An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign…
The rare display of bipartisan fury followed a three-hour private briefing by Inspector General David Buckley. His investigation revealed that five CIA employees, two lawyers and three information technology specialists improperly accessed or “caused access” to a database that only committee staff were permitted to use…
In other conclusions, Buckley found that CIA security officers conducted keyword searches of the emails of staffers of the committee’s Democratic majority _ and reviewed some of them _ and that the three CIA information technology specialists showed “a lack of candor” in interviews with Buckley’s office.
The inspector general’s summary did not say who may have ordered the intrusion or when senior CIA officials learned of it.
He didn’t confirm or deny White House knowledge of the crime.
Following the briefing, some senators struggled to maintain their composure over what they saw as a violation of the constitutional separation of powers between an executive branch agency and its congressional overseers…
The findings confirmed charges by the committee chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that the CIA intruded into the database that by agreement was to be used by her staffers compiling the report on the harsh interrogation methods used by the agency on suspected terrorists held in secret overseas prisons under the George W. Bush administration.
The findings also contradicted Brennan’s denials of Feinstein’s allegations, prompting two panel members, Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., to demand that the spy chief resign…
Otherwise – Just fire the bum!!
RTFA for beaucoup details. Lots of anger expressed by members of Congress who normally haven’t the backbone to challenge any example of intelligence community corruption. It’s amazing how upset government creeps can become when they’re treated like the rest of us ordinary citizens.
Like many of his peers, like the present and former residents of the White House, Brennan lied to Congress and to the American people. Will Congress or Obama have the integrity to demand criminal charges be forthcoming from the DOJ and Attorney-General Holder? Hmmm. How likely does that seem to you?
Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage allows the state to promote the birth and upbringing of children in “stable, lasting relationships”, the state’s attorney general argued Tuesday while asking a federal appeals court to reinstate the ban…
“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does,” the brief said.
Mark Pharriss, a longtime friend of Greg Abbott’s who along with his partner sued the state over the ban, argued that the real harm to children is done when their parents aren’t granted “the benefits and protections of a marriage”.
“Our constitutional rights are not up for the vote of Texas citizens,” he said. “That point has been made unanimously by every district court and now two circuit courts who have looked at this issue.”
A federal judge declared Texas’ ban unconstitutional in February but allowed it to remain in effect during the appeal process.
Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the US supreme court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, though most are under appeal. Lawsuits challenging such bans have been filed in all 31 states that prohibited same-sex marriage, while 19 states and the District of Columbia allow such marriages.
Abbott is the front-runner to replace Texas Governor Rick Perry, also an opponent of gay marriage. Abbott’s Democratic opponent, state Senator Wendy Davis, has applauded the ruling invalidating the gay marriage ban.
Since idjits tend to keep on electing idjits, Abbott is probably assured election to replace the current idjit, Rick Perry.
Corporations that move their tax domiciles abroad would be denied federal contracts under legislation offered on Tuesday by Democrats in the U.S. Congress, targeting tax-driven deals known as inversions.
With November’s congressional elections approaching, Democrats are blasting away at inversions. Few U.S. companies have done such deals, but as they become more common, they are attracting more negative publicity…
“Those dodging their fair share of taxes should not be rewarded with taxpayer-funded government contracts,” said Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas in a statement on the bill made with three other senior Democrats…
An inversion is a deal in which a U.S. corporation buys or sets up a foreign company, then moves its tax domicile into that foreign company and its home country, while leaving core business operations in the United States. Doing such a deal ends U.S. taxation of the company’s foreign profits and makes it easier for the company to take other tax-cutting steps…
The Democrats’ legislation would bar federal government contracts from going to businesses that incorporate overseas, that are majority-owned by the shareholders of the original U.S. corporation and that lack substantial business opportunities in the foreign country in which they are reincorporating.
Over the past 32 years, 52 U.S. corporations have completed inversions, a nickname that refers to the idea of turning the company upside down so a small, offshore unit becomes the head and larger, U.S. operations become the body.
Of those 52 deals, 19 have come since 2009, while 10 more are being finalized and many others are said to be in the works. For instance, Illinois-based drugstore chain Walgreen is considering whether to invert to Switzerland.
Medical technology group Medtronic of Minnesota, and drug maker AbbVie, also of Illinois, are in the midst of deals to invert to Ireland.
Screw ‘em to the wall, I say. While every copout talking head on TV wanders off into rationales and blather about tax code reform, that ain’t about to happen until and unless Republicans are finally shoved into a little corner as a minority party representing only the most reactionary business interests and theocrats.
Meanwhile – act like an adult is in charge of Congress and penalize runaway tax cheats.
There is no doubt the integrity of our communications and the privacy of our online activities have been the biggest casualty of the NSA’s unfettered surveillance of our digital lives. But the ongoing revelations of government eavesdropping has had a profound impact on the economy, the security of the internet and the credibility of the U.S. government’s leadership when it comes to online governance.
These are among the many serious costs and consequences the NSA and those who sanctioned its activities—including the White House, the Justice Department and lawmakers like Sen. Dianne Feinstein—apparently have not considered, or acknowledged, according to a report by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute…
The Foundation’s report, released today, outlines some of the collateral damage of NSA surveillance in several areas, including:
Economic losses to US businesses due to lost sales and declining customer trust.
Deterioration of Cybersecurity
Undermining U.S. Support for Internet Freedom
“As the birthplace for so many of these technologies, including the internet itself, we have a responsibility to see them used for good,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a 2010 speech launching a campaign in support of internet freedom. But while “the US government promotes free expression abroad and aims to prevent repressive governments from monitoring and censoring their citizens,” the New American report notes, it is “simultaneously supporting domestic laws that authorize surveillance and bulk data collection.” The widespread collection of data, which has a chilling effect on freedom of expression, is precisely the kind of activity for which the U.S. condemns other countries…
The report makes a number of recommendations to address the problems the NSA’s spying has created. These include strengthening privacy protections for Americans and non-Americans, developing clear policies about whether and under what legal standards it is permissible for the government to secretly install malware on a computer or network, and working to restore trust encryption systems and standards.
RTFA for the details, cause and effect, intelligent response to corruption.
All make good sense. All reflect standards advocated for generations by United States constitutionalists and progressives. All get lip-service from the two political parties we’re allowed – and secretly, privately, subverted by elected representatives from both.
Yes, there are degrees of difference. The truly fascist-minded generally gravitate to the Republican Party,.e.g., Dick Cheney or Ted Cruz. The language of liberty is so thoroughly ingrained in our culture they adopt the simple-minded convention that military security and secret police are defining characteristics of the liberties they blather about.
Leaving the rest of us the task of getting Big Brother off our backs by the few legitimate means we can access. Like voting for the lesser of two evils over and over again.
Voters in the United States who describe themselves as “very religious” are still more likely to gravitate to the Republican Party, a Gallup poll has suggested.
Gallup found some differences among racial and ethnic groups. Black people are overwhelmingly Democratic, and religious ties make no difference in their party leanings. Republicans are a minority among Asians and Hispanics of all degrees of religious observance, but the very religious are somewhat more likely to be Republican.
About 41 percent of U.S. adults attend church at least once a week and say religion is important in their daily lives, Gallup said. Among that group, 49 percent of respondents described themselves as Republican or leaning that way, 11 percent as independents and 36 percent as Democrats or Democratic leaners.
Among very religious whites, 64 percent said they are Republican…
One of my favorite parallel instances of apocrypha is the one-liner favored by conehead friends of mine who work in the National Labs: “94% of scientists are atheists – the rest are Republicans”.
Calling a mass shooting an “unfortunate accident” — gets you NRA buck$ for sure
Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst may wish to brush up on her high school civics.
Ernst, a Republican, was caught espousing wishful thinking as policy in a September 2013 forum held by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, saying Congress should not pass laws “that the states would consider nullifying…”
Unfortunately for Ernst, Supreme Court case law has determined the Constitution actually forbids nullification, and interprets the Tenth Amendment as a basic statement, not a prohibition against the federal government from passing additional laws not already enumerated…
“Tentherism” was one of the primary justifications used by pro-slavery advocate John Calhoun in the years leading up to the Civil War, and a hundred years later, by segregationists opposing civil rights. More recently, conservatives have resurrected the theory to argue for nullification of federal gun laws, the Affordable Care Act and other federal regulations.
Take a look at the issues raised by these ignoranuses. Time after time they center on bigotry, a false libertarianism that turns its back on responsibility to your fellow citizens.
NY TIMES Editorial
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.
We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws…
The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.
There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide…
We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.
Nice to see someone as safe and stodgy as the NY TIMES get off their rusty-dusty on questions about marijuana. And it’s worth a smile reading their comment about no expectations of this Congress doing anything about legalization – since they’re incapable of addressing any other national priorities either.
A worthwhile sign of the times we live in – a time when citizens in general are marching light-years ahead of politicians in Congress and even local and state politicians can be pushed into voting for somewhat sensible regulation of America’s favorite weed.
At least 15 Fox News hosts and contributors have recently campaigned with two political organizations created and heavily funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. Many of those same Fox News personalities have also defended the Kochs from attacks and praised their political efforts on-air…
Politico’s Ken Vogel reported that Americans For Prosperity “intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group.” The Washington Post wrote that with a paid staff of 240, split between 32 states, AFP “may be America’s third-biggest political party.” In 2012, “More than $44 million of the $140 million the organization raised in that election cycle came from Koch-linked feeder funds.”
AFP and AFPFoundation are part of a massive $400 million network of political groups spearheaded by the Kochs. The Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal noted, “It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors’ identities — plus the vast sums of money they move — that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters. There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, while not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts…”
Fox News personalities are the public face of many AFP/AFPF events. Promotional materials heavily tout the speakers’ affiliation with Fox News to increase attendance. According to a Media Matters review, the following Fox News personalities have participated in AFP and AFPF events since 2012: Guy Benson, Tucker Carlson, Monica Crowley, Jonah Goldberg, Greg Gutfeld, Mary Katharine Ham, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, Andrew Napolitano, Sarah Palin, Charles Payne, Dana Perino, John Stossel, Cal Thomas, and Juan Williams.
“Fair and balanced” means as little as “liberty and justice for all” in a nation where conservative judges rule that corporations are people, religion and the NSA trump the Constitution.
No one expects Fox News to do anything more than imitate constitutional standards for a Free Press. The saddest part is the fools who believe that papier-mâché imitation.
I’m not certain even an evacuation would get me up in an Osprey — Photo by Shawn Valosin/US Marine Corps
The United States has shut its embassy in Libya and evacuated its diplomats to neighbouring Tunisia under US military escort after fighting intensified between rival militias in the capital’s streets…
Speaking in Paris, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that “free-wheeling militia violence” had become a real risk to US staff as clashes erupted around the embassy…
The evacuation was accompanied by the release of a new State Department travel warning for Libya urging Americans not to go to the country and recommending that those already there leave immediately…
Britain’s foreign office on Saturday also urged British nationals to leave by commercial means, due to “ongoing and greater intensity fighting in Tripoli and wider instability throughout Libya.”
American personnel at the Tripoli embassy, which had already been operating with limited staffing, left the capital around dawn and traveled by road to neighbouring Tunisia, according to spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The move marks the second time in a little more than three years that Washington has closed its embassy in Libya.
There’s no truth to the rumor that John McCain was seen in a rented Toyota pickup truck with a machine gun mounted in the bed – dashing off to Benghazi to rescue Darrell Issa who’s been supplementing his Wall Street investments as an itinerant arms dealer.