Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portrait

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

It is unfortunately not surprising that anything that the CIA does should be considered suspect.  When the CIA recently came under fire for allegedly spying on Senate computers, no one, except the Senators who were spied on were surprised.  Now that Director John Brennan has completed his internal “investigation” into the matter, the truth has come out.  John Brennan says he and the CIA did nothing wrong! (more…)

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160px-IRS.svgWe previously discussed the gross negligence exhibited in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) rollout and how there appeared little accountability for such failures even when they cost hundreds of millions.(For a column, click here). Now it turns out that, after costing the country a fortune due to this shoddy work, the IRS has reportedly awarded the company yet another contract to do work on . . . you guessed it, Obamacare.

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220px-JMR-Lady Justice

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

In our sometimes upside down world, it can seem that the lives and secrets of our intelligence service employees and their agencies are worth more than the lives and physical and mental well-being of the countless prisoners who were tortured by the CIA .  That is the same torture that was authorized and approved at the highest levels of our government.

Let’s also not forget the many instances of allegedly criminal activity by large banks and their employees that resulted in civil fines or no action at all, notwithstanding the lives that were shattered in the meantime.

Recently it was disclosed that the Department of Justice and the FBI have recommended that Gen. David Petraeus be criminally prosecuted for allegedly passing his classified CIA email account and exposing state secrets to the biographer/author he was having an affair with.  This is the very same Department of Justice, along with the Obama Administration that claims it did not have enough evidence to file charges against admitted torturers and those that authorized the torture and destruction of evidence. (more…)

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175px-Linda_Greenhouse,_2005turley_jonathanThe ABA Journal has posted a podcast that I did with former New York Times journalist Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court. Greenhouse is currently the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School.

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220px-United_Airlines_-_N14219_-_Flickr_-_skinnylawyer_(1)aktarer-zaman We have long discussed the shameful treatment of passengers by the airlines, which continue to gouge consumers while reducing seat space and even the most basic accommodations. The complaints against the airlines have increased recently due to the airlines refusing to pass along record low fuels prices to consumers in maintaining high-cost tickets. Now, United Airlines has sued a 22-year-old blogger, Aktarer Zaman, for showing passengers how to find cheap flights on his website Skiplagged.com. Orbitz has joined in the ignoble effort.

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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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150px-National_Security_Agency_svg

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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