Tag Archives: Department of Commerce

Docs Expose Trump’s ‘Illegal’ Effort to Help GOP by Weaponizing Census

“It is clear that legislative reforms are needed to prevent any future illegal or unconstitutional efforts to interfere with the census and chip away at our democracy,” said the House Committee on Oversight and Reform chair.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 7-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: US Census Bureau

A U.S. House of Representatives panel probing the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census on Wednesday released a memorandum underscoring that the failed effort was politically motivated.

The memo focuses on documents that were finally shared with the panel in January after former President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary and attorney general, Wilbur Ross and William Barr, were held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over requested materials. Continue reading

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Calls to ‘Stop the Deal’ as US Military Contractor Moves to Buy NSO Group

“NSO Group should not be rewarded for its facilitation of human rights violations and dangerous business practices with a lucrative offer from a U.S. defense contractor,” said one campaigner.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: NSO Group/Facebook

Digital rights advocates sounded the alarm on Tuesday following reports that U.S. military contractor L3Harris Tech plans to acquire NSO Group, a private Israeli firm widely condemned for selling surveillance technology to repressive governments across the globe.

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to crack down on dissidents and journalists, worsening “human rights abuses around the world, from Palestine to El Salvador to Poland,” advocacy group Access Now said in a statement urging U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to “stop the deal.” Continue reading

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Pushed by Progressives, Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Renewable Energy

“We hope this use of the Defense Production Act is a turning point for the president, who must use all his executive powers to confront the climate emergency head-on,” said Jean Su with the Center for Biological Diversity.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 6-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photovoltaic solar panels mounted on roof in Berkeley, CA. Photo: Alfred Twu/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The White House announced on Monday executive actions to help “create a bridge” to a “clean energy future” including invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of U.S.-made solar panels.

The actions, first reported by Reuters, come as the Build Back Better’s climate provisions remain stalled in the Senate and amid the threat of new tariffs the solar industry has blamed for dampening domestic projects. Continue reading

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‘Bombshell’: Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an “in-plain-sight national security threat,” one expert warned that “a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-3-2021 by Common Dreams

Photo: Unsplash

Multiple news outlets revealed Friday that Apple notified at least 11 U.S. State Department officials that their iPhones were recently hacked by an unknown party or parties with spyware developed by the private Israeli firm NSO Group.

The “bombshell,” first reported by Reuters, comes after Apple sued NSO Group last month in an effort to protect iPhone users from its Pegasus spyware, which the Israeli company claims to only sell to government law enforcement and intelligence agencies and was the focus of a major reporting project earlier this year. Continue reading

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Press Freedom Advocates Condemn ‘Reckless’ US Shutdown of Iranian News Sites

“These are not actions of good faith negotiators.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2021

Attempts in the United States to access some websites owned by or linked to the Iranian government were met with this message on June 22, 2021. (Photo: screenshot)

Press freedom advocates fumed Tuesday as U.S. authorities without immediate explanation reportedly blocked stateside access to numerous news websites owned by or linked to the Iranian government.

An unnamed U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that around three dozen websites were seized due to their alleged dissemination of “disinformation.” Continue reading

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‘Revolutionary Moment’: Biden White House Announces Major Boost for Offshore Wind

“As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis, we must transition to a brighter future for everyone.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-29-2021

The Block Island Wind Farm- the first US offshore wind farm. Photo: National Renewable Energy Lab/flickr/CC

Climate action groups and ocean defenders issued strong praise Monday after the Biden administration announced its intention to boost the nation’s offshore wind capacity with a number of steps including preparing forfede leases in an area off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

“Today’s announcement marks a revolutionary moment for offshore wind. This powerful renewable resource has been waiting in the wings of our energy system for too long, and now it can finally take center stage,” Hannah Read, an associate with Environment America’s Go Big on Offshore Wind campaign, told Common Dreams. Continue reading

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‘I Can’t Overstate What a Farce This Is’: Trump DOJ Says It Is Still Reviewing ‘All Available Options’ to Revive Census Citizenship Question

The court filing came after Trump said he was considering an executive order and suggested—despite his own DOJ attorneys claiming otherwise—that the aim of the question is to redraw congressional districts

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-5-2019

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in last week claiming the administration’s rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census seemed “contrived.” (Photo: @CensusCounts/Twitter)

In what one expert described as “an absurd filing,” the Trump administration told a federal judge on Friday that the Justice and Commerce departments “have been asked to reevaluate all available options” for including a citizenship question on the 2020 census, an effort which was effectively blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

The Supreme Court temporarily prevented the inclusion of the question on the grounds that the alleged rationale for doing so appeared “contrived,” a ruling which was cautiously welcomed by civil liberties and immigrant rights groups who accused the administration of attempting to rig the next national survey to create an electoral advantage for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” Continue reading

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As Second Judge Rejects Census Citizenship Question, Trump’s Backup Plan to Count Non-Citizens Exposed

“The administration’s determination to weaponize the Census Bureau is really something.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-7-2019

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the law when he attempted to add a citizenship question to the U.S. Census, a federal judge found Wednesday. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

In the wake of the second legal defeat of President Donald Trump’s plan to count all non-citizens in the 2020 census, new reporting reveals the Census Bureau has been secretly working with Homeland Security officials to develop a new method of sharing immigration status data in order to identify individuals and target communities nationwide.

As the Associated Press reported Thursday, the Census Bureau has been working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for weeks to obtain information about the legal status of millions of immigrants. Continue reading

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‘To Make It Easier to Screw the Poor,’ Trump Wants to Massively Reorganize Federal Government

Provisions of this “closely guarded” plan reportedly include merging the Education and Labor Departments, and creating a welfare “megadepartment”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-21-2018

Anti-Trump protesters march in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/Flickr/cc)

Update:

The White House on Thursday released a 32-point plan (pdf) to reorganize several departments of the federal government. The proposal was developed in response to an executive order President Donald Trump issued early last year and cannot be implemented without congressional approval.

Earlier:

In what critics are calling an “insane” proposal by the Trump administration “to make it easier to screw the poor,” the White House is reportedly considering sweeping changes to the organization of the federal government, which could be announced as early as Thursday. Continue reading

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Tourists, Beware: Trump Administration Wants Your Social Media Handles Before You Travel

Such scrutiny will affect people coming to the U.S. for work, for business, for tourism, or simply to visit family.

By . Published 4-25-2018 by YES! Magazine

Spring break. It’s a vacation I am getting used to now that I have school-age children. I figure I’ve got 10 good years before my older daughter will start college and spending spring break with me will be the last thing she’ll want to do. We visited Disneyland—along with what felt like a million other people—and I realized the place is really a series of terminally long lines. Standing in those lines gives you an opportunity to listen to languages and accents from all over the world.

It made me appreciate just how tourist-dependent many entertainment attractions in this country are. Continue reading

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