A SWAT vehicle, Fulton County Sheriff. Photo: Pinterest
Backed by more than 50 progressive advocacy groups, dozens of House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to prevent the transfer of military-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to federal, tribal, state, and local police departments.
In a letter (pdf) sent to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, 29 lawmakers, led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), argue that taking executive action to reform the Defense Department’s 1033 program “is a reasonable step towards demilitarizing our police forces while preserving the safety of our communities.” Continue reading →
Digital rights advocates reacted with alarm to a report published Friday detailing how Defense Intelligence Agency analysts in recent years bought databases of U.S. smartphone location data without first obtaining warrants.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is part of the Department of Defense and is tasked with informing military and civilian policymakers about the activities and intentions of foreign governments and nonstate actors. Continue reading →
The Googleplex (Google headquarters) in Mountain View, CA. Photo: The Pancake of Heaven!/CC
Decrying numerous policies and practices they say violate Google’s “don’t be evil” founding principle, more than 200 of the Silicon Valley tech giant’s workers on Monday announced they are forming a union, a move that was applauded by progressive lawmakers and labor advocates nationwide.
The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU)—named after Google’s parent corporation—says it “strives to protect Alphabet workers, our global society, and our world,” and to “promote solidarity, democracy, and social and economic justice.” It will operate as part of the Communications Workers of America and will be open to all 120,000 of the company’s employees.
After years of complaining that career federal employees are part of the “deep state” and aim to undermine his administration, President Donald Trump this week took a major step toward remaking the federal government as one without nonpartisan civil servants—signing a little-noticed executive order that would strip potentially hundreds of thousands of government employees of their job security.
Under the order, signed late Wednesday, career federal employees could be fired with little or no cause, lose their right to due process, and potentially lose union representation. Continue reading →
In an internal announcement, the Justice Department created an exception to a decadeslong policy meant to prevent prosecutors from taking overt investigative steps that might affect the outcome of the vote.
Department of Justice Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC
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The Department of Justice has weakened its long-standing prohibition against interfering in elections, according to two department officials.
Avoiding election interference is the overarching principle of DOJ policy on voting-related crimes. In place since at least 1980, the policy generally bars prosecutors not only from making any announcement about ongoing investigations close to an election but also from taking public steps — such as an arrest or a raid — before a vote is finalized because the publicity could tip the balance of a race. Continue reading →
The U.S. Department of Defense pressured the EPA into rolling back a proposed groundwater clean-up standard, reducing military bases’ responsibility to cleaning up toxic chemical contamination. Photo: USAF
Lobbying from the Pentagon is to blame for the Trump administration’s latest environmental regulatory rollback, according to reports.
The EPA on Thursday released weakened guidelines for the clean-up of toxic groundwater pollution which could contaminate the drinking water millions of Americans use—after the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) called on the White House to intervene and have an earlier draft of the rules changed. Continue reading →
Medicare for All Rally, Los Angeles 2017. Photo: Molly Adams/flickr
While giving the bloated Pentagon “even more than it hoped for” by boosting U.S. military spending to $750 billion—an increase of $34 billion from last year—President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget would cut Medicaid by $1.1 trillion over the next decade.
Set to be unveiled on Monday, the president’s budget will call for a total of $2.7 trillion in cuts to safety net programs, environmental protection, food and housing assistance, and foreign aid over ten years, according to a summary reviewed by the Washington Post. Continue reading →
It’s difficult to tally the cost in civilian lives and mass destruction of an annual budget rapidly approaching the trillion-dollar mark, and that’s something that likely won’t be analyzed in any audit the Pentagon conducts on itself.
Despite being legally required to conduct audits since the early 90s and holding a staggering 2.2 trillion in assets, the Pentagon held its first-ever audit this week — which it, unsurprisingly, spectacularly failed.
According to a senior official, the results were so bad that the discrepancies could take “years [to] resolve.” The Department of Defense is handed hundreds of billions of dollars annually — most of which comes from taxpayers. Continue reading →
Washington, D.C. – A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times.
The Pentagon, which has been notoriously lax in its accounting practices, has never completed an audit, would reveal how the agency has specifically spent the trillions of dollars allocated for wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements allotted to them by Congress. Continue reading →