Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

250px-FratPoliceUS-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svgThe National Fraternal Order of Police has launched a campaign to change federal law to add attacks on police as a hate crime. In a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress, the powerful union cites the murders of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The demand would treat an attack based on status as the same as an attack based on race. Given the Administration’s expedited investigations of civil rights violations involving deaths caused by police officers in Missouri and New York, the change would create an interesting situation where both future suspects and officers would be arguably protections under federal hate crime laws.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

The instances of reported abuse of our country’s laws by our Intelligence services seems never-ending.  The National Security Agency, or NSA is at the top of the list when it comes to violations of our laws and even its own rules and procedures that are allegedly designed to protect our privacy.

Pursuant to a court order in a case brought by the ACLU, the NSA is required to provide a list of its abuses on a quarterly basis.  Of course, the NSA redacts most of what it puts in its own disclosures. (more…)

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screen-shot-2014-11-13-at-8-45-49-amMIT professor Jonathan Gruber has produced a firestorm of controversy over remarks made in various settings about the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and how drafters like himself relied on the “stupidity” of voters in passing the legislation. It appears that the Gruber hits keep coming, even as he prepares for another round of questioning in Congress. The latest comments from 2009 reveal Gruber saying that Obamacare would not produce affordable health care for many citizens since its focus is coverage not costs. This statement made five months before the passage of the Act from a key architect is in stark contrast to President Obama’s repeated assertions that premiums would go down dramatically. The latest statement will fuel questioning before Congress on whether the White House knew that premiums were unlikely to do down and that people would not be able to keep their current policies as promised by President Obama in selling the program.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend Contributor

It should not surprise any of the regular visitors to this blog that I have written many articles detailing the abuses of many of the Big Banks and the resulting fines that they have paid on multiple occasions.  When a taxpayer reads about Billion dollar settlements being paid by Banks and financial companies as a result of a Justice Department investigation, they probably assume that the entire amount of the fine is being paid.

Those very same taxpayers may be surprised to learn that in many cases, the Banks are able to deduct from their taxes up to 75% of the fines and settlements made with the Justice Department. (more…)

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250px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4I have long argued in my column as well as numerous blog postings that our country is legally bound to prosecute people responsible for ordering torture during the Bush Administration. There is no question that water boarding is torture as recognized by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, the United Nations and virtually every expert in this field. However, while you may want to try to rewrite legal precedent (as did John Yoo and Jay Bybee in their infamous Torture Memos), you should not try to rewrite history. That is what former Vice President Dick Cheney appears to be doing this month. He told Chuck Todd on Sunday that we never prosecuted anyone for water boarding — an assertion that I and others have repeatedly raised over the years. The statement is simply false and adds historical revisionism to legal revisionism in our sordid foray into torture.

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Adam_lanza_sandy_hook_shooter220px-Police_at_Sandy_HookThe families of nine of the 26 people killed two years ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting. The lawsuit names Bushmaster, Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the East Windsor store where Adam Lanza’s mother purchased the Bushmaster rifle in 2010. The plaintiffs include Sherlach and the families of Vicki Soto, Dylan Hockley, Noah Pozner, Lauren Rousseau, Benjamin Wheeler, Jesse Lewis, Daniel Barden, Rachel D’Avino and teacher Natalie Hammond (who was injured in the shooting). Despite great sympathy for these families and this teacher, the lawsuit has little merit in my view in seeking liability against the sale of a lawful weapon.

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158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgPresident_Barack_ObamaDespite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.

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