Pedophile Hastert Case- Clinton Scandals, FBI & the COINTELPRO II Directive

Welcome to Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds. A new accuser has come forward alleging sexual assault in a lawsuit filed against Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. The accuser claims that Hastert sodomized him in the 70s when he was 9 years old. This lawsuit comes several years after a hush money case revealed allegations of sexual abuse against Hastert from his days working as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois.

I know there’s been several catch-names for the prevalent criminal- blackmailing trends among high-level politicians: Pedo-Gate, Pizza-Gate, etc. However, to truly understand the big picture, the truth, we need to go back more than two decades. I am going to take you back twenty years to when the FBI’s covert and illegal operations targeting high-profile US officials began.  I will go on-record with the White House Covert Order during Bill Clinton’s Administration directing the FBI to begin conducting new COINTELPRO operations, and will discuss the FBI’s illegal surveillance of government officials, how the information was used by the government for blackmail purposes, the cases of  FBI insiders who spoke up and reported these operations, how and why those cases were classified and gagged by the government and censored by the US media, and finally, how all this directly relate to the now-infamous case of Pedophile Dennis Hastert.

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Notes

The Real Hastert Case All in One Place

Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA

Gilbert Graham Case Filed with DOJ-IG

Sibel Edmonds: An Inconvenient Patriot (Vanity Fair Expose on Dennis Hastert)

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds? (The American Conservative Magazine)

Sibel Edmonds Testimony & Dennis Hastert

Sibel Edmonds State Secrets Gallery

Dennis Hastert- A Portrait of a Political System Termite: The Erosion & Rotting of a Nation’s Foundation

Dennis Hastert Indictment (Court Document)

Hastert Indicted

Monica Lewinsky Scandal

Paula Jones Scandal

Louis Freeh (FBI Director, 1993-2001)

FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ACT)

COINTELPRO: Counter Intelligence Program

Bob Livingston Scandal

Dan Burton Scandal

Rep. Dan Burton

The Speaker Who Never Was

Whatever Became Of Western Civilization?

A Total Collapse of Economic & Government Morality

Not that long ago government and free market proponents were at sword’s point, but no more. With little left in the private sector to rip off, the financial gangsters have turned to the public sector and put to work for them the free market economists’ advocacy of privatization. Governments themselves became part of the conspiracy once the politicians realized that looting public assets was an efficient way to reward their private benefactors. [Read more...]

Classified Woman Review by Nanore Barsoumian at Armenia Weekly

CW A string of suspicious events and encounters lead FBI translator Sibel Edmonds to the center of a conspiratorial net of cover-ups and possible espionage, as she attempts to unravel the truth behind buried sensitive case files that could shed light and incriminate high-profile individuals in connection with the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

Her struggle takes her to the halls of Congress, U.S. courtrooms, and, finally, the National Whistleblowers Coalition she helped found.

When Edmonds, a Turkish-speaking U.S. citizen, is hired by the FBI as a translator, she is eager to serve her adopted country in the wake of the terrorist attacks. But she soon finds out that the FBI’s translation department is anything but transparent, and accountability and oversight are sorely lacking. Files go missing. Translations are sabotaged, putting lives—the lives of FBI agents—in danger. Her immediate boss seems more and more unprincipled and crooked with every passing encounter. An atmosphere of fear and hopelessness prevents others from speaking out.

Edmonds, however, is determined to fight, even though it may cost her the job, and her and her family’s safety.

Yes, this is a memoir. We feel her frustration and puzzlement as she is discouraged, sabotaged, and even threatened during her search for answers. When a new co-worker stops by her house unannounced, Edmonds is convinced it is an attempt to recruit her and her husband into the Turkish lobby. She takes note. She begins to meticulously chronicle her encounters, meetings, and the brow-raising conduct of her bosses and colleagues...

Read the rest of this review here

# # # #

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Classified Woman-Your Questions & My Answers

Bookstores, Signing Arrangement, Media Coverage & More


SESince the release of Classified Woman I have been receiving dozens of e-mails each day, and with those e-mails come many questions regarding the status of the book. As always, with my frantic schedule, I’ve been saving the e-mails to respond to later, and the to-be-responded-to e-mail trail has been getting longer and longer. So here is what I decided to: Answer the most common questions in one post.

When will Classified Woman be available in bookstores?

The short answer is: I don’t know. And here is the longer version as to why: This book is self-published. Despite its success during the very short period of its availability the corporate publishers and major distributors are still sitting on the sidelines, watching, and hoping for it to simply go away. To place this book on the shelves in bookstores takes a lot of work: Printing, warehousing, cataloguing, selling and marketing to bookstores, delivering, book-keeping and return policy implementation, accounting... In the next few weeks, depending on how we do with our online print and e-book sales, we’ll know more. I will keep you posted and welcome suggestions from those of you experienced in this area.

What is the status of government threats against this book?

My attorneys are still on top of the case. So are the government attorneys. I call this stage: the letter-waiting-letter period. A threat letter comes-we wait and assess-our letter is drafted and sent-we wait again-then another letter comes... Again, I believe the government is also watching the status of this book and the court of public opinion on it.

Why there hasn’t been a single peep in the mainstream media on this book?

That’s funny. Where have you been? You need to join, read, listen to, and watch Boiling Frogs Post!

How come you haven’t received any coverage from alternative publications such as Amy Goodman and Thom Hartmann?

I am not going to get into the philosophical discussion of what constitutes being alternative. I have written many analyses and commentaries on this. And of course, I cannot provide a definite answer since I don’t have it yet. Suffice to say that they have received their review copies, and they all know about the book. Sometimes these things take time. Sometimes it becomes a totally different ball game. If I were to guess: it is because George W. Bush is not in office any longer. You see, during George W. Bush I was welcomed more than once or twice at these alternatives. Then, something happened. George was gone, and I no longer was welcomed or needed for the game. Again, I’ll have a definite answer in the next few couple of weeks and I’ll keep you posted.

Do you have signing and speaking events coming up in California, Wisconsin, etc.? [Read more...]

Classified Woman Unplugged in a New Session with Alex Jones

From the Book the Establishment Doesn’t Want you to Read to 9/11, Perpetual War, Police State & Beyond

SEYesterday (Friday, May 18), I had another video-radio session with Alex Jones that was supposed to be for 20 minutes but went on for over an hour. I was completely (utterly-totally) unplugged. Mr. Jones has a way of opening up his interviewees. Not only that, he is not afraid of getting into the ‘real’ issues-the macro topics. Some of you may know this already, but for those of you who don’t: I get miserably bored (and frustrated) when I am asked to recap the sufferings related to the whistleblowing journey, and to talk about the minute issues of bureaucratic bungling and incompetence. Unfortunately that happens to be the norm. Fortunately, for this Jones’ session I was not placed in that utterly boring and sleep-inducing position. We got to talk, passionately talk, about the macro issues, the most important aspects of my case and whistleblowing journey, and the core problems facing our nation. Thank you Alex Jones!

Here is the video interview session with Alex Jones:

I am thankful to all of you who have been supporting Classified Woman. Thanks to you we have been on Amazon’s top selling Memoirs lists, and rank 140 of all Amazon print books. The government, the mega corporate publishers, the mainstream media ... in short, the establishment has been doing everything to bury this book. You, the readers, and I the author and independent-publisher, have been challenging them all, and so far we seem to be doing a good job of that. Please don’t give up. Together, collectively, we are setting precedence here by making ‘them’ irrelevant. Please help us get the word out there on this book- encourage those you know to join our movement. Let’s show them the power of the people. Thank you all!

Purchase Book

*We are still offering personalized and signed copies of Classified Woman on our homepage.

The Government, The One Percent, The Resistance & The People

Classified Woman Updates & Heads Up

SEFor the past ten years, yes-that makes it a decade already, I’ve been asked repeatedly, whether by interviewers- researchers or the general public, ‘How can we bring about needed changes? How can we make a difference? What can we the people do?’ My answer throughout this decade has been consistent-always the same, ‘Stand up and challenge this rotten system. Resist. The least you can do is to support those who stand up and challenge the system. Whether it is a lone voice in Congress or a true journalist or a whistleblower ... lend your support and stand by them.’

I have to say, for me, one of the main reasons I kept fighting back and resisting, the main factor in not giving up, was the support and encouragement I received from the people, albeit a very few-the irate minority. And today, that reason, that factor, still remains the same.

Writing Classified Woman was the continuation of my battle against our despotic government and the one percent who’ve been thriving upon it.

Publishing Classified Woman was a fight against that same government who tried, and is still trying, to censor every single word of it, and against the one percent who aided and abetted the government along the way. [Read more...]

Classified Woman Interviews: Occupied Territory with Mike Feder & Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock

CWLast Thursday I was on Occupied Territory with Mike Feder at Progressive Radio Network. This was my first experience with this show and it left me impressed with Mr. Feder. No boohaha, no sound bites, no boisterous interruptions ... A highly informed and articulate host who comes prepared and tackles his subjects with diligence .

You can listen to the show here.

Also last week, on Friday, I was on Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock. I had an entire hour to discuss Classified Woman and beyond. I’ve been on Mr. Hancock’s show many times and truly enjoy his passion and stand on ‘real independence.’

You can check out the entire show here (I am on hour two), or, you can listen to my interview section here:

Objective: The Naked Truth, The People, Minus All the “Gunk”

A few notes on the decision to bypass the “System” in order to expose the “System”

Since the release of my book Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story I’ve been getting the same question in different variations: why did you decide to self-publish your book? What made you opt for self-publishing? What was the response you got on your manuscript/book? Did you even try to get this book published in the traditional way?

I know I promised you a series of articles and stories on getting this book published. I am going to keep that promise and give you plenty of ‘backstage’ stories. I’ll be doing all that once things calm down a bit around here. Meanwhile, to give you an idea, I’ll provide you with a few excerpts and snapshots. Life is short. Who knows if we’ll all make it to tomorrow? At least this way you get a pretty good idea, and no one will accuse of me playing the ‘suspense’ game.

We Need a Government Guarantee

obj1One of the top 5 mega corporate publishers specifically sought ‘a guarantee by the Department of Justice.’ Let’s call the individual on the decision-making (for book selection) editorial board: Mega Publisher A. Here is how it went:

Mega Publisher A: It is an amazing story. You have an amazing case. It is simply amazing. BUT, considering the length the government has gone to silence you and classify everything about you, what makes you think they’d let this book see the light of day?

Me: There is this process called pre publication review. The government has 30 business days to review my manuscript, redact whatever they deem classified, and once they do that, the manuscript is free to be published. [Read more...]

Behind Oil Price Rise: Peak Oil or Wall Street Speculation?

‘The Key Oil Derivatives Insiders are Laughing All the Way to the Bank’

By William Engdahl

OilPricesSince around October last year, the price of crude oil on world futures markets has exploded. Different people have different explanations. The most common one is the belief in financial markets that a war between either Israel and Iran or the USA and Iran or all three is imminent. Another camp argues that the price is rising unavoidably because the world has passed what they call “Peak Oil”—the point on an imaginary Gaussian Bell Curve at which half of all world known oil reserves have been depleted and the remaining oil will decline in quantity at an accelerating pace with rising price.

Both the war danger and peak oil explanations are off base. As in the astronomic price run-up in the Summer of 2008 when oil in futures markets briefly hit $147 a barrel, oil today is rising because of the speculative pressure on oil futures markets from hedge funds and major banks such as Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and most notably, Goldman Sachs, the bank always present when there are big bucks to be won for little effort betting on a sure thing.  They’re getting a generous assist from the US Government agency entrusted with regulating financial derivatives, the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC). [Read more...]

Damning the Damnable Jane Harman

“The Marriage from Hell: Jane Harman & the Woodrow Wilson Center”

WWC

Last year investigative journalist David Boyajian wrote two exposés on Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center, revealing how the center has been violating its Congressional mandate and been up to its neck in tainted corporate cash. You can read Boyajian’s exposés here and here. Many agreed with Boyajian’s damning assessment, including a prominent journalist who called the WWC “a global joke.” I too wrote a follow up article on WWC with a special focus on its ‘oily’ President, Mr. Lee Hamilton. By oily, I mean ‘glisteningly greasy.’ I am sure you recognize his name from his highly publicized position and face as one of the 9/11 Commissioners, but his possibly pay-off position with WWC was not the lone factor for his glistening status in my report. Here are a few excerpts from my piece to illustrate what I mean:

Fortunately one independent reporter researched and reported on one such case, call it ‘chased the egg,’ on one of the 9/11 Commissioners, a Former Representative, Mr. Lee Hamilton, which I happened to come across yesterday. It was truly interesting to see how many ‘honorary’ positions Mr. Hamilton has been given, handed, by our government alone, just check out a few here:

-Co-chair of the Department of Energy Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future with Brent Scowcroft

-Serves on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board & the FBI Director’s Advisory Board,

-Serves on the US Department of Homeland Security Task Force

- Serves on the CIA External Advisory Board

The White House, the CIA, and the FBI must have been extremely well-served by Hamilton’s performance as the commissioner to grant him this many prestigious quasi positions. No? For me, the most interesting aspect which was covered by CounterCurrents.Org had to do with Hamilton’s position with and current salary from the Woodrow Wilson Center, and his questionable corporate ties, particularly with BAE Systems, the main sponsor of his forthcoming gala dinner

You can read my entire article ‘9/11 Commissioner’s Turkey Baste: Chicken or the Egg?’ here. Now back to the focus of this post.

[Read more...]

Video Interview: The Realities of Whistleblowing

James Corbett Interviews Sibel Edmonds on ‘Whistleblowing’


Here is James Corbett's Video Interview of me for GRTV. You can visit James’ website for more. Please share, re-post and help disseminate this interview for the benefit of all to-be government whistleblowers. They are not going to get these facts from establishment and corporate funded whistleblower organizations, or Congress, or the US media. Thank you.

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Government on a String

Politicians aren’t as Incompetent as They Seem

By Linda Lewis

 Just who's pulling the strings?
I'm all tied up in you
But, where's it leading me to?

--“Puppet on a String” (1967) by Bill Martin & Phil Coulter. Performed by Sandie Shaw.

American voters disagree on many issues but nearly all agree that government’s performance has been abysmal.

Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States has fallen back to 11%, the lowest level since December 2008 and just four percentage points above the all-time low recorded in October 2008…The all-time low of 7% came in an Oct. 10-12, 2008, poll, conducted shortly after stock values plummeted following Congress' passage of the TARP legislation in response to the September 2008 financial crisis. (Gallup.com, August 18, 2011)

The data show that public confidence fell most sharply when the President and Congress rejected majority public opinion on economic issues, namely bank bailouts and federal debt reduction. Those were not the only disappointments, by any means. On a variety of issues, from healthcare reform to credit card legislation, government officials have given lip service to the wishes of their constituents.

Political commentators and candidates for political office regularly attack government officials as inept.  President Bush was labeled incompetent. President Obama is criticized as a poor negotiator.  Democrats, in general, are described as weak while Republicans are viewed as cold-hearted. Unsurprisingly, that is how voters perceive the parties, also.

Marionettes for saleFew of these politicians were really incompetent. Many failed to produce the results voters said they wanted.  But, that may be because the politicians were serving a different constituency: a wealthy corporate elite.  With a coterie of lobbyists constantly tugging on their strings, political puppets are bound to appear clumsy. They know how to get what they want, though. Most freshman members of Congress are millionaires, after all.
The only downside for political puppets is the possibility of voter backlash at election time. Economically, however, politicians are well-insulated from public displeasure. Whether they are booted from office or decide to retire, they can look forward to cushy jobs with corporations, corporate lobbies, and corporate-funded think tanks.

Elected officials have another incentive to be responsive to corporate lobbying:  their stock portfolios. For example, eight members of Congress hold $50,000 or more in Apple stock, reports OpenSecrets.org (August 25, 2011), and one of the eight (Nancy Pelosi) reportedly has Apple stock worth $1 million or more. Observers have noticed that Congressional investments out-perform the stock market and even out-perform investments held by corporate insiders.

Some outraged citizens have called for mass demonstrations.  But, demonstrations against government policies tend to fail when the policies are profitable for corporations, observes psychologist Bruce Levine. In his book, Get Up, Stand Up, Levine writes: [Read more...]

Rep. Jean Schmidt Found Guilty of Accepting $500,000 in ‘Indirect’ Turkish Lobby Payment

The Revered Bruce Fein & Foreign Lobby Dollars in the Form of Illegal Payment of Legal Bills


schmidt

I’ve been meaning to write about this for weeks, and just got around doing it. Maybe the subconscious procrastination was due to the conscious sanitization of this news by venues like this. Maybe it was the dread of having to tackle one of the quasi media phony darlings like this guy. Or maybe it was the repressed exhaustion-frustration I went through a couple of years back with this. Okay, allow me to start with the fairly recent development reported ‘incompletely and badly’ by the New York Times:

Representative Jean Schmidt, Republican of Ohio, has been ordered by the House Ethics Committee to repay a Turkish-American group $500,000 for legal services it improperly paid for to help her pursue a defamation lawsuit and other legal proceedings against a Democratic opponent in the 2008 election.

sk

As you can see, very consciously the Times avoids naming ‘that Democratic opponent.’ Because naming him, David Krikorian, would require some fact citing and more context-background on the case; the case they together with the rest of the mainstream media went out of their way to black out. And doing ‘that’ would God forbid bring up the long-blacked-out state secrets privilege in my case. And ‘that’ my dear friends, is something that has been forbidden to these stenographers in the media circus.

So let’s continue the no-coverage coverage of a very significant case involving Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and the twisted and rechanneled Turkish Foreign Lobby dollars:

The action by the House committee, disclosed Friday, did not come with a formal punishment, because ethics investigators concluded that Ms. Schmidt had been misled by her own lawyers from the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund about who was paying the legal bills.

Ms. Schmidt was ordered to amend her annual personal financial disclosure reports to acknowledge the gift from the Turkish Coalition of America, which actually paid the bills, and then reimburse the lawyers.

fein

 The report above casually, and very quickly, glosses over one of the implicated, that is, directly implicated, parties in this case: Schmidt’s lawyer- the lawyer who supposedly, and intentionally, misled his client, and did so with a dollar amount not in the thousands, but actually half a million dollars. Ordinarily this slip by a government garbage disposal facility like the Times would not raise big flags. However, this lawyer is no ordinary lawyer. The lawyer in question here happens to be a famous, very public, high-profile and very deviously and shrewdly marketed man. The lawyer in this case is none other than deceivingly perceived Bruce Fein.  A man who has gotten very wealthy thanks to the foreign lobby, in this case the Turkish lobby in need of a man who knows the maze that gets the cheese to the congressional mice:

In 2007, Ayasli transferred $30 million in stock to fund a new endeavor, the nonprofit Turkish Coalition of America. The organization is headquartered in a Washington suite that has also been listed as the address for the Turkish Coalition USA PAC, the lobbying firm of Lydia Borland (who has represented the Turkish government), and the law firm of Bruce Fein and Associates (Fein comprises half of the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund).

In addition to the advocacy done through the ATC (which also funds trips to Turkey for congressional staff), a handful of its members--Citigroup, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Chevron, Textron, United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, which spent a combined $80 million lobbying Washington last year lobbied Congress directly on the genocide resolution and other issues important to Turkey; the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group, helped coordinate the effort.

mfein

Oh wait, Bruce Fein is married to Mattie Fein, the Republican candidate who ran against Jane Harman in 2010. Had she won, how would one go about calculating and deducting her campaign-donation  ‘gifts’ from her husbands million-dollar foreign lobby gifts? Isn’t it interesting? And as far as Turkey’s former partner lobby, the Israeli Lobby, this is where Bruce & his voluptuous wife stand when given the Zionism litmus test:

7. Would you support Israel taking military action to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons? Under what circumstances?

The United States should support whatever Israel believes is justified by national security worries over Iran.

I know Mr. Fein has many pro-liberties fans out there who are mistaking him for ‘real;’ some consider him a real constitutionalist who stands for liberties and against secrecy. That’s very similar to those who fell for Obama the constitutionalist. Remember, Obama the author of a very constitutional book? Recall the beautiful words spoken and sold as pro liberties, pro change, anti secrecy and beyond? Well, you have a similar situation with Mr. Fein: he talks a good talk, and writes well. As for who Mr. Fein is: you are looking at a man long succumbed to foreign lobby and military industrial complex lobby dollars. You are looking at a man far more loyal to Israel and its lobby than to our nation. You actually have a man who believes any war would be justified for the sake of Israel. And in the latest Schmidt case you are looking at a man who helped funnel half a million dollar foreign ‘Bakshish’ to his congresswoman friend, and even indicted by the lame Congressional Ethics Committee as an attorney who intentionally misled his client. [Read more...]

The Oath to Defend the Constitution vs. the Forced Pledge to Protect Government Secrecy

“Which of the applicable laws has priority?”

By Linda Lewis

oath In the debate on reducing the national debt, members of Congress have focused on two options--tax increases and entitlement cuts---both considered unhelpful to restarting a stalled economy.  Congress seemingly has forgotten that it has another option for reducing the debt: eliminating waste, fraud and corruption in government programs. Perhaps, Congress knows that the success of such a plan would correspond with the effectiveness of whistleblower protections—protections it has been reluctant to provide to the thousands of whistleblowers who hold security clearances.

Insiders are critical to identifying government waste, particularly in agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, where much of the information is classified and not available for public review.  But, insiders are vulnerable to retaliation from managers embarrassed by their disclosures. The Obama administration has been particularly aggressive toward whistleblowers, launching criminal prosecutions against several of them.

Most Americans would be surprised to know that thousands of federal workers with ordinary jobs--food safety, for example--are required to have security clearances even if they may never handle a classified document.  Agencies pay dearly for the necessary background investigations. But, they just can’t seem to pass up the opportunity to give themselves an end run around civil service laws. Steve Kohn, of the National Whistleblowers Center, writes:

A 1989 law was supposed to protect federal employees who expose fraud and misconduct from retaliation. But over the years, these protections have been completely undermined. One loophole gives the government the absolute right to strip employees of their security clearances and fire them, without judicial review. Another bars employees of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency from any coverage under the law. And Congress has barred national security whistle-blowers who are fired for exposing wrongdoing from obtaining protection in federal court.

Knowing that they are vulnerable to retaliation, few federal employees are inclined to report wrongdoing.  Nevertheless, they are required to report wrongdoing.

Every employee takes an oath or affirmation, required by Article VI of the U.S. Constitution to “support the Constitution.” Since 1884, employees have taken this   expanded version of the oath, described in the U.S. Code (Title 5, Chapter 33).

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Incredibly, through court decisions and Congressional foot-dragging, civil servants tasked with defending the Constitution are forced to do so with an abridged set of Constitutional protections, particularly with regard to free speech and due process—essential elements for holding a government accountable.

Civilian federal employees also must adhere to the federal code of ethics (Executive Order 12674, as amended).  It states, in part:

Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.”

The code also directs that employees “shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities.”  This is important because agencies tend to treat classified information as government property, although it’s more accurate to say that a representative government holds information in trust for its citizens.

TopSecSometimes, classified information contains evidence of waste, fraud or corruption, documents abuses of human rights, or it exposes negligent handling of national security.  In such cases, classifying the information was illegal. Executive Order 13526 forbids classifying information to hide violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error or to avoid embarrassing officials.

An employee who encounters classified evidence of wrongdoing therefore is compelled to ask, “Which of the applicable laws has priority?”  Agencies provide little or no guidance to employees for dealing with the moral hazard dumped in their laps. Think of it as a ticking black box with protruding wires in several colors.  Does one pull the blue wire, the yellow or the red? Pull the wrong one and your career explodes.  [Read more...]

BFP Independent Perspective: Social Security Math Doesn’t Add Up

The Unanswered Question of “Social Security Surplus”

By Linda Lewis

sscardAs some politicians describe it, the Social Security program is an economic disaster forced upon younger generations by the demands of greedy baby boomers. News media obediently parrot the scare stories, seldom questioning the math in a story that is all about the numbers. A rare departure from that script occurred on July 29 when an alert Washington Journal moderator stalled a Businessweek editor’s argument for Social Security cuts by observing that the data he brought with him showed a projected Social Security surplus.[C-SPAN Video: Washington Journal, July 29, 2011. Interview begins at the 28-minute mark.]

Bloomberg’s Peter Coy was on the program that day to discuss his article, Why the Debt Crisis is Even Worse than You Think. Coy described a long-term “fiscal gap” of $211 trillion dollars, which he explained is “the difference between tax revenue…and everything we expect to spend.” His published article provides a bit of additional explanation.

A more revealing calculation is the [Congressional Budget Office’s] measurement of what’s called the fiscal gap. That figure is conceptually cleaner than the national debt—and consequently more alarming. Boston University’s Kotlikoff has extended the agency’s analysis from 2085 out to the infinite horizon, which he says is the only method that’s invulnerable to the frame-of-reference problem.

sschartSocial Security, Medicare and Medicaid entitlements bear most of the blame for the $211 trillion shortfall, Coy said. As he spoke, C-SPAN moderator Susan Swain pointed to the article’s accompanying chart of the data, entitled “The Debt Deluge.” Seconds later, the wheels came off Coy’s talking points.“You're saying Social Security is part of the solution,” commented Swain. “[But], in this illustration…it shows Social Security with a surplus…right?” She pointed to the chart where it clearly indicated a Social Security debt of $110 trillion and projected Social Security receipts of $132 trillion.“ Am I reading that correctly?” Swain asked politely.

Weakly, Coy answered, “Yeah.” After fumbling for a better response, he concluded by telling Swain that he would look again at the data and provide an explanation the following week. But, the following week, Ms. Swain was not there--a male moderator appeared, instead. Coy did not revisit the $22 trillion surplus and did not offer a correction. [Read more...]