Category Archives: Politics

DiFi loses fight over digital backdoor demands


From Reuters:

After a rampage that left 14 people dead in San Bernardino, key U.S. lawmakers pledged to seek a law requiring technology companies to give law enforcement agencies a “back door” to encrypted communications and electronic devices, such as the iPhone used by one of the shooters.

Now, only months later, much of the support is gone, and the push for legislation dead, according to sources in congressional offices, the administration and the tech sector.

Draft legislation that Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Intelligence Committee, had circulated weeks ago likely will not be introduced this year and, even if it were, would stand no chance of advancing, the sources said.

Key among the problems was the lack of White House support for legislation in spite of a high-profile court showdown between the Justice Department and Apple Inc over the suspect iPhone, according to Congressional and Obama Administration officials and outside observers.

Someone was very happy:

BLOG Snowden

Headline of the day II: Call to legalize spousal abuse


From the Express Tribune in Karachi, the national Council of Islamic Ideology offers its own proposed national “women protection bill, ” a response to the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 [PDF] adopted in Punjab, which bars “any offence committed against a woman including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime.” The CII is an advisory body providing nonbinding recommendations to the natuional legislature:

CII proposes husbands be allowed to ‘lightly beat’ defying wives

The council has proposed that a husband should be allowed to ‘lightly’ beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.

Chart of the day: Swing voters, keys to the vote


BLOG Swingers

From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, which reports:

The swing voters are an unusually hard bloc to handicap, because the 2016 election is different from any other in recent times.

One survey in battlegrounds Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio finds that swing voters are 21 percent of the electorate and voted for different parties in the last two elections, 2012 and 2014.

They largely call themselves independents (84 percent), have less college education than the broader electorate and include fewer African-Americans, the same percentage of Latinos and fewer liberals, according to the poll for the Progressive Policy Institute, a moderate Democratic-leaning research group. They are mostly concerned about the economy, and are more concerned with growth than fairness.

The Empire Files: A call for a new political force


In 2013 Kshama Sawant became the first socialist elected to the Seattle City Council, winning reelection two years later.

And as the presidential election draws ever nearer and Hillary Clinton’s grasp on the nomination grows tighter, Sawant staked out her position in an essay for Jacobin posted Tuesday:

The racist, right-wing ideas given new life through Donald Trump’s campaign represent a serious threat to social progress in America. But the mainstream liberal strategy to stop Trump by rallying behind Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street–sponsored candidacy is only throwing fuel on the right-populist fire.

Despite Trump’s dubious distinction as the most unpopular major party nominee in history, Clinton’s neoliberal record has helped make her the second-most unpopular (likely) nominee ever — and polls show her lead over Trump narrowing.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders consistently polls extremely well against Trump. Why, then, has the Democratic establishment so fiercely and undemocratically backed Clinton if their goal is to defeat Trump?

In this era of global capitalist crisis, rising inequality, and naked corporate corruption, we can only undercut right-wing populism by building solidarity around an unambiguously pro-worker, anti-establishment movement.

Sawant, who holds a doctorate in economics, actively supports the movement calling on Bernie Sanders to run as an independent candidate should Clinton in the Democratic Party nomination [see their petition here], and in this, the latest edition of The Empire Files, host Abby Martin sits down with Sawant to discuss the petition and the need to forge an ongoing alliance to the two-party duopoly.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: Fighting Hillary is How Progressives Win — Kshama Sawant

Program notes:

As the flailing Hillary Clinton camp steps-up its attacks on Bernie Sanders, her poll numbers continue to drop—and for the first time, have her losing to Donald Trump in a general election.

On the cusp of the Democratic Party Convention, millions of Sanders’ supporters are wondering what to do other than vote for a ‘lesser of two evils.’

To gain some insight, Abby Martin interviews Kshama Sawant, an open socialist who just won re-election to Seattle’s city council—who also ran an insurgent campaign against the party establishment—about her advice to the Sanders’ movement, and how struggles like the Fight for 15 can keep advancing regardless of the presidency.

Graphic Representation: The server & the served


Hillary Clinton’s insistence on violating long-standing State Department regulations and conducting a great deal of her official correspondence on a server she owned off Department of State premises is telling.

No, our concern is whether what Clinton did was a violation of criminal statutes.

Rather, it’s a clear indication that Clinton is far less a public servant that the embodiment of a ruthless and relentless political machine intent on grasping power.

There is a manifest arrogance implicit in the email server, the Clinton Foundation [which paid salaries to her political operatives], her refusal to disclose the transcript of all those highly paid speeches to the institutions that brought down the economy a few years back and are doing it again.

There is a deadly edge to that arrogance, as any citizen of Libya and Syria will readily attest, the bloody legacies of her tenure at the State Department helm.

Enough of that.

Now for those graphic representations.

First, from the editorial cartoonist of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Steve Sack: The Clinton e-mails

BLOG Hillary Sack

Next, the Charlotte Observer’s opinionated artist weighs in:

Kevin Siers: Two-faced Hillary

BLOG Hillary Siers

And from the Buffalo News:

Adam Zyglis: Hillary’s emails

Hillary's emails

Finally, from the editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times:

David Horsey: The shadow she can’t shake

BLOG Hillary Horsey

Headlines of the day: Primary posturings


First, from Politico:

Clinton scrambles to salvage California

A final loss to Bernie Sanders in the nation’s most populous state, where Clinton won comfortably eight years ago, would be a fitting coda to an upside-down primary season.

Second, more shit from the bull, via USA Today:

Donald Trump tells Californians there is no drought

Trump said state officials were simply denying water to Central Valley farmers to prioritize the Delta smelt, a native California fish nearing extinction — or as Trump called it, “a certain kind of three-inch fish.”

Quote of the day: A time of deep disaffection


From Jonah Walters, writing at Jacobin:

This election season has activated a sprawling constituency of disaffected citizens — a bloc of voters who see the ideal of American prosperity as an unattainable fantasy and the current political system as an intolerable outrage. Two candidates are speaking to this mass dissatisfaction, and winning tremendous popular support in the process — but only one of them has a vision worth defending.

Perhaps picking up on the swelling disaffection of the electorate, pundits have stoked fears that Sanders supporters are easy marks for Trump — or vice versa — despite the utter lack of substantive political similarities between the two candidates.

Elites’ control over the limits of political legitimacy is  slipping — and they seem to know it. The Sanders defector — that hypothetical Bernie supporter sure to cast an anti-Hillary protest vote for Trump come November — seems poised to replace the “Bernie Bro” as the media’s favored anti-Sanders strawman.

But it’s true that for down-and-out workers in the post-2008 economy, the alternatives on offer are far and few between — and many people, feeling left out of the American dream, are desperate for an alternative.