By Robert Scheer
For years, the outsourcing of defense and intelligence work was, with good reason, controversial in political circles. But in the last years of Bill Clinton’s administration, the president authorized the CIA’s creation of the first US government–sponsored venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, designed to invest in cutting-edge Silicon Valley companies. The firm, named after Ian Fleming’s fictional character “Q,” who masterminds James Bond’s spy gadgets, was founded on September 29, 1999, when the intelligence agencies came to realize they couldn’t produce the technology required to make sense of the vast amount of data they had acquired.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is putting his muscle into reaching a deal on trade with President Obama.
The new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is speaking about the trade agenda on an almost daily basis, and sending the signal that the White House and congressional Republicans can reach an agreement to approve fast-track negotiating authority, which would speed the consideration of two pending trade deals.
“Completing these trade deals is my No. 1 priority,” Ryan said Thursday at a Washington International Trade Association event in Washington
Along with Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), the chairman of the subcommittee on Trade Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Ryan plans to hold
WASHINGTON -- New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged Wednesday to move full speed ahead to give President Barack Obama so-called fast track authority to cut massive new trade deals with little oversight.
The last grant of fast track authority, formally known as Trade Promotion Authority, expired in 2007. It allowed the president to negotiate trade deals without consulting Congress and to sign the agreements on his own. Congress' role was reduced to voting yes or no on the resulting deal, with no amendments and none of the procedural hurdles that lawmakers can typically employ when they don't like something.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) adamantly opposed granting that power
Trans-Pacific Trade Talks Resume With Almost No Media Coverage
Campaign for America's Future Dave Johnson December 8, 2014
Shouldn’t it be a trade violation to threaten to move someone’s job to another country? Shouldn’t we negotiate trade agreements that increase people’s wages on both sides of a trade border? These are the kinds of agreements we would make if We the People were negotiating trade agreements with representatives of the working people in other countries. Unfortunately that is not the kind of trade agreements that our current trade negotiation process produces.
The secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations resumed this week, this time in Washington. TPP is a massive agreement that sets up new rules for over 40 percent of
In a speech before CEOs of major U.S. corporations, Obama indicates he's ready to go head-to-head with Democrats, labor unions, and environmentalists on trade deals
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer Common Dreams.org
"In a recent Pew poll, a mere 17 percent of the U.S. public thought that trade has boosted U.S. wages, while 45 percent, across the political spectrum, saw trade as contributing to falling wages for U.S. workers." (Photo: Global Trade Watch/flickr/cc)
President Barack Obama is ready to buck his liberal base in order to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the pro-corporate international trade deal currently being negotiated in secret by the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
The Barack Obama administration has offered no credible legal authorization for a war against Islamic State, and Congress plainly will not provide one. What's going on here, asks the shade of James Madison? Has the U.S. completely lost the part of the Constitution that imagines Congress and thus the people as a check on the president’s war powers? And if so, does it matter?
We can dispense quickly with the justifications that the administration has proffered in a piecemeal and somewhat embarrassed fashion. The 2002 authorization for the use of military force for the Iraq War says that the president can “protect the national security of the United States against the threat posed by
With everyone from Democratic officeholders to a cohort of political bloggers urging, imploring, virtually begging Democratic candidates and incumbents to embrace the Affordable Care Act ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, it seems that only the pollsters are warning that they do so at their own political peril.
“In terms of Obamacare, don’t defend it,” the respected Democratic pollster Celinda Lake urged in March following the release of her own extensive polling on the issue for George Washington University’s respected Battleground Poll. “Say it was flawed from the beginning, and we’re going to fix it.”
There’s just one problem with that strategy: it serves as an implicit rebuke of the 111th Congress, the Democratic Party’s leadership in the legislature, and President Barack Obama....
...But those Democrats who are not defending controversial votes they may have taken regarding the ACA, or who are not beholden to the president who is desperate to avoid one last rebuke from the electorate, are warning of a far bleaker future for Democrats with the Obamacare millstone around their necks.
Speaking to Boston Herald Radio last week, the only member of Massachusetts’ all-Democrat congressional delegation to vote against the 2010 health care reform law, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), warned that the Obamacare — well, you know — is about to “hit the fan.”
“There are parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, that were postponed because they are unpalatable,” Lynch observed. “As these provisions come into effect, the administration thus far is saying, ‘Gee, we really can’t handle this right now so we’re going to delay it.’”...
Obamacare Enforcement Like Snow Removal, IRS Chief Says
Richard Rubin Bloomberg Apr 2, 2014
Administering the 2010 health-care law is just like municipal snow shoveling -- a top priority that’s non-negotiable, John Koskinen, the commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, said today.
Koskinen, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, drew on his experience a decade ago as the deputy mayor of the city government in the nation’s capital. Even as the IRS faces budgetary pressures, he said, the health law will be a priority, just as snow removal is essential for a city.
Starting with the tax returns that will be filed in early 2015, the IRS will be responsible for enforcing the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and ensuring that people claim the correct amount of subsidies for insurance...
...“If we can have a smooth filing season next year including the appropriate review of the returns of taxpayers” claiming tax credits for health insurance, he said, “the public and the Congress will have to say: That’s some organization with an amazing workforce.”...
The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases that can include records like car registrations and employment information.
While the agency says that the goal is to streamline the security procedures for millions of passengers who pose no risk, the new measures give the government greater authority to use travelers’ data for domestic airport screenings. Previously that level of scrutiny applied only to individuals entering the United States.
...“The average person doesn’t understand how much intelligence-driven matching is going on and how this could be accessed for other purposes,” said Khaliah Barnes, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which has fought to block these initiatives. “There’s no meaningful oversight, transparency or accountability.”
Author: Louis Bolden, Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published On: Oct 08 2013 07:09:19 PM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. - Many people signing up for health care in Florida through the Affordable Care Act have been shocked when they have to give proof of their credit score before they finish the process.
Anne Packham, one of many people licensed by the state to help people navigate the government's website, said on Tuesday that the credit check occurs so providers can make an educated decision about who to insure.
"If someone is defaulting on all of their bills they may not want to have them as part of their health plan," said Packham, the lead Navigator in Florida.
August 1st, 2013 | by Chris Woods Additional reporting by Mushtaq Yusufzai
A field investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in Pakistan’s tribal areas appears to confirm that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last year briefly revived the controversial tactic of deliberately targeting rescuers at the scene of a previous drone strike. The tactic has previously been labelled a possible war crime by two UN investigators.
The Bureau’s new study focused mainly on strikes around a single village in North Waziristan – attacks that were aimed at one of al Qaeda’s few remaining senior figures, Yahya al-Libi. He was finally killed by a CIA drone strike on June 4 2012.
Congressional aides have previously been reported as describing to the Los Angeles Times reviewing a CIA video showing Yahya al-Libi alone being killed. But the Bureau’s field research appears to confirm what others reported at the time – that al-Libi’s death was part of a sequence of strikes on the same location that killed up to 16 people.
If correct, that would indicate that Congressional aides were not shown crucial additional video material.
Secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form.
Declan McCullagh July 25, 2013 11:26 AM PDT
The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users' stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.
If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.
"I've certainly seen them ask for passwords," said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We push back."
A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'"
Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts...
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