Congress seeks answers on Juniper Networks breach amid encryption fight | Reuters


Democrat Ron Wyden, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the 2015 incident at Sunnyvale-based Juniper Networks could shed light on the risks of compromised encryption before an expected hearing on the proposed legislation.

The EARN IT Act could penalize companies that offer security that law enforcement can’t easily penetrate.

“Attorney General (William) Barr is demanding that companies like Facebook weaken their encryption to allow the Department of Justice to monitor users’ conversations,” Wyden told Reuters.

Source: Congress seeks answers on Juniper Networks breach amid encryption fight – Reuters

Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | TheHill


“The federal government’s use of technology to identify each individual at a demonstration en masse has a chilling effect on all of our protected First Amendment activities,” Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

“Identifying Americans who are peacefully demonstrating using existing facial recognition technology is particularly dangerous because this information would be of dubious accuracy and could be stolen or otherwise leaked,” they continued.

Source: Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | TheHill

Annual deficit hits $1.9 trillion in just eight months | TheHill


The deficit in the first eight months of the 2020 fiscal year hit a record $1.9 trillion, surpassing the largest annual deficit on record, $1.4 trillion in 2009.

Treasury Department data released Wednesday found that the deficit for May hit $399 billion, the second highest monthly level after April’s record-shattering $738 billion figure.

The huge rise in borrowing in recent months has come in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted Congress to approve some $3.6 trillion in emergency aid, relief, stimulus and public health funding.

The House has passed another $3 trillion bill, but the Senate is likely to settle on a significantly smaller version, closer to $1 trillion, in July.

Source: Annual deficit hits $1.9 trillion in just eight months | TheHill

U.S.-Polish Fort Trump project crumbles | Reuters


A U.S. official familiar with the matter said the idea had been doomed from the start: “There is no Fort Trump.”

On June 12 last year, Trump agreed, with Polish President Andrzej Duda beside him at the White House, to send 1,000 more troops to his NATO ally, bolstering its defenses against Russia to the east and cementing bilateral ties.

Many officials called the project “Fort Trump”, although the name was never official, and the idea of building a new base for the troops was soon dropped.

Source: U.S.-Polish Fort Trump project crumbles – Reuters

Stop Training Police Like They’re Joining the Military | Defense One


As a law professor and writer with a long-standing interest in the blurry boundaries between war and “not war,” my experiences with the paramilitary aspects of the D.C. police academy—and, later, my experiences as a reserve police officer on patrol in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods—were part of my research. (My next book, Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City, is based on my experiences as a D.C. reserve officer.)

But even as a recruit with a quasi-anthropological perspective, I found the academy more than a little intimidating. I don’t think I’ve been yelled at as much since high-school gym class more than three decades ago.

It’s not hard to see the link between paramilitary police training and the abuses motivating the past several weeks’ protests. When police recruits are belittled by their instructors and ordered to refrain from responses other than “Yes, Sir!,” they may learn stoicism—but they may also learn that mocking and bellowing orders at those with less power are acceptable actions.

Source: Stop Training Police Like They’re Joining the Military – Defense One

Presidential job approval: Trump’s re-election prospects look bleak


In modern political history, an incumbent’s job approval has been the single best measure of his reelection prospects. If this holds true in 2020, the current outlook for President Trump is bleak, and his ability to turn around his situation will steadily decline as election day nears.

According to the Gallup Organization, all incumbents with an approval rating of 50% or higher in the final pre-election survey have won reelection.

The two incumbents with pre-election ratings below 40% lost badly: Jimmy Carter received just 41.0% of the popular vote in 1980, and George H. W. Bush did even worse in 1992, with just 37.4%. Indeed, no incumbent with a pre-election job approval below 48% (George W. Bush in 2004) has ever received a second term.

Source: Presidential job approval: Trump’s re-election prospects look bleak

America: Individual effort is not going to help us address racism


Racial justice is going to test this country politically. Americans are great believers in the power of individuals to transcend challenging situations and tend to look askance at policy solutions that depart from the assumption that individual Americans are not singularly responsible for their life’s outcomes.

But if we are to rise above the current moment of demands for racial justice, we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that some Americans are born with tailwinds at their backs and others are born with headwinds.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated nothing else, we now can appreciate that there are fissures in American society that are beyond the poser of the individual to remedy and that require the full and collective attention of the federal government and its citizens.

Source: America: Individual effort is not going to help us address racism

The Brief – Europe’s race blindspot | EURACTIV.com


In much of Europe, institutional racism is so deeply ingrained that millions of white people don’t even notice it. Those in much of provincial Europe could be forgiven for not seeing it. But we delude ourselves if we believe that our societies offer equal opportunities.

Holding up the mirror to our past may not be pleasant but it has to be done.

The mass murder and mutilation (not to mention economic pillaging) by Belgian King Leopold II put him on a par with Hitler and Stalin in the annals of modern butchery. Statues of him should never have been erected in the first place.

The Belgian state then connived with the CIA to murder Patrice Lumumba, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first elected prime minister. Yet Belgium has only recently, and only partially, grappled with its past. Many Belgians are still instinctively defensive about it. And – let there be no doubt – they are not alone.

In the UK and France, the brutality of their colonial past is barely taught in secondary schools. Nor is the leading role of Europeans in developing and profiting from the slave trade.

Source: The Brief – Europe’s race blindspot – EURACTIV.com

Beyond the US: Police brutality, structural racism are a problem in Europe too | EURACTIV.com


Thousands of people have taken to Europe’s streets not only to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the US but to denounce police brutality and structural racism, which is an issue on this side of the Atlantic as well.

Semira Adamu was suffocated by a police officer while she was being repatriated from Belgium, Adama Traoré died in custody hours after he was arrested in France, as did Ousman Sey in Germany. The list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

“It is absurd to consider that racism is an exclusively American scourge. It gangrenes all over the world and in Europe in particular,” French MEP and co-chair of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Inter-Group Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL) told EURACTIV.

The issue is that Europe just is not talking about it as much.

Source: Beyond the US: Police brutality, structural racism are a problem in Europe too – EURACTIV.com

Germany receives formal notice on US troop withdrawal plans | EURACTIV.com


Washington is planning to withdraw troops from Germany because Americans taxpayers are against “paying too much” for other countries’ security, the outgoing US ambassador to Germany told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday (10 June), confirming earlier media reports.

“American taxpayers no longer feel like paying too much for the defense of other countries,”  said Richard Grenell, who earlier this month formally resigned as ambassador to join Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

“There will still be 25,000 soldiers in Germany, that’s no small number,” he added.

Source: Germany receives formal notice on US troop withdrawal plans – EURACTIV.com