Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

250px-Michael_Hayden,_CIA_official_portrait225px-Lindsey_Graham,_official_Senate_photo_portrait,_2006This was beginning to sound too familiar. A president is calling for a new war based on his inherent authority while members of Congress warn that it is war or death for America. However, former NSA director (and my neighbor) Michael Hayden added a new element: explaining that air power is like “casual sex” and that we need greater commitment than the military equivalent to a one night stand. Of course, this one night stand is expected to last months and cost billions. President Obama has already asked for $500 million to just arm Syrian rebels despite the fact that we are now facing our own weaponry in the hands of ISIS (captured from our past supply of rebels and the Iraqi military). Sort of like Warren Zevon’s song to send “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” except we are leaving the lawyers behind on this one.

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170px-Albrecht_Dürer_Betende_HändeSaudi Arabia has long been one of the most vocal countries to object to any insult or restriction impacting Islam in other countries. However, it continues to deny the free exercise of religion to non-Muslims. That oppressive record was on full display this week with the report of another series of arrests of Christians who were merely trying to pray. The infamous Morality Police (Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) raided the prayer meeting and arrested everyone for the crime of praying to another God.

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210px-flag_of_washington_dcsvgThis afternoon, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold its hearing on whether to accept a new state into the Union: New Columbia. While I was asked if I could testify on S. 132, I will be traveling today to Newport News to Christopher Newport University for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Since I will not be able to appear, I thought that I would re-run my earlier column on the proposal. Before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration. I have long argued that a constitutional amendment is the best way to give residents a vote in Congress. Statehood raises a myriad of difficult issues but regardless of the reform (whether statehood or an amendment simply allowing for a representative in the House of Representatives), this should be a decision that is submitted directly to the American people as a whole. I am troubled (as I was in 2007) by the effort to push this through Congress to avoid such a vote (as well as the cloud of partisan politics that continue to swell around the issue).

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220px-911report_cover_HIGHRES

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

In light of the recently observed 13th anniversary of the events on 9/11/01, I read an article this week that caught my eye.  According to reports, there is a 28 page section of the 9/11 Commission report that has never been released publicly and remains secret to this day.  Indeed, Congressmen must go through numerous security reviews before they can read the document in a secure room in Washington, D.C.

What kind of secret and clandestine information can be found in such a guarded document?  Since it is top-secret, we can only go by the reviews of people who have read the report.  What is found in that report may surprise you in light of its level of secrecy. (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

gavel2washington-flag-sealIn an unusual and historically unprecedented outcome, Washington’s Supreme Court held the state in contempt for the legislature failing to provide a clear plan in funding public education by the school year 2017-18 pursuant to the McCleary ruling the court handed down in January of 2012.

According to documents the court in McCleary v. State, 173 Wn.2d 477, 269 P.3d 227 (2012) unanimously affirmed a declaratory judgment of the King County Superior Court finding that the state is not meeting its “paramount duty … to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders” under Article IX Section 1 of the state constitution. The court initially deferred to the legislature’s chosen means of discharging its constitutional duty, but retained jurisdiction over the case to monitor the State’s progress in implementing by 2018 the reforms that the legislature had recently adopted. Pursuant to its retention of jurisdiction, the court has called for periodic reports from the State on its progress. Following the State’s first report in 2012, the court issued an order directing the State to lay out its plan “in sufficient detail to allow progress to be measured according to periodic benchmarks between then and 2014.

The legislature failed to meet the courts demands for production of evidence of progress by the legislature and the court then found the state in contempt. The issue has brought up certainly the notion of separation of powers, but the possibility of sanctions has many in the legislature motivated to now act.

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260px-capitol_building_full_viewOn Monday, the Senate will hold a hearing in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on entering a new state into the Union: New Columbia. I was asked if I could testify on S. 132 since I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Unfortunately, the hearing was moved to the afternoon on Monday, which made it impossible because I have to be in Newport News on Monday for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. Accordingly, I had to reluctantly decline. I have great respect and sympathy for those trying to secure a vote for the District residents. I have previously suggested different means to accomplish that end. However, before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration.

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earth-screensaver_largeYes, we actually have some good news to report about the environment. The United Nations has issued a report with NASA photos showing that the giant hole in Earth’s ozone layer is shrinking. The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and was being destroyed by the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Over vehement objections from industry that curtailing CFCs would destroy the economy, new laws forced the use of substitutes and the result has been predictable and encouraging.

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