This man

This man

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” –Dr. Martin Luther King. 

Today we see the opposite of Dr. King’s dream.  We cannot judge the character of Barrack Obama because of the color of his skin.  You are not allowed to judge his character. 

In this final blog on Barrack Obama I will address his character, explain why this is my last blog on Obama and in the process issue a solemn warning to the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States.

In 2007 I began warning people about this man and laid out in glaring detail the calamity that is now our reality.  Many rejected me as a veritable madman for saying that one day America would look exactly the way she looks right now.  We are divided, we are poor, we are hated in the world and we are about to lose forever our power to get back everything that Obama stole from our children’s future.

In 2011, the blogs began.  No one but God knows the price that I have paid for writing these blogs.  When I began, not one preacher that I knew was willing to publicly oppose Barack Obama. 

I knew what this man was the first time I laid eyes on him.  He set off a universal alarm in my spirit that forced me to change the way I relate to politicians.  With Obama’s arrival a misty blanket of deception fell over the nation.   Suddenly, the American public was dull to common sense and lost their ability to state the obvious.  

Look into this man’s eyes and what do you see?   You see a sinister pathological smugness and indifference to truth.  He does not even attempt to put a spin on his debacles; he simply changes the subject and then orders us to consider only what he says next.  

Obama does and says things on a daily basis that would end anyone else’s career. He slept through the murders of innocent Americans in Benghazi.  He used the NSA to spy on Americans. He turned the IRS into a tool for his reelection. Because of this and ten thousand other crimes, he makes Richard Nixon look like Dudley Do-Right.

The media put a force field around him.  It never confronts him about his lies or wonders about what he does in secret.  No meaningful questions are permitted.  Any line of questioning that would undermine his messianic narrative is taboo. No wonder this man believes he is accountable to no one. 

He is laying the groundwork for a world without America.  What is America?  America is a firewall against tyranny.  North Korea, Russia, China and Iran cannot take over the world until America is weak.  This man Obama has, in 6 short years, weakened America more than all previous presidents combined.   

He has crushed us under debt, he has us at each other’s throats, and he promotes thugs and demotes righteous leaders.  The White House is staffed with all of the competence and wisdom of a banana republic.

I will not be surprised if this man tries to invent a civil disorder just so he can stay in office.

However, I believe that his ability to lie, cheat, steal and injure with impunity is also fueled by the supernatural.

That misty blanket of deception that came on America is supernatural. 

The widespread silence of American pastors is supernatural. 

The moral grogginess of Americans is as if we’ve all been drugged supernaturally.

It is supernatural that the church cannot come together to answer the threat of this man. 

It is supernatural that the church cannot galvanize against this man for the way he has turned on Israel in such an insulting and demeaning way.  This alone proves his Antichrist spirit.

It is supernatural how Americans are not outraged by Obama’s preference for Islam.  

It is supernatural that America can turn a blind eye to the world wide martyrdom of Christians.  This man could not even call the 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded, Christians.

It is supernatural that for the first time in our history the 3 most popular American pastors refuse to preach on repentance, the Cross, the Blood, the inerrancy of the Bible and the existence of hell.

It is supernatural that there are those who continue to support Barrack Obama and yet call themselves Christians. Since the teachings of Christ and the policies of this man are in perfect opposition to each other, why do they bother to call themselves Christians?   Only the supernatural allows you to host such a contradiction in your mind.

It is the supernatural spirit of Antichrist that has allowed the illogical, the absurd and the inconceivable to feel normal.

And it is the supernatural power of God that has released me from writing about this man.  When I began no one stood with me. Now many voices are speaking out.  I pass this baton gladly.

Oh don’t think for a minute that I will stop exposing sin.  I will now turn my attention to the public that is deceived and groping in darkness.  I will preach revival and repentance like never before.

My energy will now go to preaching about the higher power that darkness cannot stand.  I will however, remain a loving irritant in the side of pastors.  

America can be brought out of this coma.  God can send a divine desperation into the hearts of millions.  That is now my unswerving mission…not this man.

Editor’s note:  please feel free to repost this blog!  Please provide a link to this site.

P.S. When you think of  the 21 who were martyred by Islamic Terrorists what kind of Christians are they?  Here is a worship service.

The Democratic Assault on the First Amendment

TedCruz

The Democratic Assault on the First Amendment

Congress has too much power already; it should not have the power to silence citizens.

 

June 1, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET
For two centuries there has been bipartisan agreement that American democracy depends on free speech. Alas, more and more, the modern Democratic Party has abandoned that commitment and has instead been trying to regulate the speech of the citizenry.
We have seen President Obama publicly rebuke the Supreme Court for protecting free speech in Citizens United v. FEC; the Obama IRS inquire of citizens what books they are reading and what is the content of their prayers; the Federal Communications
Commission proposing to put government monitors in newsrooms; and Sen. Harry Reid regularly slandering private citizens on the Senate floor for their political speech.But just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. Senate Democrats have promised a vote this year on a constitutional amendment to expressly repeal the free-speech protections of the First Amendment.
You read that correctly. Forty-one Democrats have signed on to co-sponsor New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall’s proposed amendment to give Congress plenary power to regulate political speech. The text of the amendment says that Congress could regulate “the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal elections.” The amendment places no limitations whatsoever on Congress’s new power.

Two canards are put forth to justify this broad authority. First, “money is not speech.” And second, “corporations have no free speech rights.”

Neither contention bears even minimal scrutiny. Speech is more than just standing on a soap box yelling on a street corner. For centuries the Supreme Court has rightly concluded that free speech includes writing and distributing pamphlets, putting up billboards, displaying yard signs, launching a website, and running radio and television ads. Every one of those activities requires money. Distributing the Federalist Papers or Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” required money. If you can prohibit spending money, you can prohibit virtually any form of effective speech.

As for the idea that the Supreme Court got it wrong in Citizens Unite d because corporations have no First Amendment rights, that too is demonstrably false. The New York Times  is a corporation. The television network NBC is a corporation. Book publisher Simon & Schuster is a corporation. Paramount Pictures is a corporation. Nobody would reasonably argue that Congress could restrict what they say—or what money they spend distributing their views, books or movies—merely because they are not individual persons.

Dem

Proponents of the amendment also say it would just “repeal Citizens United” or “regulate big money in politics.” That is nonsense. Nothing in the amendment is limited to corporations, or to nefarious billionaires. It gives Congress power to regulate—and ban—speech by everybody.

Indeed, the text of the amendment obliquely acknowledges that Americans’ free-speech rights would be eliminated: It says “[n]othing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” Thus, the New York Times is protected from congressional power; individual citizens, exercising political speech, are not.

If this amendment were adopted, the following would likely be deemed constitutional:

Congress could prohibit the National Rifle Association from distributing voter guides letting citizens know politicians’ records on the Second Amendment.

Congress could prohibit the Sierra Club from running political ads criticizing politicians for their environmental policies.

Congress could penalize pro-life (or pro-choice) groups for spending money to urge their views of abortion.

Congress could prohibit labor unions from organizing workers (an in-kind expenditure) to go door to door urging voters to turn out.

Congress could criminalize pastors making efforts to get their parishioners to vote.

Congress could punish bloggers expending any resources to criticize the president.

Congress could ban books, movies (watch out Michael Moore ) and radio programs—anything not deemed “the press”—that might influence upcoming elections.

One might argue, “surely bloggers would be protected.” But Senate Democrats expressly excluded bloggers from protection under their proposed media-shield law, because bloggers are not “covered journalists.

One might argue, “surely movies would be exempt.” But the Citizens United case—expressly maligned by President Obama during his 2010 State of the Union address—concerned the federal government trying to fine a filmmaker for distributing a movie criticizing Hillary Clinton.

One might argue, “surely books would be exempt.” But the Obama administration, in theCitizens United oral argument, explicitly argued that the federal government could ban books that contained political speech.

The contemplated amendment is simply wrong. No politician should be immune from criticism. Congress has too much power already—it should never have the power to silence citizens.

Thankfully, any constitutional amendment must first win two-thirds of the vote in both houses of Congress. Then three-fourths of the state legislatures must approve the proposed amendment. There’s no chance that Sen. Udall’s amendment will clear either hurdle. Still, it’s a reflection of today’s Democratic disrespect for free speech that an attempt would even be made. There was a time, not too long ago, when free speech was a bipartisan commitment.

John Stuart Mill had it right: If you disagree with political speech, the best cure is more speech, not less. The First Amendment has served America well for 223 years. When Democrats tried something similar in 1997, Sen. Ted Kennedy was right to say: “In the entire history of the Constitution, we have never amended the Bill of Rights, and now is no time to start.”

Will speaking out against the Obama administration close the door to soul winning with youth?

blog on youth copy

Will speaking out against the Obama administration close the door to soul winning with youth?

By Mario Murillo

Exhibit one: Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure from the nonprofit organization that makes the popular Firefox web browser because he does supports traditional marriage.

Ironically Mozilla’s creed says “Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness,” the statement goes on. “We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.” But the company is plainly taking the position that it won’t employ, in leadership positions, anyone who publicly holds orthodox Christian or Muslim views on gay marriage.

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Here is a chilling moment: Mr. Eich was recently given the chance to repudiate his belief in traditional marriage in a setting reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition and refused to do so.

Andrew Sullivan’s the noted gay blogger said about Mozilla firing Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich  “Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out.”

This intolerant behavior by Mozilla is straight out of the Obama playbook and that fact is not lost on our young.

 

 

Exhibit two: Rand Paul gets standing ovation in Berkeley.

BERKELEY, Calif. — delivering a rare speech for a Republican at this bastion of liberalism, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday was given multiple standing ovations by the left-wing audience after railing against government surveillance and warning the students: “Your right to privacy is under assault.”

“I am here to tell you that if you own a cell phone, you’re under surveillance,” he told the crowd.- Politico.

rand-paul

Exhibit three: Youth turn on Obama.

The Boston Globe said, “Domestic spying by the government, the technological incompetence demonstrated in the launch of the Obama health care marketplace, the continued weakness in the economy — all have conspired to undermine Democrats’ big advantage among young voters, ages 18 to 29, according to specialists.

In a detailed, national poll released last month by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, nearly half of young voters said they would recall President Obama if they could. Only 41 percent approved of the job Obama was doing, an 11-point drop from six months earlier.”

Obama and his cronies have overplayed their hand with youth.  The wreckage of his administration, the cruelty of his actions toward his political enemies and his arrogant spending are now painfully clear to youth in America.

souls in San Jose

I am convinced that Ministers who soft peddle the Gospel and appear to be compliant with the government will lose credibility with American youth.

It sounds hip and cool to stay out of the fray but the thing that youth are going to remember about those preachers is that they sat silently as Obama washed their future down the drain.

The key is to preach against the administration in the context of a larger vision for America and the promise of a future in Christ. We are not to preach a right wing message but we can condemn the violation of the American constitution and the oppression of individual rights.  Calling Obama into account will not close the door to youth; in this case, I believe it will open it.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein defends NSA and need for intelligence gathering

Senate Votes On Nomination Of Robert Wilkins For US Circuit Judge In DC

Sen. Dianne Feinstein defends NSA and need for intelligence gathering.

By Seema Mehta

February 19, 201410:19 p.m.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered a full-throated defense of the government’s collection of data on billions of American phone calls, saying Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s practices have safeguarded the nation without trampling on civil liberties.

“What keeps me up at night, candidly, is another attack against the United States. And I see enough of the threat stream to know that is possible,” Feinstein said at a Pacific Council on International Policy dinner in Century City.

She pointed to a warning Wednesday about potential bombs hidden in the shoes of passengers on flights bound for the United States.

“But the way we prevent another attack – and this is tricky – is intelligence,” she said. “You have to know what’s going to happen, because it’s too late otherwise.”

Feinstein’s firm support for the NSA’s tracking program has divided some of her most ardent backers, and in recent months her popularity in California has plunged to a historic low.

During the hourlong question-and-answer session, several people questioned Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, about the boundaries of intelligence gathering and about NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who used his position to collect classified information about NSA activities that he has since made public.

Snowden, Feinstein said, had other options to serve as a whistle-blower, such as turning to her or others in the government, instead of releasing the information and fleeing to Russia. And Americans already see far more intrusion into their lives from commercial sources, she said, noting that her daughter emailed a contractor about a bathroom faucet and then started receiving messages from other contractors.

“There are all kinds of things that are going on. And for some reason, the fear of our government for a bona fide reason, which is to prevent a terrorist attack, raising this kind of concern, when there are only 22 people in our country who have access to this database and every one of them is vetted,” she said.

She defended the oversight of the program, rejecting a suggestion recently made by PresidentObama that the data be held by telecommunications firms, as well as legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for a special committee to investigate the NSA. That, she said, would duplicate existing panels.

“That’s what we do,” Feinstein said in an interview.

At the dinner, Feinstein, recalling a recent emotional visit to the 9/11 memorial in New York, said she had only one goal: “I am really dedicated to doing whatever I can, within the law, to see that this never happens again in this country,” she said to applause.

Feinstein spoke to about 120 people dining on sea bass and risotto, a mix of the political (former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Roz Wyman, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor and congressional candidate Wendy Greuel) and Hollywood (studio officials, actress Morgan Fairchild).

The speech largely focused on foreign policy. Feinstein said the nation must have a “major” counter-terrorism effort in Syria and, along with other nations, must take action against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“How we do this, I can’t say,” she said. “I don’t think we can continue to sit and see what’s happening in Syria.”

Feinstein singled out Secretary of State John F. Kerry for praise.

“I don’t know anyone who has been more mission-directed as secretary of State than John Kerry,” she said.

In the interview, she said that was not a comparison to former Secretary of State and potential presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I think he’s different,” Feinstein said. “Hillary did a great deal, I think, in carrying the American mission abroad in the most positive way — to women, to minorities, to everybody. I think she’s just wonderful. What John has been doing is concentrating on specifics and going after them…. He’s got his hands on and he is indefatigable.”

NSA Weighs Retaining Data for Suits: Would Lead to Expansion of Controversial Phone Program

U.S. NEWS

NSA Weighs Retaining Data for Suits

Rule That Evidence Can’t Be Destroyed Would Lead to Expansion of Controversial Phone Program

  • By  DEVLIN BARRETT and  SIOBHAN GORMAN
Feb. 19, 2014 7:32 p.m. ET

Sen. Rand Paul, shown earlier this month, is one of a number of people suing the government to stop NSA surveillance of U.S. phone records. Getty Images

WASHINGTON—The government is considering enlarging the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of Americans’ phone records—an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, according to officials.

A number of government lawyers involved in lawsuits over the NSA phone-records program believe federal-court rules on preserving evidence related to lawsuits require the agency to stop routinely destroying older phone records, according to people familiar with the discussions. As a result, the government would expand the database beyond its original intent, at least while the lawsuits are active.

No final decision has been made to preserve the data, officials said, and one official said that even if a decision is made to retain the information, it would be held only for the purpose of litigation and not be subject to searches. The government currently collects phone records on millions of Americans in a vast database that it can mine for links to terror suspects. The database includes records of who called whom, when they called and for how long.

President Barack Obama has ordered senior officials to end the government storage of such data and find another place to store the records—possibly with the phone companies who log the calls. Under the goals outlined by Mr. Obama last month, the government would still be able to search the call logs with a court order, but would no longer possess and control them.

National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander has said the program, if it had existed in 2001, would have uncovered the Sept. 11 plot. Critics of the program, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have sued the government, saying the program violates the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

Patrick Toomey, an ACLU lawyer, said no one in the government has raised with his group the possibility the lawsuits may actually expand the database they call unconstitutional. “It’s difficult to understand why the government would consider taking this position, when the relief we’ve requested in the lawsuit is a purge of our data,” he said.

Cindy Cohn, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which also is suing over the program, said the government should save the phone records, as long as they aren’t still searchable under the program. “If they’re destroying evidence, that would be a crime,” she said.

Ms. Cohn also questioned why the government was only now considering this move, even though the EFF filed a lawsuit over NSA data collection in 2008.

In that case, a judge ordered evidence preserved related to claims brought by AT&T Inc.T +0.09% customers. What the government is considering now is far broader.

“I think they’re looking for any way to throw rocks at the litigation,” added Ms. Cohn. “To the extent this is a serious concern, we should have had this discussion in 2008.”

Another person who has filed a class-action suit over the program is Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.). Mr. Paul’s lawyer, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, called the approach under consideration “just silly.” He said he was sure his clients would be happy to agree to the destruction of their phone records held by the government, without demanding those records in pretrial discovery.

Federal courts have ruled that defendants in lawsuits cannot destroy relevant evidence that could be useful to the other side. Generally, those involved in lawsuits are expected to preserve records, including electronic records, that could reasonably be considered relevant or likely to be requested as part of pretrial discovery.

As the NSA program currently works, the database holds about five years of data, according to officials and some declassified court opinions. About twice a year, any call record more than five years old is purged from the system, officials said.

A particular concern, according to one official, is that the older records may give certain parties legal standing to pursue their cases, and that deleting the data could erase evidence that the phone records of those individuals or groups were swept up in the data dragnet.

The phone records program is overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and any move to keep data past the five-year period may require the blessing of that court.

If the records are retained, they may remain in government computers for some time, because it could take years to resolve the spate of litigation over the programs. A federal judge in New York has ruled the program is legal, while a Washington, D.C., judge has ruled it almost certainly isn’t. There are several other pending cases, and other lawsuits could yet be filed.

Government retention of old records has long been a major concern for civil-liberties groups. The ACLU, in particular, has argued the longer the government holds data about citizens, the deeper investigators can delve into the private lives of individuals, and errors or abuses become more likely.

Shhh. The president is sleeping

Shhh. The president is sleeping

By Keith Koffler
JANUARY 31, 2014

President Barack Obama is out of gas. Pooped out. Gone fishing. Or rather, golfing. He’s just not that into it anymore. The republic is safe from any further vast left-wing legislative prescriptions for our ills.

But Obama’s increasing job fatigue is, paradoxically, cause for serious concern. While he sits back, aides in the White House and in the agencies are busy enacting a stealth agenda of rules and regulations. And on the world stage, Washington’s withdrawal threatens national security.

The president on display at Tuesday’s State of the Union is one who has shrunk from the pretension of becoming a president on the order of Ronald Reagan or Franklin Roosevelt into the purveyor of a list of puny policies that tinker at the margins.

Instead of offering “fundamental change” and inspirational hope, Obama made increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors the centerpiece of this year’s address. The increasingly disinterested president even had trouble pronouncing the name of his other “big idea,” a limited savings vehicle the White House is calling a “MyRA.”

Major issues like debt, deficit and entitlements? Fuhgetaboutit, way too much bother.

Obama had entirely unremarkable tenures in both the Illinois and the U.S. Senate, angling almost immediately after entering each to move up. But now he has the same problem as lots of working stiffs. After five years in the same job, the thrill is gone — and the grunt work is to be avoided.

It’s not the State of the Union, but Obama’s recent golf excursion to Hawaii, that may serve as the template for the president’s proclaimed 2014 “year of action.”

Obama played nine times during his 15-day vacation. What’s more, in a not insignificant indication of where his mind is at, he golfed 46 times in 2013 — easily an annual record for him as president and more than twice the 19 times he went out in 2012, when there was the serious work of getting reelected to be done.

You will likely search in vain for a world leader who accomplished significant things in the same year he or she went golfing nearly four dozen times.

For some perspective, President George W. Bush, who was known as a golfer, played only 24 times in more than two and a half years as president before stopping in October 2003, because he felt it wasn’t appropriate to play during wartime, according to White House chronicler Mark Knoller of CBS News.

Obama and his advisers grieve to a sympathetic press that Republicans are to blame for the impasse in Congress. This even as “moderate Democrat” has become an oxymoron and the president touts his crowning left-wing achievement, Obamacare, which he jammed through Congress without convincing a single Republican — they can’t all be right-wing “extremists” — to vote for it.

A republic is intended to be a fractious form of government. Successful legislators, like Reagan and Bill Clinton, knew how to hold their own party’s ranks while picking off enough of the opposition to pass laws.

Obama was never particularly interested in building the relationships needed to curry favor, call in chits and twist arms. But now, he’s finished even pretending.

He’s not going through any halfhearted motions — like he did last year, when he took some Republicans to dinner in a widely celebrated “reaching out” offensive that ended almost immediately after it started. It’s not clear who Obama’s close friends are on Capitol Hill now, or if he even has any — on either side of the aisle.

As if to highlight the point, Obama recently brought back to the White House his former liaison to Congress, Phil Schiliro. But Schiliro won’t be trying to pass new legislation. He’ll be working onimplementing the Affordable Care Act and beating back Republican attempts to undermine it.

Republicans are interpreting Obama’s vow to step up his use of executive orders as a play by a leftist president to undemocratically expand his power and unilaterally make policies he sees as inarguably enlightened. And they’re right.

But it’s also the default position of a tired president who would rather have his aides come up with a policy than grind out something more important and far-reaching on Capitol Hill.

So the hired help will do the work. An ever-vigorous John Podesta was brought in for at least a year, to see exactly how much legislation can be passed by the executive branch alone.

Podesta is the perfect person for this job. As a former White House chief of staff for Clinton, heknows how to move both the White House and the agencies. He also created the Center for American Progress, a politically astute left-wing think tank that can serve up endless helpings of ideas for regulatory action.

But Obama’s effeteness is even less reassuring when it comes to foreign policy — where benign neglect can look like a dangerous abdication of duty.

After failing to negotiate a U.S. military presence in Iraq, where al Qaeda is now snatching up real estate, Obama may be on course to do the same — or nearly the same — in Afghanistan.

Having avoided seriously taking a side in Syria, Obama has now ceded diplomatic ground there to the Russians and allowed the festering battleground to become a new magnet and training ground for jihadists of several stripes.

Most frightening is the possibility that Obama’s self-disengagement will lead to an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Few have faith that Obama has the stomach for a war with Iran. He’s already dropped a longstanding U.S. demand, and acquiesced to a “peaceful” Iranian nuclear program. How can he be trusted not to embrace a flimsy final agreement that allows Iran to cheat its way into a nuclear weapon?

Republicans should not be reassured by the passive new Obama. Because while he’s sleeping, his aides at home and U.S. enemies abroad will be filling in for him.

Exclusive: HealthCare.gov Users Warn of Security Risk, Breach of Privacy

Exclusive: HealthCare.gov Users Warn of Security Risk, Breach of Privacy

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November 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm

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Justin Hadley logged on to HealthCare.gov to evaluate his insurance options after his health plan was canceled. What he discovered was an apparent security flaw that disclosed eligibility letters addressed to individuals from another state.

“I was in complete shock,” said Hadley, who contacted Heritage after becoming alarmed at the breach of privacy.

Hadley, a North Carolina father, buys his insurance on the individual market. His insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, directed him to HealthCare.gov in a cancellation letter he received in September.

After multiple attempts to access the problem-plagued website, Hadley finally made it past the registration page Thursday. That’s when he was greeted with downloadable letters about eligibility — for two people in South Carolina. (Screenshot below.)

Capture 1

The letters, dated October 8, acknowledge receipt of an application to the Health Insurance Marketplace and the eligibility of family members to purchase health coverage. One of the letters was addressed to Thomas Dougall, a lawyer from Elgin, SC.

Hadley shared a screenshot and copy of the letter with redacted personal information.

Capture 2

Hadley wrote to Heritage on Thursday night and also contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers HealthCare.gov, as well as elected officials in his state. He has yet to hear back from HHS, even though HealthCare.gov still displays the personal information of the South Carolina residents on his account.

Hadley reached out to Dougall on Friday to notify him of the breach. Dougall, who spoke to Heritage this evening, said he was evaluating health care options in early October. Dougall said he was able to register on HealthCare.gov, but decided not to sign up for insurance.

“The plans they offered were grossly expensive and didn’t provide the level of care I have now,” he said.

Dougall said he never saw the October 8 letter until Hadley sent it to him Friday.

After learning of the privacy breach, Dougall spent Friday evening trying to contact representatives from HealthCare.gov to no avail; he spent an hour waiting on the telephone and an online chat session was unhelpful. He also wrote to Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC), along with Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC).

“I want my personal information off of that website,” Dougall said.

Security Risk

Last week, the Associated Press disclosed a government memo revealing the “high” security risk for HealthCare.gov. Those concerns surfaced at Wednesday’s hearing with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who claimed the system was secure.

HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told the AP, “When consumers fill out their online … applications, they can trust that the information they’re providing is protected by stringent security standards and that the technology underlying the application process has been tested and is secure.”

However, that didn’t stop members of Congress from voicing alarm.

“You accepted a risk on behalf of every user … that put their personal financial information at risk,” Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) told Sebelius. “Amazon would never do this. ProFlowers would never do this. Kayak would never do this. This is completely an unacceptable level of security.”

Heritage cyber-security expert Steven Bucci, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, said users of HealthCare.gov are leaving their personal information unsecured.

“Once it goes out over the system, it is vulnerable,” Bucci said. “There appears to have been a singular lack of concern for security. The site needs to receive and transmit sensitive personal information, yet it has less than state of the art security.”

Bucci said if a doctor’s receptionist speaks too loudly about personal information so that others could hear it, that’s a violation of the law.

“Functionality and security have to be the hallmark of programs like this one,” Bucci said. “The site has failed on both counts and has further weakened the confidence of the American people.”

Unanswered Questions

Hadley’s experience has left him unsure about what to do next. He said he was frustrated by the difficulty contacting the Department of Health and Human Services and lack of response from his elected representatives.

Dougall said grateful that Hadley made the call to him Friday, but voiced similar frustration with HHS. But while Dougall will continue with his current health plan, Hadley isn’t so fortunate.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina informed Hadley that his current plan is no longer available and offered to auto-enroll him in a new health insurance plan. But that option would increase his monthly premiums by 92 percent and double his deductible. Hadley said he doesn’t qualify for any subsidies and won’t continue the process on HealthCare.gov because of the privacy breach.

“If I have their information, then who else has my information now?” Hadley worried.

After examining the letter Hadley downloaded, Heritage health policy analyst Chris Jacobs noted the irony of HHS’ promise: “The Health Insurance Marketplace protects the privacy and security of personally identifiable information.”

“Justin’s story demonstrates how Obamacare’s flaws go well beyond a bungled website,” Jacobs said. “From canceled coverage to skyrocketing premiums to the federal government’s failing to protect Americans’ personal data, the damage Obamacare has inflicted is becoming more and more clear each day.”

Posted in Front PageObamacare [slideshow_deploy]

Google puts a large mystery barge in San Francisco Bay.

google barge

Google takes secrecy to new heights with mystery barge

By Ronnie Cohen and Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – How badly does Google want to keep under wraps a mysterious project taking shape on a barge in San Francisco Bay? Badly enough to require U.S. government officials to sign confidentiality agreements.

At least one Coast Guard employee has had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the Internet giant, said Barry Bena, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman. Another person who would only identify himself as an inspector for a California government agency had to do the same.

Moored in the shadow of the Bay Bridge off of Treasure Island, a former military base, the nondescript barge is stacked several stories high with white shipping containers, and sprouts what appear to be antennas on top. The hulking structure, half shrouded in scaffolding, has stirred intense speculation in the Bay Area since reports of its existence surfaced late last week.

Technology website CNET theorized that the vessel might be a floating data center that will house banks of computers. Local TV station KPIX said the barge is intended to serve as a floating retail store for Google’s “Glass” wearable computer device – although its external appearance, at least thus far, doesn’t suggest such a purpose.

Adding to the mystery, a second similar barge was recently spotted in Portland, Maine, and is also registered to By and Large LLC, according to local media reports.

The company itself is keeping mum, refusing even to acknowledge its affiliation with the vessels.

Secrecy is a standard business practice in Silicon Valley, where technology companies such as Apple Inc go to great lengths to keep their latest gadgets under wraps and a constellation of blogs compete to reveal highly prized details.

But the concealment effort surrounding the barge is in another league. Chain-link fences and security guards encircle a pier and a couple of nearby buildings on the island, which sits between San Francisco and Oakland.

A California state inspector, who said he had business in the hangar-like Building 3 where some of the early construction took place, told Reuters he had to surrender his mobile phone and sign a confidentiality agreement in order to enter.

Bob Jessup, a construction company superintendent who works in a building across the street, said Google spent the past year working on the project. He said they fenced off a wide area and brought in at least 40 welders a day, who worked around the clock and refused to say a word.

“They wouldn’t give up any of the information,” Jessup said. “It was a phenomenal production. None of them would tell us anything.”

He said they worked on the inside and the outside of the shipping containers, outfitting them with electronics – “very hush hush” – and then loaded them onto the barge with a crane. They put sides on the containers, with glass windows in some of them. They had to weld them very precisely so they could stack, Jessup recounted.

Jessup said he could not imagine that Google would try to use the floating vessel as a retail outlet. “Who’s going to want to climb up in there?” he asked. “It’s really ugly.”

The vessel is registered to a company called By and Large LLC, and some nearby property on Treasure Island has been subleased to the same firm. Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment.

Larry Goldzband, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, told Reuters his agency has had several meetings with Google officials about the barge in recent months. Yet the company provided little information other than telling him that the vessel will be used for “general technology purposes,” he said.

Google “could not give us a specific plan of any kind,” not even whether they intended the barge to move or stay in one place, Goldzband said. If the barge remains in place for an extended period of time after its construction is completed, it will require a permit from the BCDC, he said.

“We’ve asked counsel to get us as much information as soon as they can, so that we can continue the discussion,” Goldzband said, referring to Google’s law firm.

(Reporting by Ronnie Cohen and Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Edwin Chan, Jonathan Weber and Lisa Shumaker)

Exclusive: Germany, Brazil Turn to U.N. to Restrain American Spies.

Posted By Colum Lynch, Shane Harris, John Hudson  Thursday, October 24, 2013 – 8:18 PM  Share

Brazil and Germany today joined forces to press for the adoption of a U.N. General Resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, marking the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency’s intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push.

The effort follows a German claim that the American spy agency may have tapped the private telephone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of other world leaders. It also comes about one month after Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff denounced NSA espionage against her country as “a breach of international law” in a General Assembly speech and proposed that the U.N. establish legal guidelines to prevent “cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war.”

Brazilian and German diplomats met in New York today with a small group of Latin American and European governments to consider a draft resolution that calls for expanding privacy rights contained in the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights to the online world. The draft does not refer to a flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world, particularly in Brazil and German. But it was clear that the revelation provided the political momentum to trigger today’s move to the United Nations. The blowback from the NSA leaks continues to agonize U.S. diplomats and military officials concerned about America’s image abroad.

“This is an example of the very worst aspects of the Snowden disclosures,” a former defense official with deep experience in NATO, told The Cable, referring to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. “It will be very difficult for the US to dig out of this, although we will over time. The short term costs in credibility and trust are enormous.”

Although the U.N.’s ability to fundamentally constrain the NSA is nil, the mounting international uproar over U.S. surveillance has security experts fearful for the ramifications.

“The worst case scenario I think would be having our European allies saying they will no longer share signals intelligence because of a concern that our SigInt is being derived from mechanisms that violate their privacy rules,” said Ray Kimball, an army strategist with policy experience on European issues. He stressed that he was not speaking for the military.

Although the Germans have not indicated such a move is in the works, they do have a game plan for making their surveillance complaints heard. The International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights was written in 1966 and came into force in 1976, decades before the internet transformed the way people communicate around the world. A provision in the international covenant, Article 17, says “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.” It also states that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

“The covenant was formulated at a time when the internet didn’t exist,” said a diplomat familiar with the negotiations. “Everyone has the right to privacy and the goal is to this resolution is to apply those protections to online communications.”

Brazil and Germany are hoping to put the resolution to a vote in the U.N. General Assembly human rights committee later this year. The draft resolution, which has not been made public and which is still subject to negotiation among U.N. states, will seek to apply the those protections to online communications. “This is not just about spying,” said the diplomat. This is about ensuring that “privacy of citizens in their home states under their own home legislation.”

“It calls on countries to put an end to violations of that right,” the official said. “People have to be protected offline and online.”

Anyone who thinks this issue will only resonate in BrazilMexico, FranceItaly, and Germany — where the Snowden leaks recently revealed NSA datamining — isn’t paying attention.

According to the latest internal NSA memo leaked to The Guardian, the list of targeted nations is even longer, which could give this U.N. effort additional momentum.  The NSA monitored the communications of 35 unnamed “world leaders,” whose phone numbers were given to the intelligence agency by a U.S. government official, according to the report. The agency has been collecting phone numbers, email addresses, and residential addresses of foreign officials from the people in the U.S. government who are in touch with them. The U.S. official, who is not named, personally handed over 200 phone numbers about the people he or she was in touch with.

It’s hardly a secret, or a surprise, that the NSA spies on foreign governments, including those friendly to the United States. Two former intelligence officials told The Cable that contact information like this is a regular source of intelligence for the NSA. And the memo acknowledges that the agency looks for officials’ contact information in open sources, such as the Internet.

But the revelation that U.S. officials are facilitating spying on the people they do business with to this extent has created the impetus for U.N. action, a first-of-its kind development.

“There’s a mixture of hypocrisy and feigned outrage along with real objections here,” said a former senior intelligence official. “I don’t know where the line is. The idea that political leaders are out of bounds for foreign intelligence is amusing. But on the other hand this business about trusting allies is a big thing. My guess is there’s a real annoyance here” on the part of foreign allies.

Merkel was so outraged by the news that her phone had been monitored that she called President Obama to discuss it. The White House issued a carefully worded statement, assuring that the German leader’s phone would not be tapped now or in the future, but not saying whether it had been.

It’s not clear whether the NSA is still collecting information from the address books of U.S. officials. The memo was written in 2006. But at least at the time, such collection was a regular occurrence.

“From time to time, SID [the agency’s signals intelligence directorate] is offered access to the personal contact databases of U.S. officials,” the memo states. It doesn’t specify who those officials are, or where in the government they work. But, the memo goes on to say, the information provided by the one U.S. official was sufficiently helpful that the agency decided to go around asking for more such contacts from the NSA’s “supported customers,” which include the Departments of Defense and State, as well as the White House. (None of them are listed by name in the memo.)

“These numbers have provided lead information to other numbers,” the memo states. In the case of the one U.S. officials, the 200 numbers included 43 that previously weren’t on the NSA’s radar.

“This success leads S2 [part of the signals intelligence directorate] to wonder if there are NSA liaisons whose supported customers may be willing to share” their contacts, as well. “S2 welcomes such information!”

Apparently, though, success was measured not so much in secrets learned but just in having the data itself. The memo acknowledges that analysts “have noted little reported intelligence from these particular numbers, which appear not to be used for sensitive discussions.”

From this we might conclude that NSA’s targets are not fools. Why would anyone in the senior ranks of a government or military have sensitive conversations or discuss classified information over the phone number or email on his business card? But, the NSA seems to have concluded, what could it hurt to find out?

Time will tell. In a statement, a spokesperson for Merkel said she told Obama that tapping her phone would represent a “grave breach of trust” between the two allies. “She made clear that she views such practices, if proven true, as completely unacceptable and condemns them unequivocally.”

With the latest news from the U.N., it appears the U.S. might be in store for more than just a slap on the wrist.