This October twenty-sixth, voters in Ireland will decide at the polls if the country’s prohibition on blasphemy should be removed from the nation’s constitution. It comes for me as a welcome sign of some progress against what otherwise was a trend in Western Europe toward establishing an international blasphemy standard that many regard as censorship and a vehicle for possible criminal prosecution of speech and expression.
While the Irish government has insisted that no persons have been successfully prosecuted for blasphemy since the 1850s, the existence of any such statute serves as leverage by the state to control what its citizens may say or what behavior it considers objectionable. The time for repeal I believe has arrived.
I was critical of not only the failure to stop the destruction of the statue despite police at the scene but the decision not to charge above the misdemeanor level. Maya Little, a 26-year-old doctoral student of history, mixed with her own blood with red ink on the statue and was equally unapologetic before the court in declaring “The Orange County court system must also reckon with the Black blood that stains it.”
Cabe backed away from any punishment despite the premeditation of the act and lack of remorse. Cabe effectively left some public art without the real protection of the law in granting “continued judgment” — sparing Little for even paying court costs or a technical criminal violation.
The concern is that, once again, there may be no penalty (and thus no deterrent) for those planning and then destroying public art due to public support or sympathy with their acts.
In what could prove the most serious leak prosecution in decades, senior Treasure Department official Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 40, has been charged with leaking information to the news organization, Buzzfeed, that she removed from her work at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). According to the criminal complaint, she was the source of leaked financial information on Paul Manafort, Maria Butina and other suspects charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. While she allegedly first sought to conceal her relationship with a report and denied any contacts with the media, she later claimed to be a whistleblower. That is not likely to help her. She was reportedly found with a drive or memory device containing information in what could prove a lengthy sentence if convicted. Continue reading “Senior Treasury Official Charged With Leaking Material Related To Russian Investigation”→
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the curious status of the obstruction investigation that was the original rationale for a special counsel investigation. While Special Counsel Robert Mueller is likely to sharply chastise (with good reason) Trump’s comments and conduct vis-a-vis former FBI Director James Comey, he is not making any of the moves that one would expect from a prosecutor building an obstruction case. Here are three reasons why this may be the Hickcockian bomb that does not go off. Continue reading “Three Reasons Mueller May Not Charge On Obstruction”→
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on recent stories indicating that top Justice Department officials raised the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein back in June 2017. I first raised Rosenstein’s recusal in June and August of that year when the Mueller investigation began based on his role in the firing of James Comey and I have repeatedly called for the recusal since then (here and here and here). Unless Mueller has told Rosenstein that he does not consider obstruction to be a serious matter for criminal investigation in this context, it is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue. Indeed, even if Mueller rejects obstruction theories, Rosenstein should not have continued as his superior in the investigation while that matter was explored in compliance with the mandate given Mueller.
We have been following the increasing violence seen on college campuses, particularly directed against conservative and pro-life speakers. The latest incident occurred at Ryerson University in Ontario where a video captured Ryerson Student Gabriela “Gabby” Skwarko attacking two members of Toronto Against Abortion (TAA). Skwarko works for the school’s Office of Social Innovation. The video below shows a violent and unprovoked attack to stop an act of free speech on campus. Continue reading “Pro-Life Students Attacked at Ryerson University in Latest Assault on Free Speech”→
Anna Ayers, a student at Ohio University and a member of the OU student senate, recently caused an uproar at the university after saying that she received threatening messages, including a death threat, due to being part of the LGBTQ community. Police now say that Ayers made the entire thing up and have arrested her for “making false alarms.” That wording seemed a bit curious so I went to the state code, which indeed has a provision that departs from the usual language of a false police report. Continue reading “Ohio University Student Arrested After Making False Claims Of Threatening Messages Due To LGBTQ Status”→
Idaho Republican lieutenant governor candidate Bob Nonini has triggered a firestorm after saying that women who get an abortion should be criminally prosecuted and indicated that that could include the death penalty. If it seems a tad conflicted to execute someone in the name of being pro-life, Nonini seems to be still trying to thread that needle with a later effort to walk back from his comments.
Below is my column in USA Today on what appears now to be a clear perjury strategy against Judge Brett Kavanaugh that focuses more on his credibility than his alleged criminality. There are many who have questioned whether Kavanaugh testified truthfully on the meaning of well-known sexual terms as well as his statements on his prior drinking habits. Clearly, any false testimony would be a barrier to confirmation regardless of the subject. Yet, this confirmation could create a new term for future nominees: “boofed.” The questioning on high school lexicon and conduct is a new element in confirmations — precedent that could further degrade our process for selecting Supreme Court justices.