent to the plenary for adoption. It is then open for signature. Signing the treaty at the end of a diplomatic conference is a strong indication of intent and commitment by the signatory to join the treaty, although it does not necessarily bind a country to its provisions. The final act '' a record that the conference took place '' also opens for signature after adoption.

Some BackgroundAccording to the World Health Organization, there are more than 314 million blind and visually impaired persons in the world, 90 per cent of whom live in developing countries. A WIPO survey in 2006 found that fewer than 60 countries have limitations and exceptions clauses in their copyright laws that make special provision for visually impaired persons, for example, for Braille, large print or digitized audio versions of copyrighted texts.

Furthermore, because copyright law is ''territorial,'' these exemptions usually do not cover the import or export of works converted into accessible formats, even between countries with similar rules. Organizations in each country must negotiate licenses with the rightholders to exchange special formats across borders, or produce their own materials, a costly undertaking that severely limits access by visually impaired persons to printed works of all kinds.

According to the World Blind Union, of the million or so books published each year in the world, less than 5 per cent are made available in formats accessible to visually impaired persons.

International copyright law has always recognized the need to balance the rights of authors of creative works and the public interest, by allowing some uses of copyrighted material to be exempted from the requirement to seek authorization from the rightholder or to pay royalties.

The international copyright treaty that is the starting point for the international copyright framework, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886, and its subsequent revisions, have all included provision for ''limitations and exceptions''. The Berne Convention specifically mentions exemptions for short quotations, news reporting and illustrative use for teaching purposes.

Otherwise, it is left to national governments to define what limitations and exceptions are permitted ''in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author''.

In practice, limitations and exceptions contained in national laws vary widely. In many countries copying for private use is free, but only a few countries make exceptions for, say, distance learning. Moreover, the exemptions apply only in the country concerned.

____________________________1 Non-profit organizations recognized by both the rightholders and those with print disabilities.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:

Tel: (+41 22) - 338 81 61 / 338 72 24Fax: (+41 22) - 338 81 40E-mail

Editorial: Proposed FOIA rule changes seek to keep citizens in dark - The Denver Post

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:25

The federal Freedom of Information Act was supposed to be a torch that journalists, advocates and ordinary people could use to cast a light on the operations of their government.

It's profoundly disappointing to see the Obama administration proposing changes to FOIA that would allow federal agencies to lie about the very existence of information being sought.

That's not progress, and it's certainly not transparency, a principle the president has repeatedly and publicly pledged allegiance to.

We hope the U.S. Department of Justice backs away from these and other FOIA rule revisions it has proposed.

The worst among them, in our estimation, is the proposed change that would allow the government to tell those requesting information under FOIA that the material does not exist when, in fact, it does.

The change would apply to certain law enforcement or national security documents.

Currently, the government can issue what is called a Glomar response, which is when the government neither confirms nor denies the existence of the material.

That term was coined after a Los Angeles Times reporter in the mid-1970s attempted to obtain information about the CIA's Glomar Explorer, a vessel built to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

Moving from a Glomar denial to outright deceit would have even broader ramifications if the person denied information were to decide to take the matter to court.

In that case, would the government be in a position of lying to the court about the existence of information? That's dangerous territory.

"What's more, the change seems unnecessary," said Mark Hamrick, an Associated Press journalist who is president of the National Press Club, in a prepared statement.

"If agencies are exercising legally allowable exceptions to the law and withholding certain records, they can just continue to do as they do today: neither confirm nor deny the information's existence," Hamrick said.

We agree.

From the moment FOIA was signed into law in 1966, there was government resistance to disclosure of information.

President Lyndon Johnson grudgingly agreed to sign the bill, but did so with a companion signing statement that was designed to weaken the measure.

The relative strength of the act has waxed and waned over the years with amendments and procedural changes. Yet it remains a potent tool for citizens to learn about what their government is up to.

We hope the Obama administration respects the intent of FOIA and declines to undercut it by giving official sanction to government deceit about whether information exists.

Copyright 2012 The Denver Post. All rights reserved.

Chicago Tribune - Breaking News - Blackhawks parade to run from United Center to Grant Park Friday-BACKPACKS

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 01:12

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Britse politie houdt 9.000 extremisten in de gaten

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 02:51

Door: Redactie '' 26/06/13, 02:36 '' bron: The Guardian

(C) afp. Leden van de als extreemrechts bekendstaande English Defence League eerder deze maand bij de rechtbank in Londen.

Een speciale afdeling van de Britse politie houdt bijna 9.000 burgers in de gaten die worden gezien als 'binnenlandse extremisten'. Dat meldt de Britse krant The Guardian woensdag.

In de database van de zogeheten National Domestic Extremism Unit, die wordt aangestuurd door de Londense politie, zijn de gegevens van 8.931 mensen opgenomen. Het gaat daarbij niet alleen om moslimactivisten, maar ook om vertegenwoordigers van extreemrechts, de dierenrechten- en milieubeweging.

The Guardian achterhaalde de informatie na een succesvol beroep op de wet openbaarheid van bestuur. Veel van de activisten wier naam in de database voorkomt, hebben geen strafblad of criminele antecedenten. Om hun activiteiten te achterhalen, worden onder meer undercoveragenten ingezet. Ook maakt de politie gebruik van betaalde informanten.


Anglo Irish bankers 'tricked' government into bailout - Telegraph

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:44

Mr Bowe apparently goes on to suggest that Anglo's management knew '‚¬7bn would never be enough. ''Yeah, and that number is seven, but the reality is that actually we need more than that,'' he is recorded saying. ''But you know the strategy here is you pull them in, you get them to write a big cheque and they have to keep, they have to support their money, you know.''

Explaining the alleged entrapment strategy further, he adds: ''If they saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide... they have a choice. You know what I mean? They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high. But... em... if it doesn't look big at the outset... if it looks big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything, then I think you have a chance.''

Mr Fitzgerald is heard replying: ''Yeah. They've got skin in game and that is the key.''

On the same tapes, Mr Bowe is heard apparently mimicking officials at Ireland's Central Bank reacting to an initial request for a loan, saying: ''There was a bit of, 'Jesus that's a lot of dosh... Jesus f---ing hell.''

He also claims officials reacted by saying: '''Jesus, you're kind of asking us to play ducks and drakes with the regulations' and we said: 'Yeah'.''

Mr Bowe also relates how officials demanded that ''whatever you get from the regulator sorts out the issue'', to which Mr Fitzgerald is heard replying: ''Oh yeah, yeah... just makes it f---in' happen.''

The talks are thought to have taken place within days of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, when Anglo was itself in meltdown with depositors pulling out money at the rate of '‚¬1bn a day, spooked by the bank's exposure to Ireland's crashing property market.

As the tapes provoked fury in Ireland yesterday, Michael McGrath, finance spokesman of Fianna Fail '' which led the government at the time of the Irish bank bail-outs '' said: ''We need to get to the full truth about the way that bank was run and the level of knowledge the bank's executives had about its true financial position in September 2008.''

Mr Kenny said: ''I understand the rage and the anger of so many people who have been affected by all of this.'' He added that the government would make a decision on a public inquiry into the collapse of Ireland's banking system in ''due course''.

Both the former Anglo executives denied any wrongdoing or any attempt to mislead the government, with Mr Bowe referring to ''off-the-cuff comments'' and ''probably gallows humour''.

In a statement via his lawyer, Mr Fitzgerald said: ''I am not nor have I ever been aware of a strategy or intention on the part of Anglo Irish Bank to mislead the authorities in relation to the forecasted funding position.''

Mr Bowe said the talks, during a ''period of severe and unprecedented market dislocation'', came at a time when Anglo was seeking interim funding. ''We envisaged the relevant period of time to be a number of months before the bank would be able to access sufficient alternative funding.''

The furore over the transcripts comes ahead of a high-profile court case into the collapse of the bank. Anglo's former chief executive, Sean FitzPatrick, and two ex-directors, Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer, are awaiting trial on fraud charges.

The collapse of Ireland's banking system forced the country into a eurozone bail-out. Anglo has since been renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and is in the process of being liquidated.


'Criminal flash mob' accused of stealing $45 million in hours with coordinated ATM attacks

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Tue, 25 Jun 2013 10:32

Eight people have been arrested in New York in connection to an ATM hacking scheme that resulted in the theft of $45 million over the course of a few hours. According to the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security, the suspects hacked into the computer systems of banking institutions to steal the money in two coordinated attacks.

Though the arrests were made in Yonkers, NY, officials say the suspects are part of an international crime ring that utilizes hacking techniques to steal money electronically. The attacks, committed in December 2012 and February of this year, involved ATM withdrawals in 20 different countries. One of the attacks performed more than 36,000 transactions over the course of 10 hours. The thieves then laundered the money through purchases of luxury goods, such as jewelry and sports cars.

More than 36,000 transactions were performed over the course of 10 hours

Prosecutors have dubbed the attacks "Unlimited Operation," and U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch, Eastern District of New York says that "the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of ATMs in a matter of hours." She added, "this was indeed the largest theft of this type that we have yet seen." Prosecutors have also described the attack as a "criminal flash mob," thanks to its coordinated fashion.

No individual accounts were hacked into

Despite the large amount of money stolen, individual accounts were not targeted in the scheme. Instead, the hackers accessed the systems of debit card processors and greatly increased the value of specific prepaid debit cards, before withdrawing the funds from ATMs. The thieves would then coordinate their worldwide team to perform the ATM transactions in as little time as possible. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Lynch said that prosecutors were investigating specific individuals in Europe and Asia to find out the ringleaders of the crime ring.

Authorities did not say how they became aware of the operation or what tipped them off to arrest these specific suspects, but they did have surveillance camera footage of some of the ATM withdrawals taking place. The defendants face maximum sentences of 120 months in federal prison for each of the four counts of money laundering, as well as up to 90 months on the conspiracy to commit access device fraud charge, if they are convicted.

Texas Babies

VIDEO-BBC News - New life for Texas abortion bill blocked by Wendy Davis

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:54

26 June 2013Last updated at18:45 ETPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Senator Wendy Davis had to stay on topic and remain standing over the 10-hour period

The governor of Texas has called a special legislative session in an attempt to pass an anti-abortion law blocked when a Democratic senator undertook a marathon delaying speech.

Republican Rick Perry ordered lawmakers to return on 1 July.

Senator Wendy Davis spoke for more than 10 hours on Tuesday, blocking Republicans from banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Republicans ran out of time when the legislative session ended at midnight.

The bill, opposed by many Democrats, who hold a minority in the legislature, would also require all pregnancy terminations to take place in specially-equipped surgical centres, effectively closing most of the state's abortion clinics.

Decorum 'breakdown'"Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state," Mr Perry said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do."

Mr Perry said the special session would take up three pieces of legislation, including the abortion bill.

During her extended delaying speech on Tuesday, which is known in US political parlance as a filibuster, Sen Davis read testimony and messages from women and others opposing the legislation as she remained standing without any breaks.

Continue reading the main storyTwelve states have already passed 20-week bans, according to the Guttmacher InstituteCourts have blocked bans in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia and Idaho.In March, North Dakota banned abortion after a foetal heartbeat is detected, which can be at six weeks.The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to limit abortions to the first 20 weeks, but it will not be passed by the Senate.Sen Davis was picked to lead the filibuster because she had her first child as a teenager and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School.

"I was a poor, uninsured woman, whose only care was provided through that facility. It was my medical home," said Sen Davis, 50.

Texas Lt Governor David Dewhurst, who is Senate president, eventually suspended the filibuster after ruling that she had gone off topic. Democrats appealed, sparking a debate over parliamentary rules.

State restrictionsAs the clock ticked to midnight, Republicans rushed to hold a vote on the bill, amid jeers from pro-abortion rights protesters in the public gallery.

But amid the disruption, Lt Gov Dewhurst said he had been unable to sign the bill within the deadline following a 19-10 vote. He blamed an "unruly mob" in the gallery.

Supporters of the bill say the measures will improve safety standards. It requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Only five of Texas' 42 abortion clinics would remain in operation if the law passes, and opponents say this will force women to travel hundreds of miles or resort to dangerous methods to obtain the procedure.

The US Supreme Court legalised abortion nationwide in 1973, but about a dozen conservative states have enacted laws in recent years that seek to limit the procedure.

In March, North Dakota banned abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected - as early as six weeks - in the most restrictive law of its kind in the US.

Sb5 abortion bill Texas

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 02:00

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Wendy Davis (politician) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 02:14

Wendy Russell Davis[1] (born May 16, 1963) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician from Fort Worth, Texas who represents District 10 of the Texas Senate. She previously served on the Fort Worth city council. On June 25, 2013, Davis held a filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, legislation that would create new abortion regulations in Texas. The filibuster lasted for ten hours and played a major role in Senate Democrats' successful efforts to delay passage of the bill beyond the midnight deadline for the end of the legislative session.

Early life and educationWendy Davis was born on May 16, 1963, and grew up in Fort Worth. Davis's parents divorced when she was 11 years old, and she was raised by a single mother. Davis began working at age 14 to help support her family. She graduated from Richland High School in 1981, marrying shortly thereafter at age 18 and having a daughter named Amber. A year later, Davis was divorced and a single mother. After learning about a two-year paralegal program from a co-worker, Davis enrolled at Tarrant County College and later transferred to Texas Christian University, where she graduated first in her class. Before and during college, Davis worked as a waitress at the Stage West Theatre caf(C).[2] After becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college, Davis went on to earn her law degree with honors from Harvard Law School.[3]

Law careerEarly in her law career, Davis served in a federal clerkship under U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer. In 1994, she joined the Fort Worth office of Haynes & Boone and began practicing specialized litigation. She later became part owner of Safeco Title Co. and served as Chief Executive Officer of Old Republic International Title's Fort Worth Division from 2004 to 2009. Davis joined Cantey Hanger in an Of Counsel role and partnered with Brian Newby to open Newby Davis, PLLC in 2010. Her current practice includes federal and local governmental affairs, litigation, economic development, contract compliance and real estate matters.[4]

Political careerCity CouncilDavis was first elected to the Fort Worthcity council in 1999. She was re-elected in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. During her nine-year tenure as a councilmember, Davis focused on transportation, economic development and neighborhood issues. She also spearheaded economic development projects, such as the Montgomery Plaza renovation, the Tower, Pier One and Radio Shack campuses.[4]

State SenateDavis represents Texas Senate, District 10, which includes portions of Tarrant County, Texas. In 2008, she defeated RepublicanKim Brimer for the seat.[5] She was re-elected in 2012, defeating a challenge from Mark Shelton, a Fort Worth pediatrician and Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives.[6]

Davis is the Vice-Chair on the Senate Select Committee on Open Government. She is also a Member of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, the Senate Committee on Transportation, and the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. She previously served on the Senate Committee for Education and as Vice-Chair on the Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade.[7]

In 2011, Davis launched a filibuster of a budget bill that cut $4 billion from public education in the state, resulting in a special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.[8]

Davis has been honored with many awards and recognitions during her first term in the Texas Legislature, including the "Bold Woman Award" from Girls, Inc., "Freshman of the Year" from AARP, "Champion for Children Award" from the Equity Center, and "Texas Women's Health Champion Award" from the Texas Association of OB-GYNs. In 2009, Texas Monthly named her "Rookie of the Year".[9] She was also chosen by the readers of Fort Worth Weekly as the "Best Servant of the People".[3] Davis was recently listed among "12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012" by Governing Magazine[10] and is mentioned as a possible candidate for state-wide races.[11]

Early in the 83rd Session, senators drew for terms in a post-redistricting, once-a-decade process. Davis drew a two-year term and will be up for re-election in November 2014.[12] She recently announced her intention to run for re-election to the Senate.[13]

2013 filibusterOn June 25, 2013, Senator Davis began a filibuster to block the Senate Bill 5, a package of measures that would create new abortion regulations in Texas, including banning abortion past twenty weeks of gestation, requiring doctors performing the procedure to have rights to practice in nearby hospitals, and upgrading abortion facilities into ambulatory surgical centers.[14] She attempted to maintain the floor until midnight, when the Senate's special session ended, after which the state Senate would no longer be able to vote on the measure.[15] Following a 10-hour filibuster, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst ruled that Davis had gone off topic, forcing a vote on whether the filibuster could continue.[16] Despite Republican efforts, parliamentary inquiries from Leticia R. Van de Putte and others as well as raucous cheering from the people gathered in the Capitol carried on through midnight and the close of the special session.[17] Following the deadline, Republicans indicated that a vote had taken place and passed, while Democrats declared that the vote had taken place after midnight, making it illegal.[17] Dewhurst later conceded that the bill was dead.[18][19]

Election historyDavis ran unopposed for city council in 2001 and 2005 and for state senator in the 2008 and 2012 Democratic primaries.

2012 election2008 electionPrevious elections2007Fort Worth City Council general election, 2007: District 9[21]PartyCandidateVotes%±%nonpartisanBernie Scheffler40623.39nonpartisanWendy Davis1,33076.61+8.4Majority92453.2216.82003Fort Worth City Council general election, 2003: District 9[22]PartyCandidateVotes%±%nonpartisanWendy R. Davis2,58168.21+17.46nonpartisanBill Ray1,20331.79Majority137836.42+22.061999Fort Worth City Council general election, 1999: District 9[23]PartyCandidateVotes%±%nonpartisanWendy R. Davis1,82050.75nonpartisanDavid Minor1,47141.02nonpartisanDan Roberts2958.23Majority3499.73Arson attemptOn March 20, 2012, a pair of Molotov cocktails were thrown at Davis's office in Fort Worth. Davis was not in the office at the time though two of her staffers were. There were no injuries.[24] Cedric Steele, a homeless man with a history of mental illness, was arrested for the attack.[25]

References^"Wendy Russell Davis's Salary". ^"Wendy Davis stuck her neck out for schoolkids.". Fort Worth Weekly. ^ ab"Senator Wendy Davis: District 10". Texas State Senate. ^ ab"Partners - Newby Davis, PLLC". ^"Wendy Davis Defeats Sen. Kim Brimer". Quorum Report. ^"Wendy Davis Clinches Re-election in SD-10". Texas Tribune. ^"Texas Tribune - State Sen. Wendy Davis". Texas Tribune. ^"A Filibuster Creates an Overnight Celebrity". New York Times. ^"The Best and Worst Legislators 2009". Texas Monthly. ^"12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012". Governing Magazine. ^"Is Sen. Wendy Davis poised for statewide race?". Star-Telegraph. ^"Political futures at risk as Senators draw terms". Houston Chronicle. ^"Davis re-states intention to run for Senate". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. ^"Texas abortion bill falls after challenge". =The Eagle. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. ^Tomlinson, C.; Vertuno, J. (June 26, 2013). "Marathon filibuster: Overnight drama stalls Texas abortion vote". KHOU. Retrieved June 26, 2013. ^Sutton, J.; Smith, M. (June 25, 2013). "Lawmaker's filibuster to kill Texas abortion bill ends early". CNN. Retrieved June 25, 2013. ^ abKing, Michael (June 26, 2013). "Yea or Nay?". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 26, 2013. ^"Liveblog: Senators Trying to Determine if Abortion Bill Passed". The Texas Tribune. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. ^Helen Davidson (June 26, 2013). "Wendy Davis filibuster and public protest defeat Texas abortion bill: Texas senator stages 11-hour filibuster to block bill ' Vote derailed, lieutenant governor blames 'mob'". The Guardian. Retrieved June 26, 2013. ^ ab"Election Results". Secretary of State of Texas. Retrieved 2012-11-19. ^"2007 Cumulative Election Report" (PDF). City of Fort Worth. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-10-16. ^"2003 Cumulative Election Report". City of Fort Worth. Retrieved 2010-10-16. ^"1999 Cumulative Election Report". City of Fort Worth. Retrieved 2010-10-16. ^"Molotov cocktails thrown at Democratic Texas state senator's office". Fox News. 2012-03-20. ^ linksPersondataNameDavis, WendyAlternative namesShort descriptionAmerican politicianDate of birth1963-05-16Place of birthFort Worth, Texas, United StatesDate of deathPlace of death

79(2) SB 5 - Enrolled version - Bill Text

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Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:57

79(2) SB 5 - Enrolled version - Bill Text S.B. No. 5 AN ACT

relating to furthering competition in the communications industry. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Section 33.001, Utilities Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 33.001. MUNICIPAL JURISDICTION. (a) To provide fair, just, and reasonable rates and adequate and efficient services, the governing body of a municipality has exclusive original jurisdiction over the rates, operations, and services of an electric utility in areas in the municipality, subject to the limitations imposed by this title. (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the governing body of a municipality shall not have jurisdiction over the BPL system, BPL services, telecommunications using BPL services, or the rates, operations, or services of the electric utility or transmission and distribution utility to the extent that such rates, operations, or services are related, wholly or partly, to the construction, maintenance, or operation of a BPL system used to provide BPL services to affiliated or unaffiliated entities. SECTION 2. Subtitle B, Title 2, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Chapter 43 to read as follows:CHAPTER 43. USE OF ELECTRIC DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR ACCESS TO BROADBAND AND OTHER ENHANCED SERVICES, INCLUDING COMMUNICATIONS


Sec. 43.001. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. (a) The legislature finds that broadband over power lines, also known as BPL, is an emerging technology platform that offers a means of providing broadband services to reach homes and businesses. BPL services can also be used to enhance existing electric delivery systems, which can result in improved service and reliability for electric customers. (b) The legislature finds that access to quality, high speed broadband services is important to this state. BPL deployment in Texas has the potential to extend broadband service to customers where broadband access is currently not available and may provide an additional option for existing broadband consumers in Texas, resulting in a more competitive market for broadband services. The legislature further finds that BPL development in Texas is fully dependent upon the participation of electric utilities in this state that own and operate power lines and related facilities that are necessary for the construction of BPL systems and the provision of BPL services. (c) Consistent with the goal of increasing options for telecommunications in this state, the legislature finds that it is in the public interest to encourage the deployment of BPL by permitting affiliates of the electric utility, or permitting unaffiliated entities, to own or operate all or a portion of such BPL systems. The purpose of this chapter is to provide the appropriate framework to support the deployment of BPL. (d) The legislature finds that an electric utility may choose to implement BPL under the procedures set forth in this chapter, but is not required to do so. The electric utility shall have the right to decide, in its sole discretion, whether to implement BPL and may not be penalized for deciding to implement or not to implement BPL. Sec. 43.002. APPLICABILITY. (a) This chapter applies to an electric utility whether or not the electric utility is offering customer choice under Chapter 39. (b) If there is a conflict between the specific provisions of this chapter and any other provisions of this title, the provisions of this chapter control. (c) No provision of this title shall impose an obligation on an electric utility to implement BPL, to provide broadband services, or to allow others to install BPL facilities or use the electric utility's facilities for the provision of broadband services. Sec. 43.003. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter: (1) "BPL," "broadband over power lines," and "BPL services" mean the provision of broadband services over electric power lines and related facilities, whether above ground or in underground conduit. (2) "BPL access" means the ability to access broadband services via a BPL operator or BPL Internet service provider. (3) "BPL operator" means an entity that owns or operates a BPL system on the electric power lines and related facilities of an electric utility. (4) "BPL Internet service provider" and "BPL ISP" mean an entity that provides Internet services to others on a wholesale basis or to end-use customers on a retail basis. (5) "BPL system" means the materials, equipment, and other facilities installed on electric utility property to facilitate the provision of BPL services. (6) "BPL electric utility applications" means services and technologies that are used and useful and designed to improve the operational performance and service reliability of an electric utility including, but not limited to, automated meter reading, real time system monitoring and meter control, remote service control, outage detection and restoration, predictive maintenance and diagnostics, and monitoring and enhancement of power quality. (7) "Electric delivery system" means the power lines and related transmission and distribution facilities used by an electric utility to deliver electric energy. (8) "Electric utility" shall include an electric utility and a transmission and distribution utility as defined in Section 31.002(6) or (19).[Sections 43.004-43.050 reserved for expansion]


Sec. 43.051. AUTHORIZATION FOR BPL SYSTEM. An affiliate of an electric utility or a person unaffiliated with an electric utility may own, construct, maintain, and operate a BPL system and provide BPL services on an electric utility's electric delivery system consistent with the requirements of this chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit an entity defined in Section 11.003(9) from providing BPL service or owning and operating a BPL system. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit an electric utility from providing construction or maintenance services to a BPL operator or BPL ISP provided that the costs of these services are properly accounted for between the electric utility and the BPL operator or BPL ISP. Sec. 43.052. OWNERSHIP AND OPERATION OF BPL SYSTEM. (a) An electric utility may elect to: (1) allow an affiliate to own or operate a BPL system on the utility's electric delivery system; (2) allow an unaffiliated entity to own or operate a BPL system on the electric utility's electric delivery system; or (3) allow an affiliate or unaffiliated entity to provide Internet service over a BPL system. (b) The BPL operator and the electric utility shall determine what BPL Internet service providers may have access to broadband capacity on the BPL system. Sec. 43.053. FEES AND CHARGES. (a) An electric utility that allows an affiliate or an unaffiliated entity to own a BPL system on the electric utility's electric delivery system shall charge the owner of the BPL system for the use of the electric utility's electric delivery system. (b) An electric utility may pay a BPL owner, a BPL operator, or a BPL ISP for the use of the BPL system required to operate BPL utility applications. (c) If all or part of a BPL system is installed on poles or other structures of a telecommunications utility as that term is defined in Section 51.002, the owner of the BPL system shall be required to pay the telecommunications utility an annual fee consistent with the usual and customary charges for access to the space occupied by that portion of the BPL system so installed. (d) Notwithstanding Subsections (a)-(c): (1) an electric utility may not charge an affiliate under this section an amount less than the electric utility would charge an unaffiliated entity for the same item or class of items; (2) an electric utility may not pay an affiliate under this section an amount more than the affiliate would charge an unaffiliated entity for the same item or class of items; and (3) an electric utility or an affiliate of an electric utility may not discriminate against a retail electric provider that is not affiliated with the utility in the terms or availability of BPL services. Sec. 43.054. NO ADDITIONAL EASEMENTS OR CONSIDERATION REQUIRED. Because BPL systems provide benefits to electric delivery systems, the installation of a BPL system on an electric delivery system shall not require the electric utility or the owner of the BPL system or an entity defined in Section 11.003(9) to obtain or expand easements or other rights-of-way for the BPL system or to give additional consideration as a result of the installation or the operation of a BPL system. For purposes of this section, installation of a BPL system shall be deemed to be consistent with installation of an electric delivery system. Sec. 43.055. RELIABILITY OF ELECTRIC SYSTEMS MAINTAINED. An electric utility that allows the installation and operation of a BPL system on its electric delivery system shall employ all reasonable measures to ensure that the operation of the BPL system does not interfere with or diminish the reliability of the utility's electric delivery system. Should a disruption in the provision of electric service occur, the electric utility shall be governed by the terms and conditions of the retail electric delivery service tariff. At all times, the provision of broadband services shall be secondary to the reliable provision of electric delivery services.[Sections 43.056-43.100 reserved for expansion]



Sec. 43.101. PARTICIPATION BY ELECTRIC UTILITY. (a) An electric utility, through an affiliate or through an unaffiliated entity, may elect to install and operate a BPL system on some or all of its electric delivery system in any part or all of its certificated service area. (b) The installation, operation, and use of a BPL system and the provision of BPL services shall not be regulated by any state agency, a municipality, or local government other than as provided for in this chapter. (c) The commission or a state or local government or a regulatory or quasi-governmental or a quasi-regulatory authority may not: (1) require an electric utility, either through an affiliate or an unaffiliated entity, to install a BPL system on its power lines or offer BPL services in all or any part of the electric utility's certificated service area; (2) require an electric utility to allow others to install a BPL system on the utility's electric delivery system in any part or all of the electric utility's certificated service area; or (3) prohibit an electric utility from having an affiliate or unaffiliated entity install a BPL system or offering BPL services in any part or all of the electric utility's certificated service area. (d) If a municipality or local government is already collecting a charge or fee from the electric utility for the use of the public rights-of-way for the delivery of electricity to retail electric customers, the municipality or local government is prohibited from requiring a franchise or an amendment to a franchise or from requiring a charge, fee, or tax from any entity for use of the public rights-of-way for a BPL system. (e) The state or a municipality may impose a charge on the provision of BPL services, but the charge may not be greater than the lowest charge that the state or municipality imposes on other providers of broadband services for use of the public rights-of-way in its respective jurisdiction. Sec. 43.102. COST RECOVERY FOR DEPLOYMENT OF BPL AND UTILITY APPLICATIONS. (a) Where an electric utility permits the installation of a BPL system on its electric delivery system under Section 43.052(a), the electric utility's investment in that BPL system to directly support the BPL electric utility applications and other BPL services consumed by the electric utility that are used and useful in providing electric utility service shall be eligible for inclusion in the electric utility's invested capital, and any fees or operating expenses that are reasonable and necessary shall be eligible for inclusion as operating expenses for purposes of any proceeding under Chapter 36. The invested capital and expenses described in this section must be allocated to the customer classes directly receiving the services. (b) In any proceeding under Chapter 36, just and reasonable charges for the use of the electric utility's electric delivery system by a BPL owner or operator shall be limited to the usual and customary pole attachment charges paid to the electric utility for comparable space by cable television operators. (c) The revenues of an affiliated BPL operator or an affiliated BPL ISP shall not be deemed the revenues of an electric utility for purposes of setting rates under Chapter 36.[Sections 43.103-43.150 reserved for expansion]


Sec. 43.151. AFFILIATES OF ELECTRIC UTILITY. (a) Subject to the limitations of this chapter, an electric utility may have a full or partial ownership interest in a BPL operator or a BPL ISP. Whether a BPL operator or a BPL ISP is an affiliate of the electric utility shall be determined under Section 11.003(2) or Section 11.006. (b) Neither a BPL operator nor a BPL ISP shall be considered a "competitive affiliate" of an electric utility as that term is defined in Section 39.157. Sec. 43.152. COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL LAW. BPL operators shall comply with all applicable federal laws, including those protecting licensed spectrum users from interference by BPL systems. The operator of a radio frequency device shall be required to cease operating the device upon notification by a Federal Communications Commission or Public Utilities Commission representative that the device is causing harmful interference. Operation shall not resume until the condition causing the harmful interference has been corrected. SECTION 3. Section 52.155, Utilities Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (c) to read as follows: (a) A telecommunications utility that holds a certificate of operating authority or a service provider certificate of operating authority may not charge a higher amount for originating or terminating intrastate switched access than the prevailing rates charged by the holder of the certificate of convenience and necessity or the holder of a certificate of operating authority issued under Chapter 65 in whose territory the call originated or terminated unless: (1) the commission specifically approves the higher rate; or (2) subject to commission review, the telecommunications utility establishes statewide average composite originating and terminating intrastate switched access rates based on a reasonable approximation of traffic originating and terminating between all holders of certificates of convenience and necessity in this state. (c) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), Chapter 65 governs the switched access rates of a company that holds a certificate of operating authority issued under Chapter 65. SECTION 4. Subchapter D, Chapter 52, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Section 52.156 to read as follows: Sec. 52.156. RETAIL RATES, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS. A telecommunications utility may not: (1) establish a retail rate, term, or condition that is anticompetitive or unreasonably preferential, prejudicial, or discriminatory; or (2) engage in predatory pricing or attempt to engage in predatory pricing. SECTION 5. Section 54.202, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Subsection (c) to read as follows: (c) This section may not be construed to prevent a municipally owned utility from providing to its energy customers, either directly or indirectly, any energy related service involving the transfer or receipt of information or data concerning the use, measurement, monitoring, or management of energy utility services provided by the municipally owned utility, including services such as load management or automated meter reading. SECTION 6. Subsections (a), (b), and (c), Section 54.204, Utilities Code, are amended to read as follows: (a) Notwithstanding Section 14.008, a municipality or a municipally owned utility may not discriminate against a certificated telecommunications provider [telecommunications utility] regarding: (1) the authorization or placement of a [telecommunications] facility in a public right-of-way; (2) access to a building; or (3) a municipal utility pole attachment rate or term[, to the extent not addressed by federal law]. (b) In granting consent, a franchise, or a permit for the use of a public street, alley, or right-of-way within its municipal boundaries, a municipality or municipally owned utility may not discriminate in favor of or against a certificated telecommunications provider [telecommunications utility that holds or has applied for a certificate of convenience and necessity, a certificate of operating authority, or a service provider certificate of operating authority] regarding: (1) municipal utility pole attachment or underground conduit rates or terms[, to the extent not addressed by federal law]; or (2) the authorization, placement, replacement, or removal of a [telecommunications] facility in a public right-of-way and the reasonable compensation for the authorization, placement, replacement, or removal regardless of whether the compensation is in the form of: (A) money; (B) services; (C) use of facilities; or (D) another kind of consideration. (c) A municipality or a municipally owned [Notwithstanding Subsection (b)(1), a municipal] utility may not charge any entity, regardless of the nature of the services provided by that entity, a pole attachment rate or underground conduit rate that exceeds the fee the municipality or municipally owned utility would be permitted to charge under rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission under 47 U.S.C. Section 224(e) if the municipality's or municipally owned utility's rates were regulated under federal law and the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. In addition, not later than September 1, 2006, a municipality or municipally owned utility shall charge a single, uniform pole attachment or underground conduit rate to all entities that are not affiliated with the municipality or municipally owned utility regardless of the services carried over the networks attached to the poles or underground conduit. SECTION 7. Section 54.251, Utilities Code, is amended by amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsection (c) to read as follows: (b) Except as specifically determined otherwise by the commission under this subchapter or Subchapter G, the holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity, or the holder of a certificate of operating authority issued under Chapter 65, for an area has the obligations of a provider of last resort regardless of whether another provider has a certificate of operating authority or service provider certificate of operating authority for that area. (c) A certificate holder may meet the holder's provider of last resort obligations using any available technology. Notwithstanding any provision of Chapter 56, the commission may adjust disbursements from the universal service fund to companies using technologies other than traditional wireline or landline technologies to meet provider of last resort obligations. As determined by the commission, the certificate holder shall meet minimum quality of service standards, including standards for 911 service, comparable to those established for traditional wireline or landline technologies and shall offer services at a price comparable to the monthly service charge for comparable services in that exchange or the provider's nearest exchange. SECTION 8. Subchapter G, Chapter 54, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Section 54.3015 to read as follows: Sec. 54.3015. APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter applies to a holder of a certificate of operating authority issued under Chapter 65 in the same manner and to the same extent this subchapter applies to a holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity. SECTION 9. Section 55.015, Utilities Code, is amended by amending Subsections (a), (c), and (d) and adding Subsections (b-1), (d-1), and (d-2) to read as follows: (a) The commission shall adopt rules prohibiting a certificated provider of local exchange telephone service[telecommunications provider] from discontinuing basic network services listed in Section 58.051 [local exchange telephone service] to a consumer who receives lifeline service because of nonpayment by the consumer of charges for other services billed by the provider, including interexchange telecommunications [long distance] service. (b-1) The commission shall adopt rules requiring certificated providers of local exchange telephone service to implement procedures to ensure that all consumers are clearly informed both orally and in writing of the existence of the lifeline service program when they request or initiate service or change service locations or providers. On or before June 1, 2006, the commission shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Health and Human Services Commission, and, to the maximum extent feasible, housing authorities in the principal cities of each metropolitan statistical area, to improve enrollment rates in the lifeline service program. (c) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service [telecommunications provider] may block a lifeline service participant's access to all interexchange telecommunications [long distance] service except toll-free numbers when the participant owes an outstanding amount for that service. The provider[telecommunications provider] shall remove the block without additional cost to the participant on payment of the outstanding amount. (d) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service [telecommunications provider] shall offer a consumer who applies for or receives lifeline service the option of blocking all toll calls or, if technically capable, placing a limit on the amount of toll calls. The provider may not charge the consumer an administrative charge or other additional amount for the blocking service. (d-1) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service shall provide access to lifeline service to a customer whose income is not more than 150 percent of the applicable income level established by the federal poverty guidelines or in whose household resides a person who receives or has a child who receives: (1) Medicaid; (2) food stamps; (3) Supplemental Security Income; (4) federal public housing assistance; (5) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assistance; or (6) health benefits coverage under the state child health plan under Chapter 62, Health and Safety Code. (d-2) A certificated provider of local exchange telephone service shall provide consumers who apply for or receive lifeline service access to available vertical services or custom calling features, including caller ID, call waiting, and call blocking, at the same price as other consumers. Lifeline discounts shall only apply to that portion of the bill that is for basic network service. SECTION 10. Subchapter A, Chapter 55, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Section 55.017 to read as follows: Sec. 55.017. IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED. (a) A representative of a telecommunications provider or a video or cable service provider that has an easement in or a right-of-way over or through real property must show proof of identification to the owner of the real property when entering the property if requested by the owner. (b) This section does not apply to regularly scheduled service readings or examinations. SECTION 11. Subchapter H, Chapter 55, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Section 55.1735 to read as follows: Sec. 55.1735. CHARGE FOR PAY PHONE ACCESS LINE. The charge or surcharge a local exchange company imposes for an access line used to provide pay telephone service in an exchange may not exceed the amount of the charge or surcharge the company imposes for an access line used for regular business purposes in that exchange. SECTION 12. Section 56.021, Utilities Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 56.021. UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND ESTABLISHED. The commission shall adopt and enforce rules requiring local exchange companies to establish a universal service fund to: (1) assist telecommunications providers in providing basic local telecommunications service at reasonable rates in high cost rural areas; (2) reimburse the telecommunications carrier that provides the statewide telecommunications relay access service under Subchapter D; (3) finance the specialized telecommunications assistance program established under Subchapter E; (4) reimburse the department, the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the commission for costs incurred in implementing this chapter and Chapter 57; (5) reimburse a telecommunications carrier providing lifeline service as provided by 47 C.F.R. Part 54, Subpart E, as amended; (6) finance the implementation and administration of an integrated eligibility process created under Section 17.007 for customer service discounts relating to telecommunications services, including outreach expenses the commission determines are reasonable and necessary; (7) reimburse a designated provider under Subchapter F; [and] (8) reimburse a successor utility under Subchapter G; and (9) finance the program established under Subchapter H. SECTION 13. Subsection (a), Section 56.025, Utilities Code, is amended to read as follows: (a) In addition to the authority provided by Section 56.021, for each local exchange company that serves fewer than 31,000 [five million] access lines and each cooperative, the commission: (1) may adopt a mechanism necessary to maintain reasonable rates for local exchange telephone service; and (2) shall adopt rules to expand the universal service fund in the circumstances prescribed by this section. SECTION 14. Section 56.026, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Subsection (e) to read as follows: (e) This subsection and Subsections (c) and (d) expire August 31, 2007. SECTION 15. Subchapter B, Chapter 56, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Sections 56.029, 56.030, and 56.031 to read as follows: Sec. 56.029. UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND STUDY; ATTESTATION REQUIREMENT. (a) The commission shall conduct a review and evaluation of whether the universal service fund accomplishes the fund's purposes as prescribed by Section 56.021 and the commission's final orders issued in Docket No. 18515 and Docket No. 18516. The evaluation shall determine whether the fund's purposes have been sufficiently achieved, whether the fund should be abolished or phased out, whether the fund should be brought within the state treasury, and whether the entities receiving those funds are spending the money for its intended purposes. The evaluation must include a forward-looking, comprehensive assessment of the appropriate use of the money in the fund and the manner in which that money is collected and disbursed. (b) Not later than January 1, 2006, the commission shall require telecommunications providers receiving disbursements under the universal service fund to provide to the commission the information that the commission determines is necessary to discharge the commission's duties under this section, including information necessary to review and evaluate how money is collected for the universal service fund and expended. (c) Information provided under Subsection (b) is confidential and is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code. (d) The commission may classify telecommunications providers as the commission considers appropriate for efficiency and may permit providers to share the cost of developing information the commission determines is necessary to discharge the commission's responsibilities under this section. (e) Not later than January 5, 2007, the commission shall deliver to the legislature a report for the legislature's revision and approval on the results of the review and evaluation. The report must: (1) include recommendations that are consistent with the policies provided by this title; (2) include the commission's assessment of the universal service fund, including: (A) how the money in the fund should be collected; (B) how the money in the fund should be disbursed and the purposes for which the money should be used by the telecommunications provider receiving the money; and (C) any recommendations the commission has in relation to accountability for use of the money in the fund, including the usefulness of the attestation required by Subsection (g); and (3) include recommendations that ensure that a telecommunications provider's support from the universal service fund for a geographic area is consistent with Section 56.021 and the commission's final orders issued in Docket No. 18515 and Docket No. 18516. (f) The evaluation shall determine whether the fund's purposes have been sufficiently achieved, whether the fund should be abolished or phased out, whether the fund should be brought within the state treasury, and whether the entities receiving those funds are spending the money for its intended purposes. (g) Not later than December 31, 2005, each telecommunications provider receiving universal service fund money shall file with the commission an affidavit attesting that the money from the fund has been used in a manner that is consistent with the purposes provided by Section 56.021 and the commission's final orders issued in Docket No. 18515 and Docket No. 18516. (h) In addition to the study required by this section, the commission shall compile information necessary to determine whether the current funding mechanism for the universal service fund will be adequate in the future to sustain the purposes for which the fund was created considering the development of new technologies that are not subject to the existing funding mechanism and the shift in jurisdictional control from this state to the federal government. The commission shall also review and make recommendations on any mechanisms adopted under Section 56.025. Not later than January 5, 2007, the commission shall deliver to the legislature a report on these issues. If the commission determines that the existing funding mechanism is not adequate, or proposes to change the manner or level of current funding, the commission must include recommendations for alternative funding and basic service pricing methods that will be adequate and are consistent with a policy of technology and competitive neutrality in the assessment of fees and other state-imposed economic burdens. (i) This section expires September 1, 2007. Sec. 56.030. AFFIDAVITS OF COMPLIANCE. On or before September 1 of each year, a telecommunications provider that receives disbursements from the universal service fund shall file with the commission an affidavit certifying that the telecommunications provider is in compliance with the requirements for receiving money from the universal service fund and requirements regarding the use of money from each universal service fund program for which the telecommunications provider receives disbursements. Sec. 56.031. ADJUSTMENTS. The commission may revise the monthly per line support amounts to be made available from the Texas High Cost Universal Service Plan and from the Small and Rural Incumbent Local Exchange Company Universal Service Plan at any time after September 1, 2007, after notice and an opportunity for hearing. In determining appropriate monthly per line support amounts, the commission shall consider the adequacy of basic rates to support universal service. SECTION 16. Subchapter B, Chapter 56, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Section 56.032 to read as follows: Sec. 56.032. COMMISSION REVIEW AND EVALUATION OF DISTANCE LEARNING DISCOUNTS AND PRIVATE NETWORK SERVICES FOR CERTAIN ENTITIES. (a) On or before October 1, 2005, the commission shall initiate a study for the purpose of evaluating a new funding mechanism to provide financial support to all telecommunications utilities that provide discounts or private network services at prescribed rates to the entities identified in Subchapter B, Chapter 57, Subchapter G, Chapter 58, and Subchapter D, Chapter 59. (b) The study must include an evaluation of alternative sources of funding such support, including utilizing federal E-rate funding, and an evaluation of alternative funding mechanisms that would result in support being made available to all telecommunications utilities on a nondiscriminatory basis and on a technology neutral basis in exchange for providing services at rates comparable to those preferred rates being paid by the entities identified under Subchapter B, Chapter 57, Subchapter G, Chapter 58, and Subchapter D, Chapter 59, provisions. (c) The commission shall conduct necessary proceedings to evaluate the appropriate funding mechanism and the appropriate method for determining the amount of support to be made available to telecommunications utilities that provide discounts to entities listed in Subsection (b). (d) On or before November 15, 2006, the commission shall issue a report to the speaker of the house of representatives and the lieutenant governor on the viability of establishing a new program or funding mechanism through which support shall be funded and disbursed in exchange for providing discounts to the entities listed in Subsection (b). The commission shall include in the report its findings regarding the cost of any new funding mechanism, the benefit of establishing a new program or funding mechanism, and any other relevant information the commission deems appropriate to assist the legislature in its review of discounts for distance learning and private network services. (e) This section expires September 1, 2007. SECTION 17. Chapter 56, Utilities Code, is amended by adding Subchapter H to read as follows:SUBCHAPTER H. AUDIO NEWSPAPER PROGRAM

Sec. 56.301. AUDIO NEWSPAPER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. The commission by rule shall establish a program to provide from the universal service fund financial assistance for a free telephone service for blind and visually impaired persons that offers the text of newspapers using synthetic speech. The commission may adopt rules to implement the program. SECTION 18. Section 58.051, Utilities Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (a-1), (c), and (d) to read as follows: (a) Unless reclassified under Section 58.024, the following services are basic network services: (1) flat rate residential local exchange telephone service, including primary directory listings and the receipt of a directory and any applicable mileage or zone charges; (2) residential tone dialing service; (3) lifeline and tel-assistance service; (4) service connection for basic residential services; (5) direct inward dialing service for basic residential services; (6) private pay telephone access service; (7) call trap and trace service; (8) access for all residential and business end users to 911 service provided by a local authority and access to dual party relay service; (9) mandatory residential extended area service arrangements; and (10) mandatory residential extended metropolitan service or other mandatory residential toll-free calling arrangements[; and [(11) residential call waiting service]. (a-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (a) and Section 58.151, basic network services include residential caller identification services if the customer to whom the servi