Jeb and PNAC, The Neocon Connection
May14

Jeb and PNAC, The Neocon Connection

First, what is PNAC? It stands for the Project for the New American Century. It was founded in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The organization had 25 original signatories to its statement of principles, a who’s who of neocon thought. Signatories included the likes of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby. Others, including Richard Perle, R. James Woolsey and John Bolton were not original...

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Court Of Appeals Slams NSA’s Telephony Metadata Collection Program
May07

Court Of Appeals Slams NSA’s Telephony Metadata Collection Program

The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals has found that the telephony metadata collection program of the NSA violates section 215 of the Patriot Act. The opinion is unanimous from a three judge panel and was written by Judge Gerard E. Lynch. For those unfamiliar with the siting of the U. S. Courts of Appeal, the Second Circuit encompasses Connecticut, New York and Vermont. The opinion is 97 pages and not all of it will be...

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A Good Person Died Today – Goodbye Ben E. King
May01

A Good Person Died Today – Goodbye Ben E. King

He sang with the Drifters, but not the original Drifters. The original Drifters broke up and a group called The Five Crowns, with lead singer Ben E. King, took their name and moved up the charts with songs like “Save the Last Dance for Me.” King would leave the group and go on to a solo career that included his famous “Stand By Me”. When I worked with the Alzheimer’s Association, King, who owned the...

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The 47 – And The Art of Stepping in Doggie Poo
Mar11

The 47 – And The Art of Stepping in Doggie Poo

Rick Wilson, national Republican message and media strategist, had the germ of a good idea for his fellow GOPers in the wake of revelations about Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email to conduct government business. Appearing in Politico Magazine, Wilson authored a piece titled A Message to My Fellow Republicans, and subtitled “Let’s stay out of the way of Hillary Clinton’s email fiasco.” His thesis was simple and could have worked....

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The University of Chicago Grapples With Free Speech
Jan15

The University of Chicago Grapples With Free Speech

To put this in context, it occurred prior to the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. The University of Chicago, through the Provost’s office, established a Committee on Freedom of Expression. The committee, comprised of seven professors from fields as diverse as medicine, law, psychology, literature and the arts, and headed by law professor Geoffrey Stone, was appointed to examine “recent events nationwide that have tested institutional...

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Letter to Elyse – Upon Thinking of Skokie
Jan12

Letter to Elyse – Upon Thinking of Skokie

Dear Elyse, It has been a long time. What were we when last we saw each other? Sixteen? And then we only knew each other for two dates, one a movie and the other an afternoon at your home in Skokie. But I have not forgotten and trust that you remember too. Recently I have been reminded that Nazis have marched, under the guise of freedom, through Skokie, with its long and deep Jewish heritage, spewing hate and wrath in the unwilling...

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Free Speech and the Charlie Hebdo Attack
Jan09

Free Speech and the Charlie Hebdo Attack

As the world attempts to recover and respond to the Paris murders over the publication of cartoons deemed offensive to certain groups, media outlets deal with whether or not to reprint the offending pieces. For some of us the answer is not difficult. The cartoons are part of the story. It is unforgiveable that some “news” outlets will not show their readers the source of the controversy. More importantly, the ruse that this is done to...

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Armed Drones Now Patrol Iraq
Jun27

Armed Drones Now Patrol Iraq

The U. S. military has confirmed that some surveillance drones in Iraq have been armed with air to surface missiles. The purpose of arming the drones is to provide protection for U. S. military who are in the country. Confirmation came from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby. He noted that some U. S. personnel were venturing outside the embassy to assist Iraqi military, exposing the U. S. personnel to increased risk. We can...

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No News Here, Just Another School Shooting, Two Dead (Updated)
Jun10

No News Here, Just Another School Shooting, Two Dead (Updated)

Troutdale, Oregon is a windy, but otherwise unremarkable, suburb of Portland. Its exposure to the Columbia River Gorge contributes to its windy reputation. Today, there was more than the sound of wind being heard in this bedroom community of 16,000. “Boom, Boom…Boom, Boom, Boom”. That was the description of one witness. Her knees gave way and she fell to the ground as she listened to the gunfire, five shots as she...

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Golf Digest: Disrespecting Women Golfers?
Apr04

Golf Digest: Disrespecting Women Golfers?

Confession: I love golf. I play the game. I watch tournaments on television. But, I also have a hard time with the game’s sometimes racist and often sexist past. It was only a few years ago that Augusta National Golf Club, home to the Masters, admitted its first women members, and not much before that its first members of color. So when sexism raises it head again with Golf Digest’s latest issue, the echoes of the past reverberate and...

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Citizens United Expanded (McCutcheon v. FEC)
Apr02

Citizens United Expanded (McCutcheon v. FEC)

For those who thought the U. S. Supreme Court might be chastened by the reaction to its Citizens United decision and be reluctant to expand that thinking further, I regret to inform you that your hopes have been officially dashed. In today’s decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court has ruled, very much relying on Citizens United, that aggregate limits on campaign contributions to individual candidates and Party...

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Executions Stopped By Washington State Governor
Feb12

Executions Stopped By Washington State Governor

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has placed a moratorium on executions in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington. Inslee’s decision follows similar moves by the governor of Maryland, which has since abolished capital punishment, and Governor John Kitzhaber, Inslee’s neighboring governor to the south in Oregon where a moratorium has been in effect since 2011. Governor Inslee’s decision goes no further than assure that there will...

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Tea Party Claims Another GOP Scalp
Jan29

Tea Party Claims Another GOP Scalp

Former Nevada assemblywoman, state senator, lieutenant governor and gaming commissioner, Sue Wagner has turned in her Republican registration to become an Independent. Explaining her decision, she said she has tired of the GOP’s embrace of far right politics. “I did it as a symbol, I guess, that I do not like the Republican Party and what they stand for today…I’ve been a Republican all my life. My dad was active [as a...

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Court To Website: Reveal Commenter’s ID’s
Jan22

Court To Website: Reveal Commenter’s ID’s

This story comes out of Louisiana. NOLA.com/Times-Picayune has been ordered to reveal the identities of commenters to its site. The case grows out of the prosecution of an individual accused of self dealing with funding following Hurricane Katrina, but the issue with commenters arose out of a case involving five police officers and their conduct in the aftermath of the hurricane. What happened was that there was evidence that...

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Obama’s NSA Reforms: Half A Loaf
Jan17

Obama’s NSA Reforms: Half A Loaf

It is said that half a loaf is better than none. More on that in a bit. Before the President’s presentation on NSA reforms, I wrote down a number of issues, each of which could be answered yes, no, or limited. Here is my list, with the short answers. More in depth comes after. 1. Appointment/Confirmation of FISA judges by someone other than Chief Justice: No. 2. Judicial review/approval for issuance of National Security Letters: No....

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NSA Spying – The Economic Fallout
Jan16

NSA Spying – The Economic Fallout

Most of the discussion about NSA surveillance practices has rightfully centered around the juxtaposition of security, privacy and other civil liberties. In the heat, and only rarely light, of that dispute over competing values, other interests may be overlooked. Among those other interests are the American brand in the world and the economic impact on private American companies that comes with a tarnished national image. It hasn’t...

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What’s An NSL?  Why Does It Matter? [Updated]
Jan10

What’s An NSL? Why Does It Matter? [Updated]

What’s an NSL An NSL is a National Security Letter. First authorized in 1978 to circumvent the Right to Financial Privacy Act, NSL’s were to be used in counter espionage investigations by the FBI and were limited to investigations of foreign powers and foreign agents. In 1993 the power under the law was broadened to include persons not under direct investigation. With Passage of the Patriot Act, NSL authority was expanded yet again....

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The Christie Fib-A-Thon, Er, News Conference
Jan09

The Christie Fib-A-Thon, Er, News Conference

Being a trial lawyer causes a person to see the world in ways perhaps different from others. Having to judge the credibility of witnesses, discuss their testimony with jurors in closing argument and/or prepare for cross examination, I tend to see events like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s press conference from that courtroom perspective. The signs of dishonesty permeated the first 30 minutes or so of the presser....

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NSA Ops: Worse Than You Thought
Dec30

NSA Ops: Worse Than You Thought

Did you know that computers ordered online have been intercepted during shipping to be implanted with espionage software by the NSA? Me either until this and other activities of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) of NSA was revealed by Der Spiegel, the highly respected German publication with prior ties to Edward Snowden. Snowden has not been named as a source for these particular revelations. For a quick overview, here are a few of...

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NSA Program Ruled Unconstitutional
Dec16

NSA Program Ruled Unconstitutional

United States District Court Judge Richard Leon has ruled that the NSA’s telephony metadata collection program is unconstitutional. The 68 page opinion, which the brave of heart can read here , goes deep into the weeds of federal judicial processes and standing issues before getting to the Constitutional point. This is not the work of an ACLU mole on the federal bench. Judge Leon is an appointee of George W. Bush. The case is also...

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