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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 19, 2013/ 13 Elul, 5773

NSA oversight overstated, overrated

By Mark Steyn



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On Thursday, the Washington Post’s revelation of thousands upon thousands of National Security Agency violations of both the law and supposed privacy protections included this fascinating detail:

A “large number” of Americans had their telephone calls accidentally intercepted by the NSA when a top-secret order to eavesdrop on multiple phone lines for reasons of national security confused the international code for Egypt (20) with the area code for Washington (202).

Seriously.

I enjoy as much as the next chap all those Hollywood conspiracy thrillers about the all-powerful security state – you know the kind of thing, where the guy’s on the lam, and he stops at a diner at a windswept one-stoplight hick burg in the middle of nowhere and decides to take the risk of making one 15-second call from the pay phone, and as he dials the last digit there’s a click in a basement in Langley, and even as he’s saying hello the black helicopters are already descending on him. It’s heartening to know that, if I ever get taken out at a pay phone, it will be because some slapdash timeserving pen-pusher mistyped the code for Malaysia (60) as that of New Hampshire (603).

The Egypt-Washington industrial-scale wrong number is almost too perfectly poignant a vignette at the end of a week in which hundreds are dead on the streets of Cairo. On the global scene, America has imploded: Its leaders have no grasp of its national interests, never mind any sense of how to achieve them. The assumption that we are in the early stages of “the post-American world” is now shared by everyone from Gen. Sisi to Vladimir Putin. Gen. Sisi, I should add, is Egypt’s new strongman, not Putin’s characterization of Obama. Meanwhile, in contrast to its accelerating irrelevance overseas, at home Washington’s big bloated blundering bureaucratic security state expands daily. It’s easier to crack down on 47 Elm Street than Benghazi.

Perhaps this is unavoidable. A couple of months back, I quoted Tocqueville’s prescient words from almost two centuries ago: Although absolute monarchy theoretically “clothed kings with a power almost without limits,” in practice, “the details of social life and of individual existence ordinarily escaped his control.” In other words, the King couldn’t do it even if he wanted to. What would happen, Tocqueville wondered, if administrative capability were to evolve to bring “the details of social life and of individual existence” within His Majesty’s oversight? That world is now upon us. Today, the King concedes he most certainly can do it, but assures us not to worry, he doesn’t really want to. “If you look at the reports,” President Obama said earlier this month, “even the disclosures that Mr. Snowden’s put forward, all the stories that have been written, what you’re not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and, you know, listening in on people’s phone calls or inappropriately reading people’s emails. What you’re hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused.”


But that was a week ago. And the “prospect” is now a reality: “actual abuse” – including “listening in on people’s phone calls” and “inappropriately reading people’s emails” – occurs daily. In early 2012, “actual abuse” was occurring at the rate of 10 “incidents” a day – and “incident” is a term of art that can cover hundreds of violations of thousands or even millions of citizens.

Privacy is dying in all technologically advanced nations, and it may simply be a glum fact of contemporary existence that the right to live an unmonitored life is now obsolete unless one wishes to relocate to upcountry villages in Somalia or Waziristan. Nevertheless, even by the standards of other Western nations, America’s loss of privacy is deeply disturbing. Its bureaucracy is bigger and better-funded, and its response to revelations of its abuse of power is to make it still bigger and better-funded and more bureaucratic. For example, after multiple significant violations of the law in 2009, the NSA’s “oversight staff” was quadrupled. Quadrupled! Just like that! And what was the result of putting four times as many salaried, benefitted, pensionable, fully credentialed government-licensed “overseers” in place? The rate of NSA violations increased dramatically through 2011. Who would have thought it? In the first quarter of 2012, the NSA’s executive-order violations were running at almost twice the rate of what they were in the second quarter of 2011. Maybe if they’d octupled the number of “oversight staff,” all these overseers would have been able to keep pace with the rampaging lawlessness.

Or, maybe the oversight is a lot of hooey, anyway. The Egyptian dialing-code fiasco, for example, was never passed on to the NSA’s “oversight staff,” but it was the subject of a “quality assurance review,” which sounds like the sort of follow-up you get when you buy a fridge from Sears. Maybe they could just have NSA customer-service representatives announcing that your call may be monitored for quality control purposes at the start of every telephone conversation. Of course, most customer-service representatives are based in India (telephone code 91) but there’s a sporting chance the NSA would confuse it with Kansas (code 913), which could do wonders for the employment rate.


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NSA personnel additionally fall under the external oversight of the FISA Amendment Act, which means the Department of Justice and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. A leaked document instructs NSA agents to remove all details of the “targeting rationale” except for “one short sentence” in generic language. An actual example from the leaked document:

“Mohammad Badguy was on the buddy list of al-Qaida in Mogadishu, Somalia.”

That’s way too much information. In order to comply with federal oversight, it should be amended to:

“Selector was found on buddy list of al-Qaida in Somalia.”

“Selector was found on selector list of al-Selecta in Selectistan” would probably work, too.

OK. Well, how about this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that has to sign off on everything? The chief judge of the FISC, Reggie B. Walton, says that the he can only “rely upon the accuracy of the information that is provided to the court.” So, if it sounds kosher, it probably is.

I once bought my daughter a Siamese kitten in rural Québec and drove her back to my home in New Hampshire. At the border post, the guard leaned in the window and said, “You better have some paperwork for that cat.” I handed over the official form from the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec. The officer stared at it for a few seconds, and then asked, “Do you understand French?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Does this seem on the level to you?”

“Yes,” I said. She waved us through.

That’s basically what FISA court “oversight” boils down to. And, insofar as they decide it isn’t on the level, it’s usually after the fact.

What does that leave? Congressional oversight? Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that she had not seen the 2012 NSA audit on its 2,776 legal violations until the Washington Post asked her about it. Which means until Edward Snowden brought it to her attention. So she’s just another rubber stamp, too. Most nations that spy on their own citizens manage to make do with one fig leaf of accountability, but in money-no-object Washington there are fig leaves without end.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that the IRS is continuing to target American citizens according to their political ideology – and that’s before they have your Obamacare records to frolic and gambol in.

But, like Obama says, it’s merely a theoretical “prospect” of abuse. You’d have to be paranoid to think it could actually happen…


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STEYN'S LATEST AT A 44% DISCOUNT
"After America: Get Ready for Armageddon"  

In his giant New York Times bestseller, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Mark Steyn predicted collapse for the rest of the Western World. Now, he adds, America has caught up with Europe on the great rush to self-destruction.

It's not just our looming financial collapse; it's not just a culture that seems on a fast track to perdition, full of hapless, indulgent, childish people who think government has the answer for every problem; it's not just America's potential eclipse as a world power because of the drunken sailor policymaking in Washington—no, it's all this and more that spells one word for America: Armageddon.

What will a world without American leadership look like? It won't be pretty—not for you and not for your children. America's decline won't be gradual, like an aging Europe sipping espresso at a café until extinction (and the odd Greek or Islamist riot). No, America's decline will be a wrenching affair marked by violence and possibly secession.

With his trademark wit, Steyn delivers the depressing news with raw and unblinking honesty—but also with the touch of vaudeville stand-up and soft shoe that makes him the most entertaining, yet profound, columnist on the planet. And as an immigrant with nowhere else to go, he offers his own prescription for winning America back from the feckless and arrogant liberal establishment that has done its level best to suffocate the world's last best hope in a miasma of debt, decay, and debility. You will not read a more important—or more alarming, or even funnier—book all year than After America. Sales help fund JWR.

© 2013, Mark Steyn

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