John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary.
“The order as used today threatens our democracy,” he wrote in The Washington Post. “I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question: What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?”
Executive Order 12333 is old news to national-security insiders and the journalists who cover them, but is largely unknown to the American public, in part because officials have a perverse institutional incentive to obscure its role. But some insiders are troubled by such affronts to representative democracy. A tiny subset screw up the courage to inform their fellow citizens.
Tye is but the latest surveillance whistleblower, though he took pains to distinguish himself from Snowden and his approach to dissent. “Before I left the State Department, I filed a complaint with the department’s inspector general, arguing that the current system of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures,” Tye explained. “I have also brought my complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees and to the inspector general of the NSA.”
Researchers have created wheat that is resistant to a common disease, using advanced gene editing methods.
Advanced genome-editing techniques have been used to create a strain of wheat resistant to a destructive fungal pathogen—called powdery mildew—that is a major bane to the world’s top food source, according to scientists at one of China’s leading centers for agricultural research.
To stop the mildew, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences deleted genes that encode proteins that repress defenses against the mildew. The work promises to someday make wheat more resistant to the disease, which is typically controlled through the heavy use of fungicides. It also represents an important achievement in using genome editing tools to engineer food crops without inserting foreign genes—a flashpoint for opposition to genetically modified crops.
The gene-deletion trick is particularly tough to do in wheat because the plant has a hexaploid genome—that is, it has three similar copies of most of its genes. That means multiple genes must be disabled or the trait will not be changed. Using gene-editing tools known as TALENs and CRISPR, the researchers were able to do that without changing anything else or adding genes from other organisms.
“We now caught all three copies, and only by knocking out all three copies can we get this [mildew]-resistant phenotype,” says Caixia Gao, who heads a gene-editing research group at the State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing.
Today’s demonstration of post-brutality scrambling is brought to you by the California Highway Patrol. First off, we’ll take a look at the “alleged” brutality, which looks incredibly similar to non-alleged brutality.
This head-punching (David Diaz, who recorded the incident, counts 15 punches in total) was performed as an act of civil service, according to the CHP.
Speaking to the television station ABC7, the California Highway Patrol said that the officer had ordered the woman to stop walking, out of fears for her safety.
She failed to follow this order, possibly due to mental illness. After the unnamed officer’s fists were finished ensuring her safety, the CHP sent the woman to a mental health facility and refused to allow her family to see her. The video surfaced shortly thereafter, forcing the CHP to make further statements about how “physically combative” the woman was, as well as expressing its utmost desire to find a way out of this to see justice done.
“We’re looking at every possibility, every fact, every circumstance that have contributed to this situation, and we’re going to try to come to a just conclusion,” Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris O’Quinn said at a news conference on Friday.
“Just,” in this context, seems to actually mean “exonerating.” The investigation continues, apparently, albeit in unexpected (and terrible) directions.
California Highway Patrol investigators have seized the medical records of a woman seen on video being repeatedly punched by one of its officers on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.
Chris Arevalo, executive administrator for psychiatric services at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, confirmed that the CHP served the search warrant Tuesday for Marlene Pinnock’s records.
The Obama administration is trying to keep reams of White House emails regarding the 2010 firing of former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod secret.
Justice Department lawyers argued in U.S. District Court last week that documents filed recently in Sherrod’s libel lawsuit against the late Andrew Breitbart—who published edited video clips that led the White House to fire Sherrod over accusations of racism—should be sealed and not released to the public.
Josh Gerstein of Politico reports:
Court filings are normally public, but the Justice Department said the e-mails from the accounts of nine White House staffers and an additional number of Agriculture Department officials should be kept under wraps in part because the public already has enough information through official statements about Sherrod’s forced resignation and the ensuing events.
“The parties to this case have no need for ‘public access to the documents at issue’ because they can litigate under seal any issue to which those documents are relevant. Neither does the public at large have any need for access to those documents. As the United States has acknowledged in this case, plaintiff’s resignation from USDA ‘implicate[d] sensitive issues and significant public interest,” DOJ lawyers Charles Glass and Arthur Goldberg wrote. “Those matters have already been addressed, however, by the statements about plaintiff made by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and by then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at or about the time of plaintiff’s resignation. Those matters have also been addressed by the thousands of pages of documents dealing with plaintiff that USDA has produced to the public pursuant to [the Freedom of Information Act.]”
A Border Patrol report reveals that “unaccompanied minors” are only one-fourth of the current invasion from Central America across our Southwest border. The crossings by family units have increased almost five times faster. This contradicts White House and media efforts to elicit public sympathy by focusing public attention on children.
Total other-than-Mexican (OTM) apprehensions were 202,951 in the Southwest Border Sector (with three-fourths of those in the Rio Grande Valley) from Oct.1 through June 30. Of those, 57,525 were “unaccompanied alien children.” The other 145,426 persons were among 55,420 “family units” who also crossed the border, according to the report. The document can be viewed online here.
The Border Patrol report reveals far more explosive increase of illegal immigration by families than by minors. The increase among minors is 106 percent great than fiscal year 2013. But among family units the increase is an incredible 493 percent.
The White House keeps a tight lid on letting the Border Patrol release information, wrongfully claiming that privacy law blocks the release of statistics. So nobody has explained the skyrocketing border crossings by family units, nor explained why they haven’t been immediately flown back to Central America. Airline fare from our border to there is only $667 per person, far less than the costs being incurred to taxpayers.
But the revelation of the massive numbers of 55,420 families explains the TV accounts of “mothers and children” being driven to processing centers, then being dropped off at bus stations and airports from where they disperse to destinations all across America.
What could it be? What *could* it be?
Some might suspect that they’re just putting something in the water, but the five happiest cities in America are all in the same state: Louisiana. Those cities are Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.
The Northeast and one city in the Midwest did not fare too well: Scranton, Erie, and Pittsburgh, PA, Gary, IN, and New York City were found to be the top five unhappiest cities. Nearly all of the unhappiest places in the nation lean heavily Democratic when it comes to voting.
The paper examined data from a CDC study called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and adjusted for age, sex, income, and other factors.
Other “abnormally happy” cities include Charlotte, NC, and Naples, FL. Is it just me, or is there a pattern here, and does it have something to do with southern cities?
The study examined why unhappy cities continue to see such population growth.
For the second time in less than a week, rockets have been found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the body said.
“Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”
As it did the last time around when missiles were found in a school it operates, UNRWA said it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”
UNRWA, the UN agency charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, said it immediately “informed the relevant parties and is pursuing all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school.” The organization again pledged to launch a “comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.”Israeli officials reacted furiously to the discovery. “How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?”
While the world’s attention is focused on Hamas’ targeting of Jewish civilians in Israel, Jews are not the only religious minority in the Middle East under fire. The Obama administration’s decisions to pull troops out of Iraq, support Islamists in Syria, back the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, protect the Iranian regime, and back terrorist opposition in Libya have led to the destruction of Christian communities throughout the region.
Christians have come under the heaviest hand in the Middle East in generations thanks to the weakness of the United States. And it is worthwhile remembering that the presence of Christians in the Middle East preceded the creation of Islam by centuries.
No wonder Pope Francis stated in November 2013, “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.” That reality is already well within imagination, thanks to the Islamist Spring backed by the Obama administration – and the persecution of Christians continues to increase in other countries, including Turkey, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
On Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson said he is starting to think about running for the White House in 2016.
Carson, the retired brain surgeon, won a Western Conservative Summit straw poll this weekend in Colorado, and the Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised more than similar groups for Hillary Clinton and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have.
“I certainly didn’t give it much thought early on,” he said before noting that “there’s just hundreds of people” who are “so enthusiastic” every place he goes.
Carson mentioned that hundreds turned out for a book signing on Monday evening at Costco, and he said, of the enthusiastic response he receives, “I can’t simply ignore it.”
“So I am starting to think about it,” he said. “But it certainly wasn’t on my bucket list when I retired.”
Congressional investigators using fake identities were able to obtain taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law, according to testimony to be delivered Wednesday.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says its undercover investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation.
The agency’s findings are contained in testimony to be delivered at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Wednesday. An advance copy was provided to The Associated Press.
Seto Bagdoyan, head of GAO audits and investigations, will also testify that there’s still a huge backlog of applications with data discrepancies, even though the administration has resolved some 600,000 cases.