Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Director of National Intelligence Admits Government Used Section 215 to Track Browsing History

After initially denying the practice, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe admitted the government engaged in activity “that could be characterized” as tracking website visits.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-3-2020

Protesters march in a demonstration demanding an end to government mass surveillance in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2013. (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration recently used one of the most controversial surveillance provisions in U.S. history to record an unidentified person or group’s visit to an unspecified website, the New York Times revealed Thursday.

The Times reports Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on November 6 to inform him that Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act had not been used to collect internet search terms, and that none of the 61 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders issued in 2019 involved “web browsing” records. Continue reading

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Trump’s Pennsylvania lawsuits invoke Bush v. Gore – but the Supreme Court probably won’t decide the 2020 election

Judges can intervene in elections, but the Supreme Court really prefers not to. Jantanee Phoolmas/Moment via Getty Images

Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis

The Trump campaign has filed two lawsuits in federal court over ballot counting and voting deadlines in Pennsylvania, threatening to take the election to the Supreme Court. Both consciously echo the two main legal theories of Bush v. Gore, the infamous Supreme Court case that decided the contested 2000 presidential election.

But this race is not likely to be decided by the Supreme Court.

There are several reasons, sitting at the intersection of law and politics, why the ghosts of Florida past won’t rise again in Pennsylvania. As a law professor who’s authored a book on election reform, I rate success in Trump’s efforts to wrench back Biden’s lead through litigation as a real long shot, though not out of the question. Continue reading

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As Trump Says ‘Must Have Vote Total’ on Nov. 3, Nearly 400 ‘Protect the Results’ Rallies Planned to Fight Election Night Theft

“We think the likelihood of activation is high,” the Protect the Results coalition says.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-27-2020

In the face of increasing signs that President Donald Trump will try to prematurely declare victory on Election Night next Tuesday—even before millions of valid mail-in and absentee ballots are counted—momentum is building for a massive grassroots counter-offensive across the country to make sure that every vote is counted and any effort by the GOP to steal the election is thwarted.

Less than two weeks after progressive advocacy groups Stand Up America and Indivisible announced that they, along with a coalition of 135 national and state organizations, are organizing “Protect the Results” demonstrations for Nov. 4, the number of planned events had more than doubled by Tuesday. Continue reading

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Critics Call Upcoming Pentagon Visit by Indonesian Defense Minister—Accused of Horrific Atrocities—a ‘Human Rights Catastrophe’

Prabowo Subianto—who led a notorious commando unit implicated in genocidal violence—was invited to Washington by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2020

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Prabowo Subianto / CC BY-SA

Human rights advocates this week sounded the alarm on a meeting scheduled for Friday between American Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, a former U.S.-trained general in an elite army unit implicated in genocidal violence and other atrocities in East Timor, West Papua, Jakarta, and elsewhere in the archipelago nation in the late decades of the last century.

Since 2000, Prabowo has been banned from entering the United States by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. However, Esper last week invited the 68-year-old to Washington as the Trump administration seeks closer relations with the nation of 268 million people in a bid to counter China’s growing clout. Continue reading

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Corporate Media Turns to Warhawks, Including Former Bush Officials, to Beat Drums of War on Iran

“Nothing’s been learned from 2003. Nothing.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-3-2020

Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer, senior adviser and White House press secretary under the George W. Bush administration, appeared on Fox News Thursday night in the hours after the Trump administration assassinated top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani. (Photo: Fox News/screenshot)

Trump critics and peace advocates watched in horror Thursday night and Friday morning as some of the top architects of the Iraq War took to the corporate media to spin a narrative aimed at retroactively convincing Americans that the killing of Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani was essential to the safety of the U.S.—a replica of the run-up to the Iraq War nearly two decades ago.

Following reports that President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike that killed Soleimani, the major general of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, former George W. Bush administration officials were among those who media outlets called on to make a case for the act. Continue reading

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Joni Ernst Wants to Cut Social Security Behind Closed Doors

Republicans, Democrats and Independents, of all ages, races and genders, overwhelmingly agree. We understand that Social Security is more important than ever. We overwhelmingly reject any cuts to its modest benefits.

By Nancy J. Altman. Published 9-6-2019 by Common Dreams

Congress should address our nation’s looming retirement income crisis by increasing Social Security’s modest benefits. (Photo: Courtesy of AFGE, Flickr | CC 2.0)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price.

At a recent town hall, Ernst stated that Congress needs to “sit down behind closed doors” to “address Social Security.” She vaguely asserted, “A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward.” But, she complained, if these changes were proposed in public, she would be accused of pushing “granny over a cliff.” It is not hard to figure out what “changes” she has in mind. Continue reading

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Iraqi President: US Has No Right to Use Iraq as ‘Staging Post’ for Attack on Iran

“There is no military solution to this problem.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-26-19

raqi President Barham Salih speaking in an interview that aired Tuesday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. (Screengrab/CNN)

Iraqi President Barham Salih said Tuesday that the United States has no right to use his country as a launchpad for a strike against Iran.

Salih, in his interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, also talked about the adverse impacts his own country has felt as a result of U.S. imposed sanctions, stressed the need to prevent another war, and warned that tearing up the nuclear deal entirely “could be disastrous for the entire neighborhood as a whole.” Continue reading

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Trump, Blackwater, and private war

A military drawdown in Syria and Afghanistan is good for America’s enemies – and contractors.

By Paul Rogers. Published 12-24-2018 by openDemocracy

Blackwater military helicopter in Baghdad Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004. Wikicommons/U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best. Some rights reserved.

 

At the end of 2003 the United States-led war in Iraq was going badly wrong. It had started so well from the Pentagon’s perspective, as American troops entered Baghdad within weeks of launching the invasion in late March. The regime crumbled and a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled. The sitting president George W Bush soon delivered a triumphal speech in front of a banner declaring “mission accomplished”. Even then it looked premature. At that point, the quick victory Washington expected was already running into quicksands.

By mid-summer, a rapidly evolving urban insurgency was inflicting serious casualties among the coalition of international (mainly US and British) forces. Many of the latter were killed. But improvements in trauma care meant that six or seven times their number were now surviving previously fatal wounds – albeit with appalling, life-changing injuries: loss of limbs and other body parts, severe abdominal injuries, PTSD at an almost unbearable level. Continue reading

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As Trump Vows “A Lot of Cutting” After Midterms, Americans Urged to Protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid at the Voting Booth

With Trump’s support, the GOP “has spent the last two years doing everything they can to reach onto our pockets, steal our money, and give it to their pay masters on Wall Street.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2018

Photo: Social Security Works/Facebook

Following the news this week that under President Donald Trump, the federal deficit exploded to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, the president said Wednesday that he would demand a five percent budget cut from each of his cabinet secretaries.

Stressing that the administration would “continue with the tax cuts, because we have other tax cuts planned,” Trump suggested the deficit was the result of spending on various programs at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and other government agencies. Continue reading

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‘The Guy Who Defended Company That Caused Worst Oil Spill in US History’ Just Confirmed to Head DOJ’s Environmental Division

“Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-11-2018

U.S. Coast Guard crews work to put out a fire during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) joined with Senate Republicans on Thursday to confirm Jeffrey Bossert Clark—a climate-denying former attorney for the fossil fuel industry—to lead the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us,” warned Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook. “The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.” Continue reading

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