Airlines

The Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017, Part 3 of 3,  Story 1: The Tiny Timid Trump Tax Reform Resembles Liberal Democratic Party Proposals vs. Fair Tax Less Would Replace All Federal Taxes With A Single Consumption Tax On What You Buy Not What You Earn With A Generous Tax Prebate and Future Government Spending Limited To 90% of Fair Tax Less Revenues — Affordable, Effective, Efficient, Fair, Reasonable, Simple, and Transparent With Progressive Effective Rates Due To A Generous Monthly $1,000 Per Month or $12,000 Per Year Tax Prebate For All Adult American Citizens — American Friendly Not Revenue Neutral — Balanced Budgets With Real Spending Cuts and No More Budget Deficits — Booming Economy With Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs — The Time Is Now or Never For Fair Tax Less — Videos — Story 2: Secretary of Health and Human Resources Thomas Price Resigns and President Trump Accepts After Trump Outraged Over Use Expensive Private Chartered Jet Flight To Conduct Government Business — Don Wright to serve as acting secretary of the HHS — Videos —

Posted on September 30, 2017. Filed under: Addiction, Airlines, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Comedy, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Pro Life, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Transportation, U.S. Dollar, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918, June 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 917, June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916, June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915, June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914, June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913, June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912, June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909, June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908, June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907, June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905, June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904, June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903, June 1, 2017

Image result for Donald Trump Plan Tax BracketsImage result for trump's tax frameworkImage result for fairtax

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Corporations paying fewer taxes

 

Part 3 of 3,  Story 1: The Tiny Timid Trump Tax Reform Resembles Liberal Democratic Party Proposals vs. Fair Tax Less Would Replace All Federal Taxes With A Single Consumption Tax On What You Buy Not What You Earn With A Generous Tax Prebate and Future Government Spending Limited To 90% of Fair Tax Less Revenues — Affordable, Effective, Efficient, Fair, Reasonable, Simple, and Transparent With Progressive Effective Rates Due To A Generous Monthly $1,000 Per Month or $12,000 Per Year Tax Prebate For All Adult American Citizens — American Friendly Not Revenue Neutral — Balanced Budgets With Real Spending Cuts and No More Budget Deficits — Booming Economy With Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs — The Time Is Now or Never For Fair Tax Less — Videos


The American People Want The FairTax and

The New Improved Version — Fair Tax Less

Demand Fair Tax Less From Your Elected Representatives and President Trump

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

Image result for Fair Tax Replaces


Inside the GOP’s tax blueprint

Mulvaney: Impossible to say tax benefit to rich – NEWS TODAY

Mick Mulvaney defends Trump’s Puerto Rico response, tax plan

Treasury secretary on Trump administration’s new tax plan

“IT WOULD BE LIKE HOUDINI!!!” Chuck Todd’s BRILLIANT Takedown of Trump Lackey Steven Mnuchin |News

Newt Gingrich with Martha MacCallum on Donald Trump Tax Reform Plan. #NewtGingrich #TaxReform #POTUS

LIMBAUGH: Trump’s Tax Plan Is NOT A Tax Break For The Rich

Middle Class Will ‘Get Nothing’ In Tax Proposal: Steve Rattner | Morning Joe | MSNBC

What Democrats don’t like about Trump’s tax reform plan

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

🔴 Ep. 287: Pros and Cons of the Trump Tax Plan

Trump pitches tax reform plan to manufacturers

Sen. John Kennedy on Tax Reform

Speaker Ryan Previews Unified Framework for Tax Reform

Trump pushes first tax overhaul since President Reagan

Trump tax reform is very pro-growth: Norquist

Who wins and loses in the GOP’s proposed tax overhaul

President Trump Unveils STUNNING Tax Plan | Full Speech 9/27/17

President Donald Trump unveils his ‘middle class miracle’, a stunning tax plan with three brackets, zero tax on couples’ first $24,000 and a massive corporate rate slash. ‘The largest tax cut in American History.’ MAGA 🇺🇸

Milton Friedman – Is tax reform possible?

Ep. 287: Pros and Cons of the Trump Tax Plan

What Trump’s tax plan could mean for workers and businesses

Trump’s tax plan mirrors Ronald Reagan’s

PRESIDENT TRUMP UNVEILS SWEEPING TAX PLAN

Chuck Schumer SLAMS Trump’s New Tax Reform Plan on his Press Conference 9/27/2017

Inside Politics 09/27/17: TRUMP TAX PLAN COULD COST $5 TRILLION

Rush Limbaugh 09/27/2017 | Trump tax plan isn’t conservative, it’s populist, raises taxes on rich

Hannity: Trump’s tax plan is designed to grow the economy

Analyzing President Trump’s tax plan

Trump Unveils Tax Plan: It’s Mostly Good

Gordon Gray discusses President Trump’s tax plan details jpg

Will Trump’s tax plan deliver the goods on jobs?

What to expect from Trump’s tax plan

Trump Tax Reform Explained

David Stockman: We are heading into an absolute fiscal bloodbath

Keiser Report: America’s Falling Apart (E1123)

$20 Trillion: U.S. Debt Crisis | Peter Schiff and Stefan Molyneux

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Trump’s tax cuts won’t pay for themselves: David Stockman

Congress not likely to tackle tax reform without spending cuts?

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

When Did America Stop Caring About Anything Critical?

When Did America Stop Caring About Anything Critical?

Revenue Neutral

Sen. McConnell to soften on revenue-neutral tax plan: Gasparino

McConnell Seeks Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform This Congress

Rand Paul’s Frustration with “Revenue Neutral” Tax Cuts!


The American People Want The FairTax 

Especially The New Improved Version — Fair Tax Less

Demand Fair Tax Less From Your Elected Representatives and President Trump

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

FairTax or Fair Tax Less — It Is Time

Bill Gates: Don’t tax my income, tax my consumption

Flat Tax vs. National Sales Tax

Why is the FairTax better than a flat income tax?

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Congressman Pence – FairTax and FlatTax

Pence on the Fair Tax

Congressman Woodall Discusses the FairTax

Rob Woodall Floor Speech: The FairTax will bring jobs back to America

Rep. Woodall Discusses FairTax with Colleagues on House Floor

The Fair Tax

Congressman King Speaks in Favor of FairTax

Rep. Woodall Discusses FairTax on House Floor

Sen. Moran Discusses FairTax Legislation on U.S. Senate Floor

Why is the FairTax better than other tax reform efforts?

AIRtax-What is It? Replaces income tax and payroll tax with sales tax

Why is the FairTax better than a flat income tax?

What is the FairTax legislation?

Does the FairTax protect privacy and other civil liberties?

How is the FairTax collected?

How does the FairTax affect the economy?

How does the FairTax impact interest rates?

Are any significant economies funded by a sales tax?

Is consumption a reliable source of revenue?

How will used goods be taxed?

What assumptions does the FairTax make about government spending?

Will the FairTax lead to a massive underground economy?

Can’t Americans just cross the border to avoid the FairTax

Will the FairTax drive the economy down if people stop buying?

How does the FairTax impact savings?

How does the FairTax impact the middle class?

How will the FairTax impact seniors?

How will Social Security payments be calculated under the FairTax?

How will the FairTax impact people who don’t file income taxes?

How will the FairTax help people who don’t hire an accountant?

How does the FairTax affect compliance costs?

How does the FairTax impact tax free bonds?

What will happen to cities who depend on tax free bonds?

What is the impact of the FairTax on business?

How does the FairTax impact retailers?

How does the FairTax affect tax preparers and CPAs?

Will the FairTax tax services?

Can I pretend to be a business to avoid the sales tax?

If people bring home their whole paychecks how can prices fall?

What is the Prebate?

How does the “prebate” work?

Is the FairTax truly progressive?

Wouldn’t it be more fair to exempt food and medicine from the FairTax?

How is the FairTax different from a Value Added Tax (VAT)?

Is it fair for rich people to get the same prebate as poor people?

Will the prebate create a massive new entitlement system?

How does the FairTax impact the middle class?

How do we keep exemptions and exclusions from undermining the FairTax?

How does the FairTax impact charitable giving?

Will the FairTax hurt home ownership with no mortgage interest deduction?

Will bartering present a compliance problem under the FairTax?

How does the FairTax affect illegal immigration?

How does the FairTax rate compare to today’s?

Wouldn’t it be more fair to exempt food and medicine from the FairTax?

Is education taxed under the FairTax?

Will government pay taxes under the FairTax?

How can you tax life saving medical treatment?

Will the FairTax hurt home ownership with no mortgage interest deduction?

What will the transition be like from the income tax to the FairTax?

Isn’t it a stretch to say the IRS will go away?

The Fair Tax – It’s Time

FairTax Prebate Explained

The FairTax… For a better America

Is the Fair Tax Act Fair?

Is America’s Tax System Fair?

Sen. Moran Discusses FairTax Legislation on U.S. Senate Floor

Pence on the Fair Tax

#30 The FAIRtax and President Elect Trump

Elvis Presley – It`s Now Or Never 1960

Elvis – It’s Now Or Never (O Sole Mio)

Elvis Presley – My Way (High Quality)

Frank Sinatra .My Way

Trump’s tax plan is ALREADY in trouble with his own party as plan to axe state and local tax deduction comes under fire from Republicans

  • The White House’s tax plan proposes to raise $1 trillion over 10 years by eliminating the deduction for the state and local income taxes people pay
  • That’s drawing howls of protest from Republicans whose states charge high income tax rates
  • Seven states have no income taxes, meaning their citizens wouldn’t be affected
  • But some states charge up to 13.3 per cent on top of federal taxes
  • A family in Los Angeles earning $100,000 would have to fork over roughly an additional $1,800 to Washington if the longstanding deduction goes away
  • Trump is pitching his tax plan to the National Association of Manufacturers on Friday 

As President Trump prepares to sell his tax plan to the nation’s manufacturing lobby on Friday, his best-laid tax plans have already drawn objections from some fellow Republicans who are fuming over the decision to end deductions for state and local income taxes.

The situation will pit the White House against members of Congress from states that pile high income taxes on top of what the federal government takes from paychecks.

High-income Californians, for instance, pay as much as 13.3 per cent of their income to the state in addition to their federal taxes. New Yorkers can pay up to 8.82 per cent.

Just seven U.S. states have no personal income taxes, including Texas, Florida and Nevada.

As President Trump pushes his tax plan, House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (right) says he'll listen to congressmen from states that would be affected most if citizens lose deductions for state and local income taxes

As President Trump pushes his tax plan, House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (right) says he’ll listen to congressmen from states that would be affected most if citizens lose deductions for state and local income taxes

State income tax rates vary widely; seven states (in gray) don't collect any, and the highest rates (dark blue) can go as high as 13.3 per cent

State income tax rates vary widely; seven states (in gray) don’t collect any, and the highest rates (dark blue) can go as high as 13.3 per cent

Under the Trump tax reform plan, a family earning $100,000 in Los Angeles pays about $6,000 in state and local income taxes. Losing the ability to deduct that expense would cost the hypothetical taxpayers around $1,800.

The GOP is working on a way to pacify legislators whose constituents would wind up paying more.

‘The members with concerns from high-tax states have to be accommodated,’ Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam told The Wall Street Journal. Roskam is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

‘So, you can imagine a soft landing on this that creative people are putting much time and energy into.’

The White House has shown no sign that it’s willing to budge on eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes since it would bring in about $1 trillion over a 10-year period.

With the prospect of persuading Democrats to go along with a new tax play already slim, the GOP will need every Republican vote it can get.

The Journal reports that the nine states whose citizens use the deduction, measured as a percentage of income, are represented by 33 House Republicans.

If Republicans lose more than 22 votes, Trump’s tax plan is effective dead.

Ways and Means member Peter Roskam, and Illinois Republican, says tax code-writers are finding a 'soft landing' for states that pay the most income tax to their local governments

Ways and Means member Peter Roskam, and Illinois Republican, says tax code-writers are finding a ‘soft landing’ for states that pay the most income tax to their local governments

White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn briefed the press at the White House on Thursday but wouldn't promise that every middle-class U.S. family would get a tax cut

White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn briefed the press at the White House on Thursday but wouldn’t promise that every middle-class U.S. family would get a tax cut

APRIL 13, 2016

High-income Americans pay most income taxes, but enough to be ‘fair’?

Corporations paying fewer taxes

Tax-deadline season isn’t many people’s favorite time of the year, but most Americans are OK with the amount of tax they pay. It’s what other people pay, or don’t pay, that bothers them.

Just over half (54%) of Americans surveyed in fall by Pew Research Center said they pay about the right amount in taxes considering what they get from the federal government, versus 40% who said they pay more than their fair share. But in a separate 2015 surveyby the Center, some six-in-ten Americans said they were bothered a lot by the feeling that “some wealthy people” and “some corporations” don’t pay their fair share.

It’s true that corporations are funding a smaller share of overall government operations than they used to. In fiscal 2015, the federal government collected $343.8 billion from corporate income taxes, or 10.6% of its total revenue. Back in the 1950s, corporate income tax generated between a quarter and a third of federal revenues (though payroll taxes have grown considerably over that period).

Nor have corporate tax receipts kept pace with the overall growth of the U.S. economy. Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product has risen 153% since 1980, while inflation-adjusted corporate tax receipts were 115% higher in fiscal 2015 than in fiscal 1980, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. There have been a lot of ups and downs over that period, as corporate tax receipts tend to rise during expansions and drop off in recessions. In fiscal 2007, for instance, corporate taxes hit $370.2 billion (in current dollars), only to plunge to $138.2 billion in 2009 as businesses felt the impact of the Great Recession.

Corporations also employ battalions of tax lawyers to find ways to reduce their tax bills, from running income through subsidiaries in low-tax foreign countries to moving overseas entirely, in what’s known as a corporate inversion (a practice the Treasury Department has moved to discourage).

But in Tax Land, the line between corporations and people can be fuzzy. While most major corporations (“C corporations” in tax lingo) pay according to the corporate tax laws, many other kinds of businesses – sole proprietorships, partnerships and closely held “S corporations” – fall under the individual income tax code, because their profits and losses are passed through to individuals. And by design, wealthier Americans pay most of the nation’s total individual income taxes.

Wealthy pay more in taxes than poorIn 2014, people with adjusted gross income, or AGI, above $250,000 paid just over half (51.6%) of all individual income taxes, though they accounted for only 2.7% of all returns filed, according to our analysis of preliminary IRS data. Their average tax rate (total taxes paid divided by cumulative AGI) was 25.7%. By contrast, people with incomes of less than $50,000 accounted for 62.3% of all individual returns filed, but they paid just 5.7% of total taxes. Their average tax rate was 4.3%.

The relative tax burdens borne by different income groups changes over time, due both to economic conditions and the constantly shifting provisions of tax law. For example, using more comprehensive IRS data covering tax years 2000 through 2011, we found that people who made between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 23.8% of the total tax liability in 2011, up from 18.8% in 2000. Filers in the $50,000-to-$75,000 group, on the other hand, paid 12% of the total liability in 2000 but only 9.1% in 2011. (The tax liability figures include a few taxes, such as self-employment tax and the “nanny tax,” that people typically pay along with their income taxes.)

All told, individual income taxes accounted for a little less than half (47.4%) of government revenue, a share that’s been roughly constant since World War II. The federal government collected $1.54 trillion from individual income taxes in fiscal 2015, making it the national government’s single-biggest revenue source. (Other sources of federal revenue include corporate income taxes, the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, excise taxes such as those on gasoline and cigarettes, estate taxes, customs duties and payments from the Federal Reserve.) Until the 1940s, when the income tax was expanded to help fund the war effort, generally only the very wealthy paid it.

Since the 1970s, the segment of federal revenues that has grown the most is the payroll tax – those line items on your pay stub that go to pay for Social Security and Medicare. For most people, in fact, payroll taxes take a bigger bite out of their paycheck than federal income tax. Why? The 6.2% Social Security withholding tax only applies to wages up to $118,500. For example, a worker earning $40,000 will pay $2,480 (6.2%) in Social Security tax, but an executive earning $400,000 will pay $7,347 (6.2% of $118,500), for an effective rate of just 1.8%. By contrast, the 1.45% Medicare tax has no upper limit, and in fact high earners pay an extra 0.9%.

All but the top-earning 20% of American families pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes, according to a Treasury Department analysis.

Still, that analysis confirms that, after all federal taxes are factored in, the U.S. tax system as a whole is progressive. The top 0.1% of families pay the equivalent of 39.2% and the bottom 20% have negative tax rates (that is, they get more money back from the government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes).

Of course, people can and will differ on whether any of this constitutes a “fair” tax system. Depending on their politics and personal situations, some would argue for a more steeply progressive structure, others for a flatter one. Finding the right balance can be challenging to the point of impossibility: As Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV’s finance minister, is said to have remarked: “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”

Note: This is an update of an earlier post published March 24, 2015.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/13/high-income-americans-pay-most-income-taxes-but-enough-to-be-fair/

Distrust of Senate grows within GOP

A day after the GOP presented a united front around the rollout of President Trump’s tax plan, House Republicans are expressing deep reservations about the Senate’s ability to get the job done.

Lawmakers stung over the failure to pass ObamaCare repeal worry the same fate could befall the tax measure if a handful of senators raise objections.

Donald Trump won with an electoral landside and his three big campaign points were ObamaCare repeal, tax reform and border security. For a handful of senators to derail that agenda is very frustrating,” said Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who is close to the House GOP leadership, says colleagues are frustrated with a handful of senators “overruling the will of the entire House.”

“We do need to see them step up and actually deliver for a change. We have over 200 bills sitting stalled over there. They haven’t been able to deliver on [health care] reform and they all ran on it and now we have a do-or-die moment on tax reform,” he said.

There’s also a sense among House Republicans that their Senate brethren aren’t under the same pressure to get results — perhaps because the GOP’s majority in the Senate is seen as safer in the 2018 midterm elections than the House majority.

“They put our majority in jeopardy with their failure on health care, more than they did their own,” Cole said.

While Republicans have a bigger majority in the House than in the Senate, the political map favors the Senate GOP in 2018.

Republicans only have to defend nine seats next year, and only one — held by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) — is in a state won by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Democrats are defending more than 20 seats, including 10 in states won by Trump.

In the House, Republicans represent 23 districts carried by Clinton, just shy of what Democrats would need to win to take back the majority.

Republicans are excited about moving to tax reform, and Trump’s plan received enthusiastic support at a half-day private retreat the House GOP held Wednesday to review it.

The president’s proposals to eliminate the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax received ovations.

But the mood turned more somber when Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) stood up to ask if the Senate could be counted on to pass tax legislation, according to people familiar with the meeting.

A spokesman for Poliquin did not respond to a request for comment.

“A lot of House members trust a lot of senators to introduce their own tax reform bills,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), alluding to how senators seek to show independence by offering their own bills.

House Republicans say they can easily see GOP Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), John McCain (Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who all voted against a slimmed-down ObamaCare repeal bill in July, bucking the leadership again.SPONSORED BY NEXT ADVISOR

“I do not understand what motivates John McCain,” King said. “I don’t know what goes on in the minds of folks from Maine.”

Earlier this year, in an illustration of the frustration House Republicans hold for the Senate hold-outs, Farenthold joked about challenging Collins to a duel. He later apologized.

McCain later told The Hill that the health-care bill was doomed because it’s virtually impossible to tackle something as huge as reform as health care on a partisan basis.

“If you’re going to pass a major reform, you got to have bipartisan support,” he said.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is making the case that Senate Republicans are more likely to come through on tax reform because McConnell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have already negotiated a tax reform framework with the administration and House leaders.

“What we did differently in this go around is we spent the last four months basically working together, the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the White House, making sure that we’re on the same page,” Ryan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday morning.

Ryan explained that leaders made sure they did “the hard lifting, the tough work ahead of schedule, ahead of rollout.”

But he also acknowledged that House Republicans have just about run out of patience with the Senate after the collapse of health care reform this week.

“We’re really frustrated. Look, we passed 373 bills here in the House — 270-some are still in the Senate,” he said.

Already there are doubts that Senate Republicans will stick to the plan on taxes.

Hatch, who heads the Senate’s tax writing panel, told reporters Thursday afternoon that he would like to keep in place the deduction for state and local taxes, which the administration wants to eliminate to provide revenue for lower rates.

A spokeswoman for the Finance Committee said, “Chairman Hatch recognizes that every major provision within the tax code has an important constituency and consequence.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/352999-distrust-of-senate-grows-within-gop

Key Findings

  • This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 23rd, 113 days into the year.
  • Tax Freedom Day is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden.
  • Americans will pay $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total bill of more than $5.1 trillion, or 31 percent of the nation’s income.
  • Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2017 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
  • If you include annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would occur 14 days later, on May 7.

What Is Tax Freedom Day?

Tax Freedom Day® is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year. Tax Freedom Day takes all federal, state, and local taxes—individual as well as payroll, sales and excise, corporate and property taxes—and divides them by the nation’s income. In 2017, Americans will pay $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total tax bill of $5.1 trillion, or 31 percent of national income. This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 23, 113 days into the year.

What Taxes Do We Pay?

This year, Americans will work the longest—46 days—to pay federal, state, and local individual income taxes. Payroll taxes will take 26 days to pay, followed by sales and excise taxes (15 days), corporate income taxes (10 days), and property taxes (10 days). The remaining six days are spent paying estate and inheritance taxes, customs duties, and other taxes.

When Is Tax Freedom Day if You Include Federal Borrowing?

Since 2002, federal expenses have surpassed federal revenues, with the budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion annually from 2009 to 2012. In calendar year 2017, the deficit is expected to shrink slightly, from $657 billion to $612 billion. If we include this annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would occur on May 7, 14 days later. The latest ever deficit-inclusive Tax Freedom Day occurred during World War II, on May 25, 1945.

When Is My State’s Tax Freedom Day?

The total tax burden borne by residents across states varies considerably due to differing tax policies and the progressivity of the federal tax system. This means that states with higher incomes and higher taxes celebrate Tax Freedom Day later: Connecticut (May 21), New Jersey (May 13), and New York (May 11). Residents of Mississippi bear the lowest average tax burden in 2017, with their Tax Freedom Day having arrived on April 5. Also early were Tennessee (April 7) and South Dakota (April 8).

2017 Tax Freedom Day - State Dates

How Has Tax Freedom Day Changed over Time?

The latest ever Tax Freedom Day was May 1, 2000; in that year, Americans paid 33 percent of their total income in taxes. A century earlier, in 1900, Americans paid only 5.9 percent of their income in taxes, so that Tax Freedom Day came on January 22.

Tax Freedom Day Over Time

Methodology

In the denominator, we count every dollar that is officially part of net national income according to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the numerator, we count every payment to the government that is officially considered a tax. Taxes at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—are included in the calculation. In calculating Tax Freedom Day for each state, we look at taxes borne by residents of that state, whether paid to the federal government, their own state or local governments, or governments of other states. Where possible, we allocate tax burdens to each taxpayer’s state of residence. Leap days are excluded, to allow comparison across years, and any fraction of a day is rounded up to the next calendar day

https://taxfoundation.org/publications/tax-freedom-day/

Feds Collect Record Taxes Through August; Still Run $673.7B Deficit

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 13, 2017 | 4:28 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government collected record total tax revenues through the first eleven months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of August), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

Through August, the federal government collected approximately $2,966,172,000,000 in total tax revenues.

That was $8,450,680,000 more (in constant 2017 dollars) than the previous record of $2,957,721,320,000 in total tax revenues (in 2017 dollars) that the federal government collected in the first eleven months of fiscal 2016.

At the same time that the federal government was collecting a record $2,966,172,000,000 in tax revenues, it was spending $3,639,882,000,000—and, thus, running a deficit of $673,711,000,000.

Individual income taxes have provided the largest share (47.9 percent) of federal revenues so far this fiscal year. From Oct. 1 through the end of August, the Treasury collected $1,421,997,000,000 in individual income taxes.

Payroll taxes provided the second largest share (35.9 percent), with the Treasury collecting $1,065,751,000,000 in these taxes.

The $233,631 in corporate income taxes collected in the first eleven months of fiscal 2017 equaled only 8.6 percent of total tax collections.

The $21,172,000,000 collected in estate and gift taxes equaled only 0.71 percent of total taxes collected this fiscal year.

(Tax revenues were adjusted to constant 2017 using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.)

The Latest: State legislatures ‘dismayed’ by GOP tax plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

An organization that advocates for state legislatures says it’s “dismayed” the Republican tax cut proposal unveiled Wednesday would do away with a deduction for state and local taxes paid.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says the deduction has existed in the federal tax code since its inception. The group says “tens of millions of middle-class taxpayers of every political affiliation” would experience a greater tax burden if the deduction were eliminated.

The group says the deduction’s elimination will also impede states in their efforts to invest in education and other public services.

About a third of tax filers itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns. The Tax Policy Center says virtually all who do claim a deduction for state and local taxes paid.

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4:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is issuing a warning shot to Indiana’s Democratic senator: Support my tax overhaul or I’ll campaign against you next year.

Trump says at a tax event in Indiana that if Sen. Joe Donnelly doesn’t approve the plan, “we will come here and we will campaign against him like you wouldn’t believe.”

But Trump is predicting that numerous Democrats will come across the aisle and support his plan “because it’s the right thing to do.”

The president has made overtures to Democratic senators like Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota in recent weeks. All three are facing re-election in 2018.

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4 p.m.

Small business advocates are split over the draft of the new Republican tax plan.

The National Federation of Independent Business is praising the proposal to tax business income at 20 percent — including sole proprietors whose business income is taxed at individual rates up to 39.6 percent.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council says the plan would simplify business taxes, encourage business investment and increase owners’ confidence.

But the Small Business Majority says the plan wouldn’t help most small companies, and the current top rate is paid by less than 2 percent of those businesses.

And John O’Neill, a tax analyst at the American Sustainable Business Council, says tax reform isn’t as useful to the economy as investing in infrastructure and education.

President Donald Trump is calling the current tax system a “relic” and a “colossal barrier” that’s standing in the way of the nation’s economic comeback.

Trump says at an event in Indianapolis that his tax proposal will help middle-class families save money and will eliminate loopholes that benefit the wealthy.

Trump says the wealthy “can call me all they want. It’s not going to help.” The billionaire president says he’s “doing the right thing. And it’s not good for me, believe me.”

The president says under his plan, “the vast majority of families will be able to file their taxes on a single sheet of paper.”

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3:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is making the case for a sweeping plan to overhaul the tax system for individuals and corporations. He calls it a “once in a generation” opportunity to cut taxes.

The president says in Indiana that he wants to cut taxes for middle-class families to make the system simpler and fairer.

Trump says his tax plan will “bring back the jobs and the wealth that have left our country.” He says it’s time for the nation to fight for American workers.

He’s praising his vice president, Mike Pence, Indiana’s former governor. Trump says, “it’s time for Washington to learn from the wisdom of Indiana.”

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2:52 p.m.

A budget watchdog group in Washington says the new GOP tax plan could cost $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget admits its estimate is very preliminary since so many details are unclear, but its take is that the plan contains about $5.8 trillion in tax cuts but only $3.6 trillion worth of offsetting tax increases. That $2.2 trillion would be added to the nation’s $20 trillion debt.

That’s more than the $1.5 trillion debt cost that has emerged in a deal among Senate Republicans.

Republicans controlling Congress initially promised that the overhaul of the tax code wouldn’t add to the debt. The group also notes that the $2.2 trillion cost could grow by another $500 billion when interest costs are added in.

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1:54 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s always wanted to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent — even though he said repeatedly he wanted to see it lowered to 15 percent.

Trump told reporters as he departed Washington for Indiana on Wednesday afternoon that a 20 percent rate was his “red line” and that it had always been his goal.

“In fact, I wanted to start at 15 so that we got 20,” he said, adding: “20′s my number.”

Trump also denies the plan unveiled by the White House and congressional Republicans Wednesday would benefit the wealthy.

He says: “I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”

Under the plan, corporations would see their top tax rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent.

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1:37 p.m.

A vocal group of the most conservative House Republicans has come out in support of a draft tax plan endorsed by both President Donald Trump and top congressional GOP leaders.

The House Freedom Caucus endorsement is noteworthy because it could ease House passage of a budget plan that’s the first step to advancing the tax cut measure through Congress.

The group says the outline will allow workers to “keep more of their money,” while simplifying the loophole-choked tax code and making U.S. companies more competitive with their foreign rivals.

The group had held up action on the budget measure as they demanded more details on taxes.

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11:21 a.m.

President Donald Trump has two red lines that he refuses to cross on overhauling taxes: the corporate rate must be cut to 20 percent and the savings must go to the middle class.

Gary Cohn, the president’s top economics aide, says any overhaul signed by the president needs to include these two elements.

Trump had initially pushed for cutting the 39.6 percent corporate tax rate to 15 percent.

The administration says that the benefits of any tax cut will not favor the wealthy, with Cohn saying that an additional tax bracket could be added to levy taxes on the top one percent of earners if needed.

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11:20 a.m.

The Senate’s top Democrat is blasting a new tax cut plan backed by President Donald Trump as a giveaway to the rich.

Sen. Chuck Schumer says Trump’s plan only gives “crumbs” to the middle class, while top-bracket earners making more than a half-million dollars a year would reap a windfall.

The New York Democrat also blasted the plan for actually increasing the bottom tax rate from 10 percent to 12 percent, calling it a “punch to the gut of working Americans.”

Schumer said the plan is little more than an “across-the-board tax cut for America’s millionaires and billionaires.”

The plan, to be officially released Wednesday afternoon, is the top item on Washington’s agenda after the GOP failure to repeal the Obama health care law.

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9:53 a.m.

A new Republican blueprint for overhauling the U.S. tax code employs the themes of economic populism that President Donald Trump trumpeted during the presidential campaign to win support from working-class voters.

A copy of the plan to be released later Wednesday says, “Too many in our country are shut out of the dynamism of the U.S. economy.” That’s led to what the plans says is “the justifiable feeling that the system is rigged against hardworking Americans.”

The plan, obtained by The Associated Press, says the Trump administration and Congress “will work together to produce tax reform that will put America first.”

The GOP plan for the first major rewrite of the U.S. tax code in 30 years also says corporations will be stopped from shipping jobs and capital overseas.

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9:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are proposing a tax plan that they say will be simple and fair.

In a document obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, they outline a blueprint for almost doubling the standard deduction for married taxpayers filing jointly to $24,000, and $12,000 for individuals.

The plan calls for cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The GOP proposal also calls for reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three with a surcharge on the wealthiest Americans.

The plan also leaves intact the deduction for mortgage interest and charitable deductions.

The White House and Republicans plan a formal roll out later Wednesday.

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4:26 a.m.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are rolling out a sweeping plan to cut taxes for individuals and corporations, simplify the tax system, and likely double the standard deduction used by most Americans.

Months in the making, the plan meets a political imperative for Republicans to deliver an overhaul of the U.S. tax code after the failure of the health care repeal.

The public reveal of the plan was set for Wednesday. The day before, details emerged on Capitol Hill while Trump personally appealed to House Republicans and Democrats at the White House to get behind his proposal.

https://apnews.com/f609602269d54524aa14e1d9c74ec97c

 

President Trump spoke about his administration’s tax reform plan in Indianapolis on Wednesday.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The tax plan that the Trump administration outlined on Wednesday is a potentially huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It would not directly benefit the bottom third of the population. As for the middle class, the benefits appear to be modest.

The administration and its congressional allies are proposing to sharply reduce taxation of business income, primarily benefiting the small share of the population that owns the vast majority of corporate equity. President Trump said on Wednesday that the cuts would increase investment and spur growth, creating broader prosperity. But experts say the upside is limited, not least because the economy is already expanding.

The plan would also benefit Mr. Trump and other affluent Americans by eliminating the estate tax, which affects just a few thousand uber-wealthy families each year, and the alternative minimum tax, a safety net designed to prevent tax avoidance.

The precise impact on Mr. Trump cannot be ascertained because the president refuses to release his tax returns, but the few snippets of returns that have become public show one thing clearly: The alternative minimum tax has been unkind to Mr. Trump. In 2005, it forced him to pay $31 million in additional taxes.

Mr. Trump has also pledged repeatedly that the plan would reduce the taxes paid by middle-class families, but he has not provided enough details to evaluate that claim. While some households would probably get tax cuts, others could end up paying more.

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The plan would not benefit lower-income households that do not pay federal income taxes. The president is not proposing measures like a reduction in payroll taxes, which are paid by a much larger share of workers, nor an increase in the earned-income tax credit, which would expand wage support for the working poor.

Indeed, to call the plan “tax reform” seems like a stretch — Mr. Trump himself told conservative and evangelical leaders on Monday that it was more apt to refer to his plan as “tax cuts.” Mr. Trump’s proposal echoes the large tax cuts that President Ronald Reagan, in 1981, and President George W. Bush, in 2001, passed in the first year of their terms, not the 1986 overhaul of the tax code that he often cites. Like his Republican predecessors, Mr. Trump says cutting taxes will increase economic growth.

Photo

The public portion of the debt equaled 24 percent of the gross domestic product in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan signed a tax cut at his vacation home near Santa Barbara, Calif. In June of this year, the debt equaled 75 percent of economic output. CreditAssociated Press

“It’s time to take care of our people, to rebuild our nation and to fight for our great American workers,” Mr. Trump told a crowd in Indianapolis.

But the moment is very different. Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush cut taxes during recessions. Mr. Trump is proposing to cut taxes during one of the longest economic expansions in American history. It is not clear that the economy can grow much faster; the Federal Reserve has warned that it will seek to offset any stimulus by raising interest rates.

At the time of the earlier cuts, the federal debt was considerably smaller. The public portion of the debt equaled 24 percent of the gross domestic product in 1981, and 31 percent in 2001. In June, the debt equaled 75 percent of economic output.

The Trump administration insists that its tax cut will catalyze such an economic boom that money will flow into the federal coffers and the debt will not rise. The Reagan and Bush administrations made similar claims. The debt soared in both instances.

Another issue: Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Reagan proposed to cut taxes when federal revenues had climbed unusually high as a share of the national economy.

Mr. Trump wants to cut taxes while revenues are close to an average level.

Since 1981, federal revenue has averaged 17.1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, while federal spending has averaged 20.3 percent.

Last year’s numbers were close to the long-term trend: Federal revenue was 17.5 percent of gross domestic product; spending was 20.7 percent.

Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University economics professor and a longtime adviser to Republican presidents, said that the moment was not perfect, but that Mr. Trump should nevertheless press ahead because the changes would be valuable.

“The debt is moving in the wrong direction,” Mr. Feldstein said. “But the tax reform is moving in the right direction.”

Proponents of the plan assert that the largest benefits are indirect. In particular, they argue that cutting corporate taxes will unleash economic growth.

Mr. Trump’s plan is more focused on business tax cuts than the Reagan and Bush plans, and economists agree that this makes economic gains more likely.

The key elements are large reductions in the tax rates for business income: To 20 percent for corporations, and to 25 percent for “pass-through” businesses, a broad category that includes everything from mom-and-pop neighborhood shops to giant investment partnerships, law firms — and real estate developers.

The plan also lets businesses immediately deduct the full cost of new investments.

“You’re going to get a boost in investment,” said William Gale, co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. “It’s hard to argue that there won’t be a positive effect.”

But Mr. Gale added that there are reasons to think it would be modest.

The most important is that the economy is already growing at a faster pace than the Fed considers sustainable. “Economy roaring,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Photo

After President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts, the wealthiest Americans paid 34.7 percent of their income in taxes, while Americans in the middle income brackets paid 16.1 percent. CreditRon Edmonds/Associated Press

Also, interest rates are low, and nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.84 trillion that they don’t want to spend. “It’s not lack of funds that’s stopping companies from investing,” Mr. Gale said.

And the stimulus would come at the cost of increased federal borrowing. Interest rates might not rise if foreigners provide the necessary money, as happened in the 1980s and the 2000s, but that means some of the benefits also end up abroad.

It’s a venerable principle that lower tax rates encourage corporate investment. But a study of a 2003 cut in the tax rate on corporate dividendsfound no discernible impact on investment. The finding would not have surprised Mr. Bush’s Treasury secretary at the time, Paul O’Neill, who was fired for opposing the plan. “You find somebody who says, ‘I do more R & D because I get a tax credit for it,’ you’ll find a fool,” Mr. O’Neill, a former Alcoa chairman, said at the time.

Mr. Trump’s plan also continues a long-term march away from progressive taxation. The federal income tax is the centerpiece of a longstanding bipartisan consensus that wealthy Americans should pay an outsize share of the cost of government.

But successive rounds of tax cuts have eroded that premise, according to research by the economists Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley. In 1980, the wealthiest Americans paid 59 percent of their income in taxes while the middle 20 percent of Americans paid 24.5 percent. After the Bush tax cuts, the wealthiest Americans paid 34.7 percent of their income in taxes, while Americans in the middle income brackets paid 16.1 percent.

Under President Barack Obama, Congress increased taxation of upper-income households. Mr. Trump is seeking to resume the long-term trend toward flattening the curve. Upper-income households would get large tax cuts; lower-income households would get none.

The exact impact on the middle class is not yet clear. The outline released Wednesday proposes new tax brackets but does not specify income thresholds. It also proposes to replace the current tax deduction for each dependent with a child tax credit — but the administration did not propose a dollar amount for that new credit.

 

The administration said Wednesday that it was committed “to ensure that the reformed tax code is at least as progressive as the existing tax code.” That language, however, applies only to personal income taxes. The proposed reduction of business taxes and the elimination of the estate tax would both disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans.

“I don’t think there’s any way to justify this as a progressive proposal,” said Lily Batchelder, a law professor at New York University who served as deputy director of Mr. Obama’s National Economic Council. “In broad brush strokes, they’re doing nothing for the bottom 35 percent, they’re doing very little and possibly raising taxes on the middle class, and they’ve specified tax cuts for the wealthy.”

 

Tax reform: Trump, GOP mull surcharge on wealthy, doubling standard deduction

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with members of the House Ways and Means committee in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)(<cite>Evan Vucci</cite>)
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with members of the House Ways and Means committee in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)(Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are considering an income tax surcharge on the wealthy and doubling the standard deduction given to most Americans, with the GOP under pressure to overhaul the tax code after the collapse of the health care repeal.

On the eve of the grand rollout of the plan, details emerged on Capitol Hill on Tuesday while Trump personally appealed to House Republicans and Democrats at the White House to get behind his proposal.

“We will cut taxes tremendously for the middle class. Not just a little bit but tremendously,” Trump said as he met with members of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. He predicted jobs “will be coming back in because we have a non-competitive tax structure right now and we’re going to go super competitive.”

Among the details: repeal of the tax on multimillion-dollar estates, a reduction in the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and potentially four tax brackets, down from the current seven. The current top rate for individuals, those earning more than $418,000 a year, is 39.6 percent.

The goal is a more simple tax code that would spur economic growth and make U.S. companies more competitive. Delivering on the top legislative goal will be crucial for Republicans intent on holding onto their majorities in next year’s midterm elections.

The tax overhaul plan assembled by the White House and GOP leaders, which would slash the rate for corporations, aims at the first major revamp of the tax system in three decades. It would deliver a major Trump campaign pledge.

The outlines of the plan were described by GOP officials who demanded anonymity to disclose private deliberations.

The plan would likely cut the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. A new surcharge on wealthy taxpayers might soften the appearance of the wealthiest Americans and big corporations benefiting from generous tax cuts.

Republicans already were picking at the framework, pointing up how divisions within GOP ranks can complicate efforts to overhaul taxes as has happened with the series of moves to repeal the Obama health care law.

Details of the proposal crafted behind closed doors over months by top White House economic officials, GOP congressional leaders and the Republican heads of tax-writing panels in the House and Senate were set to be released Wednesday. Trump and the Republicans were putting the final touches on the plan when the Democrats were brought in. A senior Democrat saw it as the opening of negotiations.

Trump had previously said he wanted a 15 percent rate for corporations, but House Speaker Paul Ryan has called that impractically low and has said it would risk adding to the soaring $20 trillion national debt.

Trump said Tuesday some of the components included doubling the standard deduction used by families and increasing the child tax credit. He said the majority of Americans would be able to file their taxes on a single page. “We must make our tax code simple and fair. It’s too complicated,” Trump said.

Some conservative GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, dug their heels in on the shape of the plan.

Rep. Mark Meadows, head of the House Freedom Caucus, said he’d vote against tax legislation if it provided for a corporate tax rate over 20 percent, a rate for small businesses higher than 25 percent, or if it fails to call for a doubling of the standard deduction.

“That’s the red line for me,” Meadows said at a forum of conservative lawmakers. He noted he was speaking personally, not as head of the conservative grouping.

Disgruntlement came from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., over the process of putting together the plan.

“I get that we want to move to 3 percent but I’d like to know how,” Kennedy said referring to Trump’s ambitious goal of annual growth in the economy through tax cuts. “I’m not much into all the secrecy,” he said. “We need to do this by November, and at the rate we’re going I’m not encouraged right now.”

The Democrats, while acknowledging the tax system should be simplified, have insisted that any tax relief should go to the middle class, not the wealthiest. Tax cuts shouldn’t add to the ballooning debt, the Democrats say.

Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, came away from the White House meeting in a negotiating mood. “This is when the process gets kicked off,” Neal told reporters at the Capitol.

The rate for wealthiest taxpayers shouldn’t be reduced, he said. Democrats are concerned by indications from Trump and his officials that “they intend to offer tax relief to people at the top,” he said.

Still, there may be room to negotiate over the Republicans’ insistence on repealing the estate tax, Neal indicated, since “there are other things you can do with it” to revise it short of complete elimination.

http://www.syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/09/tax_reform_trump_gop_mull_surcharge_on_wealthy_doubling_standard_deduction.html

9 ways Trump’s tax plan is a gift to the rich, including himself

President Trump and congressional Republicans keep saying their tax plan doesn’t help the rich. But that’s not true.

The nine-page outline released Wednesday is full of goodies that will make millionaires and billionaires happy. Republicans say it’s a starting point, but it would have to be turned on its head to be anything other than a windfall for the wealthy. In fact, in nine pages, The Washington Post counts at least nine ways the wealthy benefit, including Trump himself. Here’s our list:

1) A straight-up tax cut for the rich. The top tax rate in the United States is 39.6 percent. Trump and GOP leaders propose lowering that to 35 percent. It’s also worth noting the 39.6 percent tax rate applies only to income above $418,400 for singles and $470,700 for married couples. The outline doesn’t specify what income level the new 35 percent rate would kick in at. It’s possible the rich will get an every bigger tax cut if the final plan raises that threshold.

2) The estate tax goes bye-bye. Trump likes to call the estate tax the “death tax.” At the moment, Americans who pass money, homes or other assets on to heirs when they die pay a 40 percent tax. But here’s the important part Trump leaves out: The only people who have to pay this tax are those passing on more than $5.49 million. (And a married couple can inherit nearly $11 million without paying the tax.)

September 28 at 12:45 PM

Trump frequently claims the estate tax hurts farmers and small-business owners. But as The Post’s Fact Checker team points out, only 5,500 estates will pay any estate tax at all in 2017 (out of about 3 million estates). And of those 5,500 hit with the tax, only 80 (yes, you read that right) are farms or small businesses.

3) Hedge funds and lawyers get a special tax break. The plan calls for the tax rate on “pass-through entities” to fall from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. Republicans claim this is a tax break for small-business owners because “pass-through entities” is an umbrella term that covers the ways most people set up businesses: sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations. But the reality is, most small-business owners (more than 85 percent) already pay a tax rate of 25 percent or less, according to the Brookings Institution.

Only 3 percent pay a rate greater than 30 percent. That 3 percent includes doctors, lawyers, hedge fund managers and other really well-off people. Instead of paying a 35 percent income tax, these rich business owners would be able to pass off their income as business income and pay only a 25 percent tax rate. (The tax outline released Wednesday “contemplates” that Congress “will adopt measures to prevent” this kind of tax dodging. But there’s no guarantee that will happen).

4) The AMT is over. Republicans want to kill the alternative minimum tax, a measure put in place in 1969 to ensure the wealthy aren’t using a bunch of loopholes and credits to lower their tax bills to paltry sums. The AMT starts to phase in for people with earnings of about $130,000, but the vast majority of people subject to the AMT earn over $500,000, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Trump himself would benefit from repealing the AMT. As The Post’s Fact Checker team notes, Trump’s leaked tax return from 2005 shows that the AMT increased his tax bill from about $5.3 million to $36.5 million. In 2005 alone, he potentially could have saved $31 million.

5) The wealthy get to keep deducting mortgage interest. Only about 1 in 4 taxpayers claims the mortgage interest deduction, the Brookings Institution says. “Upper-income households primarily benefit from the subsidy,” wrote Brookings scholar Bruce Katz in a report last year. In fact, the wealthy can deduct interest payments on mortgages worth up to $1 million. There have been many calls over the years to lower that threshold, but the Trump tax plan is keeping it in place.

The GOP is doing this even though the tax cuts would add to the United States’ debt, since it doesn’t raise enough revenue to offset all the money lost from the new tax breaks. The outline also calls for the charitable deduction to stay, another deduction used heavily by the top 1 percent.

6) Stockholders are going to be very happy. Trump is calling for a super-low tax rate on the money big businesses such as Apple and Microsoft bring back to the United States from overseas, a process known as “repatriation.” Trump argues companies will use all this money coming home to build new U.S. factories. But the last time the United States did this, in the early 2000s, it ended up being a big win for people who own stocks. Companies simply took most of the money and gave it to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks.

Guess what? Just about everyone (outside the White House) predicts the same thing will happen again. Corporations are even admitting it.

7) The favorite tax break of hedge fund billionaires is still safe. There’s no mention in the tax-overhaul rubric of “carried interest.” Those two words make most people’s eyes glaze over, but they are a well-known tax-dodging trick for millionaires and billionaires on Wall Street. Hedge fund and private-equity managers earn most of their money from their investments doing well. But instead of paying income taxes on all that money at a rate of 39.6 percent, the managers are able to claim it as “carried interest” so they can pay tax at the low capital gains rate of 20 percent.

Trump called this totally unfair on the campaign trail. During the primaries, he said he would eliminate this loophole because hedge fund managers were “getting away with murder.” But that change didn’t end up in the GOP plan.

8) Capital gains taxes stay low. The nine-page document also says nothing about capital gains, the tax rate people pay when they finally sell a stock or asset after holding on to it for many years. At the moment, the wealthiest Americans pay a 20 percent capital gains rate. Trump and Republican leaders aren’t proposing any changes to that, even though it is a popular way for millionaires to lower their tax bill.

9) The Obamacare investment tax goes away. The Affordable Care Act put in place a 3.8 percent surcharge on investment income (known formally as the Net Investment Income Tax). It applies only to individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and married couples earning more than $250,000. There’s no mention of this tax in the outline released this week, but Republicans clearly want to get rid of it. Repealing it was part of the GOP health-care bills that failed to pass Congress in recent weeks. One way or another, Republicans are likely to roll back this tax.

When reporters asked Trump whether the tax plan would help him personally, he quickly said no.

“No, I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit,” Trump said. “In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), who was part of the team that worked with the White House to craft the tax-overhaul outline, was asked a similar question on Fox News. He, too, said this plan does little to help the rich.

“I think those who benefit most are middle-class families struggling to keep every dollar they earn,” Brady told Fox News.

But one look at this plan tells a very different story. It gives an outright tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and it preserves almost all of the most popular loopholes they use to reduce their tax bills.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), a strong proponent of tax cuts, was more straightforward this week. He told reporters, “This is a supply-side approach,” another way of saying trickle-down economics.

Read more:

The GOP tax plan, explained in simplest possible terms

Fact-checking President Trump’s tax speech in Indianapolis

The one surefire way to grow your wealth in the U.S.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/28/9-ways-trumps-tax-plan-is-a-gift-to-the-rich-including-himself/?utm_term=.bb9dafe36550

The GOP tax plan, explained in simplest possible terms

The big tax code makeover President Trump and Republicans have been promising for months is finally out.

It’s nine pages long. That may sound like a lengthy document, but the final bill in Congress will be hundreds of pages. What the White House released today is a framework. It’s a summary of what top Trump officials and congressional Republican leaders have agreed to so far. The Trump administration says it’s the job of Congress to flesh out the specifics.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • The plan will likely add to America’s $20 trillion debt. There are lots of tax cuts spelled out. There are almost no loopholes eliminated.
  • The rich make out pretty well. The White House vows poor people won’t have to pay more than they do now, but there are few specifics in the plan so far to ensure that.
  • Businesses (both small and large) get major tax cuts.
  • Most people will pay lower taxes, although it’s unclear if the rich get a bigger break than the middle class.
  • There are still a lot of details Congress has to figure out.

What’s in there for the rich?
The wealthy get a tax cut. They will pay only 35 percent on their income taxes (down from 39.6 percent). At the moment, this rate applies to any income above about $418,000. It’s unclear if Congress will tinker with the income level that rate kicks in at. Trump says he would be fine with Congress raising taxes on the rich in the final plan, but he isn’t requiring that they do that.

The bigger tax break for the rich is the elimination of the estate tax, sometimes called the “death tax.” It’s the tax families currently pay when an asset like a house or ranch worth over $5.49 million is passed down to a heir after someone dies. Trump’s plan scraps this tax entirely.

What’s in there for the middle class?
This is the giant question mark. There’s a lot of details left for Congress to fill out. Under the plan, America will have just three tax rates: 35, 25 and 12 percent, but we don’t know yet which rate someone earning $50,000 or $80,000 will pay.

What we do know is the standard deduction (currently $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for married couples) will nearly double. This means that a married couple earning $24,000 or less or an individual earning $12,000 or less won’t pay any taxes. But the plan also eliminates what’s known as the additional standard deduction and the popular personal exemption. Some filers may end up worse off after these changes.

The plan also promises a “significant increase” to the child tax credit (it’s currently $1,000 per child) and that middle class Americans can keep using the mortgage interest deduction as well as tax breaks for retirement savings (e.g. 401ks) and higher education. But it eliminates the state and local tax deduction, which is used by many in high-tax states like New York and California.

Can I really file my taxes on a postcard?
The “file on a postcard” idea was an exaggeration. The goal now is to get most people’s tax returns down to one page.

What about the working poor?
A senior White House official told journalists Tuesday, “We are committed to making the tax code at least as progressive as the current tax code.” Translation: The poor should not end up paying more than they do now. But it’s hard to check if that’s true because we still don’t have enough details.

In theory, increasing the standard deduction should mean that more Americans pay $0 in taxes, but it depends what happens to a lot of other tax provisions (and whether Congress ends up cutting safety net programs that help the poor to pay for tax cuts). Top Republican officials have not decided what to do with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is widely used by the working poor to help them reduce their tax bill and even get a small amount of money back from the government.

What happens to the Alternative Minimum Tax?
The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) would go away under the plan. It currently applies mainly to individuals earning more than $130,000 and married couples earning more than $160,00. It was created in the 1970s to prevent wealthier families from taking so many tax breaks that they end up paying little to no taxes, but over the years, the AMT has impacted more and more families.

What happens to big businesses?
America’s large corporations will get a big tax cut. The top rate at the moment is 35 percent, one of the highest rates among developed nations. Most U.S. companies don’t pay that rate, but it is still a starting point. The Trump plan slashes the rate to 20 percent, just below the average of major developed countries the U.S. competes against.

The White House and Congress promised to close some loopholes that businesses currently enjoy, but no one is saying what those are yet. In fact, the only details we have show MORE business goodies, not less. The plan calls for businesses to be able to write off their investments (e.g. the cost of building a new factory) right away instead of crediting a little bit each year for several years. This is supposed to encourage companies to invest more, which will hopefully create more jobs.

What happens to small businesses?
Small businesses also get a tax cut under the plan. At the moment, many small business owners pay whatever their personal income tax rate is, so some end up paying as much as 39.6 percent. Under this plan, most “pass throughs” (code for small businesses) would pay at the 25 percent rate (the exception is if a small businesses earned very little income, they might be able to pay at the 12 percent rate).

There’s concern some rich people, especially hedge fund managers and consultants to the stars, will simply use this as a way to lower their tax bill. Instead of paying at the new 35 percent top income tax rate, they could say all their income is small business income and pay at the 25 percent rate. Trump has promised to fix that problem, but no one is sure how.

How will this plan help growth?
Trump’s big claim is that this tax overhaul will unleash economic growth. The United States has been growing at about 2 percent a year lately, below the historic norm. Trump keeps saying this plan will unleash growth of 3 percent — or more.

Economists, even those who work at Wall Street banks and for big companies, only project a modest boost to growth. Estimates range from 2.1 percent to 2.25 percent.

How much will this add to the debt?
Originally, Republican leaders said they would not add $1 to America’s debt, but that promise appears to be gone. The White House says it will go along with whatever price tag Congress allows. Right now, Senate Republicans have a deal to add $1.5 trillion to the debt over the next decade, so there’s a good chance this tax plan will add to the debt.

What are the pitfalls?
There’s a ton we don’t know yet. Many on the left are concerned this plan gives away too much to the rich and big businesses. Many across the political spectrum are alarmed that it will likely add to America’s already large debt.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/27/the-gop-tax-plan-explained-in-simplest-possible-terms/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.4de9a2bfc9ce

Some tax breaks are for the rich.
Others for the poor. Which are for you?

The Republican tax reform plan is finally out – you can read the full document here. The framework touches on many parts of the tax code, but two critical areas are tax deductions and credits. These reduce how much taxpayers owe, but they affect income groups differently. How could the proposed changes to these policies affect your taxes?

Most beneficial tax deductions and exemptions, 2015

Deductions and exemptions reduce your tax bill by decreasing your taxable income.

Other deductionsState and local taxesCharitable contributionsReal estate taxesEmployee business expensesMedical/dental expensesHome mortgage interestStandard deductionPersonal and dependent exemptions$10,000$25,000$50,000$100,000$500,000Lower incomeHigher income$30,000 to $40,000
DEDUCTION MEAN DEDUCTION*
Personal and dependent exemptions (?) $7,700
Standard deduction (?) $7,100
Home mortgage interest (?) $700
Medical/dental expenses (?) $500
Employee business expenses (?) $400
Real estate taxes (?) $400
Charitable contributions (?) $300
State and local taxes (?) $200
Other deductions $200

* Mean deduction is the total deduction amount received by the income group divided by the number of returns in that group, including those that did not receive the deduction.

Note: Returns for those filing singly and those filing jointly or in other categories are lumped together. Tax returns cannot claim both the standard deductions and itemized deductions. Total deductions and exemptions can exceed adjusted gross income, but the excess does not affect taxes owed, as taxable income cannot drop below zero.

Taxpayers – except the highest earners – are currently eligible for tax “exemptions” to reduce their taxable income. In 2016, Americans could take a $4,050 personal exemption from their income (double if filing as a married couple), and then get additional exemptions for dependents.

After exemptions taxpayers can further reduce their taxable income by taking tax deductions. 69 percent of taxpayers in 2015 took the “standard deduction,” a fixed amount that is currently $6,300 for (most) taxpayers filing singly.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/politics/tax-breaks/?utm_term=.09de159b6eeb

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The remaining taxpayers – mostly in higher income groups – “itemized” their tax returns, meaning they chose to take advantage of more specific tax deductions based on their expenses. The deductions came out to more than they would have gotten through the standard deduction.

Here’s what the Republican’s tax reform framework would change about deductions:

  • Republicans want to nearly double the standard deduction to $12,000 for those filing singly and $24,000 for those filing jointly. At the same time, the framework calls for the repeal of exemptions, consolidating these different parts of the tax system.
  • The framework aims to simplify the tax code by gutting many itemized deductions, although charitable contributions and mortgage interestwould be retained. That makes the state and local taxes deduction (SALT) a major target. SALT lets you deduct state and local income or sales taxes you owe from your federal taxable income and largely benefits blue states with higher taxes.

Most beneficial tax credits, 2015

Tax credits are subtracted directly from taxes owed.

Prior-year minimum tax creditGeneral business creditResidential energy creditsForeign tax creditChild care creditOther creditsAmerican opportunity creditNonrefundable education creditChild tax creditAdditional child tax creditEarned income credit$10,000$25,000$50,000$100,000$500,000Lower incomeHigher income$30,000 to $40,000
CREDIT MEAN CREDIT*
Earned income credit (?) $500
Additional child tax credit (?) $300
Child tax credit (?) $200
Nonrefundable education credit (?) $100
American opportunity credit (?) $100
Other credits $0
Child care credit (?) $0
Foreign tax credit (?) $0
Residential energy credits (?) $0
General business credit (?) $0
Prior-year minimum tax credit (?) $0

* Mean credit is the total credit amount received by the income group divided by the number of returns in that group, including those that did not receive the credit.

Note: Returns for those filing singly and those filing jointly or in other categories are lumped together.

Credits can reduce federal income taxes owed down to zero, but “refundable” credits can reduce them even more, allowing some taxpayers to receive a net gain from the federal government after filing.

Here’s what the Republican’s tax reform framework would change about credits:

  • The plan calls for an expansion of the child tax credit, increasing its value from the current $1,000 max and making it available to more income groups. The framework also proposes an additional $500 non-refundable credit for “non-child dependents.”
  • Like with deductions, the framework calls for the repeal of “numerous other” credits to simplify the tax code but does not specify which policies will be targeted.

Just part of the picture

Of course, the tax policies we’re looking at above are just part of U.S. federal tax code. Actual income tax rates are central to tax reform proposals; the Republican tax reform framework would reduce the seven income brackets currently used to just three, lowering rates for many but increasing them for some in the lowest bracket. It also calls for the repeal of the estate tax.

The plan also proposes a large decrease in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, among many other changes to the business tax code.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/politics/tax-breaks/?utm_term=.09de159b6eeb

The Internal Revenue Service has recently released new data on individual income taxes for calendar year 2014, showing the number of taxpayers, adjusted gross income, and income tax shares by income percentiles.[1]

The data demonstrates that the U.S. individual income tax continues to be very progressive, borne mainly by the highest income earners.

  • In 2014, 139.6 million taxpayers reported earning $9.71 trillion in adjusted gross income and paid $1.37 trillion in individual income taxes.
  • The share of income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers rose to 20.6 percent in 2014. Their share of federal individual income taxes also rose, to 39.5 percent.
  • In 2014, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97.3 percent of all individual income taxes while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 2.7 percent.
  • The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (39.5 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.1 percent).
  • The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 27.1 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.5 percent).

Reported Income and Taxes Paid Both Increased Significantly in 2014

Taxpayers reported $9.71 trillion in adjusted gross income (AGI) on 139.5 million tax returns in 2014. Total AGI grew by $675 billion from the previous year’s levels. There were 1.2 million more returns filed in 2014 than in 2013, meaning that average AGI rose by $4,252 per return, or 6.5 percent.

Meanwhile, taxpayers paid $1.37 trillion in individual income taxes in 2014, an 11.5 percent increase from taxes paid in the previous year. The average individual income tax rate for all taxpayers rose from 13.64 percent to 14.16 percent. Moreover, the average tax rate increased for all income groups, except for the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers, whose average rate decreased from 27.91 percent to 27.67 percent.

The most likely explanation behind the higher tax rates in 2014 is a phenomenon known as “real bracket creep.” [2] As incomes rise, households are pushed into higher tax brackets, and are subject to higher overall tax rates on their income. On the other hand, the likely reason why the top 0.1 percent of households saw a slightly lower tax rate in 2014 is because a higher portion of their income consisted of long-term capital gains, which are subject to lower tax rates.[3]

The share of income earned by the top 1 percent rose to 20.58 percent of total AGI, up from 19.04 percent in 2013. The share of the income tax burden for the top 1 percent also rose, from 37.80 percent in 2013 to 39.48 percent in 2014.

Top 1% Top 5% Top 10% Top 25% Top 50% Bottom 50% All Taxpayers
Table 1. Summary of Federal Income Tax Data, 2014
Number of Returns 1,395,620 6,978,102 13,956,203 34,890,509 69,781,017 69,781,017 139,562,034
Adjusted Gross Income ($ millions) $1,997,819 $3,490,867 $4,583,416 $6,690,287 $8,614,544 $1,094,119 $9,708,663
Share of Total Adjusted Gross Income 20.58% 35.96% 47.21% 68.91% 88.73% 11.27% 100.00%
Income Taxes Paid ($ millions) $542,640 $824,153 $974,124 $1,192,679 $1,336,637 $37,740 $1,374,379
Share of Total Income Taxes Paid 39.48% 59.97% 70.88% 86.78% 97.25% 2.75% 100.00%
Income Split Point $465,626 $188,996 $133,445 $77,714 $38,173
Average Tax Rate 27.16% 23.61% 21.25% 17.83% 15.52% 3.45% 14.16%
 Note: Does not include dependent filers

High-Income Americans Paid the Majority of Federal Taxes

In 2014, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers (those with AGIs below $38,173) earned 11.27 percent of total AGI. This group of taxpayers paid approximately $38 billion in taxes, or 2.75 percent of all income taxes in 2014.

In contrast, the top 1 percent of all taxpayers (taxpayers with AGIs of $465,626 and above) earned 20.58 percent of all AGI in 2014, but paid 39.48 percent of all federal income taxes.

In 2014, the top 1 percent of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined. The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid $543 billion, or 39.48 percent of all income taxes, while the bottom 90 percent paid $400 billion, or 29.12 percent of all income taxes.

Figure 1.

High-Income Taxpayers Pay the Highest Average Tax Rates

The 2014 IRS data shows that taxpayers with higher incomes pay much higher average individual income tax rates than lower-income taxpayers.[4]

The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers (taxpayers with AGIs below $38,173) faced an average income tax rate of 3.45 percent. As household income increases, the IRS data shows that average income tax rates rise. For example, taxpayers with AGIs between the 10th and 5th percentile ($133,445 and $188,996) pay an average rate of 13.7 percent – almost four times the rate paid by those in the bottom 50 percent.

The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI of $465,626 and above) paid the highest effective income tax rate, at 27.2 percent, 7.9 times the rate faced by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers.

Figure 2.

Taxpayers at the very top of the income distribution, the top 0.1 percent (with AGIs over $2.14 million), paid an even higher average tax rate, of 27.7 percent.

573 $442 $1,015 $458 $1,473 $318
1982 $1,876 $167 $398 $207 $605 $460 $1,065 $478 $1,544 $332
1983 $1,970 $183 $428 $217 $646 $481 $1,127 $498 $1,625 $344
1984 $2,173 $210 $482 $240 $723 $528 $1,251 $543 $1,794 $379
1985 $2,344 $235 $531 $260 $791 $567 $1,359 $580 $1,939 $405
1986 $2,524 $285 $608 $278 $887 $604 $1,490 $613 $2,104 $421
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
1987 $2,814 $347 $722 $316 $1,038 $671 $1,709 $664 $2,374 $440
1988 $3,124 $474 $891 $342 $1,233 $718 $1,951 $707 $2,658 $466
1989 $3,299 $468 $918 $368 $1,287 $768 $2,054 $751 $2,805 $494
1990 $3,451 $483 $953 $385 $1,338 $806 $2,144 $788 $2,933 $519
1991 $3,516 $457 $943 $400 $1,343 $832 $2,175 $809 $2,984 $532
1992 $3,681 $524 $1,031 $413 $1,444 $856 $2,299 $832 $3,131 $549
1993 $3,776 $521 $1,048 $426 $1,474 $883 $2,358 $854 $3,212 $563
1994 $3,961 $547 $1,103 $449 $1,552 $929 $2,481 $890 $3,371 $590
1995 $4,245 $620 $1,223 $482 $1,705 $985 $2,690 $938 $3,628 $617
1996 $4,591 $737 $1,394 $515 $1,909 $1,043 $2,953 $992 $3,944 $646
1997 $5,023 $873 $1,597 $554 $2,151 $1,116 $3,268 $1,060 $4,328 $695
1998 $5,469 $1,010 $1,797 $597 $2,394 $1,196 $3,590 $1,132 $4,721 $748
1999 $5,909 $1,153 $2,012 $641 $2,653 $1,274 $3,927 $1,199 $5,126 $783
2000 $6,424 $1,337 $2,267 $688 $2,955 $1,358 $4,314 $1,276 $5,590 $834
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
2001 $6,116 $492 $1,065 $1,934 $666 $2,600 $1,334 $3,933 $1,302 $5,235 $881
2002 $5,982 $421 $960 $1,812 $660 $2,472 $1,339 $3,812 $1,303 $5,115 $867
2003 $6,157 $466 $1,030 $1,908 $679 $2,587 $1,375 $3,962 $1,325 $5,287 $870
2004 $6,735 $615 $1,279 $2,243 $725 $2,968 $1,455 $4,423 $1,403 $5,826 $908
2005 $7,366 $784 $1,561 $2,623 $778 $3,401 $1,540 $4,940 $1,473 $6,413 $953
2006 $7,970 $895 $1,761 $2,918 $841 $3,760 $1,652 $5,412 $1,568 $6,980 $990
2007 $8,622 $1,030 $1,971 $3,223 $905 $4,128 $1,770 $5,898 $1,673 $7,571 $1,051
2008 $8,206 $826 $1,657 $2,868 $905 $3,773 $1,782 $5,555 $1,673 $7,228 $978
2009 $7,579 $602 $1,305 $2,439 $878 $3,317 $1,740 $5,058 $1,620 $6,678 $900
2010 $8,040 $743 $1,517 $2,716 $915 $3,631 $1,800 $5,431 $1,665 $7,096 $944
2011 $8,317 $737 $1,556 $2,819 $956 $3,775 $1,866 $5,641 $1,716 $7,357 $961
2012 $9,042 $1,017 $1,977 $3,331 $997 $4,328 $1,934 $6,262 $1,776 $8,038 $1,004
2013 $9,034 $816 $1,720 $3,109 $1,034 $4,143 $2,008 $6,152 $1,844 $7,996 $1,038
2014 $9,709 $986 $1,998 $3,491 $1,093 $4,583 $2,107 $6,690 $1,924 $8,615 $1,094
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
Table 4. Total Income Tax after Credits, 1980–2014 ($Billions)
Source: Internal Revenue Service.
1980 $249 $47 $92 $31 $123 $59 $182 $50 $232 $18
1981 $282 $50 $99 $36 $135 $69 $204 $57 $261 $21
1982 $276 $53 $100 $34 $134 $66 $200 $56 $256 $20
1983 $272 $55 $101 $34 $135 $64 $199 $54 $252 $19
1984 $297 $63 $113 $37 $150 $68 $219 $57 $276 $22
1985 $322 $70 $125 $41 $166 $73 $238 $60 $299 $23
1986 $367 $94 $156 $44 $201 $78 $279 $64 $343 $24
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
1987 $369 $92 $160 $46 $205 $79 $284 $63 $347 $22
1988 $413 $114 $188 $48 $236 $85 $321 $68 $389 $24
1989 $433 $109 $190 $51 $241 $93 $334 $73 $408 $25
1990 $447 $112 $195 $52 $248 $97 $344 $77 $421 $26
1991 $448 $111 $194 $56 $250 $96 $347 $77 $424 $25
1992 $476 $131 $218 $58 $276 $97 $374 $78 $452 $24
1993 $503 $146 $238 $60 $298 $101 $399 $80 $479 $24
1994 $535 $154 $254 $64 $318 $108 $425 $84 $509 $25
1995 $588 $178 $288 $70 $357 $115 $473 $88 $561 $27
1996 $658 $213 $335 $76 $411 $124 $535 $95 $630 $28
1997 $727 $241 $377 $82 $460 $134 $594 $102 $696 $31
1998 $788 $274 $425 $88 $513 $139 $652 $103 $755 $33
1999 $877 $317 $486 $97 $583 $150 $733 $109 $842 $35
2000 $981 $367 $554 $106 $660 $164 $824 $118 $942 $38
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
2001 $885 $139 $294 $462 $101 $564 $158 $722 $120 $842 $43
2002 $794 $120 $263 $420 $93 $513 $143 $657 $104 $761 $33
2003 $746 $115 $251 $399 $85 $484 $133 $617 $98 $715 $30
2004 $829 $142 $301 $467 $91 $558 $137 $695 $102 $797 $32
2005 $932 $176 $361 $549 $98 $647 $145 $793 $106 $898 $33
2006 $1,020 $196 $402 $607 $108 $715 $157 $872 $113 $986 $35
2007 $1,112 $221 $443 $666 $117 $783 $170 $953 $122 $1,075 $37
2008 $1,029 $187 $386 $597 $115 $712 $168 $880 $117 $997 $32
2009 $863 $146 $314 $502 $101 $604 $146 $749 $93 $842 $21
2010 $949 $170 $355 $561 $110 $670 $156 $827 $100 $927 $22
2011 $1,043 $168 $366 $589 $123 $712 $181 $893 $120 $1,012 $30
2012 $1,185 $220 $451 $699 $133 $831 $193 $1,024 $128 $1,152 $33
2013 $1,232 $228 $466 $721 $139 $860 $203 $1,063 $135 $1,198 $34
2014 $1,374 $273 $543 $824 $150 $974 $219 $1,193 $144 $1,337 $38
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
Table 5. Adjusted Gross Income Shares, 1980–2014 (percent of total AGI earned by each group)
Source: Internal Revenue Service.
1980 100% 8.46% 21.01% 11.12% 32.13% 24.57% 56.70% 25.62% 82.32% 17.68%
1981 100% 8.30% 20.78% 11.20% 31.98% 24.69% 56.67% 25.59% 82.25% 17.75%
1982 100% 8.91% 21.23% 11.03% 32.26% 24.53% 56.79% 25.50% 82.29% 17.71%
1983 100% 9.29% 21.74% 11.04% 32.78% 24.44% 57.22% 25.30% 82.52% 17.48%
1984 100% 9.66% 22.19% 11.06% 33.25% 24.31% 57.56% 25.00% 82.56% 17.44%
1985 100% 10.03% 22.67% 11.10% 33.77% 24.21% 57.97% 24.77% 82.74% 17.26%
1986 100% 11.30% 24.11% 11.02% 35.12% 23.92% 59.04% 24.30% 83.34% 16.66%
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
1987 100% 12.32% 25.67% 11.23% 36.90% 23.85% 60.75% 23.62% 84.37% 15.63%
1988 100% 15.16% 28.51% 10.94% 39.45% 22.99% 62.44% 22.63% 85.07% 14.93%
1989 100% 14.19% 27.84% 11.16% 39.00% 23.28% 62.28% 22.76% 85.04% 14.96%
1990 100% 14.00% 27.62% 11.15% 38.77% 23.36% 62.13% 22.84% 84.97% 15.03%
1991 100% 12.99% 26.83% 11.37% 38.20% 23.65% 61.85% 23.01% 84.87% 15.13%
1992 100% 14.23% 28.01% 11.21% 39.23% 23.25% 62.47% 22.61% 85.08% 14.92%
1993 100% 13.79% 27.76% 11.29% 39.05% 23.40% 62.45% 22.63% 85.08% 14.92%
1994 100% 13.80% 27.85% 11.34% 39.19% 23.45% 62.64% 22.48% 85.11% 14.89%
1995 100% 14.60% 28.81% 11.35% 40.16% 23.21% 63.37% 22.09% 85.46% 14.54%
1996 100% 16.04% 30.36% 11.23% 41.59% 22.73% 64.32% 21.60% 85.92% 14.08%
1997 100% 17.38% 31.79% 11.03% 42.83% 22.22% 65.05% 21.11% 86.16% 13.84%
1998 100% 18.47% 32.85% 10.92% 43.77% 21.87% 65.63% 20.69% 86.33% 13.67%
1999 100% 19.51% 34.04% 10.85% 44.89% 21.57% 66.46% 20.29% 86.75% 13.25%
2000 100% 20.81% 35.30% 10.71% 46.01% 21.15% 67.15% 19.86% 87.01% 12.99%
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
2001 100% 8.05% 17.41% 31.61% 10.89% 42.50% 21.80% 64.31% 21.29% 85.60% 14.40%
2002 100% 7.04% 16.05% 30.29% 11.04% 41.33% 22.39% 63.71% 21.79% 85.50% 14.50%
2003 100% 7.56% 16.73% 30.99% 11.03% 42.01% 22.33% 64.34% 21.52% 85.87% 14.13%
2004 100% 9.14% 18.99% 33.31% 10.77% 44.07% 21.60% 65.68% 20.83% 86.51% 13.49%
2005 100% 10.64% 21.19% 35.61% 10.56% 46.17% 20.90% 67.07% 19.99% 87.06% 12.94%
2006 100% 11.23% 22.10% 36.62% 10.56% 47.17% 20.73% 67.91% 19.68% 87.58% 12.42%
2007 100% 11.95% 22.86% 37.39% 10.49% 47.88% 20.53% 68.41% 19.40% 87.81% 12.19%
2008 100% 10.06% 20.19% 34.95% 11.03% 45.98% 21.71% 67.69% 20.39% 88.08% 11.92%
2009 100% 7.94% 17.21% 32.18% 11.59% 43.77% 22.96% 66.74% 21.38% 88.12% 11.88%
2010 100% 9.24% 18.87% 33.78% 11.38% 45.17% 22.38% 67.55% 20.71% 88.26% 11.74%
2011 100% 8.86% 18.70% 33.89% 11.50% 45.39% 22.43% 67.82% 20.63% 88.45% 11.55%
2012 100% 11.25% 21.86% 36.84% 11.03% 47.87% 21.39% 69.25% 19.64% 88.90% 11.10%
2013 100% 9.03% 19.04% 34.42% 11.45% 45.87% 22.23% 68.10% 20.41% 88.51% 11.49%
2014 100% 10.16% 20.58% 35.96% 11.25% 47.21% 21.70% 68.91% 19.82% 88.73% 11.27%
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
Table 6. Total Income Tax Shares, 1980–2014 (percent of federal income tax paid by each group)
Source: Internal Revenue Service.
1980 100% 19.05% 36.84% 12.44% 49.28% 23.74% 73.02% 19.93% 92.95% 7.05%
1981 100% 17.58% 35.06% 12.90% 47.96% 24.33% 72.29% 20.26% 92.55% 7.45%
1982 100% 19.03% 36.13% 12.45% 48.59% 23.91% 72.50% 20.15% 92.65% 7.35%
1983 100% 20.32% 37.26% 12.44% 49.71% 23.39% 73.10% 19.73% 92.83% 7.17%
1984 100% 21.12% 37.98% 12.58% 50.56% 22.92% 73.49% 19.16% 92.65% 7.35%
1985 100% 21.81% 38.78% 12.67% 51.46% 22.60% 74.06% 18.77% 92.83% 7.17%
1986 100% 25.75% 42.57% 12.12% 54.69% 21.33% 76.02% 17.52% 93.54% 6.46%
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
1987 100% 24.81% 43.26% 12.35% 55.61% 21.31% 76.92% 17.02% 93.93% 6.07%
1988 100% 27.58% 45.62% 11.66% 57.28% 20.57% 77.84% 16.44% 94.28% 5.72%
1989 100% 25.24% 43.94% 11.85% 55.78% 21.44% 77.22% 16.94% 94.17% 5.83%
1990 100% 25.13% 43.64% 11.73% 55.36% 21.66% 77.02% 17.16% 94.19% 5.81%
1991 100% 24.82% 43.38% 12.45% 55.82% 21.46% 77.29% 17.23% 94.52% 5.48%
1992 100% 27.54% 45.88% 12.12% 58.01% 20.47% 78.48% 16.46% 94.94% 5.06%
1993 100% 29.01% 47.36% 11.88% 59.24% 20.03% 79.27% 15.92% 95.19% 4.81%
1994 100% 28.86% 47.52% 11.93% 59.45% 20.10% 79.55% 15.68% 95.23% 4.77%
1995 100% 30.26% 48.91% 11.84% 60.75% 19.62% 80.36% 15.03% 95.39% 4.61%
1996 100% 32.31% 50.97% 11.54% 62.51% 18.80% 81.32% 14.36% 95.68% 4.32%
1997 100% 33.17% 51.87% 11.33% 63.20% 18.47% 81.67% 14.05% 95.72% 4.28%
1998 100% 34.75% 53.84% 11.20% 65.04% 17.65% 82.69% 13.10% 95.79% 4.21%
1999 100% 36.18% 55.45% 11.00% 66.45% 17.09% 83.54% 12.46% 96.00% 4.00%
2000 100% 37.42% 56.47% 10.86% 67.33% 16.68% 84.01% 12.08% 96.09% 3.91%
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
2001 100% 15.68% 33.22% 52.24% 11.44% 63.68% 17.88% 81.56% 13.54% 95.10% 4.90%
2002 100% 15.09% 33.09% 52.86% 11.77% 64.63% 18.04% 82.67% 13.12% 95.79% 4.21%
2003 100% 15.37% 33.69% 53.54% 11.35% 64.89% 17.87% 82.76% 13.17% 95.93% 4.07%
2004 100% 17.12% 36.28% 56.35% 10.96% 67.30% 16.52% 83.82% 12.31% 96.13% 3.87%
2005 100% 18.91% 38.78% 58.93% 10.52% 69.46% 15.61% 85.07% 11.35% 96.41% 3.59%
2006 100% 19.24% 39.36% 59.49% 10.59% 70.08% 15.41% 85.49% 11.10% 96.59% 3.41%
2007 100% 19.84% 39.81% 59.90% 10.51% 70.41% 15.30% 85.71% 10.93% 96.64% 3.36%
2008 100% 18.20% 37.51% 58.06% 11.14% 69.20% 16.37% 85.57% 11.33% 96.90% 3.10%
2009 100% 16.91% 36.34% 58.17% 11.72% 69.89% 16.85% 86.74% 10.80% 97.54% 2.46%
2010 100% 17.88% 37.38% 59.07% 11.55% 70.62% 16.49% 87.11% 10.53% 97.64% 2.36%
2011 100% 16.14% 35.06% 56.49% 11.77% 68.26% 17.36% 85.62% 11.50% 97.11% 2.89%
2012 100% 18.60% 38.09% 58.95% 11.22% 70.17% 16.25% 86.42% 10.80% 97.22% 2.78%
2013 100% 18.48% 37.80% 58.55% 11.25% 69.80% 16.47% 86.27% 10.94% 97.22% 2.78%
2014 100% 19.85% 39.48% 59.97% 10.91% 70.88% 15.90% 86.78% 10.47% 97.25% 2.75%
Year Total Top 1% Top 5% Top 10% Top 25% Top 50%
Table 7. Dollar Cut-Off, 1980–2014 (Minimum AGI for Tax Returns to Fall into Various Percentiles; Thresholds Not Adjusted for Inflation)
1980 $80,580 $43,792 $35,070 $23,606 $12,936
1981 $85,428 $47,845 $38,283 $25,655 $14,000
1982 $89,388 $49,284 $39,676 $27,027 $14,539
1983 $93,512 $51,553 $41,222 $27,827 $15,044
1984 $100,889 $55,423 $43,956 $29,360 $15,998
1985 $108,134 $58,883 $46,322 $30,928 $16,688
1986 $118,818 $62,377 $48,656 $32,242 $17,302
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
1987 $139,289 $68,414 $52,921 $33,983 $17,768
1988 $157,136 $72,735 $55,437 $35,398 $18,367
1989 $163,869 $76,933 $58,263 $36,839 $18,993
1990 $167,421 $79,064 $60,287 $38,080 $19,767
1991 $170,139 $81,720 $61,944 $38,929 $20,097
1992 $181,904 $85,103 $64,457 $40,378 $20,803
1993 $185,715 $87,386 $66,077 $41,210 $21,179
1994 $195,726 $91,226 $68,753 $42,742 $21,802
1995 $209,406 $96,221 $72,094 $44,207 $22,344
1996 $227,546 $101,141 $74,986 $45,757 $23,174
1997 $250,736 $108,048 $79,212 $48,173 $24,393
1998 $269,496 $114,729 $83,220 $50,607 $25,491
1999 $293,415 $120,846 $87,682 $52,965 $26,415
2000 $313,469 $128,336 $92,144 $55,225 $27,682
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
2001 $1,393,718 $306,635 $132,082 $96,151 $59,026 $31,418
2002 $1,245,352 $296,194 $130,750 $95,699 $59,066 $31,299
2003 $1,317,088 $305,939 $133,741 $97,470 $59,896 $31,447
2004 $1,617,918 $339,993 $140,758 $101,838 $62,794 $32,622
2005 $1,938,175 $379,261 $149,216 $106,864 $64,821 $33,484
2006 $2,124,625 $402,603 $157,390 $112,016 $67,291 $34,417
2007 $2,251,017 $426,439 $164,883 $116,396 $69,559 $35,541
2008 $1,867,652 $392,513 $163,512 $116,813 $69,813 $35,340
2009 $1,469,393 $351,968 $157,342 $114,181 $68,216 $34,156
2010 $1,634,386 $369,691 $161,579 $116,623 $69,126 $34,338
2011 $1,717,675 $388,905 $167,728 $120,136 $70,492 $34,823
2012 $2,161,175 $434,682 $175,817 $125,195 $73,354 $36,055
2013 $1,860,848 $428,713 $179,760 $127,695 $74,955 $36,841
2014 $2,136,762 $465,626 $188,996 $133,445 $77,714 $38,173
Source: Internal Revenue Service.
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
Table 8. Average Tax Rate, 1980–2014 (Percent of AGI Paid in Income Taxes)
Source: Internal Revenue Service.
1980 15.31% 34.47% 26.85% 17.13% 23.49% 14.80% 19.72% 11.91% 17.29% 6.10%
1981 15.76% 33.37% 26.59% 18.16% 23.64% 15.53% 20.11% 12.48% 17.73% 6.62%
1982 14.72% 31.43% 25.05% 16.61% 22.17% 14.35% 18.79% 11.63% 16.57% 6.10%
1983 13.79% 30.18% 23.64% 15.54% 20.91% 13.20% 17.62% 10.76% 15.52% 5.66%
1984 13.68% 29.92% 23.42% 15.57% 20.81% 12.90% 17.47% 10.48% 15.35% 5.77%
1985 13.73% 29.86% 23.50% 15.69% 20.93% 12.83% 17.55% 10.41% 15.41% 5.70%
1986 14.54% 33.13% 25.68% 15.99% 22.64% 12.97% 18.72% 10.48% 16.32% 5.63%
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
1987 13.12% 26.41% 22.10% 14.43% 19.77% 11.71% 16.61% 9.45% 14.60% 5.09%
1988 13.21% 24.04% 21.14% 14.07% 19.18% 11.82% 16.47% 9.60% 14.64% 5.06%
1989 13.12% 23.34% 20.71% 13.93% 18.77% 12.08% 16.27% 9.77% 14.53% 5.11%
1990 12.95% 23.25% 20.46% 13.63% 18.50% 12.01% 16.06% 9.73% 14.36% 5.01%
1991 12.75% 24.37% 20.62% 13.96% 18.63% 11.57% 15.93% 9.55% 14.20% 4.62%
1992 12.94% 25.05% 21.19% 13.99% 19.13% 11.39% 16.25% 9.42% 14.44% 4.39%
1993 13.32% 28.01% 22.71% 14.01% 20.20% 11.40% 16.90% 9.37% 14.90% 4.29%
1994 13.50% 28.23% 23.04% 14.20% 20.48% 11.57% 17.15% 9.42% 15.11% 4.32%
1995 13.86% 28.73% 23.53% 14.46% 20.97% 11.71% 17.58% 9.43% 15.47% 4.39%
1996 14.34% 28.87% 24.07% 14.74% 21.55% 11.86% 18.12% 9.53% 15.96% 4.40%
1997 14.48% 27.64% 23.62% 14.87% 21.36% 12.04% 18.18% 9.63% 16.09% 4.48%
1998 14.42% 27.12% 23.63% 14.79% 21.42% 11.63% 18.16% 9.12% 16.00% 4.44%
1999 14.85% 27.53% 24.18% 15.06% 21.98% 11.76% 18.66% 9.12% 16.43% 4.48%
2000 15.26% 27.45% 24.42% 15.48% 22.34% 12.04% 19.09% 9.28% 16.86% 4.60%
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable
2001 14.47% 28.17% 27.60% 23.91% 15.20% 21.68% 11.87% 18.35% 9.20% 16.08% 4.92%
2002 13.28% 28.48% 27.37% 23.17% 14.15% 20.76% 10.70% 17.23% 8.00% 14.87% 3.86%
2003 12.11% 24.60% 24.38% 20.92% 12.46% 18.70% 9.69% 15.57% 7.41% 13.53% 3.49%
2004 12.31% 23.06% 23.52% 20.83% 12.53% 18.80% 9.41% 15.71% 7.27% 13.68% 3.53%
2005 12.65% 22.48% 23.15% 20.93% 12.61% 19.03% 9.45% 16.04% 7.18% 14.01% 3.51%
2006 12.80% 21.94% 22.80% 20.80% 12.84% 19.02% 9.52% 16.12% 7.22% 14.12% 3.51%
2007 12.90% 21.42% 22.46% 20.66% 12.92% 18.96% 9.61% 16.16% 7.27% 14.19% 3.56%
2008 12.54% 22.67% 23.29% 20.83% 12.66% 18.87% 9.45% 15.85% 6.97% 13.79% 3.26%
2009 11.39% 24.28% 24.05% 20.59% 11.53% 18.19% 8.36% 14.81% 5.76% 12.61% 2.35%
2010 11.81% 22.84% 23.39% 20.64% 11.98% 18.46% 8.70% 15.22% 6.01% 13.06% 2.37%
2011 12.54% 22.82% 23.50% 20.89% 12.83% 18.85% 9.70% 15.82% 6.98% 13.76% 3.13%
2012 13.11% 21.67% 22.83% 20.97% 13.33% 19.21% 9.96% 16.35% 7.21% 14.33% 3.28%
2013 13.64% 27.91% 27.08% 23.20% 13.40% 20.75% 10.11% 17.28% 7.31% 14.98% 3.30%
2014 14.16% 27.67% 27.16% 23.61% 13.73% 21.25% 10.37% 17.83% 7.48% 15.52% 3.45%
  1. For data prior to 2001, all tax returns that have a positive AGI are included, even those that do not have a positive income tax liability. For data from 2001 forward, returns with negative AGI are also included, but dependent returns are excluded.
  2. Income tax after credits (the measure of “income taxes paid” above) does not account for the refundable portion of EITC. If it were included, the tax share of the top income groups would be higher. The refundable portion is classified as a spending program by the Office of Management and Budget and therefore is not included by the IRS in these figures.
  3. The only tax analyzed here is the federal individual income tax, which is responsible for more than 25 percent of the nation’s taxes paid (at all levels of government). Federal income taxes are much more progressive than federal payroll taxes, which are responsible for about 20 percent of all taxes paid (at all levels of government), and are more progressive than most state and local taxes.
  4. AGI is a fairly narrow income concept and does not include income items like government transfers (except for the portion of Social Security benefits that is taxed), the value of employer-provided health insurance, underreported or unreported income (most notably that of sole proprietors), income derived from municipal bond interest, net imputed rental income, and others.
  5. The unit of analysis here is that of the tax return. In the figures prior to 2001, some dependent returns are included. Under other units of analysis (like the Treasury Department’s Family Economic Unit), these returns would likely be paired with parents’ returns.
  6. These figures represent the legal incidence of the income tax. Most distributional tables (such as those from CBO, Tax Policy Center, Citizens for Tax Justice, the Treasury Department, and JCT) assume that the entire economic incidence of personal income taxes falls on the income earner.

[1] Individual Income Tax Rates and Tax Shares, Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income, http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-Individual-Income-Tax-Rates-and-Tax-Shares.

[2] See Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027, Jan. 2017, https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52370-outlook.pdf.

[3] There is strong reason to believe that capital gains realizations were unusually depressed in 2013, due to the increase in the top capital gains tax rate from 15 percent to 23.8 percent. In 2013, capital gains accounted for 26.6 percent of the income of taxpayers with over $1 million in AGI received, compared to 31.7 percent in 2014 (these calculations apply for net capital gains reported on Schedule D). Table 1.4, Publication 1304, “Individual Income Tax Returns 2014,” Internal Revenue Service, https://www.irs.gov/uac/soi-tax-stats-individual-income-tax-returns-publication-1304-complete-report.

[4] Here, “average income tax rate” is defined as income taxes paid divided by adjusted gross income.

https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2016-update/

 

Story 2: Secretary of Health and Human Resources Thomas Price Resigns and President Trump Accepts After Trump Outraged Over Use Expensive Private Chartered Jet Flight To Conduct Government Business — Don Wright to serve as acting secretary of the HHS — Videos —

The Real Reason Tom Price Resigned | The Last Word | MSNBC

Tom Price: From Private Jets To Private Citizen

Chris Wallace Takes On Tom Price to Pay For Charter Flights

President Trump GRILLED on Tom Price Resigns, Puerto Rico & NFL owners players press conference

What A Waste: Tom Price’s Private Jet Trips

Will HHS Secretary Tom Price Keep His Job? | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Guess What Private Jet Scold Tom Price Is Up To

Price resigns from HHS after facing fire for travel

His exit comes after POLITICO revealed his extensive use of private jets and military aircraft for government business.

Updated 

HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday in the face of multiple federal inquiries and growing criticism of his use of private and government planes for travel, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1 million since May.

The White House said the former seven-term Georgia congressman, 63, offered his resignation earlier in the day and that President Donald Trump had accepted it.

As late as Thursday, Price said he believed he had the president’s support. But the tumult surrounding his travel became another distraction for an administration already reeling from the defeat of repeated Senate efforts to repeal Obamacare and facing criticism for its hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

In his resignation letter, Price expressed regret that “recent events” distracted from efforts to overhaul the health care system, reduce regulatory burdens and improve global health. “In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation as the Secretary of Health and Human Services effective 11:59 PM on Friday,” Price wrote.

Tom Price resigns as Trump administration health chief after outrage over pricey private jet flights

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday after criticism over his repeatedly taking expensive private jets instead of commercial flights.
  • Price’s private travel, added to his use of military jets for overseas trips, has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.
  • Price said he will reimburse the government just a fraction of the cost of the flights.

Senate Democrats quickly served notice they were preparing for a potential confirmation fight over Price’s successor, saying the next HHS secretary must not undermine Obamacare. Under Price, the department cut the law’s enrollment period in half and massively slashed advertising and outreach for the upcoming enrollment period starting in November.

“The mission of the Health and Human Services secretary should be to support Americans’ health care, not take it away,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “The next HHS secretary must follow the law when it comes to the Affordable Care Act instead of trying to sabotage it.”

“Tom Price’s replacement needs to be focused on implementing the law as written by Congress and keeping the president’s promise to bring down the high cost of prescription drugs,” Senate Finance ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon said in a statement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a close ally, praised Price as a dedicated public servant who fought for others. “His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation,” Ryan said in a statement.

POLITICO revealed in a series of articles that Price flew at least 26 times on private aircraft at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a sharp break with his predecessors’ practice. Many of Price’s flights were between major cities that offered inexpensive alternatives on commercial airlines, including Nashville, Philadelphia and San Diego.

On some of those trips, Price, an orthopedic surgeon, mixed official business with personal affairs. He took a government-funded private jet in August to get to St. Simons Island, an exclusive Georgia resort where he and his wife own land, a day and a half before he addressed a medical conference he and his wife have long attended. In June, HHS chartered a private jet to fly Price to Nashville, where he owns a condominium and where his son resides. Price toured a medicine dispensary, spoke to a local health summit organized by a friend and had lunch with his son, an HHS official confirmed.

Price also used military aircraft for multi-national trips to Africa, Europe and Asia, at a cost of more than $500,000 to taxpayersThe White House said it had approved those trips but not the private jets within the United States.

Price tried to defuse the controversy by promising on Thursday to reimburse the government for the approximately $52,000 cost of his own seat on his domestic trips. But that wasn’t enough to tamp down the scandal, which had infuriatedPresident Donald Trump and prompted a bipartisan inquiry from the House Oversight Committee and separate calls for accountability from lawmakers including Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. The inspector general of Price’s own agency is reviewing if Price complied with federal travel regulations.

The issue of Cabinet members’ travel was also extending beyond Price: POLITICO reported Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his aides took several flights on private or military aircraft, including a $12,000 charter plane to take him to events in his hometown in Montana and private flights in the Caribbean. Zinke dismissed the furor as a “little B.S.” during a Friday appearance at the Heritage Foundation.

Price’s wife, Betty, accompanied him on the military flights, while other members of the secretary’s delegation flew commercially to Europe.

HHS spokeswoman Charmaine Yoest said Price reimbursed the agency for his wife’s travel, but declined to elaborate.

White House officials have groused about Price’s frequent travels, with one senior White House official saying the HHS secretary was “nowhere to be found” as they mounted a last-ditch unsuccessful push to repeal Obamacare.

Congressional Democrats attacked Price for advocating spending cuts to the health agencies he oversaw and health care programs while spending taxpayer dollars on private jets. “There could not be a clearer statement of the Trump administration’s priorities,” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) said. Key Democrats overseeing health issues in Congress had formally requested that HHS’s inspector general review Price’s travel practices.

In June, Price defended a proposed fiscal 2018 budget for HHS that included a $663,000 cut to the agency’s $4.9 million annual spending on travel, or roughly 15 percent. “The budgeting process is an exercise in reforming our federal programs to make sure they actually work — so they do their job and use tax dollars wisely,” Price told the Senate Finance Committee on June 8.

Ethical questions dogged Price even before questions about his travel arose. During his Senate confirmation hearing to helm HHS, Price faced pointed questions about his personal investments in health care companies during his time in Congress. Democrats called on government ethics officials to investigate Price’s health care stock trades, following reports that he got a sweetheart deal from a biotech company and invested in Zimmer Biomet, a medical device-maker, just days before writing legislation that would have eased regulations on the sector.

The Senate confirmed Price by a 52-47 margin in February after he maintained full Republican support.

 

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/29/price-has-resigned-as-health-and-human-services-secretary-243315

Jacob Pramuk | Dan Mangan

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Tom Price out as HHS Secretary

Tom Price, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, resigned Friday amid a furor over his taking more than two dozen costly private plane trips instead of less-expensive commercial flights.

The White House in a statement said that President Donald Trump intends to tap a top HHS official, Don Wright, to serve as acting secretary of the department

Wright currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” the White House said, about an hour after Trump said he would decide by Friday night whether to fire Price.

Price’s resignation came a day after he said he would reimburse taxpayers for just a small fraction of the cost of his flights, and after he vowed to not use charter planes in the future.

A longtime critic of wasteful federal spending and the administration’s putative point man on attacking Obamacare — Price had taken 26 flights on charter plans since May, according to a Politico investigation.

In June, Price traveled on a $17,760 roundtrip charter from Washington to Nashville, Tennessee, Politico revealed. He spent less than six hours there, making two official appearances and eating lunch with his son.

In a four-day stretch in September, Price took flights costing an estimated $60,000 in total, according to Politico. Some of those flights came at times when dramatically cheaper commercial air travel would have been available.

Politico on Thursday reported that Price had also taken trips overseas using military jets, at a cost of more than $500,000 — putting the total tab for his penchant for pricey travel above $1 million.

Also Thursday, BuzzFeed News reported that Price had asked a White House official soon after taking office to tell Trump that he wanted to reopen the executive dining room at HHS, which had been closed since George W. Bush was president.

Price, who only became health secretary in February, was reportedly already on thin ice with top officials in the Trump administration when the controversy exploded over his pricey jet jaunts.

Those officials believed he did not do enough in recent weeks to support an ultimately doomed, last-ditch effort in Congress to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Price’s department for months has been taking steps to undercut that major health-care law — gutting advertising budgets designed to promote enrollment in Obamacare plans, suspending joint efforts with state-level groups to encourage insurance sign-ups and bad-mouthing Obamacare at every opportunity.

But he was noticeably absent at meetings to promote the passage of the Senate repeal bill, Graham-Cassidy, in September, Politico reported. That bill would have dramatically slashed federal spending on subsidizing health insurance coverage for Americans.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump told reporters “I am not happy about” Price’s use of private planes, “and I let him know it.”

“We’ll see,” Trump said, when asked if he would fire Price.

Price on Thursday had tried to tamp down the controversy by saying he would repay the government for the cost of “my seat” on the charter flights. Price said he will pay about $52,000 of the more than $400,000 taxpayer tab for his private trips.

The offer was immediately met with derision by critics who said Price was shortchanging taxpayers.

The 62-year-old Price, a former House member from Georgia, was a prominent critic of Obamacare while serving in Congress.

He also had billed himself as a staunch fiscal conservative with a record of pushing for government spending discipline.

Price leaves the Trump administration after the latest in an unsuccessful string of Republican attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

His departure also comes amid broader concerns about the ethical standards of the Trump administration and its top officials.

While Price has said he received prior approval from legal and HHS advisors for his private flights, his use of charters was in stark contrast to that of his two immediate predecessors as chief of HHS, Sylvia Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who took commercial flights to domestic engagements.

HHS’ inspector general is now reviewing Price’s use of private planes.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt also has racked up a $58,000 bill on noncommercial and military flights since mid-February, according to The Washington Post.

In a letter to Trump on Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pointed out that “federal regulations specifically prohibit official travel by chartered jet when it is not the most cost-effective mode of travel ‘because the taxpayer should pay no more than necessary for your transportation.'”

Grassley asked Trump to urge his Cabinet secretaries to use “reasonable and cost-effective modes of travel.”

The senator noted that in addition to questions about the travel habits of Price and Pruitt, the inspector general of the Treasury Department is investigating the travel expenses of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

During his Senate confirmation hearings as HHS secretary, Price was criticized for having traded more than $300,000 worth of about 40 health-care stocks in the previous four years, which involved companies that could have benefited from legislation he favored as a House member.

For one of those companies, the small Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, Price was offered the opportunity to buy shares at a discount, while sitting on a committee that could affect the financial outlook of the firm.

Price eventually sold his stake in the company during the HHS confirmation process and made a profit of at least $225,000 on a $94,000 investment, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Price during his Senate hearings denied that he invested using nonpublic information.

“Everything that we have done is absolutely aboveboard, transparent, legal and ethical,” he said at the time.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/29/price-out-as-trump-health-chief-after-outrage-over-private-jet-flights.html

 

Tom Price Resigns Under Pressure

Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned on Friday. Mr. Price drew criticism for his use of expensive chartered flights, which undermined President Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of an entitled capital.

 By CHRIS CIRILLO, GLENN THRUSH and A.J. CHAVAR on Publish DateSeptember 29, 2017. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times

.Watch in Times Video »WASHINGTON — Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital.

Already in trouble with Mr. Trump for months of unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program, Mr. Price failed to defuse the president’s anger over his high-priced travel by agreeing to pay a portion of the cost and expressing “regret” for his actions.

In a statement, the White House said that Mr. Price “offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted.”

It said Mr. Trump will tap Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as acting secretary at midnight Friday. Mr. Wright currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for health and as director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Mr. Price’s resignation came barely an hour after Mr. Trump publicly dressed him down for the second time in a week and said he would decide whether to fire the secretary by the end of the day. “I’m not happy, O.K.?” the president told reporters before boarding a helicopter as he headed to his New Jersey golf club for the weekend. “I can tell you, I’m not happy.”

Mr. Price’s job was on the line ever since the first of a string of reports by Politico on Sept. 19 about his extensive use of charter aircraft. Mr. Trump has fumed privately and publicly about Mr. Price’s actions, fearing that they undercut his promise to rid Washington of the sort of abuses that have soured the public on its political class. The president made clear on Friday that he also saw it as undermining his promise to save the government money, citing efforts to renegotiate contracts.

Mr. Price, a career physician and former congressman who had long opposed Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, had been a point man on the drive to scrap the law. In July, Mr. Trump said he would fire Mr. Price if he did not get the votes for the legislation. “He better get them,” Mr. Trump told an audience with Mr. Price at his side. “Otherwise, I’ll say, ‘Tom, you’re fired.’”

He said it in a jocular fashion, and his audience at the time took it as a jest, but in fact the president has been privately fuming about Mr. Price over the unsuccessful efforts to pass health care legislation in the Senate. The latest effort collapsed this week when enough Republicans defected to deprive Mr. Trump of a majority.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017, The Breaking and Developing Story 1: Mandatory Evacuation Ordered For South Florida — Floridians Flee Monster “Nuclear” Hurricane Irma With Wind Speeds Exceeding 185 MPH That Could Hit Either Coast and Miami/Dade County By Saturday — High Rise Buildings With Glass Windows Near Construction Cranes A Major Concern — Gas Shortage A Serious Major Problem For Those Evacuating — Get Out If You Can Now! — When Will Irma Turn North? — Videos — Story 2: Perspective Please — Over 1200 Killed by Flood in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan) vs. Over 60 in Texas By Raining Weather Not Climate Change — Worst Flooding in Decades — Videos

Posted on September 8, 2017. Filed under: Airlines, American History, Autos, City, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Federal Government, Food, Government, Health, Highway, History, Human, Life, Media, National Interest, Networking, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Radio, Railroads, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Transportation, U.S. Space Program, United States of America, Videos, Water, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Breaking and Developing Story 1: Mandatory Evacuation Ordered For South Florida — Floridians Flee Monster “Nuclear” Category 5 Hurricane Irma With Wind Speeds Exceeding 185 MPH That Could Hit Either Coast and Miami/Dade County By Saturday — High Rise Buildings With Glass Windows Near Construction Cranes A Major Concern — Gas Shortage A Serious Major Problem For Those Evacuating — Get Out If You Can Now! — When Will Irma Turn North? — Videos —Image result for map of florida and path of Hurrican Irma as of 5 pm 7 September 2017Image result for hurricane irma most likely track 5pm september 7, 2017

Image result for miami dade county map zone evacuation ordeer

Image result for map of florida and path of Hurrican Irma as of 5 pm 7 September 2017

Image result for map of florida and path of Hurrican Irma as of 5 pm 7 September 2017

Update

Hurricane Irma 6 p.m. September 8, 2014

 

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Hurricane Irma an Extreme Storm Surge Threat to the U.S. and Bahamas

September 6, 2017, 8:26 PM EDT

Above: Radar image of Irma from the Puerto Rico radar at 9 pm EDT September 6, 2017.

After clobbering the Lesser Antilles islands of BarbudaSaint BarthelemyAnguilla, and Saint Martin/Sint Maarten early Wednesday morning, Hurricane Irma carried its march of destruction into the British Virgin Islands on Wednesday afternoon, still packing top winds of 185 mph. As of 5 pm EDT Wednesday, Irma had spent a remarkable 1.5 days as a Category 5 hurricane, which is the 7th longest stretch on record in the Atlantic, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach.

Irma
Figure 1. MODIS image of Irma on Wednesday afternoon, September 6, 2017. The eye of the storm was over the British Virgin Islands. Image credit: NASA.

Longer-range outlook for Irma:  Cuba, The Bahamas, and Southeast U.S.

The 12Z Wednesday runs of our top four track models—the European, GFS, HWRF, and UKMET models—were in strikingly close agreement that Irma will continue on a west-northwest track till Saturday, then arc sharply to the north-northwest. All four model runs placed the center of Irma within roughly 50 miles of Miami on Sunday morning; the latest 18Z GFS was also there. The average track error in a 4-day forecast is 175 miles, but this remarkable agreement among the models lends additional confidence to the NHC forecast track, which brings Irma over or very near southeast Florida on Sunday. All four models move Irma northward along or near Florida’s east coast, with landfall in Georgia or South Carolina on Monday.

Bahamas:  From late Thursday into Friday, Irma will be moving through or just south of the Southeast Bahamas, which are under a Hurricane Warning along with the Central Bahamas. Irma has the potential to be a devastating storm for The Bahamas, especially its southern islands, and residents should rush any needed preparations to completion.

Cuba:  From Friday into Saturday, Irma will be paralleling the north coast of Cuba, and it is possible Irma’s center will move just inland along the coast for some period of time. Parts of central Cuba are within the “cone of uncertainty” in the official NHC forecast. Residents of Cuba will need to pay very close attention to Irma’s track. The eastern two-thirds of Cuba was under a Hurricane Watch as of Wednesday afternoon. Irma is not expected to cross Cuba and move into the Caribbean.

Florida:  Where and when Irma makes its right-hand turn will largely determine its track with respect to the Florida peninsula. Based on recent ensemble models (in which a large number of parallel runs are carried out to simulate uncertainty in the atmosphere), it is still possible that Irma could take a south-to-north inland track across the Florida peninsula, or a track that stays just east of Florida’s East Coast. However, it appears most likely that Irma will hug the state’s East Coast from south to north, potentially moving inland over some sections. This type of track is far different from those of Hurricane Andrew (1992) and Katrina (2005), which moved from east to west across the Miami metro area. A south-to-north track would affect a much larger part of this elongated metroplex. In an interview published in Capital Weather Gang in August, Bryan Norcross touches on the many issues that a hurricane like Irma could bring to South Florida, which has not experienced a storm this strong in 25 years.

Depending on Irma’s track, hurricane conditions could extend well inland, as well as northward along the length of the peninsula. The entire Florida peninsula is within the five-day cone of uncertainty in the official NHC forecast, and all residents of these areas should pay close attention to the progress of Irma, especially along Florida’s East Coast. NHC may issue Hurricane Watches for parts of South Florida and the Keys on Thursday.

Irma’s intensity will likely undergo fluctuations over the next couple of days, but intensity models show only gradual weakening, and NHC maintains Irma as a Cat 5 storm through Friday. Wind shear is predicted to remain low to moderate along Irma’s path until Saturday, and Irma will be passing over waters that are as warm or slightly warmer than its current environment (see discussion in our Tuesday PM post). Land interaction with Cuba could weaken Irma somewhat, but we must assume that Irma will be at least a Category 4 as it nears South Florida on Sunday, as predicted by NHC.

Georgia/South Carolina/North Carolina:  The GFS, European, and UKMET models from 12Z Wednesday track Irma from just off the northeast Florida coast inland near the Georgia/South Carolina border on Monday. The official NHC forecast places Irma near the Georgia coast on Monday afternoon at Category 3 strength. Even if Irma’s winds weaken and its Saffir-Simpson category drops, Irma could still be capable of extreme storm surge, depending on its track and the geography of its landfall location(s). Storm surge expert Dr. Hal Needham noted in a blog postWednesday: “The region from northeast Florida (St. Augustine) through all of the Georgia coast and southwest South Carolina is particularly vulnerable to storm surge, whether or not Irma makes a direct landfall in that region.”

Irma forecast
Figure 2. The 20 track forecasts for Irma from the 12Z Wednesday, September 6, 2017 GFS model ensemble forecast. Image credit: CFAN.
Irma forecast
Figure 3. The 12Z September 6, 2017, track forecast by the operational European model for Irma (red line, adjusted by CFAN using a proprietary technique that accounts for storm movement since 12Z Wednesday), along with the track of the average of the 50 members of the European model ensemble (heavy black line), and the 50 track forecasts from the 12Z Wednesday European model ensemble forecast (grey lines). Image credit: CFAN.
Irma forecast
Figure 4. The 12Z September 6, 2017, track forecast by the operational European model for Irma (red line, adjusted by CFAN using a proprietary technique that accounts for storm movement since 12Z Wednesday), along with the track of the average of the 50 members of the European model ensemble (heavy black line), and the track forecasts from the “high probability cluster” (grey lines)—the four European model ensemble members that have performed best with Irma thus far. Image credit: CFAN.

Irma’s storm surge

Irma is a medium-large hurricane, and is expected to grow in size as it progresses west-northwest over the next four days. As of 5 pm EDT Wednesday, the diameter of hurricane-force winds surrounding Irma was up to 105 miles wide, and the diameter of tropical storm-force winds was up to 310 miles. The official NHC forecast predicted that these diameters would grow to 115 miles and 345 miles, respectively, by Friday, when Irma will be pounding the central Bahamas. This increase in size will be due to eyewall replacement cycles, which spread out the wind field over a larger area, and due to the fact that storms moving towards the pole get more spin from the Earth’s spin.

Irma’s large wind field is putting in motion a vast amount of water, which is spiraling into the center of Irma and creating a large mound. In the open ocean, that water is forced downward, pushing deeper water outward, and the sea surface is not elevated more than a few feet. However, once the hurricane drives that mound of water into a shallow area near land, the water cannot flow downwards, and instead piles up and is forced on land, creating a storm surge. In the Turks and Caicos Island and in the southeastern and central Bahamas, a highly destructive storm surge of 15 – 20 feet above ground is expected near the coast to the right of where the eyewall hits.

A potentially catastrophic storm surge for Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina

If Irma makes a trek up the East Coast from Miami to southern South Carolina as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, as the models currently suggest, the portions of the coast that the eyewall touches will potentially see a massive and catastrophic storm surge, breaking all-time storm surge records and causing many billions of dollars in damage. Even areas up to a hundred miles to the north of where the center makes landfall could potentially see record storm surges. The area of most concern is the northern coast of Florida, the coast of Georgia, and the southern coast of South Carolina, due to the concave shape of the coast, which will act to funnel and concentrate the storm surge to ridiculous heights. If we look at wunderground’s storm surge maps for the U.S. East Coast, we see that in a worst-case Category 3 hurricane hitting at high tide, the storm tide (the combined effect of the storm surge and the tide) ranges from 17 – 20’ above ground along the northern coast of Florida, and 18 – 23 feet above ground along the Georgia coast. If Irma is a Cat 4, these numbers increase to 22 – 28 feet for the coast of Georgia. This is a Katrina-level storm surge, the kind that causes incredible destruction and mass casualties among those foolish enough to refuse to evacuate.

Storm surge
Figure 5. Maximum of the “Maximum Envelope of Waters” (MOM) storm tide image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 3 hurricanes (sustained winds of 120 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 3.5’) along the coast of Georgia. What’s plotted here is the storm tide–the height above ground of the storm surge, plus an additional rise in case the storm hits at high tide. Empty brownish grid cells with no coloration show where no inundation is computed to occur. Inundation of 19 – 23’ will occur in a worst-case scenario along most of the coast. Note that not all sections of the coast will experience this surge level simultaneously.

The image was created using the National Hurricane Center’s Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. This model divides the U.S. coast up into 20 or so separate grids (called basins) that storm surge simulations are performed for. If one takes the maximum the water reaches at any point in time at every grid cell in a SLOSH basin, a composite “Maximum Envelope of Water” (MEOW) plot can be made. MEOW plots are created for every category of storm moving in a particular direction, usually stratified by forward speed and tide elevation. Simulations are run using a variety of storm sizes. If one takes the maximum storm surge height for all the MEOW plots at every grid cell, one can generate a worst-case storm surge for the coast for each Saffir-Simpson hurricane category: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These so-called “Maximum Of the MEOWs”, or “MOMs” are what are plotted in the SLOSH storm surge images on wunderground, and are the composite worst-case scenario storm surges from about 15,000 different hypothetical hurricanes for each SLOSH basin. All of the MOM images we provide are for high tide, and were performed using the 2009 version of the SLOSH Display Package provided to wunderground by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Interstate highways are the thick grey-green lines, and smaller highways are shown as dark green and light green lines. If a road is inundated by storm surge, it will not appear. County boundaries are shown in red.

Storm surge
Figure 6. Maximum of the “Maximum Envelope of Waters” (MOM) water depth image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 3 hurricanes (sustained winds of 120 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 2.5’) along the coast of South Carolina near Charleston. If Irma is a Cat 3 in South Carolina, a worst-case 17 – 21’ storm tide can occur. Not all sections of the coast will experience this surge level simultaneously.
Storm tide
Figure 7. South Florida is not at as great of a risk of a high storm surge, since there is deep water offshore, and the mound of water the hurricane piles up can flow downward into the deep ocean instead of getting piled up on land. The worst-case storm tide from a Category 4 hurricane for the coast from Miami Beach to West Palm Beach is 7 – 9 feet. However, that deep water allows much larger waves to build up, and Irma will create big waves that will pound the coast and cause heavy damage. There is a region of the coast from downtown Miami southwards, including Biscayne Bay, where the water is shallow, and the storm tide can be up to 15 feet in a Category 4 hurricane. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, a Category 4 storm, brought a 10 – 15’ storm surge to the coast of Miami along Biscayne Bay.

Shown here is the Maximum of the “Maximum Envelope of Waters” (MOM) storm tide image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 4 hurricanes (sustained winds of 140 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 2.0’) along the coast of South Florida. Not all sections of the coast will experience this surge level simultaneously.

Storm tide
Figure 8. The Atlantic (Florida Straits) side of the Florida Keys also has deep water offshore, limiting the maximum storm surge in a Cat 4 to 8 – 10 feet. The risk is higher on the west (Florida Bay) side of the Keys, where the water is shallower; a worst-case storm tide of 12 – 15 feet can occur there. Any storm tide over six feet is extremely dangerous in the Florida Keys, due to the low elevation of the land. The greatest risk in the Keys, if the current NHC forecast verifies, would be on the Florida Bay (west) side of the Upper Keys, after the center of Irma moves just to the north. The counter-clockwise flow of air around the hurricane will then bring winds out of the southwest that will drive a large storm surge into the west side of the Upper Keys.

Shown here is the Maximum of the “Maximum Envelope of Waters” (MOM) storm tide image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 4 hurricanes (sustained winds of 140 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 2.0’) affecting the Florida Keys. Not all sections of the coast will experience this surge level simultaneously.

Two more hurricanes: Jose and Katia

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have their hands full with two new hurricanes joining Irma on Wednesday afternoon. Not since 2010 has the Atlantic had three hurricanes at once, as noted by David Roth (NOAA/NWS) on Twitter. The Atlantic record for simultaneous hurricanes is four, set in 1893 and 1998. The 2017 hurricane season to date is more than twice as active as usual—we’ve had a season’s worth of named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes before even getting to the climatological halfway point of the season (September 10). Phil Klotzbach noted on Twitterthat only one other Atlantic season, 1893, has seen this many hurricanes (six) forming between Aug. 7 and Sept. 6.

Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Jose was located about 1040 miles east of the Lesser Antilles at 5 pm EDT Wednesday, with top sustained winds at 75 mph. Jose is headed at 16 mph on a steady west to west-northwest track, steered by the same ridge that is helping to direct Irma. Jose is just far enough east of Irma for the two storms to coexist without one impeding the other. Jose is traveling over warm SSTs of 28-29°C (82-84°F) in a moist atmosphere (mid-level relative humidity around 65%), and wind shear is predicted to remain around 10 knots for the next day or so. This should allow Jose to strengthen at a rapid clip, and NHC predicts Jose will be a major Category 3 hurricane by Friday. Increasing wind shear from that point on should tamp down the rapid intensification and may weaken Jose over time. On its current track, Jose would reach the northern Leeward Islands by Saturday, but the ridge is predicted to weaken enough by Saturday to allow Jose to arc just northeast of the islands.

Only a tropical depression early Wednesday, Hurricane Katia has also intensified quickly, with estimated top winds of 75 mph as of 5 pm EDT. Located in the Bay of Campeche about 185 miles north-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, Katia is embedded in a very moist environment with numerous showers and thunderstorms along and south of a frontal zone. Wind shear will decrease to 5-10 knots by Thursday, and with help from the bay’s very warm waters (30-31°C or 86-88°F), Katia could continue to strengthen dramatically. The SHIPS model’s rapid intensification index indicates a near-even chance that Katia’s top sustained winds will increase by 45 mph by late Thursday, although the official NHC forecast at 5 pm EDT Wednesday brings Katia only to top-end Cat 1 intensity. Our top track models are unanimous in drifting Katia for a couple of days before driving it southwestward into the Mexican coast this weekend. Extremely heavy rains of 10 – 20” are possible along and near parts of the northeast Mexican coast, especially in the state of Veracruz, as Katia approaches and moves inland.

3 hurricanes
Figure 9. Triple trouble: three simultaneous hurricanes in the Atlantic for the first time in 7 years.

 

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/hurricane-irma-extreme-storm-surge-threat-us-and-bahamas

Story 2: Perspective Please — Over 1200 Killed by Flood in South Asia (India, Bangladesh and Nepal) vs. Over 60 in Texas By Raining Weather Not Climate Change — Worst Flooding in Decades — Videos

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South Asia floods kill 1,200 and shut 1.8 million children out of school

Hundreds dead in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, while millions have been forced from their homes and 18,000 schools shut down across the region

Heavy monsoon rains have brought Mumbai to a halt for a second day as the worst floods to strike south Asia in years continued to exact a deadly toll.

More than 1,200 people have died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal as a result of flooding, with 40 million affected by the devastation. At least six people, including two toddlers, were among the victims in and around India’s financial capital.

The devastating floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes, Save the Children warned on Thursday.

The charity said that hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education was not prioritised in relief efforts.

“We haven’t seen flooding on this scale in years and it’s putting the long-term education of an enormous number of children at great risk. From our experience, the importance of education is often under-valued in humanitarian crises and we simply cannot let this happen again. We cannot go backwards,” said Rafay Hussain, Save the Children’s general manager in Bihar state.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2017/08/india-floods-map/giv-3902n4x7dwBsKxh7/

“We know that the longer children are out of school following a disaster like this the less likely it is that they’ll ever return. That’s why it’s so important that education is properly funded in this response, to get children back to the classroom as soon as it’s safe to do so and to safeguard their futures.”

On Wednesday, police said a 45-year-old woman and a one-year-old child, members of the same family, had died after their home in the north-eastern suburb of Vikhroli crumbled late on Tuesday, and a two-year-old girl had died in a wall collapse.

They said another three people had died after being swept away in the neighbouring city of Thane.

The rains have led to flooding in a broad arc stretching across the Himalayan foothills in Bangladesh, Nepal and India, causing landslides, damaging roads and electric towers and washing away tens of thousands of homes and vast swaths of farmland.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says the fourth significant floods this year have affected more than 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, damaging or destroying more than 697,000 houses.

They have killed 514 in India’s eastern state of Bihar, where 17.1 million have been affected, disaster management officials have been quoted as saying. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, about 2.5 million have been affected and the death toll stood at 109 on Tuesday, according to the Straits Times. The IFRC said landslides in Nepal had killed more than 100 people.

The IFRC – working with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the Nepal Red Cross – has launched appeals to support almost 200,000 vulnerable people with immediate relief and long-term help with water and sanitation, health and shelter.

A passenger bus moves through a waterlogged road in Mumbai.
 A passenger bus moves through a waterlogged road in Mumbai. Photograph: Shailesh Andrade

Streets in Mumbai have turned into rivers and people waded through waist-deep waters. On Tuesday, the city received about 12.7cm (5ins) of rain, paralysing public transport and leaving thousands of commuters stranded in their offices overnight.

Poor visibility and flooding also forced airport authorities to divert some flights while most were delayed by up to an hour.

The National Disaster Response Force has launched a rescue mission with police to evacuate people from low-lying areas but operations were thwarted by the continuous rain.

“The heavy rains, flooding, are delaying our rescue work. Even we are stranded,” said Amitesh Kumar, the joint police commissioner in Mumbai.

Images and video posted on social media showed the extent of the flooding.

Rainwater swamped the King Edward Memorial hospital in central Mumbai, forcing doctors to vacate the paediatric ward.

“We are worried about infections … the rain water is circulating rubbish that is now entering parts of the emergency ward,” said Ashutosh Desai, a doctor in the 1,800-bed hospital.

Although Mumbai is trying to build itself into a global financial hub, parts of the city struggle to cope during annual monsoon rains.

Floods in 2005 killed more than 500 people in the city. The majority of deaths occurred in shanty town slums, home to more than half of Mumbai’s population.

The meteorological department warned that the rains would continue for the next 24 hours.

Unabated construction on flood plains and coastal areas, as well as storm-water drains and waterways clogged by plastic garbage, have made the city increasingly vulnerable to storms.

Snehal Tagade, a senior official in Mumbai’s disaster management unit, said 150 teams were being deployed to help the population in low-lying residential areas.

Low-lying parts of the city with a population of more than 20 million people experience flooding almost every year but large-scale flooding of this magnitude has not been seen in recent years.

“We are mapping all the flooding zones to launch a project to build emergency shelters to make evacuation easy,” said Tagade.

Many businesses asked employees to leave early in expectation of worsening traffic jams. Rains and a high tide in the western coastal city threaten to overload an ageing drainage system.

People walk along a flooded street in Mumbai
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 People walk along a flooded street in Mumbai. Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

Several companies have arranged for food and resting facilities for employees stuck in offices. Temples and other Ganesh pandals have been offering food and water to people stranded on streets.

People on social media have been offering help to strangers who have been stuck at various locations.

The education minister has asked all schools and colleges in the city to remain shut on Wednesday.

The flooding led to some power outages in parts of the city and the municipal corporation warned of more such cuts if water levels continued to rise.

A spokeswoman for Mumbai international airport said flights in and out of the airport, India’s second busiest, were delayed while some had had to be diverted.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/30/mumbai-paralysed-by-floods-as-india-and-region-hit-by-worst-monsoon-rains-in-years

 

South Asia floods: Mumbai building collapses as monsoon rains wreak havoc

Flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh leaves parts of cities underwater as storm moves on to Pakistan

At least 21 people are dead and more than a dozen others trapped after monsoon downpours caused a building to collapse in Mumbai.

The four-storey residential building gave way on Thursday morning in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar, after roads were turned into rivers in India’s financial capital. The city has been struggling to cope with some of the heaviest rainfall in more than 15 years.

Rescue workers, police and residents helped pull 13 people out of the rubble and were looking for those buried beneath. Authorities have advised people living in an adjacent building to evacuate after it developed cracks following the collapse.

The death toll could have been much worse, officials said, because the building, which houses a nursery school, collapsed half an hour before children were due to arrive at 9am.

Thousands more buildings that are more than 100 years old are at risk of collapse due in part to foundations being weakened by flood waters.

Across the region more than 1,200 people are feared to have died and 40 million are estimated to have been affected by flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Vast swaths of land are underwater in the eastern part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where more than 100 people have reportedly died, 3,097 villages are submerged and almost 3 million villagers have been affected by flooding, according to officials. Army personnel have joined rescuers to evacuate people from the area.

The storm reached Pakistan on Thursday, lashing the port city of Karachi, where at least 14 people have died, and streets have been submerged by water. The country’s meteorological department forecast that the rains would continue for three days in various parts of Sindh province, where authorities closed schools as a precaution.

People make their way through flooded streets after a heavy downpour in Karachi on Thursday.
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 People make their way through flooded streets after a heavy downpour in Karachi on Thursday. Photograph: Rehan Khan/EPA

Up to 97mm (3.8in) of rain has been recorded in some areas of Karachi, filling the streets with muddy water, sewage and rubbish.

Among the dead was an eight-year-old boy who was crushed when a building belonging to the Federal Investigation Agency collapsed. Most of the dead were electrocuted, leading the city’s energy provider, K-Electric, to cut power to certain areas.

“Some feeders have been switched off in view of safety concerns in areas with waterlogging, and restoration work will be expedited in affected areas as soon as standing water is wiped out,” Sadia Dada, the director of marketing and communication for K-Electric, told Dawn newspaper.

About 6,000 villagers are threatened with flooding after the rains breached the Thado dam on the Malir river. The army has been called in to help with evacuation, and has also provided Karachi’s city administration with water extraction pumps.

Windstorms and rain are also expected in the Balochistan and Punjab provinces. The meteorological department said rains were also expected in the capital, Islamabad, and in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir.

One third of Bangladesh was believed to be underwater and the UN described the situation in Nepal, where 150 people have died, as the worst flooding in a decade.

The floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools in the south Asia region, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes, Save the Children said on Thursday.

The charity said hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education was not prioritised in relief efforts.

“We haven’t seen flooding on this scale in years and it’s putting the long-term education of an enormous number of children at great risk. From our experience, the importance of education is often undervalued in humanitarian crises and we simply cannot let this happen again. We cannot go backwards,” said Rafay Hussain, Save the Children’s general manager in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

“We know that the longer children are out of school following a disaster like this the less likely it is that they’ll ever return. That’s why it’s so important that education is properly funded in this response, to get children back to the classroom as soon as it’s safe to do so and to safeguard their futures.”

Floods have caused devastation in many parts of India. Unprecedented rainfall in Assam in the north-east has killed more than 150 people. About 600 villages are still underwater even though the torrential rain began earlier this month.

Rhinos in Assam’s Kaziranga nature reserve had to flee to higher ground. “We get flooding every year but I have never seen anything quite like this in my life,” Ashok Baruah, a farmer, told journalists.

In Bihar, the death toll has reached 514, with people still living in makeshift huts days after the flooding started. However, the flood waters, which turned fields into lakes, appear to be receding.

In Mumbai, the rain forced nurses and doctors at the busiest hospital in the city to wade through wards knee-high in filthy water to move patients to the first floor. Outside the King Edward memorial hospital, a man going to visit his wife who was due to have a caesarean had to wade through flooded streets to reach her. Children swam or paddled down the streets lying on planks of wood.

Flood victims in the city included a doctor who fell down a manhole and another who died after being trapped in his car while waiting for the water to recede. Others living in the low-lying areas most affected by the flooding were swept away into the sea or died when walls collapsed.

As train services ground to a halt, hundreds of thousands of commuters were stranded, unable to go home.

TV commentators voiced the anger of those caught in the chaos. The TV personality Suhel Seth lashed out at the “scoundrels, rogues, villains, rascals, incompetents and useless fools” in the municipal authority for not being better prepared for the annual monsoon flooding.

The deluge brought back memories of the 2005 floods that killed more than 500 people in the city.

“Why does nothing change? Why are we left to fend for ourselves when they had weather forecasts warning them of extremely heavy rainfall?” asked the author and columnist Shobhaa De.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/31/south-asia-floods-fears-death-toll-rise-india-pakistan-mumbai-building-collapses

Death toll from South Asia flooding tops 1,000

The death toll from floods sweeping South Asia has climbed above 1,000, officials said Thursday, as rescue teams try to reach millions stranded by the region's worst monsoon disaster in recent years.

The death toll from floods sweeping South Asia has climbed above 1,000, officials said Thursday, as rescue teams try to reach millions stranded by the region’s worst monsoon disaster in recent years.

The death toll from floods sweeping South Asia has climbed above 1,000, officials said Thursday, as rescue teams try to reach millions stranded by the region’s worst monsoon disaster in recent years.

Thousands of soldiers and emergency personnel have been deployed across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, where authorities say a total of 1,013 bodies have been recovered since August 10 when intense rainfall started falling.

All three countries suffer frequent flooding during the monsoon rains, but the Red Cross has termed the latest disaster the worst in decades in some parts of South Asia.

It says entire communities have been cut off and many are short of food and clean water.

“It has been a difficult year,” said Anil Shekhawat, spokesman for India’s national disaster response force.

“In the last few months there have been floods in western, eastern and northern parts of the country,” Shekhawat told AFP.

Twenty-six bodies were found Wednesday in Bihar, a hard-hit state in India’s east, taking the death toll there to 367, said Anirudh Kumar, a top state disaster management official.

“We still have nearly 11 million people affected in 19 districts of the state,” he told AFP, adding nearly 450,000 flood evacuees had taken shelter in government refuges.

In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, floods have swamped nearly half the vast state of 220 million, India’s most populous.

Thousands of soldiers and emergency personnel have been deployed across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, where authorities say a total of 1,009 bodies have been recovered since August 10 when intense rainfall started falling.

Thousands of soldiers and emergency personnel have been deployed across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, where authorities say a total of 1,009 bodies have been recovered since August 10 when intense rainfall started falling.

Disaster management agency spokesman T.P. Gupta said 86 people had died and more than two million were affected by the disaster there.

The state borders Nepal, where 146 people have died and 80,000 homes destroyed in what the United Nations is calling the worst flooding in 15 years.

Nepal’s home ministry warned the death toll could rise as relief teams reach more remote parts of the impoverished country.

– Widespread destruction –

In India’s northwest, landslides caused by heavy rain have claimed 54 lives, the vast majority in one huge avalanche of mud that swept two buses off a mountainside.

The situation was slowly easing in West Bengal and Assam, two states in India’s east and northeast where 223 people have died.

Floods in Assam — the second wave to hit the state in less than four months — have wrought widespread destruction, killing 71 people and forcing animals in a local wildlife sanctuary to seek higher ground.

One Bengal tiger and 15 rare one-horned rhinos were found dead and conservationists feared there could be further loss of life as poachers sought to capitalise on the exodus.

In the low-lying state of West Bengal, where 152 people have died, hundreds of thousands have escaped submerged villages by boats and makeshift rafts to reach government aid stations.

Across the border in Bangladesh, water levels were slowly returning to normal in the main Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers.

The government’s disaster response body said Thursday the death toll stood at 137, with more than 7.5 million affected since flooding hit the riverine nation.

Every year hundreds die in landslides and floods during the monsoon season that hits India’s southern tip in early June and sweeps across the South Asia region for four months.

Last year nearly 1,500 people died and half a million homes were destroyed in floods across the country, according to India’s home ministry.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4818822/Death-toll-South-Asia-flooding-tops-1-000.html

 

Monsoon flooding kills at least 160 across South Asia

GAUHATI, India (AP) – Heavy monsoon rains have unleashed landslides and floods that have killed at least 160 people and displaced millions of others across northern India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh.

Officials said Monday they were still trying to determine the scale of the disaster, with casualties and damage reported in multiple locations across the Himalayan foothills of South Asia.

The seasonal floodwaters damaged bridges, toppled power lines and washed away thousands of homes in the northeastern Indian state of Assam. Officials say people have been killed by drowning or being caught inside collapsing houses or beneath falling trees.

A Nepalese man looses his balance while crossing a flooded street in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)

A Nepalese man looses his balance while crossing a flooded street in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)

In neighboring Nepal, police spokesman Pushkar Karki were searching for 85 people reported missing after rivers burst their banks and killed at least 75. Another 20 people died over the last few days in Bangladesh.

A Nepalese man sits on the wall of his house in a partially submerged village in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)

A Nepalese man sits on the wall of his house in a partially submerged village in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)

Army soldiers and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. The landslide that occurred early Sunday buried part of a highway, trapping two buses and at least three cars. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)
Army soldiers and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. The landslide that occurred early Sunday buried part of a highway, trapping two buses and at least three cars. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)
People watch army soldiers and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. The landslide that occurred early Sunday buried part of a highway, trapping two buses and at least three cars. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)
People watch army soldiers and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. The landslide that occurred early Sunday buried part of a highway, trapping two buses and at least three cars. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)
Nepalese villagers wade through flood waters in Ramgadhwa area in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)
Nepalese villagers wade through flood waters in Ramgadhwa area in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)
Nepalese men carry children on their shoulders as they wade through flood waters in village Ramgadhwa in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)
Nepalese men carry children on their shoulders as they wade through flood waters in village Ramgadhwa in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP Photo/Manish Paudel)
People watch army soldiers and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. The landslide that occurred early Sunday buried part of a highway, trapping two buses and at least three cars. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)

People watch army soldiers and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. The landslide that occurred early Sunday buried part of a highway, trapping two buses and at least three cars. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4788288/Monsoon-flooding-kills-160-South-Asia.html#ixzz4s8CteUw7

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The Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017, Story 1: Will Congress Reauthorize Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Yes with changes to protect the privacy of American People. — How About Executive Order 12333 That Allow The President To Target Americans Without A Warrant — Unconstitutional and Illegal — Happens Every Day! — Oversight My Ass –Videos — Story 2: National Security Agency Under Obama Spied On American People —  Obama’s Abuse of Power — Huge Scandal Ignored By Big Lie Media — Videos — Story 3: President Trump To Nominate Christopher A. Wray For FBI Director — Videos

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Story 1: Will Congress Reauthorize Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Yes with changes to protect the privacy of American People — How About Executive Order 12333 That Allows The President To Target American Citizens Without A Warrant — Unconstitutional and Illegal — Happens Every Day! — Oversight My Ass –Videos

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FISA: 702 Collection

In 2008, Congress passed a set of updates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), including Section 702 which authorized warrantless surveillance of non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the country. However, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that 702 was being used far more heavily than many expected, serving as the legal basis for the collection of large quantities of telephone and Internet traffic  passing through the United States (and unlike 215, including content rather than just metadata). Still, as 702 only permits overseas collection, most criticism of the provision has come from abroad. But many domestic privacy advocates also worry that large amounts of American communication are being swept up “incidentally” and then used as well.

How the Senate hearing on surveillance turned into a Russia hearing

Blunt Questions National Security Officials Regarding Russia Investigation & FISA 6/7/17

FULL: Rosenstein, Intel Chiefs Testify at Senate Hearing on President Trump and Russia Investigation

Heinrich Questions Top Intelligence Officials In Senate Intel Committee Hearing

Senator Kamala Harris Grills Deputy AG Rosenstein On Whether He Has Given Mueller Full Independence

Trump Russia Collusion Investigation, Part 1 – Senate Intelligence Committee – FISA 6/7/2017

Trump Russia Collusion Investigation, Part 2 – Senate Intelligence Committee – FISA 6/7/2017

Trump Russia Collusion Investigation, Part 3 – Senate Intelligence Committee – FISA 6/7/2017

‘You Went Back on a Pledge!’ Dem. Senator Gets Nasty With DNI Chief Dan Coats

June 7, 2017: Sen. Cotton’s Q&A at Senate Intel Committee FISA Hearing

OPENING STATEMENT: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats Testifies at Senate Intel Committee

Senate Russia Investigation: National security officials testify to intelligence committee on FISA

Rand Paul on Unmaskings: ‘We Can’t Live in Fear of Our Own Intelligence Community’

Rand Paul on Obama Illegally Spying on Americans | NSA Wiretapping

Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act

FISA Hearing – Sec 702 Intel Surveillance – IMPORTANT

NSA Spying On Americans ‘Widespread’ – Let Sec. 702 Expire!

Bill Binney explodes the Russia witchhunt

Obama’s NSA conducted illegal searches on Americans for years: Report

NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney on Tucker Carlson 03.24.2017

NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney On 9/11

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

State of Surveillance: Police, Privacy and Technology

The Fourth Amendment Explained: US Government Review

Why We’re Losing Liberty

Sen. Rand Paul Defends the Fourth Amendment – February 11, 2014

Rand Paul Shames Homeland Security on Spying on Americans

Top Intel Community Officials Deny That Trump Pressured Them On Russia Probe

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CHUCK ROSS
Reporter

The directors of the Office of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency testified on Wednesday that they have not been pressured by President Trump on the ongoing Russia investigation, undercutting recent reports that they were.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of NSA, largely declined to discuss details about their interactions with Trump when pressed on the matter during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

According to news reports published last month, Trump asked both Coats and Rogers to rebut stories that Trump was under investigation as part of the Russia probe.

Both Coats and Rogers reportedly felt uncomfortable with the requests from Trump.

But when asked about those interactions on Wednesday, both declined to discuss their specific conversations with Trump while stating that they have never felt pressure from the White House.

“In the three-plus years that I have been the director of the National Security Agency, to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything that I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate. And to the best of my collection … I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so,” Rogers told Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate panel.

“Did the president … ask you in any way, shape or form to back off or downplay the Russia investigation?” Warner asked.

Rogers said that he would not discuss specifics of conversations he had with Trump, but added: “I stand by the comment I just made, sir.”

Coats, a former Indiana senator who was appointed by Trump, also denied ever being pressured to downplay the Russia investigation or any other.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Coats told associates on March 22 that Trump asked him to intervene with former FBI Director James Comey to push back against the Russia investigation.

“In my time of service … I have never been pressured, I have never felt pressure, to intervene or interfere in any way, with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship to an ongoing investigation,” Coats testified Wednesday.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/07/top-intel-community-officials-deny-that-trump-pressured-them-on-russia-probe/

The Way the NSA Uses Section 702 is Deeply Troubling. Here’s Why.

MAY 7, 2014

This blog post was updated at 5:10 pm PST 5/8/14.

The most recent disclosure of classified NSA documents revealed that the British spy agency GCHQ sought unfettered access to NSA data collected under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Not only does this reveal that the two agencies have a far closer relationship than GCHQ would like to publicly admit, it also serves as a reminder that surveillance under Section 702 is a real problem that has barely been discussed, much less addressed, by Congress or the President.

In fact, the “manager’s amendment” to the USA FREEDOM Act, which passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee, has weakened the minimal changes to Section 702 that USA FREEDOM originally offered. Although Representative Zoe Lofgren—who clearly understands the import of Section 702—offered several very good amendments that would have addressed these gaps, her amendments were all voted down. There’s still a chance though—as this bill moves through Congress it can be strengthened by amendments from the floor.

Section 702 has been used by the NSA to justify mass collection of phone calls and emails by collecting huge quantities of data directly from the physical infrastructure of communications providers. Here’s what you should know about the provision and why it needs to be addressed by Congress and the President:

  • Most of the discussion around the NSA has focused on the phone records surveillance program. Unlike that program, collection done under Section 702 capturescontent of communications. This could include content in emails, instant messages, Facebook messages, web browsing history, and more.
  • Even though it’s ostensibly used for foreign targets, Section 702 surveillance sweeps up the communications of Americans. The NSA has a twisted, and incredibly permissive, interpretation of targeting that includes communications about a target, even if the communicating parties are completely innocent. As John Oliver put it in his interview with former NSA General Keith Alexander: “No, the target is not the American people, but it seems that too often you miss the target and hit the person next to them going, ‘Whoa, him!'”
  • The NSA has confirmed that it is searching Section 702 data to access American’s communications without a warrant, in what is being called the “back door search loophole.”  In response to questions from Senator Ron Wyden, former NSA director General Keith Alexander admitted that the NSA specifically searches Section 702 data using “U.S. person identifiers,” for example email addresses associated with someone in the U.S.
  • The NSA has used Section 702 to justify programs in which the NSA can siphon off large portions of Internet traffic directly from the Internet backbone. These programs exploit the structure of the Internet, in which a significant amount of traffic from around the world flows through servers in the United States. In fact, through Section 702, the NSA has access to information stored by major Internet companies like Facebook and Google.
  • Section 702 is likely used for computer security operations. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper noted Section 702’s use to obtain communications “regarding potential cyber threats” and to prevent “hostile cyber activities.” Richard Ledgett, Deputy Director of NSA, noted the use of intelligence authorities to mitigate cyber attacks.
  • The FISA Court has little opportunity to review Section 702 collection. The court approves procedures for 702 collection for up to a year. This is not approval of specific targets, however; “court review [is] limited to ‘procedures’ for targeting and minimization rather than the actual seizure and searches.” This lack of judicial oversight is far beyond the parameters of criminal justice.
  • Not only does the FISA Court provide little oversight, Congress is largely in the dark about Section 702 collection as well. NSA spying defenders say that Congress has been briefed on these programs. But other members of Congress have repeatedly noted that it is incredibly difficult to get answers from the intelligence community, and that attending classified hearings means being unable to share any information obtained at such hearings. What’s more, as Senator Barbara Mikulski stated: “‘Fully briefed’ doesn’t mean that we know what’s going on.”  Without a full picture of Section 702 surveillance, Congress simply cannot provide oversight.
  • Section 702 is not just about keeping us safe from terrorism. It’s a distressingly powerful surveillance tool. While the justification we’ve heard repeatedly is that NSA surveillance is keeping us safer, data collected under Section 702 can be shared in a variety of circumstances, such as ordinary criminal investigations. For example, the NSA has shared intelligence with the Drug Enforcement Agency that has led to prosecutions for drug crimes, all while concealing the source of the data.
  • The President has largely ignored Section 702. While the phone records surveillance program has received significant attention from President Obama, in his speeches and his most recent proposal, Section 702 remains nearly untouched.
  • The way the NSA uses Section 702 is illegal and unconstitutional—and it violates international human rights law. Unlike searches done under a search warrant authorized by a judge, Section 702 has been used by the NSA to get broad FISA court authorization for general search and seizure of huge swathes of communications. The NSA says this is OK because Section 702 targets foreign citizens. The problem is, once constitutionally protected communications of Americans are swept up, the NSA says these communications are “fair game” for its use.
  • Innocent non-Americans don’t even get the limited and much abused protections the NSA promises for Americans. Under international human rights law to which the United States is a signatory, the United States must respect the rights of all persons. With so many people outside the United States keeping their data with American companies, and so much information being swept up through mass surveillance, that makes Section 702 the loophole for the NSA to violate the privacy rights of billions of Internet users worldwide.

The omission of Section 702 reform from the discourse around NSA surveillance is incredibly concerning, because this provision has been used to justify some of the most invasive NSA surveillance. That’s why EFF continues to push for real reform of NSA surveillance that includes an end to Section 702 collection. You can help by educating yourself and engaging your elected representatives. Print out our handy one-page explanation of Section 702. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them you want to see an end to all dragnet surveillance, not just bulk collection of phone records.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/05/way-nsa-uses-section-702-deeply-troubling-heres-why

 

By ZACK WHITTAKER CBS NEWS June 30, 2014, 4:02 PM
Legal loopholes could allow wider NSA surveillance, researchers say
CBS NEWS

NEW YORK — Secret loopholes exist that could allow the National Security Agency to bypass Fourth Amendment protections to conduct massive domestic surveillance on U.S. citizens, according to leading academics.

The research paper released Monday by researchers at Harvard and Boston University details how the U.S. government could “conduct largely unrestrained surveillance on Americans by collecting their network traffic abroad,” despite constitutional protections against warrantless searches.

One of the paper’s authors, Axel Arnbak of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, told CBS News that U.S. surveillance laws presume Internet traffic is non-American when it is collected from overseas.

“The loopholes in current surveillance laws and today’s Internet technology may leave American communications as vulnerable to surveillance, and as unprotected as the internet traffic of foreigners,” Arnbak said.

Although Americans are afforded constitutional protections against unwarranted searches of their emails, documents, social networking data, and other cloud-stored data while it’s stored or in-transit on U.S. soil, the researchers note these same protections do not exist when American data leaves the country.

Furthermore, they suggest that Internet traffic can be “deliberately manipulated” to push American data outside of the country. Although the researchers say they “do not intend to speculate” about whether any U.S. intelligence agencies are actually doing this, they say it could provide a loophole for vacuuming up vast amounts of U.S. citizen data for intelligence purposes, thus “circumventing constitutional and statutory safeguards seeking to protect the privacy of Americans,” they warned.

Play VIDEO
Snowden: NSA programs “uncontrolled and dangerous”
The academic paper lands just over a year since the Edward Snowden revelations first came to light, outlining the massive scope of U.S. government surveillance, under the justification of preventing terrorism. Although the classified programs that make up the NSA’s data acquisition arsenal have only recently been disclosed over the past year, the laws that govern them have been under close scrutiny for years. The paper only adds fuel to the fire of the intelligence agency’s alleged spying capabilities, which have been heavily criticized by civil liberties and privacy groups alike.

“The fix has to come from the law — the same laws that apply to Internet traffic collected domestically should also apply to traffic that is collected abroad,” the paper’s co-author, Sharon Goldberg of Boston University’s Computer Science Department, said.

While the researchers do not say whether these loopholes are being actively exploited — saying their aim is solely to broaden the understanding of the current legal framework — the current legislation as it stands “opens the door for unrestrained surveillance,” they write.

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the subsequent introduction of the Patriot Act allowed certain kinds of data to be collected to help in the fight against terrorism — so-called “metadata,” such as the time and date of phone calls and emails sent, including phone numbers and email addresses themselves. But the contents of those phone calls or emails require a warrant. The classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that while the public laws have been in effect for years or even decades, the U.S. government has used secret and classified interpretations of these laws for wider intelligence gathering outside the statutes’ text.

The Obama administration previously said there had been Congressional and Judicial oversight of these surveillance laws — notably Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorized the collection of Americans’ phone records; and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which authorized the controversial PRISM program to access non-U.S. residents’ emails, social networking, and cloud-stored data.

But the researchers behind this new study say that the lesser-known Executive Order (EO) 12333, which remains solely the domain of the Executive Branch — along with United States Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID) 18, designed to regulate the collection of American’s data from surveillance conducted on foreign soil — can be used as a legal basis for vast and near-unrestricted domestic surveillance on Americans.

The legal provisions offered under EO 12333, which the researchers say “explicitly allows for intentional targeting of U.S. persons” for surveillance purposes when FISA protections do not apply, was the basis of the authority that reportedly allowed the NSA to tap into the fiber cables that connected Google and Yahoo’s overseas to U.S. data centers.

An estimated 180 million user records, regardless of citizenship, were collected from Google and Yahoo data centers each month, according to the leaked documents. The program, known as Operation MUSCULAR, was authorized because the collection was carried out overseas and not on U.S. soil, the researchers say.

The paper also said surveillance can also be carried out across the wider Internet by routing network traffic overseas so it no longer falls within the protection of the Fourth Amendment.

However, an NSA spokesperson denied that either EO 12333 or USSID 18 “authorizes targeting of U.S. persons for electronic surveillance by routing their communications outside of the U.S.,” in an emailed statement to CBS News.

“Absent limited exception (for example, in an emergency), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires that we get a court order to target any U.S. person anywhere in the world for electronic surveillance. In order to get such an order, we have to establish, to the satisfaction of a federal judge, probable cause to believe that the U.S. person is an agent of a foreign power,” the spokesperson said.

The report highlights a fundamental fact about Internet traffic: Data takes the quickest route possible rather than staying solely within a country’s borders. Data between two U.S. servers located within the U.S. can still sometimes be routed outside of the U.S.

Although this is normal, the researchers warn data can be deliberately routed abroad by manipulating the Internet’s core protocols — notably the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which determines how Internet traffic is routed between individual networks; and the Domain Name Service (DNS), which converts website addresses to numerical network addresses.

If the NSA took advantage of the loophole by pushing Internet traffic outside of the U.S., it would have enough time to capture the data while it is outside the reach of constitutional protection.

The researchers rebuffed the NSA’s statement in an email: “We argue that these loopholes exist when surveillance is conducted abroad and when the authorities don’t ‘intentionally target a U.S. person’. There are several situations in which you don’t ‘target a U.S. person’, but Internet traffic of many Americans can in fact be affected.”

“We cannot tell whether these loopholes are exploited on a large scale, but operation MUSCULAR seems to find its legal and technical basis in them.”

Mark M. Jaycox, a legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said: “If you are intentionally spying on a U.S. person, the government must go to the FISA Court,” he said. “That’s the way the law is supposed to operate.”

Describing how the NSA says it never “intentionally collects” U.S. information, he warned the agency’s foreign data dragnet would inevitably include U.S. data.

“The NSA is an intelligence organization — it’s going to be targeting foreigners. But it’s the way that its targeting millions of foreigners, and millions of foreign communications that will eventually pick up U.S. persons’ data and information. And once that data has been collected, it must be destroyed.”

“It’s a question the NSA can’t reconcile, so they lean heavily on saying they never ‘intentionally collect’ the U.S. person information,” he said

A recent primer on EO 12333 written by the privacy group said the order “mandates rules for spying… on anyone within the United States.” The group also notes because the order remains inside the Executive Branch, the Obama administration could “repeal or modify” it at will.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a post on its website that the U.S. government interprets USSID 18 to “permit it to sweep up Americans’ international communications without any court order and with little oversight.”

Patrick Toomey, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said: “Today, Americans’ communications increasingly travel the globe — and privacy protections must reliably follow. This academic paper raises key questions about whether our current legal regime meets that standard, or whether it allows the NSA to vacuum up Americans’ private data simply by moving its operations offshore.”

He added that there should be a uniform set of laws that protect Americans’ privacy regardless of where they are in the world, and that Congressional oversight of all rules governing surveillance is needed for comprehensive reforms.

The ACLU has also filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit with a federal court in New York, questioning “whether it [EO 12333] appropriately accommodates the constitutional rights of American citizens and residents whose communications are intercepted in the course of that surveillance.”

Although there is no direct evidence yet to suggest the NSA has exploited this loophole, network monitoring firm Renesys observed two “route hijacking” events in June and November 2013 that led Internet traffic to be redirected through Belarus and Iceland on separate occasions. These events are virtually unnoticeable to the ordinary Internet user, but the side effect is that U.S. data may be readable by foreign governments traveling through their country’s infrastructure. It also could allow the NSA to capture that data by treating it as foreign data.

These legal and technical loopholes can allow “largely unrestrained surveillance on Americans communications,” the researchers wrote.

The NSA, whose job it is to produce intelligence from overseas targets, said for the first time in August 2013 that it derives much of its “foundational authority” for its operations from EO 12333. Recent Snowden disclosures shed new light on understanding the capabilities of the executive order.

It was also recently revealed that Snowden himself questioned the legal authority of EO 12333, according to one declassified email exchange released by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

According to John Schindler, a former NSA chief analyst, speaking to The Washington Post in October, the sole aim of the NSA’s “platoon” of lawyers’ is to figure out “how to stay within the law and maximize collection by exploiting every loophole.”

“It’s fair to say the rules are less restrictive under [EO] 12333 than they are under FISA,” he added.

FISA expanded the NSA’s powers allowing it to obtain foreign intelligence — including economic and political surveillance of foreign governments, companies, news outlets and citizens. But the amended law in 2008 also restricted what can be collected on U.S. citizens.

The so-called “targeting” and “minimization” procedures, which remain classified but were reported as a result of the Snowden leaks, were introduced to ensure any data inadvertently collected on U.S. citizens from overseas would not be used in investigations. These were later criticized following subsequent leaks which suggested the rules on collecting U.S. persons’ data were more relaxed than the statute led the public to believe.

U.S. intelligence agencies can only do so much with U.S. data, therefore they have a “strong incentive to conduct surveillance abroad,” the researchers say, because legal protections under the Fourth Amendment and FISA do not apply outside U.S. territory.

“Programs under EO 12333 may collect startling amounts of sensitive data on both foreigners and Americans,” the paper summarizes, “without any meaningful congressional or judiciary involvement.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/legal-loopholes-could-let-nsa-surveillance-circumvent-fourth-amendment-researchers-say/

 

FISA Authority and Blanket Surveillance: A Gatekeeper Without Opposition

Vol. 40 No. 3

The author is with ZwillGen PLLC in Washington, D.C.

Surveillance and espionage were once practices ordinary Americans only read about in novels or saw in movie theaters. That is no longer true. America is at the center of a worldwide communications network. It is home to the world’s most popular telecommunications, email, instant message, and video chat providers. Because of America’s unique role, hundreds of millions of users send communications through American soil. At the same time, America’s enemies have grown from nation-states, like the Soviet Union, to small cells of terrorists that use ordinary communications networks. Taken together, it is not surprising that signals intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), which intercept and analyze these signals, would seek and use surveillance powers to conduct more surveillance at home.

Part of this new regime means that more legal process to gather intelligence is being served on companies in the United States. Recent revelations have declassified documents describing the NSA’s broad “collect now, search later” approach to surveillance. This means that some electronic communications providers, and their in-house and outside counsel, are faced with new forms of legal process. But unlike criminal process, which is rooted in a large body of publicly available case law and which often comes to light in the course of criminal trials, this new process comes to these providers in secret. As documents recently declassified by the director of national intelligence demonstrate, the government has served a number of different kinds of orders on providers—each of whom must assess when and how they might comply with or challenge those orders.

My firm and I represented one such provider in In re Directives [Redacted] Pursuant to Section 105B of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [Redacted], 551 F.3d 1004 (FISA Ct. Rev. 2008). That case presented a challenge that more providers may face as the NSA explores its surveillance capabilities. The provider received process known as a 105B directive (which is now called a 702 directive) starting in 2007. In contrast with typical criminal process, there was no prior court review or approval of particular surveillance targets. Instead, a 702 directive, like the one served on that provider, approved of the government’s procedure for conducting surveillance—not its targets.

 

Faced with this process, the provider had to make decisions about how it could respond. The provider chose not to comply with the process, and the government filed a motion to compel in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a secret court charged with reviewing and approving some types of surveillance.

The course of that litigation proved complex. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR), which handles appeals from the FISC, had published a single opinion before the In re Directives case, and while the lower court, the FISC, had rules for proceedings, there were no publicly available decisions on which to rely in litigating the procedural aspects of the case. The merits of the case too were litigated in the dark. No docket was made available, and there was no public mention of the case until after it was appealed and the FISCR entered its decision. Some documents related to the case are still being declassified, but in the words of the FISCR’s declassified decision, there was “multitudinous briefing” in the FISC and ample briefing on appeal.

The FISCR released its opinion in In re Directives in 2009, and a beam of light shone on its decisions for the first time in seven years. But then the FISC went dark again. In late 2013, however, the director of national intelligence, in response to increased public pressure seeking information on surveillance activities, began releasing more FISC opinions that are instructive on how the FISC operates and how it has been interpreting the Fourth Amendment and process under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq. (FISA) in the intervening years, giving much needed guidance to providers and outside counsel.

 

The History of FISA

Understanding how to advise clients faced with FISA process, the challenges they face, and how to revise FISA to address public concerns about the NSA’s “collect now, search later” surveillance requires some history, legal analysis, and creative thinking. FISA’s history provides context for the reforms needed to adjust the balance between surveillance and privacy. Current events provide information about the extent of the problem. And creative thinking is required to create solutions.

FISA occupies an uneasy place. It resides where intelligence gathering meets the Fourth Amendment. FISA addresses the problem of how, and when, the government can conduct surveillance for intelligence-gathering purposes on United States soil. Over time, Congress has addressed this delicate balance by amending FISA to expand and contract surveillance capabilities. Today, FISA provides a comprehensive set of procedures for obtaining and using “foreign intelligence information” within the United States.

Before Congress passed FISA in 1978, there were no clear rules for when the executive branch could conduct clandestine surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes. Prior to FISA, every president since at least 1931 used surveillance to protect national security interests—even when no law specifically allowed that surveillance. See Sen. Rep. No. 94-755 (1976), Book III, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans [hereinafter Church Report], available at www.intelligence.senate.gov/pdfs94th/94755_III.pdf. Presidents justified this surveillance by pointing to their role as commander-in-chief combined with their duty and authority to execute the laws of the United States. U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, § 2, cl. 1; see Church Report, supra, at 279.

This power remained relatively untested until the seminal case United States v. U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), also known as the Keith case. There, the government prosecuted three individuals for conspiring to bomb an office of the Central Intelligence Agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Keith defendants moved to compel the government to disclose electronic surveillance information the government collected without first getting a warrant. The attorney general argued the surveillance satisfied the Fourth Amendment because it was necessary “to gather intelligence information deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of the Government.” Id. at 300. The Supreme Court found that the government must get a warrant before engaging in domestic surveillance, but limited its opinion to “domestic aspects of national security” and stated that it “express[ed] no opinion as to the issues which may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents.” Id. at 321. Keith changed the landscape of domestic surveillance, but lower courts struggled to decide when surveillance required a warrant and when surveillance fell outside Keith’s holding; as a result, they increasingly invalidated surveillance. See Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594, 651 (D.C. Cir. 1975).

Faced with this uncertainty and the revelations about warrantless surveillance, the Senate created the Church Committee to investigate the executive branch’s use of warrantless surveillance. The committee’s report provided revelations much like those that are coming to light today as a result of Edward Snowden’s leaks. The committee’s report, which is actually 14 separate reports regarding intelligence abuses, provides one of the most extensive, in-depth examinations of the use and abuse of surveillance powers in the United States. The Church Report revealed that from the early 1960s to 1972, the NSA targeted certain Americans’ international communications by placing their names on a watch list. It contended that intercepting these Americans’ communications was part of monitoring programs it was conducting against international communications channels. As is the case in news reports today, “to those Americans who have had their communications—sent with the expectation that they were private—intentionally intercepted and disseminated by their Government, the knowledge that NSA did not monitor specific communications channels solely to acquire their message is of little comfort.” Church Report, supra, at 735.

History tends to repeat itself. Today, newspapers have reported that the NSA engages in bulk telephone records surveillance using the “Business Records” provision in section 215 of FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1861). This bulk surveillance, however, isn’t anything new. The Church Report provides shockingly similar revelations about the NSA’s Operation SHAMROCK. Much like recent revelations about today’s bulk records collection, Operation SHAMROCK, which lasted all the way from August 1945 until May 1975, collected millions of telegrams leaving or transiting the United States and monitored certain telephone links between the United States and South America. As part of this monitoring, the NSA intercepted Americans’ international communications and disseminated those communications to other intelligence agencies. In doing so, the NSA “never informed the companies that it was analyzing and disseminating telegrams of Americans.” Unlike today, however, “the companies, who had feared in 1945 that their conduct might be illegal, apparently never sought assurances that NSA was limiting its use to the messages of foreign targets once the intercept program had begun.” Church Report, supra, at 740–41.

The NSA discontinued SHAMROCK in 1975, but it still incidentally collected Americans’ communications—much like it does (to a lesser extent) today. The Church Committee described the NSA’s “initial interception of a stream of communications” as “analogous to a vacuum cleaner.” “NSA picks up all communications carried over a specific link that it is monitoring. The combination of this technology and the use of words to select communications of interest results in NSA analysts reviewing the international messages of American citizens, groups, and organizations for foreign intelligence.” Id. at 741. This is eerily similar to the FISC’s description of bulk records collection as recently as October 2011, in which it stated “that NSA has acquired, is acquiring, and . . . will continue to acquire tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications,” Redacted, slip op. at 33 (FISA Ct. Oct. 3, 2011), because it intercepts all communications over certain Internet links it is monitoring and is “unable to exclude certain Internet transactions.” Id. at 30.

 

Purposes of FISA

That history tells us where FISA comes from and the problems Congress was trying to solve. Congress had two main goals: provide some oversight where there was none, and draw clear lines so that law enforcement would know when it could use foreign intelligence process and when it had to follow ordinary criminal process. To address these goals, FISA contains two important parts. First, it established a framework for judicial review by creating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. It also created a new FISA process to replace criminal process such as warrants, subpoenas, surveillance orders, and pen register/trap and trace orders. The FISA versions of each of these has less stringent requirements for the government to satisfy than criminal process. See 50 U.S.C. § 1801–12 (electronic surveillance equivalent to Title III orders), 50 U.S.C. § 1821–29 (physical searches like search warrants), 50 U.S.C. § 1841–46 (pen registers and trap-and-trace devices), 50 U.S.C. § 1861–62 (business records like grand jury subpoenas).

Second, FISA addressed when law enforcement can and cannot use these FISA processes to conduct surveillance or gather evidence. As it was originally enacted, law enforcement could obtain FISA process, rather than criminal process, when the “primary purpose” of surveillance was to gather foreign intelligence information. At the same time, Congress explicitly excluded activities conducted abroad from FISA’s reach. It also did not provide protection for U.S. citizens when they left the United States. See H.R. Rep. No. 95–1283, at 51 (1978).

To fill in the gaps FISA left and to provide rules of executive branch intelligence agencies, President Reagan issued Executive Order 12,333, United States Intelligence Activities (46 Fed. Reg. 59,941 (Dec. 4, 1981)). That order (as amended) remains the basis for executive branch surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes. What is important is that the order sets forth procedures that apply where FISA did not, specifically for surveillance of United States persons located abroad. Id. § 2.5.

Foreign intelligence gathering continued under FISA and Executive Order 12,333 for nearly two decades without major revision or challenge, until the attacks of September 11, 2001. Following 9/11, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which amended FISA by expanding law enforcement authority and lowering the standards required to obtain surveillance authority. Pub. L. No. 107–56 (H.R. 3162), 115 Stat. 272 (2001). The act eliminated the “primary purpose” test and replaced it with a “significant purpose” test. Id. § 218. The “primary purpose” test led law enforcement to create a wall between agencies that engaged in criminal prosecutions (such as parts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice) and agencies that primarily engaged in foreign intelligence gathering (such as the NSA). One of the problems identified in the aftermath of 9/11 was a reluctance to share information because of this “primary purpose” rule—and the fear that doing so could put surveillance or criminal prosecutions at risk.

In a rare published decision (there have been only two), the FISCR upheld the “significant purpose” test in In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717 (FISA Ct. Rev. 2002). The FISC court had found that the “significant purpose” standard was lower than the “primary purpose” standard but that the Fourth Amendment did not require more. The court concluded that the procedures and government showings required under FISA, even if they do not meet the warrant requirement, come close enough that FISA as amended by the Patriot Act meets the balancing test between Fourth Amendment rights and the need to protect against national security threats. In re Sealed Case would prove to be a launching point for reconciling FISA with the Fourth Amendment and for chipping away at the warrant requirement for foreign intelligence-gathering purposes.

In December 2005, a New York Times article revealed a warrantless domestic wiretapping program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), in which the NSA was allowed to eavesdrop on communications where at least one party was not a United States person. According to reports, technical glitches resulted in some “purely domestic” communications being subject to surveillance. The surveillance was based on a 2002 executive order that allowed the NSA to monitor international email messages and international telephone calls transmitted by communications networks based in the United States—surveillance that was outside the scope of review in In re Sealed Case. That executive order claimed that FISA’s warrant requirements were implicitly superseded by the passage of the congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists and that the president’s inherent authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct foreign surveillance trumped FISA.

A group of plaintiffs sought to challenge the TSP in American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, 438 F. Supp. 2d 754 (E.D. Mich. 2006). The district court ruled that the surveillance violated the Fourth Amendment, finding that the TSP was implemented without regard to the Fourth Amendment or to FISA, and thus violated FISA, the standards of Title III, and the Fourth Amendment. On appeal, however, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the TSP because they had not alleged that they were the actual victims of warrantless surveillance. ACLU v. NSA, 493 F.3d 644 (6th Cir. 2007); see also Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l, 133 S. Ct. 1138 (2013).

The Protect America Act of 2007

Following the public outcry in response to the New York Times article and the ACLU decision, the Bush administration proposed the Protect America Act of 2007 (PAA), Pub. L. No. 110-55, 121 Stat. 552, which was designed to address surveillance of communications facilities located in the United States that transmit communications between individuals both of whom are located abroad. PAA § 105A. Again, just as in 1978, the government needed more guidance on when FISA applied and when the executive branch was free of its requirements. The PAA addressed a new problem: capturing wholly foreign communications on U.S. soil. In the past, to capture foreign communications between non-U.S. persons, the government simply implemented surveillance on foreign communications networks, which are not subject to restrictions imposed by the Fourth Amendment or any statute. Now that foreign communications could be transferred within the United States and the TSP’s constitutionality had been called into doubt, the intelligence community required a new tool to continue that surveillance. The PAA, by providing a number of procedures to conduct surveillance of targets outside the United States, and in an attempt to avoid resort to traditional warrants and Title III orders, implemented a system of internal controls at the NSA as well as overarching review of policies and procedures by the FISC. The PAA was a stopgap measure, to preserve some aspects of warrantless surveillance of foreign communications transmitted within the United States while Congress worked to overhaul FISA.

Notably, the PAA, like the Patriot Act, again changed the test of when the FISA process does and does not apply. The PAA changed the focus from the identity of the party targeted to whether a party was present in the United States. This change made it much simpler for the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to approve surveillance—rather than certifying that both parties to the communication were foreign powers or agents of foreign powers, they now only had to certify that the target of the surveillance was located outside the United States. Under the PAA, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general could permit, for up to one year, “the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States” if they determined that the acquisition met five specified criteria and the minimization procedures for that surveillance were approved by the FISC. PAA § 105B. In practical terms, the government could serve providers with orders that the FISC approved, and then name the targets of surveillance later.

One provider, Yahoo, challenged this in In re Directives [Redacted] Pursuant to Section 105B of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [Redacted], 551 F.3d 1004 (FISA Ct. Rev. 2008). In that case, the government revealed that it not only complied with the PAA but also voluntarily complied with Executive Order 12,333, 46 Fed. Reg. 59,941, 59,951 (Dec. 4, 1981), which taken together mean that the certifications at issue “permit surveillances conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes when those surveillances are directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” In re Directives, 551 F.3d at 1008. The court upheld these warrantless searches, finding that because the purpose of the surveillance was to gather foreign intelligence information, it fell under a “foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement” so long as it was directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United states. Id. at 1012.

The court also found that the searches were reasonable because they complied with Executive Order 12,333, which required probable cause to believe that an individual is outside the United States and a finding that such surveillance was necessary, and which limited the duration of the surveillance and thus contained sufficient protections to avoid risk of mistake or executive branch misconduct.

The PAA was a stopgap measure and was eventually replaced by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), Pub. L. No. 110-261, § 403, 122 Stat. 2436, 2473. The FAA repealed the most troublesome provision of the PAA, which provided for warrantless surveillance of foreign intelligence targets “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States, even if they were U.S. persons, by adding a new section to FISA entitled “Additional Procedures Regarding Certain Persons Outside the United States.” Much of this section enshrines the protections present in Executive Order 12,333’s treatment of U.S. persons that the court relied on in In re Sealed Case and In re Directives to uphold the surveillance of United States persons located abroad.

The FAA again addressed the question of when FISA applies via a complicated web of procedures and processes for each category of target subject to surveillance: individuals outside the country that are not “U.S. Persons” (section 1881a), acquisitions inside the country targeting U.S. persons outside the country (section 1881b), and U.S. persons outside the country (section 1881c). Different processes are required for each type of target, but in a nutshell, U.S. persons receive slightly more protection. The most important change is that there is no prior judicial review of surveillance conducted in the United States that targets non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. FAA § 1881a. To conduct surveillance of U.S. persons outside the United States, however, the government must first obtain FISC approval of the particular targets. FAA § 1881b.

 

Time to Address Problems

FISA’s history and current events demonstrate that we are at a point in the cycle where it is again time to address the two basic questions: How do we provide oversight of intelligence-gathering activities? And when does this oversight apply? FISA, from a textual perspective, provides the government with far-reaching authority for surveillance and specific process for each type of surveillance it may want to conduct, but the public was relatively unaware of how the government used that authority until Edward Snowden leaked classified documents in late 2013 providing some detail on the NSA’s use of surveillance activities. In response, the government has begun declassifying a wealth of FISC decisions, letters to Congress, and other information regarding the NSA’s use of FISA authorities. A detailed analysis of these opinions could lead to a new report as voluminous as the Church Committee’s reports, but even a high-level analysis provides some context for moving forward.

The recently released opinions—such as Redacted, LEXIS 157706 (FISA Ct. Oct. 3, 2011), and Redacted II, LEXIS 157706 (FISA Ct. Nov. 30, 2011)—confirm what appeared to be the case in In re Directives, that the FISC has adopted an exception to the warrant requirement for foreign intelligence gathering—particularly where the government seeks communications that are not wholly domestic. In those cases, despite finding that the NSA knowingly collected wholly domestic communications that had nothing to do with foreign intelligence, the FISC generally approved most of the government’s targeting and minimization procedures. On a bad set of facts for the government, the FISC held that only a small part of the NSA’s surveillance program was unconstitutional and only because the NSA did not make enough of an effort to delete wrongly collected communications—a problem the NSA soon remedied. Redacted II, LEXIS 157705 (FISA Ct. Nov. 30, 2011).

The window left open in Keith seems to be closed. Similarly, the FISC has approved of the NSA’s “collect now, restrict searching later” approach to minimization. See In re Application of the F.B.I. for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things from [Redacted], No. BR 13-109, LEXIS 134786 (FISA Ct. Sept. 13, 2013). In other words, the FISC has found no constitutional or statutory impediment to the government “over collecting” data—so long as it does not intentionally collect wholly domestic communications and it has minimization procedures to restrict access. There is no indication that the government has used its surveillance powers improperly (except in a limited number of circumstances attributable to NSA employee misconduct), but the FISC has not taken a robust view of the Fourth Amendment.

As was the case back in the late 1970s, the American public has reacted to executive surveillance activities—some of which are eerily similar to the NSA’s use of surveillance authority in the mid– to late 1970s. And as was the case in the late 1970s, it may again be time for Congress to take action. The problems remain quite similar to those Congress faced in 1978: provide oversight where there is none, or where it is inadequate, and make clear when the government can, and cannot, use different types of FISA process.

In late 2013, numerous members of Congress began proposing bills to reform FISA and provide new protections. See Mark M. Jaycox, “Cheat Sheet to Congress’ NSA Spying Bills,” Elec. Frontier Found. (Sept. 11, 2013), http://www.eff.org/deep links/2013/08/effs-cheat-sheet. Given the heated nature of the current debate, it is likely that the particular content of these bills will change daily, and summarizing their particularities is best left to blogs. Still, the bills generally fall into two categories: increasing transparency and restructuring the process. A few bills address bulk collection of records under section 215, but none takes a comprehensive approach to changing the question of when FISA applies and when it does not.

The current system of checks and balances under the FAA is simply not enough. It’s not because of a lack of desire by the providers to defend their users. Unlike the telephone and telegraph companies that did not act to end NSA spying in the Operation SHAMROCK era, providers today are taking a much more active role in the process. Yahoo challenged the FISA process in 2008, interest groups have filed actions seeking information about surveillance practices, and now providers have brought declaratory judgment actions seeking to reveal more information about surveillance process they receive.

One of the pending bills, Senator Blumenthal’s FISA Court Reform Act of 2013, Senate Bill 1460 and Senate Bill 1467, provides an answer that, having had the experience of litigating before the FISC myself, I believe could provide much needed improvements. That bill provides for a new Office of the Special Advocate, which introduces an adversary to the court. (This is similar to the public privacy advocate that President Obama recently proposed.) The act attempts to solve a basic problem with the current oversight procedures: There is no true adversarial process for most of the legal issues that arise. The newly declassified opinions the director of national intelligence has released make this abundantly clear. Setting aside the legal arguments, the procedural history of the opinions indicates delays on the government’s part, a lack of supervision after the court issues its orders, and a preference for secrecy over public disclosure at any cost. Appointing a special advocate ad litem for the public would ensure that novel legal arguments in the FISA court would face a consistent, steady challenge no matter who the provider is, thereby strengthening the FISA process by subjecting results to checks and balances.

Without such a process, the court and the Department of Justice must work through difficult legal issues with no balancing input. An advocate could participate in all cases involving a new statute or authority or a new interpretation or application of an existing authority. The special advocate could choose the cases in which to be involved, or the court or a provider that receives process could request its involvement where an opposition would be useful to test and evaluate the government’s legal arguments. The special advocate’s office could be established with proper security safeguards to draft, store, and access classified records more efficiently. It could also be required to report to the public and Congress the number of cases it has argued and how often it has limited or pared back the government’s requests. It would provide a vital counterpoint for legislators exercising their oversight duties.

The special advocate would be especially useful in cases in which the government demands access to communications in a way that may have a profound effect on people other than the target, such as when decryption may be involved or when a provider is asked to provide assistance in ways that are unlike traditional wiretaps.

Providing for an advocate in front of the court would also resolve several problems for companies and individuals faced with receiving FISA process or having evidence gathered using that process used against them. The statutory process as it stands now does not necessarily provide for complete transparency or a level playing field for the provider. As the published decision in In re Directives makes clear, a phalanx of 11 government lawyers, including the acting solicitor general of the United States, was involved in defending the statute. The decision also shows that some of the documents relied on by the court of review were classified procedures submitted as part of an ex parte appendix that remains sealed. 551 F.3d at 1013–14.

If an advocate were present in other matters before the FISC, the government and court would be more likely to provide more public information on what challenges have and have not been successful. Public access would also provide litigators with a much greater opportunity to use those challenges in advising and defending their clients. The FISC’s decisions may or may not have been correct, depending on your view, but the secrecy employed up to this point erodes the safeguards built into our adversarial court system. The presence of an advocate would help to ensure that the government cannot continue to keep new opinions classified, unless it is truly in the interest of national security to do so.

Revising FISA is no easy task, and analyzing and responding to the FISA process presents thorny questions. There is one constant throughout the history of surveillance, as was the case in the Church Report and as is the case today with news reports about NSA surveillance: The government will use the surveillance power it is given to its fullest. This article does not opine on when that is and is not appropriate. America’s long history of surveillance and current events demonstrate a need to revise the process and take a hard look at whether courts have the tools to oversee executive branch surveillance and when the executive branch should be allowed to use foreign intelligence procedures. Introducing an advocate to test the government’s theories and surveillance in every case—even the ones it brings ex parte—would go a long way toward ensuring that the American public is not shocked again.

https://www.americanbar.org/publications/litigation_journal/2013-14/spring/fisa_authority_and_blanket_surveillance_gatekeeper_without_opposition.html

Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans

July 18, 2014

John Napier Tye served as section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from January 2011 to April 2014. He is now a legal director of Avaaz, a global advocacy organization.

In March I received a call from the White House counsel’s office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Department. The speech was about the impact that the disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance practices would have on U.S. Internet freedom policies. The draft stated that “if U.S. citizens disagree with congressional and executive branch determinations about the proper scope of signals intelligence activities, they have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process.”

But the White House counsel’s office told me that no, that wasn’t true. I was instructed to amend the line, making a general reference to “our laws and policies,” rather than our intelligence practices. I did.

Even after all the reforms President Obama has announced, some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them.

Public debate about the bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ data by the NSA has focused largely on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, through which the government obtains court orders to compel American telecommunications companies to turn over phone data. But Section 215 is a small part of the picture and does not include the universe of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons authorized under Executive Order 12333.

From 2011 until April of this year, I worked on global Internet freedom policy as a civil servant at the State Department. In that capacity, I was cleared to receive top-secret and “sensitive compartmented” information. Based in part on classified facts that I am prohibited by law from publishing, I believe that Americans should be even more concerned about the collection and storage of their communications under Executive Order 12333 than under Section 215.

Bulk data collection that occurs inside the United States contains built-in protections for U.S. persons, defined as U.S. citizens, permanent residents and companies. Such collection must be authorized by statute and is subject to oversight from Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The statutes set a high bar for collecting the content of communications by U.S. persons. For example, Section 215 permits the bulk collection only of U.S. telephone metadata — lists of incoming and outgoing phone numbers — but not audio of the calls.

Executive Order 12333 contains no such protections for U.S. persons if the collection occurs outside U.S. borders. Issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to authorize foreign intelligence investigations, 12333 is not a statute and has never been subject to meaningful oversight from Congress or any court. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has said that the committee has not been able to “sufficiently” oversee activities conducted under 12333.

Unlike Section 215, the executive order authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons. Such persons cannot be individually targeted under 12333 without a court order. However, if the contents of a U.S. person’s communications are “incidentally” collected (an NSA term of art) in the course of a lawful overseas foreign intelligence investigation, then Section 2.3(c) of the executive order explicitly authorizes their retention. It does not require that the affected U.S. persons be suspected of wrongdoing and places no limits on the volume of communications by U.S. persons that may be collected and retained.

“Incidental” collection may sound insignificant, but it is a legal loophole that can be stretched very wide. Remember that the NSA is building a data center in Utah five times the size of the U.S. Capitol building, with its own power plant that will reportedly burn $40 million a year in electricity.

“Incidental collection” might need its own power plant.

A legal regime in which U.S. citizens’ data receives different levels of privacy and oversight, depending on whether it is collected inside or outside U.S. borders, may have made sense when most communications by U.S. persons stayed inside the United States. But today, U.S. communications increasingly travel across U.S. borders — or are stored beyond them. For example, the Google and Yahoo e-mail systems rely on networks of “mirror” servers located throughout the world. An e-mail from New York to New Jersey is likely to wind up on servers in Brazil, Japan and Britain. The same is true for most purely domestic communications.

Executive Order 12333 contains nothing to prevent the NSA from collecting and storing all such communications — content as well as metadata — provided that such collection occurs outside the United States in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence investigation. No warrant or court approval is required, and such collection never need be reported to Congress. None of the reforms that Obama announced earlier this year will affect such collection.

Without any legal barriers to such collection, U.S. persons must increasingly rely on the affected companies to implement security measures to keep their communications private. The executive order does not require the NSA to notify or obtain consent of a company before collecting its users’ data.

The attorney general, rather than a court, must approve “minimization procedures” for handling the data of U.S. persons that is collected under 12333, to protect their rights. I do not know the details of those procedures. But the director of national intelligence recently declassified a document (United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18) showing that U.S. agencies may retain such data for five years.

Before I left the State Department, I filed a complaint with the department’s inspector general, arguing that the current system of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. I have also brought my complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees and to the inspector general of the NSA.

I am not the first person with knowledge of classified activities to publicly voice concerns about the collection and retention of communications by U.S. persons under 12333. The president’s own Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, in Recommendation 12 of its public report, addressed the matter. But the review group coded its references in a way that masked the true nature of the problem.

At first glance, Recommendation 12 appears to concern Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes collection inside the United States against foreign targets outside the United States. Although the recommendation does not explicitly mention Executive Order 12333, it does refer to “any other authority.” A member of the review group confirmed to me that this reference was written deliberately to include Executive Order 12333.

Recommendation 12 urges that all data of U.S. persons incidentally collected under such authorities be immediately purged unless it has foreign intelligence value or is necessary to prevent serious harm. The review group further recommended that a U.S. person’s incidentally collected data never be used in criminal proceedings against that person, and that the government refrain from searching communications by U.S. persons unless it obtains a warrant or unless such searching is necessary to prevent serious harm.

The White House understood that Recommendation 12 was intended to apply to 12333. That understanding was conveyed to me verbally by several White House staffers, and was confirmed in an unclassified White House document that I saw during my federal employment and that is now in the possession of several congressional committees.

In that document, the White House stated that adoption of Recommendation 12 would require “significant changes” to current practice under Executive Order 12333 and indicated that it had no plans to make such changes.

All of this calls into question some recent administration statements. Gen. Keith Alexander, a former NSA director, has said publicly that for years the NSA maintained a U.S. person e-mail metadata program similar to the Section 215 telephone metadata program. And he has maintained that the e-mail program was terminated in 2011 because “we thought we could better protect civil liberties and privacy by doing away with it.” Note, however, that Alexander never said that the NSA stopped collecting such data — merely that the agency was no longer using the Patriot Act to do so. I suggest that Americans dig deeper.

Consider the possibility that Section 215 collection does not represent the outer limits of collection on U.S. persons but rather is a mechanism to backfill that portion of U.S. person data that cannot be collected overseas under 12333.

Proposals for replacing Section 215 collection are currently being debated in Congress. We need a similar debate about Executive Order 12333. The order as used today threatens our democracy. There is no good reason that U.S. citizens should receive weaker privacy and oversight protections simply because their communications are collected outside, not inside, our borders.

I have never made any unauthorized disclosures of classified information, nor would I ever do so. I fully support keeping secret the targets, sources and methods of U.S. intelligence as crucial elements of national security. I was never a disgruntled federal employee; I loved my job at the State Department. I left voluntarily and on good terms to take a job outside of government. A draft of this article was reviewed and cleared by the State Department and the NSA to ensure that it contained no classified material.

When I started at the State Department, I took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. I don’t believe that there is any valid interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that could permit the government to collect and store a large portion of U.S. citizens’ online communications, without any court or congressional oversight, and without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Such a legal regime risks abuse in the long run, regardless of whether one trusts the individuals in office at a particular moment.

I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question: What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/meet-executive-order-12333-the-reagan-rule-that-lets-the-nsa-spy-on-americans/2014/07/18/93d2ac22-0b93-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html?utm_term=.0be4d4e8beac

A Primer on Executive Order 12333: The Mass Surveillance Starlet

JUNE 2, 2014

Many news reports have focused on Section 215 of the Patriot Act (used to collect all Americans’ calling records) and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) (used to collect phone calls, emails and other Internet content) as the legal authorities supporting much of the NSA’s spying regime. Both laws were passed by Congress and are overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court). However, it’s likely that the NSA conducts much more of its spying under the President’s claimed inherent powers and only governed by a document originally approved by President Reagan titled Executive Order 12333. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is currently conducting a secret investigation into the order, but Congress as a whole—including the Judiciary committee—must release more information about the order to the public.

EO 12333 was first written in 1981 in the wake of Watergate and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, an act passed by Congress that regulates spying conducted on people located within the United States. Since FISA only covers specific types of spying, the President maintains that the executive branch remains free to spy abroad on foreigners with little to no regulation by Congress.

Executive Order 12333

The Executive Order does three things: it outlines what it governs, when the agencies can spy, and how they can spy. In broad strokes, the Executive Order mandates rules for spying on United States persons (a term that includes citizens and lawful permanent residents wherever they may be) and on anyone within the United States. It also directs the Attorney General and others to create further policies and procedures for what information can be collected, retained, and shared.

The first section of the order covers the role of every agency conducting intelligence in the Intelligence Community, which includes seventeen different agencies, including well-known entities like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the NSA, and lesser-known entities like the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Department of Treasury. The roles vary by agency. For instance, the NSA is, among other things, responsible for “collection, processing and dissemination of signals intelligence,” while the CIA is responsible for “national foreign intelligence.

The Information Collected

The Executive Order purports to cover all types of spying conducted with the President’s constitutional powers—including mass spying. That’s important to note because some of the spying conducted under EO 12333 is reportedly similar to the mass spying conducted under Section 702 of the FAA. Under this type of spying, millions of innocent foreigners’ communications are collected abroad, inevitably containing Americans’ communications. In the Section 702 context, this includes techniques like Prism and Upstream. While we don’t know for sure, the Executive Order probably uses similar techniques or piggybacks off of programs used for Section 702 spying.

The second section of the EO partly covers mass spying by establishing what information intelligence agencies can collect, retain, and share about US persons. The current guidelines, the United States Signals Intelligence Directive SP0018, also known as “USSID 18,” are (just like the “minimization procedures” based off of them) littered with loopholes to over-collect, over-retain, and over-share Americans’ communications—all without a probable cause warrant or any judicial oversight.

Defenders (.pdf) of the mass spying conducted under the Executive Order point out the order “protects” such US person information with guidelines like USSID 18, but such protections are window-dressing, at best. Policies like USSID 18 and other accompanying Executive Order guidelines such as the “Special Procedures Governing Communications Metadata Analysis” allow for extensive use of US person information and data without a probable cause warrant. Indeed, news reports and Congressional testimony confirm the “Special Procedures” are used to map Americans’ social networks. The procedures are clear evidence the government believes that Fourth Amendment’s protections stop at the border.

Uses of Executive Order 12333

We do know a little about the spying conducted using EO 12333, but more must be revealed to the public. One early news report revealed it was the NSA’s claimed authority for the collection of Americans’ address books and buddy lists. It’s also involved in the NSA’s elite hacking unit, the Tailored Access Operations unit, which targets system administrators and installs malware while masquerading as Facebook servers. And in March, the Washington Postrevealed the order alone—without any court oversight—is used to justify the recording of “100 percent of a foreign country’s telephone calls.” The NSA’s reliance on the order for foreign spying includes few, if any, Congressional limits or oversight. Some of the only known limits on Executive spying are found in Executive procedures like USSID 18, the metadata procedures discussed above, and probably other still-classified National Security Policy Directives, none of which have been publicly debated much less approved by Congress or the courts.

The extent of the NSA’s reliance on Executive Order 12333 demands that the government release more information about how the order is used, or misused. And Congress—specifically the Judiciary and Intelligence committees—must reassert the same aggressive and diligent oversight they performed in the 1970s and 1980s.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/06/primer-executive-order-12333-mass-surveillance-starlet

Maintaining America’s Ability to Collect Foreign Intelligence: The Section 702 Program

May 13, 2016 21 min read Download Report

Authors:Paul Rosenzweig, Charles Stimson andDavid Shedd

Select a Section 1/0

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will, in its current form, come up for reauthorization in 2017. Broadly speaking, the Section 702 program targets non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States, in order to acquire foreign intelligence. Over the past several years, this surveillance of the online activities of foreigners has been a critical and invaluable tool for American intelligence professionals and officials. Knowledgeable officials note that more than 25 percent of all current U.S. intelligence is based on information collected under Section 702.[1]

Still, there are those who have concerns about the program. These critics believe that the program, as currently implemented, infringes on Americans’ rights. Their concern hinges on the inevitable reality that in the course of collecting information about foreign actors, the Section 702 program will also collect information about American citizens. As a result, some opponents liken the Section 702 program to the government telephony metadata program disclosed by Edward Snowden, and characterize Section 702 as an instance of government overreach.[2] Such comparisons are misguided and unfair. The program is so vital to America’s national security that Congress should reauthorize Section 702 in its current form.

Section 702 Explained

Section 702 has its origins in President George W. Bush’s terrorist surveillance program and the Patriot Act. That program was initiated in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, on the President’s own authority. That reliance on exclusive presidential authority contributed to the controversy that initially attended the program—some vocal critics saw it as an example of executive overreach.

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That aspect of the criticism was significantly ameliorated, if not eliminated, several years later, when Congress fully discussed and authorized the activities in question. Indeed, the governing law was adopted and amended twice, after the program had been initiated on the President’s own authority. First, Congress adopted a temporary measure known as the Protect America Act in 2007.[3] Then, it passed the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) in 2008. This is the statute that includes the new Section 702.[4]

Under Section 702, the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) may jointly authorize surveillance of people who are not “U.S. persons.” U.S. persons is a term of art in the intelligence community (IC) that means people who are not only American citizens but also covers permanent-resident aliens. As such, the targets of Section 702 surveillance can be neither citizens nor permanent residents of the U.S.

Section 702 authorizes the government to acquire foreign intelligence by targeting non-U.S. persons “reasonably believed” to be outside U.S. borders. Taken together, these two requirements identify the fundamental domain of Section 702 surveillance: it applies to foreigners on foreign soil. It is expressly against the law to attempt collection of information from targets inside the U.S.—whether Americans or foreigners—or to deliberately target the collection of online communications of American citizens.[5]

The law also requires the government to develop “targeting procedures”—the steps the government needs to take in order to ensure that the target is outside the United States at any time that electronic surveillance is undertaken. Obviously, that is sometimes difficult. A cell phone number, for instance, remains the same whether the phone is physically overseas or in the U.S., and the fact that someone has a U.S. cell phone number does not necessarily indicate whether the owner or user of that cell phone is a foreigner or an American. Hence, targeting must be tied to the geolocation of a phone and some knowledge about the owner/user, rather than solely to the phone’s number. Ultimately, it is the targeting procedures, not the targets themselves, that must be approved by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[6]

To conduct this surveillance, the government can compel assistance from Internet service providers (ISPs) and telephone companies in acquiring foreign intelligence information—that is, information relating to a foreign espionage program or international terrorism. The government often compensates these providers for the necessary effort. According to The Washington Post, the payments range from $250 million to nearly $400 million annually.[7] Some critics of the program suspect that as a result, surveillance turns from a legal obligation to a source of income. Finally, it is important to note that not only regulated carriers, such as traditional cable and telephone companies (such as AT&T or Verizon), are required to participate, but also newer technology companies to include Google, Facebook, and Skype.

The Incidental Collection Issue

If that were all that the 702 program involved, it would likely not be particularly controversial. Few Americans have expressed grave concerns about America’s overseas intelligence collection. Significantly, the 702 program cannot be used to target any U.S. person or any person located in the U.S., whether that person is an American or a foreigner. The government is also prohibited from “reverse targeting” under 702—that is, the government cannot target a non-U.S. person outside the U.S. when the real interest is to collect the communications of a person in the U.S. or of any U.S. person, regardless of location.

But a residual issue arises because of the inevitability of inadvertent collection—the incidental collection of information about Americans as part of the authorized collection of foreign intelligence.

To see why this happens, one needs to understand two distinct aspects of the Section 702 program: one portion that goes by the name of PRISM, and another that is referred to colloquially as “upstream collection.”[8]

PRISM collection is relatively straightforward. A hypothetical can explain: The government has information about a particular e-mail address, or a particular individual, linking it or him to a foreign terrorist organization. That address (john.doe@xyz.com) or that individual’s name (John Doe) is known as a “selector”; it is a basis for sifting through vast quantities of data, and selecting what will be collected and analyzed.

The Attorney General and the DNI certify the selector as relating to a non-U.S. person who is outside the United States, and who is reasonably believed to be connected to a foreign intelligence activity. Then, the National Security Agency (NSA) sends a query about that selector to an ISP. The ISP, in turn, is required to hand over to the government any communications it might have that were sent to—or from—the identified selector. The NSA receives all data collected through PRISM, and makes portions of it available to the CIA and the FBI.

Upstream collection, by contrast, does not focus on the ISP. Instead, it focuses on the “backbone,” through which all telephone and Internet communications travel, which lies “upstream” within the telecommunications infrastructure. For example, an individual’s ISP might be a local company, while the backbone that carries its Internet traffic across the ocean to Europe is almost certainly operated by a larger provider, such as Verizon or AT&T.

There are several additional differences that distinguish upstream collection from PRISM. Most notably, upstream collection can involve “about” communications. “About” communications refer to selectors that occur within the content of the monitored communication, instead of, in the example of e-mail, in the “To” or “From” line.

So, if the government were using a name—John Doe—as a selector, under the upstream collection program, it would also collect foreign intelligence–related communications in which that name appeared in the body of the communication. Say, for example, that two al-Qaeda members are communicating via e-mail, and one says to the other: “We should recruit Doe.” That e-mail would be subject to upstream collection and would be a good example of an “about” communication. The e-mail is about Doe. Under the PRISM program, by contrast, the government would collect e-mails to and from the user name, and nothing more.

As should be evident, in some cases, these programs might result unintentionally in the collection of information about an American. If two Americans are communicating domestically in an exchange that names a foreign intelligence target (say, an e-mail that mentions an al-Qaeda operative by name), that e-mail might be incidentally collected by upstream collection. Likewise, an e-mail between two terrorist targets might be collected that incidentally includes information not only about legitimately identified U.S. persons (the recruit target John Doe), but also others. An e-mail might also mention Mary Doe—even though no evidence exists of any connection between Mary Doe and a foreign intelligence matter.

This prospect of collecting American data led Congress to include certain requirements that would reduce, though not entirely eliminate, the possibility that the data could be misused. Under the FAA, when information is collected about an American, whether incidentally as part of an authorized investigation, or inadvertently as the result of a mistake, the government is required to apply FISC-approved “minimization” procedures to determine whether such information may be retained or disseminated.

When lawyers and intelligence professionals use the word “minimization” in the context of intelligence collection, it means that any information inadvertently collected on a U.S. person is retained (if at all) only for a limited time, and that information about Americans is used and revealed and further disseminated only under narrowly defined circumstances. Minimization requirements may also mean deleting the information entirely. As with the targeting procedures, these minimization procedures are approved by the FISC—but again, the approval is for the entire system of minimization, not for each individual case.

So, for example, under these minimization rules, the NSA, CIA, and FBI are subject to certain limitations in how they are permitted to query and analyze the data they have lawfully collected. For example, they must demonstrate a reasonable likelihood that targeting a particular item in the information collected will result in the development of foreign intelligence. In other words, the rules limit when a U.S. person can be targeted for examination, and how long data about an American can be retained before it is deleted.

The Effectiveness of Section 702

With that background in mind, it is useful to turn to more practical questions about the program: Does it work? Is it being abused?

The public record suggests that the Section 702 program has indeed helped in the fight against terrorism. Classified records might provide additional support for this conclusion but they are unavailable to us.[9] The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB)—a bipartisan panel in the executive branch that reviews actions the executive branch takes to protect the country from terrorism, and also monitors civil liberty concerns—has reported that more than one-quarter of NSA reports on international terrorism include information that is based in whole, or in part, on data collected under the Section 702 program.

The PCLOB found that the 702 program “makes a substantial contribution to the government’s efforts to learn about the membership, goals, and activities of international terrorist organizations, and to prevent acts of terrorism from coming to fruition.”[10] Additionally, the program has “led the government to identify previously unknown individuals who are involved in international terrorism, and it has played a key role in discovering and disrupting specific terrorist plots aimed at the United States and other countries.”[11]

Although the details supporting these findings are classified, the board has also said that the program has played a role in discovering, and disrupting, specific terrorist plots aimed at the United States by enabling the government to identify previously unidentified individuals involved in international terrorism.[12] Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) has posted three declassified examples from the NSA that involved the effective use of Section 702 collection in 2009: the New York City Subway Attack Plot; the Chicago Terror Investigation; and Operation Wi-Fi.

A few critics of the 702 program have disputed its actual impact in the New York City Subway Attack Plot and the Chicago Terror Investigation. TheGuardian interviewed several people who were involved in the two investigations and reviewed U.S. and British court documents.[13] Based on this incomplete record, The Guardian concluded that these investigations began with “conventional” surveillance methods—such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services—rather than from leads produced by NSA surveillance.

But the fact remains that current and former intelligence officials, members from both political parties across two Administrations, national security law experts in the private sector, and the PCLOB maintain that 702 has been and continues to be a very important intelligence tool for overseas intelligence collection.

Section 702 Criticisms v. Facts

Some of the criticisms of Section 702 are little more than philosophical objections to the concept of overseas surveillance.

Setting aside those concerns, there are other specific criticisms, each of which lacks merit. For example, there has been criticism that there is no significant publicly available data on how little, or how much, incidental collection there is about U.S. persons. Such data would be helpful to know in assessing the program. According to the PCLOB, in 2013 the NSA approved 198 U.S. person identifiers to be used as content query terms. The real issue is the frequency with which U.S. persons’ information was collected incidentally to the general foreign intelligence mission, and what is done with the information. After all, if the volume of incidental collection even remotely came close to what is collected as useful data on terrorism activities, including threats, skepticism about Section 702’s efficacy would be warranted.

Given that the targets of Section 702 collection are non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located overseas, it can reasonably be inferred that the predominant portion of the collected data does not contain U.S. person information. Although it would be useful to have an accurate estimate of how much incidental U.S. person information actually resides within the remaining portion of the data collected under the Section 702 program, it has proved very difficult to find any solution that would provide such an estimate. The first problem is that the collected data is often not readily identifiable as being associated with a U.S. person and would require the application of additional scarce technological and analytic resources in an effort to make those associations. The second problem is that the targets of the Section 702 collection efforts do not always communicate with persons of foreign intelligence interest. Ironically, an effort to ascertain an accurate estimate of non-pertinent U.S. person information lying dormant in the collected data is inconsistent with the purpose of Section 702, which is to identify foreign intelligence information. Such an effort to provide an estimate would result in more invasive review of U.S. person information.

FISA itself takes a more practical approach in attempting to understand the potential U.S. person privacy implications raised by Section 702 collection. It requires the head of each element of the Intelligence Community to conduct an annual review and to provide an accounting of the references to U.S. persons in intelligence reporting.[14] This outcome-based approach focuses on the U.S. person information that is actually being seen by the Intelligence Community, in order to assess whether there is any prejudicial impact on privacy rights. Also, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently released its “Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities–Annual Statistics for Calendar Year 2015.”[15] The report estimates that 94,368 non-U.S. persons are targets of Section 702 collection. By comparison, the report estimates that the IC used 4,672 known U.S. person search terms in 23,800 queries of the lawfully collected Section 702 data. The report also notes that in 2015, the NSA disseminated 4,290 Section 702 intelligence reports that included U.S. person information. Of those reports, the U.S. person information was masked in 3,168 reports and unmasked in 1,122 reports. The remaining major criticisms of the 702 program are more systematic and definitional. One critique is that the government uses too broad a means in its first stage of collection, which is then followed by a more refined collection of data.[16] Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the FISC has described the program more accurately: “While in absolute terms, the scope of acquisition under Section 702 is substantial, the acquisitions are not conducted in a bulk or indiscriminate manner. Rather they are effected through…discrete targeting decisions for individual selectors.”[17]

Another complaint about the Section 702 program is that U.S. person data is retained—at least partially—at all. Under current rules, when the U.S. government targets someone abroad, it is not required to discard the incidentally collected communications of U.S. persons—if authorities conclude that those conversations constitute foreign intelligence.

In that event, even incidental conversations by or about U.S. persons may be retained. And the threshold for querying a U.S. person within the data collected is relatively low. To affirmatively query the data collected about a U.S. person, all that is needed is a determination that the search is reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information. “Reasonably likely” is an especially easy standard to meet. It does not, for example, require any particularized suspicion that the U.S. person who is subject of the inquiry is engaged in any wrongdoing himself.

For that reason, a Presidential Review Board, as well a few Members of Congress, believe that Section 702 collection on Americans goes too far.[18] The program, they argue, is permissible and lawful without individual case supervision or a warrant requirement precisely because it targets non-Americans. So they contend that when the communications of U.S. persons are queried, probable cause and warrant requirements should apply. Any loophole that allows that particular querying should be closed because the government should not be able to obtain “back door” evidence against U.S. persons that it could otherwise only obtain with judicial approval.

But there is no “back door” here—a query does not collect any additional data. The FISC specifically holds that the 702 collection is constitutional and entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s protections. The court found that “the querying provisions of the FBI Minimization Procedures strike a reasonable balance between the privacy interests of U.S. persons and persons in the United States, on the one hand, and the government’s national security interests, on the other.”[19] Even the fact that the “FBI’s use of those provisions to conduct queries designed to return evidence of crimes unrelated to foreign intelligence” did “not preclude the Court from concluding that taken together, the targeting and minimization procedures submitted with the 2015 Certifications are consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.”[20]

Obviously, Congress itself did not agree with these systematic and definitional complaints. While the focus of Section 702 collection is on non-U.S. persons located overseas, one of the specifically intended benefits of Section 702 was its ability to provide tip and lead information about persons in the United States who might be conspiring with overseas terrorists. This limited information might prove useful in helping to establish the probable cause necessary to obtain full surveillance coverage of these domestic suspects. It is also important to understand that the response to complaints about the theoretical possibility of abuse under FISA revolves around tight controls. The PCLOB found little evidence of abuse of the Section 215 metadata program, and in the case of Section 702 implementation found virtually no intentional misuse of the collection authorities where U.S. persons were concerned:

Over the years, a series of compliance issues were brought to the attention of the FISA court by the government. However, none of these compliance issues involved significant intentional misuse of the system. Nor has the Board seen any evidence of bad faith or misconduct on the part of any government officials or agents involved with the program. Rather, the compliance issues were recognized by the [FISA] court—and are recognized by the Board—as a product of the program’s technological complexity and vast scope, illustrating the risks inherent in such a program.[21]

Similarly, the PCLOB included a section in its 702 report called “Compliance Issues.” According to the PCLOB, the few instances of error in the administration of the 702 program were infrequent and mainly minor and administrative in nature. That is why the PCLOB found that “internal and external compliance programs have not to date identified any intentional attempts to circumvent or violate the procedures or the statutory requirements, but both unintentional incidents of noncompliance and instances where Intelligence Community personnel did not fully understand the requirements of the statute.”[22]

In other words, all of the errors in the program were accidental or due to mistakes. None was the product of intentional misconduct. Indeed, the non-compliance incident rate has been substantially below 1 percent, according to the PCLOB.[23] Over half of the reported incidents involved instances in which the “NSA otherwise complied with the targeting and minimization procedures in tasking and de-tasking a selector, but failed to make a report to the NSD and ODNI” in a timely fashion.[24]

Two other common reasons why compliance errors occurred are that: (1) the wrong selector was tasked due to a typographical error, or (2) a delay in de-tasking (removing the selector) resulted when an analyst de-tasked some, but not all, of the Section 702-tasked selectors placed on a non-U.S. person target known to be traveling to the United States.[25]

Taken together, these minor administrative errors accounted for “almost 75% of the compliance incidents,” according to the PCLOB.[26]

Section 702: Constitutional and Lawful

One last aspect of Section 702 needs to be addressed: the suggestion that the program might in some way be unconstitutional or unlawful. This Backgrounder concludes that relevant case law firmly supports the constitutionality and legality of the Section 702 program. To support this conclusion, we provide a brief history of relevant case law.

The predicate case is United States v. United States District Court,[27] sometimes known as the Keith case, after Judge Damon Keith, the federal district court judge who oversaw the case.

The case hearkens back to an era of protest and civil unrest in the United States. It involved several leaders of the so-called White Panther Party—a white supremacist group—who were charged with bombing a CIA office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1968. Their phones were wiretapped by order of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, who served under President Richard Nixon. Mitchell said that no warrant was required to authorize the interception, because the defendants posed a “clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the government.”

Judge Keith responded that the Attorney General’s rationale was insufficient, and ruled that warrantless interception and surveillance of domestic conversations was unconstitutional. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the justices agreed with Judge Keith, establishing as precedent the idea that a warrant was needed before electronic surveillance commenced, even if the domestic surveillance was related to national security.

As Justice Lewis Powell said in writing for the Court, the “price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power.” Justice Powell continued, “Nor must the fear of un-authorized official eavesdropping deter vigorous citizen dissent and discussion of government action in private conversation. For private dissent, no less than open public discourse, is essential to our free society.”

Notably, however, the Court limited its holding to domestic surveillance, and said that different rules might apply when the surveillance occurred outside the United States, or was directed at a foreign power—or at non-Americans. Regarding surveillance of non-Americans overseas, courts around the country have agreed with the implicit suggestion of the Supreme Court, holding that surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes need only be reasonable (and that a warrant is not required).[28] That distinction—between domestic and foreign surveillance—is preserved in FISA, which allows more relaxed FISA procedures (for which a criminal warrant was not required) only when the purpose of the investigation is to collect foreign intelligence.

In Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, the Supreme Court upheld the drug testing of high school athletes and explained that the exception to the warrant requirement applied “when special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirements impracticable.”[29] Although Vernonia was not a foreign intelligence case—far from it—the principles from the Court’s “special needs” cases influenced later cases in the national security context.

In “In re: Sealed Case,” the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review held that FISA did not require the government to demonstrate to the FISA court that its primary purpose in conducting electronic surveillance was not criminal prosecution and, significantly, the PATRIOT Act’s amendment to FISA, permitting the government to conduct surveillance of agents of foreign powers if foreign intelligence was the “significant purpose” of the surveillance, did not violate the Fourth Amendment.[30] The court avoided an express holding that a foreign intelligence exception exists, but held that FISA could survive on reasonableness grounds.

In 2008, “In re: Directives Pursuant to Section 105B of FISA” applied the principles derived from the special needs cases to conclude that the foreign intelligence surveillance authorized by the Protect America Act possesses characteristics that qualify it for a foreign intelligence exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.[31]

Notably, the “In re: Directives” decision cites a Fourth Circuit opinion for the proposition that there is a high degree of probability that requiring a warrant would hinder the government’s ability to collect time-sensitive information and thus impede vital national security interests.[32]

In April 2016, the first decision addressing the constitutionality of upstream collection under Section 702 was publicly released. The FISA court issued a declassified opinion[33] in which it concluded that use of information collected under Section 702 authority for domestic investigations satisfied both constitutional standards and was within the statutory bounds of the FISA Amendments Act. Notably, for purposes of this discussion, the court reached this conclusion after having had the benefit of a public advocate who articulated a position contrary to that of the government.[34] Judge Hogan cites “In re: Directives” in support of the proposition that the Fourth Amendment does not require the government to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance in order “to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes [that] is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.”

Section 702: Continuing Improvements

On February 5, 2016, the PCLOB issued its “Recommendations Assessment Report.” The purpose of the report was to assess whether the DNI had responded appropriately to recommendations it had made for the improvement of the program.

The DNI had taken action to the PCLOB recommendations. Indeed, with respect to the 10 recommendations relating to the Section 702 program, the PCLOB Recommendations Assessment Report determined that five recommendations have been fully implemented; one has been substantially implemented; three are in the process of being implemented; and one has been partially implemented.[35]

The historical record demonstrates the effectiveness of both the PCLOB’s oversight function and the responsiveness of the DNI to its recommendations—a win-win story in the new age of intelligence oversight.[36]

Conclusions

First, Section 702 is constitutional, statutorily authorized, and carefully constructed to address a vital U.S. national security requirement: the collection of vital information relating to foreign threats.

Second, it seems clear that, in light of careful scrutiny by the PCLOB, the specter of alleged abuse of the program is more theoretical than real.

Third, the Section 702 program has great current utility and provides invaluable intelligence of practical impact and not replaceable by other means of collection.

The benefits of the Section 702 program greatly outweigh its (theoretical) costs and the program should continue as currently authorized. Indeed, the record suggests that the 702 Program is invaluable as a foreign intelligence collection tool. The fruits of the program constitute more than 25 percent of the NSA’s reports concerning international terrorism. It has clearly defined implementation rules and robust oversight by all three branches of government, and is a necessary tool for defending the nation.

Congress should reauthorize 702 in its entirety. There is no need for a further sunset of the act’s provisions, as it has demonstrated its usefulness; and an arbitrarily forced reconsideration by Congress is unnecessary, a waste of time and money, and at the expense of national security.

The program can, and should, be implemented in a manner that is consistent with American values. To quote General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and former CIA director:

[A]n American strategy for cyberspace must reflect and serve our ideals. In our zeal to secure the internet, we must be careful not to destroy that which we are trying to preserve, an open, accessible, ubiquitous, egalitarian, and free World Wide Web. There are nations—like Iran, China, Russia and others—who view precisely those attributes as the very definition of cyber security threats. Their concern is not digital theft, but the free movement of ideas. We must take care that in our efforts to prevent the former, we do not legitimize their efforts to prevent the latter.[37]

A properly configured Section 702 program has met that challenge to the benefit of the American public. At a time when international terrorism is on the rise, the United States must have a lawful, robust foreign intelligence capability.

—David R. Shedd is a Visiting Distinguished Fellow in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Paul Rosenzweig is a Visiting Fellow in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy, of the Davis Institute, and Charles D. Stimson is Manager of the National Security Law Program and Senior Legal Fellow in the Center for National Defense, of the Davis Institute, at The Heritage Foundation.

JUNE 06, 2017 5:27 PM

Republicans worried about leaks consider cutting back surveillance authority

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 872, April 12, 2017, Story 1: Seal Team 6 Training in South Korea For Mission To “Incapacitate” Kim Jong-Un in North Korea! — Videos — Story 2: Flying The Not So Friendly Skies of United — Public Relations Disaster — How Not To Treat Your Paying Passengers — Videos

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Seal Team 6 Training in South Korea For Mission To  “Incapacitate” Kim Jong-Un  in North Korea! — Videos

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Navy SEAL team responsible for killing Osama bin Laden ‘is training alongside troops in South Korea preparing to “incapacitate” Kim Jong-un

  • USS Carl Vinson arrived at the southern port of Busan, in South Korea, to join the annual joint military exercise
  • South Korea military source says heightened presence is part of plan to decapitate North Korean leadership
  • Pyongyang has long condemned the annual joint drills – called Foal Eagle – between South Korea and the US
  • Tensions have escalated with missile launches from North and assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother 

A US Navy unit which killed Osama Bin Laden will be taking part in drills simulating removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power.

The Special Warfare Development Group, best known as SEAL Team 6, will carry out drills in South Korea, the country’s Ministry of National Defense has revealed.

It is the team which carried out Operation Neptune Spear, the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan back in May 2011.

The Navy SEAL team is responsible for the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011

The Navy SEAL team is responsible for the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011

It will be taking part in exercises aimed at removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power

It will be taking part in exercises aimed at removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power

An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, will arrive in South Korea today, The Japan Times reports, along with US Army unit Delta Force, which specialises in counterterrorism operations.

It comes a day after US President Donald Trump said North Korea was ‘looking for trouble’ following missile tests, and vowed the United States would ‘solve the problem’ with or without China’s help.

Pyongyang has reacted angrily to the impending arrival of the aircraft carrier, warning of ‘catastrophic consequences’.

It comes after US President Donald Trump said North Korea was 'looking for trouble', and vowed the United States would 'solve the problem' with or without China's help

It comes after US President Donald Trump said North Korea was ‘looking for trouble’, and vowed the United States would ‘solve the problem’ with or without China’s help

The move is part of a growing US presence off the Korean Peninsula, and is reportedly part of a plan aimed at ‘incapacitating’ Kim Jong-Un‘s regime should conflict break out.

A nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea last month for joint military exercises in the latest show of force against the North.

More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet, the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler were on board the supercarrier.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency claims the heightened military presence is part of a plan to decapitate North Korean leadership.

It claims a military official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.’ 

More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet (at the front of the carrier), the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler (in the middle) are on board the super carrier

More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet (at the front of the carrier), the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler (in the middle) are on board the super carrier

The USS Carl Vinson approaches Busan port in South Korea to join the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle

The USS Carl Vinson approaches Busan port in South Korea to join the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle

The aircraft carrier and a US destroyer carried out naval drills including an anti-submarine manoeuvre with South Koreans in waters off the Korean peninsula as part of the annual Foal Eagle exercise.

Washington insisted they are purely defensive in nature.

Rear Admiral James Kilby, commander of USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group 1, said: ‘The importance of the exercise is to continue to build our alliance and our relationship and strengthen that working relationship between our ships.’

The US has also started to deploy ‘Gray Eagle’ attack drones to South Korea, a military spokesman revealed last month.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is taking part in South Korea-U.S. joint military maneuvers carried out in the largest scale yet, with North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats in focus

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is taking part in South Korea-U.S. joint military maneuvers carried out in the largest scale yet, with North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats in focus

South Korean and US troops began the large-scale joint drills on March 1.

The spike in tensions concerned Beijing, with China’s Foreign Ministry calling on all sides to end ‘a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control.’

North Korea, which has alarmed its neighbours with two nuclear tests and a string of missile launches since last year, said the arrival of the US strike group was part of a ‘reckless scheme’ to attack it.

The North Korea’s state KCNA news agency said: ‘If they infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater.

‘On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army,’ KCNA said.

Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan in response to annual US-South Korea military drills, which the North sees as preparation for war.

The murder in Malaysia last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother has added to the sense of urgency to efforts to get a grip on North Korea.

Visiting the headquarters of an army unit early this month, Kim praised his troops for their ‘vigilance against the US and South Korean enemy forces that are making frantic efforts for invasion’, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

Kim also ordered the troops to ‘set up thorough countermeasures of a merciless strike against the enemy’s sudden air assault’, it said.

The threat represented by North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal is the main reason for his trip to the region.

An F/A Super Hornet fighter jet takes off from the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier

An F/A Super Hornet fighter jet takes off from the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier

F/A Super Hornets and other fighter jets await takeoff aboard the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier

F/A Super Hornets and other fighter jets await takeoff aboard the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier

A U.S. F18 fighter jet lands on the deck of U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise

A U.S. F18 fighter jet lands on the deck of U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise

A U.S. Navy crew member works on a U.S. F18 fighter jet on the deck of USS Carl Vinson 

A U.S. Navy crew member works on a U.S. F18 fighter jet on the deck of USS Carl Vinson

A F18 fighter jet prepares for take off as part of the annual military drills in South Korea that the North regards as rehearsal for invasion

A F18 fighter jet prepares for take off as part of the annual military drills in South Korea that the North regards as rehearsal for invasion

South Korean and U.S. troops began the large-scale joint drills, which are billed as defensive in nature, on March 1 

South Korean and U.S. troops began the large-scale joint drills, which are billed as defensive in nature, on March 1

US Navy crew members look at an F/A-18 fighter from the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

US Navy crew members look at an F/A-18 fighter from the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

US Navy crew members run next to an E-2C Hawkeye as it lands on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson

The all-weather E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and battle management aircraft has served as the "eyes" of the U.S. Navy fleet for more than 30 years

The all-weather E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and battle management aircraft has served as the ‘eyes’ of the U.S. Navy fleet for more than 30 years

PLANES ON THE USS CARL VINSON

The aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1982, is the centerpiece of the 7,500-sailor strike group. The 100,000-ton ship measures 333 meters in length and 77 meters in width.

The Carl Vinson has been involved in a number of notable events including Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ship also received huge attention in 2011 when the body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from its deck.

More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet, the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler are on board the supercarrier.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the U.S. Navy’s primary strike and air superiority aircraft.

The E-2C Hawkeye is the U.S. Navy’s primary carrier-based airborne early warning and command and control aircraft.

The EA-18G Growler is the U.S. Navy’s newest electronic attack aircraft intended to replace ageing EA-6B Prowlers in the service’s fleet.

As part of his plans to bolster the military, President Trump has vowed to expand the number of carriers the US fields from 10 to 12.

And he promised to bring down the cost of building three ‘super-carriers,’ which has ballooned by a third over the last decade from $27 to $36 billion.

US Navy crew members stand by an EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft on the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

US Navy crew members stand by an EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft on the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

The Carl Vinson Strike Group is participating in the annual joint Foal Eagle exercise between South Korea and the US

The Carl Vinson Strike Group is participating in the annual joint Foal Eagle exercise between South Korea and the US

The joint exercises involve tens of thousands of troops, as well as strategic US naval vessels and air force assets

The joint exercises involve tens of thousands of troops, as well as strategic US naval vessels and air force assets

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4405000/US-Navy-SEALs-killed-Bin-Laden-target-Kim-Jong-un.html#ixzz4e612SBpg
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Story 2: Flying The Not So Friendly Skies of United — Public Relations Disaster — How Not To Treat Your Paying Passengers — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show 700, June 16, 2016, Story 1: Trump Targets Terrorist Control vs. Clinton and Obama Talk Gun Control — Pulse Gay Night Club Was A Gun Free Zone — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Americans Armed Against Gun Grabbing Government Tyrants — Defend The Second Amendment — Radical Islamists Want To Replace The United States Constitution and U.S. Law With Sharia Law — Background Check Are Racist — Videos

Posted on June 16, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Airlines, American History, Assault, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, European History, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Gangs, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Islam, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Networking, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Rifles, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 700: June 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 699: June 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 698: June 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 697: June 13, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 696: June 10, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 693: June 6, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 690: June 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 689: May 31, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 688: May 27, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 680: May 16, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 642: March 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 641: March 11, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 640: March 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 639: March 9, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 636: March 4, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 635: March 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 634: March 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 633: March 1, 2016

Story 1: Trump Targets Terrorist Control vs. Clinton and Obama Talk Gun Control — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Americans Armed Against Gun Grabbing Government Tyrants — Defend The Second Amendment — Videos

Oath of office of the President of the United States

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”[1]

ARTICLE II, SECTION 3, United States Constitution

[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed….

http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/2/essays/98/take-care-clause

gun-control1clarity-dictators-like-gun-control Gun-control-dictatorsgun-control_dictators stalin mao hitler  guns-1935-hitler-on-gun-control obama guncontrol

No Fly List, No Guns?

Tom McClintock Trashes Leftist No Fly List Gun Control

Ted Cruz Destroys Senate Dems for Gun Control Filibuster

Ted Cruz: ‘Offensive’ That Democrats Are Calling For Gun Control After Orlando | NBC News

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2YkqTSTZDY]

Best 7 minutes on gun control I have ever seen!

John Lott on gun control: “The background check system itself is basically racist”

John Lott: Why More Guns Equal Less Crime

John Stossel -The Gun Violence Myth

Mark Levin discusses the gun control issue with John Lott (audio from 11-30-2015)

Trump threatens to run apart from GOP on gun control

Obama Calls for Assault Weapons Ban, New ‘No Fly, No Buy’ Law

Trump: People using PC terms against us to not report terror

Trump renews calls for Muslim ban, surveillance of mosques

Donald Trump Jr.: Extremists only understand force

Obama Criticises Donald Trump Over His Calls To Ban Muslims From US!!!!

CIA Director Warns of ISIS Using Refugee Streams to Move Operatives

Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

CIA DIRECTOR TESTIFIES AT SENATE HEARING ON NATIONAL SECURITY

Obama goes on tirade against Trump over ‘radical Isl…

Former intel chair rips Pres. Obama’s anti-Trump speech

The 2nd Amendment Explained

Donald Trump Rally Speech 6/15/16: Atlanta, GA: Trump Blasts Hillary

Second Amendment of United States Constitution

Trump vs. Clinton: Two views on Orlando terror

Paul Ryan Interview Bill O’Reilly Factor Fox News Regarding Donald Trump

FULL: Donald Trump Orlando Terrorism Speech 6/13/16

LGBT Nightclub Orlando Trump ISLAMIC terrorism VS Obama Clinton HomeGrown Hate CRIME

Background Checks? Shooter Had Them in Spades

Why restrict ‘good’ gun owners, resident asks President Obama at town hall

Gunning For Hillary – Trump Says Clinton Will Abolish 2nd Amendment – Fox & Friends

Hillary Clinton on Second Amendment Gun Rights – June 5, 2016 – ABC This Week

The Clintons Are Coming For Your Guns

Hillary Clinton, If President, Vows To ‘Get Those Guns’ Out Of People’s Hands

Hillary Clinton Outlines Plan to Abolish the Second Amendment

Ginny Simone Reporting | S7 E1: “Obama: Our Biggest Threat To National Security”

Judge Napolitano: Obama Doesn’t Believe in the 2nd Amendment

Judge Napolitano Reacts to NY Times Criticism “Either We Have a 2nd Amendment or We Don’t”

Barack Obama On 2nd Amendment Rights

Trump: We need strong surveillance, we need intelligence

AK47 versus M16 – R. Lee Ermey

EDUCATE YOURSELF ~ Semi-Auto Firearms vs Fully-Automatic Firearms

The Truth About AK-47 Firepower

Lock n’ Load with R. Lee Ermey – Machine Guns

MG42 Machine Gun – “Hitler’s Buzz Saw”

CIA chief: IS working to send operatives to the West

CIA Director John Brennan will tell Congress on Thursday that Islamic State militants are training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for their territorial losses.

CIA Director John Brennan will tell Congress on Thursday that Islamic State militants are training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for their territorial losses.

In remarks prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan says IS has been working to build an apparatus to direct and inspire attacks against its foreign enemies, as in the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels — ones the CIA believes were directed by IS leaders.

“ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” Brennan said, using another acronym for the group. He said IS probably is working to smuggle them into countries, perhaps among refugee flows or through legitimate means of travel.

Brennan also noted the group’s call for followers to conduct so-called lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. He called last week’s attack in Orlando a “heinous act of wanton violence” and an “assault on the values of openness and tolerance” that define the United States as a nation.

He said IS is gradually cultivating its various branches into an interconnected network. The branch in Libya is likely the most advanced and most dangerous, but IS is trying to increase its influence in Africa, he said. The IS branch in the Sinai has become the “most active and capable terrorist group in Egypt,” attacking the Egyptian military and government targets in addition to foreigners and tourists, such as the downing of a Russian passenger jet last October.

Other branches have struggled to gain traction, he says. “The Yemen branch, for instance, has been riven with factionalism. And the Afghanistan-Pakistan branch has struggled to maintain its cohesion, in part because of competition with the Taliban.”

He called IS a “formidable adversary,” but said the U.S.-led coalition has made progress combatting the group, which has had to surrender large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and has lost some of its leaders in airstrikes. IS has struggled to replenish its ranks of fighters, Brennan said, because fewer of them are traveling to Syria and others have defected.

“The group appears to be a long way from realizing the vision that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi laid out when he declared the caliphate two years ago in Mosul,” Iraq, Brennan said.

He said the group’s ability to raise money has also been curtailed, although the group still continues to generate at least tens of millions of dollars in revenue each month, mostly from taxation and from sales of crude oil.

“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” he said.

“In fact, as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.”

 

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