Archive for the Law Category

Tax haven data leak reverberates around globe

Posted in Conspiracy, Finance, Law, Politics on April 4, 2016 by betweentwopines

38 media outlets probing one of biggest ever leaks of financial data

Last Updated: April 3, 2013

A massive leak of financial data to media outlets around the globe has spurred a series of investigations into offshore banking and tax havens. Documents detailing secret accounts were leaked to the Washington, D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The non-profit group granted 38 media organizations access to the database. Corporate moguls, property tycoons, lawyers and politicians are under scrutiny in the international investigation. Go to SOURCE  for map and select the red marker to open a window to read more about the investigations in each country.
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Go to Prison for File Sharing? That’s What Hollywood Wants in the Secret TPP Deal

Posted in Computer, Conspiracy, Law on April 6, 2015 by betweentwopines

By Maira Sutton


The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States’ excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.

Here, we’d like to explore yet another set of rules in TPP that will chill users’ rights. Those are the criminal enforcement provisions, which based upon the latest leak from May 2014 is still a contested and unresolved issue. It’s about whether users could be jailed or hit with debilitating fines over allegations of copyright infringement.

Dangerously Low Threshold of Criminality

The US is pushing for a broad definition of a criminal violation of copyright, where even noncommercial activities could get people convicted of a crime. The leak also shows that Canada has opposed this definition. Canada supports language in which criminal remedies would only apply to cases where someone infringed explicitly for commercial purposes.

This distinction is crucial. Commercial infringement, where an infringer sells unauthorized copies of content for financial gain, is and should be a crime. But that’s not what the US is pushing for—it’s trying to get language passed in TPP that would make a criminal out of anyone who simply shares or otherwise makes available copyrighted works on a “commercial scale.”

As anyone who has ever had a meme go viral knows, it is very easy to distribute content on a commercial scale online, even without it being a money-making operation. That means fans who distribute subtitles to foreign movies or anime, or archivists and librarians who preserve and upload old books, videos, games, or music, could go to jail or face huge fines for their work. Someone who makes a remix film and puts it online could be under threat. Such a broad definition is ripe for abuse, and we’ve seen such abuse happen many times before.

Fair use, and other copyright exceptions and limitations frameworks like fair dealing, have been under constant attack by rightsholder groups who try to undermine and chip away at our rights as users to do things with copyrighted content. Given this reality, these criminal enforcement rules could go further to intimidate and discourage users from exercising their rights to use and share content for purposes such as parody, education, and access for the disabled.

Penalties That Must be “Sufficiently High”

The penalties themselves could be enough to intimidate and punish users in a way that is grossly disproportionate to the crime. Based upon the leak, which showed no opposition in key sections, it seems TPP negotiators have already agreed to more vague provisions that would oblige countries to enact prison sentences and monetary fines that are “sufficiently high” to deter people from infringing again. Here is the text:

penalties that include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity;

Already in manycountries, criminal punishments for copyright grossly outweigh penalties for acts that are comparatively more harmful to others. So the question as to what crimes copyright infringement corresponds to in “gravity” is obscure. What’s more alarming is that countries without existing criminal penalties or whose penalties are not “sufficiently high” to satisfy the US government, may be forced to enact harsher rules. The US Trade Representative (USTR) could use the certification process, at the behest of rightsholder groups, to arm-twist nations into passing more severe penalties, even after the TPP is signed and ratified. The USTR has had a long history of pressuring other nations into enacting extreme IP policies, so it would not be out of the realm of possibility.

Property Seizure and Asset Forfeiture

The TPP’s copyright provisions even require countries to enable judges to unilaterally order the seizure, destruction, or forfeiture of anything that can be “traceable to infringing activity”, has been used in the “creation of pirated copyright goods”, or is “documentary evidence relevant to the alleged offense”. Under such obligations, law enforcement could become ever more empowered to seize laptops, servers, or even domain names.

Domain name seizure in the name of copyright enforcement is not new to us in the US, nor to people running websites from abroad. But these provisions open the door to the passage of ever more oppressive measures to enable governments to get an order from a judge to seize websites and devices. The provision also says that the government can act even without a formal complaint from the copyright holder. So in places where the government chooses to use the force of copyright to censor its critics, this could be even more disastrous.

Criminalization of Getting Around DRM

We’ve continued to raise this issue, but it’s always worth mentioning—the TPP exports the United States’ criminal laws on digital rights management, or DRM. The TPP could lead to policies where users will be charged with crimes for circumventing, or sharing knowledge or tools on how to circumvent DRM for financial gain as long as they have “reasonable ground to know” that it’s illegal to do so. Chile, however, opposes this vague language because it could lead to criminal penalties for innocent users.

The most recent leak of the Intellectual Property chapter revealed new exceptions that would let public interest organizations—such as libraries and educational institutions—get around DRM to access copyrighted content for uses protected by fair use or fair dealing, or content that may simply be in the public domain. But even if it’s legal, it would be difficult for them to get around DRM since they may not be equipped with the knowledge to do it on their own. If someone else tries to do a public service for them by creating these tools for legally-protected purposes, they could still be put in jail or face huge fines.

Conclusion

Like the various other digital copyright enforcement provisions in TPP, the criminal enforcement language loosely reflects the United States’ DMCA but is abstracted enough that the US can pressure other nations to enact rules that are much worse for users. It’s therefore far from comforting when the White House claims that the TPP’s copyright rules would not “change US law”—we’re still exporting bad rules to other nations, while binding ourselves to obligations that may prevent US lawmakers from reforming it for the better. These rules were passed in the US through cycles of corrupt policy laundering. Now, the TPP is the latest step in this trend of increasingly draconian copyright rules passing through opaque, corporate-captured processes.

These excessive criminal copyright rules are what we get when Big Content has access to powerful, secretive rule-making institutions. We get rules that would send users to prison, force them to pay debilitating fines, or have their property seized or destroyed in the name of copyright enforcement. This is yet another reason why we need to stop the TPP—to put an end to this seemingly endless progression towards ever more chilling copyright restrictions and enforcement.

If you’re in the US, please call on your representatives to oppose Fast Track for TPP and other undemocratic trade deals with harmful digital policies.

Source :  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/go-prison-sharing-files-thats-what-hollywood-wants-secret-tpp-deal/

If Obamacare Is As Bad As You Say, Then Give Back Money You Made As Advisor

Posted in Health, Law, Politics on November 17, 2014 by betweentwopines

BOB SCHIEFFER: I was dumbstruck when I heard the comments that are surfacing from an economist named Jonathan Gruber, who was paid four hundred thousand dollars to help shape the President’s health care plan. First, he allowed his health plan passed only because of a lack of transparency and this is a direct quote, “the stupidity of the American people.” Then Friday our Nancy Cordes found a couple of other things he said going back to 2011.

JONATHAN GRUBER: First by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people and we all know it’s really a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And there was this about Massachusetts health care plan.

JONATHAN GRUBER: The dirty secret in Massachusetts is the Feds pay for our bill. Okay. Ted Kennedy and smart people in Massachusetts had basically figured out way to sort of rip off the Feds for about four hundred million dollars a year.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I’ll be honest, while I favor health insurance, I am not wild about the new plan and how it became law either. But here is my question for Mister Gruber. If all this was as bad as you say, why did you take the money you earned as an advisor, nor is it too late to give it back? What we have here is another example of the sorry state of American politics where people take money for things in which they don’t believe and whether it’s good for the American people is not even a question. As for the President he may want to consider that old politician’s prayer, Lord, I can take care of my enemies; just protect me from my friends.

Russell Napier Declares November 16, 2014 The Day Money Dies

Posted in Conspiracy, Finance, Law on November 17, 2014 by betweentwopines

By Tyler Durden

 

From Russell Napier of ERIC

It is with regret and sadness we announce the death of money on November 16th 2014 in Brisbane, Australia

‘A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound
A buck or a pound
A buck or a pound
Is all that makes the world go ’round;
That clinking, clanking sound
Can make the world go ’round.’

“Money” from Cabaret by Kander & Ebb

In the musical Cabaret, Sally Bowles and the Emcee sing about money from the perspective of those witnessing its collapse in value in real terms in the great German hyperinflation of 1923.

Less than a decade later, and a continent away, a young lawyer from Youngstown, Ohio noted on July 25th 1932 how money’s value could also fall in nominal terms:

“A considerable traffic has grown up in Youngstown in purchase and sale at a discount of Pass-Books on the Dollar Bank, City Trust and Home Savings Banks. Prices vary from 60% to 70% cash. All of these banks are now open but are not paying out funds.”

      The Great Depression – A Diary: Benjamin Roth (first published 2009)

In Youngstown the bank deposit, an asset previously referred to as “money”, had fallen by up to 40% relative to the value of cash. The G20 announcement in Brisbane on November 16th will formalize a “bail in” for large-scale depositors raising the spectre that their deposits are, as many were in 1932, worth less than banknotes. It will be very clear that the value of bank deposits can fall in nominal terms.

On Sunday in Brisbane the G20 will announce that bank deposits are just part of commercial banks’ capital structure, and also that they are far from the most senior portion of that structure. With deposits then subjected to a decline in nominal value following a bank failure, it is self-evident that a bank deposit is no longer money in the way a banknote is. If a banknote cannot be subjected to a decline in nominal value, we need to ask whether banknotes can act as a superior store of value than bank deposits? If that is the case, will some investors prefer banknotes to bank deposits as a form of savings? Such a change in preference is known as a “bank run.”

Each country will introduce its own legislation to effect the ‘ bail-in’ agreed by the G20 this coming weekend. The consultation document from the UK’s Treasury lists the following bank creditors who will rank ABOVE depositors in a ‘failing’ financial institution:

  • Liabilities representing protected deposits (in the UK the government guarantee protects 100% of deposits up to the value of GBP85,000)
  • any liability, so far as it is secured
  • Liabilities that the bank has by virtue of holding client assets
  • Liabilities arising with an original maturity of less than 7 days owed by the banks to a credit institution or investment firm
  • Liabilities arising from participation in designated settlement systems
  • Liabilities owed to central counterparties recognized by the European Securities and Markets Authorities… on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade depositaries
  • Liabilities owed to an employee or former employee in relation to salary or other remuneration, except variable remuneration
  • Liabilities owed to an employee or former employee in relation to rights under a pension scheme, except rights to discretionary benefits
  • Liabilities owed to creditors arising from the provision to the bank of goods or service (other than financial services) that are critical to the daily functioning of its operations

The above list makes it clear that deposits larger than GBP85,000 will rank ahead of the bond holders of banks, but they will rank above little else. Importantly, both borrowings of the banks of less than 7 days maturity from other financial institutions and sums owed by banks in their role as counterparties to OTC derivatives will rank above large deposits.

Large deposits at banks are no longer money, as this legislation will formally push them down through the capital structure to a position of material capital risk in any “failing” institution. In our last financial crisis, deposits were de facto guaranteed by the state, but from November 16th holders of large-scale deposits will be, both de facto and de jure, just another creditor squabbling over their share of the assets of a failed bank.

Interestingly, HM Treasury uses the word ‘failing’ rather than “failed” in its consultation document and investors could find their large deposits frozen for a prolonged period in any “failing” institution while the courts unpick the capital structure and decide exactly where any losses should fall.

If we have another Lehman Brothers collapse, large-scale depositors could find themselves in the courts for years before final adjudication on the scale of their losses could be established. During this period would this illiquid asset, formerly called a deposit and now subject to an unknown capital loss, be considered money? Clearly it would not, as its illiquidity and likely decline in nominal value would make it unacceptable as a medium of exchange.

From November 16th 2014 the large-scale deposit at a commercial bank is, at best, a lesser form of money, and to many it will cease to be money at all as its nominal value can fall and it could cease to be accepted as a medium of exchange.

Fortunately, the developed world’s commercial banks are flush with central bank reserves and these are instantly convertible into the banknotes which they may need to meet demand from depositors. While the huge level of reserves on the balance sheet is a buffer, the funding of fractional reserve banks is still very negatively impacted by a shift from deposits to bank notes. With deflationary forces gathering momentum, this further impediment to the extension of commercial bank credit would be another factor preventing central bank monetary largesse translating into growth and inflation.

As the world’s smartest lawyer Charlie Munger is fond of saying, “Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” Some simple mathematics reveals that the November 16th announcement will create a very major incentive for investors to change deposits into banknotes.

Consider that the standard pallet measures 1 metre by 1.2 metres and will take 84 piles of Euro 500 banknotes. The UK’s Health and Safety Executive recommends that the height of a pallet should not exceed the widest side of its base. A 1.2 metre high pile of banknotes contains 11,000 notes and thus each pallet can safely hold 84 piles of 11,000 banknotes. A pallet of safely stacked 924,000 Euro 500 banknotes is therefore worth Euro462m.

There is a small warehouse for rent near Newry, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. Given its dimensions (16.5m x 9.0m x 5.6m) one could stack 468 pallets of 500 Euro notes representing Euro 216bn. At the current bank deposit rate of minus 50bp per annum, the cost of carry to have Euro 216bn on deposit with a commercial bank would be Euro 1,081m. The annual cost of the warehousing space is around Euro 7,000!

Now clearly this warehouse will need significant private security, but in Northern Ireland there is an over supply of such security due to a structural change in market conditions, and prices are reasonable. Anyway, just how much security could you afford if you charged clients 20bp to hold their Euro 216bn, and generated an annual fee of Euro432 million, with an annual saving to your clients of about Euro 648 million?

This represents both a yield improvement and a significant improvement in capital risk compared to bank deposits, as bank notes cannot be “bailed in.” There is therefore an annual profit of around Euro432 million for the manager with a warehouse and friends in low places. Anyone for the “Mourne Or Newry Enhanced Yield Banknote Actively Guarded Security”, or MONEY BAGS for short?

As ever, there is a first-mover advantage. There are only about 600 million 500 Euro notes available, though sizeable arbitrage profits still exist on warehouses full of 200 Euro notes. As the function of such warehouses is focused on the role of money as a store of value, a role no longer fulfilled by the large-scale deposit, one should expect a premium to develop, and potentially a secondary market in note-filled, well-protected warehouses. For warehouses full of German Euro notes — those are the ones with a serial number beginning in X — a particularly high premium may arise due to risks of a future Euro break-up.

Irish legend tells of an X at the end of the rainbow marking the position of a pot of gold. In our post- Brisbane world, investors may be content to find just a bundle of paper marked with an X.

Oh, Mary, this London’s a wonderful sight
With people here working by day and by night.
They don’t sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat,
But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street

 

At least when I asked them, that’s what I was told,
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold,
But for all that I’ve found there, I might as well be
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to
the sea.’

Percy French 1854-1920

 

Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-12/russell-napier-declares-november-16-2014-day-money-dies

 

Related:

The Real Reason Why Germany Halted Its Gold Repatriation From The NY Fed

“… the gold community paid great attention to the decision of the German Bundesbank to “bring German gold home”. At the beginning of 2013, the Bundesbank announced it would repatriate 300 tonnes of gold stored in the US by 2020. It is well behind schedule, citing logistical difficulties. Yet diplomatic difficulties are more likely to be the chief cause of the delay, especially seeing as the Bundesbank has proven its capacity to organise large-scale gold transports. In the early 2000s, the Bundesbank incrementally repatriated 930 tonnes of German gold held by the Bank of England.”

9 Of The Biggest Myths People Believe About ‘The System’

In The West today we see mass delusion everywhere. People seem to believe their governments are almighty beings capable of performing magic – water into wine, debt into wealth. Here are some of the biggest myths we see in the system today

 

Follow above stories at http://www.zerohedge.com/

Government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots

Posted in Conspiracy, Law, Military, Politics on July 24, 2014 by betweentwopines

By Spencer Ackerman

• Human Rights Watch documents ‘sting’ operations
• Report raises questions about post-9/11 civil rights

FBI
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies attempt to stop terrorist plots before they occur. Photograph: Michael Sohn/AP

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.

Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report alleges.

Out of the 494 cases related to terrorism the US has tried since 9/11, the plurality of convictions – 18% overall – are not for thwarted plots but for “material support” charges, a broad category expanded further by the 2001 Patriot Act that permits prosecutors to pursue charges with tenuous connections to a terrorist act or group.

In one such incident, the initial basis for a material-support case alleging a man provided “military gear” to al-Qaida turned out to be waterproof socks in his luggage.

Several cases featured years-long solitary confinement for accused terrorists before their trials. Some defendants displayed signs of mental incapacity. Jurors for the 2007 plot to attack the Fort Dix army base, itself influenced by government informants, were anonymous, limiting defense counsel’s ability to screen out bias.

Human Rights Watch’s findings call into question the post-9/11 shift taken by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies toward stopping terrorist plots before they occur. While the vast majority of counterterrorism tactics involved are legally authorized, particularly after Congress and successive administrations relaxed restrictions on law enforcement and intelligence agencies for counterterrorism, they suggest that the government’s zeal to protect Americans has in some cases morphed into manufacturing threats.

The report focuses primarily on 27 cases and accordingly stops short of drawing systemic conclusions. It also finds several trials and convictions for “deliberate attempts at terrorism or terrorism financing” that it does not challenge.

The four high-profile domestic plots it found free of government involvement were the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing; Najibullah Zazi’s 2009 plot to bomb the New York subway; the attempted Times Square carbombing of 2010; and the 2002 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport’s El Al counter.

But the report is a rare attempt at a critical overview of a system often touted by the Obama administration and civil libertarian groups as a rigorous, capable and just alternative to the military tribunals and indefinite detention advocated by conservative critics. It comes as new pressure mounts on a variety of counterterrorism practices, from the courtroom use of warrantless surveillance to the no-fly list and law enforcement’s “suspicious activity reports” database.

In particular, Human Rights Watch examines the extent and impact of law enforcement’s use of terrorism informants, who can both steer people into attempted acts of violence and chill religious or civic behaviour in the communities they penetrate.

Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social services agency, told the Guardian she almost has a “radar for informants” sent to infiltrate her Brooklyn community.

While the FBI has long relied on confidential informants to alert them to criminal activity, for terrorism cases informants insert themselves into Muslim mosques, businesses and community gatherings and can cajole people toward a plot “who perhaps would never have participated in a terrorist act on their own initiative”, the study found.

Many trade information for cash. The FBI in 2008 estimated it had 15,000 paid informants. About 30% of post-9/11 terrorism cases are considered sting operations in which informants played an “active role” in incubating plots leading to arrest, according to studies cited in the Human Rights Watch report. Among those roles are making comments “that appeared designed to inflame the targets” on “politically sensitive” subjects, and pushing operations forward if a target’s “opinions were deemed sufficiently troubling”.

Entrapment, the subject of much FBI criticism over the years, is difficult to prove in court. The burden is on a defendant to show he or she was not “predisposed” to commit a violent act, even if induced by a government agent. Human Rights Watch observes that standard focuses attention “not on the crime, but on the nature of the subject”, often against a backdrop where “inflammatory stereotypes and highly charged characterizations of Islam and foreigners often prevail”.

Among the informants themselves there is less ambiguity. “It is all about entrapment,” Craig Monteilh, one such former FBI informant tasked with mosque infiltration, told the Guardian in 2012.

Informants, the study found, sometimes overcome their targets’ stated objections to engage in terrorism. A man convicted in 2006 of attempting to bomb the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan told an informant who concocted the plot he would have to check with his mother and was uncomfortable planting the bombs himself. One member of the “Newburgh Four” plot to attack synagogues and military planes – whose case is the subject of an HBO documentary airing on Monday – told his informant “maybe my mission hasn’t come yet”.

Once in court, terrorism cases receive evidentiary and pre-trial leeway rarely afforded to non-terrorism cases. A federal judge in Virginia permitted into evidence statements made by a defendant while in a Saudi jail in which the defendant, Amed Omar Abu Ali, alleged torture, a longstanding practice in Saudi Arabia. The evidence formed the basis for a conviction, and eventually a life sentence, for conspiracy to assassinate George W Bush. Mohammed Warsame, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, was held in solitary confinement for five years before his trial.

Another implication of the law-enforcement tactics cited the report is a deepening alienation of American Muslims from a government that publicly insists it needs their support to head off extremism but secretly deploys informants to infiltrate mosques and community centers.

“The best way to prevent violent extremism inspired by violent jihadists is to work with the Muslim American community – which has consistently rejected terrorism – to identify signs of radicalization and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence. And these partnerships can only work when we recognize that Muslims are a fundamental part of the American family,” Obama said in a high-profile 2013 speech.

Yet the Obama administration has needed to purge Islamophobic training materials from FBI counterterrorism, which sparked deep suspicion in US Muslim communities. It is now conducting a review of similar material in the intelligence community after a document leaked by Edward Snowden used the slur “Mohammed Raghead” as a placeholder for Muslims.

 

Source:   http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/21/government-agents-directly-involved-us-terror-plots-report

A Lawsuit Could Destroy Obamacare In These 36 States Business Insider By Katie Jennings

Posted in Health, Law, Medicine, Science, Warnings on July 21, 2014 by betweentwopines

By Business Insider  Katie Jennings
obamacare

 

REUTERS

A lawsuit challenging Obamacare subsidies has the potential to skyrocket the health insurance costs of 5.4 million Americans.

The decision lies on the shoulders of three federal judges, who will decide the legality of subsidies served through the federal health insurance marketplaces, a decision that impacts residents of 36 states. The decision could come as early as July 15.

The Affordable Care Act, colloquially called Obamacare, established what are known as health insurance marketplaces or exchanges, where consumers can buy health insurance plans. So far around 8 million people have signed up. Sixteen states operate their own marketplaces, and the remaining two-thirds of states use the federal marketplace, Healthcare.gov.

Under the ACA, Individuals who make less than $46,075 are eligible to receive subsidies, or tax credits, towards their premiums, which means they do not pay the full monthly cost of their health insurance. Without these subsidies their costs would quadruple.

On average, premiums in the federal exchanges are $82 per month for individuals who are receiving subsidies. The average cost without subsidies is almost four times that at $346 per month, according to a report from HHS.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on Halbig v. Burwell, which challenges these subsidies. As Business Insider’s Brett LoGiurato reported, the Affordable Care Act was designed with the expectation that each state would run its own exchange, and part of the law notes that subsidies may be provided “through an Exchange established by the State.” The challengers to the law argue that this means that, technically, the subsidies should only be available to the state-run marketplaces.

That means more than 5 million people in 36 states who are currently receiving health insurance subsidies through the federal marketplaces could potentially be shut out, as the graphic below shows.

 

.Here's Where People Could Lose Their Health Insurance Subsidies

 

Business Insider/ Skye Gould

Data on health insurance marketplaces from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The case will be decided by three federal judges. One supports the challengers and one doesn’t. So it seems the decision will come down to the swing vote of Judge Thomas B. Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee. From the oral arguments heard in March, it’s not entirely clear whose side he is on.

This is one of four pending federal cases that challenges the subsidies, according to The Washington Post.

 

Source:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/lawsuit-could-destroy-obamacare-36-130900895.html

Exclusive: CIA had role in Germany spy affair

Posted in Conspiracy, Law, News, Politics on July 7, 2014 by betweentwopines

By Mark Hosenball

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan speaks at a Council on Foreign Relations forum on the ''challenges and opportunities for the American intelligence Community and reflect on his first year as CIA director'' in Washington March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan speaks at a Council on Foreign Relations forum on the ”challenges and opportunities for the American intelligence Community and reflect on his first year as CIA director” in Washington March 11, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

(Reuters) – The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official and has prompted renewed outrage in Berlin, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Monday.

CIA Director John Brennan has asked to brief key members of the U.S. Congress on the matter, which threatens a new rupture between Washington and a close European ally, one of the officials said.

It was unclear if and when Brennan’s briefing to U.S. lawmakers would take place. The CIA declined any comment on the matter.

The office of Germany’s Federal Prosecutor, based in the western city of Karlsruhe, late last week issued a statement saying that a 31-year old man had been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign spy, and that investigations were continuing. The statement offered no further details.

German politicians have said that the suspect, an employee of the country’s foreign intelligence service, admitted passing to an American contact details concerning a German parliamentary committee’s investigation of alleged U.S. eavesdropping disclosed by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency.

The U.S. officials who confirmed the CIA’s role spoke on condition of anonymity, and offered no further details.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined comment on the dispute.

“The relationship that the United States has with Germany is incredibly important. This is a very close partnership that we have on a range of security issues, including some intelligence issues,” Earnest said. “All of those things are high priorities not just to this administration, but to this country. So we’re going to work with the Germans to resolve this situation appropriately.”

Snowden’s revelations last year, which included evidence that the NSA was targeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone, frosted U.S.-German relations. The White House agreed to stop targeting Merkel, but rejected Berlin’s pleas for a wider “no spy” pact.

The latest case risks further straining ties.

“If the reports are correct it would be a serious case,” Merkel told a news conference in Beijing, standing next to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

German media reported that the suspected spy, who has not been named, had first been detained on suspicion of contacting Russian intelligence agents, but then admitted he had worked with the Americans. The suspect worked for Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, known by the German initials BND.

While historically close, U.S. intelligence ties to Germany became strained over the last year in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

 

Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/07/us-germany-usa-spying-cia-idUSKBN0FC21920140707

 

Related News:  Germany reacts to ‘double agent’ scandal