Tag Archives: government

Ash Carter Used Private Email for Months After Clinton’s Email Scandal Was Revealed

Defense Secretary Ash Carter reportedly used his own personal email to conduct government business, even after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email was revealed.

Clinton’s email use was revealed in March 2015, and it eventually resulted in an FBI investigation into whether Clinton compromised national security by sending and receiving classified information on an unsecured network.

After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, CNN reported that it received 1,336 pages of emails sent and received from Carter’s personal address through Sept. 2015, and that “many of the emails had redacted information.”

The New York Times first revealed Carter’s use of private email for government business in December, noting that the extent of his use was not known, and that at the time it was believed that he continued it only two months after Clinton’s email use was revealed.

[SCANDAL: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email]

While the reality was that Carter continued to use his personal email account for at least six months after the revelations regarding Clinton’s email were publicly scrutinized, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook insisted that Carter’s emails “show that he did not email anything classified and all of his work-related emails are preserved within the federal records system.”

“In December, when this issue first came up, the secretary took responsibility for his actions and publicly acknowledged that his previous use of personal email for work-related business was a mistake,” Cook said in a statement. “As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether.”

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter to the Department of Defense on Friday questioning why the DoD has yet to respond to his committee’s inquiries, and threatening to subpoena Carter for answers.

[pull_quote_center]Now, three months after my initial request, it is difficult to understand why the department has not been willing to provide detailed answers, and the department has not asserted a valid reason to withhold that information from the committee. Please provide the information I requested as soon as possible, but no later than March 25, 2016 Otherwise, the committee may use compulsory process to obtain documents and communications that will answer the questions that were initially raised on December 18, 2015.[/pull_quote_center]

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Did U.S. Marshals Really Arrest a Houston Man for Unpaid Student Loans?

On February 15, Paul Aker appeared on Fox 26 Houston detailing his arrest at the hands of seven U.S. Marshals armed with automatic firearms. Aker told Fox 26 that he was arrested for not paying a $1,500 student loan he received in 1987 from Prairie View A&M University.

The arrest took place on February 18 at Aker’s home in Houston. “They grabbed me, they threw me down,” Aker told the NY Daily News. “Local PD is just standing there.”

Aker was arrested and taken to a federal court in downtown Houston where he said he was faced with a judge, a prosecutor, and a county clerk. Aker told Fox 26 that the prosecutor ended up being a debt collection lawyer.

Aker said he received a “lecture” from the judge about “stealing from the U.S. government.” When Aker asked why the Marshals came in combat gear with weapons drawn, he said he was told it was because he owns firearms.

“It was because they knew I was a registered gun owner. It’s out of control. Out of control. What if they had seen a gun on me? They would have shot me for $1,500 bucks.”

[RELATED: U.S. Students Participate in ‘Million Student March’ Over Debt, Free College]

The Daily News reported that Aker was ordered to pay $5,700 for the loan, including interest. He was also ordered to pay nearly $1,300 to cover the cost of his own arrest. Aker has until March 1, he said, or he would be arrested again.

Isiah Carey of Fox 26 also stated that the U.S. Marshals are planning to serve up to 1,500 warrants to Houstonians who have not repaid their loans.

Aker’s arrest became a viral story on Tuesday afternoon and left many people wondering why the federal government was using armed raids to collect on student debt. Although Aker told the NY Daily News and Fox 26 that he was not contacted once in 29 years about the loan, Yahoo Finance has discovered some discrepancies in his story. 

According to documents obtained by Yahoo, Aker was sued in November 2007 by the federal government for failing to pay more than $2,600 in unpaid federal student loan debt. Records from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas show that Aker, listed as Winford P. Aker in the complaint, failed to appear in court, leading the judge to rule against him and order him to pay the entire balance by April 17, 2007.

Yahoo reported that a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service claims that Aker repeatedly refused to show up in court after being contacted several times. Aker reportedly told the Marshals he would not appear in court. A few months later, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest and the U.S. Marshals carried it out.

Yahoo wrote, “So, yes, Aker was arrested, but not just because he owed a little student loan debt. He was arrested for disobeying a court order.”

If the Marshals did attempt to contact Aker, they may have been unable to do so because the court record shows a different address than the listing for a “Winford P. Aker” that Yahoo Finance found in the Houston area. The U.S. Marshals Service told Yahoo they made every effort to track him down, “including searching at numerous known addresses.”

Ultimately, the arrest was not made specifically for the failure to pay the student loan but for the failure to appear in court. Still, it seems troubling that a $1,500 debt could lead to an armed raid on one’s home. It’s highly troubling that the U.S. Marshals chose to come with guns simply because Aker was a registered gun owner.

What are your thoughts? At what point does a debt warrant an arrest? Is owning a firearm reason enough to bring armed federal agents to collect a debt?

Trade Ministers Sign TPP Trade Agreement in New Zealand Amid Massive Protests

Auckland, New Zealand – Trade ministers from the twelve nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) met in New Zealand on Thursday to sign the final agreement.

The participating nations now have up to two years to ratify the agreement. The 12 nations include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Before becoming law in the United States, both the House and the Senate will need to vote to approve the TPP.

In late June 2015, President Obama signed into law the so-called “fast-track” bill that set the stage for approval of the TPP. “Fast track” limits Congress’ ability to alter the provisions of the trade deal and only allows a vote of yes or no. The final terms of the deal were agreed upon in October, and the full text of the agreement was released in November.

The TPP has been the subject of much controversy for the last few years, largely due to the fact that the trade ministers have negotiated the deal in secret with overwhelming influence from multinational corporations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation writes:

“These officials have not been accountable to the public. They have remained steadfast in excluding public participation and ignoring all calls for transparency over the more than five years of TPP negotiations. Because of this opaque process, trade negotiators were able to fill the agreement with Hollywood and Big Tech’s wish lists of regulatory policies without having to worry about how they would impact the Internet or people’s rights over their digital devices.”

The EFF says that it is “critical that people in the U.S. demand congressional accountability over this deal and urge their lawmakers to vote no when the TPP comes before them for approval.”

While the trade ministers signed the TPP, thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Auckland to protest the trade deal. TVNZ reports that no arrests were made. Detective Superintendent Richard Chambers stated that his officers were abused, had their clothing and hats pulled, but displayed “outstanding professionalism.”

auckland tpp protest
Protesters in Auckland, NZ

In the U.S. on Thursday, there was a wave of “Flush the TPP” protests as critics of the deal took to the streets of Washington D.C., Los Angeles and other American cities.

In October 2015, journalist Ben Swann released a Reality Check on the TPP, stating that it was worse than previously believed.


In 2015, both the Anglican and Catholic churches of New Zealand demanded the government be more transparent about the negotiations. Radio NZ reports that bishops from the churches are concerned about the lack of openness and that corporate interests are influencing the agreement while the people are being excluded. The churches also called on the New Zealand government to make the draft text of the agreement public.

In early February 2015, doctors and health professional representing seven countries released a letter warning that the TPP will lead to higher medical costs for all nations. The letter, published in The Lancet medical journal, states that, “Rising medicine costs would disproportionately affect already vulnerable populations.” The doctors called on the governments involved in the trade deal to publicly release the full text of the agreement. They also demanded an independent analysis of the impacts on health and human rights for each nation involved in the deal.

Also in February 2015, an analysis by The Washington Post revealed the US government’s numbers on expected job increases from TPP are not factually correct. The Fact Checker examined several quotes from government officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Both Kerry and Vilsack claimed the international trade agreement would create 650,000 new jobs. However, these numbers do not take into account income gains and changing wages. According to the government own sources imports and exports would increase by the same amount resulting in a net number of zero new jobs.

A more recent analysis concluded that the TPP will lead to the loss of 448,000 jobs in the United States.

A look at the finally revealed text of the TPP reveals the most egregious portions relate to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Mechanism, intellectual property, and food safety standards. ISDS will give corporations loopholes to escape accountability and empower international bodies, overriding national sovereignty of the signing nations. Under ISDS, foreign corporations would be allowed to appeal legal decisions to international tribunals, rather than face domestic courts. Critics fear this could lead to a loss of sovereignty and the enrichment of transnational corporations.

Recently, the Electronic Frontier Foundation also released a report on the dangers of the TPP. The EFF writes:

“Everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is non-binding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations.”

Delayed until 2017?

It was recently reported that the TPP might not be voted on until after the 2016 presidential elections, or possibly into the next presidential term.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not support the idea of voting on the TPP before the election. “It certainly shouldn’t come before the election. I don’t think so, and I have some serious problems with what I think it is,” he said. “But I think the president would be making a big mistake to try to have that voted on during the election. There’s significant pushback all over the place.”

“We will continue working with Congressional leaders to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership as soon as possible next year,” Brandi Hoffine, a White House spokeswoman, told the Post.

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “Our view is that it is possible for Congress to carefully consider the details of this agreement and to review all the benefits associated with this agreement … without kicking the vote all the way to the lame-duck period.”

Survey: Millennials Support Colleges, Dislike Media, Religion

A new survey indicates that a large number of Millennials have a growing support for financial institutions, corporations, labor unions, and universities but do not view religious institutions or the media in a favorable light.

According to the survey released by the Pew Research Center, Millennials— generally regarded as the generation born between 1982 and 2004— have a much more favorable perspective of colleges compared to past generations. The survey found that seventy-three percent of Millennials believe college has a positive impact on the United States, while 65% of Generation X and 59% of Baby Boomers believe college to be beneficial.

This data matches a survey conducted in 2010 which found that 39% of 18 to 24 year olds were enrolled in college as of 2008.

Millennials also showed an increase in support for banks and financial institutions. The latest numbers show that 45% of Millennials believe banks have a positive impact on the country compared with 35% five years ago. Still, the overall numbers from all groups surveyed show that 47% view banks in a negative light compared to 40% who support banks.

55% of those surveyed spoke positively about religious institutions. When it comes to the older generations, religion fares better with 62% of Generation X and 67% of Baby Boomers supporting religion. Pew reports that this marks the first time that Millennial perceptions of religion drop below that of older generations. A November 2015 report from the Pew Research Center also found that Millennials were less likely to believe in God than any other age group.

When it comes to what Millennials oppose, media institutions are at the top of the list. Only 27% of Millennials responded favorably to national news media. This represents a 40% drop from five years ago. Generation X responded favorably at 26% and only 23% of Boomers support media institutions.

While these numbers indicate a growing mistrust of larger media organizations among Millennials, it is interesting to note that many of these media outlets are owned by the same corporations that 38% of Millennials surveyed said they view favorably. Also, some of the same corporations that a growing number of Millennials favor are owned or in business with the banks and financial institutions 45% of Millennials seem to support.

Overall, this survey paints a picture of Millennials who favor college and universities and strongly distrust religious institutions. They also seem to view banks, corporations, and media in a negative light but there may be a growing acceptance of banks and corporations. Another interesting facet of the Millennial generation comes from a recent poll which found that Millennials seem to support politicians who want to grow the size of the federal government, including Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The survey was completed by the Pew Research Center between Aug. 27 – Oct. 4, 2015.

This article was updated January 11, 2016 at 1:55 p.m.

Lawmakers Attempt to Add ‘Monsanto Rider’ to Government Budget Bill

Critics of a food labeling bill recently passed by the House fear that it could be added as a last-minute provision to the looming federal budget bill.

Known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act to supporters and the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act by critics, the law would effectively nullify Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling measures like the bill recently passed in Vermont. The Vermont law is scheduled to go into effect July 2016. Maine and Connecticut have also passed laws requiring labeling, but those measures will not go into effect until bordering states also pass legislation.

Genetically modified or engineered seeds are engineered to have certain traits, such as resistance to herbicides. The majority of the United States’ corn and soybean crops are now GE, including a large portion which goes to animal feed.

The labeling act would create a federal voluntary standard for GMO labeling and block mandatory labeling efforts by states. The AP reports that “the food industry wants the labeling to be voluntary, and it hopes to get a provision in a massive spending bill that Republicans and Democrats want to wrap up this week.”

“It is imperative that Congress take action now to prevent a costly and confusing patchwork of state labeling laws from taking effect next year and spreading across the country,” a coalition of groups representing growers and the food industry said in a letter to House and Senate leaders.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, told the AP“We have a lot of folks on our side of the aisle that are very opposed.” Sen John Hoeven of (R-ND) said he is “trying to come up with a compromise that brings both sides together, and it doesn’t seem like we’ll have that by year-end.”

Reuters reports that a vote on the budget will happen on Friday before the midnight deadline for funding the federal government. According to Reuters, “lawmakers have been unable to reach agreement on a number of policy “riders” some lawmakers would like to add to the bill.” These “riders” include the DARK Act provision.

In response to the criticism of the DARK Act, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition & Forestry recently held a hearing titled Agriculture Biotechnology: A Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives.

The committee heard testimonies from several speakers representing farmers, the GMO lobby, and consumer groups. Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency also testified. The hearing was criticized for being one-sided and favoring corporations who will directly benefit from the passage of the bill.

As Reuters reported, “the Consumers Union and five other consumer organizations sent a letter to the Senate committee complaining that the lineup of speakers was not balanced and did not include a consumer representative.” Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union said, “Time and again, a large majority of consumers have expressed strong support for GMO labeling.”

Ronnie Cummins, international director for the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and a speaker at the hearing, released a scathing review of the events. “Today’s hearing on H.R. 1599 made a total mockery of democracy. Of the eight witnesses allowed to testify, only one could be remotely considered as someone who represents the interests of consumers and public health,” Cummins said. “The other seven have ties to the biotech and corporate food industries, and were there to represent the interests of corporations, not people.”

Please stay tuned to TruthInMedia.com for development on this story and the “government shutdown.”

Senate Passes Bill Repealing Obamacare Provisions, Defunding Planned Parenthood

The United States Senate passed a budget bill on Thursday that aims to repeal several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act and seeks to halt funding to Planned Parenthood.

HR 3762, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” would overhaul Obamacare provisions such as the requirement for most people to obtain healthcare coverage, the expansion of Medicaid, and the taxes imposed on income, insurance policies and medical devices that were required to fund Obamacare.

The bill would also put an end to the nearly $450 million given to Planned Parenthood annually. While the Senate did vote on over a dozen amendments to the bill, they rejected two amendments that would have given money to Planned Parenthood.

[RELATED: Federal Court: Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate Violated Religious Freedom]

The Senate also blocked proposals for increased gun control that were pushed after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday.

Although President Obama has promised to veto the bill, it marks the first time legislation of its kind could make it to the president’s desk without being prevented by Democrats in Congress.

Needing 51 votes to pass, the bill passed in the Senate 52-47, and will go on to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass, as a similar bill was passed on Oct. 23.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the bill presents Obama with a choice that could lead to “better care” for Americans with his consent.

“President Obama will have a choice,” McConnell said. “He can defend a status quo that’s failed the middle class by vetoing the bill, or he can work toward a new beginning and better care by signing it.”

Healthcare spending topped $3.03 trillion in 2014, up 5.3 percent from 2013, which marked the highest growth since 2007.

In terms of GOP presidential candidates, the bill received the approval of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) did not vote.

Report: U.S. Bio-Threat Program May Not Be Capable of Detecting Threats

The U.S. federal government’s BioWatch system was launched shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in an attempt to detect potential biological terrorist attacks. The system’s effectiveness has been criticized by the media in the past, and a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office does not encourage renewed faith in the BioWatch program.

The GAO report says there is a lack of reliable information about the current system to determine if it would actually detect a biological attack. Generation-2 is a flawed system that makes it impossible for the GAO to suggest improvements, the report states.

The Washington Post reported that “DHS officials defended BioWatch program, which consists of aerosol collectors deployed in more than 30 cities nationwide that draw in air through filters. The filters are collected and taken to laboratories for analysis to check for the presence of anthrax and other pathogens. The system was first deployed in 2003, in response to Sept. 11 and the anthrax attacks that followed.”

The GAO report stated:

[pull_quote_center]DHS lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about possible upgrades or enhancements to the system.[/pull_quote_center]

“The nation’s ability to detect threats against its security requires judicious use of resources directed toward systems whose capabilities can be demonstrated,” the report also stated.

The report recommends the Department of Homeland Security not be allowed to upgrade or enhance BioWatch until they can establish “technical performance requirements” to help improve the system. The recommendations echo a 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine which said “the BioWatch system requires better testing to establish its effectiveness and better collaboration with public health systems to improve its usefulness.”

The GAO also said any autonomous detection system must minimize false positive readings, meet sensitivity requirements and secure information technology networks. BioWatch currently operates in 31 cities including Washington D.C., New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles.

S.Y. Lee, a DHS spokesman, said the program “remains a critical part of our nation’s defense against biological threats.” Despite continuing to defend BioWatch, the DHS did support the GAO’s recommendations.

In 2014, the DHS also cancelled plans to upgrade the BioWatch system because of concerns of high cost and low effectiveness. The upgrade from Generation 2 to Generation 3 technology was expected to cost $3.1 billion during its first five years of operation.

Federal Judge Lifts 11-Year Surveillance Gag Order on Internet Service Provider

In 2004, Nicholas Merrill, founder of internet service provider (ISP) Calyx Institute, was served a controversial national security letter (NSL) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Eleven years later, the NSL’s gag order- which prevented Merrill from discussing the letter he’d received- has been lifted by a federal judge in a historic decision which “marked the first time such a gag order has been fully lifted since the USA Patriot Act in 2001 expanded the FBI’s authority to unilaterally demand that certain businesses turn over records simply by writing a letter saying the information is needed for national security purposes,” according to the Intercept.

NSLs are a tool used by the government to force telecommunication companies to give customer information without the use of a warrant from a judge. While NSLs have been in use since at least the late 1970s, their use has exploded since the 9/11 attacks.

NSLs are generally issued by the FBI to gather information from companies when related to national security investigations. This information can include customer names, addresses, phone and internet records, and banking and credit statements.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, at least 300,000 NSLs have been delivered over the last decade. The year 2004 saw over 56,000 NSLs issued. For comparison, in 2000 before the passage of the Patriot Act which relaxed standards to issue NSLs, there were about 8,500 NSLs sent.

The most contentious part of NSLs is the usage of gag orders. When a credit reporting agency, telecom company, bank or travel firm receive the letters requesting customer information, they are legally gagged and are prohibited from alerting anyone about the incident- not the customer, and not their families. The individual may seek help from a lawyer, but the lawyer then also becomes gagged.

Another alarming feature of NSLs are the fact that a judge is not needed to approve the letter or gag order.

[RELATED: Federal Appeals Court Begins Hearing Arguments on Government Surveillance Gag Order]

Image Credit: Leaksource.info
Image Credit: Leaksource.info

Eventually the FBI would withdraw the NSL because Merrill refused to comply, but Merrill continued to fight, partnering with the American Civil Liberties Union to launch a lawsuit against the FBI in the case Doe v. Ashcroft. In 2010 Merrill was finally able to disclose his identity but the fight against the gag order continued.

On August 28, U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero ruled that there was no “good reason” to force Merrill to remain silent about the NSL. After eleven years, the gag order has been lifted and Merrill is almost free to speak about the experience. He remains under gag order for 90 more days as the Justice Department weighs an appeal.

The Intercept reported: 

“‘If Merrill were only allowed to disclose details about the request ‘in a world in which no threat of terrorism exists,’ or in the case that the FBI disclosed the records itself — two extremely unlikely possibilities — it would effectively prevent ‘accountability of the government to the people,’ the judge wrote.”

Judge Marrero also stated that the FBI’s position was “extreme and overly broad,” and reminded the government that “Courts cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, simply accept the Government’s assertions that disclosure would implicate and create a risk.”

In a press release from the Calyx Institute, Merrill writes, “Judge Marrero’s decision vindicates the public’s right to know how the FBI uses warrantless surveillance to peer into our digital lives. I hope today’s victory will finally allow Americans to engage in an informed debate about proper the scope of the government’s warrantless surveillance powers.”

Jonathan Manes, supervising attorney in the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, commented on the ruling, stating, “Today’s decision will finally allow Mr. Merrill to shed light on the scope of the FBI’s claimed authority under the NSL statute, and to explain how the FBI’s interpretation is deeply problematic and potentially unlawful.”

Truth In Media has previously written about other efforts to reign in the use of National Security Letters. In October 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked an appeals court to uphold a ruling that found the NSL provision of the Patriot Act to be unconstitutional.

In 2013, the unnamed company took their NSL to court to debate its constitutionality. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco ruled that the NSLs violated the First Amendment by removing the recipient’s ability to speak about the letter. The EFF and the company itself face federal prison time if they choose to reveal the names of the defendants.

What are your thoughts on National Security Letters? Do you believe this ruling will slow down the surveillance state? Leave your comments below.

Media Will Not Have Access To Jade Helm 15 Military Exercise

One week before the controversial Jade Helm 15 military exercise is scheduled to begin, U.S. military officials announced that journalists will not be allowed to embed with the military. Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, told The Washington Post that embedded journalists will not be allowed but later in the summer the Army might allow “a small number of journalists to view selected portions of the exercise.”

In late March Truth In Media’s Barry Donegan reported on Jade Helm:

“Throughout July and September of this year, the US Army’s Special Operations Command will conduct Operation Jade Helm, a covert warfare training exercise set to take place on civilian territory amid 17 Texas cities. The Houston Chronicle notes that Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Air Force and Marines special operators will be taking part in the program and will attempt to blend in with civilians to test their covert warfare capabilities.

Newsmax pointed out the fact that Texas’ own Alex Jones published a US map purported to be part of Operation Jade Helm’s documentation, which lists Texas and Utah as hostile territory, along with a part of Southern California which appears to be listed as an “insurgent pocket.” Jones characterized the effort as an invasion of Texas and claimed that the program is an attempt to prepare for the implementation of martial law in places like Texas and Utah where large numbers of citizens associate with right-leaning groups like the Tea Party. Operation Jade Helm’s documents also refer to coordination between the military and law enforcement, raising concerns that some elements of the training exercise might run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act, which bans the military from participating in law enforcement activities on US soil.”

The exercise is scheduled to run from July 15 through September 15.

Martial Law Map

“All requests from the media for interviews and coverage of U.S. Army Special Operations Command personnel, organizations and events are assessed for feasibility and granted when and where possible,” Lt. Col. Lastoria told The Post on Wednesday. “We are dedicated to communicating with the public, while balancing that against the application of operations security and other factors.”

Lastoria also said it would not be possible to allow a journalist to travel with Special Operations forces in the field. Despite this, The Post reports that media has previously been granted access to Special Ops for reports and books, including the 2011 book “The Wrong War,” by Bing West, and the 2013 work “One Hundred Victories,” by Linda Robinson.

Lt. Col. Lastoria claims that Jade Helm will not be as large as initially described in training materials. The exercise will include around 200 Special Operations forces and 300 additional support personnel. The length of the exercise, number of personnel and labeling of areas as “hostile” has stoked the flames of Americans’ distrust in government.

In late April Texas Governor Greg Abbot sent a letter to Major General Gerald Betty of the Texas State Guard, ordering the Texas military to monitor the federal troops throughout the two month exercise.


Despite Abbot’s actions many Texans still seem to doubt that Jade Helm is a standard training exercise. Speaking in Bastrop, Texas (one of the sites of Jade Helm exercises), Lt. Col. Lastoria attempted to quell the fears of the community. The Post reports that Lastoria stressed that the scenario was fictional.

[quote_box_center]”Jade Helm is intended to simulate U.S. Special Forces helping resistance fighters restore democracy in an imaginary country. The operation’s logo, which features a Dutch wooden shoe, is meant to represent anti-Nazi resistance in World War II Europe.”[/quote_box_center]

Only 60 of the 1,200 troops are scheduled to be in Bastrop for the training, the majority said to be at Camp Swift, a large Army National Guard base in Bastrop, as well as private property.

In April the Houston Chronicle reported that two Texas counties, Victoria and Goliad, cancelled their portions of the exercise without explanation.

Whether or not Operation Jade Helm ends up being a hostile takeover or simply overblown fears, there does exist a precedent for the U.S. government targeting its own citizens. Documents like the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report and other documents from the Department of Homeland Security have many Americans asking why everyday, constitutionally protected behavior and thought is becoming criminalized. Many 2nd Amendment supporters and libertarian activists see the federal government as a grave danger to personal liberties.

What are your thoughts? Is Jade Helm a concern or just another conspiracy theory lacking evidence? Leave your thoughts below.

Derrick Broze will be in Bastrop, Texas reporting on the beginning of the Jade Helm exercise. For updates follow him on twitter: @DBrozeLiveFree

Texas Governor to Send Troops to Monitor ‘Jade Helm’ Military Exercise

In response to online conspiracy theories and outrage over a planned military exercise known as “Operation Jade Helm 15”, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has stated that members of the Texas State Guard will monitor federal troops in Texas.

In late March Barry Donegan reported on the exercise for BenSwann.com:

“Throughout July and September of this year, the US Army’s Special Operations Command will conduct Operation Jade Helm, a covert warfare training exercise set to take place on civilian territory amid 17 Texas cities. The Houston Chronicle notes that Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Air Force and Marines special operators will be taking part in the program and will attempt to blend in with civilians to test their covert warfare capabilities.

Newsmax pointed out the fact that Texas’ own Alex Jones published a US map purported to be part of Operation Jade Helm’s documentation, which lists Texas and Utah as hostile territory, along with a part of Southern California which appears to be listed as an “insurgent pocket.” Jones characterized the effort as an invasion of Texas and claimed that the program is an attempt to prepare for the implementation of martial law in places like Texas and Utah where large numbers of citizens associate with right-leaning groups like the Tea Party. Operation Jade Helm’s documents also refer to coordination between the military and law enforcement, raising concerns that some elements of the training exercise might run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act, which bans the military from participating in law enforcement activities on US soil.”

Abbot sent a letter to Major General Gerald Betty of the Texas State Guard, ordering the Texas military to monitor the federal troops throughout the two month exercise.

“During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property right and civil liberties will not be infringed. I am directing the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm 15.” – Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Martial Law Map

The Houston Chronicle reports that two Texas counties, Victoria and Goliad, have already had their portions of the exercise cancelled without explanation.

Army Special Operations Spokesman Mark Lastoria said troops would practice “emerging concepts in special operations warfare.” The soldiers efforts to blend in among civilian populations has stoked fears of a hidden take over of the state.

Whether or not Operation Jade Helm ends up being a hostile takeover or simply overblown fears, there does exist a precedent for the U.S. government targeting its own citizens. Documents like the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report and other documents from the Department of Homeland Security have many Americans asking why everyday, constitutionally protected behavior and thought is becoming criminalized. Many 2nd Amendment supporters and libertarian activists see the federal government as a grave danger to personal liberties. 

What are your thoughts? Is Jade Helm a concern or just another conspiracy theory lacking evidence?

President Obama considering arming Ukrainian forces

World leaders have been struggling with how to confront the issue of the war in Ukraine, and President Obama on Monday said he was considering sending aid in the form of lethal defensive arms to the Ukrainian government.

“The 21st century cannot have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of the gun,” Obama said at a White House news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to ABC News.


The president also said Russia had violated “every commitment” outlined in the Minsk Protocol, which was signed in September 2014, by representatives from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic, and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Russia has maintained they have not sent troops or supplies to rebels in the affected areas.

Chancellor Merkel and the French President Francois Hollande, according to FOX News, are planning for a peace conference later this week where leaders from Russia and the Ukraine would be in attendance. If the peace talks fail however, President Obama has said, “what I’ve asked my team to do is look at all options… The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined.”

“Both Angela and I have emphasized that the prospect for a military solution to this problem is always been low,” President Obama said. “My hope is that through diplomatic efforts, those costs have become high enough that Mr. Putin’s preferred option is for a diplomatic solution. ”

According to the BBC, the details of the peace talks have not been released, but a demilitarized zone is thought to be included which would cover 50-70 km, or 31-44 miles, around the affected war zone.

Until the peace talks are completed, Vice President Joe Biden, who attended the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, said, “We will continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance not to encourage war, but to allow Ukraine to defend itself.”

Lone shooter killed in Texas after firing on government buildings

A single gunman has been killed early Friday morning in Austin, Texas after he shot over 100 rounds at various government buildings and damaging the Mexican consulate.

The shooter was identified as 49-year-old Steven McQuilliams, who, according to USA Today, has a previous criminal record.  Currently, the police are investigating McQuilliams motives behind the shooting, but it is believed the shooting was politically motivated.  Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said, “If you look at the targets that were hit, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that that’s a potential.”

Assistant Chief Raul Munguia told NBC News they had received 911 calls around 2:30 a.m. and gunshots were reported throughout the downtown area for the next few minutes afterwards.

During that time frame, McQuilliams fired at the federal courthouse, the police headquarters, and at least one other building.

Jesse Van Wallene, 29, was working as a server at the time of the shooting and said, “He was firing in bursts of about five shots…He didn’t even seem to acknowledge we were there, he just seemed very focused on firing at the building, which had no lights on inside.”

McQuilliams made his way to a police station where one officer who was putting away police horses saw McQuillaims shooting.  The officer then opened fire on McQuilliams from horseback.  Shortly after the officer opened fire, the shooter was killed, but it is still unclear at this time whether the officer shot and killed McQuilliams or if he took his own life.

Once the shooter was down, officers began to investigate the shooter and his vehicle, which was nearby.  According to the Raw Story, officers saw what could have been improvised explosive devices in the vehicle as well as in the shooter’s jacket.

The bomb squad was called in to investigate the devices, but no IEDs were found at the scene.  However, there were a number of small green canisters commonly used for portable BBQ grills stashed in the vehicle.

These canisters were reportedly used by the shooter to try and light the Mexican consulate on fire, but the fires were put out before any significant damage occurred.

According to the LA Times, the FBI will be assisting the investigation into the shooter and his motives.  Spokeswoman for the San Antonio office of the FBI, Michelle Lee, said the FBI’s main concern though is why the shooter fired on the Mexican consulate and the federal courthouse.

No civilians or officers were injured during this shooting.

JP Morgan Chase Whistleblower Reveals Bank and Fed Cover-Up of Fraud

Securities Lawyer, and former employee of JP Morgan Chase, Alayne Fleischmann, recently spoke out about her experience with the bank, in an interview with Rolling Stone, and revealed the government’s involvement with the “biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history.

Fleischmann began working for JP Morgan Chase as a deal manager in 2006. She first noticed problems when a new “manager for diligence” was hired to review loans, and he insisted that the employees stop sending him emails. Fleischmann noted that he was “wary of putting anything in writing when it came to its mortgage deals.

The whole point of having a compliance and diligence group is to have policies that are set out clearly in writing,” said Fleischmann. “So to have exactly the opposite of that – that was very worrisome.”

The errors continued, and Fleischmann told Rolling Stone that when she raised concerns about “toxic loans,” she found the number crunchers who had also been complaining about the loans “suddenly began changing their reports.

Fleischmann explained the changes by saying that the head diligence manager started “yelling at his team, berating them, making them do reports over and over, keeping them late at night,” in the same way an interrogator “verbally abuses the target until he starts producing the desired answers.”

Everything that I thought was bad at the time turned out to be a million times worse,” Fleischmann said.

In 2007, Fleischmann sent a letter to William Buell, a managing director at JP Morgan Chase. According to Rolling Stone, Fleischmann’s letter “warned Buell of the consequences of reselling bad loans as securities and gave detailed descriptions of breakdowns in Chase’s diligence process.

It used to be if you wrote a memo, they had to stop, because now there’s proof that they knew what they were doing,” said Fleischmann. “But when the Justice Department doesn’t do anything, that stops being a deterrent. I just didn’t know that at the time.

Fleischmann was terminated from the company in the midst of a round of lay-offs in 2008. An investigator from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contacted her in 2012, regarding her knowledge of the events that occurred during her time at JP Morgan Chase. While the investigators were interested in certain parts of her story, it was not until 2013 that she was able to relay her full knowledge. This included “the edict against e-mails, the sabotaging of the diligence process, the bullying, the written warnings that were ignored, all of it.”

However, rather than taking JP Morgan Chase to court, Rolling Stone noted that the government “decided to help Chase bury the evidence,” which began when a press conference to announce the civil-fraud charges against the bank, scheduled by Attorney General Eric Holder for September 24, 2013, was “suddenly canceled, and no complaint was filed.”

Every time I had a chance to talk, something always got in the way,” said Fleischmann. She explained that while it originally seemed like the U.S. government was interested in her testimony, and in brining justice to the crimes committed by JP Morgan Chase, she learned that it was the opposite.

The Justice Department’s political wing, led by Eric Holder, “appeared to be using her, and her evidence, as a bargaining chip to extract more hush money” from JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. The Department succeeded in doing this, and they were paid $9 billion by Dimon in a settlement that released JP Morgan Chase from civil liability.

Fleischman admitted that telling her story, and taking both JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department to task could have serious ramifications.

I could be sued into bankruptcy. I could lose my license to practice law. I could lose everything,” said Fleischmann. “But if we don’t start speaking up, then this really is all we’re going to get: the biggest financial cover-up in history.

Can the U.S. government still protect its citizens? New poll shows details

WASHINGTON D.C., October 6, 2014 – Many Americans no longer feel certain their government can protect their personal or economic security according to the latest Associated Press poll. According to the poll, more than half of those surveyed no longer feel Washington has the ability to effect threats such as mass shootings, climate change, racial tensions, an unstable job market, and economic uncertainty.

Of those polled, 9 out of 10 of those most likely to vote in the November 4 election labeled the economy as an extremely or very important issue.

While the poll found that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to express faith in their government, only 27% of Democrats felt confidant the government could protect them from terrorist attacks. Only 1 in 5 people polled said they were extremely or very confidant the government could prevent another terrorist attack.

The poll also found that Hispanics were more confidant in the government’s ability to cease racial tensions than blacks and whites, and that people  living in urban environments were slightly more confidant in the government’s ability to provide safety from terrorist attacks than those living in suburbs or rural areas.

Events such as the rioting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the killing of an unarmed black 18 year old by a cop, and the beheading of a woman in Oklahoma at a food processing plant were credited with causing those polled to feel insecure in the safety of their country.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted in September of 2014 and processed online interviews with 1,845 adults selected randomly.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Whistleblowers under new threat from government

In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks in June of 2013, whistleblowers have been making headlines for what they have reported and what the government has done in response to them.

Now, the government has called on Bill Evanina, a former FBI special agent and counter-terrorism specialist, to help in their efforts to help “assess damage from intelligence leaks and tighten the security clearance process,” according to TechDirt.

Evanina is taking up a position titled the National Counterintelligence Executive, or NCIX.  According to Defense One, the position requires Evanina spend most of his days in his Bethesda, Md. office coming up with a “marketing strategy of new openness, which includes explaining which part of the federal government does what.”

However, in the same breath, Evanina seems to feel leakers and whistleblowers, no matter what their intentions might be, are still performing criminal acts and should be prosecuted.  “Instead of getting carried away with the concept of leakers as heroes,” said Evanina, “we need to get back to the basics of what it means be loyal…Undifferentiated, unauthorized leaking is a criminal act.”

Evanina continues by saying security clearances are “sacred,” and a person who has access to confidential files should feel honored and privileged with their level of access.  People should not take advantage of their level of access to sensitive information and to do so, according to Evanina’s stance, is to treated like a crime, no matter what the outcome or what the material shows.

An initial way to combat the whislteblowers and their potential crimes, according to the same TechDirt article, is to take away 100,000 employee’s security clearances.  This does indeed lower the number of probable whistleblowers, but it also means the prospect for abuses of power rises as fewer people have eyes on what the government is doing.

Another plan in place is to hold continuous evaluations which would “expose future Snowdens,” but it would also help to identify employees in financial need so agencies could sooner understand and help them with their struggles.

Some are arguing the continuous evaluations would threaten the privacy of government employees, but Evanina said, “employees understand that it’s done to protect them.”

Kristin Tate Asks People: What Did Our Govt. Do BEST In 2013?

As 2013 came to a close, I found myself wondering, “What do Americans think our government did best this year?”

While I was in snowy New Hampshire over the holidays, I decided to hit the streets and ask people that very question. Here are the results:

The answers I received were troubling. It became clear to me that many Americans have no clue what is happening in this country — and many don’t care. When asked, “What did our government do best this year and what do you want to see happen in 2014?” most people giggled, stared blankly, then said, “Ummmm.”

Those who had more to offer told me things like, “Be kinder to animals!”, “We should be able to go to the hospital for slivers!”, “We should all be equal!”, “Obamacare is the greatest piece of legislation in history.”

When people told me Obamacare was the best thing that happened in 2013, I asked them why. Most gave me general, feel good answers that mean nothing (“It helps people”).

The apparent disinterest in pressing issues facing the nation worries me. Many Americans are too busy watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians to worry about the Obamacare train wreck, the trillions in federal debt we will all be saddled with, and the inability of politicians to create real jobs out of thin air.

But there is good news (I promise). Online media has made it easier for everyday people to engage in critical issues. Also, there is a growing surge of young individuals who have finally come to see that the big-government they were once enamored with keeps screwing them. These young Americans realize that citizens must hold politicians accountable and demand action to bestow this country with a brighter future.

So, now I turn the question to you: what did our government do best in 2013 and what would you like to see happen in 2014?

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

The USA Defaults

Washington DC

Throughout these last few weeks, everyone involved in the negotiations on funding the government and the debt ceiling should have been repeating something over and over again – to the point that the American people should be sick of hearing it.

It is Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to our Constitution of our great nation. (I choose still to use the word “great” because I don’t identify this nation with its government.)

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.”

Compare and contrast with the President’s comment of a week ago: “As reckless as a government shutdown is … an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse” or the opening of his address to the nation a couple of days later, in which he talks of meeting “Republicans and Democrats from both Houses of Congress in an effort to … remove the dangers of default from our economy.”

Let’s be clear.

If anyone who has sworn an oath of office to uphold the Constitution would threaten any default by the USA when the USA has a) the revenue to meet the interest obligations on its debt and b) (for shame) the ability of a sovereign issuer of its own currency to pay all its debts at any time c) seen this coming for ages, and therefore had plenty of time to prepare for it, then he is doing little other than threatening willfully to violate his oath.

The credit of the USA should never have been in question and never had to be. As all of this nonsense of the last couple of weeks has been going on, everyone involved should have been repeating that part of the 14th amendment out loud, reiterating that all debts would be paid first out of government revenue simply because that is the supreme Law of the land – and because, therefore, their integrity as takers of the oath to uphold the Constitution would not allow them to threaten impeachable behavior for political ends – or, for that matter, for any ends whatsoever. Their priority would then have been to put in place the practical mechanisms for ensuring that would be done.

As a writer and speaker who loves my country and therefore the Constitution (or should that be the other way around?), I spend plenty of hours spreading the dangers of the monarchy that the American Presidency has become, as it deploys and expands power through Executive orders. But there is just about one kind of executive order that I believe my patriotism would compel me to accept: that being an order that simply restates a part of the Constitution verbatim and the President’s intention to defend it. Had President Obama told us he would be prepared to issue an executive order that reiterates the 14th Amendment to ensure that the Constitution would be followed throughout this “crisis”, then the last two weeks would have been very different.

Not that the President has displayed any less leadership than anyone else on or around Capitol Hill.

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment states simply,

“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article”.

And that is what it should do. In particular, only Congress has the power to undo the two laws without which there would be no debt-ceiling crisis. They are the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 that establishes the debt ceiling, and the Federal Reserve Act that (broadly speaking) prohibits the Fed from lending directly to the Treasury.

If Members of Congress find themselves negotiating in a crisis that arises from legislation that cannot be violated without violating the Constitution, then their first order of business, should they take their oath seriously, must be to revoke, repeal or suspend the offending laws, or to pass further law that makes the “offending laws” benign. To put (or leave) the President in a position where he would have to violate law to follow the Constitution is to be no better than the President who would shrug off the same Constitution.

Rather than do the right thing by making any serious attempt to deal with the legislation that is the sine qua non of the debt-ceiling crisis – a predictable and repeating crisis that is becoming increasingly like a kabuki theater version of Ground Hog Day – House Republicans not only made no effort to attack the offending legislation but happily exploited it in an apparent attempt to extract ever-decreasing party-line concessions that concerned initially almost everything in their party platform, later just a few bits of the Affordable Care Act, and finally next to nothing at all.

Any credibility that this strategy didn’t remove from the GOP was pretty much lost when it chose cynical parliamentary maneuvering in the form of covert rule-changes to help them get as much political mileage out of the whole mess as possible. The ultimate result was nothing worth speaking of – except the concentration (yet again) of even more power in the hands of fewer people in the House. Nice job, guys.

Lest anyone think that my beef is just with the Republicans, it isn’t. The problem that precedes all of the foregoing is actual spending , without which there can be no debt, without which there can be no “debt-ceiling crisis”. The Democrats have been in recent times even more culpable than the Republicans in legislating spending above the standing debt limit. In March, the Democratically controlled Senate rejected the $3.5T Republican budget, which at least made some (albeit too little) attempt to rein in deficits, to pass $3.7T of spending, knowing full well that it was spending money that on current law (with the debt-ceiling where it was), America could not cover by borrowing, even though it was not covered by revenue. To say that spendthrift legislators were counting on the rise of the debt ceiling is, rather, to make my point for me, for if the debt limit means anything at all, it is as a constraint on the spending of money in the first place. If a Member of the House or Senator votes for spending while knowing that it will eventually trigger a(nother) debt-ceiling crisis a few months down the line, he rather loses any moral basis for accusing anyone who voted against that spending for triggering the crisis when it finally happens.

The legislature knows the cause of these repeated debt-ceiling debacles – because it created it. The predictable, repeating crisis, which does nothing to help the American people, can only be sustained if our leaders see it as serving them in an important way – which, of course, it does. The notion that there is such a thing as a debt-ceiling provides a fig leaf for a fiat monetary system that allows government to spend without constraint and without taxpayers’ feeling the immediate economic costs of that public spending, which instead, are felt over time through inflation. (In summary: politicians benefit now; people suffer later.) In such a system, the donkeys to the political benefit of appearing to help their Constituents by social and economic engineering without economic constraint, while permitting the elephants to gain the political benefit of doing exactly the same thing when it suits them, or (as now) appearing to be upset when the donkeys overdo it.

Truly, it is a pox on both their houses.

History shows that the so-called “debt ceiling” does not constrain our government at all. Only the Constitution and the integrity of those who swear to uphold it can do that. If our government spent in pursuit of only what it is authorized to do, then the debt-ceiling would take care of itself, because American government spending would be nowhere near it. (And, as a bonus, we would still have due process, privacy, and the respect of other nations who would not see us as aggressors – because violations of all of those things are expensive.)

Put simply, public spending or the size of government is the long-term issue from which the debt-crisis is – ironically and conveniently for career politicians of both parties – the short-term distraction.

Clearly, the most serious debt in Washington has rather less to do with Treasury bills and social security checks than with the accumulated deficit of commitment of our leaders to their oath. No need to panic, though: we are not close to a ceiling on that. Washington D.C. defaulted on it years ago.

Government Sponsored Racism

*views of guest contributors are their own*

Should a white person be given preference to college admissions because he is white? Of course not. That’s racist. So why are admission preferences given to any specific race?

In the 2003 case Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court ruled that race could play a role in admissions policies of universities that receive federal money (even if only in the form of aid to students). This “positive discrimination”, known as affirmative action, attempts to compensate for historical racial discrimination by affirmative-action-protestgiving minority applicants a “leg up”. But these policies are currently being challenged by a case before the Supreme Court, Fisher v. University of Texas.  This new case asks that the Court overrule Grutter, which would end government-imposed affirmative action at American universities.

Affirmative action is a form of racism. These policies, intended to benefit minority students in the United States, only feed into the same racist machine that they are supposed to counteract. Well-intentioned affirmative action measures are inherently racist by giving benefits based on skin color, not merit. Such policies are divisive rather than uniting, and lead to perpetual victimhood. Affirmative action was needed in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but now these policies unnecessarily treat today’s minorities as victims.

If a college wishes to promote diversity on its campus through affirmative action policies, fine. Private organizations and companies (including colleges) should have the freedom to adopt whatever admissions policies they want. Racial, sexual orientation, and religious diversity only enriches the educational experience on campus. But government-forced “positive discrimination” is racist and counterproductive.

Affirmative action often hurts its beneficiaries more than it helps, by placing minority students in programs above their abilities. Scholars euphemistically coined the term “mismatch” to refer to this outcome. Mismatch suggests that students who get into a top school with the help of affirmative action would be better served attending a less competitive school, where they could gain admission through their own merit and achievements. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who admits to benefitting from affirmative action himself, saw firsthand how racially-based admittance policies negatively impacted black students. He said, “I watched the operation of such affirmative action policies when I was in college, and I watched the destruction of many kids as a result.”

According to Thomas J. Espenshade, a Princeton University sociology professor, a black student with a virtually identical application to a white student receives the equivalent of a 310-point bump in SAT scores. This generous advantage potentially hurts the black student by placing him in a program where he is more likely to struggle or fail out. It is therefore no surprise that significantly fewer minorities end up graduating than whites. This stands true at private colleges, but the problem is especially pronounced at public universities.  At the University of Wisconsin, for example, 81 percent of white students graduated compared to only 56 percent of blacks.

Placing minorities into programs they are not qualified for may be a contributing factor to their high unemployment rate. The black jobless rate, for example, is about twice that of whites. A student who struggles in an academic program that he is not qualified for is less likely to succeed in the job market. For instance, an unprepared student who is placed in a rigorous engineering program may retain less of the essential knowledge to be successful in that field.

Does the mismatch theory suggest that minority students should be prevented from attending elite universities? Absolutely not. Rather, it asserts that students of any race (minority or not) do not necessarily benefit from attending a top school if they are not academically on par with their peers.

There is also unspoken resentment among some in the white community who may assume that minority students were accepted because of affirmative action policies, not merit. Eliminating these policies would dispel such racist assumptions.

There are undoubtedly countless bright, promising minority students across the country who would be assets to elite universities. To argue that minority students need a “leg up” to gain admission is offensive, and suggests that these young people cannot succeed on their own. Fisher v. University of Texas may result in the elimination of government-imposed affirmative action in universities altogether. This would be a significant step towards a truly equal society, where individuals are judged on merit, not race. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”