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Category Archives: Censorship

Trump Issues Order Giving Him More Leeway to Hire and Fire Federal Workers

The New York Times – “President Trump signed an executive order this week that could substantially expand his ability to hire and fire tens of thousands of federal workers during a second term, potentially allowing him to weed out what he sees as a “deep state” bureaucracy working to undermine him. The executive order, issued late Wednesday and described by one prominent federal union leader as “the most profound undermining of the Civil Service in our lifetimes,” would allow federal agencies to go through their employee rosters and reclassify certain workers in a way that would strip them of job protections that now cover most federal employees. The White House, in a statement that accompanied the executive order, said the new employee classification was justified because under current rules “removing poor performers, even from these critical positions, is time-consuming and difficult.” Currently, only about 4,000 of the more than 2 million federal employees are so-called political appointees, who are typically replaced with each presidential administration. They include senior agency officials who oversee the development of federal policies. The bulk of federal workers are considered career civil servants, who have certain protections both in the way they are hired — typically based on a point system that is supposed to make the hiring competitive — and a time-consuming, appeals-based process that must be used if an agency manager wants to dismiss someone…

Trump administration officials had been discussing for months how to purge “bad people” who are part of the “deep state,” Axios reported in February. The effort accelerated early this year after Mr. Trump hired a new head of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, John McEntee, who served as a campaign aide to Mr. Trump in 2016. Federal agencies would have seven months to conduct a review of their work force to decide which existing employees could be reclassified into this new status, under the executive order. The reviews would then be redone annually. Because this would take place on an agency-by-agency basis, it is hard to predict how many employees could end up being reclassified, and any future president could revoke the order…”

The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation

The New York Times – The First Amendment in the age of disinformation. “…The United States is in the middle of a catastrophic public-health crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus. But it is also in the midst of an information crisis caused by the spread of viral disinformation, defined as falsehoods aimed at… Continue Reading

Internet Freedom Has Taken a Hit During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Freedom on the Net 2020: The Pandemic’s Digital Shadow – “The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a dramatic decline in global internet freedom. For the 10th consecutive year, users have experienced an overall deterioration in their rights, and the phenomenon is contributing to a broader crisis for democracy worldwide. In the COVID-19 era, connectivity is not… Continue Reading

America Is Having a Moral Convulsion

The Atlantic, David Brooks via MSN: “…The events of 2020—the coronavirus pandemic; the killing of George Floyd; militias, social-media mobs, and urban unrest—were like hurricanes that hit in the middle of that earthquake. They did not cause the moral convulsion, but they accelerated every trend. They flooded the ravines that had opened up in American… Continue Reading

TikTok: Technology Overview and Issues

CRS report via LC – TikTok: Technology Overview and Issues, Updated September 29, 2020:” TikTok is a globally popular video-sharing smartphone application (app) owned by ByteDance Ltd., a privately held company headquartered in Beijing, China. It is under increasing scrutiny by the U.S. government as a potential privacy and security risk to U.S. citizens. This… Continue Reading

Judge orders DOJ to publish info redacted as privileged from Mueller report

The Hill: “A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to publish information redacted from the Mueller report that had been designated as privileged. District Judge Reggie Walton said the Trump administration had failed to justify certain redactions from the report on the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016… Continue Reading

Internal USPS documents link changes behind mail slowdowns to top executives

Washington Post includes the 16 page presentation – “A senior executive at the U.S. Postal Service delivered a PowerPoint presentation in July that pressed officials across the organization to make the operational changes that led to mail backups across the country, seemingly contradicting months of official statements about the origin of the plans, according to… Continue Reading

Cherokee Nation reservation is now visible on Google Maps

Cherokee Nation – Anadisgoi: The Cherokee Nation’s reservation boundaries are now mapped on Google Maps. “After the monumental US Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma, we’ve had many questions about our reservation boundaries, which always existed on paper maps. Now that our reservation is labeled on Google Maps, it’s easy for people around the… Continue Reading

DOJ Releases New Material from Mueller Report in EPIC Case

EPIC – “The Justice Department, as part of an open government lawsuit brought by EPIC, has released another round of previously unpublished material from the Mueller Report. The newly disclosed passages are listed in the “Redaction” column of a DOJ spreadsheet—though outside of their original context from the Mueller Report. The spreadsheet was originally drafted… Continue Reading

What’s at Stake in This Election? The American Democratic Experiment

The New York Times / Opinion – Trump’s former director of national intelligence on how to firmly and unambiguously reassure all Americans that their votes will be counted. By Dan Coats. Mr. Coats served as the director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019. “…Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in… Continue Reading

New Survey by Claims Conference Finds Significant Lack of Holocaust Knowledge in the United States

“Julius Berman, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), announces the release of a comprehensive national survey of Holocaust awareness and knowledge among adults in the United States on the occasion of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). The survey found there are critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as… Continue Reading

House Intel Cmte Releases Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint Alleging Serious Misconduct By Senior Trump Administration Officials

News release: “Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announced that, as part of its ongoing investigation into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), the Committee received a whistleblower reprisal complaint alleging serious wrongdoing by officials at the Department… Continue Reading