Thursday, December 8, 2016

Moments On Global Warming

Originally Published February 13, 2012; Last Updated December 08, 2016; Last Republished December 08, 2016: 

Kudos to the European Union for its nascent leadership on efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions—it must hang tough in the face of opposition from China, India and the United States.

There are legitimate debates over the most effective schemes for reducing earth's anthropogenic atmospheric carbon load1—there is no legitimate debate over the need for every nation to immediately implement a carbon-reducing scheme.


UPDATED 11/22/2016 DMI, Arctic Temperatures Daily Mean Temperatures North of 80 degree North (1958-2016)  [note: 260K is approximately 8.3F; Convert K2F by T(°F) = T(K) × 9/5 - 459.67 or just type "260K equals F"  in your Google or browser bar and presto, 260K=8.33F].

UPDATED 11/03/2016 NSIDC, Sluggish ice growth in the Arctic and Overview of Current Conditions

UPDATED 09/01/2016 NAP, The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research: Remembering Yesterday, Understanding Today, Anticipating Tomorrow (2016)
UPDATED 08/23/2016 NAP, Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions (2016)
UPDATED 07/29/2016 NAP, Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change (2016) Chapter: Summary
UPDATED 07/25/2016 NAP, Frontiers in Decadal Climate Variability: Proceedings of a Workshop (2016) Chapter: Overview and NASA, The Spectroscopic Foundation of Radiative Forcing of Climate by Carbon Dioxide (pdf slides)
UPDATED 07/25/2016 EPA, Nonroad Engines, Equipment, and Vehicles: Aircraft
UPDATED 10/21/2013 ClimateDotGov, State of the Climate in 2012: Highlights and ClimateScience, North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle
UPDATED 08/14/2013 NCADAC, Draft Climate Assessment Report
UPDATED 01/17/2013 NOEP, National Ocean Economics Program
UPDATED 01/17/2013 NAS, Review of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Plan and NOAA, Ocean Acidification Program
UPDATED 11/19/2012 PCMDI, WCRP CMIP3 Multi-Model Dataset Archive at PCMDI
UPDATED 09/24/2012  NAS, Advancing Climate Modeling
UPDATED 07/31/2012 Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry
UPDATED 07/30/2012 U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program
UPDATED 03/29/2012 SEARCH, Study of Environmental Arctic Change
UPDATED 03/25/2012 IOPPW, Rain drains energy from the atmosphere
UPDATED 03/21/2012 USGCRP, Online Resource Library
UPDATED 03/19/2012 National Academy Grand Challenge Three, Develop carbon sequestration methods
UPDATED 03/01/2012 LDEO, Ocean Acidification Rate May Be Unprecedented, Study Says

Other Nascent Carbon Load Reducing Schemes:

UPDATED 11/15/2012 Reuters, California takes big step in limiting greenhouse gases


UPDATED 12/08/2016 PopSci, Trump's Pick to Lead the EPA is a Climate Denier (Who's Suing the EPA)

You can't make this stuff up! Can you counter-sue for stupidity?

UPDATED 12/08/2016 ChinaDaily, Chinese vice premier pledges more efforts to improve environment

Let's see the plan, not the press releases!

UPDATED 12/06/2016 SA, An Open Letter from Scientists to President-Elect Trump on Climate Change
UPDATED 11/22/2016 SA, Will the Rust Belt Stick with Coal Under Trump?

If America's "Rust Belt" wants to continue rusting, their state leaders will "stick with Trump"! Our nation and the world is moving on to cleaner energy with or without the putative titular successor to President Obama!

UPDATED 11/18/2016 CCTV, China to help Africa implement Paris Agreement and SA, China Takes the Climate Spotlight as U.S. Heads for Exit

Excellent! China works with Africa and America works with China (or not?) on reducing levels of greenhouse gases, notwithstanding prognostications that Trump's government (regime?) will prefer and pursue regressive unscientific goals and solutions.

UPDATED 11/07/2016 Climate change summit to find ways to implement Paris Agreement, Marrakech 2016

Implementation rules are important to make sure that each nation's annual emissions reduction progress reports are directly comparable, both intranational and international over time.

UPDATED 11/03/2016 Reuters, U.S., 35 states to boost electric vehicle charging stations
UPDATED 10/22/2016 SA, U.S. Residential Electricity Prices Decline for the First Time in 14 Years
UPDATED 10/07/2016 RCI, Pact will control emissions on international flights eventually

Voluntary commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions to specific levels should not be derided a priori.

UPDATED 10/05/2016 WH, SXSL: President Obama Participates in SXSL Discussion and UN, Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General) on India's Ratification of the Paris Agreement


India has ratified the Paris Agreement on October 02, 2016, effectuating the agreement's framework for signatory nations.  Kudos Mr. President et al. (look forward to reporting at the annual SXSL)

UPDATED 09/22/2016 PopSci, Obama Orders Pentagon to Plan for Climate Change [,Again?]
UPDATED 09/10/2016 NPR, California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs New Climate Change Laws
UPDATED 09/06/2016 Reuters, U.S., China ratify Paris climate agreement

EuroNews English
UPDATED 08/31/2016 ClimateCentral, See Earth’s Temperature Spiral Toward 2°C

UPDATED 08/17/2016 PopSci, Last Month Was the Warmest Month Ever Recorded

UPDATED 08/15/2016 LBL, Setting Sail to Study Ocean Carbon
UPDATED 07/25/2016 Reuters, EPA clears path to regulate carbon emissions from U.S. aircraft
UPDATED 07/20/2016 SA, Tobacco and Oil Industries Used Same Researchers to Sway Public

Should big oil be treated like big tobacco?

UPDATED 06/28/2016 SA, North America Will Draw Half Its Electricity from Carbon-Free Sources by 2025

Kudos to Presidents Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada!

While Britain tries to figure out how to isolate and insulate itself, let the rest of the world cooperate to meet important global goals.

UPDATED 06/16/2016 SA, Antarctic CO2 Hit 400 PPM for First Time in 4 Million Years

Hey Senator Inhofe (R-OK) show us your senate-snowball-science on global warming (some might say stupidity), again!

UPDATED 06/08/2016 WP, Atmospheric carbon dioxide just reached a huge record high

Hey Senator Inhofe (R-OK) show us your senate-snowball-science on global warming (some might say stupidity), again!

UPDATED 06/04/2016 SA, Scientists Seek a New Measure for Methane
UPDATED 05/16/2016 BBC, April breaks global temperature record

Hey Senator Inhofe (R-OK) show us your senate-snowball-science on global warming (some might say stupidity), again!

UPDATED 05/03/2016 NPR, Fact Check: Hillary Clinton And Coal Jobs

Candidate Hillary Clinton is correct that the coal jobs are going away (fast), which is not to say that our current congressional leadership should not legislatively mitigate the impacts of the coal jobs displacement.

However, a significant proportion of our current congressional leadership are content to chant "free market", "lassie fair", political, and economic slogans instead of legislating policies that will mitigate the impacts of the coal jobs displacement.

It seems preferable to change the slogan chanting proportion of our current congressional leadership instead of criticizing her message.

UPDATED 04/22/2016 SA, Paris Agreement Offers New Climate Covenant with Future

We can't wait to begin studying each nation's plan to reduce their anthropomorphic atmospheric carbon loads and measuring the resultant global reductions.

As each nation's plan is analyzed and measured it will be useful to recall a quote oft attributed to W. Edward Deming: "In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data".

UPDATED 04/13/2016 Reuters, Leading global coal miner Peabody files for bankruptcy

The expectation is that many more coal mines will follow. The unexpected is that our congressional leadership will tell our citizenry that "free market" laissie-faire neo-anarchists' sincerely and strongly held beliefs will autonomously mitigate the well-known and understood economic dislocations, which will occur.

UPDATED 03/22/2016 Reuters, Carbon emissions highest in 66 million years, since dinosaur age
UPDATED 03/16/2016 Atlantic, Obama Abandons Plans to Drill in the Atlantic Ocean and Reuters, Obama administration reverses course on Atlantic oil drilling
UPDATED 02/25/2016 SA, Lowering Ocean Acidity Promotes Coral Growth on Great Barrier Reef
UPDATED 01/22/2016 NYT, New Methane Emission Rules Proposed by Interior Department
UPDATED 01/22/2016 NYT, Court Rejects a Bid to Block Coal Plant Regulations

UPDATED 01/20/2016 DoD, National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks anda Changing Climate July 2015
UPDATED 12/19/2015 ThomsonReuters, As China's demand wanes, the golden age of coal comes to an end - IEA

UPDATED 12/16/2015 SA, New Camera Sees Invisible Greenhouse Gas

The camera method of monitoring point source emission of methane is not so new, but it's nice that to learn that point source measures correlate well with regional measuring and monitoring.

UPDATED 12/12/2015 SA, World's First Global Deal to Combat Climate Change Adopted in Paris and NYT, Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris (includes link to draft Paris Agreement)

Let's begin the periodic, open and transparently verified international reporting of numbers, tomorrow!

UPDATED 12/07/2015 NatGeo, Top U.S. Scientist: World Must Act Now to Reverse Climate Change

 “The world needs ultimately to completely decarbonize,” says John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor

UPDATED 12/04/2015 Wired, Climate Scientists Used to Just Get Angry. Now They’re Taking Action

UPDATED 12/02/2015 WH, The President holds a Press Conference in Paris

Mr. President, no nation, developed or developing, should be required to choose between the rapacity of an economic system and a repressive military system, which your assertion at approximately 2:15 implies!
UPDATED 11/24/2015 SA, The U.S. Can [Must] Lead the World to a Climate Agreement

President Obama must make clear that our nation will lead by immediate implementation of the challenging changes required to ensure sustainably neutral anthropomorphic contribution to global warming.

UPDATED 11/10/2015 SA, Record Levels of CO2 Herald the Future of Climate Change
UPDATED 11/06/2015 GlobeMail, President Obama rejects TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline
Kudos to the President!

Other world leaders must demonstrate this same leadership at the upcoming climate conference where hard decisions will be required to transition all global economies to cleaner forms of energy.

UPDATED 09/01/2015 WH, The President Addresses the GLACIER Conference

UPDATED 08/29/2015 NatGeo, Oceans Will Rise Much More Than Predicted, NASA Saysand NASA, Greenland Ice Mass Loss: Jan. 2004 - June 2014 and Space, New NASA Model Maps Sea Level Rise Like Never Before (Video)


UPDATED 08/15/2015 Atlantic, China’s Air Problem Is Worse Than You Think

UPDATED 08/04/2015 WH, Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

Finally, ... and from a so called "lame duck presidency"...encore!

UPDATED 07/04/2014 Earth Observation, OCO-2 Mission Satellite
UPDATED 06/16/2014 Reuters, U.N. climate talks fracture over future of carbon markets

Delaying the formation of carbon markets (pollutants) will simply produce a higher initial price per pollutant tonnage, given a pollutant price-probability curve reasonably required to mitigate or offset the probable harm.

Negotiators must immediately establish global carbon markets notwithstanding pleas from the high polluters to slow-walk negotiations at the low end of a pollutant price-probability curve (e.g. $10/tonne CO2) or the low polluters to no-walk at the high end of a pollutant price-probability curve (e.g. $80/tonne CO2).

The current pollutant load has already effectively determined an outcome for the negotiations (e.g. between $20-$40/tonne CO2)—the sooner markets is are established for pollutants the sooner innovation can begin moving the price down the pollutant price-probability curve.

Which is not to say that the polluters' pleas are noise level—but what professional negotiator is not skilled at filtering the noise?

UPDATED 06/15/2014 WH, President Obama Speaks at UC-Irvine Commencement

President lauds graduates and entreats their age demographic to aggressively accept climate change challenges required to reduce and mitigate its impacts.

UPDATED 06/02/2014 Reuters, U.S. unveils sweeping plan to slash power plant pollution and LAT, New EPA rule would seek to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030

Kudos to our President and EPA for the extraordinary efforts aimed at reducing the United States's contribution to atmospheric carbon loads—hopefully, swiftly pushing through the inevitable challenges and litigation!

Whatever else "government overreach" means it does not mean more accurately costing carbon's contributions to the United States economic activity.

Our coal users appear to use the phrase "government overreach" as a euphemism for continuing their unmeasured, unconstrained, unaccountable and uncontested burning of coal, regardless of the harm or external costs?

UPDATED 04/03/2014 BBC,  EU backs compromise on plane CO2 emissions
UPDATED 02/11/2014 ThomsonReuters, China's Hubei plans province's first carbon auction next month and Reuters, California vows to press ahead with climate change programsUPDATED 12/27/2013 ThomsonReutersTrust, EU reaches deal to cap super-warming F-gases
UPDATED 12/25/2013 NYT, Rethinking How to Split the Costs of Carbon

It's always been an illusion that the full costs of our energy usage can be externalized, but that illusion continues to delay, impede or prevent meaningful multilateral reforms necessary to immediately mitigate and minimize our energy usage.

UPDATED 12/20/2013 Reuters, Analysis: Strong start for California carbon market, but challenges loom

Kudos to California ARB's tightrope walking efforts to lower the excessive anthropomorphic atmospheric carbon load.
UPDATED 11/29/2013 VOA, Beijing Opens Carbon Trading Scheme to Fight Emissions
UPDATED 11/11/2013 ThomsonReutersTrust, Participants walk in front of the venue of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw
UPDATED 11/03/2013 ThomsonReutersTrust, New Obama order aims to prepare communities for severe weather

Kudos to our President for his partial leadership on issues related to climate change, notwithstanding an obstreperous Lower House of Congress.

UPDATED 10/21/2013 ESA, North American carbon dioxide sources and sinks: magnitude, attribution, and uncertainty
UPDATED 10/10/2013 MoraLab, Research Into The Interlinks Between Biodiversity Patterns, Processes, Threats, Conservation And Human Welfare, The Timing Of New Climates
UPDATED 09/22/2013 ThomsonReuters, Scientists set to prepare strongest warning that warming man-made
UPDATED 07/29/2013 LiveScience, Arctic Methane Claims Questioned (-->) and CSM, Arctic ice melt could cost an extra $60 trillion, say researchers

All alternatives but international cooperation are excluded by these enormous global impacts and costs. Article includes a link to the Nature study citing an updated Page09 model (initially developed by the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change).

UPDATED 07/17/2013 LiveScience, Acid Test: Rising CO2 Levels Killing Ocean Life (Op-Ed)
UPDATED 07/15/2013 TReuters, Seas may rise 2.3 metres per degree of global warming-report UPDATED 07/04/2013 WT, U.S. watches as EU struggles with ‘cap-and-trade’ and TReuters, Temperature-linked carbon tax could be effective - expert (on trying to avoid the unavoidable politics of pollution pricing of GHGs)

Hopefully, we will soon begin our "struggle" to reduce atmospheric CO2 loads, too.

The price of a 33 grams cartridge of C02 to fill bicycle tires is approximately $10. A metric ton of CO2 at this price is approximately $30,303.

A pollution permit priced at $6 per ton of CO2 seems like a bargain, even if the material cost for the metal bicycle tire fill cartridge is subtracted.

UPDATED 05/13/2013 TReuters, UN faces uphill battle to reduce global airline emissions
UPDATED 05/10/2013 NSF, Climate Record From Bottom of Russian Lake Shows Arctic Was Warmer Millions of Years Ago
UPDATED 05/06/2013 BBC, Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly' 
UPDATED 02/21/2013 HIPPO, HIPPO global-scale air chemistry dataset now available Includes links to Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) for obtaining dataset.

UPDATED 01/16/2013 NYT, Burning Fuel Particles Do More Damage to Climate Than Thought, Study Says  These particles affect Arctic ice albedo

UPDATED 11/12/2012 NYT, E.U. Postpones Charges for Airline Emissions EU has postponed its mandatory carbon tax on airlines for a year to enable the global airline sector to voluntary adopt guidelines that reduce the amount of carbon they spewed into our atmosphere.

EU has threatened to reinstate its carbon tax if meaningful voluntary guidelines are not adopted within the postponement year.

UPDATED 09/22/2012 Reuters, Senate votes to shield US airlines from EU's carbon scheme

Sadly, on the rare occasion when our totally dysfunctional Congress is able to agree on something, it's to impede efforts too reduce the carbon load spewed into the atmosphere by airlines.

Understandably some nations may not appreciate Germany's unilateral efforts to tax domestic and foreign airlines' carbon emission. However, instead of impeding Germany's nascent efforts to reduce carbon loads other nations must join those efforts by implementing common, cooperative, and complementary airline carbon-taxing schemes.

UPDATED 08/27/2012 NSIDC, Arctic sea ice extent breaks 2007 record low

It seems useful to note that nature is not a respecter of human hubris or fairytales and that the fossil record indicates extinction is a more probable outcome than adaptation.

Substituting fairytales for facts and praying that "God" somehow solves a problem does not seem like an optimal adaptive strategy. Although, one can appreciate why those depending on such a strategy would incorporate "life after" extinction into their fairytale.

UPDATED 08/22/2012 NSIDC, Turn of the century drought worst in 800 years, study says
UPDATED 08/17/2012 WT, Use of natural gas credited for drop in CO2 emissions
UPDATED 07/26/2012 Discover, Greenland Two Day Slushi
UPDATED 07/01/2012 Economist, The melting north
UPDATED 06/30/2012 Nature, Global network will track acidifying oceans
UPDATED 04/04/2012 BBC, CO2 'drove end to last ice age' More evidence that an increasing CO2 load leads the lagging temperature rise.

UPDATED 03/27/2012 Reuters, Government proposes first carbon limits on power plants Kudos to our EPA for moving toward increasingly "cleaner" carbon sources.

Additional transparency is required about "fracking methods" so its economic externality forecasts can be updated and compared with those related to "coal methods" (with and without CO2 sequestration).
UPDATED 03/20/2012 Reuters, Exclusive: India to urge airlines to opt out of EU carbon scheme and Reuters, Airline CO2 friction is hint of new climate politics

India and all other national and international airlines must opt-in to the nascent EU carbon-reducing scheme and adopt carbon-reducing schemes of their own.

Eventually, all nations must jointly agree to attach carbon fees to every purchased aircraft (and other mobile carbon sources)—the sooner, the better.

We can expect some nations to pursue the most torturous path possible to delay reducing their anthropogenic atmospheric carbon loads.

UPDATED 03/11/2012 Reuters, Aviation calls on EU leaders to fix carbon tax: FT

Our major airline executives have misdirected their complaints to the EU for its nascent efforts to reduce our growing and harmful anthropogenic carbon loads.

 Their complaints should be directed to all national governments and aircraft manufacturers for the purpose of encouraging them to pursue joint efforts aimed at immediately reducing our growing and harmful anthropogenic carbon loads.

UPDATED 02/20/2012 Reuters,Moscow air talks to debate measures against EU: draft and Reuters, Q+A: Will Moscow talks unleash carbon trade war against EU?

Perhaps citizens living in the "carbon counter-measure nations" can express their preference for airlines and corporations, which join the EU's nascent efforts to immediately reduce atmospheric carbon loads?

UPDATED 02/16/2012 Reuters, Nobel winners urge EU leaders to back tar sands law

"Under the draft EU proposal, tar sands are assigned a default greenhouse gas value of 107 grams of carbon per megajoule, showing buyers it has more environmental impact than conventional crude with 87.5 grams." Reuters, EU won't drop aviation CO2 scheme: Instead of joining the urgently need efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, specifically global CO2 (~390+ ppm), some nations are threatening retaliation. Hopefully, their retaliation will take the form of adopting a carbon-reducing scheme that includes airplanes.


1. Those unfamiliar with earth's carbon cycle (global thermostat) may find the online introductory lectures, generously made available by University of Chicago and computational ocean chemist David Archer, helpful.

Perhaps perusal of A U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan (pdf) after the lectures.

UPDATED 06/14/2012 A detail discussion on building a climate model is presented by Enez Fung:

Hunger In The United States

Originally Published September 04, 2009; Last Updated December 08, 2016; Last Republished  December 15, 2016:
As our unemployment rate3 inches into record territory more persons are using food stamps. The EBT card1 provides, on average $133 dollars per month in groceries—insufficient for even the most fastidious eater and frugal shopper.

The unemployment is lamentable2—usage of food stamps is commendable.


UPDATED 01/02/2014 NAP, Research Opportunities Concerning the Causes and Consequences of Child Food Insecurity and Hunger: A Workshop Summary (2013)

Additional funding is required to collect additional current household survey data in pursuit of future food insecurity and hunger research.

UPDATED 01/23/2013 NAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Examining the Evidence to Define Benefit Adequacy (Uncorrected Prepublication  Proof)

What a delightfully relevant, pragmatic and scientifically based proposed framework for ensuring the functional adequacy of SNAP!
UPDATED 09/06/2012 USDA, Household Food Security in the United States in 2011

More "American exceptionalism"? Our food insecurity for 2011 was 14.9 percent or 17.9 million households. Wonder what is exceptional about a nation with 14.9 percent food insecurity?

GettingFoodStamps, How to Apply Fortunately, those committed to ending hunger in America are working very hard to make it simple and painless to both apply for and use food stamps.

USDA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


UPDATED 06/06/2013  NYT Blog, Welfare for the Wealthy

Another of the seemingly routine examples of a federal southern policymaker engaging in activity adverse to the economically disadvantaged constituents he supposedly "represents"—SNAP resources to economically disadvantaged Tennesseans (and other economically disadvantaged Americans) must be increased, not reduced.


UPDATED 12/08/2016 USDA, Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on House Agriculture Committee Report on SNAP

We can expect our libertarian laissez-faire neo-anarchists and like zealots to ramp up their "gut-any-government" and like dogma over the next several years or weeks. (e.g. Bloomberg, Trump Team Said to Consider Thiel Associate O’Neill for FDA)7

Also, we can expect hunger in American (and other nations) to continue increasing in response to a period of significant regional (and global) civil society and economic structural changes.

Shifting responsibility for basic or fundamental governmental services to our resource challenged states will not adequately respond to the nutritional (and other) requirements of our citizens during this period.

UPDATED 09/15/2016 USDA, USDA Seeks Retailer Volunteers for SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot
UPDATED 08/05/2014 VOA, Advocates Say New York City Facing Hunger Crisis

It's difficult to imagine a more fundamentally non-delegable function and responsibility of any 21st century government than ensuring all its citizenry has simultaneous and continuous access to basic nutrition, education, shelter and healthcare.

Utilizing concepts appropriate or applicable for an 18th century government are unlikely to be useful, helpful or successful for a 21st century government.

UPDATED 12/12/2013 CSM, Ageless agriculture: 11 food programs by and for seniors

These boutique programs are necessary (and very useful) but insufficient to ensure hunger is eradicated across our nation. Programs like SNAP must continue, improve and expand until sufficient to ensure hunger is eradicated across our nation.

UPDATED 11/06/2013 UPI, The Issue: Food stamp cuts -- 47 million Americans have less to eat

It's unclear why some of our leadership think that punitive measures will solve our nation's structural hunger problem? According to these leaders our government need only withhold or reduce resources to solve our structural hunger problem! Unsurprisingly, such punitive and perverse logic is ineffective and only exacerbates our nation's ongoing structural hunger problem.

Stated differently and somewhat charitably, punishment rarely, if ever solves non-structural problems; punishment never solves structural problems, prayer notwithstanding.

UPDATED 08/16/2013 DailyJournal, Meal programs expand summer nutrition for schoolchildren who are hungry over summer

UPDATED 07/25/2013 TReuters, USDA study shows incentives can help poor eat healthier foods

Kudos to the USDA for efforts aimed at boosting fruit and vegetable consumption by SNAP users. These type of pilot programs to provide nutritiously dense foods for our food insecure must be extended through all levels of public and private food programs (e.g. food stamps, food banks, pantries, community and recreation centers and other similar food distribution points).

UPDATED 06/30/2013 YouTube, Bill Moyers: The Faces of America’s Hungry

Inexplicably, many of our current economic models do not incorporate parameters for estimating and managing equality and inequality—complicating the tasks of understanding and managing our increasingly complex economy.

UPDATED 09/26/2012 Reuters, Ferrari seized in U.S. food stamp fraud case Great now our policymakers can increase SNAP resources, instead of cutting it by five percent.

UPDATED 09/20/2012 UChicagoNews, Extreme Poor Americans Worse Off

Our meager and mostly mean spirited anti-poverty policies are making our poor poorer!

Those decrying even our meager and mostly mean spirited efforts at reducing (we're not even close to elimination or eradication) our poverty may want to visit the poor of Owsley County, Kentucky (the images depict another type of "American exceptional")!

It's difficult to understand why we elect and reelect policymakers (e.g Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky) that allocate trillions of dollars to fight foolish, stupid and unnecessary wars (in which no small proportion of Kentuckians fight and die) instead of allocating those resources to solve the multifaceted problems required to eradicate our poverty.

UPDATED 07/14/2012 Montgomery Advertiser, Food stamp rate troubling

Instead of applauding our USDA for its outreach effort to ensure all Alabama residents are food secure Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al) is leading a campaign to implicitly and explicitly criticize those he supposedly represents for utilizing our SNAP program.

Session's criticism and condemnation of our poor must be ignored—efforts to ensure all food insecure Alabamians are enrolling in SNAP must continue. Wherever the blame lay for our current budgetary difficulties it most surely is not on the backs of our poor Alabamians.

SNAP expenditures can be expected to increase into the foreseeable future—the senators from Alabama may want to focus their effort on (re)building Alabama instead of condemning and criticizing its poor. SNAP will help stabilize Alabama's economy while they focus their efforts on (re)building Alabama.

Our census bureau has estimated Alabama's 2010 population at 4,779,736 of which 805,095 participated in our SNAP program at an estimated cost of $1,226,018,708.

UPDATED 06/07/2012 AgriPulse, Advocacy groups ask Congress to protect Farm Bill nutrition programs

Not only must Congress not reduce SNAP funding (S. 3240 proposes to reduce funding by ≅$4.5B) it must stand ready to provide additional funding.

UPDATED 05/24/2012 SFGate, Food stamp fraud raising concerns in gov't offices 

The seemingly obligatory annual article on food stamp fraud that usually accompany attempts by some of our politicians to limit resources flowing to our poor or economically disadvantaged.

Refreshingly this article reports the amount of fraud at a relative miniscule one percent—many articles on food stamp fraud (and other fraud) usually leave it to the reader's imagination, which is rarely accurate.

Surely our national security data mining algorithm developers can further reduce the one percent by automatically comparing monthly revenues, sales and EBT revenues by outlet.

Alternatively6, those interested in further reducing the one percent can routinely sell (typically for 60-80 cents on the dollar) a statistically representative number of EBT cards across American communities and then trace the transactions to "light up" those networks that reclaim the 20-40 percent profit.

These anti-fraud efforts may cost more than the amount recovered or undesirably restrict the number of participating small community EBT food outlets. Unfortunately, current economic policy and market failures6 impede or prevent our larger automated food outlets from profitably operating in our communities where EBT cards may be over represented. And of course, EBT card users' mobility is relatively more restricted due to impaired health or limited income or both.

However, some of our politicians' unstated objective may not be a reduction of food stamp fraud but to broadly justify annual efforts to reduce food stamp resources. Of course it makes no sense to increase the food insecurity of millions of Americans in pursuit of the one percent of fraud but this never seems to deter the annual efforts to eliminate or significantly reduce food stamp resources.

UPDATED 05/03/2012 Food stamp cuts may slow farm bill

UPDATED 04/19/2012 SFGate, Howard Buffett helps start rural feeding program.

UPDATED 10/07/2010 Reuters, Poverty rises in suburbs, help lags: Brookings.

UPDATED 08/12/2010 UPI, Michigan food banks say demand up. Unfortunately, the Michigan food bank is not an isolated case.

Instead of increasing food stamps and related resources Congress recently diverted $12 billion dollars of food stamp funding to pay for the recently enacted teacher jobs and medical care (CBS News, Food Stamps Slashed to Pay for Teacher Jobs Bill) legislation.

UPDATED 05/24/2010 UPI, Pregnancy food insecurity, weight gain.

UPDATED 05/07/2010 Reuters, Food-stamp tally nears 40 million, sets record.

UPDATED 03/19/2010 California Watch, Hunger in the Golden State. The University Southern California Annenberg School for Journalism & Communication is teaming up with California Watch to conduct a six month investigation and three series program on hunger in California.

California Report, Hunger in the Golden State

UPDATED 02/02/2010 Reuters, Biting recession leaves ever more Americans hungry.
UPDATED 12/31/2009 Reuters, Midnight in the food-stamp economy.

UPDATED 12/08/2009 Reuters, Hunger, family homelessness on rise in U.S. cities.

UPDATED 12/06/2009 UPI, Food stamp lawsuit in Maryland court.

If your state legislature or local food stamp office has set up a series of meaningless or inconvenient hoops through which you must jump work to eliminate those hoops.

Queuing all day to receive food stamps is one such meaningless hoop, but there are others limited only by the imagination. A common attribute is to require an activity not directly related to the efficient verification of income and identity: queue up; show up; call up; report; limited or weird office hours; unnecessary or duplicative paperwork; multiple approvals; multiple trips; inconvenient office locations; unpleasant office environment; unhelpful or unprofessional personnel; incorrect or confusing guidance; unnecessary or unrelated police presence or intimidation; no dispute resolution or appeals process etc.)

UPDATED 11/20/2009 PBS NewsHour, More Americans Facing Hunger, Report Finds.

Our policymaker's response to problems may lag based on the dubious rationale that responding may exacerbate rather than ameliorate the problem (i.e self-fulfilling prophecy).

When responding to hunger and food insecurity problems our policymakers must lead in their response, not lag. Use any surplus inventories at our nation's network of food banks as a leading indicator of decreasing hunger or food insecurity5.

UPDATED 11/17/2009 Reuters, One in seven Americans short of food.
"About 14.6 percent of U.S. households, equal to 49.1 million people, ''had difficulty obtaining food for all their members due to a lack of resources'' during 2008, up 3.5 percentage points from 2007 when 11.1 percent of households were classified as food insecure." --Reuters--
Hopefully, our current leadership will not wait for this grim 14.6 percent to become 15 percent before implementing depression era type modern-jobs3 programs nationwide.

If you must fret about your food insecurity do so after you apply for and receive food stamps.

We can argue about the whys over the next decade.

Year Unemployment Rate4
1923-29 3.3
1930 8.9
1931 15.9
1932 23.6
1934 21.7
1935 20.1
1936 17.0
1937 14.3
1938 19.0
1939 17.2
1940 14.6
1941 9.9

Reuters, Food stamp list soars past 35 million: USDA


1. The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card functions exactly like a debit card.

It's used exactly like a debit card when purchasing most food items—non-food items and some "prepared food" must be paid for separately.

2. As more data becomes available it appears likely that much or all of the unemployment magnitude is the result of gross mismanagement of our economy and was partially or completely avoidable.

3. UPDATED 09/05/2009 See NYT, In Unemployment Report, Signs of a Jobless Recovery.
Everybody is looking around saying, Where is a robust recovery going to come from? and not finding it,...We're going to have elevated unemployment for four years to come.--NYT quoting, Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute--
Wonder why economists can "look around" and not see any next generation jobs (they can't even see McJobs!) to sustain economic growth? Wonder who was (or wasn't) working on creating and transitioning America to the next generation jobs? Wonder if they were just too busy creating and fighting wars? Wonder if war is our next generation jobs!? Wonder when laissez faire economics will be creating the next generation jobs? Wonder if cooperation and not laissez faire economics is required for next generation jobs?

4. From Bureau of Labor Statistics: Compensation from before World War I through the Great Depression

5. Distinctions between hunger and food insecurity need not cloud our policymaker's immediate and sustained response. The distinction is useful for establishing measurement precision.

A person's subjective hunger may not accurately reflect objective food insecurity, particularly if their food intake has been excessive over a lengthy period of time (e.g. see Obese people can misjudge body size).

6. The article suggests yet another alternative albeit somewhat more creative. If, as the article suggests "big" outlets (supermarket) engage in fewer fraudulent EBT transactions, then placing a supermarket in communities where EBT cards are over represented may reduce fraud.

Perhaps, with some luck, the amount of the fraud reduction will more than offset any incentive a franchise may require to locate a supermarket in communities where EBT cards are over represented?

To the extent that small outlets are selling more alcohol than food or alcohol as food or just processing EBT cards for the 20-40 percent profit they are not directly competing with any supermarket.

7. Also, SA, Trump Considers FDA Chief Who Says People Should Use Medicines "At Their Own Risk" and SA, Science [or lack thereof] and the Trump Presidency

You can't make this stuff up! Private equity not only investing in the pharmaceutical sector but running a government agency charged with regulating the sector—what could possibly go wrong?!!

Opaque Governance Is So Yesterday

Originally Published June 08, 2012; Last Updated December 08, 2016; Last Republished December 08, 2016:

Some of our leaders have a difficult time understanding that opaque governance is so yesterday and no longer sustainable. It's pastime we drain our lake of secrets and stop trying to patch leaks1.

Our leaders must govern transparently, drain our leaky lake of secrets and stop conducting "leak investigations" every time press reports deviate from government silence, denials, spin, "cover stories", lies, obfuscation, or propaganda.


UPDATED 05/10/2016 WSJ, Obama Administration Using Civil Sanctions to Go After Leakers

...or our governments could learn to transparently govern—an admittedly steep learning curve for successive governments so use to "transparency talk" while opaquely governing.

UPDATED 08/21/2013 UPI Blog, Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years for leaking government secrets

Why must Manning endure a decade or two of imprisonment before our nation accepts it must govern transparently, apologizes for his imprisonment, and awards him a Presidential Medal of Freedom?

UPDATED 04/24/2013 FAS, Transparency and Open Government Advocates Letter to President Obama

Transparency and open government advocates urge President Obama to establish a Security Classification Reform Steering Committee for the purpose of correcting the problem of overclassification.

Let's just skip the Security Classification Reform Steering Committee and urge President Obama to immediately revoke all  agency heads' original classification authority and declassify ALL existing documents! No questions, review, or exceptions—no shit.

Advocates that cannot immediately envision a totally transparent government may want to consider using any steering committee to ensure that all original classification authority is dependent on a declining derivative classification actions cap. Requiring all agency heads to continually choose and swap out (declassify) derivative secrets under their original classification authority.

Even our most rabid secrecy proponent will tire of continually choosing and swapping secrets under the declining derivative classification actions cap—probably long before debating and deciding which single secret must be maintained to "preserve our nation" (many would pay to eavesdrop on that debate)!

UPDATED 01/23/2013 CRS, The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework Jan 2013 (Courtesy FAS Secrecy Blog)

An overview of our classification hydra—it has flailed about for decades causing all manner of fright, mischief and misery—the sooner it's slain the better.

UPDATED 12/08/2012 PIDB, 2012 Report to the President

Our wonderful National Archives is out with the PIDB's recommended changes to our system of (de)classification. Unfortunately its recommendations are entirely too complicated and perpetuate the currently dysfunctional system.

Instead of wasting its time trying to reform our currently dysfunctional classification system the PIDB recommendations must challenge the very notion of systematic classification of government information as either helpful or required.

On those extremely rare occasions when short duration opaqueness may be deemed necessary by an agency head or the president, ensure that a considerable and continuing burden is met to prevent the information from automatically transitioning to transparency.

As for the massive amount of data currently classified at all levels the recommendation must be simple and direct—declassify all currently classified data, no questions, no review, no authorization, no aging, and no backlog, no shit!

Some of our leadership routinely predict doom if they're required to govern our nation transparently, but these predictions have never been accurate. What's more likely is they're simply confessing an ignorance of how to transparently govern. However, the solution to their ignorance is not systems of state secrecy and opaque governance—it's education or leadership replacement.

UPDATED 06/13/2012 FAS Secrecy Blog, Not All Leaks of Classified Information Violate the Law

Aftergood continues his travels in our nation's classification rabbit hole—we can only hope he eventually discovers a path where opaque information instantaneously becomes transparent.


UPDATED 12/08/2016 WH, President Obama Speaks to the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2016


Mr. President, "open government" requires government leaders capable of governing transparently and which in fact govern transparently. Most, if not all of our current leaders are incapable of conceiving how transparent government could function9 and many flaunt their deficiency.

Next time a congressional committee or National Security Council is preparing to meet in secret poll each member why they are governing in secret, you'll be flabbergasted by their transparent ignorance!

UPDATED 10/11/2016 FAS SecrecyBlog, Amount of Classification is Highly Uncertain

Really, our nation, which has perfunctorily "classified" information for decades is uncertain about the number of secrets it maintains!
"...In 2005 there were a total of 258,633 original classification actions, or new secrets, reported;..."
While this number of "original classification" actions is problematic for our democracy it's only a small fraction of our government's accumulated secrecy problem.

The real secrecy problem is in the annual and cumulative number of "derivative classification" actions, which exceeds by orders of magnitude the "original classification" actions. It will surprise nobody that our government is clueless about the number of annual and cumulative "derivative classification" actions it now maintains.

Our government leaders are good at talking about transparent governance, but unless the rate of declassification actions routinely exceeds the rate of "derivative classification" actions, by orders of magnitude, transparent governance will be just talk.

UPDATED 08/06/2016 GoveExec, Agencies Are Declassifying One-Time Secrets at a Higher Rate, Archives Reports

Congress must enact and the President sign a bill entitled "National Transparency and Holiday Act" under which all government agencies and government contractors immediately* declassify any document that a miscreant classified (Top Secret, Secret, or Confidential) during the preceding calendar year.

*You cannot use the words "automatically declassify" because our government thinks "automatically declassify" means, review to see if the document should remain classified!

UPDATED 07/29/2016 FAS, Presidential Policy Directives [PPDs] Barack Obama Administration

President Obama continues our governments' entrenched practices of opaque governance. He dutifully and sincerely pontificates and parrots platitudes about democracy, freedom, transparency, and openness as our secret and increasingly malignant8 national security machinery engulfs our citizenry.

UPDATED 04/12/2016 GovExec, Spy Chief Instructs Intel Community to Serve as Government's Declassification Role Model

Really, James Clapper instructing our IC to serve as a government role model for declassification—you can't make this shit up! Next week there'll be a joint announcement that China's President Xi will be mentoring our IC on how to serve as the government's declassification role model!

It's been rumored that former government lawyers David Addington and John Yoo strongly objected saying that President Xi does not have the authority to be an IC mentor. All objections were dropped after it was pointed out that Xi may skip any mentoring role and immediately declassify and publish all our government's documents.

UPDATED 04/06/2016 FAS, Secrecy System to Undergo “Thoughtful Scrutiny”

Does this mean that all earlier scrutiny has been thoughtless?

No need to think when subjecting our thoughtfully abused and abusive chaos of classified government documents to scrutiny—simply and speedily publish all government documents and refrain from classifying any government documents in the future.

UPDATED 03/13/2016 WP, Hillary Clinton says her emails were classified after the fact. How does that work? and Newsweek, The Shocking Truth: Colin Powell’s Emails Don’t Matter

Journalists are beginning to articulate the tragicomedy of our "system of classification". But, their articles read like a briefing you'd hear when you're "read in" to a classified program. After the umpteenth "read in" you begin wondering whether everyone superintending our "system of classification" is a G. Gordon Liddy clone?

How officials think our "system of classification" works, but doesn't, is the tragicomedy.

UPDATED 03/09/2016 FASecrecy, Help Wanted to Oversee the Classification System

Job qualification: ability to determine if government document is classified using the following algorithm:

Is document classified?
Yes: immediately declassify and publish document.
 No: publish document and go to next document.
 Repeat continuously until no government document remains unpublished to the public domain.

UPDATED 01/29/2016 NPR, 22 Hillary Clinton Emails Dubbed 'Top Secret'

Whenever our government asserts some data are "top secret" or “black, special access required” our citizenry should completely excluded such data from any discussion or analysis, as in totally ignore or disregard the data.

The government logic, which ridiculously maintains "if you knew what I'm not disclosing, you'd ... (fill in the blank)" is so yesterday. If our government refuses to disclose government data then it should not be permitted to rely on such data for any government purpose, without extraordinary documented and disclosed justification.

Stated differently, total government transparency is the default, without narrow and extraordinary justification. An auto rubber stamp or assertion of "top secret" or budgeting a program as "black, special access required" would most emphatically would not even come close to extraordinary justification!
UPDATED 08/31/2015 NYMag, Could Hillary Clinton Face Criminal Charges Over Emailgate?
Wonder how long it will take before everyone throws up their arms and concludes our system of classifying government information is arbitrary?

UPDATED 08/19/2015  WP, State Department flags 305 more Clinton e-mails for review

A government employee should not be using private email accounts (or servers) to send any official government information (classified or unclassified) period.

That said, reviewing unmarked emails for classification after the emails have been sent for the purpose of determining if former Secretary of State Clinton sent "classified information" is a Sisyphean exercise.

The individual generating the alleged classified information is responsible for derivatively classifying the information using the original classification authority guidelines—it's simply not a prerogative of the person receiving derivatively classified information to alter the classification. Although, a person with access to the program's classification guide could conceivably challenge derivative classifications, as a practical matter this is rarely done. Government communications would be worse  than they already are (as difficult as that is to imagine:) if everyone began second guessing derivative classifications (i.e. a second derivative guess about the original derivative classification guess7)!

If the truth be told most of those participating in classified programs routinely violate classification guidelines and procedures—most have never read the program's classification guidelines!

Maintaining government transparency would significantly reduce or eliminate all the Sisyphean exercises associated with our arbitrary and nonfunctional classification system. Stated differently guess work and secrecy will always combine to create an arbitrary and nonfunctional system.

And costly in the case of our currently arbitrary and nonfunctional classification system.

UPDATED 01/20/2015  Secrecy News, IC Inspector General Finds No Overclassification
A sampling of 200 documents between the dates of January and April 2014 says nothing about the prevalence of over-classification within the millions of classified documents across our intelligence communities.

Additionally, for the sampled documents it's unclear how the IC IG audited the purpose for which a document was classified (e.g. speaking with the derivative classifier, consult the classification guide, assume a document is correctly classified etc.)?

UPDATED 08/12/2014 FAS Secrecy Blog, Congress Grapples with Classification Issues

It's difficult to tell whether our intelligence community and their putative "overseers" are more fearful that "classified disclosures" will harm our nation or that they won't?

UPDATED 01/26/2014 FAS Secrecy Blog, December 2013 Declassification Deadline Passes– And?
UPDATED 10/31/2013 UPI, Lockheed Unveils New System for Sharing Intel Information

It's unclear what problem our proponents and perpetuators of opaque governance are solving with tokens that implement a finer sharing granularity for existing database objects?

Spending millions or billions of additional dollars to tokenize secrecy sharing is unlikely to improve our existing dysfunctional, harmful and obsolete systems of secrecy. However, such spending may detrimentally impede or slow our nation's learning and transition to transparent governance.
UPDATED 10/26/2013 USAToday, Anti-NSA rally attracts thousands to march in Washington
UPDATED 10/09/2013 NSA, IC Off The Record

NSA must immediately begin posting its documents to the Internet—there is no need to wait for a leak or a truth to precede its implementation of total transparency.

UPDATED 10/02/2013 Wired, Edward Snowden’s E-Mail Provider Defied FBI Demands to Turn Over Crypto Keys, Documents Show and NYT, Lavabit Founder Waged Privacy Fight as F.B.I. Pursued Snowden

Wonder why our opaque government spends so much time and resources forcing transparency on our private citizens?

UPDATED 09/07/2013 ScienceLive, Why the Latest NSA Leak Is the Scariest of All

Our "War on Terror" governments for the last dozen or so years seem to be solving a question not directly asked: can our nation create so much security that we're no longer secure—we may be approaching a solution?

If so, it seems like an unnecessarily destructive, uncertain, and costly solution for discovering government transparency.

UPDATED 08/20/2013 ProPublica, What NSA Transparency Looks Like

From NSA's point-of-view (POV) it must look naked—to a transparent nation NSA still looks like a shivering Russian dressed for a Siberian winter while pleading for another layer of opaque clothing.

UPDATED 08/05/2013 MJ, Reuters: NSA Secretly Helping Drug Agencies Target US Persons
UPDATED 07/26/2013 NYT, Roberts’s Picks Reshaping Secret Surveillance Court

Our government's methods of opaque and dark governance share attributes with the 15th century English monarchy Star Chamber.

NSA invited our media into its Maryland facilities to tell a story (Inside the NSA: America's Cyber Secrets) of using its computing power to intercept and decrypt data, which enabled our leaders to kill some of our historical enemies, citizens and NSA employees. It's hard to tell whether NSA is making a case for its relevance or irrelevance and opaqueness or transparency?

When NSA was recently asked by a reporter to provide emails about its cooperation with any documentary production NSA responded by asking the reporter to narrow the FOIA request to specific email address NSA personnel! (You can't make this stuff up!!)

Congress will waste decades tinkering around the edges of our opaque and dark systems of governance instead of implementing totally transparent governance. Propaganda and fear mongering, however well meaning, are not substitutes for totally transparent governance.

UPDATED 07/21/2013 NYT, Math Behind Leak Crackdown: 153 Cases, 4 Years, 0 Indictments
Well, Admiral Blair got it half right when stating this needs to stop: …“We were hoping to get somebody and make people realize that there are consequences to this and it needed to stop.”…

Unfortunately, Admiral Blair was referring to "leaks" instead of ending our methods of dark and opaque governance. Most of our existing leadership have become so accustom (taught) to dark and opaque governance they think it's the default—they express a stupefying amazement when any sunshine impinges their otherwise dark and opaque environment.

We must demand that our future leaders learn that totally transparent governance is our nation's default, without exceptions. Like our genetically close cousin, the mouse, future leaders must automatically run from all dark and opaque spots that cloud the sunshine flooding into their environment.

The negative consequences referred to by Admiral Blair attach to our nation's failure to teach our future leaders how to transparently govern our citizenry with total transparency, without exception.6

UPDATED 07/20/2013 AspenPublicRadio, NSA Lead Attorney Defends Phone Surveillance

Five “worker-bees” (see video for names) that variously participated in our NSA's data vacuuming, storage and analysis programs broadly discuss the program elements illuminated by Snowden and authorized by public law sections 702 (FISA) and 215 (Patriot). Drone usage is discussed, too (debate on Snowden leaks breaks out during drone discussion). Moderator Mike Isikoff tries to truncate participants’ tendency to pursue non-responsive justification speeches.

The panel is a frightening reminder of how poorly we have been and will be served by methods of dark governance. Panel participants, no doubt narrowly competent, demonstrated a complete ignorance about the negative implications their activities may have on modern civil societies.

Instead panel participants parrot untested, if not untrue platitudes, seem content to assume their activities are beneficial and fail to demonstrate any heterodox thinking required of participants in modern civil societies.

The ACLU representative's entirely orthodox complaint that NSA's data vacuuming, storage and analysis programs erode the attorney-client privilege may qualify as "radically heterodox" thinking for some of the panel participants?

UPDATED 0719/2013 Reuters, U.S. court renews surveillance program exposed by Snowden
UPDATED 07/16/2013 BBC, Yahoo wins battle over Prism court papers
UPDATED 07/15/2013 Reuters, German spies made use of U.S. surveillance data: paper
UPDATED 07/15/2013 UPI, U.N. steps into Snowden fray
UPDATED 07/13/2013 UPI, NSA tapped fiber cables to collect data
UPDATED 07/13/2013 WP, The NSA slide you haven’t seen and  WP, NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program
UPDATED 07/12/2013 WP, Welcome to the transit zone: Photos from Snowden’s meeting and the strange scene outside and WP, Full text of Snowden’s new statement: I had ‘the power to change people’s fates’

The half-life of a government secret is considerably shorter than a cure for its secrecy sickness.

UPDATED 07/11/2013 Guardian, Revealed: how Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
UPDATED 07/03/2013 WP, Edward Snowden’s father, in letter, compares son to Paul Revere, assails administration

WOW, a lawyer in defense of our magnificent and beautiful Constitution against our government, seemingly incapable of measuring and constraining or bounding its behavior—thought such primates had gone missing or extinct, until this sighting.

If Snowden is like Paul Revere, Fein is like John Marshall.

UPDATED 07/03/2013 Reuters, Fugitive Snowden's options narrow as asylum requests spurned
UPDATED 07/02/2013 BBC, US-EU bugging claims: Is it OK for US to spy on allies?

Mr. President this presents a perfect opportunity for America to lead by proposing a treaty for totally transparent governance.

Now that would truly be an "exceptional America"!

UPDATED 06/30/2013 Reuters, U.S. bugged EU offices, computer networks: German magazine

UPDATED 06/27/2013 MoJo, NSA Claims That It Has Stopped Collecting Bulk Domestic Email Records

More evidence that our government doesn't understand the problem, as if we needed more evidence! I'm sure our government really believes their assertion is believable and effective—unfortunately (or fortunately), others will not.

Our government must pursue total transparency with the same tenacity it pursues total awareness!

UPDATED 06/25/2013 Reuters, The 'Snowden Effect': U.S. spies say militants change tactics

Regardless of your understandings about government secrecy you must credit (or condemn) the tenacity with which our government continues pursuing secrecy, notwithstanding the extraordinary costs (excluding embarrassment).

It seems silly to continue secretly building and hiding costly needles in costly haystacks; leaking the costly needles and costly haystacks, forecasting "grave national harm"; condemning leakers as traitors, prosecuting leakers, and jailing leaker for life; and then opaquely repeating the cycle with ever more costly needles and haystacks...!

Our government's solution, to date, seems to be doubling or tripling or quadrupling down on oppressive and coercive methods—these methods have consistently failed and are likely to do so into the foreseeable future—leaks likely occur in response to a perceived overly oppressive and coercive government (oppressive and coercive methods simply confirm the leaker’s perception!).

Our government can adopt methods of transparent governance or continue engaging in an escalating,  costly and cyclical contest of oppression and coercion with the leakers, supporters, and citizenry (domestic and foreign)5. The former seems to be the much more sensible and successful path for our government to pursue (if somewhat counter-intuitive).

UPDATED 06/24/2013 Xinhua, Snowden "healthy and safe", whereabouts undisclosed
UPDATED 06/23/2013 NYT, Snowden, in Russia, Said to Seek Asylum in Ecuador

If the NSA director's proposition that Snowden's leaks have caused "irreversible harm" is accurate (a dubious proposition reactionarily asserted by most if not all proponents of secrecy4) it has sped our nation's transition to transparent governance. If the director's proposition is inaccurate it has sped our nation's transition to transparent governance on a circuitous and costly track.

A global underground railroad for whistle-blowers should not be required to convince our nation to lead the global transition to transparent governance with all diligent speed.

UPDATED 06/23/2013 Wikileaks, WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong - UPDATED and  SCMP, Snowden flies to Russia, reportedly headed to Ecuador and NJ, The Edward Snowden Drama Has Reached Peak Action Movie

UPDATED 06/22/2013 Reuters, British spy agency taps cables, shares with NSA: Guardian
UPDATED 06/21/2013 Guardian, US files criminal charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
UPDATED 06/18/2013  Guardian, The NSA Files and Guardian, Edward Snowden Q&A: Dick Cheney traitor charge is 'the highest honor'

Wow, journalism equivalent to an undergraduate Civics seminar—not bad for a "high school dropout"—sadly our government isn't playing the role of humble or humiliated instructor.

Of course, accurately instructing our citizenry in Civics may be difficult when our President thinks our  Foreign  Domestic Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISC) is transparent!

UPDATED 06/09/2013 Guardian, Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

Perhaps  a presidential pardon petition3 can be submitted concurrently with any NSA's U.S. Justice Department criminal report?

UPDATED 06/09/2013 Reuters, Obama defends surveillance effort as 'trade-off' for security

Mr. President much of our citizenry do not seek 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy, and zero inconvenience, they seek 100 percent transparency—you may be conflating the delusions of our sick2 secrecy proponents with the desires of our citizenry?

It redefines cynicism to call on our citizenry to debate our security and privacy without disclosing all of the information relevant to the debate or threatening to prosecute those that try to provide information to our citizenry relevant to that debate!

Our senators and others asserting or implying that they're not calling terrorists and as long as we're not calling terrorists we have nothing to worry about don't even qualify as misinformed, stupid silly or stooge propagandists.

UPDATED 06/08/2013 Guardian, Boundless Informant: NSA explainer – full document text and Boundless Informant NSA data-mining tool – four key slides

"BOUNDLESS INFORMANT is hosted entirely on corporate services and leverages FOSS technology ( i.e. available to all NSA developers)."

What does the above bullet point from the partial Boundless Informant slides mean: "...hosted entirely on corporate services..."?

UPDATED 06/07/2013 WP, Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge and NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program

In the 21st century it's difficult to imagine a faster method of sabotaging and harming our social and civil society networks than creating the perception or reality that our government is conducting secret mass data vacuuming operations against these networks without constitutional authority, lawful process, probable cause, transparency or specific user permission.

On the positive side our government, in response to this latest leak, instead of invoking their standard delusion that leaked data is not public data quickly moved to disclose additional information about the program(s). Our government must immediately move to publicly disclose all details of this and other programs conducting secret mass data vacuuming operations against our social and civil society networks.

It seems preferable for our government and leadership to learn how to transparently govern our nation and citizenry than for our nation to continually build and maintain massive systems of secrecy—those asserting secrecy sustains security are perpetuating a harmful myth.

UPDATED 06/06/2013 Guardian, NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily

More governmental secrecy leading to massive mischief—can't wait to hear our leaders' explanations—so far they've told us it's nothing new, been going on for seven years; the privacy compromise was effective two years ago in securing our safety; and my favorite, so far, is from Senator Graham, I'm a Verizon customer and I don't care if NSA has my phone number; ... more to follow!

Hey, on the positive side it's another press leak for our FBI and Attorney General to chase down, it will give all those NSA computers in the desert some data to crunch and nobody will have to declassify the Domestic Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Act) Court order in 2038—do you feel safer, now?.

UPDATED 05/19/2013 WT, AP CEO calls Justice Department’s records seizure unconstitutional

Our government (Executive, Congress and Judiciary) has learned to routinely assert "national security risk" as justification for opaque governance and all matter of mischief. As if, speaking or writing these words is some talismanic pathway for compromising our citizenry, Constitution, democracy, basic rights and fundamental concepts.

Disabusing our government of their talismanic notion will not be easily accomplished, but it certainly begins with our press asserting its fundamental rights and our citizenry vociferously demanding that press freedoms trumps national security.

UPDATED 05/14/2013 WP, Under sweeping subpoenas, Justice Department obtained AP phone records in leak investigation and Reuters, U.S. attorney general says he didn't make AP phone records decision

Until government secrecy is understood as a sickness requiring a cure we will endure well meaning, but nevertheless meaningless serial government pronouncements of "grave harm" or "very very serious" or variation on the theme "The British are Coming" as justification for enforcing and reinforcing opaque governance.

Our government's "grave harm" and "very very serious"and "The Russians are Coming"  pronouncements are irrefutable because each pronouncement is invariable followed by additional opaque pronouncements intended as further justification for mandatory opaque governance.

In this context these serial pronouncements of "grave harm" and "very, very serious leak" and "The Terrorists are Coming" are as meaningless as the next "very, very, very serious leak" or the next "very, very, very, very serious leak".

Ending our government's secrecy and opaque ways is as simple as choosing to protect our transparent press freedoms in lieu of "very, very ... very serious leak or "grave harm" or "The Chinese are Coming" pronouncements.

Of course, proponents seeking to perpetuate secrecy and opaque governance will predict and promise our nation will end when secrecy and opaque governance ends—not unlike those perpetually predicting and promising the end of our nation, if not the world!

UPDATED 06/10/2012 NPR, How The President Decides To Make Drone Strikes
NYT, Holder Directs U.S. Attorneys to Investigate Spate of Leaks

Other Incidents of Opaque Governance:

UPDATED 12/14/2012 Thomson Reuters, U.S. government says wiretap lawsuit should not proceed Carolyn Jewel et al. vs. National Security Agency et al., 08-cv-4373, Northern District California


1. There has been some small progress in recognizing that our system of classification is expensive, arbitrary, and totally dysfunctional—the debate is over whether the secrecy system should be salvaged or scrapped.

Protecting our leakers, journalists, reporters, press, and bloggers from periodic "leak investigations" will encourage reluctant leaders to move to transparent governance or render their reluctance moot.

2. Some of our citizenry may diagnose our government's secrecy as a special strength, but most if not all our government's secrecy is more accurately diagnosed as a self-perpetuating, subtle and subversive sickness.

Of course those participating in our government's system of secrecy are unable to perceive any sickness—for them it's not only as a special strength, but a necessary, if not sufficient strength.

Not unlike those participating in a sick relationship are unable to perceive how sick their relationship is, at least until they've left the relationship and sometimes spent many years in treatment.

3. There has been speculation that Edward Snowden maybe fleeing ahead of an inquiry into his espionage for the Chinese—if the speculation is proved more than a CIA disinformation campaign then he can be pardoned for leaking and indicted for espionage, if any.

4. Participants in our government's secrecy sickness are by definition unable to assert that a disclosure is benign—an algorithm would flag them as a potential security risk.

5. One wonders what level of government oppression and coercion is consistent a developing (or optimal) advance economy?

6. Proponents for perpetuating the paradigm of dark and opaque governance will often assert that we must continue our dark and opaque governance because others will not follow our transparent leadership—really, so let others continue with their dark and opaque governance, if they can!

7. The original derivative classifier is doing little more than guessing about what should be classified when she subjectively applies the program's classification guidelines (assuming she has read the guide).

A second derivative classifier would be subjectively guessing about the first derivative classifier's guessing when she initially applied the program's classification guidelines! Judges in general refuse to perform the function of a second derivative classifier—many rightly stating they refuse to "second guess" the government. Who'll perform the function of "second guesser" on the information in the 305 emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

8. Who will soon forget the unseemly (not to mention unconstitutional) episode of national security operatives interfering with Congress as it exercised its oversight responsibilities with respect to torture (i.e. Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture)?

9. Many of our leaders freak-out over something as simple and mundane as public disclosure of diplomatic or Secretary of State communications and emails.