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Could The Russians Seize Congress?

The Russians are coming — or coming back, better put. As the November elections draw near, let us brace for another barrage of preposterous propaganda to the effect Russians are poisoning our minds with “disinformation,” “false narratives,” and all the other misnomers deployed when facts contradict liberal authoritarian orthodoxies. We had a rich taste of this new round of lies and innuendo in late January, when Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who served as House speaker for far too long, asserted that the F.B.I. should investigate demonstrators demanding a ceasefire in Gaza for their ties, yes indeedy, to the Kremlin.

The War On Protest

Amin Chaoui had been in Atlanta less than 24 hours when things took an unexpected turn. Chaoui, then 31, drove down from Richmond, Va., to attend a March 2023 music festival organized by activists trying to stop the construction of the police training facility known as Cop City. The sprawling compound in one of Atlanta’s largest urban parks would require clearing at least 85 acres of partly forested land that abuts a predominantly Black neighborhood in DeKalb County. It faced growing opposition from racial and environmental justice advocates, including an occupation of the forest that began in November 2021.

The White House Is Wrong: Section 702 Needs Drastic Change

With Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act set to expire later this month, the White House recently released a memo objecting to the SAFE Act—legislation introduced by Senators Dick Durbin and Mike Lee that would reauthorize Section 702 with some reforms. The White House is wrong. SAFE is a bipartisan bill that may be our most realistic chance of reforming a dangerous NSA mass surveillance program that even the federal government’s privacy watchdog and the White House itself have acknowledged needs reform.

Foreign Affairs Committee Approves Resolution To Intensify Sanctions Against Venezuela

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress approved a resolution to intensify unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela. Now the resolution will go to the House floor for a final vote. In recent days, Republican Senator Marco Rubio urged the Committee to support the resolution, as a response to the arrests of several leaders of the far-right Vente Venezuela party, made by the Venezuelan authorities for the Vente Venezuela leaders’ involvement in coup attempts in Venezuela. As part of a Democrat-Republican bipartisan agreement, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a resolution that would cancel the few sanctions relief allowed in the General License 44 of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Former US Treasury Secretary Reveals TikTok Purchase Plans

Former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he is building an investor group to acquire TikTok, a day after the House of Representatives voted to force the social media platform’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell the app or face a US ban. The US House passed the legislation by a vote of 352-65 on March 13, citing national security risks. The bill now goes to the Senate. US President Joe Biden previously said he would sign the bill into law if it passes both houses of Congress. “I think the legislation should pass and I think [TikTok] should be sold,” Mnuchin, who leads Liberty Strategic Capital, told CNBC on March 14. “It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.”

US TikTok Ban Aims To Weaken China And Protect Tech Monopolies

The US government has for years threatened to ban TikTok, one of the most popular social media apps in the country. It’s now looking like this might actually happen. This March, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act”. This bill states that it “prohibits distributing, maintaining, or providing internet hosting services for a foreign adversary controlled application (e.g., TikTok)”. It passed with an overwhelming majority of 352 votes in favor and just 65 votes against.

The Livestock Industry Has Side-Stepped Scrutiny Again

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made headlines around the world this week by voting to move forward with rules that will require public companies to disclose climate-related business risks to investors. Some lawmakers have welcomed the mandate from the U.S.’s most powerful financial regulator, which will now force firms to share at least some emissions data. But climate and environment campaigners are concerned about loopholes in the new rules, which have failed to include “Scope 3,” i.e. indirect, greenhouse gas emissions.

Demand Medical Care For Political Prisoner, Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier is still in need of urgent medical care. Your efforts, along with the strong advocacy of Leonard’s legal team and the Ad Hoc Committee, got the attention of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). However, BOP personnel informed Leonard that he will need to wait at least 8-10 months to see an eye specialist. This is unacceptable. The BOP has deprived Leonard of necessary medical care for decades and in doing so has sentenced Leonard to Death By Incarceration. Locked down for 22 hours a day in high security prison USP Coleman I, Leonard, who is almost 80 years old, suffers from multiple severe health conditions.

Tell Congress: Stop The TikTok Ban

The “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” would give the President the power to designate an application under the control of a country considered adversarial to the U.S. to be a national security threat. TikTok would be deemed a threat, meaning that the application would effectively be banned unless it cuts all ties with the foreign adversarial country within 180 days through a forced sale. The same could be true for other applications, like WeChat. It’s a massive problem that current US law allows for all the big social media platforms to harvest and monetize our personal data, including TikTok.

The Koch Network Is Killing Rail Safety

One year after a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, inspired bipartisan legislation that would have made the nation’s railways safer for everyone, the bill has been all but killed — largely thanks to a familiar conservative foe: the Koch network. Koch Industries, the parent company of various petrochemical subsidiaries run for decades by Charles Koch and his now-deceased brother David, spent nearly $8 million in the past year lobbying on the legislation and other issues, as well as donated $1.4 million to Republican lawmakers who helped stall the legislation. The effort was part of nearly $200 million the conglomerate has spent in the past decade to persuade lawmakers and regulators to block railway safety legislation and other measures — including reforms that could have helped avoid the East Palestine disaster.

Indigenous Human Rights Hearing In DC Scrutinizes Uranium Industry

Washington, D.C. — Members of the Navajo Nation, Ute Nation and Oglala Lakota Nation will testify on Wednesday during a thematic hearing on the impacts of uranium exploitation on the human rights of Indigenous peoples in the United States. The hearing is being held by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and will “allow Native communities who have lived for generations with the waste from historic uranium mining and milling to hold U.S. government officials to account in a public forum,” according to a press release.

Railroad Administration Proposes National Network Of Long Distance Train Routes

In 2021, Congress directed the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to study potential restored and new “long-distance” routes.  The High Speed Rail Alliance is a member of the stakeholder group providing input into study. Last week, the FRA presented a proposed list of routes to be studied, as well as, some initial thoughts about governance.  The initial proposal would add 15 long-distance routes, serving 61 additional metropolitan areas to create a true national network. They are seeking public input by Friday, March 8. 

United We Dream And Allies Demand Ceasefire And Immigrant Protections

Last week, I joined an action hosted by United We Dream in DC’s Capitol Hill. We demanded a ceasefire now in Gaza and permanent protections for immigrants who have made the United States our home. This action was a response to Senate leaders proposing a bill earlier this month that would fund Israel’s assault on Gaza, the war on Ukraine, more militarization in the Indo-Pacific, and the denial, deportations, and detentions of migrants at the US-Mexico border. Essentially more taxpayer dollars for war and border militarization.

Deconstructing H.R. 3202: Israel’s Persistent Role In Sanctioning Syria

On February 13, the U.S. House of Representatives deliberated on Resolution 3202, the “Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act of 2023.” The following day, the House passed the bill with a 389 to 32 bipartisan majority. Now, the bill moves on to the Senate, where it will most likely pass with similar bipartisan support and a ringing endorsement from President Biden once it reaches his desk. The bill was pushed with a veneer of Syrian support represented by the advocacy of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) and the Syrian American Council (SAC) – Syrian opposition groups in the U.S. While its aims seem, at face value, to focus on humanitarian issues and a quest for accountability, the reality is much more complicated.

For God’s Sake Joe, What the Hell Are You Doing?

It's 3am and I can’t sleep again. All of us concerned about Gaza and the West Bank are spending sleepless nights and busy days trying desperately to pressure the Biden administration to stop its complicity the relentless Israeli genocide in Gaza, to stop providing weapons and money to Israel and to demand an end to the carnage.  Ceasefire Now! We awakened to the news that the US has attacked Syria, Iraq and Yemen in retaliation for militants firing missiles into US troop areas in Syria and Jordan and Houthis stopping Red Sea cargo ships.  Why have there been attacks on U.S. troops and interests??
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