• Civil unrestDOJ: 3 Cities Could Lose Federal Funding for Allowing Violence

    The U.S. Department of Justice said Monday that three U.S. cities have “permitted violence and destruction of property” to persist and threatened to cut federal funding if they don’t take measures to restore law and order. According to a news release, New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, risk the loss of funding. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the DOJ statement. “This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The president is playing cheap political games with the congressionally directed funds,” the three said in a joint statement.

  • Manufacturing sectorThe Pandemic Has Revealed the Cracks in U.S. Manufacturing: Here’s How to Fix Them

    By Sridhar Kota and Glenn S. Daehn

    The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed glaring deficiencies in the U.S. manufacturing sector’s ability to provide necessary products – especially amidst a crisis. Globalization is at the heart of the problem. With heavy reliance on global supply chains and foreign producers, the pandemic has interrupted shipping of parts and materials to nearly 75% of U.S. companies. Decades of “offshoring” domestic manufacturing to other countries have led the U.S. to the current crisis. It has seriously damaged the nation’s industrial base, increased income inequality and caused stagnation in U.S. living standards. How the U.S. responds will determine the long-term health and prosperity of the nation.

  • Election securityHow to Change an Election

    A 3 August report from the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan group of political, government, and academic experts that ran election crisis-planning exercises to game out what might happen between now and Inauguration Day, predicts “lawsuits, divergent media narratives, attempts to stop the counting of ballots, and protests drawing people from both sides.” With both sides wary of tampering, Daniel Carpenter, a Harvard government professor, tries to game the game on what tactics could follow a close result.

  • Muslins in EuropeFrench Headscarf Ban Adversely Affects Muslim Girls

    New research has shown that the French ban prohibiting Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in public schools has had a detrimental effect on both the girls’ ability to complete their secondary education and their trajectories in the labor market. “In response to rising immigration flows and the fear of Islamic radicalization, several Western countries have enacted policies to restrict religious expression and emphasize secularism and Western values,” the co-authors write. “Despite intense public debate, there is little systematic evidence on how such policies influence the behavior of the religious minorities they target,” said one researcher.

  • GunsRise in Gun Purchases after Mass Shootings Tied to Fear of Firearm Regulations

    Surges in firearm acquisition after mass shootings is a well-documented phenomenon, but analytic research into the causes of this behavior — be it driven by a desire for self-protection, or a fear that access to firearms will be curtailed — is sparse. A new is applying a data science methodology to create a model of the “firearms ecosystem” to identify how decisions to buy guns are affected by individual, social network, and state-level factors.

  • GunsWhy Americans Are Buying More Guns Than Ever

    By Aimee Huff and Michelle Barnhart

    Americans have been on a record gun-buying spree in recent months. Gun sales typically have seasonal cycles, with more guns being sold in winter months, and increase in presidential election years and after high-profile mass shootings. However, the 2020 pandemic spurred a record-setting surge in demand for firearms. Gun sales first spiked in March, when lockdown orders began in the U.S. The figures jumped again in June following nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd. Our research examines American gun culture and offers insights into the complex relationship between Americans and guns. We believe there are three general reasons why people are purchasing firearms now.

  • GunsGunshot Injuries in California Drop, but Percentage of Firearm Death Goes Up

    Gun-violence research experts say that despite a significant drop in firearm injuries in recent years in California, there has been a substantial increase in the state’s overall death rate among those wounded by firearms. “We found that the number of nonfatal firearm injuries in California decreased over an 11-year period, primarily due to a drop in firearm assaults,” said Sarabeth Spitzer, lead author and a UC Davis research intern at the time of the study. “However, the lethality of those and other firearm injuries did not go down. In fact, it went up.”

  • GunsHandgun Purchaser Licensing Laws Associated with Lower Firearm Homicides, Suicides

    State handgun purchaser licensing laws—which go beyond federal background checks by requiring a prospective buyer to apply for a license or permit from state or local law enforcement—appear to be highly effective at reducing firearm homicide and suicide rates, according to a new analysis of gun laws.

  • CrimePolice solve just 2% of all major crimes

    By Shima Baughman

    As Americans across the nation protest police violence, people have begun to call for cuts or changes in public spending on police. But neither these nor other proposed reforms address a key problem with solving crimes. My recent review of fifty years of national crime data confirms that, as police report, they don’t solve most serious crimes in America. In reality, about 11 percent of all serious crimes result in an arrest, and about 2 percent end in a conviction. Therefore, the number of people police hold accountable for crimes – what I call the “criminal accountability” rate – is very low.

  • CrimeSteve Bannon Charged with Defrauding Donors to “We Build the Wall” Campaign

    Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former top political adviser, was charged today (Thursday) in New York with defrauding donors in a scheme related to an initiative called “We Build the Wall,” an online crowdfunding effort which collected more than $25 million from citizens who wished to help Trump’s border wall project for the U.S.-Mexico border. “As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” Audrey Strauss, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan, said in statement Thursday.

  • PERSPECTIVE: FBI exoneratedJustice Department Completes Review of Errors in FISA Applications

    The 2016 application by the FBI to the FISA court for permission to place Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, under surveillance over his suspicious contacts with Russian intelligence officers, was reviewed by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. The DOJ IG found the application to be proper and in line with the department’s guidelines, even though it contained a few minor errors. AG William Barr ordered a second thorough review of the FBI’s application, a review which included a review of the IG’s review as well. The Barr-ordered review has been completed, and the Justice Department reported that most of the errors identified by the Office of the Inspector General were minor, and none invalidated the surveillance application and authorizations. The DOJ review “should instill confidence in the FBI’s use of its FISA authorities,” said FBI Acting General Counsel Dawn Browning, committed the agency to “meeting the highest standard of exactness” and “eliminat[ing] errors of any kind.”

  • Deepfakes‘Deepfakes’ Ranked as Most Serious AI Crime Threat

    Fake audio or video content has been ranked by experts as the most worrying use of artificial intelligence in terms of its potential applications for crime or terrorism. : “As the capabilities of AI-based technologies expand, so too has their potential for criminal exploitation. To adequately prepare for possible AI threats, we need to identify what these threats might be, and how they may impact our lives,” says one expert.

  • ARGUMENT: Sidelining DHS watchdogsHow the DHS Intelligence Unit Sidelined the Watchdogs

    Several months ago, the leadership of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis asked DHS’s second-in-command, Ken Cuccinelli, to limit a department watchdog from regularly reviewing the intelligence products it produces and distributes. Cuccinelli signed off on the move, according to two sources familiar with the situation, which constrained the role of the department’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in approving the intelligence office’s work. Benjamin Wittes writes that “It is no wonder, under these circumstances, that there has been a rash of cases in which the office [DHS I&A] seems to have collected and disseminated “intelligence” on absurd subjects (including but not limited to me).”

  • Election securityElection Flexibility Needed to Address Pandemic Safety Concerns

    The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a severe threat to state election plans in 2020. To conduct an election during the COVID-19 pandemic, states need registration and voting options that minimize direct personal contact and that reduce crowds and common access to high-touch surfaces.

  • ARGUMENT: Malevolence & incompetenceWhat if J. Edgar Hoover Had Been a Moron?

    Benjamin Wittes, founder and co-editor of Lawfare, writes that it was on the ninth day of the Trump presidency, when writing in response to the new president’s new travel ban executive order, that he coined the phrase “malevolence tempered by incompetence.” But he never imagined in doing so that the phrase might aptly describe the Trump administration’s behavior toward him personally. In his detailed article, Wittes looks at both the incompetence, “which is simple and easy to understand and genuinely amusing,” and then the malevolence beneath it—”which is more complicated and is not amusing at all.”