Category: Media

YPG Issues Statement Refuting Accusations of Turkey Regarding Syrian Conflict

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

YPG Spokesman Nuri Mahmud
YPG Spokesman Nuri Mahmud

Yesterday, Anti-ISIS Kurdish Militia Spokesman Nuri Mahmud issued an official statement countering what the Syrian Democratic Forces coalition describe as falsehoods spread by the Turkish Government to establish a pre-text toward invasion of Kurdish areas of Syria.

Turkey Regards the YPG (People’s Protection Units) of having ties with and providing support to the PKK, which Turkey and the United States consider a Terrorist Organization.

The YPG/YPJ and SDF is in alliance with U.S. Coalition forces to eliminate the ISIS threat in Syria and have in all regards been the foundation for the terrorist organization’s upcoming defeat as a military force in Syria.

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Saudi Teenager Involved In Bangkok Standoff Granted Asylum In Canada

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

On Friday our host featured an article depicting the plight of Saudi Arabian National Rahaf al-Qunun who fled to Thailand to escape what she described as religious persecution for apostasy. Ms. al-Qunun renounced Islam and refused to submit to the state’s discriminatory practices toward women.

Her asylum pleading for many seemed a prima facie case, given apostasy is punishable up to and including the death penalty and Canada swiftly approved her petition upon her arrival.

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New York Times Issues Retraction In Bombshell Collusion Story

The New York Times caused a firestorm over its reporting that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort attempted to pass internal Trump campaign data to a Russia oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential race. Various sites declared the story by reporters Sharon LaFraniere, Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman as the final corroboration of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. However, the New York Times later retracted the key connection to a Russian oligarch.

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Notorious New York Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg Sued By Former Client

There is an interesting postscript story to the controversy surrounding New York attorney Aaron Schlossberg. As we discussed earlier, Schlossberg who went on a bizarre tirade against Spanish-speaking restaurant workers has quickly become the most hated man of the week in New York.  The New York Post reported that he has now been kicked out of his office by Corporate Suites, the company that held his lease.  Now, Schlossberg’s former client, Niche Music Group LLC, is suing him for embarrassing the company by its association to him. While I have little sympathy for Schlossberg (who is a GW grad), the lawsuit raises a troubling question over the liability of lawyers for statements or conduct made in their private lives. The premise of the action is that a lawyer can be sued if his views or actions cause embarrassment by association with clients.

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Hitler Goes Ballistic Over Patreon Censorship: Patreon Part 5

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

You know you’ve reached a level of notoriety when someone creates a Hitler Goes Ballistic meme in your disfavor. Well, now it has happened for our friends at Patreon where a creator dubbed over a clip from the WWII film “Der Untergang / Downfall” and had the charity to cast Patreon CEO Jack Conte as Hitler.

The reported author surely displays courage to craft this, considering that he receives significant funding from Patreon, who’s Trust and Safety Team seems bent on wiping out what they disagree with, or what others label as being “Nazi” or such. Casting Mr. Conte as Hitler is worth a laugh in itself for the irony.

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Exodus: Patreon: A Threat To Free Speech Part 4

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The damage resulting from Patreon’s ill-advised venture into censorship continues with the departure of both content creators and their patrons.

Among many others, two of Patreon’s largest subscribers not only announced their departure but that they also intend to construct a crowd-funding source that they hope will insulate content creators from the whims of Patreon’s and other exchanges’ staff’s political or personal ideals. Many regard their departure not just in terms of protests in the name of free speech, but as sound financial stewardship to protect their own livelihood from a possibly unreliable payment and revenue source.

The bleeding continues

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Vive La Révolution: Meet The Faces Of The New Democratic Party

I have been writing for weeks about the how many new Democratic members ran on the pledge to insist on new leadership, particularly in the opposition to Nancy Pelosi resuming as Speaker. Pelosi remains one of the most polarizing figures in the country and has long been unpopular with the majority of voters. However, these elections are not about the voters or even the party. It is about the members and their interests. Pelosi spent weeks working members with promises of committee positions and support. The result is that the new Democratic Party looks a lot like the old Democratic Party — and the new members have found a new home in the Washington establishment. Pelosi, 78, will resume the speakership today while Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), 78, will return as Majority Whip . . . and all is well in the Beltway after another “revolutionary” election.

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“The Machine of Perpetual War Acceptance”: Veteran NBC Journalist Resigns In Protest Over One-Sided Coverage

This week I published a column on how the Democratic Party seems to have jettisoned many of its defining values to simply become the anti-Trump party. The best example of that transformation is the automatic opposition to Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and other countries. At the same time, liberal media outlets like CNN and MSNBC have been airing continual experts denouncing the “hasty” withdrawal. Now veteran NBC award-winning journalist William Arkin has resigned in protest of what he says is the unrelenting support of the network for endless wars. He notes that the anti-Trump agenda at the network has overwhelmed what used to be critical coverage of “the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness.” Now the reflective anti-Trump response at the network has overwhelmed all such considerations, according to Arkin. While Arkin calls Trump “an ignorant and incompetent impostor,” he cites the transformation of NBC into an opposition network as the main reason for his departure.

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Trump Calls Decorated Retired General A “Dog” After Criticism Of His Decisions

I have long been critical of the attacks of President Donald Trump against critics and the media as unpresidential and inimical to our values. This week has another disturbing example of such personal attacks when Trump responded to criticism by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal by calling him a “dog” who was fired by President Barack Obama. Being President of the United States will always come with an abundance of critics but the office comes with a modicum of expected restraint and decorum. Calling former generals (or anyone) “dogs” is clearly well below the expectations of most people in the conduct of a president.

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Happy New Year to all of our blog community from around the world. As has been our tradition on this blog, with the start of 2019, I thought I would wanted to share our annual “State of The Blog” statistics. It has been a great year for the blog with the highest traffic in years with another expansion of roughly 20 percent. We also have an increasingly large international contingent of readers and commenters. We are approaching 36 million views and remain one of the largest legal blogs in the world.

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Significance of Kurdish Writer’s Translation of Orwell’s Animal Farm Cannot Be Overstated

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Yesterday brought us in my view a greatly significant event–the Ebril, Iraq book launch of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, translated into the Kurdish Language.

The book was formerly banned under the Saddam Hussein regime; rather obviously for its negative portrayal of how a dictatorship can emerge in a nation or community. Coupled with the dark history that for decades nations such as Turkey proscribed the Kurdish language, the fact that such a work can be sold publicly shows the remarkable transformation that has taken place in the former dictatorship.

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Patreon: A Threat to Free Speech Part 3: Would Patreon Censor & Ban Aristotle?

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

As part of a series of articles regarding censorship by the crowd-funding service Patreon, I now pose the question of whether Patreon, as based upon its current actions and policy, would censor and ban great historical figures such as Aristotle, Jacob Riis, and numerous other contributors to the betterment of the human condition. The men and women of those times certainly did not subscribe to the ideas of 21st century political correctness and were the products of their own times, but since Patreon through its actions seems to conflate the idea of these people as a brand, where an arbitrary set of ideas about the author dictates the value of the content of their ideas or speech. It seems most likely these figures would not have been granted a voice had Patreon been the gatekeeper to their ideas.

What contributions to history might have been lost had the mindset such as that engendered today by Patreon prevailed?

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Trump Reportedly Lashed Out To Whitaker About Controlling The NY Prosecutors After Cohen Plea

Despite a series of self-inflicted wounds by President Donald Trump over the Russian investigation in pressuring former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and directly discussing the investigation with former FBI Director James Comey, Trump has reportedly returned to the same pattern in lashing out with Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. If true, it is entirely baffling. Republicans and Democrats have uniformly objected to these communications as improper and raising the appearance of influencing the investigation. It also undermines Whitaker’s position.

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Former Senate Intelligence Committee Staffer Sentenced For Lying To The FBI


James Wolfe, the former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, was sentenced on Thursday for lying to the FBI about leaking information to reporters. The sentencing hearing by US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson stood in sharp contrast to the one held by Judge Emmet Sullivan with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Notably, despite being head of security for a committee with highly sensitive information, Jackson handed down only a two month sentence. In contrast, Sullivan indicated that he was inclined to send Flynn away for serious time and that the hearing took on a bizarre note with references to treason and being an effective foreign mole in the White House. Wolfe asked for a sentence in the same zero to six month range as Flynn, but the prosecutors asked for a “departure” for two years.

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The Curious Tale Of The Flynn Sentencing Hearing

Below is a column on the Flynn’s sentencing hearing and the curious turn of events in the case. He is now scheduled for a new sentencing hearing in March 2019. Interestingly, while I have repeatedly stated in print and television that Flynn does not deserve sympathy, I have been widely quoted as saying that I have called for such sympathy. My point is simply that there are serious concerns raised by how this interview was handled, including the intentional effort to have Flynn interviewed without counsel. Moreover, it is possible to denounce such false statements without exaggerating the specific crime itself. It is still unclear why Flynn lied when the conversation of such sanctions was not strange or improper. Indeed, the Administration publicly was saying that it wanted a new start with Russia and would reexamine all aspects of the relationship. The hearing however quickly went off the rails. I have a great deal of respect for Judge Emmet Sullivan and have appeared before him on countless occasions. But this hearing took a radical departure from the record and the specific crime being addressed in sentencing.

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