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Obama to Pitch Ideas in Speech for Spurring ‘Upward Mobility’.


President Barack Obama will urge the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to do more to help poor and middle-class Americans move up the economic ladder.

Both Obama and congressional Republicans view that issue as a high priority, a rare point of agreement between the two sides. But the Democratic president and Republicans disagree on the remedies, setting up a debate that Obama will discuss in his State of the Union address to Congress.

In the speech, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Obama will push an agenda for increasing economic upward mobility and propose aid to the long-term unemployed, an increase in the minimum wage and an expansion of early-childhood education.

After Obama’s speech, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, will deliver a response on behalf of her party. She will likely emphasize free-market ideas for improving prosperity.

Senator Marco Rubio and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, two Republicans who are both seen as potential 2016 presidential candidates, spoke this month on proposals for helping people climb out of economic hardship.

Rubio has suggested shifting responsibility for many federal benefit programs to the states. Ryan has floated the idea of providing a single benefit to low-income families, modeled on one in Great Britain.

The problem of economic stagnation is expected to be a theme in congressional election campaigns this year.

Analysts said social mobility was a potent political issue because the United States has long seen itself as a place where anyone with grit and determination can succeed.

In recent years, however, the wages of many low- and middle-income workers have held steady or fallen on an inflation-adjusted basis. The slow growth after the 2007-2009 recession has exacerbated this trend.

At the same time, the wealthiest and most highly educated Americans, referred to as the “1 percent,” have grown more prosperous.

 

Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concern about studies showing that economic mobility in the United States lags that of some other industrialized economies, calling into question the nation’s reputation as a land of opportunity.

More than 40 percent of American men born into the poorest one-fifth of earners remain there, a 2006 study led by Finnish economist Markus Jantti showed. In Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden, only about 25 percent of such men stay in that income segment.

American sons of low-income fathers are more likely to remain stuck in the bottom tenth of earners as adults than are Canadian sons, University of Ottawa economist Miles Corak said in a study published in 2010. In the United States, 22 percent of men born to low-income families stayed in that category, while the same was true of only 16 percent of Canadians.

In 2012, former U.S. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger published a study that linked income inequality with low levels of upward mobility. He devised a chart he named “The Great Gatsby Curve” after the fabulously wealthy protagonist of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It showed the United States toward the upper end of the range of both inequality and low economic mobility, along with Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. At the opposite extreme, with low inequality and high mobility, were Denmark, Norway and Finland.

A study from a group led by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty added a new wrinkle to the debate with its finding that American children’s chances of moving up the economic ladder had not changed much in the past few decades. The study also made clear that children’s prospects were tightly linked to their parents’ socio-economic status – more so in the United States than in some other leading economies.

“It’s not so much that we’re losing the American dream,” said Harvard economist Nathaniel Hendren, one of the study’s authors. “It’s did we ever have it, and do we want it?”

The focus on economic mobility builds on a pledge Obama has emphasized over the past two years: to improve the standing and security of the middle class.

The theme is newer for Republicans, who failed to capture the White House in 2012 in part because many voters perceived their party’s candidate, Mitt Romney, as dismissive of the struggles of the poor and working classes.

But analysts say a promise to boost economic mobility could resonate across the ideological spectrum.

“The idea of the United States being exceptional in its ability to promote economic opportunity or the notion of the nation being suited to help people rise is very much part of our national ethos,” said Erin Currier, director of economic mobility for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Americans feel strongly that the United States should be the land of opportunity.”

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Ex-NSA Chief Hayden: Snowden Always Intended to ‘Scrape’ Data.


Image: Ex-NSA Chief Hayden: Snowden Always Intended to 'Scrape' Data

By Bill Hoffmann

Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the NSA, says that in no way can Edward Snowden be considered a whistleblower on the National Security Agency’s surveillance policies.

“I really do think he had evil intent. This is not an innocent who went to work under one set of expectations and then was just shocked and appalled by what he found at work and was driven to some sort of action,” Hayden, a retired four-star general, told “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll 

“This is somebody who sought the job he had in order to scrape information off of NSA’s systems. I’m fond of saying he was a hunter, not a gatherer. He went there with a plan and malice aforethought.”

Snowden has been baring classified information about the NSA’s spying programs since he fled the United States for Hong Kong and then Russia, where he has been given asylum.

“When you look at the totality of Snowden’s actions, certainly one hypothesis that jumps out at you, that seems to explain his ability to do all these things, is that he had help, and had help from somebody who was very competent in these matters,” Hayden said.

Hayden said he thinks President Barack Obama wants to keep the NSA’s spying programs going, despite saying last week that new restrictions were necessary to protect privacy.

“In his heart, I’m now convinced that he wants to keep it, and he’s willing to give up a few things from operational capacity, perhaps, at the margins, a little more oversight, a slower approach to it so that he’s got more checks and balances,” Hayden said.

“But, fundamentally, he wants to keep it. And that might be the cause of some of the confusion that folks who listened to the speech had.”

In a 45-minute speech at the Justice Department, Obama unveiled new guidelines and reforms for the NSA.

He placed restrictions on the agency’s access to domestic phone records, but noted that the collection of personal data from billions of people around the world, Americans and foreigners, will continue.

“We cannot prevent terrorist attacks or cyberthreats without some capability to penetrate digital communications, whether it’s to unravel a terrorist plot, to intercept malware that targets a stock exchange, to make sure air traffic control systems are not compromised or to ensure that hackers do not empty your bank accounts,” the president said.

“We are expected to protect the American people. That requires us to have capabilities in this field.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll
See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.
© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

High-Ranking NSA Official Admits That America Has Become A Police State.


Last year, high-ranking NSA official Bill Binney said, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” Now, Binney says that the U.S. has already become a full-blown police state.

Binney told Washington’s Blog on Wednesday that:

“The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs is for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].”

nsa-spying-slides-law-enforcement-police-state

“These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.”

nsa-spying-slides-law-enforcement-police-state-1984

“So, they have to do a ‘Parallel Construction’ and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a ‘planned programed perjury policy’ directed by US law enforcement.”

“And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’” “This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.”

Binney, a 32-year veteran of the agency, was instrumental in the creation of the NSA’s surveillance program for digital information. He also served as the NSA’s senior technical director.

As a result, he’s been sought after by a multitude of media outlets, like CBSABCCNNNew York TimesUSA TodayFox News, and PBS. Concerning the collection of data by federal agencies mentioned by Binney, Washington’s Blog added that:

“By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.”

All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.”source – CNS News.

by NTEB News Desk.

Pope Names 19 New Cardinals, Focusing on the Poor.


Pope Francis on Sunday named his first batch of cardinals, choosing 19 men from Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, including Haiti and Burkino Faso, to reflect his attention to the poor.

Francis made the announcement as he spoke from his studio window to a crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they are eligible to elect the next pope, which is a cardinal’s most important task. The ceremony to formally install them as cardinals will be held Feb. 22 at the Vatican.

Some appointments were expected, including that of his new secretary of state, the Italian archbishop Pietro Parolin, and the German head of the Vatican’s watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller.

But some names were surprising.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope’s selection of churchmen from Haiti and Burkino Faso, which are among the world’s poorest nations, reflects Francis’ attention to the destitute as a core part of the church’s mission.

Also chosen to become a “prince of the church,” as the cardinals are known, was Mario Aurelio Poli, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, a post Francis left when he was elected as the first Latin American pope in March.

His selections also came from Managua, Nicaragua; Santiago, Chile; and Rio de Janeiro. The appointees included churchmen from Seoul, South Korea, and the archbishop of Westminster, in Britain, Vincent Nichols.

In a sentimental touch, the three men too old to vote for the next pope include 98-year-old Monsignor Loris Francesco Capovilla, who had served as personal secretary to Pope John XXIII. The late pontiff will be made a saint along with John Paul II at the Vatican in April.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

US Spy Court: NSA to Keep Collecting Phone Records.


Image: US Spy Court: NSA to Keep Collecting Phone Records

A secretive U.S. spy court has ruled again that the National Security Agency can keep collecting every American’s telephone records every day, in the midst of dueling decisions in two civilian federal courts about whether the surveillance program is constitutional.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Friday renewed the NSA phone collection program, said Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Such periodic requests are somewhat formulaic but required since the program started in 2006.

The latest approval was the first since two conflicting court decisions about whether the program is lawful and since a presidential advisory panel recommended that the NSA no longer be allowed to collect and store the phone records and search them without obtaining separate court approval for each search.

In a statement, Turner said that 15 judges on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on 36 occasions over the past seven years have approved the NSA’s collection of U.S. phone records as lawful.

Also Friday, government lawyers turned to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block one federal judge’s decision that threatens the NSA phone records program.

The opposing lawyer who spearheaded the effort that led to the ruling said he hopes to take the issue directly to the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department filed a one-page notice of appeal asking the appeals court to overturn U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s ruling last month that the program was likely unconstitutional. The government’s move had been expected.

Larry Klayman, who filed the class-action suit against President Barack Obama and top administration national security officials, said he intends to petition the federal appeals court next week to send the case directly to the Supreme Court. Klayman said the move was justified because the NSA case was a matter of great public importance.

“There are exigent circumstances here,” Klayman said. “We can’t allow this situation to continue. The NSA’s continuing to spy on everybody.”

Turner said U.S. intelligence agencies would be willing to modify the phone records surveillance program to provide additional privacy and civil liberties protections as long as it was still operationally beneficial. He said the Obama administration was carefully evaluating the advisory panel’s recent recommendations.

Judges sitting on the secretive spy court have repeatedly approved the program for 90-day periods. They also have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the program — a judicial bulwark that held strong until Leon’s surprise decision last month.

Leon said the NSA’s program was “almost Orwellian,” a reference to writer George Orwell’s futuristic novel “1984,” and that there was little evidence the operation had prevented terrorist attacks. He ruled against the government but agreed to postpone shutting down the program until the government could appeal.

In a separate case involving the same NSA phone records program, a district judge in New York last month upheld the government’s data collection as lawful. The American Civil Liberties Union, which lost that case, said this week it will appeal to a federal appeals court in New York.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Finally! Obama To Be Sued Over Massively-Invasive NSA Spying Scandal.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is leading a class-action lawsuit with hundreds of thousands of Americans against President Barack Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) over its spying on the American people, Breitbart News has learned.

Sen. Paul will be discussing the lawsuit in an exclusive appearance on Fox News with host Eric Bolling at 10 PM ET on Friday. Breitbart News has learned that Paul will file the class action lawsuit soon in the D.C. District Court and that he will be filing it as an individual, not as a U.S. Senator. For a U.S. Senator to file a such a class action lawsuit against the President of the United States would be extremely rare.

obama-lawsuit-nsa-spying-rand-paul-police-state

CLICK IMAGE TO SEE WHAT ELSE OBAMA IS UP TO THESE DAYS…

With regard to NSA spying, this is the first class action lawsuit against such activity. This allows the American people to join together in a grassroots manner against President Obama’s NSA for the first time in the legal system, as all other lawsuits have been individuals suing against the agency.

The focus of the lawsuit will be how the NSA’s actions violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The lawsuit will target the NSA’s metadata program.

Via Paul’s campaign website, more than 300,000 Americans have already indicated they will sign up for the suit when it is officially filed in D.C. District court. Americans can join the lawsuit by visiting Paul’s website.

The class action suit from Sen. Paul against the president comes on the heels of two different conflicting court rulings in individual suits against the NSA, with one court ruling that the NSA was within its bounds to spy on Americans shortly after a different court ruled the NSA’s actions were unconstitutional. The conflicting decisions all but guarantee an eventual Supreme Court-level case on the matter. source – Breitbart.

by NTEB News Desk

White House Angry About New York Times’ Snowden Editorial.


The New York Times’ suggestion that NSA secrets leaker Edward Snowden should get clemency or a plea agreement for leaking information about the agency’s broad surveillance programs last year has angered the White House.

In particular, Politico reports, the Obama administration is upset that the editorial says that the government deliberately sought to break the law in its widespread collection of Americans’ telephone and Internet records.

Snowden, 30, a former National Security Agency subcontractor living under temporary political asylum in Russia, provided the classified data to news agencies after he smuggled it out of the NSA by downloading it to a flash drive that had been banned from use by the agency.

He has been charged with espionage by the U.S. government. Snowden is believed to still have 1.5 million classified documents he has yet to share.

“When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,” the Times said in its editorial.

While a federal judge ruled last month that the NSA’s collection of phone records was unconstitutional and that it violated privacy rights, agency officials had received approval to obtain the data from the 15 judges of the secret United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Politico reports.

“There’s absolutely no evidence any government officials or employees violated the law,” one White House official told Politico. “The piece is based on an absolutely inaccurate premise and that is that laws have been broken.

“Snowden broke the law and the people conducting these activities were doing so in compliance with the law,” the official said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Todd Beamon

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