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Americans More Moved By Open Internet Than Planetary Destruction

Climate change has recently been failing to galvanize activists the same way that open internet rules have, according to data on public comments released this week. After a deadline on input passed Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency said it received more than 1.6 million public comments on proposed rules to limit utilities’ carbon emissions. The Federal Communications Commission received 3.9 million letters on proposed Net Neutrality rules after a deadline on relevant public comments passed in November. The number of comments on the pollution regulations appear… Keep Reading

Afghanistan: Another Contractor State Boondoggle

Over $125 million in State Department funds to contractors assisting the US mission in Afghanistan is lost and might never be recovered. An Inspector General report published Monday found that State failed to properly oversee the deals because it didn’t follow its own guidelines. “The Department did not consistently meet Federal and Department contract management and closeout requirements,” the study concluded, referring to the avalanche of deals cut to rebuild Afghanistan. A third of contract files reviewed were lost or destroyed. Among the contract files… Keep Reading

Pressure Mounts on Nation’s Archivist to Reject CIA Email Purge

Two influential Senators have written to the National Archivist demanding he stop the CIA’s attempts to destroy emails written by former employees and contractors. “We are concerned that this policy would undermine the ability of citizens to understand how their government works and hold it accountable,” said Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) in a letter sent Monday to archivist David Ferriero. “A plan to delete the majority of emails at any agency should raise great concern,” the lawmakers added. In January of… Keep Reading

Immigration Fight Could Affect 2016 Elections, Just Not in the Way You Might Think

Every rag in the beltway has opined on how President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will play out in the 2016 elections. But it was Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson on Tuesday that provided the most concrete electoral consequences of the immigration fight. “We’re back in a presidential election cycle. I cannot hire new Secret Service agents, until I get an appropriations bill passed by this Congress,” Johnson told lawmakers during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing. He was reacting to a strategy being laid… Keep Reading

Pentagon Gives Non-Denial Denial on Baghdadi Wife Kidnapping

On Tuesday, Lebanese military intelligence claimed it had detained a wife and child of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the two tried to enter the country near the Syrian border. According to a Lebanese newspaper, the two are being held at the nation’s defense ministry for interrogation. Lebanese authorities claimed the capture was in coordination with “foreign intelligence services.” Later in the day, DoD Spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby was asked by reporters if the US was involved in the capture, and if… Keep Reading

Kerry Will Only Revoke Passports At Behest of Law Enforcement

Secretary of State John Kerry has the power to revoke Americans’ passports, but one diplomat said that he will only do it on the recommendation of law enforcement officials. Ambassador Robert Bradtke, a State Department adviser on the conflict in Syria, made the remarks Tuesday before a House Foreign Affairs joint subcommittee. He cited the lack of Justice Department appeal as the reason why no US citizen fighting for an Islamist militia in Syria has had the travel document rescinded. “This is something we would only do in relatively… Keep Reading

Senate Approves, State Defends Controversial Donor-Ambassadors

The State Department defended controversial ambassador nominees approved by the Senate on Tuesday, saying that the practice of appointing campaign fundraisers as envoys is par for the course in Washington. Two boosters of President Obama, Noah Mamet and Colleen Bell, will be lead the US embassies in Argentina and Hungary. Mamet, a political consultant, and Bell, a producer of the soap opera “The Bold and The Beautiful”, were panned by Republicans for lacking relevant qualifications, given the countries’ relative significance on the world stage. Mamet was approved… Keep Reading

Expanding Corporate Debt One of “Several Threats to Financial Stability”

The Treasury Department warned Tuesday that corporate borrowing represents one of “several threats to financial stability” to have emerged during the post-2008 economic recovery. The third annual Congressional report published by the department’s Office of Financial Research found that significant corporate loan exposure, the possibility of a liquidity shortage during a downturn, and an increase in activity in “difficult to assess” sectors cast a pall over the US economy. “Assets under management have increased ten-fold over the last five years, driven by a search for… Keep Reading

Unqualified Donor to Take Key South American Ambassadorship

Argentina-US relations have been frostier in recent years due to litigation filed by a vulture fund investor. But despite the heightened sensitivity, Washington is set to send to Buenos Aires an ambassador who admitted last year to barely speaking Spanish. Late Monday, the nomination of Noah Mamet to the position passed a cloture vote. The Senate is expected to approve of his nomination Tuesday. A political consultant, Mamet’s main qualification is that he bundled over $500,000 in donations for President Obama’s re-election campaign. In his… Keep Reading

Feds Failed to Stop Nuclear Weapons Official’s Ten Year Meltdown

An office of inspector general (OIG) report that’s being withheld from the public alleged that a commander of a force that transports the nation’s nuclear arsenal engaged in misconduct over the span of a decade, and that the individual’s superiors failed to stop it. The Department of Energy OIG found seven examples of “problematic behavior” by the National Nuclear Security Administration official. The most recent example took place last year. According to the report, a squad commander for the Office of Secure Transportation (OST) engaged… Keep Reading

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