New York - America´s top telecommunications companies are refusing to say whether they accept that the bulk collection of their customers´ phone records by the National Security Agency is lawful. The phone companies are continuing to guard their silence over the controversial gathering of metadata by the NSA, despite the increasingly open approach by those at the center of the bulk surveillance programme. On Tuesday the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court declassified its legal reasoning for approving the NSA telephone metadata program periodically over the past six years.
Comments: But...have they stopped spying on US? Unless Congress openly changes the laws for NSA data gathering, it is still illegal to do. And, that isn´t going to happen any time "soon or ever."
Some inventions address needs that everyone has and go on to change the world. The Internet serves our constant craving for information; the internal combustion engine let anyone efficiently do mechanical work with little physical effort; antibiotics significantly reduced mortality rates around the world. Then there are the inventions that are the result of someone asking, "Hmm, I wonder if that would be a good idea?" From a "onesie" that lets your baby mop your floors to a mic-shaped sponge for rocking out in the shower, these are the inventions that are more noteworthy
"All we´ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it.... I´m infuriated because I was lied to," one woman told this newspaper, as part of a story on how some middle-class Californians have been stunned to learn the real costs of Obamacare. And that lie looks like the biggest lie about domestic policy ever uttered by a U.S. president. The most famous presidential lies have to do with misconduct (Richard Nixon´s "I am not a crook" or Bill Clinton´s "I did not have sexual relations") or war. Woodrow Wilson campaigned on the slogan "He kept us out of war" and then plunged
The usual scenario involves suspicious glances, inattentive clerks or rude service — not handcuffs. Yet when a black teen said he was wrongly jailed after buying a $350 belt at a Manhattan luxury store, it struck a nerve in African-Americans accustomed to finding that their money is not necessarily as good as everyone else´s. Shopping while black, they say, can be a humiliating experience. Much attention has been paid to the issue over the years — Oprah Winfrey complained that a Swiss clerk did not think she could afford a $38,000 handbag, and even President Barack Obama has said he was once followed in
’m going to ruin sea otters for you. Or at least I’m going to tarnish their reputation as some of the most charming little beasties in the seas. For as cute as they are while intertwining paws at an aquarium, frolicking among the wafting fronds of California kelp forests, or smashing sea urchins open with stones, some sea otters have developed the disturbing habit of humping and drowning baby seals. When I first heard about the behavior from a marine biologist friend of mine, I didn’t quite believe sea otters could be so diabolical. Maybe the bad behavior was just a rumor. But no, the strange sea otter
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years. Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next
The White House response on Monday to the expanding disclosures of American spying on foreign leaders, their governments and millions of their citizens was a pathetic mix of unsatisfying assurances about reviews under way, platitudes about the need for security in an insecure age, and the odd defense that the president didn’t know that American spies had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone for 10 years. Is it really better for us to think that things have gone so far with the post-9/11 idea that any spying that can be done should be done and that nobody thought to inform President Obama about tapping
Syrian state TV says the head of the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, has been killed in western Syria. Details are unclear but the report said he had been killed in the coastal province of Latakia. There has been no independent verification of the claim. The group has emerged as one of the most powerful rebel groups since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. It first announced its existence in a video in January 2012 and has said it was behind many of the suicide bombings that have rocked the country. The group is believed to have led
Sen. Ted Cruz’s sense of humor is earning him some ill will from near and far. A Nigerian-American organization wants the Texas Republican to apologize for comments he made Monday about the problems with the Affordable Care Act website. “You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately,” Cruz said at a gathering with supporters in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle. “They all have been hired to run the Obamacare website,” he joked. But the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, also known as CANAN,
Beijing - A court in eastern China has rejected an appeal by the ousted Chinese leader Bo Xilai and upheld his life sentence for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. Bo, the 64-year-old former Communist party head of the south-western metropolis of Chongqing, was once known for his charisma, elaborate anti-crime campaigns, and neo-Maoist politics. (Snip) Last month, the Jinan intermediate people´s court in thecoastal Shandong province sentenced Bo to life in prison for accepting £2.1m in bribes, embezzling more than £500,000, and abusing his position by blocking an investigation
The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over
For all his musical genius, Jay Z is tone deaf on his big-bucks deal with Barneys. The “99 Problems” rapper, who stands to make millions in a deal selling exclusive wares at the upscale store over the holidays, has been silent about allegations revealed by the Daily News that two black shoppers were racially profiled after legally purchasing items at Barneys. He’s failed to respond to numerous requests for comment and ignored a hornet’s nest of controversy on social media. More than 1,300 people have signed a petition calling for him to dissolve his deal with Barneys. Even residents of the
So few insurers offer plans on some of the new government health insurance exchanges that consumers in those states may pay too much or face large rate increases later, insurance experts say. An average of eight insurers compete for business in 36 states that had exchanges run or supported by the federal government last month, the Department of Health and Human Services says. (Idaho has since started its own exchange.) But just because an insurer sells in a state, it doesn´t mean it sells in every area of a state so many residents have far fewer options. Many state-run exchanges also have far fewer than
From Florida to California, consumers are getting notices their health plans are cancelled. They were promised they could keep their plan if they liked it. That was a lie. They’ve been duped and dropped. The liar is none other than the President of the United States. On June 15, 2009, President Obama told a town hall meeting that “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will keep this promise…. if you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
President Barack Obama’s job approval has dropped to an all-time low, according to a new poll released Wednesday. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that a mere 42 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, down five points from a poll conducted in early October. The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51 percent, tying an all-time high for Obama. In all, 41 percent of respondents say they have a less favorable opinion of the president since the 16 day government shutdown, compared to 21 percent who say they have a more favorable view since the shutdown. The Affordable Care Act
White House officials have pressured insurance industry executives to keep quiet amid mounting criticism over Obamacare's rollout, insurance industry sources told CNN. Sebelius: 'I apologize, I'm accountable' for Obamacare website flaws - After insurance officials publicly criticized the implementation, White House staffers contacted insurers to express their displeasure, industry insiders said. Multiple sources declined to speak publicly about the push back because they fear retribution. But Bob Laszewski, who heads a consulting firm for big insurance companies, did talk on the record.
President Barack Obama is facing fresh attacks for his pledge that Americans who like their current healthcare plans can keep them under Obamacare, as reports pile up of thousands of Americans facing cancellation notices. Accusations that the pledge was misleading are potentially a deeper threat to Obama than the website glitches that have plagued Healthcare.gov since its October 1 launch and allowed only a trickle of people to sign up on new federal insurance exchanges. Obama has downplayed the problems with the website, saying it´s like a cash register not working, and has stressed that the underlying product of the
Exactly half the nation sees the year-old killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya as a serious scandal — one many believe will hurt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chance to be the next president, according to a newly-released national poll. Rasmussen Reports revealed that 43 percent of likely voters believe the scandal will damage Clinton. That rises to 47 percent among voters not affiliated with any political party, like independents. Some 41 percent said it wouldn´t ding her chances. The impact is clear, and not just on Clinton. Most — 58 percent — rated the
It was a spasm of violence that stunned residents: some 200 black youths raising hell - what police called a full-blown riot - in Austin, Texas. Angry black youths inexplicably converged by the Highland Mall, near an iconic haunted house attraction, and walked atop parked cars, fought among themselves, and hurled rocks at some 30 arriving police officers.(snip)In their reporting on the riot, Austin´s media outlets followed a widely accepted rule of mainstream journalism today: they failed to mention that the rioters were black. Yet many Austin residents surmised as much -- and their suspicions were confirmed when mug shots were
President Barack Obama will not attend next month´s event marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln´s Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania. Officials at Gettysburg National Military Park said Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will represent the administration the Nov. 19 sesquicentennial. Jewell and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson will share the role of keynote speaker. Other events include a reading of the Gettysburg address by a Lincoln portrayer. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also plans to attend the ceremony. Lincoln delivered the immortal words of the address at a dedication of the Soldiers´ National Cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863, more than
Ronan Farrow is already in MSNBC mid-season form. Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, is set to debut his own MSNBC talk show early next year. His latest political comments, though, find him boosting the image of the Clintons in a way that even the far-left network might not embrace. They´re nimble politicians. Also I think that they represent a style of honesty that the public craves right now. And that´s reflected in the numbers. I think people are tired of the old school politicking, and when a politician comes out and says, “Actually, I changed my
Politico describes this kindly gesture as “an olive branch.” I agree. Cruz, whose fiery brand of conservative politics continually draws the enmity and wrath of the GOP establishment, has publicly pledged he will not help conservative candidates oust his more squishy, Republican colleagues. The “surrender caucus” can finally breathe a sigh of relief. For now: Extending an olive branch to GOP senators, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is privately making it clear he won’t engage in the Senate Conservatives Fund’s hardball tactics to defeat his colleagues in their primary races. At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday, the freshman
Conservatives are expressing shock and outrage that the Obama administration knew that many people in the individual insurance market would not be able to keep their plans once the Affordable Care Act took effect. Such shock is not surprising; overblown outrage is the stock and trade of conservative politics these days. But here´s what conservatives won´t tell you, lest it undermine their theatrics: Many insurance plans are shutting down because they don´t meet the higher bar of quality benefits required under Obamacare, and of those people who lose access to their plans, many will pay less and all will have better
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his frustration Tuesday with the fact that even in the United States, “a very educated country,” there are those who do not recognize the urgency of combating global warming. Addressing the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum, which encourages the “greening” of foreign mission in Washington, Kerry took aim at those who challenge the notion that the science is settled when it comes to climate change. “I am amazed after all these years that we’re still struggling here in a very educated country to get a lot of people to embrace and understand why this is not a
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) again praised Hillary Clinton on Monday, saying her work as Secretary of State was "outstanding" with the exception of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. "Her work as secretary of state, with the exception of this issue of Benghazi — which isn’t going away — I think has been outstanding," McCain said. "I think she would be viewed by anyone, Republican or Democrat, as a very formidable candidate for 2016.” McCain has previously said that it would be a "tough choice" if the 2016 election were between Clinton and Sen.