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The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
James Owens, a spokesman for Nadler, provided a statement on Sunday morning, a day after this article was published, saying: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.” Owens said he couldn’t comment on what assurances from the Obama administration Nadler was referring to, and said Nadler was unavailable for an interview. (CNET had contacted Nadler for comment on Friday.)
Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, being able to listen to phone calls would mean the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
RUSH: Hold it just a second. I’m serious. I don’t understand. There’s gotta be something I’m missing. The question is real: Why do all of these Republicans — you know the names — why are they supporting something that’s gonna eliminate their party? Why are they supporting something that’s going to render them an ineffective minority for as far as the eye can see? If they want to be Democrats, quit the Republican Party and join the Democrat Party. Why do they want — it’s almost as though — well, I can’t answer it. It doesn’t make any sense to me.
RUSH: So why are the Republicans so eager to render themselves a permanent minority status by agreeing to amnesty, immigration reform, which is gonna result in millions more instant new Democrats, against which the Republicans will be hopelessly uncompetitive. Why would they do it? You want to take a stab? Snerdley says they see that they’re gonna be permanently defeated anyway by a rising Hispanic population if they don’t do this. It’s what they fear. Maybe.
There’s a theory, there’s an answer to the question that you know and I know, and it revolves around their hatred — too strong a word — the Republican Party is embarrassed of its base. How many times have I sat here and reminded you of this? The Republican Party, I’ve told you stories. I’ll repeat one. Hamptons, 1992, 1993. My first ever trip to the Hamptons, a dinner party at the home of a famous American, Republican. After dinner, out on the deck, a guy comes up to me — a name you’d know. Not gonna tell you who — punches me with his finger in the chest, “What are you gonna do about the Christians?”
Remember, now, this my first trip there. I’m with these people for the first time in my life, and I’m really sizing it all up and wondering why I’m really there. I mean, these are very wealthy, powerful Republicans. This guy’s pounding me in the chest, “What are you gonna do about the Christians?” I said, “What are you talking about?” “Abortion! They’re killing us! Pro-lifers are killing us, and they listen to you.” Some of the same people have done the same thing to me on gun control. “You have got to tell these people to back off on guns. You’ve got to tell these pro-lifers to just quiet down.”
I’ve heard them say they get embarrassed going to Republican conventions with the pro-life crowd that’s also there. My first experience of that was in Houston in 1992. The pro-life contingent there was huge, and I remember the way I was treated by that group, making other Republicans nervous. The bottom line is that the Republican Party is embarrassed by its own base. The Republican Party is ashamed of its base. They accept the Democrat caricature of the Republican base. Southern, hayseed hicks, pro-lifers, pickup-truck-driving, gun-rack-in-the-back-window people, chewing tobacco and going to church and talking about God all the time.
But they really see ‘em as a bunch of zealots when it comes to abortion. And all these guys I’m talking about have wives who nag ‘em about it, don’t want any part of the pro-life crowd, embarrassed to be with them at the conventions. So the theory goes that this is a way to get rid of the Republican base. Supporting amnesty and having the Democrats win big-time elections after this is a way for the party to finally get rid of its base. Now, you say, “Well, replace it with what?”
Don’t ask me, but I’m guessing, I assume that some Republicans think that there’s a new group of people that would become their base. If they just got rid of these pro-lifers, if they just got rid of this religious crowd, if they just got rid of the Christians, if they just got rid of these gun nuts, the bitter clingers, as Obama calls ‘em. If the Republicans just got rid of those people, a lot more people would like Republicans, and maybe some of the people voting Democrat would then vote Republican, ’cause some of the people voting Democrat would love to vote Republican since they also don’t like the hicks and they also don’t like the hayseeds and the religious people.
There you have a possible theory. But even when you drill that down, when you drill deep down into that one, you still ask how in the world — the Republican base is 24 million votes. The Republicans aren’t gonna win anything without them. That was demonstrated in 2008. It was demonstrated in 2012. It was demonstrated in 1992, and it was demonstrated in 1996. You don’t win without them. So if they drive their current base away, what is the current base gonna do? Just sit there and not participate anymore?
How is voting for amnesty going to cause the base to leave the party? Isn’t it gonna maybe inspire the base to want to finally take it over? There will be some third-party advocates, but if that happens the Republicans are dead, double dead politically, if a third party forms. But it is believable and understandable that the Republican establishment and their consultants and all that really don’t like a lot of the base. They don’t like conservatives, be they Christians, be they pro-lifers, be they so-called gun nuts. They didn’t like Reagan, as you know.
RUSH: I suspect, ladies and gentlemen, the answer to my question, aside from the brilliant expose I just provided, the answer to my question is all about money. And so the answer to why would these people sit by and allow this party to become a permanent minority status and be insignificant and ineffective, to answer that question, find out how in that arrangement a bunch of people get rich, and you will get the answer to your question. And if you want, we’ll explore that next week. I’ll be more than happy to take a tour down that theory, see where it takes us.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is bullish about the chances of an immigration reform bill passing the Senate — and he says Republicans need to pass it to avoid falling further into a “demographic death spiral” that could hurt their chances in the next two big election cycles.
“If we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run, in my view.”
With the Supreme Court only days away from major rulings on same-sex marriage, President Obama faces the prospect of having to make his own difficult decisions about the definition of wedlock.
Gay rights advocates are already pressing Obama to immediately broaden the federal government’s recognition of legally married same-sex couples if the court strikes down a ban on providing federal benefits to them.
The question for Obama turns on whether the federal government should extend full benefits to gay couples living in states that don’t recognize their marriages.
Obama would face rare, concrete decisions on the politically combustible question of same-sex marriage — an area he has largely left to the purview of courts and state legislatures.
Advocates have pressed the issue of benefits with White House aides in recent months, according to people familiar with the discussions. The advocates have pushed for a uniform standard that would make the most benefits available to legally married couples across the board. Officials have not signaled what Obama would do.
Pakistan — a global leader in intolerance towards homosexuals — leads the world in Google searches for gay pornography, according to an analysis of search terms published by Mother Jones.
The study found the Islamic republic is the world leader by volume of searches form the terms “shemale sex,” “teen anal sex,” and “man f***ing man,” while it ranks second in searches for the term “gay sex pics.”
The term “shemale sex” was most-searched for in the city of Peshwar, a conservative Islamic stronghold that has become a frontline in the war on terror.
In a survey of 39 countries worldwide, the Pew Research Center asked the question, “Should society accept homosexuality?”
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) opponents warned it would happen, but now there’s mounting proof that full-time employees are being replaced with part-timers, at least in the retail industry where Walmart is focused on keeping the majority of workers to part-time hours only.
A new hiring policy uncovered by Reuters shows that nearly half of its stores are only hiring part-time employees, thus avoiding the mandate to provide health care or pay a fine.
A Reuters survey of 52 stores run by the largest U.S. private employer in the past month, including one in every U.S. state, showed that 27 were hiring only temps, 20 were hiring a combination of regular full, part-time and temp jobs, and five were not hiring at all.
It’s company directive, according to sources interviewed by Reuters who asked to remain anonymous.
Seventy House Republicans are planning a politically risky showdown with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to try to force additional debate on an immigration bill they say will mean amnesty for illegal immigrants and have dire consequences for the country.
The 70 members are petitioning for a special Republican conference meeting on the bill, a “highly unusual” move to go head-to-head with the speaker, according to Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Steve King (Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (Texas), who are serving as spokespersons for the group.
Bachmann, King and Gohmert told TheBlaze the group is invoking the Hastert Rule: requiring support from a majority of the majority to bring a bill forward.
The petition is expected to go to the House leadership on Friday, but it’s possible some signatories might remove their names due to political risk, or that Boehner could head off the challenge by striking a deal. Going against leadership in such a way could have harsh political consequences for the signatories, including retaliation such as permanently getting passed over for chairmanship positions.
The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won’t snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are.
That’s right, the government’s sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized.
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a co-author and key proponent of the Senate immigration bill, said he will revoke his support if an amendment is added that allows gay Americans to petition for same-sex spouses living abroad to secure a green card.
“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is.”
The amendment, introduced by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, would grant green cards to foreign partners of gay Americans. Leahy originally introduced the measure during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the bill, but he withdrew it under pressure from Republican lawmakers who said it would reduce the chance of the bill passing.