Category - USA

United States of America

India in America’s Coils?

The Citizen, By Bharat Karnad, March 11

New Delhi – It is a devastating turn of events – the indication that the Bharatiya Janata Party government will soon sign the three so-called “foundational” accords with the United States that Washington has been fiercely pushing in the past decade.

The Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) is first in line. The other two agreements are the CISMOA (Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement) and BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for geospatial information and data).
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Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism

Washington Post, By Radley Balko, March 10

A while back, we noted a report showing that the “sneak-and-peek” provision of the Patriot Act that was alleged to be used only in national security and terrorism investigations has overwhelmingly been used in narcotics cases. Now the New York Times reports that National Security Agency data will be shared with other intelligence agencies like the FBI without first applying any screens for privacy. The ACLU of Massachusetts blog Privacy SOS explains why this is important:

What does this rule change mean for you? In short, domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. Read More

Battered by drop in oil prices and Jindal’s fiscal policies, Louisiana falls into budget crisis

Washington Post, By Chico Harlan, March 4

Baton Rouge, LA — Already, the state of Louisiana had gutted university spending and depleted its rainy-day funds. It had cut 30,000 employees and furloughed others. It had slashed the number of child services staffers, including those devoted to foster family recruitment, and young abuse victims for the first time were spending nights at government offices.

And then, the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), came on TV and said the worst was yet to come.
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Contra Hillary

The Agonist’s editors have taken a principled stand in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination by the Democratic Party for president.  In the tradition of The Agonist, contrary opinions are always welcome, and in that spirit I offer arguments against the nomination of Hillary Clinton.  Fundamentally, I find her an unprincipled person, by which I mean two things: her political principles are opportunistic, and her ethical principles are lacking.  In normal circumstances, these failings would not disqualify her from high office.  Bill Clinton, after all, thrived as president, even though he has these exact same faults, because the times were such that the economy, and the population in general, benefited considerably during his eight years as president.  It was a false prosperity, built on an increasingly mountainous pile of private debt, but economic want did not stalk the land, as it does now.

Twenty years later, our situation is radically different, not just nationally, but globally.  What we need are political leaders with vision, a willingness to work for radical change, and a capability to push the “system” along to be able to enact such change.  This is a very tall order, which even Bernie Sanders does not fully meet, but Hillary Clinton doesn’t come close, because she lacks vision entirely.  She is politically opportunistic, grabbing on to whatever policy seems best suited to garner the most votes.  Setting policy through public opinion polling was always a hallmark of the Clinton presidency, and we shouldn’t be under any illusions.  Electing Hillary Clinton as president doesn’t mean necessarily that Bill Clinton will be back in the Oval Office, but it does mean that the Clinton style of governance shall return.  Everything about Hillary Clinton’s political career suggests as much, from her carefully scripted and nuanced public statements meant to offend the fewest amount of people, to her reliance on the same advisers, such as Robert Rubin, who did so much damage during the Clinton administration.

Let us look at several policy positions that she has held throughout her career, which define her as a reactionary, in the limited sense that she reacts to circumstances rather than trying to mold public opinion and political policy toward a different and better future. Read More

Navy Uses US Citizens as Pawns in Domestic War Games

Truthout, By Dahr Jamail, January 11

Beginning in mid-January, Navy SEALs will be practicing unannounced and clandestine combat beach landings across Washington State’s Puget Sound and many other coastal areas of that state.

The simulated combat exercises, which will include the use of mini-submarines and other landing craft, will deposit Navy SEALs carrying “simulated weapons” on 68 beach and state park areas in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Washington’s west coast, unbeknownst to most of the relevant government agencies tasked with overseeing these areas.

Internal Navy emails, two slide shows (which can be viewed in full here and here) and other documents obtained exclusively by Truthout reveal the vast extent of the operations. They also reveal the fact that the Navy labeled the relevant files as “For Official Use Only” and emails as “Attorney-Client privilege,” a move that exempts such documents from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Emails prove Carly Fiorina campaign has been illegally coordinating with super PAC

Raw Story, By Bethania Palma Markus, January 15


When you’ve lost Fox News…

An investigation by the International Business Times has turned up evidence that the campaign of GOP candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has been illegally coordinating campaign stops with a super PAC supporting her — in direct conflict with FEC laws prohibiting such collaborations.

According to IBT, candidates can receive political donations from individuals, but the amount is capped at a few thousands dollars. Super PACs, however, can receive unlimited amounts from donors. Super PACs are thus barred from coordinating with candidates’ campaigns directly.

Representatives with Carly for America say they do not coordinate with her campaign. In September, the New York Times reported that Fiorina’s campaign has aggressively exploited a loophole in elections law by publishing a public Google calendar showing the events she has planned. A representative from the super PAC told the Times that members simply look at Fiorina’s calendar and show up.

Silently protesting Muslim woman ejected from Trump rally

CNN, By Jeremy Diamond, January 9

Rock Hill, SC – A Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of Donald Trump’s campaign event on Friday by police after she stood up in silent protest during Trump’s speech.

Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant sitting in the stands directly behind Trump, stood up Friday during Trump’s speech when the Republican front-runner suggested that Syrian refugees fleeing war in Syria were affiliated with ISIS.

[…]

Major Steven Thompson of the Rock Hill Police Department told CNN Hamid was kicked out of the event because the campaign told him beforehand that “anybody who made any kind of disturbance” should be escorted out.

[…]

After Hamid and three others, all wearing stars reminiscent of those worn by Jews during the Holocaust, were escorted out by police and Trump campaign officials, Trump commented on the disturbance.

“There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,” Trump said. “It’s their hatred, it’s not our hatred.”

Auto-start video at the link.

Related…: This Powerful Video Just Released About Donald Trump is Sending Chills Up and Down People’s Spines – very slick.

Immigration raids begin targeting Central Americans, DHS defends policy

Dallas Morning News, By Dianne Solís, January 3

Immigration advocates and the Guatemalan and Salvadoran governments are warning people this weekend that raids by federal authorities have begun and are targeting Central Americans who have recently entered the U.S. without authorization.

Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement don’t generally confirm what they consider ongoing operations. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, reemphasized their priorities in a statement this morning that referred to policy priorities made in November 2014 in this memo.

The Washington Post first reported on Dec. 23 that raids would begin in early January targeting Central Americans who had orders of removal issued by a federal immigration judge. They would focus on those who entered the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2014, in numbers so large it was called a surge.

Los Angeles Times: Families are taken into custody as push to deport immigrants denied refuge begins