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Manufacturing In U.S. Rebounded In June As Orders Picked Up

Source: Bloomberg

Manufacturing rebounded in June, showing gains in the U.S. housing market and stronger auto sales are helping stabilize industry.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index climbed to a three-month high of 50.9 from 49 in May, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. The median forecast of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for the measure to rise to 50.5. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

Sustained demand for automobiles and housing materials, combined with lean inventories, are underpinning orders and production at the nation’s factories. Fading effects of federal budget cuts along with growth in exports as Europe emerges from recession stand to further benefit manufacturers in the U.S.

“It’s a pretty decent improvement relative to May,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. JPMorgan was the top-ranked forecaster of the ISM index in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The increase in new orders is a positive for production.”

Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-07-01/manufacturing-in-u-dot-s-dot-rebounded-in-june-as-orders-picked-up

KRUGMAN: War On the Unemployed

Is life too easy for the unemployed? You may not think so, and I certainly don’t think so. But that, remarkably, is what many and perhaps most Republicans believe. And they’re acting on that belief: there’s a nationwide movement under way to punish the unemployed, based on the proposition that we can cure unemployment by making the jobless even more miserable.

Consider, for example, the case of North Carolina. The state was hit hard by the Great Recession, and its unemployment rate, at 8.8 percent, is among the highest in the nation, higher than in long-suffering California or Michigan. As is the case everywhere, many of the jobless have been out of work for six months or more, thanks to a national environment in which there are three times as many people seeking work as there are job openings.

Nonetheless, the state’s government has just sharply cut aid to the unemployed. In fact, the Republicans controlling that government were so eager to cut off aid that they didn’t just reduce the duration of benefits; they also reduced the average weekly benefit, making the state ineligible for about $700 million in federal aid to the long-term unemployed.

It’s quite a spectacle, but North Carolina isn’t alone: a number of other states have cut unemployment benefits, although none at the price of losing federal aid. And at the national level, Congress has been allowing extended benefits introduced during the economic crisis to expire, even though long-term unemployment remains at historic highs.

So what’s going on here? Is it just cruelty? Well, the G.O.P., which believes that 47 percent of Americans are “takers” mooching off the job creators, which in many states is denying health care to the poor simply to spite President Obama, isn’t exactly overflowing with compassion. But the war on the unemployed isn’t motivated solely by cruelty; rather, it’s a case of meanspiritedness converging with bad economic analysis.



Assange: Edward Snowden Is ‘Marooned In Russia’

By David A. Fahrenthold and Juan Forero, Updated: Sunday, June 30, 8:35 PM E

Edward Snowden seems to be stranded.

Three weeks after Snowden revealed himself as the source of leaked top-secret documents on U.S. intelligence gathering, the former intelligence contractor is stuck in legal limbo in Russia. Although he has not been seen publicly in days, he is believed to be inside a transit area of a Moscow airport.

On Sunday, two of his strongest supporters — Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador — said it was unlikely that Snowden would leave there anytime soon.

“The United States, by canceling his passport, has left him for the moment marooned in Russia,” said Assange, whose anti-secrecy organization has aided Snowden in his flight.

Now, Snowden’s flight has brought him to the transit area of Sheremetyevo International Airport. And to a dwindling set of options.

One is simply staying in the airport. If Snowden is not being detained by Russian authorities — and Russian officials have said that he is not — he could remain in an area reserved for international travelers making connections. As long as he does not go through passport control, Russian officials say he would not legally cross into Russian territory.



Snowden Leaks Cast Shadow Over U.S. Plan to Curb Chinese Hacking

Bloomberg News By Michael Riley June 30, 2013

The Obama administration’s strategy for confronting China over the theft of commercial technology has been battered by Edward Snowden’s disclosures of U.S. spying, leaving officials rushing to salvage a plan they crafted in secret over the past two years.

A public confrontation with China that appeared to erupt spontaneously this year actually coalesced after significant shifts in U.S. policy and years of internal argument, analysis and vetting, according to two people briefed on the plan who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter.

Approved by top national security advisers and presented to President Barack Obama in a series of meetings in 2012 and early this year, the plan includes classified counterintelligence operations, the seizure of assets and even the possible indictment of Chinese hackers, those people said.

The U.S. already has privately provided China’s leaders with evidence it gathered linking the hacks of commercial companies to China’s intelligence agencies -- a risky demarche that exposed the methods of U.S. spy agencies tracking those activities, according to the two people.

While some elements of the plan are well under way, other parts were intended to be rolled out over the next several months to increase pressure on China’s leaders.



Assange: 'No Stopping' Publication Of NSA Documents

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said documents taken by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden will still be published.

"There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage," Assange told ABC's This Week Sunday.

In the meantime, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Snowden stands as an example of why there needs to be a "civilian interface" for the thousands of Americans with security clearances who work with top-secret information, adding that the interface must come with "robust security."

Snowden, he said, hadn't been a "stellar student" but had been allowed access to state secrets. McCaul spoke on C-SPAN's Newsmakers program Sunday.

"I kind of question who we're giving access to, and we should take another look," said McCaul, who has complained that only the Intelligence Committee handles oversight of classified information. McCaul would like his committee to have access so that members may have a debate about what civilians are allowed to see, even as both Republicans and Democrats have worked to further limit access so that it can't be leaked.



McCain, Schumer On Snowden: Russia Should Pay

Source: CNN

By Ashley Killough, CNN

(CNN) — Two high-profile senators on Sunday continued to admonish Russia for not handing over Edward Snowden, the leaker of National Security Agency secrets who’s hiding in Russia as he seeks asylum in Ecuador.

Republican Sen. John McCain said Snowden’s actions amounted to a “slap in the face to the United States” and called President Vladimir Putin “an old colonel KGB apparatchik” who “dreams of the restoration of the Russian Empire.”

“I think we pushed the reset back down to about 1955. And so we have to deal realistically with an autocratic ruler of Russia who continues to repress people,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“They thumb our nose at us no matter what the issue is, and we should deal realistically, not a return of the Cold War, but realistically with Vladimir Putin,” he also said.

Read more: http://wtvr.com/2013/06/30/mccain-schumer-on-snowden-russia-should-pay/

Lindsay is going to be pissed...McCain has found a new friend!

Secret-Court Judges Upset At Portrayal Of ‘Collaboration’ With Government

By Carol D. Leonnig, Ellen Nakashima and Barton Gellman, Published: June 29

Recent leaks of classified documents have pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government’s secret surveillance programs, but members of the court are chafing at the suggestion that they were collaborating with the executive branch.

A classified 2009 draft report by the National Security Agency’s inspector general relayed some details about the interaction between the court’s judges and the NSA, which sought approval for the Bush administration’s top-secret domestic surveillance programs. The report was described in The Washington Post on June 16 and released in full Thursday by The Post and the British newspaper the Guardian.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, took the highly unusual step Friday of voicing open frustration at the account in the report and court’s inability to explain its decisions.

“In my view, that draft report contains major omissions, and some inaccuracies, regarding the actions I took as Presiding Judge of the FISC and my interactions with Executive Branch officials,” Kollar-Kotelly said in a statement to The Post. It was her first public comment describing her work on the intelligence court.

The inspector general’s draft report is among the many documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, touching off a roiling national debate about the proper balance between the government’s reach into Americans’ lives and the effort to protect the nation in the Internet age.



Germans Loved Obama. Now We Don’t Trust Him.

Published: June 29, 2013

BERLIN — IN May 2010, I received a brown envelope. In it was a CD with an encrypted file containing six months of my life. Six months of metadata, stored by my cellphone provider, T-Mobile. This list of metadata contained 35,830 records. That’s 35,830 times my phone company knew if, where and when I was surfing the Web, calling or texting.

The truth is that phone companies have this data on every customer. I got mine because, in 2009, I filed a suit against T-Mobile for the release of all the data on me that had been gathered and stored. The reason this information had been preserved for six months was because of Germany’s implementation of a 2006 European Union directive.

All of this data had to be kept so that law enforcement agencies could gain access to it. That meant that the metadata of 80 million Germans was being stored, without any concrete suspicions and without cause.

This “preventive measure” was met with huge opposition in Germany. Lawyers, journalists, doctors, unions and civil liberties activists started to protest. In 2008, almost 35,000 people signed on to a constitutional challenge to the law. In Berlin, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest data retention. In the end, the Constitutional Court ruled that the implementation of the European Union directive was, in fact, unconstitutional.

In Germany, whenever the government begins to infringe on individual freedom, society stands up. Given our history, we Germans are not willing to trade in our liberty for potentially better security. Germans have experienced firsthand what happens when the government knows too much about someone. In the past 80 years, Germans have felt the betrayal of neighbors who informed for the Gestapo and the fear that best friends might be potential informants for the Stasi. Homes were tapped. Millions were monitored.



Germans Caught By Surprise By U.S. Unprecedented Spying Attacks Scale

BERLIN, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Germany is high on the list of telephone telecommunication and Internet message tapping, as half a billion phone calls, emails and Internet chat messages could be intercepted by U.S. intelligence monthly on average, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

Citing classified documents disclosed by fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, it showed that Germany belonged to the "third-class" rank under U.S. intelligence surveillance, the highest in all of the EU member countries and are subject to deliberate attack of the signal.

It is revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) put some 20 million phone calls and roughly 10 million internet data connections in Germany under its close monitoring practice every day under normal circumstance, while it could rocket up to 60 million phone calls under extreme condition, according to the report.

The U.S. intelligence would eventually store the metadata, or the connections at its headquarters, not necessarily the content of these monitored phone calls, text messages, emails and internet chat.

The much higher frequency of monitoring in Germany has caught many Germans by big surprises, as in contrast to France where some 2 million long distance connection data are reportedly under surveillance by NSA per day, it was 10 times less than in Germany, while Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand just remain free of such spying surveillance.\



Heat Strains The Power Grid In California

As temperatures rocketed upward for a second straight day in the Southwest on Sunday and with no break likely until Tuesday, power companies nervously eyed surges from a population clamoring to stay cool with air conditioners.

"Some of these generators have been running at full speed for many hours now and they're not designed to do that and they break," said Steven Greenlee, spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, managing 80% of the state's power grid.

He said system officials were seriously considering early Sunday issuing a "flex alert" warning customers to conserve. Even heavier use was anticipated for Monday when the business week begins.

"We could be looking at setting a season peak through this heat wave. It would be a very early one at that. Usually our peaks are in August," Greenlee said Sunday. "Whenever we forecast or see that demand is outpacing supply, we make a voluntary call for conservation."

The worst of the heat wave is forecast to last at least until Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, before easing slightly back to typical mid-summer temperatures by midweek.


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