President Barack Obama recently came out to remind people that “Leaks related to national security can put people at risk.” He however denied knowledge of this and the other scandals. In the past, Obama has been able to weather criticism by civil libertarians due to his iconic status with many citizens. This time is different. The media (rather belatedly) is seeing his Administration in a different light as a true threat to liberty. Now, Obama has given a speech proclaiming that he now thinks that reporters should not fear investigation for just doing their jobs so he has ordered an investigation . . . by Eric Holder and the Justice Department. Of course, it was disclosed on the same day that it was Holder who approved the abusive targeting of Fox reporter Jeff Rosen.
Archive for the 'Politics' Category
Pro-Life Congressman Fined For Allegedly Pressuring Patient Into Abortion and Improper Sexual RelationshipsPublished 1, May 24, 2013 Bizarre , Congress , Politics , Religion , Society 10 Comments
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) is a pro-life Republican who has long run on family values. Those values however were no where in sight in the recent findings of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners which ordered DesJarlais to pay a fine for having sexual relations with patients and allegedly pressuring one patient to get an abortion. However, the cost of such conduct will be $500.
I previously discussed the slew of recent conservatives who has “had a change of heart” on equal rights of gays and lesbians after a family member who out as homosexual. Like some conservative women who reject most privacy principles except abortion rights, it is hard to celebrate belated endorsements of civil liberties which happen to benefit these politicians or their families. I had the same reaction to some journalists who gave only passing attention to President Obama’s various attacks on civil liberties over the last four years. However, now that his Administration has turned on journalists, we are seeing editorials like today’s New York Times column stating “the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.”
Arizona had an extraordinary moment this week during the opening prayer. No it is not what you think of some sectarian screed or other controversy. To the contrary, it was an unprecedented act of inclusion when the legislature allowed an atheist to open the session. An atheist state lawmaker tasked with delivering the opening prayer for this afternoon’s session of the House of Representatives asked that people not bow their heads. Democratic Representative Juan Mendez, of Tempe, is an atheist and opened the session by asking his colleagues not to bow their heads but look at each other.
I have previously stated that I fail to see the basis for criminal charges in the IRS scandal. Prior administrations have faced allegations of targeting opposing groups and such matters have been treated as abuses but not crimes. Yet, various news sites are reporting this morning that Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS division, will invoke the Fifth Amendment before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Her counsel asked the Committee to withdraw the demand for her testimony in light of her intention to refuse to testify on the grounds that it may incriminate her.
Florida High School Student Expelled and Charged with Two Felonies For Consensual Relationship With Fellow StudentPublished 1, May 22, 2013 Criminal law , Politics , Society 149 Comments
We have previously discussed the continued prosecution of minors for engaging in sexual conduct under state laws. These laws have a sexist record of boys prosecuted for having sex with a minor where girls were treated as the victim, even when the sex was consensual and both were minors or close in age. There is a new case out of Indian River, Florida that is equally troubling. Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, is a senior in high school and is facing felony charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with another girl at her school. Despite an outcry against prosecuting Hunt for consensual sex, the prosecutor has refused to drop the charges of two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age. Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman has insisted that he will only agree to a plea deal where she would accept one felony conviction and a two-year sentence of home confinement. Such a plea would likely put Hunt on the sex offender registry for life.
Japan has long been criticized for school books that fail to acknowledge atrocities committed by Japanese troops in World War II as well as continued ceremonies that honor war criminals. For that reason, many felt that the recent acknowledgment of forced prostitution of thousands of Asian women — called Comfort Women — was a step forward. Then Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, stepped forward. Hashimoto has gone public to defend the forced prostitution as necessary to “maintain discipline” in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle. So much for progress.
This video appeared last week and shows the extremism of the “Golden Dawn” movement in Greece, which is now reaching out to other European countries. As with Nazism in Germany, the movement has emerged from the economic chaos of Greece to offer hate and violence as a way to express the frustration of the people facing high unemployment and stagnant economic prospects. In the video, you can hear a Golden Dawn member repeatedly screaming “Heil Hitler” in the Greek parliament.
As the scandal over the attack on the press continues in the Associated Press investigation, another such attack has come to light. The Obama Administration in 2010 investigated Fox News correspondent Jeff Rosen and the FBI treated him as “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” for merely speaking with a source. It was a perfectly Nixonian moment – yet another example of how Obama has adopted many of the same abuses as Richard Nixon. While journalists, public interest groups, and even Democratic members have denounced the attack on the media in the Associated Press investigation, Obama stepped forward to defend the investigation and praise the work of the Justice Department. He doubled down on those complaining about his Administration’s shocking record on whistleblowers and reporters by saying that he would make “no apologies” for the greatest attack on the media in decades.
I have previously testified and written about President Barack Obama’s use of recess appointments, which I viewed as flagrantly unconstitutional. Recently, the D.C. Circuit agreed with that view and found that the Obama Administration had violated the recess appointment powers. Now a second appellate court has joined that view, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. I have two law review articles coming out on these appointments and more broadly the abuse of recess appointment powers in modern presidencies. See Jonathan Turley, Recess Appointments in the Age of Regulation, 93 Boston University Law Review ___ (2013) and Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Adverse Possession: Recess Appointments and the Role of Historical Practice in Constitutional Interpretation, 2103 Wisconsin Law Review ___ (2013)
New York Assemblyman Resigns In the Midst Of Sexual Harassment Scandal . . . And Promptly Announces City Council BidPublished 1, May 20, 2013 Bizarre , Politics 13 Comments
New York Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez is the latest politician to resign in a scandal, but Lopez has a curious twist. He will now run for a new office. With Antony Weiner now committed to running for mayor, it is the new version of political responsibility. You resign and then run again as a new man.
We have been discussing the tax policies of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government — a record that I have criticized as ruinous from an economic standpoint. A recent report indicates that for some high-earning families — more than 8,000 — the Hollande policies impose a 100% tax. It is the ultimate “eat the rich” policy. Even for those families facing a 75% rate, it is unclear why they would continue to work in the country. Many are not. France is experiencing a flight of both high earners and companies.
By Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger
“Be what you would seem to be-or, if you’d like it put more simply-Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The late Paul Weyrich is generally regarded as the principal architect of the new conservative coalition that emerged with the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan. He was a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation. He even created the phrase “moral majority” for Pat Robertson. But his most important creation was the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 1973. In the course of 30 years that body has become the most powerful force in state legislative bodies throughout the country.
Weyrich was not a fan of voting rights. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” he said in 1980. “Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Weyrich understood that voters are problematic for two reasons. First, they are fickle and unpredictable. Second, they cannot be held accountable for their decisions. In short, they cannot be controlled, making democracy an uncertain endeavor.
But Weyrich also understood that lobbying is not an effective antidote to an independent electorate. It is expensive and subject to restrictions and regulations that vary from state to state. ALEC operates in a manner that enables it to surmount those problems. Powerful corporate interests provide the funding necessary to research and draft model bills serving their interests. The approximately 2,000 state legislator members of ALEC sponsor those model bills in their respective states. And the electorate? Well, anyone is free to join and have his or her voice heard by paying an annual membership fee ranging from $7,000.00 to $25,000.00.
As you will see, ALEC’s ability to get its way in spite of the voting public is indeed a wonder to behold. Continue reading ‘ALEC in Wonderland, An Act In Two Plays (Part 1)’
That free speech is under attack by the governments local and Federal should be manifestly apparent from the stories that have appeared of the last few years here at Res Ipsa Loquitur. In articles from our host, myself and my fellow guest bloggers, we’ve seen open attacks on free speech as a right proper, attacks on anonymous political free speech, the prosecution and persecution of whistleblowers and the erosion of shield laws protecting reporters and attacks on free speech and pluralism in general in the form of blasphemy laws just to name a few of the threats that have come to our attention. What is most troubling is that the Federal government has stepped up their efforts to outright infringe upon the free speech rights of citizens and the press and chill the right however possible. Free speech is critical for the function of democracy. Without dissent, there can be no debate, only the dictates of the strong over the weak which is by definition tyranny. That is one of the reasons that it was so important that the Founders protected it in the 1st Amendment. However, they felt in particular that the freedom of the press was a not just free speech, but a very special kind of free speech that merited both special mention and protection in the 1st. The 1st Amendment reads in relevant part:
Congress shall make no law [. . .] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”.
As we know, there are legitimate reasonable restrictions on free speech such as defamation, incitement and threats (particularly threats of violence). So before we look at the two present instances of the chilling of free speech – one a local story about a graduation and one the national story concerning the DOJ accessing the phone records for hundreds of reporters working for the Associated Press – let us first ask examine what is meant by the term “chilling free speech”.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
The Obama Administration was rocked last week by two political scandals that Republicans claim makes Watergate look like a jaywalking ticket. Pious GOPers decried the lack of response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks and then blasted the Administration (as well as US Senators Chuck Schumer and Jeanne Shaheen) for sicking the IRS on their lapdog grassroots movement that’s neither grassroots nor a movement, the Tea Party. Seems the Republicans say they can do national defense better and are willing to produce quotes from doctored emails to prove it. On the home front, the knives were out for that whipping boy of the “Don’t Tax Us” crowd — the IRS. Calling for jail sentences, leading Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and 29 other Republicans who sponsored legislation to really, really, make IRS political retribution illegal (it is already) are shocked … shocked that some politically active conservative groups were scrutinized over tax exempt status when they were forced by two rogue IRS examiners to fill out long questionnaires that went public. Never mind that no group was actually denied the status despite their applications that said that these “social welfare” organization weren’t really social welfare organizations anyway but political ones, or that that “legalest” of tax dodges –501(c)(3) & (4) status — has become a bad joke used to attack the other guys politics. What mattered to leading Republicans now (Oh, yeah in less ox-gored days a year ago, Senator Minority leader Mitch McConnell blasted liberal groups for you guessed it — using tax exempt status to attack the GOP), is that they finally have something to use politically against the Administration. You can almost hear the sighs of relief coming from the parlors at the country clubs and over the lemonade and cookies in the church basements can’t you?
-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, writes: “Just weeks after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I was notified by the IRS that the Catholic League was under investigation for violating the IRS Code on political activities as it relates to 501(c)(3) organizations.” So, that would be when George W. Bush was the President. The recent media attention directed towards IRS investigations of Tea Party, 501(c)(4), organizations, was just too enticing for Donohue. For 501(c)(3) organizations, the IRS requires that the organization “may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” It might be interesting to see how well the Catholic League upheld its commitment to this requirement.
-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Forget about the IRS, AP, and Benghazi. They all pale in significance to Umbrella-Gate. President Obama asked White House Marine guards to hold umbrellas for the President and the Turkish Prime Minister during an outdoor press conference. Male Marines are not allowed to use umbrellas while in uniform, except when they are “perform[ing] such other duties as the President may direct“. Female Marines are allowed to use umbrellas. Sarah Palin tweeted: “Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas.”
The City of Detroit has left whole areas without street lighting and even proposed allowing buildings to burn rather than spend the money on fire fighters. The mayor has called it quits and even an emergency manager appears close to throwing in the towel on the city. However, Detroit’s two public pension funds (long accused of gross mismanagement) are sending four trustees to Hawaii at the cost of $22,000 as an educational trip.
There is an interesting lawsuit against an academic institution in Colorado. Spanish-speaking custodial workers at the Auraria Higher Education Center in Colorado are suing over the failure of the Center to give them instructions in Spanish — alleging that they have faced unsafe conditions over the use of English rather than Spanish. The case suggests that the use of Spanish can not only be legally required but that the use of English can constitute a type of unsafe workplace.
Satanic Tweets: Head of Saudi Religious Police Warns Citizens That Use of Twitter Destroys Chance For HeavenPublished 1, May 16, 2013 Constitutional Law , Free Speech , Politics , Religion , Society 49 Comments
Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, has gone public with a renewed attack on the use of social media sites, particularly Twitter. He warned citizens that the use of sites like Twitter guarantees that the user “has lost this world and his afterlife.”
Many defense lawyers and drivers have complained that the blood-alcohol level used by states is too low and allows charges for relatively low amounts of alcohol consumption. Nevertheless, it appears that the National Transportation Safety Board will recommended that all states drop the blood-alcohol level at which motorists can be charged with driving drunk to .05, down from the current rate of .08. That will mean that an average woman will cross the threshold with only a single drink. For men, it will be a two drink maximum.
I recently published a column on how Barack Obama has publicly assumed many of the powers that were once cited as the basis for the investigation and attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon. One of those areas was the Obama Administration’s crackdown on journalists. This week Attorney General Eric Holder appears to have yet again added to this ignoble record. It appears that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press. This disclosure follows another recent disclosure that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups associated with the Tea Party. Yet, once again, most Democrats remain silent in a type of cult of personality where principle is discarded in favor of loyalty to the President.
This is a sign from Union Grove, Texas where licensed and trained teachers and administrators now carry a firearm. Is this sign supposed to convince killers to move down the road to the less defended school?
We have yet another example of the difference in expectations between Americans and voters in other countries. We have politicians who disappeared for months from office, solicit prostitutes from the Senate floor, and call workers “wetbacks.” Yet, they remain in office. However, New Zealand’s National Party MP Aaron Gilmore has resigned after calling a waiter a “dickhead.”
Oregon Man Acquitted After Arrest For Stripping Before TSA . . . TSA Responds By Bringing Its Own ChargePublished 1, May 13, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Free Speech , Lawyering , Media , Politics , Society 68 Comments
I have previously written about how the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) set out to create a crime never approved by Congress: the crime of making a joke in an airport about security issues. The TSA has long appeared to chafe at the notion of an agency dependent on Congress or the public for its authority. That appears the message being sent to John E. Brennan. You may recall Brennan from a story last year when he stripped in the Portland International Airport in protest of increasing invasive TSA security measures. He was cleared by a judge who found his stripping was a form of protest. However, the TSA was clearly miffed by decision of the judge, so Brennan was pulled into the administrative abyss by TSA with an agency charge. It appears that, if the law will not punish a citizen, TSA will.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger
Recently, the ICIJ, better known as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report detailing hundreds of thousands of off-shore companies whose sole product or service is to hide income from many countries tax authorities. “A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.
The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways.
They include American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program.” ICIJ.org Continue reading ‘Tax Havens For the Wealthy, But What About the Rest of Us?’
by Gene Howington, Gust Blogger
As previously discussed in the column “Fantastic Plastic?“, the advent of cheap 3-D printing (or additive manufacturing) is changing the nature of how we can manufacture anything including guns. At the time the original column was written, a pioneer in additive manufacturing of guns – Defense Distributed of Austin, Texas – was making headlines for using this technology to make lower receivers for AR-15 style assault rifles. Although in the proof of concept stage, Defense Distributed had rapidly shown that they could make such a component capable of firing over 600 rounds before stress failure. I speculated that such a weapon was not as threatening due to size and some materials constraints and that even more dangerous was the possibility of all (or nearly all) plastic handguns and other easily concealable weapons that escape normal detection techniques.
In this instance, we have a case of science rapidly catching up with speculation. Last week Defense Distributed released the following video of their plastic handgun design. The only metal component of the weapon is the firing pin. It is called (rather dramatically) the Liberator.
In a move that is not entirely unexpected as self-described crypto-anarchist Cody R. Wilson and his company Defense Distributed continue to push both the boundaries of the technology as well as gun laws, the government took action. It is no secret that escalation often begets escalation. Is this the first salvo by the government in their dealings with Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed?
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
Sometimes I’ll be watching something and a thought will occur to me and it will stick in my mind and lead me into a meditation on a more global idea that remains with me as I try to puzzle it out. A train of thought set off this week was a TV program in which a person had to deal with aging and it was clear that their fear of their own mortality that controlled their actions. The program is forgotten and unimportant in this piece, but it did start me spending much time extrapolating the implications from that situation. This represents the rude beginnings of a theory I’ve developed, sans research, on why many people respond the way they do to the world, especially in a sociopolitical sense. Feel free to attack it, because it is merely a product of my tangled thought processes and in truth I don’t even know if it is particularly original, or the result of my synthesis of much I’ve learned and read through the years.
Noticeable human development began at least a million years ago in an apelike creature that was small and relatively weak, considering the predatory creatures that surrounded it. Life was a tricky proposition for that creature and the act of merely staying alive consumed its time. I would think that almost all of its day was spent in a state of fear, causing adrenalin rushes and hyper sensitivity to its environment. Those with the most fear, sensitivity and intelligence survived enough to pass on their genes to the coming generations, thus continuing the evolutionary cycle. As time and evolution passed enormous changes in brain size and other factors turned this fragile being into an omnivore predator that mastered the food chain. Yet still remaining were the instincts of fear and hyper-vigilance, since life even at the top of the food chain remained brutal and short. Those instincts protected us well until a next evolutionary step that took us to a whole new level, leaving us as unquestioned masters of life on this planet. That step is what some are calling a social evolutionary process. When humans began to band together into larger groups their place in the world increased exponentially. This “social evolution” changed the Earth and continues today, but nevertheless we are still primarily ruled by fear and by hyper-vigilance. Let me take you where this thought has led me and perhaps you can show me the flaws in my nascent “theory” and provide me with respite from its repetition in my brain. Continue reading ‘A Meditation on Fear’
In states from Texas to Oklahoma to Iowa, legislators have introduced resolutions that appear to proclaim Israel as a nation ordained by God. Most recently, the Texas enrolled SR 694 — a resolution introduced by Republican Senator Ken Paxton of McKinney, Texas and entitled “Commending Israel for its relationship with the United States.” It is not the title but the first sentence that is surprising: “WHEREAS, Israel has been granted her lands as recorded in the Old Testament.” That sounds a lot like saying that the nation of Israel is ordained by God and that religious claim is being ratified by the Texas legislature.
We have previously discussed the harassment and abuse of families in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods who have accused religious figures of sexual abuse. Like Catholic and other Christian communities, the Jewish community is facing its own scandal over the response to these allegations. This ongoing controversy is at the heart of a case in New Jersey where a leading counselor and Rabbi stands accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy — and members of the Orthodox community are accused of a campaign of harassment against the boy and his family for going to the police.
Leading Physicist Stephen Hawking has created an international stir by joining a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and travel to Israel after sending a letter declining an invitation to attend the President’s Conference. While Cambridge originally claimed that Hawking was not attending due to his health, Hawking sent a letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres saying that he was in fact boycotting Israel due to its Palestinian policies.
DC Attorney General Nathan Testifies In World Bank Case And Denies Any Wrongdoing By Staff Or Need For InvestigationPublished 1, May 9, 2013 Criminal law , Lawyering , Media , Politics 16 Comments
As reported this morning in various newspapers and sites, the World Bank case (Chang) ended its evidentiary hearings before Special Master John M. Facciola, United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, yesterday with the testimony of District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan. Like his predecessor, ex-AG Peter Nickles, Nathan was called by the court to answer questions on the latest controversy over false statements in filings by his office and the failure to inform the court for 70 days that someone had attempted to delete evidence in the case. As co-lead counsel, I am limited in what I feel comfortable in saying about the case, but, given the inquiries on yesterday’s hearing I wanted to give the status in the case. Continue reading ‘DC Attorney General Nathan Testifies In World Bank Case And Denies Any Wrongdoing By Staff Or Need For Investigation’
We recently discussed China’s new Red Nobility Class that rules the purportedly Communist nation as friends rake in billions in profits from businesses assisted by local party leaders in land seizures and non-enforcement of environmental laws. The inherent conflict with Communist values was brought to a new level with the disclosure that the granddaughter of Mao, Kong Dongmei, and husband Chen Dongsheng ranked 242nd with personal wealth estimated at five billion yuan (£524 million) on a rich list released this month by New Fortune, a Chinese financial magazine.
Police Officer Tells Man That He Has Planted Drugs On People In The Past And Threatens Him With False Arrest . . . But Later Returned To The ForcePublished 1, May 9, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 19 Comments
Recently, a video emerged showing a Canadian police officer in Durham threatening a man in 2011 with planting drugs on him and saying that he has done so before. The profanity laced tirade of the officer was posted on YouTube in which he not only threatens to plant drugs but to beat up the man. The police, however, say that the officer was “disciplined” . . . and then returned to duty. It is unclear what it takes to be fired as a police officer in Durham. The police seem more upset with the profanity than the fact that the officer is captured admitting to planting drugs and threatening an illegal act. The Toronto Star identified the officer as Constable Jamie Ebdon. Here is the punishment . . . he was docked two days’ pay. [Warning both the transcript and the video contain graphic language]
Below is today’s column in USA Today. Aidan and I had a ball in Chicago from going to Hot Doug’s for hot dogs to Ed Debevik’s for hamburgers (and seeing our favorite waiter “Biscuit.). I even went into my old school Joseph Brennemann Elementary on Clarendon. But the highlight was taking Aidan to his first game at Wrigley, a major rite of passage for any Chicago native or Chicago progeny.
China’s runaway pollution is close to forcing one of the most beautiful creatures into extinction. The Hong Kong Dolphin Society is reporting that the population of rare Chinese white dolphins (known as pink dolphins for their unique color) are almost wiped out. A tragic picture was captured recently of one of the few remaining mothers trying to support her dead calf in the waters outside of Hong Kong — the victim of extreme pollution in the Pearl River Delta.
Gov. Rick Perry has long proclaimed Texas as a state favorable to business and has limited environmental protections and regulatory rules. Just how favorable is evident in the news that West Fertilizer Co. had only $1 million in insurance after an explosion that killed 15 people and injured 200 — and caused an estimated $100 million in damages. The insurance lobby has long opposed mandatory insurance laws and this case may be an example of the public cost of that success.
I was interviewed recently on an interesting case out of New York where Paul Forziano and Hava Samuels are suing to be able to live together in public housing. The problem is that they are mentally disabled and the state says that it cannot accommodate mentally disabled married couples. It is a case that pits constitutional rights for married couples (as well as disability protections) against a state’s discretionary decisions on budgetary and facilities management.
Judge Belvin Perry appears to believe that, as Oscar Wilde advised, “the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Perry decided to get his 15 minutes of fame by granting an interview on the Casey Anthony murder trial during which he attacked Anthony as “very manipulative.” I will remind you that Anthony was acquitted of the first-degree murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. There are also judicial ethical rules meant to bar such commentary by judges. The question is whether the state bar will take action after this grossly inappropriate interview. Perry is the chief judge on Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit.
We previously discussed how the CIA has delivered millions in cash in bags to the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai’s family and friends are have been denounced as openly corrupt. Despite these reports of grotesque corruption, the money continues to flow into Karzai’s pockets even as he attacks the U.S. and Americans as “demons”, and moves to shift alliances to Iran and China. The news of the CIA’s bag men produced outrage among many, but once again the objections over the corruption and waste in this country has no effect on the CIA. Karzai insisted that the cash keep flowing and even went public to say that the CIA assured him that the deliveries to him would continue regardless of the objections of U.S. citizens.
Something extraordinary happened in Tallahasee this week. The legislature actually turned down a demand for hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare for the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross descended on the capitol with an army of lobbyists and pocket legislators to muscle through the package to upgrade his stadium at public expense. They did all of the formulaic moves seen in other states where legislators have opened the treasury to billionaire owners: they lined up unemployed people who would get jobs, Dolphin fans supporting their team, and politicians standing with the owner. This time however legislators balked and actually voted the public rather than their personal interest.
We have previously discussed the unhealthy pollution in China, particularly air pollution that has set records in the last couple years in Beijing. The situation is little better in Taipei, where a recent report found that more than 20 percent of first-graders suffer from asthma and 50 percent have allergic rhinitis, the inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. The findings of the Taiwan Association of Asthma Education reflect the human cost — particularly among children — of pollution — a cost often ignored even in this country by politicians who espouse economic over environmental values.
By Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger
I first heard of John Prather sometime in 1957. We were living outside of La Luz, New Mexico, a village near Alamogordo. My father was working on a guided missile project at Holloman Air Force Base at the time. Prather was a cattle rancher and I followed his story over the next few years with a mixture of boyish awe and admiration.
Prather was born in east Texas in 1873, and moved with his family by covered wagon to New Mexico ten years later. He took up ranching in the 1890s, raising both cattle and mules, supplying the latter to the army during both world wars and acquiring the nickname “Mule King.” By the 1950s, Prather had accumulated 4,000 acres stretching from the foothills and fertile mesas of the Sacramento Mountains into the arid desert of the Tularosa Basin, and held grazing leases from the government on another 20,000 acres. Rough-edged, but gentle, he built his ranch house by hand and grew pecan trees. Prather was one of the last pioneer settlers in New Mexico Territory and looked forward to passing on what he had created to his children. But the government had different ideas. Continue reading ‘The Second Amendment and John Albert Prather’
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
Yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the day when time stood still for me. As a freshmen in college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, I was stunned to learn of the killing of 4 young people by the Ohio National Guard during protests on the campus of Kent State University. The protestors were using their First Amendment rights to voice their opinion on the United States participation in the Vietnam War and the military’s recent incursion into Cambodia upon orders from then President Richard Nixon. Those events not only scarred me, but they also opened my eyes to the power of the government and more importantly, the power of the people. Continue reading ‘Kent State 43 Years Later’
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
My opinion of the situation in this country is obviously grim if one looks at the themes I tend to write on. As I see it we are either fast becoming a Corporate Feudal Police State, or already have achieved that dubious distinction. I am in favor of a movement towards reversing this situation. There are some issues that can resonate with most Americans and any movement seeking to reverse the anti-Constitutional trends afoot in the U.S. today must find the means to go beyond the falseness of the Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative ideological inanity. We have a corporate two party system, run by an oligarchic elite, whose base disagreement is how to treat those 99% of us, who in their view are the American Peasantry. The Republican Corporatists in effect believe that the majority of Americans should be left to their own devices, while the Democratic Corporatists mildly look for palliatives that won’t disturb their benefactors who are really in charge. Some may say my viewpoint is a radical one and this is possibly so, though the definitions of “radical” have blurred through the years. In my life I’ve spent a number of years as a political activist in one form or another and as I approach the age of 70, I think that my experiences have taught me much about political activism and the potential dangers it brings to the people at large. Right now I find two issues that frighten me for the sake of the future and how my progeny will experience it. The first is the notion of a coming police state and the second is the prospect of a violent, revolutionary upheaval in reaction to it. In other words I see we the People of the United States being between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”. Continue reading ‘You Say You Want a Revolution?’
Bring Out Your Reds, Bring Out Your Reds: Florida Sheriff Invites Neighbors To Turn In People Who “Hate The Government”Published 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Politics , Society 71 Comments
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has reached $1 million for a new violence prevention unit and has used it to call on neighbors to inform the police if any neighbors have been saying hostile things about the government. “We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him . . . What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ” I have no problem with calling police if someone says that they are going to shoot someone. However, expressing hate for the mayor or government is a core part of free speech and the visit by the police can be viewed as having an obvious chilling effect on speech. He wants $3 million to expand the program.
Moroccan Student Reportedly In Hiding From Police After Posting With Sign Saying “I Am Proud To Be An Atheist.”Published 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Free Speech , International , Media , Politics , Religion , Society 23 Comments
Various atheist sites are reporting that Moroccan student Imad Eddin Habib, 22, is in hiding from police who are seeking him for rejecting Islam and espousing atheism. A Pew poll just showed overwhelming support among many Muslims nations — and allies of the United States — for executing people like Habib for apostasy. The Casablanca paramedical student has gone public as an atheist and police have now interviewed his family on his whereabouts and any foreign connections.
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Pew Poll Finds Overwhelming Support For Executing People For Apostasy In Afghanistan and Other Muslim NationsPublished 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Politics , Religion , Society 27 Comments
A new poll by the Pew Research Center offers an disturbing insight into the views of the majority of Muslims in some countries on the subject of apostasy. With blasphemy, apostasy remains one of the greatest threats to human rights and free speech in the world with people continuing to be arrested for rejecting Islam. Some 78 percent of Afghan Muslims support putting former Muslims to death for rejecting Islam. Our Afghan “allies” actually had the highest support for this basic denial of human rights — a system that we prop up with American lives and treasure. In Egypt and Pakistan, 64 percent support executing for apostasy.
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This video shows an extraordinary confrontation between cleric Yousuf Badri and host Riham Said over whether Riham Said needs to wear the veil. As Egypt becomes more radicalized, it takes considerable bravery to stand up in this way and charge a leading cleric with hypocrisy.