“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
Remember watching the old newsreels that chronicled the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany? Remember how mad you got when you saw the German people and the Jews doing almost nothing to stem the rising tide of what was an obviously (to us now) corrupt and tyrannical government? You asked yourself, time and again, “why didn’t they do anything about it??”
Welcome to Obama’s America 2013…you now have your answer.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government’s aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers, according to a report released Thursday on U.S. press freedoms under the Obama administration.
The Committee to Protect Journalists conducted its first examination of U.S. press freedoms amid the Obama administration’s unprecedented number of prosecutions of government sources and seizures of journalists’ records. Usually the group focuses on advocating for press freedoms abroad.
Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Washington Post, wrote the 30-page analysis entitled “The Obama Administration and the Press.” The report notes President Barack Obama came into office pledging an open, transparent government after criticizing the Bush administration’s secrecy, “but he has fallen short of his promise.”
“In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press,” wrote Downie, now a journalism professor at Arizona State University. “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”
Downie interviewed numerous reporters and editors, including a top editor at The Associated Press, following revelations this year that the government secretly seized records for telephone lines and switchboards used by more than 100 AP journalists. Downie also interviewed journalists whose sources have been prosecuted on felony charges
Those suspected of discussing classified information are increasingly subject to investigation, lie-detector tests, scrutiny of telephone and email records and now surveillance by co-workers under a new “Insider Threat Program” that has been implemented in every agency.
“There’s no question that sources are looking over their shoulders,” Michael Oreskes, the AP’s senior managing editor, told Downie. “Sources are more jittery and more standoffish, not just in national security reporting. A lot of skittishness is at the more routine level. The Obama administration has been extremely controlling and extremely resistant to journalistic intervention.”
To bypass journalists, the White House developed its own network of websites, social media and even created an online newscast to dispense favorable information and images. In some cases, the White House produces videos of the president’s meetings with major figures that were never listed on his public schedule. Instead, they were kept secret – a departure from past administrations, the report noted.
Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief who is now director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, told Downie the combined efforts of the Obama administration are “squeezing the flow of information.”
“Open dialogue with the public without filters is good, but if used for propaganda and to avoid contact with journalists, it’s a slippery slope,” Sesno said.
In the report, White House officials objected to findings that the administration has limited transparency or information. Press Secretary Jay Carney said such complaints are part of the “natural tension” between the White House and the press.
“The idea that people are shutting up and not leaking to reporters is belied by the facts,” Carney told Downie.
National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said there is still investigative reporting about national security issues with information from “nonsanctioned sources with lots of unclassified information and some sensitive information.”
Downie found the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were a “watershed moment,” leading to increased secrecy, surveillance and control of information. There is little direct comparison between the Bush and Obama administrations, though some journalists told Downie the Obama administration exercises more control.
“Every administration learns from the previous administration,” said CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer. “They become more secretive and put tighter clamps on information.”
Shortly after Obama entered office, the White House was under pressure from intelligence agencies and Congress to stop leaks of national security information. The administration’s first prosecution for leaking information came in April 2009 after a Hebrew linguist working for the FBI gave a blogger classified information about Israel.
Other prosecutions followed, targeting some government employees who believed they were whistle-blowers. The administration has rejected whistle-blower claims if they do not involve “waste, fraud or abuse,” according to report. So sources exposing questionable or illegal practices are considered leaks.
To date, six government employees and two contractors have been targeted for prosecution under the 1917 Espionage Act for accusations that they leaked classified information to the press. There were just three such prosecutions under all previous U.S. presidents.
By 2012, an AP report about the CIA’s success in foiling a bomb plot in Yemen further escalated the Obama administration’s efforts, even as the White House congratulated the CIA on the operation, Downie wrote. The disclosure in May that the government had secretly subpoenaed and seized AP phone records drew sharp criticism from many news organizations and civil rights advocates.
In September, the Justice Department announced AP’s phone records led investigators to a former FBI bomb technician who pleaded guilty to disclosing the operation to a reporter.
“This prosecution demonstrates our deep resolve to hold accountable anyone who would violate their solemn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and to prevent future, potentially devastating leaks by those who would wantonly ignore their obligations to safeguard classified information,” the Justice Department said last month.
Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor, said the report highlights the growing threats to independent journalism in a country that has upheld press freedom as a measure of democratic society for two centuries.
“We find we must fight for those freedoms every day as the fog of secrecy descends on every level of government activity,” she said in a statement. “That fight is worthwhile, as we learned when the outcry over the Justice Department’s secret seizure of AP phone records led to proposed revisions intended to protect journalists from overly broad investigative techniques. Implementation of those revisions is an important next step.”
In its report, the Committee to Protect Journalists recommends several reforms, including ending the practice of charging people who leak information to journalists with espionage and preventing secret subpoenas of journalists’ records. source – AP
Is anyone accountable in this corrupt government?
After wasting over $634 million dollars of borrowed Chinese money on a website, will Obama be brought up on fraud charges? graft? embezzlement? Or will the sound asleep, clueless, apathetic American public just shrug their shoulders and move on? Can we even recognize the enemy when faced with him? I am starting to think we cannot.
It’s quite obvious that any website with a price tag of $634 million dollars was a Ponzi scheme right from the start. If the American people do not demand justice – a court trial – over this, then we will shall never again be free of tyranny.
Digital Trends: It’s been one full week since the flagship technology portion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went live. And since that time, the befuddled beast that is Healthcare.gov has shutdown, crapped out, stalled, and mis-loaded so consistently that its track record for failure is challenged only by Congress.
The site itself, which apparently underwent major code renovations over the weekend, still rejects user logins, fails to load drop-down menus and other crucial components for users that successfully gain entrance, and otherwise prevents uninsured Americans in the 36 states it serves from purchasing healthcare at competitive rates – Healthcare.gov’s primary purpose. The site is so busted that, as of a couple days ago, the number of people that successfully purchased healthcare through it was in the “single digits,” according to the Washington Post.
The reason for this nationwide headache apparently stems from poorly written code, which buckled under the heavy influx of traffic that its engineers and administrators should have seen coming. But the fact that Healthcare.gov can’t do the one job it was built to do isn’t the most infuriating part of this debacle – it’s that we, the taxpayers, seem to have forked up more than $634 million of the federal purse to build the digital equivalent of a rock.
The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal. The company originally won the contract back in 2011, but at that time, the cost was expected to run “up to” $93.7 million – still a chunk of change, but nothing near where it ended up.
Given the complicated nature of federal contracts, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between the cost to develop Healthcare.gov and the amount of money spent building private online businesses. But for the sake of putting the monstrous amount of money into perspective, here are a few figures to chew on: Facebook, which received its first investment in June 2004, operated for a full six years before surpassing the $600 million mark in June 2010. Twitter, created in 2006, managed to get by with only $360.17 million in total funding until a $400 million boost in 2011. Instagram ginned up just $57.5 million in funding before Facebook bought it for (a staggering) $1 billion last year. And LinkedIn and Spotify, meanwhile, have only raised, respectively, $200 million and $288 million.
What I cannot stand is a nation that has vast technological resources in its citizenry spending $600 million of our collective money to slap together a product that, thus far, has only managed to waste people’s precious minutes. So the next time our government comes up with any bright idea that relies upon a massive website, let’s all be sure to ask how they plan to build it. Because the standard operating procedure at the moment is just plain sick. source – Digital Trends
Dems calling for martial law
Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee used obscure language to characterize the push for a clean resolution which would end the government shutdown, labeling it a form of “martial law.”
Advocating for the passage of a clean continuing resolution that would, at least temporarily, end the current standoff in Washington and reopen the government, Lee said there were enough members of Congress who would vote for the resolution.
“It’s something called a continuing resolution, but it’s a bill that you put on the floor that has been passed already by Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate….that we could vote on today,” said Lee, adding, “We have martial law – what that means – and my colleagues know what it means – is that you can put a bill on in just minutes.”
The term “martial law” in a legislative context is somewhat obscure but it has been used before to define lawmakers’ ability to “fast track” bills without going through the usual congressional process.
However, Lee’s insistence that a Senate-approved resolution to fund the federal government be fast-tracked via “martial law” appears to conflict with Article I, Section 7, Clause I of the Constitution, which states, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
This clause was included by the founders to ensure that decisions related to the power of the purse reside with the legislative body which is closest to the American people.
The last time martial law was mentioned by a member of Congress was back in 2008 when Rep. Brad Sherman revealed how lawmakers were threatened with “martial law in America” by then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson if they rejected the TARP bailout package. source – InfoWars
RELATED STORY: Barack Hussein Obama and the Rise of Adolf Hitler
We have had 65 years of newsreel footage to show us, teach and instruct us on how Hitler was able to create Nazi Germany with the consent of the German people by virtue of his hypnotizing demonic speaking ability. Have we learned nothing from all that?
Today, Barack Obama is changing times and laws in America, giving himself unprecedented power never before seen. His ObamaCare bill, now the law of the land, empowers him to create his own private army, forces citizens to abide by unconstitutional laws, and will use the IRS in much the same way that Hitler used his brown shirts to make people get in line behind his policies. Americans are awakening – too late! - to the fact that Obama has subverted the United States Constitution, and stolen our precious liberties and freedoms.
Obama has done the unthinkable. He has created a National Socialist State Of America, and you, the American people allowed him to do it.
Orlando: Many people signing up for health care in Florida through the Affordable Care Act have been shocked when they have to give proof of their credit score before they finish the process.
Anne Packham, one of many people licensed by the state to help people navigate the government’s website, said on Tuesday that the credit check occurs so providers can make an educated decision about who to insure.
“If someone is defaulting on all of their bills they may not want to have them as part of their health plan,” said Packham, the lead Navigator in Florida.
Participants with low credit scores could end up paying higher premiums, according to Packham, who said that ultimately the insurance company makes the call.
The government website healthcare.gov has regularly been bogged down, oftentimes showing users a message saying, “We have a lot of visitors on the site.”
“We have a mixed bag right now,” said Packham, referring to users being able to successfully navigate the site. source – WKMG Orlando
The sky is the limit
Citing the Heath and Human Services website, a report posted Wednesday at the Freedom Outpost says that under Obamacare, government agents can engage in “home health visits” for those in certain “high-risk” categories.
Those categories include:
• Families where mom is not yet 21;
• Families where someone is a tobacco user;
• Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities, and
• Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States.
According to HHS, the visits fall under what is called the “Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program” allegedly designed to “help parents and children,” and could impact millions of Americans.
Constitutional attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown said that despite what HHS says, the program is not “voluntary.”
“The eligible entity receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks,” he said. “A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to ‘intervention’ in ‘school readiness’ and ‘social-emotional developmental indicators.’ A farm family may be subject to ‘intervention’ in order to ‘prevent child injuries.’ The sky is the limit.”
Joshua Cook said that while the administration would claim the program only applies to those on Medicaid, the new law, by its own definition, has no such limitation.
“Intervention,” he added, quoting Brown, “may be with any family for any reason. It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or taking certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with parents. The federal government will now set the standards for raising children and will enforce them by home visits.”
According to Cook, the program will require collection of a massive amount of private information including all sources of income and the amount gathered from each source.
One of the areas of emphasis mentioned by HHS is the “development of comprehensive early childhood systems that span the prenatal-through-age-eight continuum.” Last session, Cook added, South Carolina State Rep. Bill Chumley introduced a measure that would make the forced home visitations illegal in his state. The measure passed in the House but died in the Senate.
In 2011, he noted, HHS said $224 million would be allocated to support these home visiting programs. source – Examiner
Sending a message
What you see happening here in our story today illustrates a larger principle. By doing this, Obama was showing two things, and they are:
- His desire to make 11,000,000 illegal immigrants citizens, thereby swamping the entitlement system until it snaps in half. Cloward-Piven 101.
- His utter contempt for America, our way of life, and for our service men and women. What better way to show that then to publicly arrest war veterans as they visit war memorials?
Fox News: A pro immigration reform rally was underway Tuesday on the National Mall despite the fact that national memorials have been closed during the government shutdown. The development comes in the wake of outrage over the fact that several groups of World War II veterans had to resort to breaking down barriers to gain access to the monument built in their honor.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the rally was allowed to be held during the shutdown but David Bossie of conservative non-profit group Citizens United speculated that it was being claimed as a “First Amendment issue.”
The park police told Camerota in an email that their officers are “at full capacity during the shutdown to protect life and property.” source – Fox News
The Obamacare nightmare
The policy contains many standard statements about information automatically collected regarding Internet browsers and IP addresses, temporary “cookies” used by the site, and website accessibility. However, at least two conditions may give some users pause before proceeding.
The first is regarding personal information submitted with an application for those users who follow through on the sign up process all the way to the end. The policy states that all information to help in applying for coverage and even for making a payment will be kept strictly confidential and only be used to carry out the function of the marketplace. There is, however, an exception: “[W]e may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.” Here is the entire paragraph from the policy the includes the exception [emphasis added]:
Should you decide to apply for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the information you supply in your application will be used to determine whether you are eligible for health and dental coverage offered through Maryland Health Connection and for insurance affordability programs. It also may be used to assist you in making a payment for the insurance plan you select, and for related automated reminders or other activities permitted by law. We will preserve the privacy of personal records and protect confidential or privileged information in full accordance with federal and State law. We will not sell your information to others. Any information that you provide to us in your application will be used only to carry out the functions of Maryland Health Connection. The only exception to this policy is that we may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.
The site does not specify if “appropriate authorities” refers only to state authorities or if it could include the federal government, as well. Neither is there any detail on what type of law enforcement and/or audit activities would justify the release of the personal information, or who exactly is authorized to make such a determination. An email to the Maryland Health Connection’s media contact seeking clarification has not yet been answered
The second privacy term that may prompt caution by users relates to email communications. The policy reads:
If you send us an e-mail, we use the information you send us to respond to your inquiry. E-mail correspondence may become a public record. As a public record, your correspondence could be disclosed to other parties upon their request in accordance with Maryland’s Public Information Act.
Since emails to the marketplace could conceivably involve private matters regarding finances, health history, and other sensitive issues, the fact that such information could be made part of the “public record” could prevent users from being as free with their information than they might otherwise be. However, as noted, any requests for such emails would still be subject to Maryland’s Public Information Act which contains certain exceptions to the disclosure rules. source – Weekly Standard