Quantcast
Loading...
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)
Loading...

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog


Loading...

Channel Description:

Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

older | 1 | .... | 313 | 314 | (Page 315) | 316 | 317 | .... | 1175 | newer

    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the most talked-about and controversial books of the new year went on sale today. Its author, Robert Gates, has served eight presidents, held key posts at the White House, was head of the CIA and secretary of defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

    The book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," sparked a frenzy of headlines ahead of its official release for his public criticism of the administration he recently left.

    I spoke to him earlier today. He was wearing a neck brace after falling at his home last week.

    Secretary Robert Gates, welcome to the NewsHour.

    ROBERT GATES, former U.S. Secretary of Defense: Thank you very much, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you created a bit of a firestorm with all the publicity over this book. It has gotten a lot of attention. Has that been helpful to what you were trying to do?

    ROBERT GATES: Well, I think so.

    I mean, my -- the book is dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces. And I really wrote it for them and for their families and, as I like to put it, the America that sent them to war. And, really, it's kind of on two levels, first of all to show the difficulties of getting anything done in Washington under the current environment and how I did it, but also to show how both presidents wrestled with these questions of war and peace and life and death, to try and humanize it and personalize it by somebody who was sitting in the room and saw them dealing with these issues.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Someone wrote that, in the book, you are, in essence, painting a picture of a broken foreign policy process in the Obama administration.

    Is that what you think exists today?

    ROBERT GATES: No. And I don't think that the book portrays that either.

    I make very clear in the book that the Obama team, certainly until the early spring of 2011, a few months before I left, there was -- there was broad accord in that team on virtually every major foreign policy issue facing the president and facing the country, with the exception of Afghanistan and that strategy.

    I thought that the amount of time that President Obama devoted to trying to figure out the right path forward was exactly the right thing to have done.

    Now, what I do complain about in the book is the micro -- once he has made the strategic decisions, all of which I agreed with, the execution of that, and particularly micromanagement from the White House and things like that, did give me heartburn.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you do complain that the president lost faith in the strategy behind the Afghanistan war.

    But he said yesterday something different. He was very gracious towards you, but said he has continued to have faith in the mission. Is he not leveling?

    ROBERT GATES: I think presidents having reservations, gauging regularly whether or not their strategy is working is not an unusual thing.

    And I think that that -- he did have reservations about whether it was going to work, and I talk about that. But I think you have to take it in the context of the decisions that he made and the fact that he stuck to those decisions. I think that one of the things that I show in the book is -- and it's one of the reasons that I cite some of the personal conversations that have caused some people to criticize me for that.

    But I think what those -- what those personal conversations show is a president doing exactly what he ought to be doing, pushing back, asking tough questions, not being spoon-fed information, and, you know, bringing some skepticism to the conversation in terms of whether things are working or not.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to turn the corner and ask you about a couple of things you raise. One is actually pretty big. It's President Bush. You praise him for having no second thoughts about Iraq.

    How do you think history is going to judge him on that decision?

    ROBERT GATES: Well, Judy, I think -- as I have said before, I think that the war in Iraq will always be tainted by the fact that it began based on wrong information, in terms of Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction.

    I think, in the longer term, whether or not the war -- or how the war is regarded will depend largely on whether the removal of Saddam Hussein and the creation of a foundation of a democratic state, whether or not it turns out that way, that it really depends on how events there and in the rest of the region turn out over the next several decades.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Iran, of course, plays a major role throughout this book, and it continues to very much today.

    What do you think of the deal Secretary of State Kerry is working on to negotiate tentative nuclear agreements with Iran?

    ROBERT GATES: Well, I think that the United States had no choice but to sit down at the table with the Iranians once they offered to negotiate.

    The question is, what kind of an agreement comes out at the end of it? And I think that's the hard part is still in front of us. First, I think there ought to be a firm deadline at six months. I think the Iranians are world-class experts in slow-rolling their negotiating partners or adversaries, in terms of, well, let's take another month, let's take another two months, let's take another three months.

    So, I think there's a risk of this negotiation dragging out as the Iranians continue certain parts of their nuclear program. The other piece of it is whether the negotiations roll back enough of the Iranian nuclear program that they are not a nuclear weapon threshold state.

    So I totally support going to the negotiating table, but everything depends on a successful outcome to those negotiations six months from now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, what do you think of the Senate efforts to impose new sanctions to increase the pressure on Iran right now?

    ROBERT GATES: I think that the idea of imposing new sanctions right now is a terrible mistake and would be a strategic error.

    On the other hand, I do disagree with the administration in this respect. I think that the Senate or the Congress voting severe new sanctions, but sanctions that would be triggered only by failure of the negotiations, would strengthen the president's negotiating hand.

    You know, I hear the argument that that would strengthen the hand of hawks in Iran and opponents of the negotiations. Well, maybe the Iranians ought to worry about the potential consequences of strengthening the hawks in the United States.

    But I think -- I think any new sanctions need to be conditioned and triggered by the failure of the negotiations.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary Gates, you make it clear you care so deeply about the American troops. You are fiercely supportive of them. You're not at all worried, though, about affecting the morale of the troops with a book like this that questions the commander in chief's commitment to the war?

    ROBERT GATES: Well, I think -- I think that underscoring that I agreed with all of the president's strategic decisions on Afghanistan and the fact that he has stuck to those decisions, the decisions with respect to the war have all been made. We know we're coming out the end of December of this year.

    We know that the U.S. would like to have a residual force. The president has decided that. The agreement has been negotiated. We're just waiting for the Afghans to agree to it. So I think that all of the fundamental decisions to Afghanistan have already been made. And, frankly, in terms of the environment in Washington and so on, I mean, the troops know the score. They read the newspapers. They watch -- they watch television.

    And it's not like they're living in a cave over there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You spent most of your career working in intelligence.

    And, of course, there's been a lot of criticism at home and abroad over the National Security Agency's surveillance practices, especially since the Edward Snowden revelations. Do you think that the NSA in many of its programs and practices has gone too far?

    ROBERT GATES: The question is whether NSA developed capabilities and applied those capabilities that went beyond the guidelines or the left and right curves, if you will, that the president and the Congress expected and were briefed on.

    And that's why I think that the White House review and the congressional review are so important. And if the program did go beyond those guidelines, did go beyond those limits, to get it back within those limits and if, in fact, there were people who knowingly went beyond what the president had approved, that they be held accountable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How much damage do you think these revelations have done? And do you think Snowden is a traitor or a hero?

    ROBERT GATES: I think that the revelations have done a lot of damage.

    They -- it sounds like they have the potential to do a lot more. I think he is a traitor. You know, we built -- we spent 40 years building institutions of oversight for intelligence since the mid-1970s in the Congress and the executive branch and in the judiciary.

    There are multiple avenues for people who believe that the rules are being broken or that the law is being broken to pursue in order to bring those problems to authorities who can evaluate whether or not somebody is breaking the law in the intelligence community.

    And for a 29-year-old basically to take it upon himself to ignore all of the institutions that have been built up by Republicans and Democrats in Washington over the last 40 years, I think, is an extraordinary act of hubris. And then to flee to the protection of that notorious protector of human rights and privacy and civil liberties, Vladimir Putin, I think, speaks volumes.

    If he truly is as highly motivated and as idealistic as he says, then he should come home and face the music, much as earlier whistle-blowers like Daniel Ellsberg and others did.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Last question. The late Sen. Pat Moynihan, among other things, used to rail against what he called tell-all books by insiders. He said it was a disservice to the free exchange of ideas, that it made people hold back, because they thought they might be quoted somewhere in a book, and thus it was a disservice to history.

    ROBERT GATES: Well, I -- I think that books to settle scores, kiss-and-tell books, I have -- I have the same view as Senator Moynihan. I don't think this book is either of those.

    I criticize myself as much, if not more, in the book than I do anybody else. I think I'm fair -- fair in my treatment of both presidents. I think, overall, the book is very positive about both presidents. And, frankly, there are things in the book that are of contemporary relevance and in the face -- in problems that we're facing today, whether it's whether to use military force in Syria, whether it's to potentially use military force against Iran and its nuclear program, how to deal with the Chinese and the Russians.

    I have been at this under eight presidents. I bring a perspective and experience that I don't think anybody else has. And, frankly, to wait until 2017 makes any contribution that I could make irrelevant. And I think that what I have in this book, when people do finally read the book now that it's available today, is provide some perspective on these issues and hopefully some guidance.

    It also -- it also lays out how, in a polarized and paralyzed Washington, I got things done, in terms of canceling programs in the Department of Defense, in terms of cutting overhead in Defense, and how -- and holding people accountable in Defense.

    I would just add, as an afterthought, I hope that the same question will be asked of Secretary Geithner, Secretary Panetta, Secretary Clinton, and others, all of whom are writing books that will be published before the end of this president's terms.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we promise to ask all of them that question.

    Secretary Robert Gates, we thank you.

    ROBERT GATES: Thank you, Judy.

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: In Egypt today, at least 11 people were killed in sporadic protests and clashes, as millions went to the polls to vote on a new constitution. The violence highlighted the deep political divisions that persist six months after its Islamist president was ousted from office by the military.

    NewsHour chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.

    MARGARET WARNER: For the second time in little more than year, Egyptians lined up today to vote on a new constitution. They seemed eager, but anxious.

    WOMAN (through interpreter): May God bring calm to the country. Many people have been lost

    MARGARET WARNER: The campaign for the balloting, which ends tomorrow, was intense, with advocates for the current government urging a yes-vote.

    MAN (through interpreter): No one will ever agree 100 percent with any constitution. I would say, if you are agreeing with just 60 percent of it, say yes.

    MARGARET WARNER: And the government's nemesis, members of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, denouncing it.

    MAN (through interpreter): We had a transparent election that elected Morsi, and it was blown away. It is impossible to say that now there is democracy or a fair referendum.

    MARGARET WARNER: There are high stakes in this week's vote. It's the first chance for Egyptians to formally register their verdict on last summer's stunning developments, when millions took to the streets June 30 to protest the economic failures and heavy handed rule of elected President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

    Then, on July 3, he was ousted by the military under Army General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Brotherhood labeled it a coup. But Sisi's appointed interim government promised to restore civilian democracy within nine months and, as a first step, named a commission to re-write the Morsi era constitution.

    Commission vice chair, prominent Cairo attorney and women's rights advocate Mona Zulficar, says the document would ensure many citizens' rights that previous governments suppressed.

    MONA ZULFICAR, Egyptian Constitutional Committee: It provides guarantees for equal opportunity. It provides guarantees for equality before the law, without discrimination on any basis. And it provides explicitly that no discrimination will be permitted bases on sex, religion, belief, social or political affiliation.

    MARGARET WARNER: The proposed document does protect women and religious minorities and the freedoms of speech and assembly. And it returns Islamic Sharia law to its pre-Morsi era status as the basis for legislation, but no more.

    But it grants new powers and nearly unlimited autonomy to the military, the police and the judiciary.

    Steven cook of the Council on Foreign Relations believes the document won't safeguard citizens against government abuses any better than constitutions of the past.

    STEVEN COOK, Council on Foreign Relations: It's clearly deeply flawed. If you look at the constitution, there are protections for personal freedoms and political rights, but the key thing has been is that Egypt's leaders have been -- gone about promulgating implementing legislation that essentially removes those rights.

    MARGARET WARNER: And because it was drafted without official input from the Muslim Brotherhood, he says, it's as exclusive and one-sided a document as the Morsi government was accused of writing in 2012.

    STEVEN COOK: They have presented this constitution as a way forward, when it's really essentially a step back. It has not been an inclusive system.

    MOHAMED TAWFIK, Egyptian Ambassador to the United States: First of all, it cannot possibly be a step back, because the last constitution we had by the Muslim Brotherhood, that was absolutely terrible. So, you can't get worse than that.

    MARGARET WARNER: Egypt's ambassador to Washington, Mohamed Tawfik, insists that Islamist figures and Brotherhood members did participate in its writing as individuals.

    MOHAMED TAWFIK: Their ideology, their world view, their perspective was represented, although they didn't actually participate as a political party.

    MARGARET WARNER: But Egypt's largest political and social movement is calling on Egyptians to stay home this week.

    Aly Khafagy is a youth leader of the Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

    ALY KHAFAGY, Freedom and Justice Party (through interpreter): The articles of this constitution are legitimizing military rule. That has already been rejected already by the Egyptian street. We are boycotting this document written with the blood of the Egyptian martyrs.

    MARGARET WARNER: He was referring to the violent police clearing of anti-coup protest sites last summer, like this one at Cairo's Rabaa Square. Hundreds were killed.

    Thousands of Brotherhood leaders and rank-and-file have been detained and the group's assets confiscated. Yet Brotherhood protests have continued, some sparking street clashes with police wielding tear gas and flash-bang grenades.

    The ongoing polarization between Egyptian authorities and the now-suppressed Muslim Brotherhood has disrupted the image the interim government wants to project, that it's on a steady nine-month path to democratic elections and a new government based on inclusion.

    The last six months have also seen growing professional-scale terrorist attacks, like this Christmas Eve bombing of a police station which killed more than 15. The Brotherhood denied responsibly, and a radical jihadi group claimed it. Yet, the next day, the cabinet designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

    Ambassador Tawfik says the designation is based on evidence.

    MOHAMED TAWFIK: The Muslim Brotherhood has provided support, logistical support and intelligence support, to some small extremist terrorist groups, and that, because of this support, the capacity of these groups to cause harm has grown exponentially.

    KHALIL AL-ANANI, Middle East Institute in Washington: I would say this is a very shortsighted decision to brand the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. There's no solid evidence that the Brotherhood is involved with any kind of terrorist actions.

    MARGARET WARNER: Khalil Al-Anani, a scholar of Islamist movements and now a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, believes the government's motives are more political.

    KHALIL AL-ANANI: One of the things behind this is the attempt by the state to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood and to put an end...

    MARGARET WARNER: To eradicate it?

    KHALIL AL-ANANI: Eradicate them and to uproot them, I would say, and to put an end to their ongoing protesting in the street.

    MARGARET WARNER: He warns the move could prompt some Brotherhood members, especially younger ones, to turn to violence, and trigger the kind of Islamist insurgency Egypt saw in the 1980s and '90s.

    You think it could lead to that?

    KHALIL AL-ANANI: Absolutely. Their argument is that and -- is that they are branded as terrorists. So, what is left for them?

    MARGARET WARNER: Brotherhood figures aren't the only ones being silenced. So are liberal dissenters, including young leaders of the January 2011 revolution that drove longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak from power.

    One of them, Ahmed Maher of the April 6 Movement, and two compatriots were convicted and imprisoned last month for breaking a new law restricting protests.

    Heba Morayef, country director of Human Rights Watch, says the government is trying to muzzle all dissent.

    HEBA MORAYEF, Human Rights Watch: They are monitoring political activities. And what happened -- what coincided with that was a very targeted smear campaign against anybody who speaks of human rights, against anybody who criticizes the police or criticizes the military. And the regime right now is trying to reverse the last three years, to turn back the clock to pre-January 2011.

    MARGARET WARNER: In fact, under the proposed document, the military would gain sole authority over its budget, and the last word on choosing a defense minister, greater constitutional autonomy than ever before, says Steven Cook.

     STEVEN COOK: It institutionalizes the situation in Egypt that's existed for a long time, which is that the military is autonomous unto itself.

    MARGARET WARNER: And no civilian oversight?

    STEVEN COOK: There is no civilian oversight over -- over the Egyptian armed forces in the constitution.

    MARGARET WARNER: Constitution commission vice chair Zulficar makes no apologies for granting the military protected status amid all the turmoil.

    MONA ZULFICAR: It's very important for Egypt to protect the unity and the integrity and the safety of our Egyptian army, to protect Egypt's national security and Egypt's borders, and also to stand up for the Egyptian people.

    MARGARET WARNER: The outcome of this week's vote, the turnout, as well as the margin, is sure to be read as a referendum on Egypt's turn under the military-appointed government.

    Last weekend, General al-Sisi urged Egyptians to turn out in large numbers and said he would consider running in the upcoming presidential election if the people request it. It seems a far cry from the dreams of the Tahrir Square revolutionaries, who set all this change in motion three years ago.

     

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: New revelations have come to light in the past several days about the massive hacking attack of consumers' information affecting customers of some major retail stores. They're raising more concerns over how many people may be at risk and what individuals need to know to protect themselves.

    The holiday shopping season is over, but the data breach that hit retail giant Target is still growing. The company now acknowledges that information on up to 110 million accounts was compromised. Initial estimates were 40 million.

    Today, two U.S. senators demanded answers from Target's CEO. Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller and fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill said in a letter: "We expect that your security experts have had time to fully examine the cause and impact of the breach and will be able to provide the committee with detailed information."

    The breach has scared some shoppers away from pulling out their credit cards.

    WOMAN: I would rather just use -- try and use cash here until they straighten everything out. So, it seems a little scary.

    GWEN IFILL: While others say they're just going about their business.

    MAN: Yes, I use a credit card, but it wouldn't deter me, because, really, Target is like all the big businesses, you know? Cyber-theft is cyber-theft.

    GWEN IFILL: High-end department store Neiman Marcus has also announced a smaller holiday season breach. And there have been reports that other unnamed retailers were also hit.

    As for Target, the company issued a full-page apology yesterday, printed in several major newspapers.

    To help shed a little more light on how vulnerable businesses and consumers actually are, we turn to two people who have been following these developments closely, Nicole Perlroth of The New York Times and Ken Stasiak, the chief executive of Secure State, a consulting firm focused on information security.

    Nicole Perlroth, we first heard 40 million, then 70 million, now 110 million. Do you expect those numbers to keep going up?

    NICOLE PERLROTH, The New York Times: I do expect those numbers to keep going up.

    Originally, we heard that 40 million people were affected in the stores, that if they used their credit card and they swiped it through a cash register at a Target, they were affected. Now we know that the 70 million people whose information was stored in the server were also affected.

    And what that tells us is that these hackers were deep inside Target's corporate network. So I wouldn't be -- wouldn't be surprised if they were able to get into other buckets of information as well.

    GWEN IFILL: Ken Stasiak, when we first reported the story, the working theory was that this was an inside job. It doesn't look that way so much now?

    KEN STASIAK, SecureState: No, I think from what we have seen, this is too massive to be an inside job.

    And when you look at the breadth and scope of 1,700 stores, 110 million records compromised, you know, this is definitely pointing to malicious activity, hacker groups outside the environments. And they're trying to see what they can do to the retail industry. We're seeing other breaches come out over the last two weeks.

    So the question is, are these correlated attacks? Do they have any type of merit to say that hackers are targeting the retail industry to try to get this credit card information and personally identifiable information from the consumers?

    GWEN IFILL: Do you think -- do you have reason to believe they could be attacks from outside the United States?

    KEN STASIAK: At this point, we believe that the attacks are definitely originating from outside of the United States.

    With the Secret Service being involved and doing the investigation, I think it kind of puts a little bit more paramount to the fact that there's a little bit more scrutiny to the hackers being outside. We're also seeing some thoughts that the hackers are starting to spread even beyond what we thought, from just Target to other retailers.

    And I think that correlated attack and the massive amount of records definitely speaks to a hacking community outside of the United States.

    GWEN IFILL: Nicole Perlroth, and since we have heard about this, e-mail stolen, personal addresses stolen, credit cards stolen, have we had any reported incidents of fraud, people who have actually taken and used that information?

    NICOLE PERLROTH: We have.

    I have a cameraman in the room with me right now who said he heard from his bank that his card was used and he was affected. I ran into at least three people today who said the same thing. The fact is, this is now affecting over one-third of the American adult population.

    We have seen the cards drop into the black market, where a single card can now fetch as much as $100. Hackers will take this information. They will use it way beyond the one year that Target is offering identity theft protection and credit monitoring. And, unfortunately, people whose information was compromised will be good targets for hackers for identity theft.

    GWEN IFILL: Nicole, let me ask you. Everything we heard early on was that this was only affected by people who swiped their cards at point of sale. Do we know that to be still true?

    NICOLE PERLROTH: No, it's not longer true.

    Definitely, people who shopped in store between the day before Thanksgiving and December 15 cards and debit cards were taken. But now we learned last week that actually a whole separate bucket of Target customers were affected and the names and e-mail addresses, mailing addresses and possibly more were taken from a separate Target server.

    So this is no longer just people who shopped physically in the stores. This is Target customers at large will have to start monitoring their bank accounts for potential fraud.

    GWEN IFILL: So, online shopping affected as well, as far as we know.

    Ken Stasiak, give me a sense for this. We found out about this now. It's been several weeks. Do we know if the breach has been sealed, or does it continue?

    KEN STASIAK: You know, when Target first came out, they said, with the press release on the 19th of December, that here is the dates, here is how many credit cards were leaked.

    And over the last several weeks, they have contradicted the statements. We would believe, as investigators, that you would come in and contain the environment, so that no more breaches could occur, no more loss of personally identifiable information, addresses, et cetera. And, as we just heard, you know, that's not the strategy.

    So it's been a botched investigation from a crisis management perspective. The CEO is coming out with apology letters. It's a little too late. They should have taken this seriously in the beginning and put the security in place, so that now millions of consumers are obviously affected.

    GWEN IFILL: And, as far as you know, Nicole, there are other -- more than Neiman Marcus, more than Target, there are other stores which we're going to -- or retail establishments we're going to hear about who were also affected by some version of this?

    NICOLE PERLROTH: The investigations are ongoing, but there are reports out there that there are other retailers that were affected as well.

    Certainly, on Friday, Neiman Marcus came out and confirmed that it had been breached. It has not given any sense of how big that breach is or how many customers were affected. And then there were reports over the weekend that we may hear as many as half-a-dozen other major retailers were affected. And people are still looking to see whether these attacks are correlated or not.

    But, certainly, this could be bigger than just Target.

    GWEN IFILL: OK.

    So, Ken Stasiak, we have just been scaring the heck out of people for the last few minutes. What do we tell consumers to do about this?

    KEN STASIAK: Right.

    So, obviously, you're going to have to look at your credit reports. That's the big thing that we're starting to see out of here. Your credit card and your credit card statements are generally going to be backed by Target, Neiman Marcus.

    If you're seeing fraudulent charges, more than likely, they are going to be taken off before you even know about it, since the payment brands, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, are very hypersensitive to this now.

    But you have to look at the credit history. And the credit monitoring, the credit reports, a lot of this information that has been leaked speaks right to identity theft. And that's going to be really where the consumer is going to get hit.

    From a debit card perspective, you know, we're -- we're big on do not use your debit card in the stores. Only use your credit card. When it says enter your pin, hit the green number and go to credit. It's an insured way to purchase things. And, as we have seen before, your fraudulent charges will be taken off.

    But if your debit card gets stolen with your pin, we have seen class-action lawsuits being filed against Target for people draining bank accounts, hackers, et cetera. And, number three is, as consumers, you know, vote with your wallet. Vote with your pocketbook. Tell the -- tell these merchants that have been breached that, you know, we're not happy.

    So stop -- you know, stop shopping at Target and Neiman Marcus and these, and that's going to point a picture to say, you know what? As consumers, we're concerned and we're not going to stand for this anymore.

    GWEN IFILL: What should stores be doing or what are stores doing now, Nicole?

    NICOLE PERLROTH: Well, I think this has been a big wakeup call to other stores to up their cyber-security defenses.

    There's been a huge investment over the last decade in physical security and surveillance. And now I think retailers are waking up and seeing that they have to do the same for their cyber-security defenses as well.

    So I'm hearing from a number of security companies that say that retailers are reaching out to them and saying, can you come immediately and help us install your software? So, I do think this will be a big boon for the security software industry as well.

    GWEN IFILL: Nicole Perlroth, thank you for your reporting in The New York Times. And Ken Stasiak at SecureState, thanks, both.

    NICOLE PERLROTH: Thanks so much

    KEN STASIAK: Thank you.

     

     


    0 0

    Security escort, left, and protesters stand behind the 35-foot buffer zone outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston on December 7. Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

    The Supreme Court takes up abortion politics Wednesday in a case that looks at whether Massachusetts can ban anti-abortion protesters from stepping within 35 feet of clinics.

    The case, McCullen v. Coakley, tells the story of Eleanor McCullen, a woman who visits a Planned Parenthood clinic twice a week to hand out leaflets to try to persuade women not to have abortions. She believes the 35-foot law violates her First Amendment rights, because it often prevents her from interacting with women entering the clinic.

    The Morning Line

    Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, defends the 2007 law. "This law is access balanced with speech balanced with public safety," she told the New York Times, citing a history of violence and harassment at clinics in Boston. "The law has worked extremely well."

    The legal foundation for this case rests on a court decision from 2000, in Hill v. Colorado, which prohibited anti-abortion advocates in Colorado from stepping within 8 feet of someone entering an abortion clinic.

    While some, such as lawyer Floyd Abrams writing in the Wall Street Journal, argue that the Massachusetts law overreaches in its limits, others, such as Mother Jones magazine, point out the need for such limits at abortion clinics.

    While the justices weigh the arguments from both pro-life and pro-choice groups, this case doesn't grapple with abortion policy directly. Instead, it tests the First Amendment, and whether McCullen's rights have been limited constitutionally.

    Still, the case gives the justices an opportunity to hear from women's rights and anti-abortion groups in a year with fewer of these cases than expected.

    On Monday, the court chose not to take a case this term on abortions banned in Arizona after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Because the court declined, a lower court's ruling stands that the ban is unconstitutional. The high court chose not to weigh in earlier this year on a similarly restrictive Texas law, leaving that law to take effect. The court also dismissed last year a case from Oklahoma that tested the use of pharmaceutical drugs in abortions.

    National Law Journal correspondent Marcia Coyle explained to Gwen Ifill on the NewsHour Monday what the court's recent reticence on the social issue means.

    "We really don't know what the court is thinking about. These cases, they could have had procedural problems. We don't know. There's lots of litigation going on. And it also means the court may see the question again, and maybe they will take a case."

    Pro-life groups have taken advantage of the situation. In recent years, the groups have moved away from opposing the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision directly and instead have shifted their focus to state legislatures.

    Stephanie Condon at CBS News writes:

    That strategy has clearly paid off: Currently, there are just seven states with governments dominated by pro-abortion rights lawmakers. By contrast, there are 21 where both the governor and a majority of the state legislature are opposed to abortion rights, according to an assessment from the group NARAL Pro-Choice America. In 2013, there were 53 measures passed at the state level that NARAL characterizes as "anti-choice," and just 16 it calls pro-choice.

    The conservative movement's bold strategy has tested the bounds of the Supreme Court's past rulings on abortion restrictions, and it has left abortion rights supporters playing defense.

    Americans United for Life, a major player in pushing anti-abortion policy at the state level, released its "Life List" Monday, highlighting the states that "protect life in law," the group's press release said. It named the most pro-life states as Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona and Pennsylvania. The states with the least pro-life laws are New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii, Maryland and Nevada, the group said.

    Marcia Coyle will be on the NewsHour Wednesday night to report what happened in court. You can tune in online at 6 p.m.

    HOUSE SET TO VOTE ON SPENDING BILL

    The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on a $1.1 trillion spending bill, funding the government through the end of the year and averting a government shutdown. The current funding bill expires at midnight.

    The comprehensive spending bill announced Monday includes victories for Democrats and Republicans. Kwame Holman broke down the budget compromise on Thursday's NewsHour and The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe followed up with Gwen Ifill.


    0 0

    Jovan Washington, left, Cecil Boyce and Louis Estrada were interviewed in 2012 in New Haven, Conn., where they talked about the negative stereotypes attached to young African-American men. A new study shows a link between experiencing discrimination and accelerated aging in black men. Photo by Ann Hermes/Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

    Can experiencing discrimination lead to premature aging? Researchers think there could be a connection.

    According the Centers for Disease Control, African-American men die six to seven years earlier than white men. But no one is exactly sure why. David H. Chae, a social epidemiologist at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, thinks the psycho-social strain of discrimination may explain the disparity.

    "We can all relate to how the experience of being treated unfairly impacts us physiologically," he said. "There's a cascade of biochemical reactions. Your heart rate rises, your muscles clench." Dealing with prejudice -- and all its effects on your life -- is inherently stressful, he said, and that may lead to accelerated aging.

    Chae and his colleagues published a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine last week, that looked at 92 African-American men between the ages of 30 and 50 to determine if racism might be one of the culprits behind premature aging.

    To understand your biological age, biochemists examine telomeres, repetitive sequences of DNA at the ends of our chromosomes. Specifically, Chae and his colleagues looked at telomere length from leukocytes, or white blood cells, an indicator of general systemic aging.

    Telomeres are like the plastic caps on your shoelaces, said Rita Effros, professor of pathology at University of California Los Angeles. When cells divide and DNA replicates, it can't quite copy the ends of the chromosomes, she said. Telomeres keep your chromosomes intact, she said, but over time they shorten, losing 50 to 100 base pairs a year. A newborn baby's telomeres may have 12,000 base pairs, but by the time he is 80 years old, his telomeres may be as short as 5,000 base pairs.

    "[Telomeres] keep wearing down gradually until it all unravels," said Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen, at the National Institute of Aging, part of the National Institute of Health. That eventually leads to cell death, she said.

    But if it gets too short, that "unraveling" means the cell dies leaving the body vulnerable to a host of age-related diseases like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimers. A telomere's truncated length is an indicator that something is wrong, Effros said.

    "When telomeres get critically short, the cell stops being able to divide," she said. And if an immune cell, which protects your body from infections, needs to divide, but can't? That's when you've got a problem, Effros said.

    And recent studies have found that telomeres can be shortened by cortisol, the hormone released when a person undergoes stress. Think of being cut off in traffic, narrowly avoiding an accident, Chae said. Your heart rate rises and your muscles contract, but once the danger is over, you calm down.

    Scientists are finding that the cortisol your body produced under stress takes a significant toll on your cells.

    Could the constant stress of dealing with discrimination change the way the body functions? To find out, Chae and his colleagues asked African-American men about a gamut of racial discrimination in their lives. Some reported harassment from police, discrimination in the workplace or extra scrutiny while shopping, for example. Other men reported never experiencing racial prejudice.

    But what was important was how these men internalized those experiences, Chae said. They used a computerized tool called the black-white implicit association test to measure how these men viewed their own race, showing either an "anti-black bias" or a "pro-black bias."

    Chae found that men who experienced more frequent discrimination and internalized an anti-black bias had shorter telomeres than men who faced prejudice and still had positive views of their race. Even when controlling for other factors -- chronologic age, socioeconomic status, overall health -- those who internalized the experience were one to three years older biologically than those who had not.

    The study has limitations. For one thing, it's small. Larger studies are needed, said Nancy Krieger, a social epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and Chae's former advisor.

    And telomere lengths measured here aren't "critically short," Effros said, especially compared to the decade worth of shortening, for example, that an immune disease like HIV can produce. But, she added, if these men continue being stressed, their telomeres could get to that critically short length.

    Also, numerous factors contribute to the shorter lifespan of African-American men, like poverty and how it affects access to healthcare or nutrition. But Krieger thinks that studies like this one make the connection between socioeconomic disparities and our health.

    "This is part of biological pathway that translates social adversity into poor health," Krieger said.

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    Loading...
    0 0

    By Lew Mandell

    Piggy bank with mask and stethoscope for healthcare cost concept Long-term care insurance has grown increasingly expensive, and for many folks, it's not worth the cost, says Lew Mandell. Image courtesy of Lilli Day/Getty Images.

    Paul Solman: Back in the 1970s, my wife and I, then in our 30s, began saving for the future. My biggest concern: outliving our nest egg. Worst case: a devastating disability that would require care we couldn't afford. I thought that we shouldn't subject our kids to a future choice that might pit their penury against our misery. We began to save like ants. Or maybe dung beetles.

    Then -- I think it was in the 1980s -- we heard about long-term care insurance. It was a lot cheaper in those days, but my wife and I both worked, our savings trajectory looked promising, and I asked myself the following question: If one or both of us, just a year or two ahead of the baby boom, would need long-term care, wouldn't untold millions in our cohort? And if so, how could insurance companies afford to pay for us all? Unless, that is, they fought our claims and made collecting on them a nightmare, just at that point in life where we'd be least able to put up a fight? My conclusion: save so as to self-insure.

    It's very gratifying, then, to see my skepticism mostly confirmed by someone who has carefully thought through the problem. Financial education guru and longtime economics professor Lewis Mandell, whose new book, "What to Do When I Get Stupid: A Radically Safe Approach to a Difficult Financial Era", has inspired a number of extremely popular posts on this page, including "An 8.3 Percent Return on Your Money, Guaranteed for Life?" and "How Detroit Leaders Ignored Causes of Bankruptcy for 65 Years".

    NewsHour has covered long-term care and care-givers extensively, but now, we turn to Lew to tackle the issue of long-term care insurance, head on.

    Lew Mandell: Long-term care insurance, which can help pay for nursing home stays, has become very expensive, primarily because people are living longer. More recently, many state insurance regulators have allowed increases in premiums for existing policies to offset low insurance company interest earnings on their investments, caused largely, many argue, by the Fed's quantitative easing. The combination of rising costs and increasingly inadequate benefits should cause all of us to rethink the value of long-term care insurance.

    If you have carefully funded your core retirement expenses with a combination of secure sources of lifetime income, including Social Security retirement benefits, pensions and annuities, you should be in pretty good shape. About the only risk to a secure retirement is the possibility that you or your partner may require expensive nursing care for a long period of time. At an annual cost that can approach or exceed $100,000 for care in an Alzheimer's unit, your carefully constructed plans can quickly be shot to hell.

    According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the average annual cost for long-term care insurance that pays a maximum of only $150 a day for up to three years, and won't pay for the first 90 days, is summarized in the table at left adapted from the AARP Guide to Long-Term Care. (Note that rates for couples may be up to 30 percent per person less than for individuals.)

    These premiums are for policies that adjust for "simple" inflation of 5 percent per year. Over the past two years, the average cost for a private room in a U.S. nursing home has increased annually by 4.8 percent to $94,170 per year (semi-private rooms are about 12 percent cheaper), so the 5 percent inflation adjustment isn't far off actual recent increases.

    Unfortunately, a simple inflation adjustment adds 5 percent of the original benefit per year and does not compound like actual inflation. A daily benefit of $150 per day will go up by 50 percent to $225 in 10 years with a simple inflation policy, but the actual cost will increase 63 percent (at 5 percent annual compounded inflation) to $245. However, the added cost for moving from a simple inflation adjustment to the more accurate compounded adjustment would add 25 percent to the cost of a policy for a 65 year-old person.

    The most critical thing to realize is the total amount that such a policy will pay you if you remain in a nursing home for the three full years (after your first 90 uncompensated days): just $164,250, unadjusted for inflation. That's $150 a day times 365 days in a year times three years. Therefore, if you have that amount in liquid assets per person (money not needed to fund core expenses), you can self-insure for that three-year period.

    If you do invest in such a long-term care policy, the probability of collecting on it is low. According to Prescott Cole in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, about two-thirds of seniors stay in a nursing home for less than 90 days, which means that they get no compensation from their policies. Furthermore, fewer than 6 percent of those admitted will still be in the nursing home after two years. In fact, fewer than 4 percent of seniors currently reside in nursing homes.

    If your objective is to completely cover your core retirement expenses, you will probably need more nursing home coverage than $150 a day (even adjusted for inflation) and will definitely need more than three years of total coverage to cover the unlikely, but extremely expensive, possibility that nursing home care will be needed for many years. For a single person, moving to a nursing home for care of indefinite length (as in the case of Alzheimer's) generally means that the former residence can be sold, and nearly all needs will be provided by the nursing home or paid for by Medicare. Lifetime income can now be used to offset the cost of the nursing home. Once your assets are exhausted, you are generally moved onto Medicaid, so the only reason to protect assets is to leave an inheritance. Therefore, it may not be financially beneficial for a single person without heirs to pay for long-term care insurance.

    Long-term care insurance may actually be more important for a healthy spouse whose partner is in a nursing home. If one partner goes into a nursing home for several years, it can easily drain the family's resources, leaving the healthy partner without the means to fund his or her core expenses. To qualify for Medicaid in most states, the healthy partner, called the "community spouse," can hold onto the house, one car and maximum financial assets of $115,920 in 2013 (although individual states have lowered this amount to as little as $23,184). If the community spouse or another dependent relative lives there, the house may be kept with no equity limit.

    If neither community spouse nor another dependent lives in the house, homes with equity values from $536,000 to $802,000 (depending on the state) may be retained when the owner accepts Medicaid for long-term care, provided that the owner signs a form stating his or her intent to return to the house. Medicaid is then entitled to be reimbursed from the equity of the home when it is sold, generally after the recipient's death, so it is seldom worthwhile to pay real estate taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance for a home owned by a long-term care Medicaid recipient.

    The community spouse may also use all of the income in his or her name from pensions and Social Security and as much as $35,760 in income from the Medicaid-assisted spouse in 2013 (which can be lowered by states). Income above this level must be applied toward nursing home expenses.

    Although Medicaid laws and limits are given here for illustrative purposes only and are subject to change and interpretation, understanding them does help explain many experts' contention that there is a narrow window of wealth that should determine a couple's need for long-term care insurance. At the bottom end, if non-home, non-car assets are below $115,920, Medicaid will kick in to fund the partner who needs long-term care. At the upper end, if non-home assets are above about $700,000, a couple can self-fund most nursing home stays without depleting assets. It is those whose wealth ranges from about $150,000 to $700,000 who have the greatest need for conventional long-term care insurance.

    The likelihood that a spouse's nursing home stay will be so prolonged as to drain more than $700,000 is relatively small, but it's still a risk. So if you fall in that middle wealth bracket, you may wish to purchase an available, but seldom-purchased, policy that pays for many more than the three years that are "standard." A good tradeoff is to choose a policy with a long elimination period (to reduce cost) but one that pays indefinitely. Currently, the longest elimination period available on most policies is 365 days. It is strange that just a small sliver of buyers chooses to save money by self-insuring for more than the standard 90 days -- money that could be better used to buy extended policy coverage to prevent catastrophic loss.

    Economists feel that the purpose of insurance is to pay for very expensive but unlikely events, which means that we should self-insure against affordable but more likely events. This is analogous to upping the deductible on automobile collision insurance from $50, which causes the policy to be very expensive, to $500 or $1,000, which makes the policies much less expensive.

    According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the cost of a policy that pays benefits for an unlimited amount of time is only about a third more expensive than a standard policy that pays for just three years of care. You can even pay for nearly a third of that added cost by increasing the elimination period on your policy from the standard 90 days to 180 days. Now you're beginning to think like an economist -- insure against the big losses you can't afford and don't sweat the small stuff.

    In spite of paying expensive premiums for many years, some individuals who are "covered" by long-term care insurance policies are surprised to find their claim denied by their insurance company. If you look at the fine print of a policy, you will find that eligibility is generally determined by one's inability to perform certain "activities of daily living." These include bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring (moving from one place to another). Before they pay benefits, most insurers require a physician to certify that you are unable to perform two or more of these activities, although some policies specify an even greater number. To make things even more complex, many insurance companies will not pay unless you need hands-on assistance to perform an activity rather than stand-by assistance.

    Bottom line, if you have long-term care insurance, look hard at its limitations and your own financial situation before you decide to continue paying its premiums (particularly if rates increase). If you don't have such insurance, carefully consider whether its likely benefits are worth the costs.

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @paulsolman


    0 0

    An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

    After months of investigations, meetings, interviews and oversight hearings, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a declassified report which reviews the Sept. 11-12, 2012, attacks against two U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya--to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets--and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission.

    The attacks that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, sparked a large number of allegations about what did not happen on the day of the attacks.

    "I hope this report will put to rest many of the conspiracy theories and political accusations about what happened in Benghazi," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement released Wednesday. She and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., announced the release of the report, which was approved with bipartisan support.

    The committee concluded that there had been "ample strategic warning" that U.S. facilities in Benghazi were at risk and that the state department failed to increase security measures to address the higher threat levels.

    In addition to summarizing a timeline of the events leading up to, during and after the attacks, including U.S. military and government response, the report also includes 18 recommendations that are intended to improve U.S. security.

    Read the full report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

    DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1005738-review-of-the-terrorist-attacks-on-u-s-facility.js", { width: 482, height: 600, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1005738-review-of-the-terrorist-attacks-on-u-s-facility" });

    Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facility in Benghazi, LIbya, Sept. 11-12 (U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee) (PDF)Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facility in Benghazi, LIbya, Sept. 11-12 (U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee) (Text)

    Read more:

    What I saw in Benghazi

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    In the fall, chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown spoke to "12 Years a Slave" writer John Ridley about the film that is gathering so much attention.

    On Thursday morning, bright and early, the anticipation ends ... or begins, depending on your perspective. The nominations for this year's Academy Awards will be announced, but the buzz about winners and losers has already started.

    One film that the cinema world kept an eye on is Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave."

    At Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony, the movie won Best Motion Picture Drama and was nominated for six other awards, including best screen play.

    Screenwriter John Ridley spoke to PBS NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown in November about his film, adapted from the 1853 autobiography of the free black Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped into slavery.

    "Solomon is a truly remarkable individual and one of the interesting things is after he was freed from slavery for 12 years, his story, his memoir called "12 Years a Slave" was really quite well known here in America," said Ridley.

    12 Years a Slave.jpg"It sold nearly 30,000 copies... many abolitionists credit it with helping drive their movement and then it really disappeared from the cultural consciousness."

    Ridley and McQueen were concerned by the misconceptions about slavery and the "poor job" of Hollywood in bringing that part of American history to the big screen. The pair tried to find an "emotional honesty" in their depictions.

    "I was shocked at how many people really didn't understand how brutal the system of slavery was, how pervasive it was in the indoctrination of all individuals ... This was a full system of human subjugation and to do that you have to get everyone to be complicit."

    For Ridley, "12 Years a Slave" is a story that not everyone will understand, but it's one that resonates with present day America on a deep level.

    "We're not prisoners to the past, but when you see where we are in 2013 and why some of our views about race are so calcified, you have to understand that indoctrination of slavery in this country for such a long time. It's the reason we are unfortunately, still where we are in race relation," Ridley continued.

    "This is our history and to move forward in it, we've got to learn, we've to grow and I'm very gratified that people are willing to sit and grow." Today, ABC announced that John Ridley will be the writer and executive producer of a new pilot called "American Crime," a show about the law and race relations.


    0 0

    Scientists believe that the Pine Island Glacier in Antartica is melting irreversibly. Photo by Penn State University via Flickr.

    Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier covers approximately 9,942 square miles, roughly two-thirds of the U.K., and drains 20 percent of all ice flowing west of the continent. Based on three different models, British, French and Chinese scientists have concluded that the massive chunk of ice is melting irreversibly.

    On Sunday, scientists told the journal Nature Climate Change that the grounding line -- which separates the grounded ice sheet from the floating ice shelf -- is retreating at a quicker pace. This is likely caused by warm ocean bottom waters, which are eroding the ice shelf at the head of the glacier.

    The retreat of the grounding line is dangerous because "the glacier is susceptible to the marine ice-sheet instability mechanism." This means the glacier may be prone to collapse, triggering a rapid melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    Scientists' models estimate that over the next 20 years the melting of the glacier will lead to sea-levels rising 3.5 to 10 mm or 0.14-0.39 in.

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    Education programs will receive large funding boosts as part of the new spending bill. Photo by Mike Fritz/PBS NewsHour

    Hitting pause on sequestration restrictions, Head Start became one of the biggest federal government investments after appropriations were announced for the bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill.

    The federal program was founded as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty in 1965. Providing comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parental involvement services to low-income children and their families, the program will receive just over $1 billion, a 13 percent increase over current funding and $612 million over its initial 2013 appropriation.

    $500 million will go to Early Head Start and $250 million in grants will be given to expand preschool programs, Education Week says.

    "I think this appropriations bill is trying to address the harm that has come to students most in need under the sequester," said Mary Kusler, the director of government relations for the National Education Association.

    Other programs receiving money include Child Care and Development Block Grants program, which is responsible for helping states offer child care assistance to needy families. The bill includes $2.4 billion for the program, an increase of $154 million over last year's levels. Impact Aid, which helps school districts compensate for tax revenue loss due to federal presence, like Native American reservations or military bases will get $1.3 billion -- a $64 million increase over last year's levels. Career and Technical Education will see a $53 million increase from last year, up to $1.1 billion.

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    Loading...
    0 0

    WASHINGTON -- Party leaders pushed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill for this year through the House on Wednesday, shunning the turmoil of recent budget clashes with a compromise financing everything from airports to war costs and brimming with victories and concessions for both parties.

    The huge bill furnishes the fine print -- 1,582 pages of it -- for the bipartisan pact approved in December that set overall spending levels for the next couple of years. With that decision behind them, the measure sailed through the House with no suspense and little dissent -- fueled additionally by lawmakers' desire to avoid an election-year replay of last fall's widely unpopular 16-day federal shutdown.

    Approving the legislation "is showing the American people we actually are capable of working in a bipartisan manner," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. He praised the bill for holding down spending and said passage would be "the responsible thing to do. It's the thoughtful thing to do."

    The measure was approved by a one-sided 359-67 roll call, with virtually all opposition coming from Republicans.

    By its sheer size and detail, the measure had plenty for liberals and conservatives to dislike. Some Democrats said they would support it but only reluctantly, complaining that despite some increases, spending for education, health and other programs would still be too low.

    "With this bill, we are waste deep in manure instead of neck deep in manure. Hooray, I guess," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

    Reflecting those mixed emotions, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., praised the measure because she said it would "get us out of this cycle of governing by crisis." But she added that its spending for social programs was "far too low for too many people to really achieve the American dream."

    The Democratic-run Senate planned to bestow final congressional approval of the legislation by the end of the week.

    To keep agencies functioning while Congress votes on the legislation, the Senate by a 86-14 vote gave final congressional approval to a measure financing the government through Saturday. An earlier short-term spending measure expires after midnight Wednesday evening.

    The giant bill debated Wednesday heads off an additional $20 billion in automatic cuts to the Pentagon's budget -- on top of $34 billion imposed last year -- and cuts to many domestic programs as well. The reductions were being triggered by a 2011 law that forced the cuts after President Barack Obama and Congress failed to negotiate budget savings.

    Conservative groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action were urging lawmakers to oppose it, but the White House urged its passage.

    "We met compelling human needs. We certainly preserved national security," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chief author of the spending bill with her House counterpart, Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.

    The measure provided money for Obama's 2010 health care overhaul and his revamping of federal oversight of the nation's financial markets -- though not as much as he requested. It continued age-old restrictions on federal financing of most abortions, but lacked new ones. Democrats also blocked GOP-sought curbs on the Environmental Protection Agency's power to regulate utilities' greenhouse gas emissions.

    "It's funding Obamacare, and I pledged a long time ago I absolutely wouldn't vote for anything that has financing for Obamacare," said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., who said he'd vote "no."

    Overall, the measure provides about $20 billion more for defense and domestic programs this year than was spent in 2013, excluding the costs of war and natural disasters. Even so, it still leaves defense and domestic spending on a downward trend since 2010, a number that troubles many Democrats.

    "For several years we've been cheating Americans of a number of things we should be doing for infrastructure, science research, education, to make our country stronger," said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who said he hadn't decided how he would vote.

    The bill would provide nearly $92 billion for U.S. military operations abroad, mostly in Afghanistan, plus about $7 billion for disasters and other emergencies. That was just slightly less than last year's war spending but about $44 billion less than was provided in 2013 for disasters, after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast in October 2012.

    One widely supported provision would roll back a reduction in annual cost-of-living increases for wounded military personnel who retire early or for their surviving spouses. That language was part of the savings included in the budget compromise by Ryan and Murray enacted last month, money that was used to help soften cuts in other programs.

    Some Western lawmakers were angry that the bill would block federal payments to communities near government lands to compensate for the taxes the government is exempt from paying them. Top lawmakers promised the payment would be restored in a separate measure.

    The Internal Revenue Service, a pariah agency for Republicans after revelations that it targeted tea party groups for tough examinations, would get $500 million less than last year. It also was receiving none of the $440 million extra Obama wanted so the agency could help enforce Obama's health care law, another favorite GOP target.

    Democrats won extra money for Head Start's preschool programs, enough to serve another 90,000 young children. The Federal Aviation Administration would get less than Congress enacted last year, but enough money was included to avoid 2013's furloughs and hiring freezes for air traffic controllers.

    The FBI won extra money, including almost twice as much to help it conduct background checks on firearms purchasers. The National Institutes of Health would get $29.9 billion, about $1 billion above last year's budget.

    This article was written by Associated Press writer Alan Fram. Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    Photo by Flickr user Holiday Gift Nation J.C. Penney announced store closures and job cuts as part of an effort to turnaround the company. Photo by Flickr user Holiday Gift Nation

    J.C. Penney announced Wednesday it will close 33 underperforming stores and cut 2,000 jobs as part of a cost-saving measure. The move aims to help the U.S. retail chain, which has posted nine straight quarterly net losses, $65 million per year.

    "As we continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth, it is necessary to re-examine the financial performance of our store portfolio and adjust our national footprint accordingly," Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman said in a statement.

    J.C. Penney operates around 1,100 stores in the U.S. and employed 116,000 as of February 2013.

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: The Supreme Court heard new arguments today over the rights of anti-abortion protesters. The case involved a Massachusetts law that keeps activists at least 35 feet away from clinics. The court last dealt with the issue in 2000, upholding a similar law in Colorado. We will talk to our Supreme Court expert, Marcia Coyle, right after the news summary.

    A budget bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year is halfway home. The House approved the $1.1 trillion package today.

    Republican Harold Rogers of Kentucky chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

    REP. HAROLD ROGERS, R-Ky.: I understand that not everyone will like everything in this bill. That's the nature of compromise. But I believe this legislation reflects the best possible outcome.

    GWEN IFILL: A number of Tea Party Republicans said the bill spends too much, and they opposed it. Nearly all Democrats supported it, although Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and others complained that the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester go too deep.

    REP. JIM MCGOVERN, D-Mass.: While it begins to undo the sequester, it does so for only two years. And we need to get rid of it forever, permanently. So, with this bill, we are waist-deep, instead of neck-deep, in manure. Hooray, I guess.

    GWEN IFILL: The Senate is expected to adopt the full budget by the end of the week. In the meantime, senators today approved a short-term bill to fund the government into Saturday.

    There's word today that the National Security Agency has tapped into as many as 100,000 computers overseas. The New York Times reports the agency implanted hardware into the machines, gleaning intelligence information over radio waves. We will take a closer look at what the NSA is said to be doing and where later in the program.

    A new video suggests the only U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan may still be alive. U.S. military officials confirmed today there's a video of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl that cites recent events. They said he appears frail and shaky, but the video itself has not yet been released. Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009. It's believed he's being held by Taliban militants.

    A Senate report today concluded that the State Department could have prevented a deadly assault in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed when attackers stormed a U.S. diplomatic post and nearby CIA mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The report found State Department officials ignored security warnings of growing terrorist activity.

    But a State Department spokeswoman said there was little new in the findings.

    MARIE HARF, State Department: Obviously, we have talked at length about the fact that we knew there were extremists and terrorists operating in Libya and in Benghazi. But, again, we had no specific information indicating a threat, an attack was coming.

    We can't go back and look at the hypotheticals about what could have been prevented and what couldn't have.

    GWEN IFILL: The Senate Intelligence Committee also says analysts initially blamed the attack on anti-American protests, without real evidence. That led to Republican charges of a cover-up. We will talk to Washington Post reporter Adam Goldman, who's following the story, later in the program.

    A new burst of violence hit Iraq today, with at least 75 people killed in bombings and shootings. Half-a-dozen bombs went off in Baghdad, leaving streets around the capital blood-stained and strewn with wreckage. The violence extended to Kirkuk and Mosul as well.

    A donors conference has generated at least $2.4 billion in humanitarian aid pledges for Syrians caught in a civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry joined other top diplomats at the gathering in Kuwait today. Kerry said the U.S. is giving another $380 million in assistance.

    Voters across Egypt went to the polls once again today to cast ballots on a new constitution. It's expected to win easily. Turnout appeared lower in some places on this second and final day of voting. Sporadic violence on Tuesday killed at least nine people. Islamist followers of ousted President Mohammed Morsi boycotted the election.

    In economic news, Apple agreed to refund at least $32.5 million for un-authorized purchases children made on mobile apps. The Federal Trade Commission said it's had thousands of complaints from parents.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 108 points to close just short of 16,482. The Nasdaq rose almost 32 points to close near 4,215.

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Free speech and abortion rights clashed today at the Supreme Court.

    NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman starts with some background.

    KWAME HOLMAN: The case grew out of complaints by anti-abortion demonstrators at this Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Boston.

    MAN: If you look at that yellow line, it actually puts us out on the street, so we're apt to get hit by a car or a bus or whatever.

    KWAME HOLMAN: That painted yellow line marks a 35-foot buffer zone required by Massachusetts law since 2007 at sites where abortions are performed. Crossing it could mean two-and-a-half years in prison for a protester, although no one has been prosecuted under the law.

    Seventy-six-year-old Eleanor McCullen leads the fight to overturn the law and attended today's arguments. She says the restriction stifles the free speech rights of abortion opponents trying to dissuade women from going inside.

    ELEANOR MCCULLEN, plaintiff: They want to stop, but they -- they -- they want to go in too. They have an appointment. And they're mixed up, and if I just had another like two minutes or three minutes, that's all I need, but when I'm cut off, it's very, very frustrating.

    KWAME HOLMAN: The Massachusetts attorney general, Martha Coakley, answers that the law lets protesters have their say, while protecting clinic clients and staff from harassment.

    MARTHA COAKLEY, Massachusetts Attorney General: This particular statute has struck the appropriate and constitutional balance between access, which is also constitutionally guaranteed for people, public safety, which is a huge issue to make sure that no one is hurt or disrupted in their activities, and that of those protesters, those who want to be heard. They do have a right to speak. We know it is not unlimited.

    KWAME HOLMAN: The Supreme Court last ruled on the issue in 2000, when it upheld a different-sized buffer zone in Colorado. In addition to Colorado and Massachusetts, Montana also has an abortion clinic buffer zone law. And a handful of cities have imposed restrictions, with varying standoff distances spelled out.

    Many of the laws were enacted after a spate of violence at women's health facilities during the 1990s. Shooting attacks at two clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1994 killed two people and wounded five.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As always, Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal was in the courtroom this morning, and she is back with us tonight.

    Marcia...

    MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: Hi, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: ... good to you have back with us.

    MARCIA COYLE: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, tell us, Marcia, a little bit more about what this case is about, what each side is arguing.

    MARCIA COYLE: OK.

    Well, really, it's two arguments, in a sense. The challengers to the Massachusetts law claimed that the law itself is what we call content-based. It discriminates on the basis of viewpoint, that its effect of the buffer zone is really to curb the speech of people who do not support abortions.

    It also -- they also argue that it's not a narrowly tailored law, which is really one of the requirements under the First Amendment if government wants to regulate speech, that the buffer zone is around only abortion facilities, and not even all the -- not even -- it's around facilities that some don't even have problems with demonstrators or protesters.

    And, finally, they argue that the government has other tools available to deal with the problem that it says and argues is why it has the law that it has. It can get injunctions from courts. It can have police move people.

    On the other side, the state is saying, look, this is not viewpoint discrimination. What we are regulating here is conduct. The problem is congestion, too many people on the sidewalk, too many people trying to approach women and relatives in cars as they drive into the parking lot.

    They say it's narrowly tailored because the challengers do have the ability to speak to women coming into the clinic. Really, what they are objecting to, they say, is basically seven to 10 seconds that a woman walks from the yellow line to the entrance of the clinic.

    And those other alternatives, Massachusetts says it has found they do not work, which is why they amended their law in 2007 with this particular buffer zone.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Seven to 10 seconds.

    So, what are the -- what are the constitutional questions then that the justices are looking at? And what were they saying today?

    MARCIA COYLE: Well, the justices first probed the lawyer for the challengers, Mark Rienzi. And they were questioning basically how far does he go here with his arguments over a buffer zone? Are all buffer zones problematic under the First Amendment?

    There are buffer zones, they said, for example, around funeral services to military funeral services, buffer zones around certain public forums that are going to have political events or even entertainment events.

    And Mr. Rienzi said that actually he does think that there are First Amendment problems with buffer zones, but he said the government has to make a very strong record as to why they need it. And that record, he claims, wasn't made by Massachusetts for this particular buffer zone.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And did Massachusetts -- did the attorney for the state of Massachusetts come back on that point?

    MARCIA COYLE: Yes, she did.

    And she was probed by the justices as well. They wanted to know, for example, why 35 feet? In fact, Justice Kagan said at one point in the argument she was a little hung up on how large that is. And the Massachusetts attorney said, look, the legislature looked at other buffer zones that had been upheld by courts, 50 feet, 36 feet, 15 feet, and then decided that 35 is what was going to work here.

    And she also pushed back on whether too much speech is curbed. For example, in the record -- and Massachusetts attorney feels they made a very -- the legislature made a very thorough record of the problems here -- Ms. McCullen, who brought the challenge, has said that she was able to speak with and deter roughly 80 women from the time the law went into effect 2007 until today, and that's not curbing speech.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And I gather that they even got into, the justices did, talking about what exactly is the distance...

    (CROSSTALK)

    MARCIA COYLE: Well, it was a little surprising, Judy, that some of them don't seem to really know what 35 feet is.

    Mr. Rienzi at some point said, it could extend from the court's bench to the back of the courtroom, and the courtroom is much longer than that buffer zone. The deputy solicitor general for the Obama administration supporting the state of Massachusetts described it as an NBA three-point zone.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we left it at that? It was left at that?

    MARCIA COYLE: It was.

    I think there is a dispute about how big 35 feet is, as well as really how much speech it actually curbs. That is the guts of the case.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Marcia Coyle, thank you.

    MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure.

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And today's arguments were, of course, closely watched by advocates on both sides of the abortion debate.

    And we turn to two of them now.

    Ilyse Hogue is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. And Steven Aden is vice president of human life issues for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which funded this case on behalf of the abortion protester.

    We thank you both for being here, too.

    Ilyse Hogue, to you first. Why is this case important?

    ILYSE HOGUE, NARAL Pro-Choice America: Well, it's incredibly important, because we have tracked a movement that actually relies on harassment and intimidation and even violence. Your footage showed the most extreme example of -- there was a doctor shot outside trying to enter his clinic in Florida in the 1990s.

    And I think what is important is recognizing that we do balance free speech with public safety all the time. And, in fact, Mrs. McCullen, who seems to be perfectly lovely, made her own point.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The woman who is bringing the case.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Yes, made her own point when she said the women do stop and talk with her. What she wants is more time.

    And so there is nothing that prevents any woman who wants to spend more time with the protesters educating themselves from staying there. What there is, is a public safety need to enforce civil access to the reproductive health centers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Steve Aden, from your perspective, why does this case matter? What is important about it?

    STEVEN ADEN, Alliance Defending Freedom: Well, I agree it is a very important case, Judy.

    And the pro-life movement, of which I'm a part and my organization is a part, completely renounces that kind of violence, but that was a long time ago. What we have here is a grandmother who wants to gently and peaceably talk to women about their options, which they won't here in the Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston ordinarily.

    But what the -- the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has done is drawn a literal line in the sidewalk, a line of exclusion around that speech, and said, this far and no further. The sidewalks, the public parks, from the beginning of this country, have been the place where there is the most protection for free speech.

    And this law actually is the first law of its kind that the Supreme Court has encountered where all speech has been banned on a public sidewalk. And that's very dangerous. For a state to have the power to ban the kind of speech that it opposes just because it opposes it is very dangerous. It could do that to any speech.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ilyse Hogue, it is the case that not every state -- in fact, there are many states that don't have this kind of barrier.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Yes, it's only three that do have it, yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, why isn't it -- why is this one so special?

    ILYSE HOGUE: Well, I think we're debating this one because it is up in front of the Supreme Court.

    Look, we have been hearing all week from women who have tried to access clinics, clinic staff, clinic escorts, who say they're not in protected zones. They get spit on. They get shoved off sidewalks. They get people touching them, obstructing them, saying horrible things in their face.

    So it is a problem nationally. And the concern is that if the court shows tolerance for this kind of harassment and intimidation, even though we have seen...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And shrinks the barrier.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Or does away with it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, right.

    ILYSE HOGUE: And even though we have seen that people entering the clinic can hear the protesters, can stop and talk with them, can see them very clearly, that sends a very terrifying message.

    There was a reason this buffer zone was put in place. It was because law enforcement was managing a lot of disruption.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I know you said, Steve Aden, what happened, the violence that happened was a long time ago, but it did happen. And these -- the barrier was set up in response to that.

    STEVEN ADEN: Well, let's be realistic.

    A yellow line on a sidewalk is not going to stop a determined violent individual. That's absurd. What they're trying to stop is the speech of Eleanor McCullen, which they hate, because it cuts into Planned Parenthood's profits.

    The things that she's describing go on more often from the other side of the fence. In fact, when the assistant attorney for Massachusetts and the U.S. solicitor -- the assistant solicitor for the United States were asked to cite examples of disruption in front of abortion clinics, the only disruption they talked about was disruption from pro-choice protesters who were doing those kinds of things. That's very telling.

    ILYSE HOGUE: I have to -- I have to jump in. The violence is not in the past. There were four cases of clinics being burned in 2012.

    While -- what we need to appreciate is that there is an intentional effort to make these grandmothers the face of a movement that has a deep history of harassment and intimidation of women who are also doing nothing but exercising our constitutional rights to safe health care.

    STEVEN ADEN: Judy, let me explain very briefly.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Go ahead, and then I want to go back -- come back to both of you. But go ahead.

    STEVEN ADEN: Ilyse, NARAL and others often say that -- often accuse the pro-life movement of not caring about women.

    Today, there are four times more caring pregnancy resource centers in America as there are abortion clinics. Based on that, you tell me, who cares more about women?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.

    STEVEN ADEN: And that's where the movement is going.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I will let you respond to that, but then I do want to come back to the Supreme Court case.

    STEVEN ADEN: That's where the...

    (CROSSTALK)

    ILYSE HOGUE: No, this is a concerted effort of the anti-choice movement to defund and do away with clinics, because their ultimate goal is to outlaw abortion.

    And the clinics, the centers that Steve is talking about actually has a documented record of lying to women and shaming them about their options.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I don't think we're going to...

    STEVEN ADEN: That's not so.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I know you're saying...

    (CROSSTALK)

    STEVEN ADEN: ... all the options, unlike what they will hear at Planned Parenthood.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Steve Aden, let me come back to you on, is there any any -- any buffer at any distance, closer than this 35 feet, that would be acceptable to your organization?

    STEVEN ADEN: Not on a public sidewalk, Judy.

    It is completely unnecessary and it's absurd. In the case of this law, the lawyers for Massachusetts admitted in the court of appeals that it would stop somebody from wearing a Cleveland Indians baseball cap and walking through the speech exclusion zone. That would be a crime, because it would be -- quote, unquote -- "partisan activity" in a no-speech zone.

    Who needs a law like that? That is ridiculous.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Same question turned around to you, Ilyse Hogue.

    Is it -- would it be acceptable to have a buffer that wasn't 35 feet, that was a different distance?

    ILYSE HOGUE: The Colorado buffer is eight feet. But I think it's -- that's left to law enforcement to determine what they need to assure public safety. And that is what has been done in Massachusetts. That is what the First District Court upheld, and that is what we think is best.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just finally, let me ask you both, if the court goes along with this case and rules to do away with the buffer, what does that mean for the cause of pro-choice?

    ILYSE HOGUE: Well, I mean, I think that what we know is that women will make up their own minds and do everything they can to access the health care that they need.

    But it will send a chilling signal of tolerance to the kind of harassment and intimidation that is really not acceptable for women in this country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, conversely, Steve Aden, if the court goes in the other direction and says the buffer stands, what does that mean for your -- for the anti-abortion movement?

    STEVEN ADEN: Well, that would be very regrettable, because that would be a nail in the coffin of the First Amendment.

    From time immemorial, the public streets, the sidewalks, the parks have been held open for what the Supreme Court has called open, robust and uninhibited debate on important public issues like abortion. If now they -- the state can carve out a zone of exclusion for speech that it disfavors, it can do this not only to pro-lifers, but to any movement. It can do that not labor movement, of which Ilyse is so fond.

    It could do it to any -- the law that benefits Planned Parenthood in Boston could harm Planned Parenthood in Tennessee or any other red state, where they would -- and I don't know how comfortable you are with that, but that's...

    ILYSE HOGUE: And we do, do that already all the time.

    As Marcia mentioned, there's buffers around military funerals, even at both Republican and Democratic National Convention, there were protests.

    STEVEN ADEN: Very, very different circumstances.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we're going to have to leave it there.

    Steve Aden, Ilyse Hogue, we thank you both.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Thank you.

    STEVEN ADEN: A pleasure.

     


    Loading...
    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: More than a year ago, a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an uprising in Benghazi, Libya. The questions about the incident, why it happened, how it happened, whether it could have been avoided, have never completely gone away.

    Today, after dozens of hearings and interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its own bipartisan conclusions.

    Adam Goldman of The Washington Post joins us now to talk about them.

    So, how did the Senate Intelligence Committee's finding differ from what we have heard about? We have heard so much about this Benghazi episode? Was there anything different that they discovered today? 

    ADAM GOLDMAN, The Washington Post: No.

    I think they came to the same conclusion as other reports that what happened in Benghazi was preventable. I think what was new about the report was the detail they went into. And that in itself was extraordinary. The whole report was released.

    And we really got a blow-by-blow of what happened. And there weren't very many redactions in this report.

    GWEN IFILL: In which way -- in what way did they say it was preventable?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: That it was clear -- the report lays out in very clear terms that there was more than enough evidence to suggest that the security environment in Benghazi was deteriorating quickly.

    In fact, there were 20 security incidents in Benghazi in August before, and the State Department had received repeated warnings that the situation was getting worse. And the CIA on the ground, which was operating out of an annex about a mile away from the diplomatic compound, also had major concerns and had done a briefing about terrorism activity in the area.

    GWEN IFILL: And that annex that you mentioned, the military knew nothing about the CIA annex, where this all happened?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Yes, one of the things that the report highlighted was a lack of communication.

    AFRICOM, which is in charge of Africa, didn't know the CIA was operating out of that annex.

    GWEN IFILL: So, were they able to sufficiently protect them even after the event began?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: No.

    The report found that there weren't available resources in the region to respond in case of an emergency. And what the report lays out is a contingent, a military contingent from Tripoli actually responded to what happened. But they don't arrive in Benghazi in the airport until about 1:00. They don't get to the annex itself, which was already under fire, until hours later.

    GWEN IFILL: And they're not notified of this attack by the State Department. So the State Department has dropped the ball here.

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Well, the State Department does notify the CIA at about 9:40 p.m. on September 11. The annex -- people from the annex leave there about 30 minutes later. And when they get there, they are immediately engaged in a firefight.

    GWEN IFILL: There are some amazing details about how that firefight unfolded, including people going to the roof, breaking open a skylight, trying to let air in, in order to rescue the ambassador, who by then was trapped.

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Yes. It was laid out in harrowing detail in some parts of the report, one diplomatic security agent trying to take the ambassador with them and rescue him and go through a window, you know, almost losing consciousness.

    The report points out that the attackers used diesel fuel to light the compound on fire. And there was thick smoke. It was really -- you know, it was really a tough situation.

    GWEN IFILL: Now, the heart of the political argue here has always been about who knew what when and what the cause was of that, of the uprising in the first place. Was there any new light shed on that?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: No.

    One of the things the report says was that September 18, seven days after that -- the attack, the FBI and CIA was able to review security footage and come to the determination there were no protests. They were not ever able to -- and the I.C., the intelligence community, wasn't able to correct the record until six days later, but by that time the narrative had already been set.

    GWEN IFILL: And part of the narrative, at least a couple weeks ago, we heard reports that in fact this wasn't the video, the -- the video that sparked the protest, that there was an al-Qaida link -- or there was not an al-Qaida link. I feel like every time we hear a report about this, it says the opposite of what the last report says.

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Well, I think this is what we know.

    Right now, there wasn't any evidence that core al-Qaida, Zawahri from Pakistan, orchestrated this attack. What we do know is that terrorist organizations did participate in it. So, you know, is it al-Qaida or is it terrorism, and does it really matter?

    GWEN IFILL: We don't know what the link necessarily might be. The title is not the issue.

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Right. And the FBI...

    GWEN IFILL: But it wasn't a spontaneous attack is, I guess, what...

    (CROSSTALK)

    ADAM GOLDMAN: They describe it as opportunistic.

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    ADAM GOLDMAN: And there were elements on the ground in Benghazi that took advantage of this moment. And it's not clear if the militias themselves were actually coordinating.

    GWEN IFILL: Very interesting detail that I had never seen before, which is that in the process of this FBI investigation, 15 witnesses have since been killed?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Not witnesses, people who might have...

    GWEN IFILL: Cooperated?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: ... cooperated or supported the investigation, supported the U.S. And that in itself is chilling.

    And while the report doesn't say Libya was hampering the investigation, I can tell you through my own reporting that Libya has been hampering the investigation.

    GWEN IFILL: The government itself?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Well, and particularly the FBI, which is very, very frustrated. It's been very difficult to interview witnesses on the ground in Libya.

    GWEN IFILL: Which is maybe why it took so long for this report to come out?

    ADAM GOLDMAN: No. I think the minority -- well, the minority view, the Republicans on the committee say in the report it took so long to come out because the White House obstructed it and the State Department didn't provide the information they wanted.

    GWEN IFILL: Adam Goldman of The Washington Post, thank you.

    ADAM GOLDMAN: Thank you.

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the fallout over a big decision that may change how the Web works and the future of so-called net neutrality.

    Hari Sreenivasan is our guide, beginning with some background.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Net neutrality is the idea that broadband Internet service providers, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and others, should treat everything that flows across the Internet equally. That means preventing service providers from creating fast lanes for sites they have business ties with, such as streaming video services like Hulu or Netflix, and slowing access to others, like Amazon.

    It also means not charging more for YouTube and other sites based on their heavier bandwidth use or in exchange for faster speeds, all of which could affect what consumers see online, how fast, and at what price. The principles were set out by the Federal Communications Commission nearly a decade ago.

    The agency enshrined them in its Open Internet Order adopted in 2010. But Verizon sued to challenge the agency's authority, and, yesterday, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found the FCC acted improperly. The 81-page ruling said the agency is wrong to classify Internet service providers as information services, but at the same time regulate them as common carriers, meaning as it does telephone and utility companies.

    While the FCC decides whether to appeal, Amazon and others are watching to see if the broadband networks impose their own rules, favoring some content companies over others.

    For its part, Verizon issued a statement yesterday that said, in part: "Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet. This will not change in light of the court's decision."

    The ruling doesn't apply to wireless services accessed through mobile devices, which represent a growing share of the market.

    We have two views on this.

    From Washington, I'm joined by Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media reform group, and Robert McDowell, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He served as a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission from 2006 to 2013.

    Craig Aaron, I want to start with you.

    You have called this a dangerous development for the free Internet as we know it. Why?

    CRAIG AARON, Free Press: Well, I really think this court decision puts at risk so much of what we love about the Internet.

    With these rules being invalidated, it really leaves consumers at the mercy of phone and cable companies, who are now free to block websites if they want to, interfere with traffic, favor certain sites and services over other sites and services. And I think that's bad news for the average Internet user, that the agency that is supposed to be protecting them has been told it has no oversight of the most important communications network of the 21st century.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert McDowell, you were against these rules even when it was proposed back when you were on the commission. You think it is a good thing.

    ROBERT MCDOWELL, Hudson institute: That's right.

    First of all, thank you for having me on. Apologies to Judy Woodruff for not wearing my Duke University tie tonight.

    (LAUGHTER)

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: But, in any case, actually, I did vote against these.

    Consumers actually have ample protections if there is going to be anti-competitive conduct. Basically, the Internet before December 21, 2010, which was the vote on this order, was blossoming beautifully before that. It is going to blossom beautifully after this, but there are antitrust laws, there are consumer protection laws. The Federal Trade Commission has a lot of authority.

    The Federal Communications Commission actually still has a lot of authority even under this case and through merger reviews and other things. States attorneys general, the plaintiffs bar, if anything is going to happen, there is going to be massive class-action suits. So consumers have a lot of arrows in their quiver to protect them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert McDowell, staying with you for a second, there seems to be an issue in this case on whether the Internet is a luxury or whether it's a utility, like so many other countries around the world perceive it and even parts of America do. So, if it's a utility, should it not be regulated like one?

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: It's neither a luxury nor a utility.

    And I think actually our communication laws need to be updated to reflect this new age. We're still built on a foundation, our laws are still built on a foundation that goes back to 1934, and really the 19th century, of regulating monopolies. And the market is much more dynamic and just different the way it works technologically.

    So I think we need to have a fundamental, constructive conversation with Free Press, myself, anyone who is interested, about how the new laws should look so that consumers are protected and that we also can foster innovation and investment.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Craig Aaron, what about that idea of innovation? And in this particular case does this actually increase or decrease innovation...

    (CROSSTALK)

    CRAIG AARON:  Well, I think it's potentially very harmful to innovation, because the beauty of net neutrality is that it created that even playing field, where anybody out there with a good idea, with a new product or service had just as good a chance as anybody else to find an audience on the Internet.

    You get rid of net neutrality, and all of a sudden all those innovators need the permission of a Verizon or an AT&T or a Time Warner Cable to have their product or service reach an audience. So I really worry that the next Google that is being built out in a garage somewhere today isn't going to get the same chance to build a business, to thrive online that the dominant players have, and that this decision will actually lock in the power of those dominant players over consumers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert McDowell, what about this idea that the cable company or the person that brings me that Internet, the last mile, they have essentially been thought of as almost the infrastructure folks, the piping guys? This seems to give them a tremendous amount of gatekeeper possibility and power.

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: Actually, if a last mile provider were to do what Craig outlines, there are a number of government hammers that would come down on them. That would be sort of a de facto kind of showing of market power and abuse of that power that results in consumer harm.

    And there are a number of laws that would come down to prevent that from happening or to cure it from happening. But you are absolutely right to point out that actually technology is evolving. And things are converging. The concept of the edge, where we have applications and content, is also merging and converging with the so-called core of the Internet, where there are now intelligent networks.

    And we have unlicensed spectrum. We have the wireless broadband market as the fastest growing segment of broadband that we didn't have 10 years ago, when net neutrality first started to become a debate. And so consumers have some choices at their fingertips to help keep the marketplace wonderfully chaotic in a positive and constructive way that I think acts as a counterbalance to any possible incentives for anti-competitive conduct.

    But if there were anti-competitive conduct, again, there are a lot of laws that can be used to help correct that situation.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Craig, what about the idea that the market will take care of it if there is bad behavior?

    CRAIG AARON:  Well, I think the problem is, is that we don't have enough competition.

    Most Americans have at best two choices for high-speed Internet service at home. Many of them are saddled with just a single choice. When all these companies are saying they're going to block or discriminate or are free to block or discriminate, there is really nowhere else for consumers to turn.

    So, I think we need a Federal Communications Commission serving in a role of a watchdog, being on the beat, having the authority to step in if necessary. If there aren't any problems, they won't need to step in. But the idea that we should strip away all these protections and be told by these companies that we should just trust them, I don't think they have yet earned that trust.

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: Can I interject just really quickly?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Sure.

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: Not all of the protections have been stripped away.

    First of all, the court left in place a new body of law under what is something called Section 706, which is untested. The commission has an avenue there. The commission also has a big avenue. Every time one of these Internet service providers has a transaction before the commission, if they want to buy new spectrum, they want to merge with another company, there are merger conditions put in place, like Comcast is living under for the next four years.

    And that can help be a deterrent. So, those are enforceable. There are a lot of tools and a lot of other tools that we don't have time to enumerate, but there are a lot of protections still in place for consumers, I don't want people to be panicking.

    CRAIG AARON:  Well, I think the most important tool, though, is what the FCC should be doing, which is reasserting its authority under the Communications Act.

    The sort of dirty secret of this decision is that it didn't come out against net neutrality. It didn't say that was a bad idea or a bad policy. It said the FCC is doing it wrong. And the reason they lack that authority is because they gave it up themselves during the Bush administration. They abdicated -- abdicated their own authority.

    And they now have an opportunity to set that right. We urged Commissioner McDowell and Chairman Genachowski during his term to do just that. They failed to do it. And now we have this legal mess.

    The cleanest way, the best way would be to restore that authority. And I hope that is what the FCC will do.

    (CROSSTALK)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Robert, briefly, what should the FCC do?

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: Well, I think the FCC should really do an inventory, work with other agencies to do an inventory of all applicable laws that could be used to protect consumers, but also restate its commitment to what we call the multi-stakeholder nongovernmental model of Internet governance.

    Part of the problem of what is going on here is, as we bless more state intervention into the Internet's affairs, this is giving fuel to regimes across the globe to do the same thing, maybe on an international level. I have an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today about that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK.

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: So it's got a lot of collateral damage here.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Robert McDowell, Craig Aaron, thanks for your time.

    ROBERT MCDOWELL: Thank you.

    CRAIG AARON:  Thank you.

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Since at least 2008, the National Security Agency has been using secret technology to hack into and take control of computers not connected to the Internet. These revelations come from the trove of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    Late today, the NSA said in a statement: "Continuous and selective publication of specific techniques and tools used by the NSA to pursue legitimate foreign intelligence targets is detrimental to the security of the United States and our allies."

    Joining me now to discuss what they're talking about that is David Sanger of The New York Times and Cedric Leighton, a former Air Force intelligence officer who served as deputy training director for the NSA in 2009 and 2010.

    Welcome to you both, gentlemen.

    David, tell us about this technology that the NSA was pushing back against in that statement.

    DAVID SANGER, The New York Times: Sure.

    Gwen, the technology solves a big problem that the NSA has long had. Most of its taps into computers, most of its cyber-activity is through those big optical telephone cables that run across the Atlantic and Pacific or through regional networks.

    But what do you do with a computer that is separated from all networks, that an intelligence agency or some other agency, a government or a company might separate out to keep all the data secret? And that's a problem that the NSA has had for years. And they had it in particular with the Iranian computers that were running their nuclear enrichment program.

    And so this technology puts a small radio transmitter into, say, a thumb drive or sometimes even into a circuit board in the compute that can broadcast back to a facility called a nightstand -- it's basically the size of a briefcase -- that would pick up the data and also allow the NSA to insert malware, as they did in the Iranian case.

    GWEN IFILL: Physically insert, presumably in the production process or at some point like that.

    DAVID SANGER: In the production process or maybe in the shipping process, or, you know, a scientist is at a trade show or a scientific conference and gets a thumb drive, or there is a maintenance person who comes in.

    And in the course of my reporting Olympic Games, the program against Iran, it was clear that some device like this had been used back and forth. We withheld a few of the details at that time, at the government's request. But then the Snowden papers came out, and Der Spiegel published some of the details of this several weeks ago.

    GWEN IFILL: In fact, Der Spiegel published an actual catalogue of these kinds of devices.

    DAVID SANGER: That's right.

    GWEN IFILL: So, tell me, Colonel Leighton, how is this used? Is this just simple surveillance just knowing -- for the sake of knowing?

    COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, retired U.S. Air Force: For the most part, it is simple surveillance.

    But it can also be used in -- as a means, as a precursor really to an attack. So, for example, if the United States decides to go into what is known as computer network attack, then they could use the information that is gleaned through technologies like this to serve as the pathway in order to conduct an attack of that type.

    So that's what they're doing. They're looking at -- they're reconnoitering the network. They're doing a reconnaissance mission. And then if they need to attack for whatever policy reason, then they can do so based on the information that they gain from techniques like this.

    GWEN IFILL: Is this -- are techniques like this only limited to potential warfare, or are they limited to keeping an eye on foreign governments, or is it also applicable domestically?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: It is -- technically, it would be applicable domestically, but policy-wise and from a legal standpoint, it is not used domestically. And these techniques are only used for foreign intelligence purposes.

    Now -- at least by the NSA. Now, when it comes to the target set itself, that is based on intelligence priorities. And those intelligence priorities are decided not only by the director of national intelligence, but also in the White House by the president.

    GWEN IFILL: Now, the intelligence priorities we're talking about in this case, China, Russia.

    DAVID SANGER: Right. Right.

    So anything that would deal with terrorism would be an early example. And we published a map -- or we have seen a map -- and I think you will see it up on the Internet as well -- that shows where a number of these computer networks exploitation sites are. Many of them are in the Middle East, as you would expect. But China is a big target, and particularly the Chinese PLA units that are responsible or believed to be responsible for cyber-attacks on the U.S., because this would enable the U.S. to sit on those networks, see an attack massing, and then maybe make a decision about whether they wanted to take a preemptive strike against them.

    Now, we don't have any evidence they have ever done that. The only -- only case where we have really had solid evidence of a major U.S. attack using these kind of techniques is Iran.

    GWEN IFILL: One hundred thousand computers is the latest kind of guesstimate.

    DAVID SANGER: Round number.

    GWEN IFILL: Round number.

    Do we have reason to believe, given that the information we have is some years old, that it's much more than that by now?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: I think one can extrapolate and say that it probably is more than that.

    I'm not sure what the order of magnitude would be, but it's a natural technical progression that the numbers that you are going after in a case like this would increase, just because the proliferation of technology is such and the potential adversaries are much more adept at using technologies. So it's just natural that we would be interested in finding out what they're doing, how they are doing it and to what devices they're using.

    GWEN IFILL: How different is this than the kind of action, behavior, surveillance that we accuse other governments of doing to us? And we say, that's a bad, bad thing. How is it different than, the way we are doing it?

    DAVID SANGER: It is a fascinating question, Gwen.

    And this went to one of the NSA's statements to us as we were preparing the story. They wouldn't talk about the technology itself, but they did say that they thought this was quite different from the kind of activities that a country like China participates in. They have said that China comes in and steals intellectual property from American companies.

    Certainly, all the evidence seems to suggest that's the case. The U.S. says, if it conducts this kind of activity, it's only in its national security interests. Now, the problem with this argument is that if you ask the Chinese, the search for economic secrets, for manufacturing secrets, for any of the things they're looking for from, say, Boeing or Lockheed or an American electronics company, is in their mind part of their national security.

    And it's one of the reasons that there's been some of this dialogue.

    GWEN IFILL: Matter of definition.

    DAVID SANGER: Yes.

    And so this -- President Obama says, no, we don't engage in this kind of thing. And the Chinese say, well, you're engaging in something that uses very similar techniques.

    GWEN IFILL: Colonel Leighton, in your experience, how do you balance this out, the dangerous potential and the lines we walk up to diplomatically vs. the usefulness of a tool like this?

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: Well, Gwen, it's -- that is really the $64,000 question when it comes to this.

    So, from the military standpoint -- and we all have to keep in mind that NSA is technically a combat support agency in the Department of Defense. So that means that their primary mission should always be to support military forces.

    So, from an intelligence and military support perspective, it becomes very important to prosecute war efforts, especially in this day and age, when cyber-war is not just a theory. It is actually a reality out there. And because cyber-war is a reality, you have to have the techniques and procedures that allow you to engage in at least defensive aspects of cyber-warfare, but also need to be able to switch to offense in order to have a credible deterrent.

    And that is something that the United States has to wrestle with very, very carefully, because we're not only plotting new ground, but we're also going into a situation where the legal constraints have not kept pace with the technology as it currently exists today.

    GWEN IFILL: Definitely peeling back the skin on an onion.

    Colonel Cedric Leighton, David Sanger, national security correspondent for The New York Times, thank you both very much.

    DAVID SANGER: Thank you.

    CEDRIC LEIGHTON: My pleasure, Gwen. Thank you.

     


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is the week that Congress appears to be ready to pass a new budget.

    While there's relief among many to see some kind of agreement, the size of the country's debt and deficit remains a major concern.

    And that brings us to our closing story tonight, a profile of a popular economic forecaster whose concerns about those issues and the direction of the economy has inspired him to change his life.

    NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman has a report, part of his ongoing series Making Sense of financial news.

    CHRIS MARTENSON, PeakProsperity.com: Welcome to the Peak Prosperity podcast.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Meet Chris Martenson, author, speaker and consultant to organizations ranging from the U.N., to corporations, investment funds and foundations.

    With his video "Crash Course" on the economy pulling more than three million views on YouTube, he's become a popular symbol of deep economic discontent.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: If you want to know where the global economy is headed...

    PAUL SOLMAN: In 2003, Martenson, a Ph.D. neuroscientist with an MBA, was a high-level big pharma executive with all the perks, big salary, big boat, big house in Connecticut. But, increasingly, he worried about the cost of big government, paid for by America's annual deficits, hiking our cumulative national debt.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: We are growing our debts at somewhere between 8 and 9 percent per year, and the underlying economy is about half that. If the whole nation does that, how does the nation not get in trouble?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Of course, this is the Republican refrain of the moment, insisting it's why the debt ceiling shouldn't be automatically raised.

    But a decade ago, Martenson was already taking action, selling everything, easing out of his job, moving his family to rural Massachusetts, where and he his wife, Becca, would homeschool their children, all based on Chris's own dire economic forecast.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: I'm absolutely mathematically certain about this, that if we do not willingly, on our own terms as a nation, get our debt levels under control, eventually, those chickens will come home to roost.

    PAUL SOLMAN: In the decade that Chris and Becca have been tending their flock, though, debt-bedeviled America has paid an effective interest rate of less than zero, if you subtract inflation and the usual cost of borrowing money.

    So, after all these years, those worried about the risk of a debt collapse are sounding like, well, Chicken Little.

    Didn't you think that was already going to have happened?

    CHRIS MARTENSON: I think it has happened. I think it's happened in Detroit. I think it's happened in Stockton. When you look at the number of houses on food stamps, when you look at the mean duration of unemployment hovering between 30 and 40 weeks, which is hiding all the people at 99 weeks who got popped off the rolls, did I think it might happen a little faster? Yes, absolutely.

    You take me from 10 years ago, drop me in this chair, and tell me what the Federal Reserve has done in the last two years, my hair would catch on fire and I would run out the door, right?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Martenson means the Fed's creation of more than $2 trillion.

    But it hasn't just been the growth of government debt and dollars that spooked Chris Martenson. What differentiates him from the chorus of complaint we have been hearing lately is his rejection of economic growth itself.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: We have an economy that's based on growth. We want jobs to grow. We would like to see more auto sales next year. We want more houses sold. And it's always on a percentage basis.

    So even if our economy is growing at just 3 percent a year, we are going to be doubling it every 24 hour years, right? So, how many more times can the world be twice as big?

    PAUL SOLMAN: And when growth stops?

    Anticipating the financial turmoil that might follow, Martenson paid off all his debts, bought gold, and built a business Web site, book, speaking engagements, sounding an alarm that rejects most of how America has been going about its business.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: What is wealth? When I say wealth, sometimes, people think money, but money is not wealth. It is a way to store wealth. Primary sources of wealth, that would be rich soils, a thick stand of trees, rich fishing waters. That is primary wealth.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And, yes, the preacher puts his secular sermons into practice, with a vegetable garden and orchard for food -- Chris has lost some 30 pounds in the process -- solar panels for comfort.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: These are the kinds of investments that make a lot of sense to me, because they're tangible, I understand them. It's different than sending my money off to Wall Street and crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

    BECCA MARTENSON, wife:The hardest thing about the transition was explaining to people in my family and my community what we were doing, because they really thought we were crazy.

    PAUL SOLMAN: At first, his wife thought Chris was crazy, too, but Becca Martenson began to study.

    What did you read that most impressed you or had the biggest impact on you?

    BECCA MARTENSON: The book called "The Creature from Jekyll Island," which describes our money system and how money is created. That was just such an eye-opener for me.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So you hadn't realized that money was just created out of thin air?

    BECCA MARTENSON: No. That is not something that is commonly known, really, in our culture. It's certainly not taught. It's not talked about. And it's true.

    PAUL SOLMAN: It is true, but, to many a conventional economist, kind of trivial. But, of course, to skeptics, the Fed is the so-called creature from Jekyll Island.

    And, yes, money creation without anything to restrain it can run riot, Germany in the 1920s, Zimbabwe more recently. And so, even though U.S. inflation has remained but a blip for decades, it's easy to picture the worst.

    ACTOR: They are going to print a ton of money.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Which may explain why this viral video mocking the Fed's policy has become perhaps the most popular economic explainer ever.

    ACTRESS: Why do they call it the quantitative easing? Why don't they just call it the printing money?

    ACTOR: Because the printing money is the last refuge of failed economic empires and banana republics, and the Fed doesn't want to admit this is their only idea.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The mass appeal of such skepticism may help explain right-wing budget intransigence today.

    But Chris and Becca Martenson are not simply austerity scolds or Fed-aphobes. When it comes to what we should do, they sound like the small-is-beautiful crowd that flourished on the left in the 1970s.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: Whoa, that was heavy.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So the evangelist of hard money and small government also proselytizes for renewable energy.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: And, if we deployed it, we would be burning less fossil fuels by a lot. We would be putting less carbon into the atmosphere. All of it could be domestically manufactured.

    PAUL SOLMAN: When you talk to conservative audiences, and you start talking about national investment in alternative energy, don't they at the very least look at you funny, if not start hissing?

    CHRIS MARTENSON: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

    But this is not a left-right issue. I don't take left-right positions. If it saves money, it creates jobs, it enhances national security, it's good for the environment, who could be against that?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, people who think that government shouldn't be so involved in making decisions for us.

    CHRIS MARTENSON: But if -- if the choice was, listen, we were going to print up $2.4 trillion, and we were either going give it to the banks or we were going to do something else with it, I think this would be something else.

    We will muddle through, but one thing we're not going to muddle through with is an exponential economy that needs more, more, more all the time.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Suppose you are wrong about the debt. What evidence would you then offer to suggest that we're not on the right track?

    CHRIS MARTENSON: If I had to give just a one-word summary, it's unsustainable.

    In my own life, I have cut my standard of living in half. I have doubled my quality of life. I'm not saying everybody should do that or I'm admirable because of it. But I have learned that we can do things far more he efficiently and effectively and have better outcomes. And why wouldn't we do that?

    PAUL SOLMAN: In the end, Chris Martenson may be just another economic doomsayer with an enthusiastic online following.

    But his popularity and his voicing of the disaffections of Americans right and left alike suggest he may instead be a wishful throwback to the American tradition of simple self-reliance in the face of an ever more complex, impersonal global economy, an economy that could turn out to be unsustainable.

     


    0 0

    This year will be Ellen Degeneres second time as host of the Academy Awards. Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

    The announcements are in! This year's Oscar nominations were released Thursday morning by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    "American Hustle" and "Gravity" lead the pack with 10 nominations and "12 Years a Slave" is not far behind with nine. Those films will be competing in many of the same categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.

    The 86th Academy Awards will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres on March 2.

    Until then, the nominees for this year's Oscars are ...

    Best Picture

    Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave." Courtesy Fox Searchlight

    "American Hustle;" Produced by Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon "Captain Phillips;" Produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers "Dallas Buyers Club;" Produced by Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers "Gravity;" Produced by Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers "Her;" Produced by Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers "Nebraska;" Produced by Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers "Philomena;" Produced by Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers "12 Years a Slave;" Produced by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers "The Wolf of Wall Street;" Nominees to be determined

    Best Actor in a Leading Role Christian Bale; "American Hustle" Bruce Dern; "Nebraska" Leonardo DiCaprio; "The Wolf of Wall Street" Chiwetel Ejiofor; "12 Years a Slave" Matthew McConaughey; "Dallas Buyers Club"

    Best Actress in a Leading Role Amy Adams; "American Hustle" Cate Blanchett; "Blue Jasmine" Sandra Bullock; "Gravity" Judi Dench; "Philomena" Meryl Streep; "August: Osage County"

    Best Actor in a Supporting Role Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips" Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle" Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave" Jonah Hill; "The Wolf of Wall Street" Jared Leto; "Dallas Buyers Club"

    Best Actress in a Supporting Role Sally Hawkins; "Blue Jasmine" Jennifer Lawrence; "American Hustle Lupita Nyong'o; "12 Years a Slave" Julia Roberts; "August: Osage County" June Squibb; "Nebraska"

    Best Animated Feature "The Croods;" Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson "Despicable Me 2;" Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri "Ernest & Celestine;" Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner "Frozen;" Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho "The Wind Rises;" Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki Best Animated Short Film "Feral;" Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden "Get a Horse!" Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim "Mr. Hublot;" Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares "Possessions;" Shuhei Morita "Room on the Broom;" Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

    Best Cinematography "The Grandmaster;" Philippe Le Sourd "Gravity;" Emmanuel Lubezki "Inside Llewyn Davis;" Bruno Delbonnel "Nebraska;" Phedon Papamichael "Prisoners;" Roger A. Deakins

    Best Costume Design "American Hustle;" Michael Wilkinson "The Grandmaster;" William Chang Suk Ping "The Great Gatsby;" Catherine Martin "The Invisible Woman;" Michael O'Connor "12 Years a Slave;" Patricia Norris

    Best Director "American Hustle;" David O. Russell "Gravity;" Alfonso Cuarón "Nebraska;" Alexander Payne "12 Years a Slave;" Steve McQueen "The Wolf of Wall Street;" Martin Scorsese

    Best Documentary Feature

    A scene with Anwar Congo from the documentary, The Act of Killing. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

    "The Act of Killing;" Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen "Cutie and the Boxer;" Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher "Dirty Wars;" Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill "The Square;" Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer "20 Feet from Stardom;" Nominees to be determined

    Best Documentary Short "CaveDigger;" Jeffrey Karoff "Facing Fear;" Jason Cohen "Karama Has No Walls;" Sara Ishaq "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life;" Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed "Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall;" Edgar Barens

    Best Film Editing "American Hustle;" Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten "Captain Phillips;" Christopher Rouse "Dallas Buyers Club;" John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa "Gravity;" Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger "12 Years a Slave;" Joe Walker

    Best Foreign Language Film "The Broken Circle Breakdown;" Belgium "The Great Beauty;" Italy "The Hunt;" Denmark "The Missing Picture;" Cambodia "Omar;" Palestine

    Best Live Action Short Film "Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me);" Esteban Crespo "Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything);" Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras "Helium;" Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson "Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?);" Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari "The Voorman Problem;" Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling

    Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in "Dallas Buyers Club." Courtesy Focus Features

    "Dallas Buyers Club;" Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa;" Stephen Prouty "The Lone Ranger;" Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

    Best Original Score "The Book Thief;" John Williams "Gravity;" Steven Price "Her;" William Butler and Owen Pallett "Philomena;" Alexandre Desplat "Saving Mr. Banks;" Thomas Newman

    Best Original Song "Alone Yet Not Alone" from "Alone Yet Not Alone" -- Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" -- Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams "Let it Go" from "Frozen" -- Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez "The Moon Song" from "Her" -- Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" -- Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

    Best Production Design

    Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle." Photo by Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Productions

    "American Hustle;" Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration) "Gravity;" Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration) "The Great Gatsby;" Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration) "Her;" K.K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration) "12 Years a Slave;" Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration)

    Best Sound Editing "All Is Lost;" Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns "Captain Phillips;" Oliver Tarney "Gravity;" Glenn Freemantle "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug;" Brent Burge "Lone Survivor;" Wylie Stateman

    Best Sound Mixing "Captain Phillips;" Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro "Gravity;" Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug;" Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson "Inside Llewyn Davis;" Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland "Lone Survivor;" Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

    Best Visual Effects "Gravity;" Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug;" Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds "Iron Man 3;" Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick "The Lone Ranger;" Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier "Star Trek Into Darkness;" Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

    Best Adapted Screenplay "Before Midnight;" Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke "Captain Phillips;" Screenplay by Billy Ray "Philomena;" Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope "12 Years a Slave;" Screenplay by John Ridley "The Wolf of Wall Street;" Screenplay by Terence Winter

    Best Original Screenplay "American Hustle;" Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell "Blue Jasmine;" Written by Woody Allen "Dallas Buyers Club;" Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack "Her;" Written by Spike Jonze "Nebraska;" Written by Bob Nelson


    Loading...

older | 1 | .... | 313 | 314 | (Page 315) | 316 | 317 | .... | 1175 | newer


Loading...