Barone: “Obama’s ‘Flexibility’ Leads to a Dangerous World”

Michael Barone over at Rasmussen Reports has a piece on Barack Obama’s “flexibility” and the consequences is has had.  You will remember that two years ago this month Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea, that he would have more “flexibility” after [his] [re]-election.”  At that time he was talking about a missile defense system proposed for Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain.  Medvedev said he would “transmit this information” to “Vladimir.”

He points out Mitt Romney was correct at the time when said Russia was “our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

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NYT: N.S.A. Said To Tap Google and Yahoo Abroad

by Charlie Savage, Claire Cain Miller, and Nicole Perl Roth @ The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency and its British counterpart have apparently tapped the fiber-optic cables connectingGoogle’s and Yahoo’s overseas servers and are copying vast amounts of email and other information, according to accounts of documents leaked by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden.

In partnership with the British agency known as Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, the N.S.A. has apparently taken advantage of the vast amounts of data stored in and traveling among global data centers, which run all modern online computing, according to a report Wednesday by The Washington Post. N.S.A. collection activities abroad face fewer legal restrictions and less oversight than its actions in the United States.

Google and Yahoo said on Wednesday that they were unaware of government accessing of their data links. Sarah Meron, a Yahoo spokeswoman, said that the company had not cooperated with any government agency for such interception, and David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, expressed outrage.

“We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links,” Mr. Drummond said in a statement. “We do not provide any government, including the U.S. government, with access to our systems. We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform.”

Full article here.


WAPO: NSA Infiltrates Links to Yahoo, Google Data Centers Worldwide, Snowden Documents Day

by Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani @ The Washington Post

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

According to a top-secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, the NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — including “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video.

Full article here.

Holy war in Harlem: Pastors want Al Sharpton Out

4 prominent clergymen invited over 100 churches to unify in an attempt [to] dethrone Reverend Al Sharpton.

by Simone Weichsebaum, New York Daily News.

The prince of the pulpit may have a revolution on his hands.

Four upstart clergymen have invited more than 100 churches to knock Rev. Al Sharpton off his Harlem political throne.

Speak Out Say It Loud, headquartered at Mount Neboh Baptist Church on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., is a new coalition of black ministers determined to create a unified African-American power base with citywide clout.

Mount Neboh pastor Johnnie Green, 51, said Sharpton has neglected black New York while pursuing national fame and acclaim.

“While (Sharpton) is jet-setting around the country, people are going to our churches saying they don’t have money to eat,” the Dallas native said. “People need somebody to fight for them.”

Green, along with pastors Carl Washington of New Mount Zion Baptist Church on W. 140th St., Kris Erskine of Bethany Baptist Church on W. 153rd St. and Patrick Young of First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, Queens, has planned a large rally for Oct. 24 at Mount Neboh.
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NYT: Abortion Vote Exposes Rift at a Catholic University

by Ian Lovett

LOS ANGELES — Not three weeks have passed since Pope Francis said the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, declaring, “We have to find a new balance.” But on the campus of Loyola Marymount University, overlooking this city’s west side, a fight over abortion now threatens to rip the school asunder.

Trustees of the Jesuit university will decide on Monday whether to remove coverage for elective abortions from the faculty and staff health care plans. The coming vote has exposed a deep rift over just how Catholic a Catholic university should be in the 21st century — and how to maintain that distinctive Catholic identity amid growing diversity on campus.

Religiously conservative professors and alumni argue that as the proportion of Catholics on campus — in the student body and on the faculty — has fallen in recent years, the university has lost touch with its Catholic identity. They have leaned hard on university officials to re-establish a more prominent role for Catholic doctrine at the university, starting with eliminating insurance coverage for abortions.

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Bush AG Did not Subpoena AP on Leak

“There was at least one occasion in which we were engaged in a very serious leak investigation and we had to make some very difficult choices about whether or not to move forward, going after the reporters in order to try to figure out where the source of the leak is,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe. “And sometimes, the department finds itself in a situation where they have exhausted all means and they have to make a very hard determination as to whether or not they want to subpoena the reporter, if they want to subpoena the reporter’s notes. So yes, I’ve had that situation. In the instance that I have in mind, we ultimately decided not to move forward.”

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