States Lead the Way on Criminal Justice Reform        

Over the past several months, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a step back on federal justice reform efforts, regressing to purportedly “tough on crime” stances. From advising increased penalties for nonviolent offenders to more recently promising an increase in the use of civil asset forfeiture by the federal government, Sessions has been doing everything in his power to give the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s full support to 80s-era policies from which many conservatives have abandoned in favor of evidenced-based practices that reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.

A study from the Urban Institute found that increased penalties were at best mixed in reducing crime with other factors beyond incarceration driving down the incarceration rate, no evidence it drove down drug crime, and the use of imprisonment as a deterrent to be very costly. As of 2015, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world at 25 percent while the total number incarcerated has increased by 500 percent over the last forty years.

Meanwhile, the recidivism rate within three years of release increased by five percent between 1983 and 1994, highlighting a failure of harsher sentences to reduce both incarceration and reimprisonment. Keeping in mind that over-incarceration costs taxpayers at all levels of government around $80 billion each year, and those costs are only rising, it comes as no surprise that the “tough on crime” mindset has become both costly and unpopular after failing to get tangible results.

What is surprising about this is that the states seem to be taking the opposite direction in pursuing criminal justice reform. From increased protections implemented on civil asset forfeiture to expanding licensing opportunities, states have been leading the way in creating new methods to reduce crime, incarceration, and recidivism. The amount of work and variation is actually quite amazing.

One such reform was pursued in the state of Kentucky. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed SB 120 into law, which would eliminate a blanket ban on getting a job license and instead transfer it to a licensing board which will review each case. This will open up opportunities for previous offenders to now get jobs which will make it easier to reintegrate into society.

The state legislation comes at a very important time for both the country and the state of Kentucky. A report from Reason magazine highlighted that prevention from getting a license due to a criminal record can increase the recidivism rate. There have been repeated cases where individuals have had problems getting licenses because blanket bans like the one in Kentucky have prevented them from getting jobs.

A study by Arizona State University economist Stephen Slivinski found that recidivism increased by a whopping 9.4 percent in states that had blanket bans for former offenders while in states where it was easier for them to receive licenses it decreased by 4.2 percent. In addition, it was found that “between 60 and 75 percent of released prisoners remain unemployed one year after getting out” which is a problem since a Manhattan Institute Study found that employed individuals are more likely to return if they do not find a job relatively soon to release. Overall, a job is more likely to get people out of crime and reintegrated into society so reform like that in Kentucky will be a step in the right direction.

For Kentucky, especially at the moment, this will help address problems it is facing. At the moment, Kentucky is failing to fill 110,000 job openings and ranks as having the 47th lowest job participation rate in the country. Getting reformed offenders into the job market will reduce that rate and help get new applicants for the jobs it is failing to fill.

Similar concepts have also been pursued in the state of Illinois. As the Reason magazine article also notes, Illinois had passed a law in 2011 to ban all licensed healthcare professionals with a previous criminal record. This had initially been done since sex offenders had somehow managed to get licensed as doctors and nurses, but the problem is that the law was far too broad, applying to all former offenders as well.

This included one Carlos Romero, who had left prison in 1993 and had been working for two years as a respiratory therapist with no legal issues after release until his license was revoked in 2013 because of the 2011 law. Romero and several other individuals who had not committed a legal wrong after release had lost their licenses. In response, he worked with State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) to create an appeals process that would allow him and others with a previous conviction to make an appeal to get their license back. In 2016, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law, allowing Carlos and countless others a chance to get their jobs back and remain proud contributors to the economy.

This is not the only reform the state of Illinois has pursued. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a bill to add burden of proof requirements to the police’s use of civil asset forfeiture, a tool that allows police to seize from accused individuals who have not been convicted. Though the bill has not yet been signed by the governor, it has veto proof majorities in both houses. Considering the fact that Chicago Police Department has acquired $150 million in assets from low income and minority neighborhoods and it has included “things like flashy jewelry, flat screen TVs, and a copy of the Call of Duty: Ghosts video game,” this reform is clearly needed.

Kentucky and Illinois are not the only states have pursued reforms. In Nebraska, State Sen. Laura Ebke (L-Crete) is pursuing the same reforms as Kentucky, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has implemented civil asset forfeiture reforms in Arizona to allow for more transparency, the state of Louisiana passed ten new laws on various justice reform topics this year, and many, many, MANY other states have done similar work. It would appear that across the country, states doing everything to find new and smarter ways to address and reduce crime in ways that drive down recidivism and restore rights.

The DOJ is continuing to pursue “tough on crime” policies, but the states continue to believe it is better to be “smart on crime.” Increased penalties have been tried for decades and there is lackluster evidence that it has accomplished its goals at a reasonable cost. Meanwhile, states are pursuing newer, fairer, smarter, and better ways to reduce crime, protect rights, and promote outreach. With trends the way they are now, the country will like continue down this path with the states continuing to lead the way on justice reform.

          DOJ announces takedown of Dark Web market where Utah teens obtained fatal doses of synthetic drug        
By Tal Kopan WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice and its international partners announced Thursday a takedown of a massive Dark Web marketplace that was allegedly one of the world’s biggest sources for the sale of drugs and illicit materials, striking a blow to the cybercriminal underground. In shutting down AlphaBay and arresting its alleged founder, Alexandre Cazes, the Justice Department also is going after the assets of Cazes, who is charged with running the sophisticated anonymous market and was […]
          Blog Post: Senate Panel Advances Trump Pick For DOJ Enviro Chief        
The Department of Justice is one step closer to having Kirkland & Ellis LLP partner Jeffrey Bossert Clark as its top environmental enforcer Thursday after a party line vote in a Senate panel advanced his nomination.
          DOJ says Title VII doesn’t apply to sexual orientation discrimination        
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in a case in which an employee claims his employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against him based on his sexual orientation. The DOJ’s brief asserts that Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination does not extend […]
          Trump Administration Policies Lead to an Increase in Removal Orders        

It is also noted that DOJ had detailed more than 100 judges to DHS detention facilities across the country.

Patrick McHugh August 10, 2017 - 11:49am Andrew R. Arthur
          Revised DOJ Regs Protect "Members of the News Media," But What Does That Mean?        

On February 21, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice released its long-awaited revisions to 28 C.F.R. § 50.10, the DOJ's regulatory guidelines (the "Guidelines") regarding investigations and prosecutions of members of the news media. The prior version of the Guidelines came under fire last year, when it was revealed that the DOJ had, without prior notification, obtained two months of telephone records from 21 phone lines used by the Associated Press. These records had the potential to reveal confidential sources and other sensitive information relating to ongoing journalistic investigations. At that time, I wrote about weaknesses in the Guidelines' protections against unwarranted interference with journalism.

In the wake of these revelations, the DOJ announced that it would revise the Guidelines to provide significant new procedural protections for the press. I'll let others review the provisions of the new Guidelines in detail; for now, I want to point out one critical omission. Although the Guidelines extend certain protections to "members of the news media," they (like the prior version) still contain no affirmative definition of that term.

Instead, the only way in which "members of the news media" are defined is through exclusions. A number of these exclusions (predictably) relate to persons acting as agents of a foreign power, plotting terrorist activity, et cetera. More problematic are the implications of the following provision:

A Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division may authorize, under an applicable [Privacy Protection Act] exception, an application for a warrant to search the premises, property, or communications records of an individual other than a member the news media, but who is reasonably believed to have "a purpose to disseminate to the public a newspaper, book, broadcast, or other similar form of public communication."

28 C.F.R. § 50.10(d)(6). The phrase "person reasonably believed to have a purpose to disseminate to the public a newspaper, book, broadcast, or other similar form of public communication" is how a journalist is defined in the Privacy Protection Act of 1980. The Privacy Protection Act was passed in response to concerns about the use of search warrants to invade newsrooms, and the inadequacy of Fourth Amendment standards for issuing warrants in the face of the special concerns raised by government investigations of journalists. Wisely, the Privacy Protection Act did not attempt to define journalists in terms of their organization or employment, but instead in terms of their function; this has enabled the Act to be flexible in responses to changes in technology and the journalism industry.

We still do not know what "members of the news media" means in the new DOJ Guidelines, but (by the way the above provision is phrased) we know that it is more restrictive than the functional definition of the Privacy Protection Act. This should give independent journalists significant pause. When government agencies attempt to define a journalist, they tend to adopt either an employment-based approach or a functional approach; the DOJ now seems to be eschewing a functional definition (or at least one as broad as in the Privacy Protection Act).

Moreover, apart from the single provision quoted above, the new Guidelines do not protect anyone who is not a "member of the news media"; in particular, they do not protect against the use of legal demands to third party carriers for communications records. This leaves journalists unaffiliated with a news organization on potentially unstable ground with respect to the security of their communications against secret government inquiries.

Jeff Hermes is the Director of the Digital Media Law Project.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user Peter Eimon pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.)

Subject Area: 


          Know your rights, says DOJ at Bham confab        

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and staff hosted a civil rights and hate crimes symposium downtown recently, offering a broad view of the rights that the Dept. of Justice seeks to protect.

The post Know your rights, says DOJ at Bham confab appeared first on Weld: Birmingham's Newspaper.

          Comment on About Dr. Attorney Noel Guivani Ramiscal by thecyberlawyer        
The approach that I would take would be to cover both the real and virtual aspects of the crime which I do not have the time to go into now. In brief, you should try to go to the NBI for their cyberforensic expertise and also they can utilize some of the processes set out in the 2015 Draft manual for cybercrimes which the DOJ based on RA 10175, particularly if they want to pinpoint the actual identity of the bully. Utilize the university's resources to find out who was giving her trouble. If it took place in social media, explore the policies of the provider and see if they will let the heirs access the account of the deceased for evidence of the bullying. Then apply the principles I have been teaching in my electronic evidence lectures (I am not an MCLE lecturer for FEU). God Bless!
          Bombshell In President Trump Administration As James Comey Release Opening Statement Of His Testimony        

In few hours to his testimony in the US senate, James Comey has opening statement has been posted online.

Read the former FBI director, James Comey statement here;

Statement for the Record

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

James B. Comey

June 8, 2017

Chairman Burr, Ranking Member Warner, Members of the Committee.

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I was asked to testify today to describe for you my interactions with President-Elect and President Trump on subjects that I understand are of interest to you. I have not included every detail from my conversations with the President, but, to the best of my recollection, I have tried to include information that may be relevant to the Committee.


January 6 Briefing

I first met then-President-Elect Trump on Friday, January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York. I was there with other Intelligence Community (IC) leaders to brief him and his new national security team on the findings of an IC assessment concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the election. At the conclusion of that briefing, I remained alone with the President Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.

The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.

The Director of National Intelligence asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI's counter-intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-Elect. Although we agreed it made sense for me to do the briefing, the FBI's leadership and I were concerned that the briefing might create a situation where a new President came into office uncertain about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct.

It is important to understand that FBI counter-intelligence investigations are different than the more-commonly known criminal investigative work. The Bureau's goal in a counter-intelligence investigation is to understand the technical and human methods that hostile foreign powers are using to influence the United States or to steal our secrets. The FBI uses that understanding to disrupt those efforts. Sometimes disruption takes the form of alerting a person who is targeted for recruitment or influence by the foreign power. Sometimes it involves hardening a computer system that is being attacked. Sometimes it involves "turning" the recruited person into a double-agent, or publicly calling out the behavior with sanctions or expulsions of embassy-based intelligence officers. On occasion, criminal prosecution is used to disrupt intelligence activities.

Because the nature of the hostile foreign nation is well known, counterintelligence investigations tend to be centered on individuals the FBI suspects to be witting or unwitting agents of that foreign power. When the FBI develops reason to believe an American has been targeted for recruitment by a foreign power or is covertly acting as an agent of the foreign power, the FBI will "open an investigation" on that American and use legal authorities to try to learn more about the nature of any relationship with the foreign power so it can be disrupted.

In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI's leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump's reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.

I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) -- once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months -- three in person and six on the phone.

January 27 Dinner

The President and I had dinner on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 pm in the Green Room at the White House. He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time, with the whole family coming the next time. It was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others.

It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.

The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away.

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI's traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not "reliable" in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody's side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President.

A few moments later, the President said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner. At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some Presidents have decided that because "problems" come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work.

Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, "I need loyalty." I replied, "You will always get honesty from me." He paused and then said, "That's what I want, honest loyalty." I paused, and then said, "You will get that from me." As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase "honest loyalty" differently, but I decided it wouldn't be productive to push it further. The term -- honest loyalty -- had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.

During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn't happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren't, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

As was my practice for conversations with President Trump, I wrote a detailed memo about the dinner immediately afterwards and shared it with the senior leadership team of the FBI.

February 14 Oval Office Meeting

On February 14, I went to the Oval Office for a scheduled counterterrorism briefing of the President. He sat behind the desk and a group of us sat in a semi-circle of about six chairs facing him on the other side of the desk. The Vice President, Deputy Director of the CIA, Director of the National CounterTerrorism Center, Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and I were in the semi-circle of chairs. I was directly facing the President, sitting between the Deputy CIA Director and the Director of NCTC. There were quite a few others in the room, sitting behind us on couches and chairs.

The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me. The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. The President then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me.

When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, "I want to talk about Mike Flynn." Flynn had resigned the previous day. The President began by saying Flynn hadn't done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.

The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information -- a concern I shared and still share. After he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him. The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed.

The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, "He is a good guy and has been through a lot." He repeated that Flynn hadn't done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go." I replied only that "he is a good guy." (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would "let this go."

The President returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group of people waiting there, including Mr. Priebus and the Vice President.

I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn's departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency.

The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infect the investigative team with the President's request, which we did not intend to abide. We also concluded that, given that it was a one-on-one conversation, there was nothing available to corroborate my account. We concluded it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations. (He did so two weeks later.) The Deputy Attorney General's role was then filled in an acting capacity by a United States Attorney, who would also not be long in the role. After discussing the matter, we decided to keep it very closely held, resolving to figure out what to do with it down the road as our investigation progressed. The investigation moved ahead at full speed, with none of the investigative team members -- or the Department of Justice lawyers supporting them -- aware of the President's request.

Shortly afterwards, I spoke with Attorney General Sessions in person to pass along the President's concerns about leaks. I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me. I told the AG that what had just happened -- him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind -- was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply. For the reasons discussed above, I did not mention that the President broached the FBI's potential investigation of General Flynn.

March 30 Phone Call

On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI. He described the Russia investigation as "a cloud" that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to "lift the cloud." I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him.

Then the President asked why there had been a congressional hearing about Russia the previous week -- at which I had, as the Department of Justice directed, confirmed the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. I explained the demands from the leadership of both parties in Congress for more information, and that Senator Grassley had even held up the confirmation of the Deputy Attorney General until we briefed him in detail on the investigation. I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, "We need to get that fact out." (I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.)

The President went on to say that if there were some "satellite" associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn't done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren't investigating him.

In an abrupt shift, he turned the conversation to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying he hadn't brought up "the McCabe thing" because I had said McCabe was honorable, although McAuliffe was close to the Clintons and had given him (I think he meant Deputy Director McCabe's wife) campaign money. Although I didn't understand why the President was bringing this up, I repeated that Mr. McCabe was an honorable person.

He finished by stressing "the cloud" that was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn't being investigated. I told him I would see what we could do, and that we would do our investigative work well and as quickly as we could.

Immediately after that conversation, I called Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente (AG Sessions had by then recused himself on all Russia-related matters), to report the substance of the call from the President, and said I would await his guidance. I did not hear back from him before the President called me again two weeks later.

April 11 Phone Call

On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I "get out" that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that "the cloud" was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel.

He said he would do that and added, "Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know." I did not reply or ask him what he meant by "that thing." I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.

That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.



          Full Tilt / Stars Rumors        
In case you haven't heard, here's the quick rundown for today's big news:
  • Group Bernard Tapie's deal with the DOJ has fallen through, and they're saying their dealings were sabotaged.
  • PokerStars is rumored to have reached a deal with the DOJ for a sum of $750 million to both settle their legal issues and purchase Full Tilt Poker. $330 million of that will go towards paying back FTP customers.
Pokerfuse Article

My facial expressions as I read the initial reports, checked dates to make sure I wasn't reading some bumped April fools joke, and realizing this is for real:

GBT apparently wanted to issue cashout privileges for rest-of-world players over time according to how much was in accounts and how much the accounts were played on. The DOJ was set on full withdrawal options within 90 days for all ROW players even though GBT's plan would have paid back 94.9% of all players the first day.

MTT grinder Shaun Deeb made a post on 2+2 (now removed) stating:
"Anyways the deal is already done by what I am told;

Players will be paid within 90 days
FTP will be open in the US  market
Isai will be stepping down from the company

If these statements are true I feel that Isai deserves all our thanks + business in the future with his company he is bailing out the igaming industry's tarnished reputation."
PokerStars corporate responded to the speculation by posting a 'no-comment but we'll comment soon' post in the PokerStars Blog. Considering they are typically fast to squash rumors with no basis, neither confirming nor denying says a lot in my opinion.

FTP's lawyer sent the following response to DiamondFlush confirming that the GBT deal has fallen through, yet are very optimistic:
"To address issues reported today in the media and on blogs, Full Tilt Poker confirms that its agreement with Groupe Bernard Tapie has in fact been terminated.  Despite this development, Full Tilt Poker is more optimistic than ever that its number one goal will be obtained: Full Tilt players will be repaid. Full Tilt Poker has been in settlement discussions with the US Department of Justice.  As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on any rumors related to the details of those discussions.  As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so."
Posting about the cease and desist letter Stars has sent to dataminers PTR, which they are playing up as the poker community watchdog turned victim while complying with it, seems rather like small news at this point.
I am beyond blown away at this FTP development. I didn't have anything in my FTP account when they unceremoniously switched to indefinite server upgrade status since I felt like my last $200 remaining when all of my cashout options were removed was basically monopoly money, which inevitably leads to a 5/10 or bust session. I've felt really bad for the people that had liferolls there, but I haven't been following it closely recently because as they often say on the Pokercast, developments kind of felt like Lucy holding the ball for Charlie Brown again.

I'm not sure what to think about essentially making the online poker industry monopoly virtually complete, but if the substantial number of rumors out there turn out to be even close to true, this is great news for anyone that has had money tied up for the past year.

Things are about to get interesting.
          Sessions Considers Going After the Media For National Security Leaks        
Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ is currently reviewing policies that would allow officials to subpoena media members regarding national security leaks.
          Minii tuhai...        

Sn bnuu? Uuniig unshij bga tanid ene udriin mend. Ene bol zuer l bi uuriiguu yu gj bodoj bgaagaa bijij bn. Bi uuriiguu iim l bh gj bodoj bn.

Bi bol uuriiguu neeh gots goid gej boddogue bdag l 1 jiriin MGL ohin gj boddog. Hiih yumaa tsag tuhai buriid n hiihiig husdeg, yumnaas shantrahgui unench bhiig husdeg turgen uurtai eir gomdomhoi gj nadad nzuud maani ih heldeg hehe ene dutagdalaa hezee negen tsagt zasnaa hehe. Bas bi busdad taalagdah gj olond taashaagdah gj amidardaggui zuvhun uuruu uurtuu taalagdaj bval bno gj boddog. Hudlaa yrij naag huursan hund unen goloosoo durgui!!! ene bol minii zan aash gehuudee...

Bi uuriiguu ih aztai ohin gj boddog. Hedii bi odoo 13-tai johh j bj magadgue (on garaad 17 honochuul 14-tei bno hehe) 6-taidaa eejiigee dagaj surguulid orj temtseen uraldaand adtai l ordog blaa hehe. Odoo 9-r angi. Johh bhad bodoj sanah yumgui goy bjdee. Hamgiin hairtai hunee aldah hezuu gedgiig bi medersen bas oilgoson (hairt emeegee aldsan yum l daa). Hajuud n hamt bj jadaague dee amia bodood yvsandaa bi mash ih haramsdag. Odoo bol bi hezee ch hairtai humuusee aldku orhij yvku. Neg itgesen hundee buh yumaa helj hamtarch jaddag gj boddog. Minii hamgiin une tsenetei zuil bol minii hairtai humuus naizuud ger bul eh oron  mine yum. Ted nariigaa bi yugaarch solihku nadad bga hamgiin nandin unet dahin hezee ch davtagdashgui zuvhun miniih gj haramlaj yvah humuus.

Hezee negen tsagt buh yum OK bno gedegt itgedeg. Odoo j gsn buh yum OK bga l daa. Ireeduigee tusuulhiig husdeggui minii tolgoid ch buuj irdeggui eir so sanagdaad bdiimaa hehe. Ireeduid mergejiltei bolovsroltoi MGL ulsiinhaa negen shan irgen bno doo. (Aan tiin bs ulger jishee shan ger bultei bno gj bodjaga hehe :P)

          Justice Dept. abets bigotry, reversing Obama administration's opposition to Ohio voter purge process        

The Department of Justice has switched sides in an Ohio case contesting the purging of voter rolls of the names of registered citizens who have not recently cast a ballot. The case is another in a years-long run of cases involving Ohio elections that have pitted Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted against voter advocate organizations, the NAACP, the Democratic Party, and the DOJ. Sari Horwitz at The Washington Post writes: 

The move is part of a broader campaign by the Trump administration to support restrictions on who is eligible to vote, a radical change in philosophy from the previous Justice Department, which sued a number of states over voting laws that it deemed discriminatory against minorities. [...]

“The law hasn’t changed since the department accurately told the court that Ohio’s voter purge was unlawful,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The facts haven’t changed. Only the leadership of the department has changed. The Justice Department’s latest action opens the door for wide-scale unlawful purging of the voter registration rolls across our country.”

The move is clearly part of a trend.

The DOJ had already reversed itself and stopped contesting a 2011 Texas voter ID law that had been blasted by the courts and rejected even after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in the landmark Shelby County v. Holder ruling in 2013. Voter advocates had argued that the law targeted young people and minorities who are more likely to vote Democratic. Several federal courts found the Texas law unconstitutional. In April, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued a ruling saying the law intentionally discriminated against black and Latino voters. Two years previously, she likened the law to a “poll tax” designed specifically to suppress minority voters.

Under the Obama administration, as it had done in the Texas case, Justice took the side of foes of Ohio’s purge of tens of thousands citizens who have not voted in two years or responded to a letter asking them to confirm their registration.


          Comment on MLS Data compliance and NAR vs. DOJ by The lazy agents way to collect a paycheck.....won't work much longer. | Greater Tampa Bay Real Estate        
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          Justice Department clears Google of WiFi wiretapping violations        

Justice Department clears Google of WiFi wiretapping violations

Two years ago, Google drove its way into a fair amount of hot water when it accidentally (as was claimed) scooped up private data over WiFi while collecting Street View and location data. Now, the Justice Department has cleared the prolific mapsters of the wiretapping violations. The DOJ made its decision not to push for prosecution based on reports from employees and investigating key documents reports Wired. The Wiretap Act (which is the relevant one here) was argued to only pertain to "traditional radio services," by US District Judge James Ware, but neither the DOJ or FCC said they could find any evidence that Google accessed the date it snared. In an extra move of openness, the search giant has also released the entire FCC report on the Street View investigation (redacted to protect identities) which can be found in the more coverage link. So, next time you see the famous camera-topped wagons roll around, you can leave your tin hat in the closet.

          NEWS ROUNDUP: Hillary Clinton Predicted To Win Election; DOJ Combats Debtor’s Prison…AND MORE        
The HuffPost forecast model shows Clinton has a 98.2 percent chance of becoming the nation’s next president and will likely win with 323 electoral votes.
          DOJ Looks Into Whether Harvard Discriminates Against Asian-Americans        
The Justice Department confirms it is looking into a complaint that accuses Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants. The probe raises questions about whether college admission policies in general may come under scrutiny by the Trump Administration. A coalition of more than 60 organizations accuses Harvard of holding Asian-American applicants to higher standards than black and Latino applicants. Swan Lee of Brookline is an organizer of the coalition. "If one group of students are held to higher standards based on their appearance, that's not right," says Swan Lee, an organizer of the coalition. The group asked the federal government to investigate two years ago, but the Obama administration dismissed the claim without evaluating its merit because a similar lawsuit had already been filed in federal district court. That lawsuit is pending and could be the nation's next test case on affirmative action. But now the Trump administration says it will look into
          DOJ Plans To Take Affirmative Action Against College Admissions        
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: The Justice Department is considering whether to sue universities over their affirmative action policies. The New York Times got a copy of a department hiring notice that outlines the idea. This evening, the White House released a statement that the reporting was inaccurate and that the posting was specific to one complaint filed by a coalition of Asian Americans. On Morning Edition today, we heard reaction to the New York Times story from Vanita Gupta, who led the civil rights division under President Obama. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST) VINITA GUPTA: The thing that is atypical here is that the Justice Department is really turning civil rights law on its head. It was civil rights laws that were aimed at ensuring that students of color and all students are able to access education in an equal way and to be able have a diverse student body. SHAPIRO: Now we're going to hear from an attorney who was involved in cases where
           DOJ Releases 2016 False Claims Act Recovery Statistics: Third Highest Annual Recovery Ever         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On December 14, 2016, the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released its annual False Claims Act (FCA) recovery statistics. It revealed that the DOJ obtained more than $4.7 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in fiscal year 2016. What this indicates to me is that, if all of these cases had been brought by individual relators, those relators could have shared in as much as $1.41 billion as their personal reward for the relator's part of the recoveries....

           Nursing Home Chain Reaches Record High False Claims Act Settlement With DOJ         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On October 24, 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Life Care Centers of America will be paying $145 million to end False Claims Act (FCA) litigation that alleged the company submitted false claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not necessary. This settlement is a FCA record for the nursing industry and DOJ claims it is the largest in the Department's history....

           DOJ and FTC Ask Fifth Circuit To Dismiss Antitrust Appeal         

By Miles O. Indest, J.D./M.B.A.; Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm On September 14, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a joint amicus brief before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear a medical board’s appeal of an antitrust case. The central issue of the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction is whether it can hear an immediate appeal of a lower court’s refusal to dismiss a case under the “state action” doctrine. Texas Medical Board Requires Face-To-Face Medical Visits....

           DOJ and OIG Use Complex Data Analysis To Find Medicare Fraudsters         

By Miles O. Indest, J.D./M.B.A.; Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm Since the 1990s, the credit-card industry has successfully used predictive analytics to find suspicious patterns and protect consumers from fraudulent charges. The health care industry has found a similar success in recent years, as federal agents use data mining, predictive analytics, and other modeling approaches to catch Medicare fraud. Medicare Strike Force Enhanced to Reduce Billion-Dollar Losses. In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that nearly $60 billion in taxpayer money was lost to fraud, abuse, waste, and improper payments....

           DOJ Claims Systematic Scheme to Defraud for Prime Healthcare Services's Patient Admissions         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On June 24, 2016, Prime Healthcare Services, Inc. (Prime), a California-based company whose mission was stated to be turning around struggling hospitals, is alleged to have run a systematic scheme to defraud the federal government. Prime was allegedly able to defraud the federal government by forcing doctors to provide medically unnecessary services in order to maximize Medicare reimbursements, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) told a California federal court. Strategies That Violated Medicare’s Trust....

           Ex-Chesapeake Energy CEO Dies in Car Accident Shortly After DOJ Indictment         

By Miles Indest, J.D./M.B.A candidate On March 2, 2016, Ex-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon was killed in a car wreck—one day after he was indicted by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegations regarding antitrust and conspiracy violations. Police are still investigating how the crash occurred, and many are saddened to hear of the death of “one of the greatest oil and gas wildcatters of his generation,” stated Forbes. The DOJ indictment alleged that McClendon “orchestrated a conspiracy between two large oil and gas companies to not bid against each other” for oil and natural gas leases in Oklahoma....

           Millennium Health Pays $256 Million in Settlement with DOJ Involving False Claims Act Allegations: Omni Healthcare of Melbourne, Florida, Receives Millions as One of Eight Whistleblowers         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Millennium Health (Millennium), formerly Millennium Laboratories, Inc., entered into a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, October 19, 2015, agreeing to pay $256 million to resolve allegations of False Claims Act (FCA) violations. The allegations include billing Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs for medically unnecessary urine tests and for providing kickbacks to physicians in exchange for referrals in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS)....

           Department of Justice Recovers $2.6 Billion from Healthcare Fraud Cases in FY 2013         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law According to a press release posted on December 20, 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it secured $2.6 billion in settlements and judgments from healthcare fraud in fiscal year 2013. That amount makes 2013 the fourth consecutive year that the DOJ has recovered more than $2 billion in healthcare fraud cases. Recoveries from healthcare fraud made up a majority of total recoveries under the False Claims Act. To read the entire press release from the DOJ, click here . Overview of Healthcare Fraud in 2013. According to the DOJ, of the $2....

           Florida Oncologists Pay $3.5 Million to Settle Whistleblower/Qui Tam Fraud Claims         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A group of Florida radiation oncology service providers settled a whistleblower or qui tam lawsuit for $3.5 million, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 13, 2013. The providers were accused of defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE by performing unnecessary and improperly supervised procedures from 2007 until 2011. According to the DOJ press release, the defendants include Gulf Region Radiation Oncology Centers Inc. (GRROC), Gulf Region Radiation Oncology MSO LLC, Sacred Heart Health System Inc., West Florida Medical Center Clinic P.A....

           Emory University Accused of Overbilling Medicare and Medicaid for Patients Enrolled in Clinical Trial Research-Whistleblower Filed First Claim         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, will pay $1.5 million to settle claims it overbilled Medicare and Medicaid for cancer clinical trial services that were not permitted by the Medicare and Medicaid rules. This announcement from the Department of Justice (DOJ) was released on August 28, 2013. This case came from a whistleblower/qui tam lawsuit filed by a former research finance manager at Emory University. Click here to read the press release from the DOJ . Emory University Allegedly Received Payment Twice for Same Services....

           Florida Therapy Staffing Company Owner and Patient Recruiter Plead Guilty to $7 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A therapy staffing company owner and a patient recruiter pleaded guilty on August 21, 2013, to one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with a $7 million Medicare fraud scheme. The scheme allegedly involved a now defunct home health care agency, Anna Nursing Services Corp., in Miami Springs, Florida, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The agency was supposed to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Click here to read the press release from the DOJ ....

           Planned Parenthood Pays $4.3 Million to Settle Allegations of Medicaid Fraud in Qui Tam/Whistleblower Case         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast recently paid $4.3 million to settle civil allegations under the False Claims Act, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on August 16, 2013. The nonprofit organization is accused of fraudulently billing Medicaid and other government programs for health services provided by some of its Texas clinics between 2003 and 2009, according to the DOJ. The settlement resolves a whistleblower (qui tam) lawsuit filed by a former employee. Click here to read the press release from the DOJ ....

           Central Florida Chiropractor Convicted in False Claims Scheme         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A Central Florida chiropractor was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud by a federal jury on March 1, 2013. Since 2009, the chiropractor fraudulently claimed to own a rehabilitation center in Cape Coral, Florida. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), in March 2012, the chiropractor and several co-conspirators were formally charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. To read the press release from the DOJ on the charges, click here ....

           Ohio Hospital Pays $4.4 Million to Settle Accusations of Performing Unnecessary Procedures         

By Lance O. Leider, J.D., Attorney, The Health Law Firm A group of doctors accused of performing an unusually high number of heart procedures on patients at an Ohio hospital has settled a whistleblower lawsuit, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The settlement agreement covers accusations that the doctors and the hospital billed Medicare for unnecessary cardiac procedures from 2001 to 2006. Click here to read the press release from the DOJ . The Ohio hospital agreed to pay the US government $3.9 million, and the physician group agreed to pay $541,870 to settle the accusations. A Former Employee of the Ohio Hospital Blows Whistle....

           San Diego-Based Specialty Pharmacy Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $11.4 Million         

By Lance O. Leider, J.D., and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on December 27, 2012, that a specialty pharmacy, based in San Diego, California, has agreed to pay a $11.4 million settlement. That payment is to resolve allegations that the company used kickbacks to persuade doctors to write prescription for its products. The allegations came from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former employee. Click here to read the press release from the DOJ . Specialty Pharmacy Allegedly Courted Doctors with Expensive Kickbacks....

           Miami Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty to Participating in $23 Million Health Fraud Scheme         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A co-owner and operator of three Miami-area pharmacies pleaded guilty on December 6, 2012, for his part in a $23 million health care fraud scheme. The pharmacy owner allegedly admitted in the Florida Southern Federal District Court to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay illegal health care kickbacks, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. Click here to read the entire press release from the DOJ . Illegal Kickbacks and Referrals....

           Detroit-Area Nurse Sentenced to Prison for Signing False Medicare Claims         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A Detroit-area registered nurse was sentenced on November 19, 2012, to 30 months in federal prison for his alleged part in a nearly $13.8 million Medicare fraud scheme. According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, he will serve probation after being released from prison. He was also ordered to pay more than $450,000 in restitution, together with his co-defendants. Click here to read the entire press release from the DOJ . Nurse Caught Reportedly Signing False Medicare Claims....

           Fake Florida Pharmacist Sentenced to Prison; Fraudulently Worked as a Pharmacist in Central Florida         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On November 2, 2012, a former Altamonte Springs resident was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison for fraudulently working as a Central Florida pharmacist from 2000 to 2009, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Click here to read the press release from the DOJ . I previously blogged about this story when the fake pharmacist pleaded guilty. Click here to read that blog . Man Worked at Central Florida Pharmacies....

           Phony Occupational Therapist Made Rounds at a Number of Florida Hospitals         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A Kissimmee, Florida, man is accused of posing as an occupational therapist (OT) and working at various health care facilities in Central Florida, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). On October 16, 2012, the DOJ announced that the phony OT was charged with three counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Click here to see the press release from the DOJ . How the Fake OT Received a License....

           Daytona Beach Chiropractor Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud, Illegally Prescribing Pills and Money Laundering         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a Daytona Beach chiropractor pleaded guilty to health care fraud, conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs and money laundering on August 28, 2012. An article in the Daytona Beach News Journal states that he is facing a penalty of 30 years in federal prison. Click here to read the entire press release from the DOJ . Chiropractor Submitted Inflated Bills to Medicare. According to the DOJ, the chiropractor owned a facility that claimed to provide chiropractic and other medical services to patients....

           Walgreens Reaches $7.9 Million Settlement in False Claims Act Case         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Walgreens has reached a $7.9 million settlement with the United States and participating states. The settlement resolves allegations that Walgreens violated the False Claims Act. The DOJ announced the settlement on April 20, 2012. To view the DOJ's press release concerning the settlement with Walgreens, click here . To view the False Claims Act, click here . Walgreens Allegedly Offered Inducements to Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries....

          United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR) Investor Investigation Announced        

An investigation for investors in United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR) shares over potential securities laws violations by United Therapeutics was announced and NASDAQ:UTHR stockholders should contact the Shareholders Foundation.

San Diego, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/08/2017 -- An investigation on behalf of investors of United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR) shares over potential securities laws violations by United Therapeutics and certain of its directors and officers in connection with certain financial statements was announced.

Investors who purchased shares of United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR), have certain options and should contact the Shareholders Foundation at or call 858-779-1554.

The investigation by a law firm focuses on whether a series of statements by United Therapeutics regarding its business, its prospects and its operations were materially false and misleading at the time they were made.

On July 27, 2017, United Therapeutics Corporation disclosed that it has set aside $210 million in connection to a possible settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") whether the company's contributions to patient-assistance charity groups violate federal laws against kickbacks and false claims. The DOJ previously subpoenaed United Therapeutics Corporation for information about its contributions to non-profit organizations that provide financial assistance to patients with out-of-pocket drug costs. United Therapeutics Corporation stated that it expects any settlement would also include a corporate integrity agreement, and the company may incur significant future costs to comply with that agreement. Shares of United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR) declined to as low as $123.05 per share on July 27, 2017.

On August 7, 2017, NASDAQ:UTHR shares closed at $135.46 per share.

Those who purchased shares of United Therapeutics Corporation have certain options and should contact the Shareholders Foundation.

Shareholders Foundation, Inc.
Michael Daniels
3111 Camino Del Rio North - Suite 423
92108 San Diego
Phone: +1-(858)-779-1554
Fax: +1-(858)-605-5739

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Michael Daniels
General Manager
Shareholders Foundation
Telephone: 858-779-1554
Email: Click to Email Michael Daniels

          Parliament rejects more than 30 1MDB-related questions        
Zikri Kamarulzaman     Published     Updated
PARLIAMENT | Efforts to get the government to answer parliamentary queries related to 1MDB were derailed today when the Dewan Rakyat rejected more than 30 questions on the matter.

The questions ranged from whether the government would table a White Paper on foreign intervention in the 1MDB case, to the government's stance on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) 1MDB-linked lawsuits.

The Dewan Rakyat also rejected a question on whether the government would accept the return of money and assets, including jewellery, seized by the DOJ.

The mood in the House was tense when opposition MPs stood en masse to voice out their frustrations.

Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) said Parliament cannot simply reject all questions on the matter, including his request for a status update on investigations into 1MDB.

"You can't cover up (the 1MDB scandal) by stopping us from asking questions!" Gobind said.
Fauzi Abdul Rahman (PKR-Indera Mahkota) asked why his question on the government's efforts to correct negative perceptions brought on by the DOJ suits was deemed to be offensive.

"This question was deemed menyakitkan hati (hurtful to feelings). Whose feelings does it hurt?" Fauzi asked.

His question was rejected under Standing Order 23(1)(c) which states that "a question shall not contain any argument, interference, opinion, imputation, epithet or misleading, ironical or offensive expression nor shall a question be frivolous or be asked seeking information on trivial matters".
BN lawmakers responded by harping on Lim Guan Eng's (DAP-Bagan) bungalow scandal.
Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan, photo) said his question about the bungalow had been rejected because it was sub judice.

"But I made no noise because I accept that the speaker’s decision is final," Bung Mokhtar said.

Deputy speaker Ismail Mohamad Said told all lawmakers who were dissatisfied that their questions were rejected to file a motion to seek a review.

However, such a move has thus far proven to be unfruitful, with previous efforts to seek a review not making it to the House floor.

Previous Dewan Rakyat meetings had seen certain questions related to 1MDB rejected, but not wholesale as was the case at today's session.

1MDB is the subject of multiple overseas investigations.

The DOJ, for example, is seeking to seize more than US$1.7 billion in assets it claims were purchased using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.
At a press conference in the Parliament media room later, Pakatan Harapan MPs revealed that questions related to former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International were also among those rejected.

The following are some of the rejected questions and the reasons for which they were rejected.

Rejected questions
Ko Chung Sen (DAP-Ipoh) asks the prime minister:
Was he was informed beforehand on the civil forfeiture suits filed by the US DOJ to seize assets linked to 1MDB; and
Did he make an official complaint to US President Donald Trump or the US ambassador to Malaysia if the US is considered to have interfered in the affairs of this country and what was their response.

Reason for rejection
Standing Order 23(1)(g): A question shall not be so drafted as to be likely to prejudice a case under trial, or be asked to any matter that is sub judice.

Rejected question
Gooi Hsiao Leung (PKR-Alor Setar) asks the prime minister to state specific details on how our country has cooperated with the US and other international authorities that are investigating misappropriation and laundering of 1MDB funds, as he personally said the country would do so during his trip to Germany on Sept 27, 2016.

Reasons for rejection
Standing Order 23(1)(c): A question shall not contain any argument, interference, opinion, imputation, epithet or misleading, ironical or offensive expression nor shall a question be frivolous or be asked seeking information on trivial matters; and
Standing Order 23(1)(f): A question shall not seek information about any matter which is of its nature secret.

Rejected question
Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) asks the prime minister to state the status of investigations into 1MDB and SRC and what action will be taken.

Reason for rejection
Standing Order 23(1)(h): A question shall not be asked for the purpose of obtaining an expression of opinion, the solution of an abstract legal case or the answer to a hypothetical proposition.

~ Malaysiakini

          Re:Politics - USA        
Fmr. DOJ FOIA Director on Clinton Aide’s Missing Emails: ‘It Stinks to High Heavens’
On Monday, the State Department said that it couldn’t find any emails from senior information technology staffer Bryan Pagliano from when he worked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that cover the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” a State Department spokesman told ABC News, adding they did find emails from his time as a contractor. The latest revelation is a result of a FOIA lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee. Now if Pagliano’s name sounds familiar, that’s because earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice (likely through a federal judge) reportedly granted immunity to Pagliano. He helped set-up Clinton’s privately maintained email server.

So understandably, there are a lot of questions right now about how it could be possible that the State Department could not find a single work-related email from his time with Clinton. So to figure this all out, spoke with FOIA legal experts from around the country. Here’s what’s interesting, all contend that what happened is very, very unusual, and even “suspicious.”

One of most interesting comments came from Dan Metcalfe who served as the founding director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy. For decades, Metcalfe served as the federal government’s information disclosure guru. Not only does he believe that this raises suspicions, he summed up the situation with Pagliano’s missing emails this way: “the whole thing stinks to high heavens.”

The Federal Records Act requires federal employees (like Pagliano) who are leaving office to maintain certain records (which often includes emails). Every employee meets with a ‘records manager’ to ensure they are maintaining the proper records.

Here are the FOIA experts’ reactions to this latest development:

Dan Metcalfe, Founding Director, Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy (1981-2007):
“If it is true that federal records directly documenting his work no longer exist, then that is awfully coincidental, to put it most charitably — especially given the nature of his work and the role he has played in the Clinton e-mail controversy.

Indeed, it is more than ironic, given that what appear to be “missing” are e-mails.

And it certainly now raises reasonable suspicion, as it did with the Senate a few months ago, that something was very much amiss here — either with record creation or record preservation, or both.

For someone who has taken the Fifth regarding his government activity, it is more than suspicious that his agency suddenly determines that the records that you would ordinarily expect it to have maintained about his work are just not there.

Several competing conclusions are possible: 1) either these records weren’t properly created and preserved to begin with, 2) they were improperly disposed of between then and when the state department did its records search, or 3) the records search, like so many at the state department lately, was a poor one, perhaps afflicted by other considerations.

In short, the whole thing stinks to high heavens. It is difficult to imagine how anyone associated with Secretary Clinton in any way could envision getting away with something such as this.”

Anne Weismann, FOIA attorney and Executive Director at the Campaign for Accountability:

“It is pretty suspicious that there is nothing from him from that period of time. It certainly seems at the a minimum he didn’t comply with his record keeping responsibility. When he left government, he had an obligation to go through his emails, and other records – and identify records that needed to preserved. They have no emails for this person, for a long period of time, means that I don’t buy the explanation that he didn’t create any emails worthy of preservation…. He would have known how to wipe everything clean. I think it is very suspicious that his email is gone as we’ve learned through the IRS it might suddenly appear in other places.”

Mark S. Zaid, Washington, DC legal expert on FOIA:

“It’s inexplicable that these e-mails would no longer exist. This appears to be yet another example of poor record keeping policies at the Department of State. Certainly a legitimate question would be if there exists something more sinister to explain the absence, although I am not aware of any prior example of this magnitude.

There are regulations and laws in place that would dictate the maintenance of these records. I don’t know offhand, however, what the time period would be but I’m confident we’re still within it.

Beyond embarrassing for the State Department it’s particularly unfortunate that this will be used to fuel further conspiracy theories involving former Secretary Clinton’s e-mail fiasco.”

Jeez...the idea that Pagliano didn’t send or receive any emails while managing Clinton’s email services is pretty fething insulting. Now that Pags has been granted immunity and has sat down for interviews with the FBI... hopefully, we should get some gooey details once the report becomes public. At a minimum he should at least be on record saying that he did, in fact, send emails... even if he can’t remember what they were about. At that point it will be obvious that somebody at the Staes Dept is lying asses off.
          Politics - USA        
 TheMeanDM wrote:
So.....over meddling and over threatening government, much?

(Just so all know my feelings)
I am in the camps of:
1) use the restroom that matches your actual reproductive parts
2) Make more individual neutral bathrooms available (like the "family" designated bathrooms you often see)

The Obama administration will send a letter to every public school district in the country telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity, as opposed to their birth certificate.

The letter, which is signed by officials at the Justice Department and the Department of Education, will be sent out to the districts on Friday.

While the letter does not have the force of law, it does warn that schools that do not abide by the administration’s interpretation of civil rights law may face lawsuits or loss of federal aid.

"There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

Officials say the letter is meant to clarify expectations of school districts that receive funding from the federal government. Educators have been seeking guidance on how to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding, Education Secretary John B. King said in a statement.

“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” King said. “We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

This will have to adjudicated. Already the SC and DOJ are suing. Other jurisdictions may also initiate language. The DOJ is claiming "sex" which is protected under Title IX equates to "gender." The law and Congress are silent on the definition (as different definitions did not exist at the time generally), so this will have to be adjudicated. There is a strong chance it may be found to not be correct and the DOJ having no legislative authority.

While to me it is much ado about nothing, the extent with which the DOJ arbitrarily moved forward on this issue is breathtaking, which is my issue. On the flip side its irrelevant. The middle class is dying, we're tiptoing towards the biggest naval war since the Marianas Turkey Shoot... and the political parties are expending great capital on...this?!?!
          Politics - USA        
 Peregrine wrote:
 cuda1179 wrote:
This is the best reason to vote for Trump. Once Obama's SC nominee gets seated there will all ready be a Left leaning Bias. Add two more from Hillary and the SC will loose any chance of having a fair and balanced opinion. And I'll say this, if there situation was reversed I would be deeply tempted to vote Democrat in order to maintain balance.

What happened to the idea that the supreme court is meant to be unbiased and independent of political parties? Are you now abandoning this idea? Should we replace the nomination system with having the supreme court be just another congressional committee, with its membership split between democrats and republicans according to the most recent election?

I simply want someone to read the damn law as written. Not try to "fix" Congress' or the President's mess.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Peregrine wrote:
 the Signless wrote:
You have no way of predicting what kind of justice he would appoint to the supreme court and no guarantee that this judge will keep the balance.

Oh, I know exactly what kind of justice he would appoint: whatever would make the most publicity for himself. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he appointed himself to the supreme court.

Actually, once he realizes that the SCOTUS can stop a President, he'd elect a big-government, authoritarian jurist, imo.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Mozzyfuzzy wrote:
You realise that's not a scandal right?

I mean everyone tries to get in bed with the rich gulf states.

I.e. why you never see David Cameron complaining about the inhumanity of Saudia Arabia beheading more people than ISIS.

You do realize that it's illegal for non-American to donate to Presidential campaigns... right?

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 skyth wrote:
 Goliath wrote:
Good? I mean, I'm not exactly sure how it's a bad thing to tell some of the more egregious states to stop being dicks to kids.

Exactly. I haven't seen one good argument for anti-transgender regulations.

Girls (who actually has the innie) may not want trans to change in their locker room.

They have rights too...

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Frazzled wrote:

While to me it is much ado about nothing, the extent with which the DOJ arbitrarily moved forward on this issue is breathtaking, which is my issue. On the flip side its irrelevant. The middle class is dying, we're tiptoing towards the biggest naval war since the Marianas Turkey Shoot... and the political parties are expending great capital on...this?!?!

We get the government we deserve.

Issue1) Fast and Furious
---AG Lorretta Lynch: meh

Issue2) Loris Lerner held in contempt
---AG Lorretta Lynch: boring

Issue3) Clinton email scandal
---AG Lorretta Lynch: wazzat?

Issue4) Stopping men who claims to be trans from wanting to use Women's restroom?
---AG Lorretta Lynch: ON IT! Dissenters is going down!
          Re:Politics - USA        
Holy gak! I just read that Judge's Order over Obama's executive actions on immigration... and this judge THREW THE BOOK at the DOJ's attorney!

Finding that:
The Government knowingly acted contrary to its representations to this Court on over 100,000 occasions.
11 This Court finds that the misrepresentations detailed above:
(1) were false;
(2) were made in bad faith; and
(3) misled both the Court and the Plaintiff States.
The misconduct in this case was intentional, serious and material. In fact, it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct. There were over 100,000 instances of conduct contrary to counsel’s representations; such a sizable omission cannot be classified as immaterial.

To remedy this, the Judge ordered:
Therefore, this Court, in an effort to ensure that all Justice Department attorneys who appear in the courts of the Plaintiff States that have been harmed by this misconduct are aware of and comply with their ethical duties, hereby orders that any attorney employed at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. who appears, or seeks to appear, in a court (state or federal) in any of the 26 Plaintiff States annually attend a legal ethics course.
15 It shall be taught by at least one recognized ethics expert who is unaffiliated with the Justice Department. At a minimum, this course (or courses) shall total at least three hours of ethics training per year. The subject matter shall include a discussion of the ethical codes of conduct (which will include candor to the court and truthfulness to third parties) applicable in that jurisdiction. The format of this continuing education shall be left to the independent expert lecturer. Self-study or online study will not comply with this Order, but attendance at a recognized, independently sponsored program shall suffice.


Here's da Judge's HAMMER:
The Court does not have the power to disbar the counsel in this case, but it does have the power
to revoke the pro hac vice status of out-of-state lawyers who act unethically in court. By a separate
sealed order that it is simultaneously issuing, that is being done.

pro hac vice status means:

That means those DOJ attorneys who made the material misrepresentations cannot practice law unless admitted to the state bar in that jurisdiction.

TL;DR: don't dick around with Judges...
          Politics - USA        
That opinion is very sad. Why did the DOJ attorneys do that? Surely they didn't think that lying about dates of action on the record and in writing wouldn't be an issue? This is bad and an light of similar actions regarding the IRS, indicates a pattern of dishonesty under the current administration. While the State Bar should certainly investigate whether their should be additional disciplinary action, it will do little to address the problems at the top. Hopefully AG Lynch will deal with this issue and make it clear that such behavior is utterly unacceptable and start reversing some of Holder's damage.
          Politics - USA        
 sebster wrote:
 whembly wrote:
Yes, it's a big deal... especially when the FBI recommends indictments. It's not something that'll be ignored and for sure, the GOP will hammer it.

If the FBI recommends indictment.

And you didn't answer my question. I didn't ask if the GOP was going to make a big deal out of this - of course they're going to do that. Even when the investigations turn up nothing (PP, Benghazi) the GOP just holds more investigations. It's pretty much what they do these days.

Anyhow, you didn't answer the question I actually asked. Have you seen any interest in the issue from people who didn't already hate Clinton? That should tell you how much this issue is impacting the presidential race.

Of course, if there's an indictment everything changes.

No... the OIG report changed the conversation, as the media enmass can't ignore/spin this.

The real big whammy is when the FBI recommends indictment. Only the DoJ can actually indict, but we know it's a political creature and I've firmly stated that Obama's DoJ won't indict. When that happens, the FBI/DoJ *will* suffer a fallout. It remains to be seen how that'll manifest and how it impacts the General Election.

It certainly adds into Trump's meme of 'Crooked Hillary'.

So, to answer to your question: Yes. I've seen that while most don't believe Trump would ever be a "Good President", they simply abhor the idea of HRC in the WH. These folks are traditional Democrat voters mind you. (I'm still not voting for Trump anyways as I'm on Calvinball mode).

Even those traditionally-favorable Clinton news site are reporting this:



The Washington POST!
Even The Atlantic can't spin this one!

Please go ahead and tell me that all of this is unfair and is part of the VRWC agenda.
          Re:Politics - USA        
Politico is hitting Clinton hard.

Sub sailor's photo case draws comparisons to Clinton emails
A Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.

Last July, Saucier was indicted on one felony count of unlawful retention of national defense information and another felony count of obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty Friday to the classified information charge, which is part of the Espionage Act, a prosecution spokesman confirmed. No charge of espionage was filed and no public suggestion has been made that he ever planned to disclose the photos to anyone outside the Navy.

The sailor now faces a maximum possible sentence of up to ten years in prison, but faced up to 30 years if found guilty on both charges. Federal guidelines discussed in court Friday appear to call for a sentence of about five to six-and-a-half years, although the defense has signaled it will seek a lighter sentence.

Saucier’s friends, conservative commentators and others say the stiff charges leveled against Saucier were out of whack with more lenient treatment given to senior officials who face allegations of mishandling classified information, like Clinton.

“I just don’t think it’s fair,” said Gene Pitcher, a retired Navy sailor who served with Saucier aboard the Alexandria. “In reality, what she did is so much worse than what Kris did. ... I think it’s just a blatant double standard.”

Clinton has not been charged with any crime, but the FBI has been investigating how information that intelligence agencies consider classified wound up on the private server that hosted her only email account during the four years she served as secretary of state. Some news reports have said charges are unlikely.

“Felony charges appear to be reserved for people of the lowest ranks. Everyone else who does it either doesn’t get charged or gets charged with a misdemeanor,” said Edward MacMahon, a Virginia defense attorney not involved in the Saucier case.

To some, the comparison to Clinton’s case may appear strained. Clinton has said none of the information on her server was marked classified at the time. In many cases, it was marked as unclassified when sent to her by people in the State Department more familiar with the issues involved.

By contrast, sailors are trained early on that the engine compartment of a nuclear sub is a restricted area and that much information relating to the sub’s nuclear reactors is classified.

Still, it’s far from obvious that the information Saucier took photos of is more sensitive than information found in Clinton’s account. Court filings say the photos were clear enough that they reveal classified details about the submarine that could be of use to foreign governments, such as the vessel’s maximum speed.

However, the Navy says the photos are classified “confidential,” which is the lowest tier of protection for classified information and is designated for information that could cause some damage to national security but not “serious” or “exceptionally grave” damage.

Intelligence agencies claim that Clinton’s account contained 65 messages with information considered “Secret” and 22 classified at the “Top Secret” level. Some messages contained data under an even more restrictive “special access program” designation.

Clinton and her campaign have disputed those findings, calling them a result of “overclassification” and urging that the messages be released in full.

However, Clinton’s critics and some former intelligence officials said she should have recognized the sensitivity of the information. They’ve also noted that about 32,000 messages on Clinton’s server were erased after her lawyers deemed them personal.

“The DOJ is willing to prosecute a former sailor to the full extent of the law for violating the law on classified material, in a situation where there was no purposeful unsecured transmission of classified material,” conservative blogger Ed Morrissey wrote last year. “Will they pursue Hillary Clinton and her team, at the other end of the power spectrum from the rank-and-file, for deliberate unsecured transmission of improperly marked classified nat-sec intelligence? Will they pursue the same kind of obstruction of justice charges for Hillary’s wiping of her server as they are for Saucier’s destruction of his laptop?”

Jury selection in Saucier’s case took place earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and opening arguments were scheduled to take place Tuesday, just after the Memorial Day holiday. The change of plea hearing Friday morning was not publicly noticed on the court's docket.

Judge Stefan Underhill set sentencing in the case for August 19. Both sides agreed that sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 63 to 78 months, but the judge will also calculate the guidelines range and can give a sentence outside the range. Plea documents indicate that the defense plans to ask for a more lenient sentence on the basis that Saucier's conduct was "aberrant."

A defense attorney for Saucier did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

The investigation into Saucier kicked off in a rather unusual way in 2012 when a supervisor at a dump in Hampton, Connecticut, found a cellphone “on top of a pile of trash approximately three to four feet into the middle of a dumpster at the transfer station,” a court filing read. The supervisor showed the images to a retired Navy friend who turned over the device to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Pitcher acknowledges that his friend violated Navy rules if he took the photos as prosecutors allege, but he says such infractions by submariners were not uncommon and were almost always dealt with through what the military calls “nonjudicial punishment” or Captain’s Mast. Those involved were demoted and docked some pay, but didn’t face a felony record or the prospect of years behind bars, the retired sailor said.

“Two guys in our boat were caught taking photos in the engine room on the nuclear side of things. Basically, all that happened to them was they … lost a rank,” Pitcher said. “I’ve seen quite a few cases like this and never seen any handled like Kris’.”

One factor that may have led investigators and prosecutors to handle Saucier’s case more aggressively is the way he responded when confronted about the photos. Court filings say he initially denied he took the pictures. Prosecutors say he later smashed his laptop, camera and memory card and threw them in the woods.

On top of that, Saucier had a handgun not registered to him in his home, prosecutors allege. After the FBI and NCIS showed up to question him, he allegedly cleaned it with bleach and stashed it under the dishwasher.

“They love the obstruction charges,” MacMahon said. “What they look for is something that’s aggravating.”

The defense attorney noted that CIA Director David Petraeus was accused of lying to the FBI when first confronted about keeping top secret notebooks at home and sharing them with his lover.

Many lawyers believe that fact may have tipped the case against Petraeus from something that might have cost him his job to one that resulted in criminal prosecution.

Still, Petraeus was never charged with obstruction of justice. Before any charges were filed, his attorney reached a deal with prosecutors in which the retired general pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.

A former military investigator who handled classified information cases said the military tends to treat such violations more seriously than civilian government agencies do and there are some valid reasons for that.

“It is exceedingly common for people in the military to be held accountable for classified information violations, much more so than in the civilian government or contractor world,” said Bill Leonard, former director of the government’s Information Security Oversight Office. “My sense is that’s just a reflection of the military’s emphasis on good order and discipline. ... It really does make a difference to the guy or gal next to you if [sensitive] information is compromised. That’s a very real consequence.”

Since Saucier is still in the Navy, it’s unclear why he was charged in federal civilian court rather than sent to a court-martial. One possibility is that investigators may have considered charging others in civilian life with conspiring with the Navy sailor, but that has not happened.

Former Navy sailors said Saucier’s case also overlaps with a period during which the Navy was trying to strike a balance involving the boredom of submarine life during deployments as long as six months and the increasing popularity of smartphones, video-game players and similar devices.

While photography was always banned in engine rooms and taking a camera there would have been highly suspicious, ubiquitous phones with cameras have added new complexity to the situation, the sailors said.

With his friend set to plead guilty, Pitcher said he’s still convinced that Saucier is being treated more harshly than others in government of low or high rank.

“A lot of people were doing what Kris was doing,” Pitcher said. “Clearly, to an educated observer, this is not fair treatment in comparison to other highly visible cases.”

If high government official don't follow the laws...

Why should we?

          Trump to Sessions: "You're fired (sort of)"        
Makes you kinda wish our wee attorney general would file a complaint under the EEOC against an abusive boss who created a hostile working environment, doesn't it?

In a twist none of us saw coming, President Trump has now declared war not on Iran or North Korea (that’s probably being held back for sweeps week), but rather on his own attorney general.

After ramping up his criticism of Jeff Sessions in the past week, going as far as to say he wouldn’t have appointed the former Alabama senator had he known that Sessions would recuse himself from the investigation into Trump’s Russian contacts, Trump took his case to Twitter, which is how you can always tell this president is serious about something.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump tweeted. A word spelled out in all capital letters is how you know this president is really serious about something.

A reminder to those who have noticed how Trump's consistent and over-arching demand from subordinates has been loyalty: no one has been more loyal to this president, right from the jump, than Sessions, and this is what he's earned for it.

Sessions was the first senator to embrace Trump when he joined the campaign just after the South Carolina primary, at a crucial moment. But his symbolic value to Trump ran deeper than that.

A culturally conservative lawman in the tradition of the old, segregationist South, Sessions embodied a powerful, nostalgic current in Southern Republican politics. When he stepped up to a podium in Alabama, just before Super Tuesday, and acknowledged that “we don’t get everything we want” in a candidate while embracing Trump, he sent a signal that religious Southerners could trust a coarse New York billionaire to hold the line against immigrants and liberal chauvinists.

Sessions took the “Make America Great Again” slogan that Trump slapped on a hat and gave it meaning in parts of the country where Trump could easily have seen the nomination slip away.

Later, when a lot of Trump’s allies distanced themselves from the man overheard deriding women on a hot mic, there was Sessions on the Sunday shows and in the debate spin rooms, uncompromisingly vouching for the candidate’s inner morality.

Now here’s Trump talking to the Wall Street Journal this week: “When they say he endorsed me, I went to Alabama. I had 40,000 people. … He looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, ‘What do I have to lose?’ And he endorsed me. So it’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement.”

Oh. So I guess it’s like that.

Before some haughty neoliberal wants to say I'm being sympathetic to our Confederate General Beauregard Sessions, let me point out that anybody else Trump appoints to be the nation's top lawman -- such as Rudy Giuliani or Ted Cruz -- would not a) recuse from the Russian investigation, thus be in place to stonewall or derail it; and b) would be Robert Mueller's new boss, which is to say that Mueller wouldn't be special prosecutor for very long after the FNG's swearing-in.

(Here) is the larger lesson of Trump’s public breach with Sessions. Once again, the guy who held himself out on TV as the world’s toughest and most successful CEO turns out to be, in real life, a surprisingly whiny and ineffectual manager.

I mean, Trump has now publicly charged that his own attorney general — the seventh public servant in the line of succession to the presidency — is weak, delinquent in his duties and damaging to the institution of the presidency. If that’s even partly true, the American legal system is in grave peril.

So what does the blustery president do, this guy whose catchphrase, “You’re fired!,” catapulted him to national celebrity?

He complains. He tweets. He talks smack and waits for someone else to act, like a high school kid too scared to break up with his girlfriend.

So because Trump is quite literally so weak a man that he cannot actually fire Sessions ... he wants to see if he can make him quit.  (Sessions says he ain't quittin', FWIW.)  It's left the experienced hands in the DOJ reeling.

Mr. President, you chose this AG. He reports only to you. If he’s so terrible for the country, then man up and find the stones to fire him.

That’s what TV Donald Trump would have done. But this Trump we have now — the one with a real job in the real world — seems paralyzed by insecurity. He wants other people to make the tough calls.

Sessions can’t stay in his job for long — that seems clear enough. Trump wants an AG who will move to shut down the independent counsel, and somewhere out there is a legal scholar craven enough to do it. (Look up “Bork, Robert” in your history book.)

It’s only a question now of whether Sessions can stomach the abuse long enough to get himself pushed aside, or whether he’ll do Trump’s bidding one last time and ultimately stand down.

I don't suppose anybody reading this has ever had a boss like this, have you?  I've only had a few myself, but they weren't overall quite this bad.

Probably can't replace him via recess appointment (remember, Obama tried that and the SCOTUS shot him down).  This week's latest constitutional crisis wasn't, of course, enough for President Orangutan; he had to throw in a few insults at the Republican senators who so far haven't managed to repeal Obamacare, regale the Boy Scouts with a bawdy tale about a rich man's yacht party, declare transgendered soldiers unfit for duty,  and ... I must be missing a few things.

Even as news breaks this morning that Scaramooch is trying to push Reince Priebus out -- demanding he prove that he is not the White House leaker -- we have to wonder how this president and this administration would handle a real crisis, such as an incident involving North Korea.  I'm concerned they would behave as poorly as they have with these manufactured ones.

          ABOUT ODOJ (ONE DAY ONE JUZ)        
          Politics - USA        
 ScootyPuffJunior wrote:

 whembly wrote:
Yup. Not a "security review" that the Clintonistas tried to spin. The FBI don't waste their time.
Not according to the government attorneys most recent court filing.

You might want to read that again...

The DoJ requested permission for the FBI to enter a secret declaration that the agency could not find records responsive to a FOIA demand from VICE regarding HRC’s email server.

As such, it is the DoJ who argues that the FBI isn’t just doing a “security review,” but is in fact collecting records for the purpose of enforcing the law And because this is an active investigation, the FBI/DoJ is given leeway to not provide any response to an FOIA request.


Besides, the FBI director is on record in stated that the FBI doesn't "do" security review. Don't get snooker'ed into the Clinton spin machine.

To recap: The DoJ, honest to god, acknowledges in that scribd doc that the FBI is conducting a law enforcement action, in addtion to a counterintelligence assessment.

Another interesting thing to note: this is the SECOND request by the FBI to seek a "declaration secret" in a civil FOIA case... seems to me that the FBI investigators are dotting their "i" and "t" in this regard.
          Re:Politics - USA        

I'm hoping for a RNC/DNC revolt:

--RNC: The delegates realizes that Trumps would lose in Epic fashion, they vote for any 'not-Trump' to kick off a contested convention.

--DNC: The delegates realizes that the FBI will recommend an indictment (whether DoJ picks it up or not) and pulls the lever for either Sanders or Biden.

Then this guy:

Gets really excited.
          Re:Politics - USA        
 whembly wrote:

I'm hoping for a RNC/DNC revolt:

--RNC: The delegates realizes that Trumps would lose in Epic fashion, they vote for any 'not-Trump' to kick off a contested convention.

--DNC: The delegates realizes that the FBI will recommend an indictment (whether DoJ picks it up or not) and pulls the lever for either Sanders or Biden.

Then this guy:

Gets really excited.

There is no white knight candidate ready to ride in and save either party. There is no credible candidate that could win the nomination at the Republican convention. Nobody thinks that a candidate that couldn't win the nomination or that didn't even try is a legitimate candidate and Trump won enough delegates to win the nomination outright.

Same with Clinton, the DNC can't give the nomination to Sander after Clinton beat him in the primaries and they can't ignore all the voters and the primary process and hand the nomination to Joe Biden just because either. The DNC does have a way out of Clinton's nomination but that requires her to get hit with criminal charges by the DOJ which allow the DNC to give the nomination to Sanders but would upset a lot of Clinton supporters including all of those who are in charge of the DNC.

I think we're heading for an election with 2 candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings ever and we're going to have a low turnout.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 d-usa wrote:
Well, my governor is meeting with Trump and is in the running for a VP pick.

Hell, if there is any chance in hell of Trump winning I would vote for him just to get rid of her!

But in reality, it just shows how clueless and out of touch he is. .

Can she see Russia from her house?
          Re:Politics - USA        
Prestor Jon wrote:
 whembly wrote:

I'm hoping for a RNC/DNC revolt:

--RNC: The delegates realizes that Trumps would lose in Epic fashion, they vote for any 'not-Trump' to kick off a contested convention.

--DNC: The delegates realizes that the FBI will recommend an indictment (whether DoJ picks it up or not) and pulls the lever for either Sanders or Biden.

Then this guy:

Gets really excited.

There is no white knight candidate ready to ride in and save either party. There is no credible candidate that could win the nomination at the Republican convention. Nobody thinks that a candidate that couldn't win the nomination or that didn't even try is a legitimate candidate and Trump won enough delegates to win the nomination outright.

Same with Clinton, the DNC can't give the nomination to Sander after Clinton beat him in the primaries and they can't ignore all the voters and the primary process and hand the nomination to Joe Biden just because either. The DNC does have a way out of Clinton's nomination but that requires her to get hit with criminal charges by the DOJ which allow the DNC to give the nomination to Sanders but would upset a lot of Clinton supporters including all of those who are in charge of the DNC.

I think we're heading for an election with 2 candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings ever and we're going to have a low turnout.

I beg to differ!

RNC could eventually elect someone like Tom Cotton or Nikki Haley (need to be someone who hasn't ran to quell the ensuing outrage).

DNC? ...right now? I can see Biden do really well. Can't believe I'm saying this now, but compared to the other yahoos... he comes off as the "adult in the room".

If it remains HRC vs Trump? Yeah... I can see record LOW (by percentage) turnout on election day.

          Re:Politics - USA        
 whembly wrote:
Prestor Jon wrote:
 whembly wrote:

I'm hoping for a RNC/DNC revolt:

--RNC: The delegates realizes that Trumps would lose in Epic fashion, they vote for any 'not-Trump' to kick off a contested convention.

--DNC: The delegates realizes that the FBI will recommend an indictment (whether DoJ picks it up or not) and pulls the lever for either Sanders or Biden.

Then this guy:

Gets really excited.

There is no white knight candidate ready to ride in and save either party. There is no credible candidate that could win the nomination at the Republican convention. Nobody thinks that a candidate that couldn't win the nomination or that didn't even try is a legitimate candidate and Trump won enough delegates to win the nomination outright.

Same with Clinton, the DNC can't give the nomination to Sander after Clinton beat him in the primaries and they can't ignore all the voters and the primary process and hand the nomination to Joe Biden just because either. The DNC does have a way out of Clinton's nomination but that requires her to get hit with criminal charges by the DOJ which allow the DNC to give the nomination to Sanders but would upset a lot of Clinton supporters including all of those who are in charge of the DNC.

I think we're heading for an election with 2 candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings ever and we're going to have a low turnout.

I beg to differ!

RNC could eventually elect someone like Tom Cotton or Nikki Haley (need to be someone who hasn't ran to quell the ensuing outrage).

DNC? ...right now? I can see Biden do really well. Can't believe I'm saying this now, but compared to the other yahoos... he comes off as the "adult in the room".

If it remains HRC vs Trump? Yeah... I can see record LOW (by percentage) turnout on election day.

There is no way that the RNC is taking away the nomination from Trump after he earned enough delegates to win it outright and won the most votes too. The RNC can't deliberately ignore the entire primary process to hand pick a nominee that didn't even campaign in the primaries and expect everyone to just fall in line and turn out to vote for that candidate because, 1. there'll be an R next his/her name 2 it won't be Trump 3. it won't be HRC. That's insanity and exactly the kind of thinking that got the "establishment" in this position in the first place.
          H:DOJ Preview        
Hamburger_Clock: Defender of Justice!
          Politics - USA        
 Gordon Shumway wrote:
 whembly wrote:
 Gordon Shumway wrote:
That's why I qualified the emails originating from State, Whembly.

AGAIN. You cannot simply order "remove the classification" and just send it. Here's the actual email in question:

Here's the relevant law regarding this:

I like how you talk out of two sides of your mouth with this. On the one hand, the FBI don't feth around with this. On the other, we might have two sets of laws for those in power and those who aren't. It seems like you are setting yourself up to be correct no matter what the FBI determines to state that you were right.

I'm not talking both sides of my mouth as they're both questions that we need to answer.

Right now, the wagons are circled around HRC.

How is it this former ambassador losing his job for using is private emails for work:

And yet, HRC's private email uses is kosher?

Answer me this, if the FBI does not recommend indictment at the end of the day, will you drop all discussion of this email business because "they don't feth around"?

No. Because, we cannot function as a society if the powerful/well connected are implicitedly allowed to get away from breaking the law.

Here's the thing though, if the FBI does not recommend indictment, that would mean they found no evidence of her breaking the law since "they don't feth around". Again, you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. Of course, since you have already determined the outcome, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by your answer.

and yet you have already determined the outcome too, as it goes the whole thing is still under investigation and with the DoJ holding onto information till November (that they said would be released for the investigation in June or July) this smells of coverup and backroom dealing.

as to classification it doesn't matter if it was about what some private ate for lunch if it is classified as Classified it is classified and not to be sent thru unsecured sources, its not a matter of iuf HRC will be charged, but what she will be charged with, will it effect her running for office? hard to say legal wise, will she do time? highly doubt it.

Please don't attach non wargaming images to Dakka. You need to use offsite hosting if you wish to share any such images.

          Re:Politics - USA        
 Peregrine wrote:
Jerram wrote:
Wait are you really claiming that a presidential candidate being questioned as part of a criminal investigation where she is the primary subject isn't newsworthy, and please don't repeat the dishonest " its not a criminal investigation" or " the server is being investigated" bull that the Clinton camp has put out there multiple times and been shot down on.

It's not newsworthy because it's not new. Going from "the FBI is investigating" to "the FBI is doing the inevitable thing that is guaranteed to happen in an investigation" is not a newsworthy event, it's just repeating the same old stuff we've already been hearing. It's obsessing over every trivial detail of the process and treating it as major breaking news, for the sole purpose of keeping the subject fresh in everyone's mind.

So if she was to get indicted it wouldn't be news either ? Since under normal circumstances that would be the inevitable thing that would happen based on the publicly released information (The emails themselves, not even the leaks about what was in the redacted portion of the emails) or would it would be news because the DoJ actually did its job ?

As far as the But, but Trump interjection, yeah it demonstrates the amateurishness of his campaign still, if he had the type of machine the Clintons and Obama soliciting donation from foreign nationals would be much more skillfu and indirect and not come out till later. (people really should stop assuming Trump support from those who point out Hillary's criminal behavior, luckily my state isnt in play so I don't have to agonize whether to vote for the amateur or indirectly support the criminal)

Ouze please stop trying to intermingle the ineptness of our government investigation (Congressional oversight focus on what to do better in future) with the FBI mishandling classified information investigation (Criminal focusing on potential charges being filed)
          Re:Politics - USA        
The newsworthy discussion is in response to Peregrine (The part in quotes). The intermingling accusation is because we went from Hillary's criminal investigation to the But Trump email discussion to Benghazi pretty quickly and her paid operatives often try to conflate the two in interviews since it allows them to spin the DoJ investigation as a partisan witchhunt. If that was just a natural flow of the conversation and not an intentional mix I apologize.

As far as Chris Stevens family, sorry but there opinion holds no more weight than the other families involved who she directly lied to in the immediate aftermath who don't have such a favorable view. "Cleared her" is an interesting spin it lays out the incompetence of her State Dept and even the democrats softened version admits that (they just point at her underlings as being incompetent)
          Re:Politics - USA        
Jerram wrote:
So if she was to get indicted it wouldn't be news either ? Since under normal circumstances that would be the inevitable thing that would happen based on the publicly released information (The emails themselves, not even the leaks about what was in the redacted portion of the emails) or would it would be news because the DoJ actually did its job ?

Yes that would be news, and no it is not inevitable. Let's just use some common sense about what is "breaking news" and what is "obsessing over minor details just to keep discussion of the 'scandal' on the front page".

Automatically Appended Next Post:
Jerram wrote:
Of course you'll say it was her incompetent subordinates and I'll reply if she wasn't so busy flying around trying to buff her resume she would have actually you know, led the state dept and understood what was going on and then tried to fix what was broke afterwards instead of being decietful about what actually happened but maybe I just expect too much.

Alternatively, Clinton is not a security expert and responsibility for security failures should be placed on the people who are security experts. It's not like a non-expert is going to be able to look at a security plan and say "this is clearly not enough" if the experts are saying "this is what we need". The secretary of state's job does not include micro-managing the exact details of every security job at every US embassy in every country.
          Fast and Furious report slams Holder, DOJ for deception in gun-running scandal        
The House Oversight Committee released a scathing report Wednesday that accuses former Attorney General Eric Holder and his Department of Justice of covering up Operation Fast and Furious and misleading Congress’ investigation into the botched gun-running operation. The nearly 300-page report states that the Justice Department under Holder actively tried to hide the facts from the loved ones of slain Border Patrol Brian Terry — seeing his family as more of a “nuisance” than one deserving straight answers — and at times being openly hostile to them. […] The report also says that Holder’s Justice Department stonewalled inquiries from Sen....
          Obama DOJ Failed to Stop Mexican Cartel Murder of ICE Agent with Smuggled Guns        
The Obama administration had numerous opportunities to arrest Mexican drug and weapons traffickers before the murder of a federal U.S. agent and the seriously wounding of his partner but opted for the hands-off approach, a new federal audit reveals. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which operates under the Department of Justice (DOJ), should have stopped the traffickers—members of the Los Zetas organization—long before the Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents were ambushed in Mexico with firearms smuggled south of the border thanks to a once-secret Obama administration gun-running operation. Instead, on February 15, 2011, ICE agents Victor...
          Confirmed: Obama DOJ Failure to Arrest Known Straw Purchasers Led to Murder of ICE Agent Jaime...        
Full title: Confirmed: Obama DOJ Failure to Arrest Known Straw Purchasers Led to Murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico According to a new inspector general report an illegal gun trafficking program similar to Operation Fast and Furious, which took place under President Obama's Department of Justice, led to the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in 2011. First, the background: On February 15, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents Victor Avila and Jaime Zapata were returning to Mexico City from Matehuala, Mexico when their armored SUV came under attack near the town of Santa Maria del Rio,...
“Fast and Furious” is back in the news. The reason? In January, Judge Amy Berman, an Obama appointee, ordered the Department of Justice to produce documents relating to the “gun walking” scandal that Congress had been seeking for four years. DOJ finally produced them, some 20,000 pages worth, this month. For anyone who has forgotten about Fast and Furious, here’s the short version. In 2010, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agent was killed while on patrol near the Mexican border. The only two firearms found at the scene were semi-automatic rifles the Obama-Holder Justice Department allowed to “walk”. That...
          Justice Dept. fails to turn over all Fast and Furious docs        
The Obama administration failed to adhere to a court-ordered Friday deadline to turn over all subpoenaed documents to Congress about the government's role in the 2009-2011 Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, prompting immediate complaints from Congress. "Today, under court order, DOJ turned over some of the subpoenaed documents," House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a statement late Friday. "The committee, however, is entitled to the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit. Accordingly, we have appealed the District Court's ruling in order to secure those additional documents." A U.S. District Court judge had ruled in January...
          Exclusive: Dutch Cops on AlphaBay ‘Refugees’        
Following today's breaking news about U.S. and international authorities taking down the competing Dark Web drug bazaars AlphaBay and Hansa Market, KrebsOnSecurity caught up with the Dutch investigators who took over Hansa on June 20, 2017. When U.S. authorities shuttered AlphaBay on July 5, police in The Netherlands saw a massive influx of AlphaBay refugees who were unwittingly fleeing directly into the arms of investigators. What follows are snippets from an exclusive interview with Petra Haandrikman, team leader of the Dutch police unit that infiltrated Hansa. Vendors on both AlphaBay and Hansa sold a range of black market items -- most especially controlled substances like heroin. According to the U.S. Justice Department, AlphaBay alone had some 40,000 vendors who marketed a quarter-million sales listings for illegal drugs to more than 200,000 customers. The DOJ said that as of earlier this year, AlphaBay had 238 vendors selling heroin. Another 122 vendors advertised Fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid that has been linked to countless overdoses and deaths. In our interview, Haandrikman detailed the dual challenges of simultaneously dealing with the exodus of AlphaBay users to Hansa and keeping tabs on the giant increase in new illicit drug orders that were coming in daily as a result.
          As One stories: Mitchell C Hunter         

Mitchell C. Hunter, a transman activist, is a Community Participant in As One.

Transman activist Mitchell C Hunter shares his story

Seattle Opera's latest production, As One, centers around a single transgender protagonist whose journey unfolds through two voices: baritone and mezzo-soprano. The company is proud to be partnering with members of the transgender and LGBTQ communities in its presentation of this bold, beautiful work. In fact, two individuals will be sharing their personal stories at the top of each show.

One of these community participants is Mitchell C “Mitch” Hunter. A gay man in his fifties, Mitch came to manhood late in life when he began his transition at 42. He has since taken active leadership roles in the Transgender and LGBQ communities. Serving for almost four years on the Seattle LGBT Commission, he helped create and implement Seattle’s single-use, all-gender restroom law.

Mitch has worked with corporations, small businesses, faith communities, institutions and organizations to further transgender inclusivity and visibility. Featured in the Seattle Police Department’s transgender training video, Mitch helped write the SPD’s model policy on working with the transgender community. As a consultant and trainer, he has presented to and collaborated on programs for the Washington State Department of Corrections, DSHS, Sound Generations, Kitsap County Council for Human Rights, UW Medical Center Transgender Health Course and numerous college/university classes and conferences.

Mitch attributes the solid community support he’s received for the great strides he’s made. Grateful thanks to the members and leadership of the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus; GALA Choruses organization; SeattleMen’s and Seattle Women’s Choruses; Out In Front Leadership Institute; his faith community, Seattle Unity; his loving dogs; and most importantly, his partner of 21 years, Amy.

You're a transman activist, leader, and spokesman in the transgender community. What keeps you engaged in this work?
With the recent election results, honestly, I wonder. Now, it's even more important to serve the transgender community; to put a face to the word. Three out of four people say they know someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual. Only one in 10 can say they know a transgender person. But with an estimated 1.4 million adults in the US alone, or .3 percent of the population in general, we all know that perception can be different than reality—sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. It is a privilege to be out as a transman, one I don’t take for granted. We, transgender people have legal protections both in Washington State and in Seattle. Currently, there are 26 states trying to legislate away or repeal any protections/basic human rights for trans people. Taking a page from the marriage equality playbook, it is imperative that we tell our stories to reveal we are neighbors, friends, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, business owners, co-workers, fellow employees, church congregants, athletes, and artists. There are so many who can’t or don’t want to be out as transgender for fear of their safety, violence, or death. I am grateful to serve the trans community in whatever way I can. Burnout is a hazard for most of us out in front. We all have to find ways to commit to self-care along with the work we do.

Tell me a bit about the story you share before the downbeat in As One.
I’m actually painting a picture with a series of snapshots: self-selected “firsts.” Transition, for me, is a lifelong process deciding when and whether to come out as a transman. I introduce myself as who I am based on the childhood of an avowed tomboy. I just grew into it (being a boy) rather than out of it. There is still a very thin line between my feeling like an imposter—just inhabiting this man-body verses living fully as a man. The really interesting part for me is how some of these universal themes are echoed in the opera. Self-doubts and questionable aspirations are not unique to transgender people. Some of the "firsts" I share include:
- The story of when I was first fitted for a suit;
- The first time I met with clients in my first professional, grown-up, “daddy” job. (A legit professional job that daddies had when I was growing up.);
- The first time I realize the psychological and sociological consequences of being male—or more specifically the conflict felt in being a feminist male;
- The first time I got to be “just one of the guys” and not a “poster boy” for all trans guys.

You've worked hard for social justice, including gender justice, in your work with the City of Seattle, as well as in your own professional and personal life. What are some accomplishments that you're especially proud of?
The first is when I was one of 3 transmen commissioners in 2012 who made the very first attempts to find a way to get gender-neutral bathrooms in all city buildings. I was part of the process of researching and continuing to shepherd the idea through the system through the years: meeting with City Council members, people at the Mayor’s Office (McGinn first, then Murray), writing draft ordinances with the help of the Office for Civil Rights. As more and more folks joined in and recommendations were presented, it morphed and became the single-use, all-gender restroom signage required for all places of public accommodation in Seattle.

The second was getting to work with a team of 10-15 transgender leaders from the area to help craft the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) policy on working with transgender people. James Ritter, the LGBTQ liaison for SPD, the same man in charge of the SAFE PLACE campaign, had worked with me while I was on the commission. He offered me the opportunity to be a part of working on this policy. It took us several months (which in policy-making is really a short period of time) to come up with something that was meaningful and satisfactory for the trans community as well as impactful for the police department. As soon as the policy was accepted by the DOJ and all the appropriate people up and down the policy line, Jim started to put together a training video with interviews from local transgender people that would accompany the new transgender training modules developed by the education team. I am a part of the training video that has been released publicly for use by any law enforcement organization. The video is already being used by various Department of Correction facilities around the state. The video we worked on preceded by several months the DOJ training released for use throughout the country

In regards to social justice for transgender people, what's one thing that makes you feel hopeful for the future?
Organizations and people are learning the power of banding together to get legislation and public policy written and passed. Many in the transgender community supported marriage equality work as did many communities: unions, Native American/First Nations groups, people of faith, educators, people with disabilities…Now, the transgender community is more politically mature; we have built ties to a number of allied and aligned communities, corporations and businesses. We’ve had the benefit of learning from tested strategies in other states.

We are creating strong, effective organizations to do the work necessary to educate our state about the need for safety, rights, and concerns of transgender people. I’m heartened by the number of allies and aligned, supportive businesses signing onto “Washington Won’t Discriminate.” The work, lobbying, educating and strategy work of Washington S.A.F.E alliance is inspiring. TransForm Washington, a fairly new organization launched earlier this year, collecting and doing the work necessary to tell stories of transgender people—put faces out in the world to show we are youth, young adults, middle-aged people, couples and seniors.

Anything else you’d like to share?
It is challenging that finances play such a huge part in supporting and legislating rights and protections for transgender people. Big money and out-of-state political and issue-oriented organizations have so much money. We are often the most marginalized of communities, especially the transgender people of color. Even with our best efforts, incredible strategy, unique voices, engaging stories, tight collaborations and coalition, at some point, it comes down to our allies standing with us. We must find ways to collect and focus boat-loads of money toward all these campaigns to simply procure the same civil and human rights, rights to healthcare and rights to personal safety and a world free from violence and hatred.

As One remaining performance: Nov. 17, 18, & 19
Tickets are $25 & $40

          Pro-Trump media and Russian bots push self-debunking story attacking Obama attorney general for using an email alias        

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Fringe media figures and outlets that support President Donald Trump are trying to scandalize former Attorney General Loretta Lynch's use of an alias in her government emails, even though government officials have used the practice before, Lynch’s use of the alias had been disclosed last year, and the emails are still subject to records requests.

Kim Dotcom, a dubious figure known for spreading conspiracy theories, claimed on August 4 that Lynch may have used the alias Elizabeth Carlisle “to communicate with DOJ officials.” Dotcom based his claim on emails given to the conservative group American Center for Law And Justice (ACLJ) -- where Trump attorney Jay Sekulow is the chief counsel -- as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. In his tweet, he added, “Dear Internet, investigate!” The next day, a user on the pro-Trump Reddit forum “r/The_Donald,” a forum known in the past to spread conspiracy theories, claimed that a death certificate showed that Lynch “used her grandmother's maiden name as alias.”

The implication of wrongdoing by Lynch then reached Jim Hoft of the pro-Trump website The Gateway Pundit, who wrote that “internet sleuth” Dotcom “dropped a bomb on Twitter,” and pointed to the “r/The_Donald” user who “discovered that Loretta Lynch used her grandmother’s maiden name ‘Lizzie Carlisle’ as her alias.” He added that Lynch “told Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) under oath that she only uses official email in November 2016 — after these above emails were sent,” concluding, “Lynch committed perjury.” The allegation also reached far-right conspiracy theory outlet Zero Hedge, which claimed that Lynch “has been busted”; far-right trolls Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec; and discredited birther Jerome Corsi of the conspiracy theory website Infowars. A few also alleged that Lynch had committed perjury. Another forum known for pushing conspiracy theories, 4chan’s “/pol/,” also hyped the alias and perjury allegation.

According to the think tank Alliance for Securing Democracy, which has a tool to track Russian-affiliated bots on Twitter, the stories targeting Lynch have been popular among those bots, which pushed both of The Gateway Pundit’s articles and Zero Hedge’s post.

Despite the nefarious implications, it was already public knowledge that Lynch used an alias with her government email. Additionally, the practice was routine for previous government employees. In February 2016, a Justice Department spokesperson said that Lynch “uses a government email account but also ‘does not use her given name in the handle of her email address,’” according to The Hill. In 2015, the Justice Department revealed that then-Attorney General Eric Holder used multiple email aliases in his government emails, and noted that because it was still a government email, “it is still preserved for recordkeeping.” (Indeed, this Lynch alias allegation came about specifically because ACLJ received the emails in a FOIA request.) Aides in President George W. Bush’s administration also used “secret alternate” addresses for emails, some of which were nongovernmental, according to Mother Jones.

Multiple fake news purveyors also hyped allegations of wrongdoing, with Mad World News calling it a “smoking gun” against Lynch, TruthFeed writing that Lynch “lied under oath” in “a clear case of perjury, completely intentional,” America’s Freedom Fighters claiming Lynch is “heading to prison,” and Liberty Writers urging readers to “share this everywhere to help bring Loretta Lynch down.” Other previous purveyors of fake news hyping the allegation included RedStateWatcher, Freedom Daily, USA Politics Today, World Politicus, Patriots On The Right, and GOP The Daily Dose.

All of these articles drew attention on Facebook: The two Gateway Pundit articles had at least 15,900 and 9,100 engagements, respectively; the Zero Hedge article, 3,300; Mad World News, 1,000; TruthFeed, 4,100; America’s Freedom Fighters, 1,300; Liberty Writers, 12,800; RedStateWatcher, 809; Freedom Daily, 11,000; World Politicus, 1,100; and GOP The Daily Dose, 93, according to social media analytics website BuzzSumo.

The far-right trolls, fringe outlets, and fake news purveyors teaming up to spread this allegation (aided by bots) provide yet another example of how fringe sources work together to spread dubious claims, conspiracy theories, and lies while attacking perceived enemies.

          US citizens, if you are registered to vote or can register at...        

US citizens, if you are registered to vote or can register at the polls, and anyone tries to undermine your right to vote call 866-OURVOTE or the DOJ Voting Rights Hotline, 800-253-3931
And remember, if you are in line before a polling station closes, they MUST let you vote, no matter how long the line is.

DO NOT leave. Call 866OURVOTE if it’s poll-closing time and you are still in line. Tell Twitter if there are lines over 60 minutes any time today - share your polling station, county and state with ELECTIONLAND

Rock your vote. The world is counting on us.

          BREAKING: Hillary Clinton Investigation Reopened, DOJ Offers Plea Bargain [VIDEO]        
NewsMax has an explosive report by Ed Klein that claims that Hillary Clinton may be offered a plea deal. There was a meeting last month as the DOJ reopened her
          The DOJ Wants To Take Away Online Privacy. And A Court Says Okay        
A U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled that the U.S Department of Justice can force a private company—say, Facebook, Yelp, Twitter…—to give up your private information just because you expressed an opinion online.
          Australia, U.S. Enter FATCA Agreement to Disclose U.S. Taxpayer Account Information: Disclose Your Offshore Account Now        

Kevin Thorn, managing partner of Thorn Law Group observes that, “The U.S. and Australia have entered into an agreement simplifying requirements for Australian banks to provide U.S. accountholder information to the U.S. This will make it easier for the IRS and DOJ to identify and investigate U.S. persons with bank accounts in Australia.”

(PRWeb May 01, 2014)

Read the full story at

          IRS, DOJ Not Alone In Seeking U.S. Taxpayers With Foreign Accounts: US Taxpayers With Undisclosed Bank Accounts Should Hire U.S. Tax Attorneys        

Kevin Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group, comments on the recent trend of CPAs, enrolled agents and foreign attorneys seeking to represent US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts before the IRS and DOJ. Thorn cautions this may not result in the best representation for the taxpayer, adding, “U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed overseas bank accounts will need an experienced tax attorney to get back into compliance.”

(PRWeb April 14, 2014)

Read the full story at

          IRS Continues to Target Accounts in Israel, Caribbean Island Nations: Bank Mizrahi Depositor Pleads Guilty        

Kevin Thorn of the Thorn Law Group comments on the recent guilty plea by a United States Taxpayer with undisclosed overseas bank accounts as one in a long line of ongoing IRS and DOJ investigations into U.S. citizens with hidden overseas bank accounts. Thorn observes the U.S. government’s expanded focus from Switzerland to other countries.

(PRWeb February 28, 2014)

Read the full story at

          106 Swiss Banks Enter IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program        

Kevin Thorn of the Thorn Law Group discusses the recent disclosure that over 106 Swiss banks have entered the DOJ and IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program for Banks in exchange for non-prosecution deals, and are now willing to identify taxpayers with undisclosed offshore bank accounts.

(PRWeb February 04, 2014)

Read the full story at

          Afternoon Newscast for April 6, 2016        
Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including: Spike Lee to premiere Missouri football boycott documentary in Columbia Wednesday night Ferguson city manager says failed tax vote won't affect DOJ agreement Missouri House Committee to question St. Louis County election officials after ballot shortage University of Missouri nursing school gets $20 million for study Sen. Roy Blunt won't meet with Obama court nominee Over a dozen MO businesses formally object to state's religious freedom legislation
          23 Home Invasion Statistics You Should Be Afraid Of        

Home invasions aren't always violent. 11% of burglars even remove a door or window while the occupants are home. The average loss is around $2,000 per home invasion.

The more aware you are, the better you can protect yourself. Read on to see how you could easily become a victim too.

  1. How many home invasions are there in the U.S.?
    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1.03 million home invasions occur each year.

  2. What time of day do most burglaries occur?
    Surprisingly, most burglaries occur between 10 AM and 3PM. Many homes are empty during this time while people are at work. Burglars know this and use it to their advantage. However, home invasions can occur any time of day or night.

  3. How many homes are broken into each year?
    3.7 million homes are broken into each year. That's 7 homes every minute.

Home Invasion

  1. What is home invasion?
    Home invasion is the unlawful entry of someone's home. It usually involves some type of force. The person has the intent to commit a crime (whether he does or not). The legal occupant of the home may or may not be present.

  2. How long is the sentence for home invasion?
    Most states consider home invasion a felony. The general jail sentence can vary from 5 to 20 years. It depends on the degree of the home invasion. 1st degree is the worst. It usually involves the use of a weapon along with breaking and entering.

  3. How long do you go to jail for burglary?
    Burglars face similar jail time as those committing home invasion. The degree of the burglary and whether it's a misdemeanor or felony determines the jail time. Offenders can go to jail for 1 year to as much as 20 years. In addition, they pay hefty restitution fines.


  1. What is robbery versus burglary?
    Burglary and robbery both involve a property. They both also describe some type of theft. Robbery occurs in a home while you are present. The criminal usually uses some type of force or threat. Burglary occurs when you are not home. The criminal unlawfully enters your home with the intent to steal something.

  2. How many homes are robbed each year?
    The DOJ reported 1 million burglaries occurred with people in the home. 27% of them became victim of a violent crime.

  3. What are the chances of being robbed?
    According to the FBI, you can expect 1 in every 36 homes to be robbed.

  4. What percentage of robberies involve weapons?
    The DOJ reported the use of weapons in a majority of robberies. 41% of robberies involved firearms and 7.8% included knives or other cutting devices. In addition, 42.5% used strong-arm tactics, whether verbal or physical.

  5. What percentage of burglaries involved forcible entry?
    Forcible entry occurs when someone enters a home with some type of force or weapon. Almost 58% of home invasions used some type of forcible entry. Almost 7% of the burglaries accounted for attempted forcible entry. The remaining were unlawful entries with no force.

  6. What time of day does the most crime occur?
    The most common time for crime by an adult to occur is at 10 PM. The most active time for adult criminals is between 8 PM and 12 PM. Juvenile criminals, on the other hand, are the most active between 3 and 4 PM. Juvenile criminals most active time is usually between 3 PM and 7 PM.

  7. What percentage of invaded homes don't have anything taken?
    Criminals don't get anything 55% of the time when the home is occupied. Non-occupied homes have a 75% chance of theft.

  8. What rooms do offenders usually hit first?
    A majority of offenders head straight to the master bedroom. Many homeowners leave their most valuable items in this room. The typical items include cash, jewelry, and weapons. In the master bedroom, they often head to the nightstand and closet first.

  9. Do burglars return to the scene?
    Unbelievably, you are more likely to be a burglary victim after being a victim once. Even if you aren't the victim, but a neighbor is victimized, your chances are higher. A burglar returns to the scene because he's already done the work. He knows the area so it takes less effort to get the job done.


  1. How many home invasions were stopped by guns?
    The government doesn't put a lot of emphasis on defensive gun use. Estimates show that 500,000 to 3 million defensive gun uses occur each year.

  2. How many times do victims use a gun to scare their offender?
    A shocking 2.5 million victims use a gun to scare their offender. That's almost 5 law-abiding citizens a minute. However, victims only shoot their offender 8% of the time. They mostly use the firearm to scare their offender away.

  3. How many gun deaths are accidental?
    In a 5-year span ranging from 2005 to 2010, 3,800 people died at the hand of a gun accidentally. Of those victims, almost 1,300 of them were younger than 25 years old. Generally, the states with looser gun laws had the higher number of deaths.

  4. How many people have died from guns?
    According to the CDC, 93 people die every day from guns. That's almost 40,000 deaths a year. Of those deaths, suicide was the reason twice as often as homicide.

  5. What percent of homicide victims knew their killer?
    58.4% of homicide victims knew their killer. The relationships vary from significant other to friend or acquaintance.

  6. What percentage of murderers were male?
    The Department of Justice claims that 89.3% of murderers are male.

  7. How many women are criminals?
    Estimates report there are around 2.1 million violent female criminals per year in the United States. 40% of them were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Home Security

  1. What's the best way to keep your home safe?
    There's no foolproof way to prevent a home invasion. These tips may help keep criminals away, though.

    • Always make your home look occupied. Leave lights on and the exterior manicured. Don't leave mail stacked up in the mailbox. Have your grass cut even while you are away.
    • Lock all doors and windows, including when you go to bed.
    • Test all locks on windows and doors periodically and replace as necessary.
    • Keep everything stored out of sight.

Knowing the statistics should keep you on your toes. Constantly monitor your home's safety. Becoming too comfortable can make you a victim.

Sources and References:

23 Home Invasion Statistics You Should Be Afraid Of appeared first on CreditDonkey

          "Privacy is dead, get over it" [updated]        
I believe it was in 1999 that Scott McNealy famously said "privacy is dead, get over it". It is a whole lot deader now than it was then. A month ago in Researcher Privacy I discussed Sam Kome's CNI talk about the surveillance abilities of institutional network technology such as central wireless and access proxies. There's so much more to report on privacy that below the fold there can't be more than some suggested recent readings, as an update to my 6-month old post Open Access and Surveillance. [See a major update at the end]

There are four main types of entity motivated to violate your privacy:
  • Companies: who can monetize this information directly by selling it and indirectly by exploiting it in their internal business. Tim Wu's The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads is a valuable overview of this process, as is Maciej Cegłowski's What Happens Next Will Amaze You.
  • Governments: both democratic and authoritarian governments at all levels from nations to cities are addicted to violating the privacy of citizens and non-citizens alike, ostensibly in order to "keep us safe", but in practice more to avoid loss of power. Parts of Wu's book cover this too, but it at least since Snowden's revelations it has rarely been far from the headlines.
  • Criminals: can be even more effective at monetizing your private information than companies.
  • Users: you are motivated to give up your privacy for trivial rewards:
    More than 70% of people would reveal their computer password in exchange for a bar of chocolate, a survey has found.


Cliff Lynch has a long paper up at First Monday entitled The rise of reading analytics and the emerging calculus of reader privacy in the digital world:
It discusses what data is being collected, to whom it is available, and how it might be used by various interested parties (including authors). I explore means of tracking what’s being read, who is doing the reading, and how readers discover what they read.
Many months ago Cliff asked me to review a draft, but the final version differs significantly from the draft I reviewed. Cliff divides the paper into four sections:
  1. Introduction: Who’s reading what, and who knows what you’re reading?
  2. Collecting data
  3. Exploiting data
  4. Some closing thoughts
You should read the whole thing, but here are a few tastes.

Cliff agrees in less dramatic language with Maciej Cegłowski's Haunted by Data, and his analogy between stored data and nuclear waste:
Those trying to protect reader privacy gradually realized that the best guarantee of such privacy was to collect as little data as possible, and to retain what had to be collected as briefly as possible. The hard won lesson: if it exists, it will ultimately be subpoenaed or seized, and used against readers in steadily less measured and discriminating ways over time.
Cliff notices, as did Sam Kome, that readers are now tracked at the page level:
One of the byproducts of this transformation is a major restructuring of ideas and assumptions about reader privacy in light of the availability of information about what is being read, who is reading it, and (a genuinely new development) exactly how it is being read, including the end to frustrating reliance upon purchase, borrowing, or downloading as surrogate indicators for actually reading the work in question. ... one might wish for more than sparse anecdote on the ways and extents to which very detailed data on how a given book is (or is not) read, and by whom, actually benefits the various interested parties: authors, publishers, retailers, platform providers, and even readers.
Cliff points out an important shift in the rhetoric about privacy:
Historically, most of the language has been about competing values and how they should be prioritized and balanced, using charged and emotional phrases: “reader privacy,” “intellectual freedom,” “national security,” “surveillance,” “accountability,” “protecting potential victims” ... These conversations are being supplanted by a sterile and anodyne, value-free discussion of “analytics:” reader analytics, learning analytics, etc. These are presented as tools that smart and responsible modern organizations are expected to employ; indeed, not doing analytics is presented as suggesting some kind of management failure or incompetence in many quarters. The operation of analytics systems, ... tends to shift discussions from whether data should be collected to what we can do with it, and further suggests that if we can do something with it, we should.
Privacy is among the reasons readers have for using ad-blockers; the majority of the bytes they eliminate are not showing you ads but implementing trackers. The Future of Ad Blocking: An Analytical Framework and New Techniques by Grant Storey, Dillon Reisman, Jonathan Mayer and Arvind Narayanan reports on several new ad-blocking technologies, including one based on laws against misleading advertising:
ads must be recognizable by humans due to legal requirements imposed on online advertising. Thus we propose perceptual ad blocking which works radically differently from current ad blockers. It deliberately ignores useful information in markup and limits itself to visually salient information, mimicking how a human user would recognize ads. We use lightweight computer vision techniques to implement such a tool and show that it defeats attempts to obfuscate the presence of ads.
They are optimistic that ad-blockers will win out:
Our second key observation is that even though publishers increasingly deploy scripts to detect and disable ad blocking, ad blockers run at a higher privilege level than such scripts, and hence have the upper hand in this arms race. We borrow ideas from rootkits to build a stealthy adblocker that evades detection. Our approach to hiding the presence and purpose of a browser extension is general and might be of independent interest.
I don't agree. The advent of DRM for the Web requires that the DRM implementation run at a higher privilege level than the ad-blocker, and that it prevent less-privileged code observing the rendered content (less it be copied). It is naive to think that advertisers will not notice and exploit this capability.


As usual, Maciej Cegłowski describes the situation aptly:
We're used to talking about the private and public sector in the real economy, but in the surveillance economy this boundary doesn't exist. Much of the day-to-day work of surveillance is done by telecommunications firms, which have a close relationship with government. The techniques and software of surveillance are freely shared between practitioners on both sides. All of the major players in the surveillance economy cooperate with their own country's intelligence agencies, and are spied on (very effectively) by all the others.
Steven Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Susan Landau and Stephanie Pell have a 101-page review of the problems caused by the legacy model of communication underlying surveillance law in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology entitled Its Too Complicated: How The Internet Upends Katz, Smith and Electronic Surveillance Law. Its clearly important but I'm only a short way into it, I may have more to say about it later.

And this, of course, assumes that the government abides by the law. Marcy Wheeler disposes of that idea:
All of which is to say that the authority that the government has been pointing to for years to show how great Title VII is is really a dumpster fire of compliance problems.

And still, we know very little about how this authority is used.
and also:
one reason NSA analysts were collecting upstream data is because over three years after DOJ and ODNI had figured out analysts were breaking the rules because they forgot to exclude upstream from their search, they were still doing so. Overseers noted this back in 2013!


The boundaries between government entities such as intelligence agencies and law enforcement and criminals have always been somewhat fluid. The difficulty of attributing activity on the Internet (also here) to specific actors has made them even more fluid:
Who did it? Attribution is fundamental. Human lives and the security of the state may depend on ascribing agency to an agent. In the context of computer network intrusions, attribution is commonly seen as one of the most intractable technical problems, as either solvable or not solvable, and as dependent mainly on the available forensic evidence. But is it? Is this a productive understanding of attribution? — This article argues that attribution is what states make of it.
The most important things to keep private are your passwords and PINs. They're the primary target for the bad guys, who can use them to drain your bank accounts. Dan Goodin at Ars Technica has an example of how incredibly hard it is to keep them secret. In Meet PINLogger, the drive-by exploit that steals smartphone PINs, he reports on Stealing PINs via mobile sensors: actual risk versus user perception by Maryam Mehrnezhad, Ehsan Toreini, Siamak F. Shahandashti and Feng Hao. Goodin writes:
The demonstrated keylogging attacks are most useful at guessing digits in four-digit PINs, with a 74-percent accuracy the first time it's entered and a 94-percent chance of success on the third try. ... The attacks require only that a user open a malicious webpage and enter the characters before closing it. The attack doesn't require the installation of any malicious apps.
Malvertising, using ad servers to deliver malware, is a standard technique for the bad guys, and this attack can use it:
Malicious webpages—or depending on the browser, legitimate sites serving malicious ads or malicious content through HTML-based iframe tags—can mount the attack by using standard JavaScript code that accesses motion and orientation sensors built into virtually all iOS and Android devices. To demonstrate how the attack would work, researchers from Newcastle University in the UK wrote attack code dubbed PINLogger.js. Without any warning or outward sign of what was happening, the JavaScript was able to accurately infer characters being entered into the devices.

"That means whenever you are typing private data on a webpage [with] some advert banners ... the advert provider as part of the page can 'listen in' and find out what you type in that page," ... "Or with some browsers as we found, if you open a page A and then another page B without closing page A (which most people do) page A in the background can listen in on what you type in page B."
The authors are pessimistic about blocking attacks using sensor data:
Access to mobile sensor data via JavaScript is limited to only a few sensors at the moment. This will probably expand in the future, specially with the rapid development of sensor-enabled devices in the Internet of things (IoT). ... Many of the suggested academic solutions either have not been applied by the industry as a practical solution, or have failed. Given the results in our user studies, designing a practical solution for this problem does not seem to be straightforward. ... After all, it seems that an extensive study is required towards designing a permission framework which is usable and secure at the same time. Such research is a very important usable security and privacy topic to be explored further in the future.
The point is not to focus on this particular channel, but to observe that it is essentially impossible to enumerate and block all the channels by which private information can leak from any computer connected to the Internet.


Because it is effectively impossible for you to know what privacy risks you are running, you are probably the main violator of your privacy on the Internet, for two main reasons:
  • You have explicitly and implicitly agreed to Terms of Service (and here) that give up your privacy rights in return for access to content. Since the content probably isn't that important to you, your privacy can't be that important either.
  • You have not taken the simple precautions necessary to maintain privacy by being anonymous when using the Web. Techniques such as cookie syncing and browser fingerprinting mean that even using Tor isn't enough. Even though Tor obscures your IP address, if you're using the same browser as you did without Tor or when you logged in to a site, the site will know its you. Fortunately, there is a very simple way to avoid these problems. Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) can be run from a USB flash drive or in a VM. Every time it starts up it is in a clean state. The browser looks the same to a Web site as every other Tails browser. Use it any time privacy is an issue, from watching pr0n to searching for medical information.
It is very sad that the responsibility for maintaining privacy rests on the shoulders of the individual, with essentially no support from the law, but everyone else finds your lack of privacy so useful and profitable that this situation isn't going to change. After all, The Panopticon Is Good For You.


At The Atlantic, Arvind Narayanan and Dillon Reisman's The Thinning Line Between Commercial and Government Surveillance reports:
As part of the Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability Project, we’ve been studying who tracks you online and how they do it. Here’s why we think the fight over browsing histories is vital to civil liberties and to a functioning democracy.

Privacy doesn’t merely benefit individuals; it fundamentally shapes how society functions. It is crucial for marginalized communities and for social movements, such as the fight for marriage equality and other once-stigmatized views. Privacy enables these groups to network, organize, and develop their ideas and platforms before challenging the status quo. But when people know they’re being tracked and surveilled, they change their behavior. This chilling effect hurts our intellectual freedoms and our capacity for social progress.
They stress the effectiveness of the tracking techniques I mentioned above:
Web tracking today is breathtaking in its scope and sophistication. There are hundreds of entities in the business of following you from site to site, and popular websites embed about 50 trackers on average that enable such tracking. We’ve also found that just about every new feature that’s introduced in web browsers gets abused in creative ways to “fingerprint” your computer or mobile device. Even identical looking devices tend to behave in subtly different ways, such as by supporting different sets of fonts. It’s as if each device has its own personality. This means that even if you clear your cookies or log out of a website, your device fingerprint can still give away who you are.
And that, even if used by companies, governments (and ISPs) can piggy-back on them:
Worse, the distinction between commercial tracking and government surveillance is thin and getting thinner. The satirical website The Onion once ran a story with this headline: “CIA's ‘Facebook’ Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs.” Reality isn’t far off. The Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA piggybacks on advertising cookies, and in a technical paper we showed that this can be devastatingly effective. Hacks and data breaches of commercial systems have also become a major part of the strategies of nation-state actors.
Ironically, The Atlantic's web-site is adding tracking information to their article's URL (note the 524592):
and to the attributes of the links in it:
At Gizmodo, Kashmir Hill's Uber Doesn’t Want You to See This Document About Its Vast Data Surveillance System is a deep dive into the incredibly detailed information Uber's database maintains about each and every Uber user. It is based on information briefly revealed in a wrongful termination lawsuit, before Uber's lawyers got it sealed.
For two days in October, before Uber convinced the court to seal the material, one of Spangenberg’s filings that was publicly visible online included a spreadsheet listing more than 500 pieces of information that Uber tracks for each of its users. ...

For example, users give Uber access to their location and payment information; Uber then slices and dices that information in myriad ways. The company holds files on the GPS points for the trips you most frequently take; how much you’ve paid for a ride; how you’ve paid for a ride; how much you’ve paid over the past week; when you last canceled a trip; how many times you’ve cancelled in the last five minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and 300 minutes; how many times you’ve changed your credit card; what email address you signed up with; whether you’ve ever changed your email address.
Both articles are must-reads.
          Visa Boldly Ushers in the Cashless Future (Where Everyone Uses Visa)        

There is something knowing about the title of Visa’s latest initiative, the Visa Challenge, in which the payment company will offer 50 restaurants, cafes, and food trucks $10,000 each to eliminate cash payments. “We are declaring war on cash,” a Visa spokesman told the Associated Press.

It’s a bit like if GM issued a Chevrolet Challenge, and gave you money to drive around in a Silverado (perhaps in exchange for ditching your bicycle), or if Anheuser Busch InBev paid you to drink exclusively Budweiser. Despite Visa’s exhortations about the perks of running a cashless business, it's an admission that for merchants, reliance on the American credit card triopoly is an unpleasant predicament.

Why would food service establishments need a $10,000 incentive to stop collecting cash?

One reason: While the proportion of purchases made with cash has fallen steeply over the past few years according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco—from 40 percent in 2012 to 32 percent in 2015—that decline has been concentrated in high-value purchases. Young people and poor people are most likely to use cash, and "food and personal care” account for more than half of cash transactions.

Another: The U.S. has some of the world’s highest “interchange” fees, the percent of a purchase the merchant must pay to the cardholder’s bank. Big interchange fees enable credit card companies to offer sweet rewards to big-spending consumers and get paid by the banks that issue the cards—at the expense of small businesses and customers. Swipe fees at a cafe become part of the price of a cup of coffee, principally to the detriment of cash customers and “vanilla” cardholders who aren’t earning airline miles when they get their caffeine fix.

Independent businesses don’t like credit card companies. According to a 2016 survey of independent retailers conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the median share of revenue spent on swipe fees was 3 percent. Small businesses pay more in swipe fees than they make in profit in many cases, ILSR co-director Stacy Mitchell said, meaning that the banks and payment companies make more money from those businesses than the owners do. Not surprisingly, the survey found strong support for a federal cap on swipe fees, which add up to more than $50 billion a year for U.S. retailers.

Most European countries have caps on interchange fees, which creates an incentive for merchants to embrace the shift towards card payments. The U.S., on the other hand, has had a cap on debit fees since 2011, thanks to the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act. But a perverse consequence of this rule was the elimination of small-ticket discounts, as payment companies rushed to charge the maximum permitted fee. Meanwhile, the Obama DOJ fought to a $7.25 billion settlement with Visa, MasterCard, and the banks in 2012, after retailers accused them of fixing payment fees.

Visa maintains that small businesses can save money by ridding themselves of the hassle of cash, citing an unreleased study called “Cashless Cities.” They’re right that handling cash is a big operations expense. Still, many food service customers buy in cash. And since there remains so little competition in the setting of interchange fees, getting rid of cash gives businesses just a little less leverage.

The cashless society is made to sound like utopian vision of the future. Instead it's the same old story: More profits for banks and credit card companies.

In other news John Hinderaker at Powerline writes that THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE DECLARES INDEPENDENCE. One of Obama’s followers in the Department of Justice, Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, wrote an article that states that the DOJ must be independent of the President, a shockingly unconstitutional proposition.

“Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution places all of the executive power of the federal government in the President: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” The Justice Department is an executive agency, and therefore reports to the President in every respect.”

We may not like the policies of the President. We may find them abhorrent. But no one ever suggested that the DOJ under Obama was not under his command, or that it was an independent agency unanswerable to elected officials.

Of course Democrats and other proto-Fascist only make this argument when the President is a Republican and the DOJ employees gave 97% of their political contributions to Hillary.

Quoting Hinderaker:

 â€œYates argues for a permanent bureaucracy in Washington that is impervious to the wishes of the voters, who may occasionally be so imprudent as to elect a Republican president. ….The administrative state is by far the greatest contemporary threat to the liberty of Americans. The appalling Sally Yates urges that the Constitution be left in the dust, and that unelected bureaucrats be elevated above the president whom they ostensibly serve. It is hard to imagine a theory more at odds with our Constitution or our political traditions.”

          Dept. of Justice Still Unhappy With Revised Google Book Search Settlement        

It appears that there are at least couple of companies in the book biz that are too big for their britches as the saying goes.

Publishers Weekly reports: The Department of Justice dealt a serious blow Thursday evening to the chances that the Google Book Search settlement will gain court approval later this month when it found that the revised agreement still raises class certification, copyright and antitrust issues. The DOJ said that despite “good faith” efforts to modify the agreement, “the amended settlement agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the court in this litigation."

          DOJ Antitrust Corporate Dispositions May Protect Some Culpable Employees        
Most companies under criminal investigation by the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") eventually resolve their liability with the government short of going to trial, either by entering into a corporate leniency agreement or more...
By: Jones Day
          Has the Moment for Environmental Justice Been Lost?        

Given how President Donald Trump has taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency with regulatory rollbacks and deep proposed budget cuts, it may come as no surprise that the Office of Environmental Justice is on the chopping block.

This tiny corner of the EPA was established 24 years ago to advocate for minorities and the poor, populations most likely to face the consequences of pollution and least able to advocate for themselves.

It does so by acting as a middleman, connecting vulnerable communities with those who can help them. It heads a group that advises EPA officials about injustices and another that brings together representatives from other federal agencies and the White House to swap proposals.

When it works, all the talk leads to grants, policies and programs that change lives.

In the Arkwright and Forest Park communities in Spartanburg, South Carolina, residents were living near contaminated industrial sites and a landfill — and dying of respiratory illnesses and cancer at extraordinary rates. They used a $20,000 environmental justice grant from the EPA as seed money to form partnerships with local businesses and government agencies. Those alliances, in turn, helped bring more than $250 million in infrastructure, community health centers, affordable housing, environmental cleanups and job training to the area.

Trump’s budget proposal would effectively eliminate the office and the $2 million it takes to operate it. An EPA spokesperson suggested in a statement that the agency doesn’t need a special arm devoted to environmental justice to continue this work.

“Environmental justice is an important role for all our program offices, in addition to being a requirement in all rules EPA issues,” the statement said. “We will work with Congress to help develop and implement programs and continue to work within the Agency to evaluate new ideas to properly address environmental justice issues on an agency-wide basis.“

In theory, this is right. Federal agencies are required to consider the impacts of environmental and health-related decisions on the poor and minorities anyway — President Bill Clinton mandated they do so in an executive order. But, in practice, that order was vague and didn’t carry the force of law, leaving each president to decide how little, or how much, to do.

Now, with the Office of Environmental Justice’s fate in doubt, it’s become achingly apparent that well before Trump, those who purported to champion environmental justice — primarily Democratic legislators and presidents — did little to codify the progress and programs related to it, even when they were best positioned politically to do so.

“We haven’t done enough,” acknowledged Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Booker and other Democrats are racing to file bills that save the Office of Environmental Justice and similar initiatives on an emergency basis, though they know they have little chance of success.

“There’s no time like the present for doing what is right,” Booker said. “We can’t wait.”

“First Steps”

The concept of environmental justice began bubbling up toward the end of the civil rights movement. But it wasn’t until 1982 that it began to really take hold.

That’s when residents in the town of Afton in Warren County, North Carolina, mounted mass demonstrations against a landfill where the state planned to dump contaminated soil. The dirt was laced with toxins called polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, a now-banned substance that even then, the EPA knew to cause birth defects and potentially cancer.

“We know why they picked us,” the Rev. Luther G. Brown, pastor of Coley Springs Baptist Church, said at the time. “It’s because it’s a poor county — poor politically, poor in health, poor in education and because it’s mostly black. Nobody thought people like us would make a fuss.”

The protests and subsequent lawsuits didn’t stop the landfill; in the years since, the site has actually expanded. But the uproar was enough to spark Congress’ attention.

In 1983, a government report found that three of the four landfills it examined were located in some of the region’s poorest or predominantly black communities. In 1987, a more expansive survey by the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice found that nationally, hazardous waste facilities were more likely to be located in predominantly minority communities.

“These were invisible problems in invisible communities until they organized themselves and started to have their own dialogue with EPA,” said Vernice Miller-Travis, a former member of the advisory council convened by the Office of Environmental Justice.

Pressure was mounting for the government to act.

In 1990, the EPA took a look at its policies, for the first time examining environmental risks through the lens of race and class. It issued a report in 1992 that found that “EPA should give more explicit attention to environmental equity issues,” collect better data, revise its enforcement and permitting programs, and communicate more with communities of color.

The Rev. Ben Chavis raises his fist as protesters are arrested at the Warren County PCB landfill near Afton, North Carolina, on Sept. 16, 1982. (Greg Gibson/AP Photo)

It’s worth noting, this was a hot moment in American politics. President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, was defending his place in the White House against a young Democratic governor named Bill Clinton. The tenor of the debate was radically different from the most recent election; these candidates argued over who was a better environmentalist.

Bush announced the creation of the Office of Environmental Equity, which would evolve into today’s Office of Environmental Justice. Its purpose in the 1990s was the same as it is today: Listen to communities, get their concerns in front of policymakers, funnel grant money into local projects. “We have been negligent,” Clarice Gaylord, the office’s first director told the St. Petersburg Times. “Now we will have to focus more on how we affect people.”

Bush lost the election, but his replacement pushed forward on environmental justice, moving the mission beyond that one EPA office.

Clinton signed an executive order in 1994 requiring federal agencies to consider environmental justice in all of their policies. He established policies that would allow people the right to participate in decisions that impacted them and ordered an analysis of health and environmental impacts for projects seeking federal permits. He also declared environmental injustice a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act — the same law that sought to end segregation in schools. Now, communities could ask the EPA to investigate environmental discrimination. EPA could strip violators of funding until they got in line.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that this is a first step,” EPA Administrator Carol Browner said at the time. “There are many, many more steps to come if we are really going to address the problems that these communities are raising.”

In hindsight, this might have been the time to take additional steps.

For the first six years, lawyers were unclear on exactly how much power the executive order gave the EPA to enforce environmental justice via existing laws, like the Clean Air Act. A legal opinion eventually resolved that issue, but a broader problem remained: The executive order was more of a philosophical guide than a rigid list of requirements. Some have wondered, looking back, whether the language directing administrations to enforce environmental justice “to the greatest extent practicable” could have been stronger or more specific.

Those invested in environmental justice would soon learn just how much rode on the sitting president.

Fickle Justice

George W. Bush didn’t approach environmental issues like his father.

In addition to walking back arsenic standards for drinking water and refusing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the younger Bush’s administration began to erode environmental justice programs.

Clinton’s executive order required every federal agency to consider the health and environmental impacts policies had on minority and low-income communities. Under Bush, the focus shifted to ensuring protections for “all people.” The EPA inspector general rebuked that position in a 2004 report, saying that reversing the emphasis on vulnerable communities had led to confusion, a lack of consistency and “return[ed] the Agency to pre-Executive Order status.”

In 2006, the inspector general found that the EPA wasn’t conducting environmental justice reviews of its policies and programs, nor had it developed a framework to do so. The EPA office charged with policing environmental discrimination ground to a halt, amassing a backlog that stretched for a decade.

The weakness of the executive order prompted Democratic legislators to sponsor bills almost every year to legally establish the advisory groups created under the executive order, force the EPA to abide by the IG report recommendations, and give citizens the right to sue under Title VI for environmental discrimination. The bills were often championed by Democratic heavyweights — Sens. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, and Reps. Hilda Solis and Mark Udall — but even when Democrats held the most power in Congress, they never came close to passing.

“There’s not been an environmental justice bill that’s ever been put to a floor vote,” said Albert Huang, director of environmental justice at the National Resources Defense Council.

“Politically, it’s a very attractive issue to introduce legislation around because it threads so many needles: civil rights, environment, social justice, low-income — so many issues,” said Huang. “But for those same reasons, it’s a lightning rod for moderates and conservatives because those issues are viewed as the most progressive and liberal of each of those topics.”

By 2007, it was becoming clear that the promise of environmental justice was stalled. The United Church of Christ updated its toxic waste report and found that 20 years later, little had changed.

Then, Barack Obama was elected. He’d promised in his campaign to “resurrect” civic environmental responsibility and to prioritize remediation efforts in “neglected communities so that living daily with extreme environmental pollution and health risks will be a condition of the past.”

His administration raised the profile of the Office of Environmental Justice, audited the Office of Civil Rights and eliminated a backlog of cases against polluters (though it drew criticism from those who said it hadn’t done enough).

It also took a laundry list of other incremental steps: developed strategic plans for environmental justice and enforcing civil rights, issued a case-resolution manual to guide investigations, and created a compliance toolkit to help state agencies stay within the bounds of the law. The administration added a senior adviser for environmental justice, who participated in high-level meetings at the EPA and advocated for vulnerable communities in major budget and policy decisions.

But the Obama years also featured plenty of missed opportunities.

Children line up to greet former President Obama’s motorcade before he speaks in Flint, Michigan, about the water contamination crisis there on May 4, 2016. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Obama could have created an Office of Environmental Justice at the White House or installed senior advisers focused on the issue at every agency — not just the EPA — to help guide policy. He didn’t.

And during the two years Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the White House, they didn’t file a single bill focused on strengthening environmental justice protections like the ones filed during the Bush administration.

The one big swing on the environment front came in 2009, with the American Clean Energy and Security Act, commonly known as the Waxman-Markey bill or cap-and-trade. It was the first major legislative effort to address climate change by placing limits on the amount of greenhouse gases facilities could emit, and allowing them to buy credits to offset overruns. It passed the House narrowly, but died in the Senate, as legislators focused their political capital on health care reform. When Democrats lost seats in 2010, the prospect for passing major environmental legislation faded.

There were other ways lawmakers could have pushed to protect or even expand environmental justice initiatives. They could have offered up amendments on federal spending bills that required withholding of funds from any jurisdiction that didn’t prioritize environmental justice, similar to riders Rep. Adam C. Powell Jr. proposed for school districts that refused to desegregate.

But when it comes to environmental justice, legislative efforts have tended to be reactive, not proactive.

The one environmental justice law proposed during the Obama administration came with the end of his presidency in sight.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., introduced the Environmental Justice Act in February 2016, with the presidential campaign in full swing and Donald Trump — thanks to a spree of primary wins — emerging as the GOP frontrunner. Even then, the EPA was emerging as a potential target for cuts and regulatory changes.

“Mr. Speaker,” Lewis said on the House floor, introducing the measure, “there is still much work to be done.”

But that bill, like the others that came before it, went nowhere.

Trump Takes Aim

Six months into the Trump administration, environmental regulation and enforcement is in broad retreat.

Changes at the EPA have made it easier to dump coal-mining waste in waterways, spew greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and spray a pesticide that has been found to damage the developing brains of children.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has banned settlements in cases that allowed companies to fund community projects not directly related to their violations. For example, when Harley Davidson was cited for selling equipment that polluted the air, it agreed to give $3 million to an American Lung Association program to help people replace wood stoves with cleaner appliances — a move toward clean air that was unrelated to motorcycles, but would’ve helped low-income homeowners. Last week, the Department of Justice said it didn’t have to pay.

“Any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people — not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Sessions said when he announced the policy last month.

Key members of the administration have sharply different views on environmental justice than their Obama administration predecessors. Trump’s nominated top environmental prosecutor Jeffrey Bossert Clark — who defended BP against state claims arising from that same oil spill — once called environmental justice an overstepping “crusade.”

In addition to shutting down the Office of Environmental Justice, the proposed budget reduces funding for civil and criminal enforcement of environmental laws, and directs the agency to curtail enforcement inspections as much as possible.

The proposal prompted the head of the environmental justice office, Mustafa Santiago Ali, to resign in March. The cuts send a message that the opinions and lives of those who live in vulnerable communities aren’t valued — a message that’s clearly intentional, Ali said.

“These are not dumb people leading the agency,” Ali said of the Trump administration’s choices at the EPA. “You may not agree with how they do business, but they have a strategy. You weaken policy development when you don’t have an Office of Environmental Justice to play a role in that space.

“You’re placing communities’ health at risk, and most people don’t get that,” he continued. “When you’re building a house, if you start pulling bricks out of the foundation, it will weaken and eventually, a collapse will happen.”

The White House did not respond to questions from ProPublica about the proposal to cut the office or the president’s position on the federal government’s role in issues of environmental justice. A House Appropriations bill currently awaiting a floor vote proposes a less drastic cut for the EPA.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who was a longtime opponent of the agency, hasn’t explicitly articulated an approach to environmental justice, but his public statements prior to taking the agency’s reins echo those of the Bush administration.

“I agree that it is important that all Americans be treated equally under the law,” he said in written responses to questions raised during his confirmation hearing, “including the environmental laws.”

The language sounds fair on its face, said Huang, of NRDC, but ignores that environmental harm is not experienced equally by all communities.

“They’re saying environmental justice is for everybody, regardless of your race,” he said. “It’s like saying ‘All Lives Matter’ but for environmental justice.”

Communities have already done the work of proving that minorities and the poor bear more environmental costs than others, Miller-Travis said. “Do we have to do that again? Will they accept that data or will we have to go back to ‘everybody is in harm’s way’ which is where they started?”

Early statistics suggest that Trump’s administration may be less stringent on environmental enforcement than his most recent predecessors.

The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance investigates cases of potential environmental crimes cases, then turns them over to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

It’s unclear how many cases the EPA’s enforcement arm referred to the Justice Department, but in the first four months of the Trump administration, 133 environmental cases have been prosecuted. By comparison, 315 cases were prosecuted in the first four months under George W. Bush and 171 in the first four months under Obama.

Trump’s nominee for head of EPA enforcement, Susan Parker Bodine, a former lobbyist and head of the Office of Solid Waste under Bush, offered her support of environmental justice initiatives during her confirmation hearing.

“Yes, I will be a champion for communities of color and communities of poverty,” she said.

But Clark, who’d decide whether to prosecute the cases Bodine investigated, has been less sympathetic. Clark served as Mitt Romney’s energy policy advisor in the 2012 campaign and is a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

During a 2010 Federalist Society panel, Clark said the EPA’s environmental justice focus overstepped its boundaries and that locating a facility in a low-income neighborhood isn’t the same as racial or gender discrimination. “That is just not an equation that works,” Clark said. “And I think actually most of the people who live in those areas now would say if there’s a new plant opportunity, bring it on.”

Former DOJ officials and colleagues spoke positively of Clark’s legal abilities and dismissed concerns that his personal beliefs would filter to his work. At his confirmation hearing, Clark wasn’t asked explicitly about environmental justice, but generally defended his ability to be impartial. “When in private practice, if you have a client, your job is to defend them,” Clark said. “I don’t think [my past work will] affect my general ability to enforce federal law.”

Clark declined an interview request from ProPublica, as did Pruitt. Bodine did not respond to an e-mail requesting an interview.

An Uphill Battle

Just as they did under Bush, Democrats under Trump are once again filing bills to try to preserve environmental justice initiatives.

In the House, two bills proposed in May by three freshmen representatives would create an environmental justice czar in the president’s office and establish by law the Office of Environmental Justice at the EPA. The legislation, and a resolution on the importance of environmental justice, is an extension of the work Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, California Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan and Virginia Rep. A. Donald McEachin did before coming to Congress.

“We’re still trying on numerous levels ... to bring forward the disproportionate burden communities of color face and the institutionalized racism that exists within our systems of government,” Jayapal said. “It’s not easy to talk about, but it’s true. If we want to address environmental justice, we have to recognize that not all people are suffering equally.”

Kaboom Town

The U.S. military burns millions of pounds of munitions in a tiny, African-American corner of Louisiana. The town’s residents say they’re forgotten in the plume. Read the story.

In Colfax, Echoes of Another Conflict

A photographer who covered the war in Iraq appreciates how threats can come to seem routine. Read the story.

Twenty-two Democratic senators signed a letter in May asking for the Appropriations Committee to override Trump’s budget and fund EPA’s civil rights and environmental justice offices, saying the cuts are “putting all Americans at risk, and especially those Americans who bear a disproportionate burden of exposures to pollution.”

“These communities have long been suffering under unconscionable conditions,” said Booker, one of the signatories. “We’re not doing enough to stop this evil.”

Booker expects to introduce an environmental justice bill after Labor Day, and while the contours are still murky, the legislation is being guided by conversations with advocates and people dealing with environmental hazards, and by his own visits to hog farms in North Carolina and landfills in Alabama.

Public support for environmental justice efforts has gotten a boost from the Flint water crisis and the Standing Rock protests, which raised awareness. This could encourage more legislators to push back against proposed cuts to the EPA, advocates said.

But depending on how the bill is structured, it could open up settled law and make a target of some existing protections, said environmental justice consultant Miller-Travis.

“I wouldn’t want to give them a chance to look at amending the Clean Air Act,” Miller-Travis said. “I don’t trust these people. … We’re in a defensive posture. We’re trying to defend that which we have. I would be elated to be proven wrong at the end of the day, but it’s going to take every ounce of integrity, resources, muscle … to defend and hold onto the rights we have so painstakingly worked to achieve.”

Republicans have sought to add language or otherwise prohibit funding for environmental justice initiatives in at least 13 bills since 2006. In February, Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, re-introduced his Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, which would cut 13 programs — including the environmental justice office — and close EPA field offices. The goal, Johnson told ProPublica, is to “save taxpayers’ money and reduce the size of a government agency that has grown too big for its britches.” Much of the work of the EPA, including environmental justice, Johnson said, would be better handled by states.

The political climate makes it difficult for proponents of environmental justice to be optimistic.

“Unfortunately, for the last 20 years, we’ve been in a period of trying to find the right political moment when the stars align so that you might be able to get a bill through Congress,” said Miller-Travis. “Is this a moment when I think we can get something passed that expands civil rights and equal protection? I don’t think this is that moment. That doesn’t mean we won’t try.”

Do you have access to information about environmental injustices impacting vulnerable populations? Email Here’s how to send tips and documents to ProPublica securely.

          RE: Good job Microsoft!        
ODF wasn't hijacked it was bloody well abducted and held to ransom by Microsoft and its political lackies in Massachusetts. The real joke here is that the US DOJ doesn't have the balls to punish Microsoft for OBVIOUS monopolistic and anti competitive behaviour in regards to its attacks on ODF (and those supporting it as an open standard), and it's underhanded bribery and manipulation of national standards bodies and the ISO/ECMA process. I know Microsoft would get it [OOXML] passed - money talks and it just shows me that any standards body that has non technical members that are attached to business interests should NOT EVER be trusted with a vote. My suggestion is for groups to take legal action against each standards body in each and every country where anomolies were present, with the goal of showing up the irregularities etc and having OOXML rejected by the country on that basis. An ISO standard that is not supported by many countries will die a very quick and painful death. We are better just ignoring the whole ISO organisation, as it has proven that it is corrupt and cannot be trusted with standards approval. I encourage governments to reject the ISO standard for OOXML, and in fact, to reject the ISO organisation altogether (and to publically do it, and to publically declare WHY they are doing so). Of course, the modern government is really the puppet of big business, so I am being naive and idealistic in expecting any governments "for the people" actually having the balls to do the right thing. The same goes with the judicial systems, which again are all corrupt and puppets of the governments and big business. Dave
          Obama Reportedly Selects Thomas Saenz for DOJ Civil Rights Division        
The Los Angeles Daily Journal is reporting that President Obama has selected Thomas Saenz to head the civil rights division at the Department of Justice.

Saenz, 42, the former vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles, is currently serving as counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

As yet, this is not confirmed by anyone at DOJ. 

Hat Tip: WSJ Law Blog


[Source: HR Lawyer's Blog]

          All the SPD policies changed during the Department of Justice review (so far)         

This post has been updated since it was originally publish to clarify changes on the firearms policy.

I've written before about the Spokane Police Department's new use of force policy. Among the highlights: they'll be counting batons, neck restraints, tear gas and pepper spray as uses of force and hold monthly administrative meetings to review use of force incidents.

For those of you who like a bit more detail, here are copies of all the policies that SPD has so far revised and released as a result of the Department of Justice review. I have a public records request pending for other policies, including the early intervention system and the new standard operating procedures for internal affairs, and will post those when I get them.

The pre-revision versions of all these policies can be found in the 2013 SPD policy manual. And as always, you can track all of the DOJ reforms on our handy page here.

Policy 106 - Policy Manual 

Perhaps the most exciting update involved adding a section on how policy updates should happen. The revised policy says they go through the chain of command to the Office of Professional Accountability.

Policy 300 - Use of Force and Statement on Revision

Policy 302 - Use of Force and Deadly Force Administrative Review

Policy 308 - Control Techniques

These three policies were sent out in a department-wide training bulletin on Dec. 10, 2015 and released to media in January. The new use of force policy adds several types of force that must be reported and specifies that officers have to fill out a report in the department's BlueTeam system for deadly uses of force.

The administrative review policy establishes a new Use of Force Review Board which meets monthly to review use of force incidents. The board is not disciplinary and is separate from the chain-of-command review that occurs for all uses of force, as well as any investigation that would occur following a complaint about excessive force. The board's purpose is to review incidents to make suggestions for department training and policy.

The control techniques policy combines several different policies from the old manual, including instructions for using Tasers and neck restraints. It also specifies that any neck restraint designed to render someone unconscious by temporarily limiting blood flow to the brain must be debriefed individually during a Use of Force Review Board meeting.

Policy 310 - Officer-Involved Shootings

This policy now allows the department to begin an administrative investigation into a deadly use of force before the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office has decided whether to criminally charge the officers. The Department of Justice recommended the administrative investigation be started earlier due to the long amount of time the prosecutor often takes to review cases. However, the new policy says involved officers should only be interviewed once the prosecutor has delivered findings or by direction from the chief of police after consulting with unions.

Policy 312 - Firearms

The updated policy has new sections on rifles and shotguns to address a DOJ finding that the department lacked guidance on when to deploy them. 


          Prelude to a post        
Homicide is going up. It's been going up for two years. And yet educated people still act shocked.

I'm tired of refuting the homicide-increase deniers, but their arguments comes down to these collectively nonsensical points: A) homicide isn't up in every city; B) homicide is up a whole lot in some cities; C) the increased risk of homicide isn't spread equally among society but disproportionately concentrated among poor young black males with access to guns living in neighborhoods with historic and systemic issues of racism and segregation; and D) homicide is still lower than what it was when it was really high. To which I say A) statistically speaking, that's why we look at averages; B) indeed, that's a big problem, but it doesn't negate the general increase; C) no shit, Sherlock, same as it's ever been; D) ah, go fuck yourself!

You see, writing about this same old topic has made me cranky because I can't believe I still have to. And I'm disappointed that so-called progressives waste time building a denialist house of cards instead of rolling up their sleeves and doing something to prevent poor black men (disproportionately) from getting murdered. But for whatever reason, a few years back, many of the left ceded crime prevention to conservatives. Somehow I missed the meeting where we decided that the only important criminal justice issues were to be police misconduct and the use of lethal force against African Americans (well, that and Mass Incarceration). And when generally respectable institutions like the Brennan Center make false statements about murder -- repeatedly -- we've got a problem.

To wit:
  • Alarmingly, Chicago accounted for 55.1 percent of the total increase in urban murders.
  • A similar phenomenon occurred in 2015, when three cities — Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — accounted for more than half (53.5 percent) of the increase in murders.
Since 2014, violence has increased. And it’s increased a lot. But Chicago neither accounted for "55 percent of the murder increase last year" nor "55.1 percent of the total increase in urban murders"! To say so once might be a mistake. To say it a few times might reflect statistical idiocy. But to do so again and again? I don’t get it. If forced to confront this false statement, they'll probably end up saying, "it was poorly worded and we meant 55 percent of the total of the cities we looked at." [Update: yup.] But regardless, it makes no statistical sense. Talking about the percent of total change one city makes in a small sample is bullshit, statistically and morally. Because it's possible to pick a sample in which Chicago is 100 percent of the increase. I don't think they're idiots. But if not, are they trying to deceive? Or do they just get there by accident? If Chicago's increase of 254 accounted for 55 percent of the murder increase last year, that would mean a total increase of 208 murders outside Chicago last year, nationwide. The actually increase in murders in 2016 is probably 2,000 more than 2015. And 2015 was 1,500 higher than 2014.

Second, in 2015, Baltimore, Chicago, and DC accounted for nothing close to half of the increase in murders. The national increase (2014-2015) was around 1,500. 255 is 17 percent of 1,500, not 53.5 percent. So how do they come up with these numbers? I've figured it out. Put it this way, if your sample only included Baltimore, Chicago, and DC, you could say these cities accounted for 100 percent of the increase in murder. Add a few cities, and that's basically what they've done.

There's a method to what, when, and why they do what they do. They don't just pull number from thin air. They use faulty methods until they get a number they can replicate. And then they just put it in words, knowing nobody ever checks these things. Either that or the authors are complete statistical idiots, but I doubt that.

Baltimore just finished the first half of 2017 with 170 homicides, the most since 1992, when the city had 115,000 more residents.

An assistant city health commissioner who oversees anti-violence initiatives was jumped and robbed in downtown Baltimore on his way back to work after having a sandwich for lunch. In the hospital, skull fractured, he said, "I think we need to look into what is causing people to engage in this kind of behavior." No. Actually, we don't. Cause I'll tell you the cause: bad or absent parenting on top of 500-years of systemic racism combined with 20th-century government programs designed to segregate and limit the ability of blacks to succeed. I can speak the liberal shibboleth. I even believe the liberal shibboleth! So what? Now what? One can and should acknowledge history, but that won’t change it. And the greater point, at least when it comes to crime and violence, is that none of this is new. Somehow, despite social injustice and white supremacy, crime and violence had been going down for basically 25 years. The violence problem has gotten worse just in the past two years. Talking about historic social issues, as important as they are, is nothing more than a distraction to avoid dealing with today's issues of criminals and wrong-doers.

Crime wasn't supposed to go up, of course. Crime reduction, say some, is just part of the grand social justice and intersectionality equation. DOJ reports (on policing in Baltimore, for instance) focused exclusively on improving police, necessarily as that is, and ending racially disparate policing. They managed this without even talking about crime prevention and racially disparate rates of violence. This recent crime rise needn't and shouldn't have been politicized, but, as I warned, if the left won't even acknowledge an increase in violence (disproportionately among poor black men) we effectively cede any crime "solution" to the "Trumpian right." So now we get BS talk crime and terrorism, like somehow crime and terrorism is mostly due illegal immigrants and Muslim grandmothers. So yeah, I'm cranky in my middle age.

But the past two years, 2014-2016, has seen the largest two-increase in homicide, in, well, probably ever. And the response of otherwise smart people is either to A) scratch their head and go, gosh, gee, maybe it's poverty and guns and historic policies of racism. Except those haven't changed in the past two years. Or B) it's not a problem because, well, homicide is really up in Chicago? I don't even know how to counter that. If you care more about right-wing overreaction to murder than the lives of those murdered, you win. Don't care. But for people with a conscious that trumps ideology, read on.

Here are the cities I looked at: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Bakersfield, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Durham, El Paso, Fort Worth, Fresno, Hampton Roads (Norfolk, Newport News, et al), Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St Louis, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington, Wichita.

I got the homicide numbers best I could for each city going back as far as possible. It's a lot of grunt work (but actually a bit easier than it used to be, thanks to journalists keeping track).

For those cities, 2013 was the least violent year ever, with a collective 4,900 homicides. It could have gone lower; God did not ordain an urban homicide rate of 9.8 be the bottom below which no more lives could be saved. Generally, overall, homicide had been decreasing for 25 years. It could have continued to go down. But alas, people decided that police were the problem. And the problem to bad policing wasn’t better policing but less policing. How'd that turn out?

I'll push the data in the next post.
          "The corrupt and brutal ones always work together as if pulled by some magnetic force"        
"The corrupt and brutal ones always work together as if pulled by some magnetic force." (Perhaps said by a Chicago cop, but I can neither cite nor verify.) I think the reason why might be as simple as the fact that nobody likes to be given the stink-eye by their colleagues. So you most people disapprove of what you do, you eventually find like-minded folk who appreciate your work ethic and style. In the police world, for the more aggressively inclined, this means a specialized unit that focuses on arrests for drugs (and guns and maybe vice). And then, in precious semi-isolation, you feed and build on the habits of those most similar to you.

I wrote about the federal indictment of seven Baltimore City police officers yesterday (the actual indictment is here) and said: "This is about bad apples. But it's not just about bad apples. There's the barrel that allows these apples to rot."

Who else is to blame? How do we prevent this from happening again? Who said, "Crime is up! Get me guns! And take all the overtime you need"? Who ignored complaints because the "numbers" were good?

I don't have the answers. But these are sincere questions. Because true organizational change best happens from within. Things sure didn't improve when innocent Baltimore cops were criminally charged after the death of Freddie Gray. And the solution sure won't be found in some faddish mandatory training course in implicit-bias or gender-based stereotypes. Bad reform does more than not help. It hurts: good cops work less; bad cops keep working.

Last year I spent a fair amount of time criticizing the DOJ's report on the Baltimore City Police Department. (And for good reason, as it was an anonymously written, horribly researched, per-ordained slam job designed to pave the legal way to a federal consent decree while absolving current political and police leaders of all accountability for the current mess Baltimore is in. These were the same ace "investigators" who went to Baltimore while this crap was going on and unearthed shocking secrets of poorly written arrest reports from 5 years ago.) But I also wrote this:
Mixed in with questionable methodology, intentions, and anecdotes, there's some of God's awful truth in this DOJ report. Yes, the department is a dysfunctional organization that keeps going only because of the dedication of rank-and-file who do their best, despite it all.
I tried to highlight what the report got right. I hoped things would get better, but I didn't think they would:
Maybe this DOB report will improve the department despite itself. Though I might be wrong, I doubt it. I suspect people will ignore [what's wrong with the organization] and just focus on eliminating discretionary proactive policing that saves lives. If policing has taught me nothing else, it's taught me that things can always get worse. Or, as has been said: "I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse."
It did get worse.

I also wrote this about the DOJ report:
Accountability ends above the civil-service ranks. Why is that? Where is the leadership and accountability on high? Nobody blames the bosses -- the mayor and police commissioner in particular -- for the dysfunction of the department they control.
You think cops like working with (the very small minority of really) bad cops? Hell, no. But the system has no way to get rid of them. So you make do. You have to.
I defend most police officers because I've been there. ... I've had to work with cops I wouldn't trust as far as I can throw.

So fix it, dammit. Good cops want to, but they can't.
And then we get to a failed discipline process.

[From the DOJ Report:] The system has several key deficiencies.
It is clear that the Department has been unable to interrupt serious patterns of misconduct. Our investigation found that numerous officers had recurring patterns of misconduct that were not adequately addressed. Similarly, we note that, in the past five years, 25 BPD officers were separately sued four or more times for Fourth Amendment violations.

You might call that a red flag.
How much do you want to bet that one or more of the just-indicted officers are on that list? But did anybody do anything?

You know what might help: figure out who didn't do the wrong thing. What you have here is an inadvertent integrity sting. Now I know you're not supposed to get credit for doing what you're expected to do. But you might find something out from who (if anybody) in that squad didn't abuse overtime. Whose name didn't come up in a wire tap? Who entered the squad, had a look around, and left right away thinking, "maybe uniform patrol isn't so bad after all"? But that's not the way these things work.

[Update: According to Justin Fenton in the Sun these seven were the entire squad. Worth reading Fenton's whole article. As to spending your career "risking your life" to protect others as a defense, this clip from Scott and Bailey comes to mind.]

It's not that good cops cover for bad cops as much as they stay the fuck away from them. Why? Because if you know enough to rat somebody out, you're already in way too deep. And if you don't know enough, well, what are you supposed to do? Go to Internal Affairs and say, "I got a hunch"? You put on blinders to cover your ass. You hear rumors, and then you stay the hell away because when the shit hits the fan, you don't want to be anywhere near it. It's less Blue Wall of Silence than a Blue Cone of Silence.

And the solution, as is always the case, needs to focus on the wrongdoers rather than be collective punishment on the good cops, the majority. From my book, Cop in the Hood:
Some officers enter the police department corrupt. Others fall on their own free will. Still others may have an isolated instance of corruption in an otherwise honest career. But there is no natural force pulling officers from a free cup of coffee toward shaking down drug dealers. Police can omit superfluous facts from a police report without later perjuring themselves in court. Working unapproved security overtime does not lead to a life in the mob. Officers can take a cat nap at 4 a.m. and never abuse medical leave. There is no slope. If anything, corruption is more like a Slip 'N Slide. You can usually keep your footing, but it's the drugs that make everything so damn slippery.
As to overtime, from 15 year ago:
To control overtime pay, superiors also discourage late discretionary arrests. While a legitimate late arrest may result in a few extra hours of overtime pay, the sergeant signing the overtime slip is likely to ask details about the arrest to confirm the legitimacy before adding an extra hour or two and giving very explicit instructions to "go straight home."
This "rounding up" of overtime was pretty common. And I'll even defend it as one of the only carrots a boss has to reward somebody for doing a good job. Regardless, it is a far cry from what seems to have happened here.
          Sometimes there are good guys and bad guys        
A Baltimore police officer shot and killed an armed man who pointed a loaded gun at him.

You'd think this would be cut and dried. But no. It's Baltimore.

I mean really, if any police-involved shooting is clear cut. It's this one. Luckily for police, the cop had a body camera. Luckily it captures (barely) the key moment. Deal, a known violent offender, raises his loaded gun to shoot the cop.

The cop, thank God, is quicker on the draw. Deal is shot and killed. And that's where this story should end.

But no, not in Baltimore, where officers are often criticized for doing the right thing.

Commissioner Davis received flack at a press conference defending the cop, in part because he called Deal a "bad guy." Why besmirch the dead? Because maybe some issues need to be presented without moral relativism. Because if you don't point out there's right and wrong here, people will fill in the void with an alternative facts. Also, you owe it to your officers to support them through tough times.

[Have you killed somebody? Me, neither. But friends of mine have. And it's not easy on them, no matter how justified and necessary the killing was. And it's more difficult if people are saying you made a bad choice, especially when you didn't.]

In this case the City Paper takes aim at the cops in really one of the most idiotic police-related articles I've ever read. I like the City Paper. I've been reading it (admittedly not regularly anymore) for almost 20 years.

According to the story, the reason you don't know about this shooting is because "national news is at a chaotic premium right now." Actually, no. First of all, you are reading about it cause it's in all the papers and on the TV news.

But what's reckless about the City Paper story goes beyond this shooting. You may not follow this as closely as I do, but indeed, many "reformers" do not want police to be proactive at all. The story in the City Paper criticizes police for being part of the system wherein Deal ends up being shot and killed.

Less proactive policing is the goal, the position of the DOJ report on the BPD. The DOJ asserts many things, which others may then take as Gospel because the DOJ said so. This is a real problem. The report says police shouldn't confront/chase/arrest active violent offenders, especially if their identity is known. After all, somebody may get hurt:
The need for the suspect’s immediate apprehension must be weighed against the risks to officers and the public caused by engaging in a foot pursuit. If officers know the identity of the suspect, his or her immediate apprehension is likely unnecessary without exigent circumstances. However, if circumstances require that the suspect be immediately apprehended, officers should contain the suspect and establish a perimeter rather than engaging in a foot pursuit, particularly if officers believe the suspect may be armed.
Let's talk this through.

Man armed with an illegal gun, so you set up a "perimeter." (Sounds cool!) How do you do that?

What if Deal simply turns the corner and goes in a home of a friend and closes the door. (Or worse a stranger's home.) Do you send in the militarized SWAT team? What if you didn't see which house. Do you start banging on all the doors? That's not really community policing. Or maybe, since you know who Deal is, you go back to the station and start filling out an arrest warrant. (Meanwhile, calls for service are backing up until the "perimeter" is called off.)

Or what if Deal puts his gun in his waistband and runs through a vacant building into the alley. Baltimore is not like New York, where blocks are often solid with buildings and there are no alleys. But let's say there happens to be four units at the ready (fat chance) to block off the street and sit in the rear alleys. Then what? Is a cop back there? What does she do? She was given a description of young black male, black hoodie, jeans. How does she know if it's Deal? Does she start stopping all young black males who "match the description"? And what if Deal runs from her? Do you set up a new "perimeter"?

And then what?

At some point police will have to confront Deal.

That's why we have police. Police confront "bad guys" so we don't have to. (Not to say Deal didn't have any redeeming qualities, it's just that I don't think they're particularly relevant in this incident.)

Perimeter or not, assuming Deal doesn't voluntarily put himself in handcuffs, you either chase, catch, and cuff Deal, or you police in such a manner where you do not cross his path. And if you do the latter, it would failure of the fundamental role of police in society. But when police do get the memo (or lawsuit) and police less proactively, crime goes up and people complain police aren't doing their job. Sigh.

I'd prefer to resolve the apprehension of an armed gunman here and now rather than have it play out for hours or days. Especially if I lived on that block. What message does it send it police let Deal walk away? Now that would be a real blow to police legitimacy.

If there is a story here, it's about the failure of society, and in particular Baltimore's criminal justice system that was unwilling or unable to keep Deal off the streets. I mean, how does one even manage to get arrested and released three times in one month? Not only to you have to be a horrible criminal, you have to be kind of bad at it. Even Mosby's often incompetent State's Attorney's office wanted Deal held without bail! From the Sun:
For the third time in a month, 18-year-old Curtis Deal had been arrested on gun or drug charges. Judge Nicole Taylor wanted to be sure the young man understood what was expected if she released him to wait for trial.

"You're not going out at night, you're not going to get food, you're not going to meet your girlfriend. You're in your house," Taylor told him at Monday's bail review hearing, raising her voice.

"I'm giving you an opportunity to go to school and not be in jail pending this trial. The curfew is 1 p.m., 7 days a week."

Deal said he understood. Taylor wished him luck.

The next day about 3 p.m., Deal was fatally shot by a Baltimore police detective
It's worth reading the whole article by Kevin Rector and Carrie Wells in the Sun. It's a fine piece of journalism.
          A Bill Intended to Stop Sex Trafficking Could Significantly Curtail Internet Freedom        

No one can dispute that there is sex trafficking in the United States, or that criminals now use the internet to facilitate sex trafficking and other crimes, just as they also use mobile phones and even the U.S. Postal Service. Make no mistake: Sex trafficking is reprehensible, and its perpetrators deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But some members of Congress seem to believe the internet itself is to blame for sex trafficking. And they're now trying to rush through legislation that would make it easier for state governments (as well as the federal government) to punish online service providers when criminals use their services.

That’s nuts. The internet we know and rely on today depends on a carefully balanced framework of laws that, by design, protect online service providers from being sued in every jurisdiction or prosecuted by every ambitious prosecutor who wants a headline.

Congress very deliberately set up this legal framework so that crimes on the internet—an inherently interjurisdictional medium—are primarily a federal matter. Currently, there are two basic federal laws that provide safe harbors to online platforms for content disseminated by their users. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act deals specifically with copyright infringement, while Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act generally addresses most other kinds of legal liability that service providers might routinely face. So, for example, YouTube wasn’t liable for copyright infringement when a user uploaded a video of a baby dancing to a Prince song on its site, and AOL wasn’t liable for any defamation when Matt Drudge republished a defamatory statement about Sidney Blumenthal on its site. This is as it should be: Individual perpetrators, not intermediary platforms, are usually the more appropriate targets.

This framework may not be perfect. For instance, there may be room for the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown provisions to be improved even if it generally gets the balance right. But these two laws help support and protect the innovative online ecosystem we have today. Neither the narrow provisions of the DMCA nor the broad protections of Section 230 offer platforms a blanket protection against prosecution or lawsuits. Importantly, Section 230’s liability protection does extend to federal criminal laws—including sex trafficking or conspiracies to facilitate criminal activity. But without the limited protections the DMCA and Section 230 provide, it’s likely that services like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter wouldn’t exist. These laws are essential to making today’s robust online public squares possible, and they will likely be essential for the next generation of online entrepreneurs.

Yet now that entire online ecosystem is in danger. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., have recently introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (S.1693), which would unravel Section 230 protections and to make platforms liable for being in the middle of sex-trafficking enterprises. SESTA's sponsors have made clear they’re specifically going after and other internet classified-ad websites that some might use to market sex services.

But here’s the thing: the U.S. Justice Department already has the authority to investigate and prosecute them. They also can punish corporate online platforms when they cross the line. In fact, Portman has already asked the DOJ to do exactly that in the case of alleged wrongdoing by the online-classifieds service Furthermore, SESTA’s language is so broad that it could lead to state lawsuits and prosecutions of sites that don’t carry any advertising at all. It could sweep in every online service that hosts user-generated content—perhaps even including email services and comments sections.

To draw an analogy, the bill would be as if Congress decided that FedEx was legally liable for anything illegal it ever carries, even where it’s ignorant of the infraction and acts in good faith. That would be a crazy notion in itself, but rather than applying only to FedEx's tech equivalents—the giants like Google and Facebook—it also would apply to smaller, less well-moneyed services like Wikipedia. Even if the larger internet companies can bear the burden of defending against a vastly increased number of prosecutions and lawsuits—and that’s by no means certain—it would be fatal for smaller companies and startups. Amending Section 230's broad liability protection for internet service providers would expand the scope of criminal and civil liability for those services in ways that would force the tech companies to drastically alter or eliminate features that users have come to rely on. It could strangle many internet startups in their cribs.

SESTA's co-sponsors—who also include Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Claire McCaskill, D-Conn., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, among others—are rumored to be attempting to push the bill through quickly without the kinds of hearings and evidence-gathering that ought to be afforded to an issue of this magnitude and complexity. It has been suggested that SESTA could be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, a large “must-pass” funding bill for the U.S. Defense Department. For this to happen, it would have to go through McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. He may be a co-sponsor of the legislation, but let’s hope the maverick sticks with his laudable talk of returning to regular order—and this overly broad bill is subjected to the greater consideration and scrutiny it deserves under the normal committee process.

I’m not saying Congress shouldn't consider laws—including potentially amending Section 230—that would improve the prosecution of sex trafficking and better protect children from sexual abuse. But we need to update those laws in thoughtful ways that also safeguard the internet on which we’ve grown to rely. Both the substance and process for this legislation drastically falls short of the kind of reasoned balancing of interests we have every right to expect from Congress. Worse, it could hobble the fast-paced economic and personal benefits we expect and hope for from the internet. When we think about protecting our children, we need to think about saving the internet for them, too.

          By: fhg1893        
Have you not seen this? Let's recap here. We have the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms who were monitoring Mexican drug cartels buying American fireams, in some cases, fully-automatic assault rilfes - the real kind, not the NDP/CBC "it's black, therefore assault rifle" kind. The ATF allows those guns to leave the USA without doing ANYTHING to track them. The ATF and the Department of Justice know about this, the attorney general knows about this. A few months later a member of the United States Border Patrol is shot and killed by an American sourced assault rifle in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel member. All the while, the Mexican drug cartels have been painting parts of Mexico red with human blood. Congress takes notice and says, "OMG, WTF!?!" and over several months the truth starts to come out that the DOJ is running some kind of operation which results in American guns helping to fuel the drug war in Mexico. When congress presses the attorney general for an explanation, Obama, a leftist president steps in and tells congress to STFU, and Holder isn't required to give an explanation. So, of the thousands of murders that have been committed in Mexico, we know that at least three hundred Mexicans and one US Border patrol agent that have been killed using American guns, and the President himself moves to protect the criminal who is probably responsible? Bill Whittle suggests one possible reason for this fiasco: Now, I don't know if Bill Whilttle is correct. But what I know is that if indeed he is correct, then this demonstrates that the political left is perfectly willing to produce Mexican bodies to push their leftist agenda. That, my dear people is a conspiracy. A concentrated, secretive, attack on people who want to live with the freedom to own and keep firearms for any purpose we wish. Now, I really want to believe that you're correct, that there's no conspiracy by the other side. So far, the prepondance of evidence standard is demonstrating that such a conspiracy does in fact exist. What will you say if it should eventually occur that we move past the prepondance of evidence standard, and become satisfied that no reasonable doubt exists?
          JUST IN! Senator Leila De Lima Was Issued Another Arrest Warrant For Drug Trafficking!        

On Staurday, June 24, 2017, GMA News reported that Sen. Leila De Lima, vocal critic of President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, was once again issued an arrest warrant that alleges she was involved in “the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison during her term as Justice secretary.”
According to Sen. De Lima’s legal counsel, Alexandra Padilla, the arrest warrant was issued on June 21, 2017 by Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of the Muntinlupa RTC. The warrant also includes Jose Adrian Dera a.k.a. Jad De Vera.
De Lima’s legal counsel is pushing for the arrest warrant to be dropped, seeing it as the weakest among the 3 drug cases that De Lima currently faces from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Senator De Lima is still currently under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in their custodial center located within Camp Crame. She was arrested and detained on February 23, 2017, also for drug charges. Judge Juanita Guerrero ordered her arrest.
The DOJ accused De Lima and Dera of conspiring to extort money from Peter Co, an inmate in Bilibid. Co claims in an affidavit that Dera blackmailed him by detaining and threatening his niece, Sally. Co claims Dera received 2 out of the 5 million pesos that he extorted from the inmate. Dera also allegedly took 4 of Co’s vehicles and used them during Sen. De Lima’s 2016 campaign. Co adds that Dera received 3 million pesos from Co’s niece, which he used to finance Sen. De Lima’s campaign.
In an interview with GMA, Padilla said:
“Dera denied knowing Senator Leila and there’s clearly no trail of the supposed vehicles and the alleged campaign donation that would have any link to Senator Leila. It’s the weakest case for the prosecution.”GMA News wrote:
“The high court had submitted the petition for decision last April after the parties submitted their respective memoranda following oral arguments held in March.”
What do you think of this recent development? Share your opinion in the comments section.

          FBI’s Sentinel System Still Not In Total Shape to Surveil        
Bureau promises fixes to $500 million system are on the way but DOJ inspector general wants hard proof
          Fisking Lee Child        
I like Lee Child. He's a generous guy, pleasant, smart, and a decent writer.

But Lee has aligned himself with the pinheads of Authors United, and though his views differ enough to be considered on their own merits rather than instantly dismissable like the majority of AU alarmism, Child's continued anti-Amazon stance is getting boring.

Yes, I know he wants to defend the crumbling establishment that has made him a gazillionaire, and suck a few more bucks out of it. But be honest that's the intent. Don't spout self-interest under the guise that Amazon is bad for readers, or writers, or the world in general.

I'm very open about my pro-Amazon bias. Amazon has allowed tens of thousands of authors who were screwed or spurned by the legacy publishing industry to make a few bucks. It has brought down the price of books, allowing more readers to enjoy them. I've personally benefited from Amazon's policies, but so have the majority of readers and writers. And the only reward I get for my pro-Amazon activism is thousands of thank yous from writers who have self-pubbed and can now pay bills with their writing income.

Who is thanking Lee? Doug Preston? Scott Turow? James Patterson? It's good to have friends. I'm sure it's rosy at the top, and those megasellers want to keep it that way. But at some point you maybe need to do some soul searching and admit your success is fueled by a corrupted, archaic machine that is ultimately bad for society and culture. And luck, of course. A lot of luck.

Which brings me to Child's piece in The Guardian, Lee Child on Amazon’s real-life bookshops – and why we should be worried.

Don't you love that title? I mean, just think of how terrible the world would be with--gasp!--more bookshops!

The stuff of nightmares, it is. Let's fisk.

Child: In December, Amazon US released its 2015 in-house all-format all-category bestseller list. They also published other lists, for bestselling paperbacks on Amazon in 2015, regardless of publication year and a Kindle list too. Then the newspaper USA Today came out with its own industry-wide all-sources version. What was the difference? Two words: The Martian (good movie, but the book was better). It was number four on USA Today’s list and number four on Amazon’s Kindle list – but it was number 16 on Amazon’s physical book list. There were other titles in the same anomalous situation. Why?

Joe sez: Don't get me started on the WTF factor of bestseller lists. USA Today compiles a list based on surveys of polled outlets. Since publishers don't release actual sales figures to the public (or even to their authors, according to the many who have called for--and won--audits), comparing paper sales of The Martian on USA Today's list and on Amazon's list is apples to oranges.

But for the purpose of this post, let's say that both USA Today and Amazon have bestseller lists that accurately reflect true sales figures.

Child: Because, even now, for most books and most people most of the time, the biggest spur to purchase a physical book is seeing that actual book in a physical place.

Joe sez: That's one interpretation. While I fully believe in the power of the point-of-purchase sale, and I personally believe shelf space and distribution are what has created the name-brand bestselling authors who have dominated bestseller lists for decades, there could be other interpretations of the discrepancy.

Maybe the publisher of The Martian didn't pay Amazon as much co-op as it paid other retailers, so it wasn't as prominently displayed on Amazon.

Maybe people on Amazon prefer buying ebooks, which is evident in The Martian's #4 standing on the Kindle List. (Which would beg the question, where did The Martian fall on USA Today's ebook bestseller list, and why?)

Maybe some publishers paid Amazon more co-op than The Martian's publisher, and so their books had better placement on Amazon and thus sold better.

Maybe some Amazon published or self-published books--which aren't tracked by USA Today--sold better on Amazon than The Martian did.

As I said, I know point-of-purchase is a real thing. Because that's how I believe I've sold two million books. Readers have no idea who I am. I'm not a name brand. But my books are visible on Amazon, and visibility sells books on Amazon the same way it does in airport bookstores.

Child: Because for most people most of the time, reading is a take-it-or-yawn-leave-it activity. Books are not quite distress purchases, but neither are they exciting enough for enthusiastic online hunting. (Again, for most people most of the time, which I’ll stop repeating now, but only if the e-fanboys agree to discuss the real world, not their pretend version. Deal?)

Joe sez: No deal.

Lee, for your audience--like the audience of most mega-bestsellers--book buying may be a take-it-or-yawn-leave-it activity. I won't argue with that. But you're a rare bird. You're the 1% of the 1% of the 1%. Your books are everywhere, so you sell everywhere, and I don't doubt that the vast majority of your buyers are those who read occasionally, picking up a book while on vacation, or for a long flight, or as a gift for the in-laws.

I also have no reason to doubt that the majority of book buyers are casual readers. I can believe that a few hundred bestsellers per year sell far better than their few million competitors, and that most books sold are bought by those who buy fewer than five books per year.

But the majority of authors don't subsist on those type of readers. We make a living from the solid core of medium-to heavy readers, who go through more than a few books per year. This may be a fraction of your audience, but it's still a billion dollar slice of pie to split up among us.

As a legacy fan-boy, you seem to think that unless an author is making an eight figure deal, they're a hobbiest. That is not the "real world" as known by the tens of thousands of our peers who are making a few bucks for the first time ever. Your world is a fairy-tale that you seem to think is the norm (or worse, that you somehow earned).

Congrats. You got really lucky, and won the publishing jackpot. Enjoy it, but stop talking down to us e-fanboys who are making ends meet, because you come off sounding entitled and elitist.

Child: So why would a physical book be number four on one list and 16 on another? Nothing sells physical books better than physical displays in bricks-and-mortar locations.

Joe sez: I can agree with this. It would sure be great if I could get some of that love. Bookstores tend to boycott me, however.

But your argument hasn't even attempted to show why paper sales are somehow better sales than ebook sales for anyone other than the 1% of 1% of 1%. "We" don't need to be worried about this phenomenon. You and Patterson do. And even then, not really. You may lose your eight figure advances as the publishing industry changes, but I'll bet you'll still be able to pay the electric bill if your paper sales disappear.

Child: Millions of people passed by bookshop windows or airport bookstalls, and saw The Martian, and some vague impression clicked in and they said, “Oh yeah, that’s supposed to be cool”, and they bought a copy, and enjoyed it. Same for the other anomalous titles. That is still how books get sold.

Joe sez: No. Nope. Nuh-uh. This is how paper bestsellers get sold.

None of my books have sold this way. Granted, I've only sold two million, not half a billion. And I'm as much of an anomaly to most self-pubbed authors as you are to me. But you're using The Guardian to preach to the Everyday Joe (unless I'm wrong and The Guardian's circulation is limited to members of Authors United), and Everyday Joe simply doesn't have your concerns. The vast majority of writers can't relate, and readers just don't care. Both the casual and the power reader find their books however they find them, and will continue to do that even if the retailers change and the format changes.

Child: Research bears it out. Physical eyeballing is way ahead of any other prompt, be it word of mouth, spam, social media or other kinds of advertising.

Which is a problem for Amazon.

Joe sez: Sure. Except for, you know, the billions of things they sell due to people physically eyeballing You may have heard the Internet terms surfing and browsing. One does not need to be standing in a shopping mall to impulse buy.

In fact, you may have noticed that Amazon is pretty good at recommending items for customers to buy. The airport kiosk has your latest, a Stephen King, a Nora Roberts, a James Patterson, and whoever took over for poor, dead Michael Crichton. This limited selection ensures that you'll sell a fuckton of paper. I'm sure you like that a lot. I sure would.

But I'm stuck with Amazon, which democratizes that limited shelf space into equal unlimited space for all writers (except for that co-op thing, which we'll get into shortly).

Amazon doesn't have a problem, here. Brick and mortar stores do. Because they have limited space.

You know this. And this is a big reason why you're concerned about Amazon opening 300 stores. Because Amazon could attempt to democratize physical shelf space the same as it has done with virtual shelf space, and that would mean readers would have more than you and six other old white guys to choose from (No disrespect to Ms. Roberts, but old white guys have dominated the bestseller lists for decades.)

Child: Classically it uses books to hook customers and then data-mine them. But it gets only dedicated book buyers.

Joe sez: I have no doubt Amazon is data mining me. Google data mines me. Apple data mines me. My own government data mines me, except they're trying to arrest people without due process rather than sell them stuff. But I don't understand your "dedicated book buyers" comment.

Amazon does get the heavy readers who buy more than a few books a year, and Amazon certainly has loss leads and incentives to get customers to shop for more than just books--they do call themselves "The Everything Store".

Sure, there are more cases of someone grabbing a Red Bull and some M&Ms in an airport and also grabbing your latest paperback at the same time than they are of seeking out a specific Konrath title on Amazon, but what's your point? You sell more so your way is better? You sell more so your way is what the Common Man really prefers?

I think you sell more because you're everywhere. And you're everywhere because you got lucky and won the Big Pub Lottery and could plug into a gigantic distribution network that allows casual readers to find you.

That doesn't make airport impulse purchases the better way to sell books, or the only way. But it certainly discriminates against the vast majority of authors.

Some shoppers look for something specific, like a predator on a game trail. Some graze and devour whatever is in front of them. Most of use do a bit of both. But there is no superior way to buy a book.

Child: Browsing on Amazon isn’t great as a casual experience: fatigue sets in.

Joe sez: Have you ever gone to the mall on Black Friday? You really want to argue fatigue?

Child: (How do you make something totally invisible? Put it on page 17 of an internet search.)

Joe sez: How do you force a midlist legacy author to take a day job? Don't give her a six figure marketing budget.

You're being either myopic or intentionally disingenuous. I'll wager Amazon has allowed many more authors to reach readers in the last five years than the Big Publishing has since 1950.

True, Amazon hasn't created another Lee Child. But I think most people will settle for a hundred Hugh Howeys instead.

Child: And Kindle hasn’t taken over the world. It has settled into a solid niche, like those tiny tubes of toothpaste – essential for travel, but no one uses them at home. (Down, fanboys! Real world!)

Joe sez: Ah, the real world. Do you even remember what that was like, Lee? Worrying about bills? Self-promoting to reach fans? Being paid twice a year and budgeting to make that money stretch?

I like your toothpaste tube analogy, though, even though you intended it to be insultingly dismissive. There are a lot of companies making a lot of money selling travel sized toothpaste. And it may be a niche, but I can subsist in that niche, along with tens of thousands of my peers.

Of course, I really don't believe it's a niche. I believe it's a shadow industry that is a lot bigger than you and your cronies think. It may not have hurt your bottom line, yet. It may never. But my career path doesn't require paper books to fail for me to succeed. My path doesn't require paper sales at all.

Here's a simpler way to explain it. Is it better to have ten people feast until they're stuffed, or for a whole village to eat enough to not starve?

Right there is the difference in our ideologies.

Child: So there is no way for Amazon to replicate that happy, random encounter with a physical bookstore window. Yes, there are bots and algorithms, but those casual millions of three-books-a-year people never see them: they don’t buy books online.

Joe sez: You're proving my point, here. Other than incorrectly romanticizing the selling process of paper books (I debunked paper infatuation way back in 2010), you're preaching to a crowd of a hundred authors, and the bloated industry that has made them rich. The majority of writers don't agree and don't care. Neither do readers. Because those casual three-books-a-year readers will find those books elsewhere if the current paper source dries up, or they'll do something else with their leisure time, like Angry Birds.

Your argument is like saying people truly enjoy the experience of going into a 7-11 and impulse buying a Twinkie. Lots of people certainly do that. But it is far from the only way people choose to snack. And if the Twinkies were gone, these people will find something else to eat, or search elsewhere.

Child: Which is a defeat for Amazon. It prides itself on going where the customers are, and doing what the customers want. And it needs to. Its growth demands all the customers there are.

Joe sez: You have the first part backwards. Amazon's strategy thusfar has been to lead customers to it, not to go where the customers are.

Child: So now, rumour has it, Amazon plans to open another 299 physical bookstores (it already has one, in Seattle). The rumours are denied – or at least, not confirmed – and at first glance they appear economically insane. At the best of times, books are low-velocity, low-margin items, and commercial rents are geared to the opposite – clothes, handbags and other high-profit stuff. But then, for 20 years Amazon has proved willing to eat losses, and investors have allowed it to.

So, what if? And suppose those 300 stores were only the start? We’d quickly approach a de facto monopsony.

Joe sez: And here were go again. I'm so tired of debunking this one. And I'm also tired of repeatedly stating that the Big 5 are a de facto oligopoly; a cartel that fixes prices and censors books. But as much as I debunk the monopoly/monopsony argument, no one has ever challenged my accusations about the Big 5.

Child: Amazon would become the only practical route to market for 1,400 US publishers and a million US self-publishers, for either digital or paper product.

Joe sez: Currently Amazon is the only practical route for millions of self-publishers. Your point?

I've blogged about this before, but can't find the link. In a nutshell, once a company becomes powerful enough to dictate terms for consumers or suppliers, it still has powerful incentives to play fair. That's why Wal-Mart, when it opens in a new town and destroys all the Mom and Pop stores, doesn't raise prices when the competition is killed. If they did, it would allow the Mom and Pops to return and compete. So they have to keep prices low.

The same thing works with suppliers in a digital world. We're not talking oil barons owning a limited amount of land. We're talking the Internet. If Amazon starts screwing authors (you know, maybe like slashing their ebook royalties to 17.5%--who would do something so awful?) then that's just asking for competition to step up and lure authors away with better terms.

And unlike the Big 5 cartel who don't compete on terms (for us mere mortal writers they only compete on the size of advance), Amazon isn't ever going to go the oligopoly route and collude with competitors. Amazon wants to have the widest selection, and they don't want to share. They incentivize authors with Kindle Unlimited in order to offer readers the widest selection. This alarmist notion of "Amazon Will Slash Your Royalties" has no basis in reality.

Or does it? Let's see what Lee digs up...

Child: The history is worrying. Amazon has already tried to use its power in a punitive fashion, as if determined to hurt publishers financially.

Joe sez: Uh, no it hasn't. Anyone who followed the Hachette nonsense on this blog knows what that was really about; publishers wanting higher ebook prices. Which has harmed publishers, and lots of authors (though not Lee Child because he sells buttloads of paper books.)

Child: All kinds of fees and “contributions” are required. “Pay to play” was openly the name of the game, until Amazon’s lawyers suggested a less explicit description. One publisher resisted, and a senior Amazon executive boasted: “I did everything I could to screw with their performance.”

Joe sez: As if Amazon invented co-op. C'mon, Lee. Stop being disingenuous. Publishers have always paid to play. Hint: the reason your books are front and center at Barnes & Noble is because your publisher paid out the ass for it. I don't hear you bitching about those "contributions".

Child: Already, self-publishers have only “terms and conditions”, which change capriciously – so far only to Amazon’s advantage. Is it good public policy to allow one corporation to have total power over a nation’s published output?

Joe sez: Give me "terms and conditions" over the greedy, moronic, inept fuckers who wanted my rights, forever.

You keep demonizing Amazon for things that Big Publishing has already done, and done to a much worse degree. They had total power, and the exercised it lockstep, and fixed prices, and kept millions of books from reaching readers, and screwed authors.

Amazon can never have total power, because they don't own rights, and they can't censor other sales outlets for authors. The Big 6 could and did censor, because they controlled distribution.

You said earlier that the Kindle is niche. So pick an argument, Lee. Does Kindle cater to only a small percentage of the book market, or does it command total power over everything published?

And why, exactly, should we be worried if Amazon opens 300 bookstores? Didn't you say that readers prefer that "happy, random encounter with a physical bookstore window"? What's wrong with 300 more windows?

Oh... wait. I know.

Those are 300 windows that your books won't be prominently featured in unless your publisher pays for it. And how could your poor publisher hope to afford that when they keep giving you eight figure advances?

My my, this is a dilemma.

As for me, who has had zero physical premise in brick and mortar bookstores since Shaken was published in 2010, I'm hoping Amazon does start opening stores and giving those casual readers a broader choice than that same handful of old white guys. And I'm not worried about Amazon having "total power" because, unlike you, I have an understanding of how Amazon works. Every Amazon imprint, every section, functions as its own company. It has to bid for co-op just like publishers do. That's how it avoids any DOJ problems. Amazon will sell used products alongside new ones, for less, via third parties. Amazon allows third party vendors to sell things that Amazon doesn't even carry. Consider that. If you're really worried Amazon will boycott your publisher, Amazon will still offer your publisher's titles on via third parties.

Probably not at the discount you'd like, though.

Amazon won't ever have "total power" because it competes with itself. It wants to sell everything to everyone. Even at the expense of its own profits and shareholders.

The Big 5 want to sell certain books to certain people in certain ways. They want higher prices, and will collude to get them. Except for 1% of 1% of 1%, they pay they authors much less than Amazon does. They keep rights. They demand unconscionable clauses like non-compete and next option.

Amazon has allowed me a career. But I'm only pro-Amazon for as long as they are pro-author.

I said "pro-author" not "pro-Joe."

The Big 5 are not pro-author. They are pro-Lee Child.

That's awesome for you. But--down legacy fanboy!--the rest of us live in the real world.
          A Year After Aaron Swartz's Death, Our Terrible Computer Crime Laws Remain Unchanged        

On Jan. 18, 2013, one week after Aaron Swartz committed suicide, a group of his friends and admirers gathered in the lobby of the MIT Media Lab to commemorate Swartz’s life and mourn his death. On one side of the room, the event’s organizers had unfurled a homemade banner. For about an hour that night, I watched people approach the banner, grab a marker, and scribble their thoughts. The most memorable was a skinny kid in a sweatshirt and ugly sneakers, who scrawled, “We will continue.”

When I profiled Aaron Swartz for Slate last February, I concluded my story with this anecdote. It was a powerful moment, one that’s stuck with me even though I can’t be entirely sure what that kid meant by his handwritten message.

Continue with what, exactly? That’s been the question that Swartz’s colleagues and acolytes have been trying to answer in the year since his death. Swartz’s busy, complicated life defied easy categorization. He was a programmer who didn’t like to be called a programmer, an Internet millionaire who was deeply ambivalent about Silicon Valley. People called him an “Internet activist,” but he was becoming less interested in “Internet issues” with every passing year. He jumped from project to project, cause to cause, and while this restlessness is part of what makes him such a widely heralded figure—so many groups are able to claim him as their own—it also makes his life difficult to distill into bullet points.

The Department of Justice was perhaps the one group that didn’t have trouble summarizing Aaron Swartz. To the DoJ, he was a computer criminal.

Nobody really knows why Swartz decided to kill himself on Jan. 11, 2013, but those closest to him believe that the criminal charges against him had a lot to do with it. For almost two years, Swartz had been in trouble for accessing the computer network at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—where he was neither enrolled nor employed—and downloading almost 5 million journal articles from the online database JSTOR. When he hanged himself in the small Brooklyn apartment he shared with his girlfriend, he was facing charges that theoretically could have brought him 50 years in prison.

Swartz’s lawyers were prepared to argue that Swartz had committed no crime and done no lasting damage, and that his use of the MIT network had been tacitly authorized, thanks to the school’s “extraordinarily open” computer network. Even if you disagree with this argument, it is hard to argue that any of Swartz’s actions merited prison time. But the DoJ has not wavered from its contention that the charges were appropriate. In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last March, Attorney General Eric Holder called the Swartz case “a good use of prosecutorial discretion.” Neither U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz nor her associate Stephen Heymann have faced any sort of public reprimand for their handling of the Swartz case—and why would they? Ortiz and Heymann were doing nothing different than what federal prosecutors have done for decades: threatening alleged criminals with disproportionately large sentences in hopes of securing a plea bargain, thus avoiding the expense and effort of a full-fledged trial. These 50-year threats are all part of the game that prosecutors play.

In Swartz’s case—and in the case of Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, Matthew Keys, and many others—the prosecutors were aided by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the terrible computer-crime statute that allows ambitious, hardline prosecutors to willfully characterize minor transgressions as malicious criminal activity.

The CFAA became law in the 1980s in the days before the World Wide Web and widespread personal computing, and was meant to deter hacking into systems maintained by the government or financial institutions. The legislation has not kept pace with the times. Today the CFAA allows prosecutors to charge defendants for “exceeding authorized access”—a vague term that could be defined as something as benign as violating a website’s terms of service—to “protected computers,” which essentially means any computer with an Internet connection. It is ripe for prosecutorial abuse.

After Swartz died, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., announced that she would introduce a bill called “Aaron’s Law,” which would reform the CFAA. Among other things, the bill would clarify the definition of “authorized access” and impose some limits on the CFAA. Aaron’s Law would also make it more difficult for prosecutors to threaten CFAA violators with excessive felony sentences, which would be a welcome development.

While Aaron’s Law has stalled, thanks to standard Washington inertia and a general political reluctance to appear soft on crime, Swartz’s friends and supporters remain intent on legislative reform, either through Lofgren’s bill or some other measure. Such a move would be a fine way to honor Swartz’s memory. Because Aaron Swartz was a lot of things, but a “computer criminal” was not one of them.

(Note: I am currently writing a book about Swartz, copyright activism, and the rise of the free culture movement. If you want to learn more about the project, or receive periodic updates about the writing and reporting process, send me an email at

          Former DOJ Civil Rights Head: Jeff Sessions Is Implementing an Anti-Civil Rights Agenda        

It's been six months since Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in as head of the Department of Justice. In that time, Sessions has managed to undo nearly every aspect of Obama's civil rights legacy. We look at how Sessions is using the Justice Department to roll back decades of progress on civil rights, voting rights, LGBT rights and police reform. We speak with Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She is the former head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.


NERMEEN SHAIKH: Wednesday marked six months since Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in as head of the Department of Justice. In the last half-year, Sessions has wasted no time undoing nearly every aspect of Obama's civil rights legacy, from voting rights to affirmative action to police reform and LGBT rights. Under Sessions, the Justice Department has reinstituted the use of private prisons, reignited the so-called war on drugs and indicated it will no longer address systemic police abuses. The department has also obstructed the enforcement of federal voting rights laws and, just this week, sided with Ohio's voter purge program. And it has defended President Trump's Muslim travel ban and supported Trump's attacks on sanctuary cities. Most recently, The New York Times reported the Justice Department is now laying the groundwork to undermine affirmative action policies.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the Department of Justice, we go to Washington, D.C., to spend the rest of the hour with Vanita Gupta. She was head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice in the Obama administration. She joined the Obama administration's Justice Department in 2014, just over two months after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. As the head of the Civil Rights Division, she led the probe of the Ferguson Police Department. Under her leadership, the Civil Rights Division went on to negotiate 24 agreements with law enforcement agencies to reform their practices. She also emerged as a consistent advocate for transgender and voting rights. Vanita Gupta is now the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! You know, Vanita Gupta, a lot is made of what has President Trump really accomplished in this six months. But if you look at the Justice Department, under the attorney general, under Jeff Sessions, can you assess what has happened? In fact, a great deal has happened, from just oversight of these police departments around the country, that you negotiated while you were head of the Civil Rights Division, to the whole issue of voter rights, LGBTQ rights, etc. Talk about what's happened in this six months.

VANITA GUPTA: Sure. So, you know, in the last six months, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has certainly implemented an anti-civil rights agenda at the Justice Department, targeting some of the most high-profile areas of work that the Civil Rights Division had been engaged in in year prior. The Civil Rights Division enforces all of our federal civil rights laws. And I think most notably, very early on, the attorney general was cracking away and undercutting long-standing work on LGBT rights and voting rights, indicating, as you said, a pretty serious retreat from police reform work.

And, you know, what's kind of remarkable about the list of things that he has been doing is -- the attorney general knows how the Justice Department works. He was a U.S. attorney in years prior. He knows where the levers are. And he knows how significant it is to change long-standing litigating positions in cases where the Justice Department had been aggressively enforcing civil rights laws. And he hasn't wasted much time in undercutting a lot of the important civil rights enforcement work of the Civil Rights Division in the six months that he's been there.

AMY GOODMAN: [inaudible] of these police departments and what Jeff Sessions said he would turn back. Explain what you negotiated, after Michael Brown was gunned down and the uprising took place, what you negotiated with this police department and others around the country.

VANITA GUPTA: Well, I joined the Justice Department just a couple of weeks after the Justice Department had announced that it was opening a probe of the Ferguson Police Department. And during my initial months, that investigation was kind of front and center for me and the team that was working on that investigation. And we produced a report that ended up really, I think, validating in many ways the lived experiences and realities of African-American residents in Ferguson, really showing how, over years and years, long prior to Michael Brown's death in August of 2014, just long before, how court and police practices had completely kind of degraded and undermined trust in law enforcement and in the courts in Ferguson, really, where African-American residents were being told to pay exorbitant fines and fees for small quality-of-life offenses, for growing high weeds and grass in their lawns and the like.

And we negotiated a consent decree. It became contentious at one point with Ferguson. And on my watch, we had negotiated and announced consent decrees in Cleveland, in Baltimore. We did an investigation into the Chicago Police Department. And one of the first things that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did was really to walk that back, not only through kind of rhetoric, but he issued a memo saying he was going to review all of the existing consent decrees. Now, to be honest with you, what is important to know about that is some of it is not -- is bluster, because there are federal court judges around the country that have the ultimate authority to decide whether a consent decree will be terminated or not. So, while the Justice Department is doing this consent decree review, the actual ultimate fate of these consent decrees lies in the hands of federal judges, who take their responsibility very seriously to ensure that the Constitution is enforced in these -- in these jurisdictions that have had real breakdowns between the police and the communities that they serve.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Vanita, could you talk about what position the Trump administration has taken on civil asset forfeiture? What does that mean, and what are the implications of it?

VANITA GUPTA: Sure. You know, this is an issue, just like the -- Sessions's whole reigniting of the war on drugs and returning us back to 1980s discredited criminal justice policies, that really demonstrate how out of line and how out of sync the attorney general is from his own party. Civil asset forfeiture is an issue that has garnered widespread bipartisan condemnation. It involves giving police the authority or ability to seize assets from people before they've ever been convicted of a crime. And it involves a -- you know, in order to challenge that, that seizure, it involves a very laborious, difficult set of processes. And so there's been a long push, for the last several years, from the right and the left, and I would say the right has -- folks on the right have been very concerned about this really from a libertarian standpoint, and -- around reforming these practices and raising the threshold of proof that's required for the government to seize assets and the like.

And one of the things that the attorney general did in the last couple of months was to do away with that reform and go back to older practices. And again, it's what he's doing right now with federal crime policy. And the concern is that while the federal criminal justice system is about 14 to 15 percent of the country's criminal justice systems -- most, obviously, states are all operating their own criminal justice systems -- he has an enormous bully pulpit. He has funding strings that the Justice Department gives out, a lot of money to every jurisdiction in the country, and can set priorities, can demand things of police departments that they are uncomfortable doing.

And I think an example of that is, you know, prioritizing that local law enforcement should be engaging in federal immigration enforcement. And you're seeing a really strong pushback on the part of police chiefs around the country who know how devastating that kind of thing can be for police departments' ability to have the trust of everyone in their communities. If you've got immigrant women who are refusing to call the police in domestic violence situations, you know, sometimes those become homicides, homicide situations. Police chiefs know how dangerous that is for community safety. And that's why you're hearing them push back. You've even had the Fraternal Order of Police push back on this notion that withholding funds from police departments that are trying to have the trust of everyone in their community, that that is -- that is not a good thing for policing.

AMY GOODMAN: Vanita Gupta, we wanted to get your response to that moment several weeks ago when President Trump even shocked his own Joint Chiefs of Staff when he issued those three tweets in a row that said he would be banning trans people from serving in the military. It was so broad, including pulling people out of the military. Others couldn't join the military. After the first tweet, that simply had said, "After consultation with my Generals and" -- I think he said, "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government..." And after that first tweet -- dot, dot, dot -- the military apparently thought he might be announcing -- he might be announcing that the U.S. was going to bomb North Korea. But what in fact he did say, "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the [United States] Government" -- and, he went on to say, would be banning people in the military, that transgender people would not be able to serve in the military. He ended by saying, "Thank you." Your response?

VANITA GUPTA: I was disgusted. It is -- that was cruel. It was deplorable. And what is more shocking about that is that, I mean, he said "after consultation," and it turns out that senior leaders in the military and the Defense Department were caught completely blindsided by those tweets. He's creating and announcing kind of tweets with cruel social policy over Twitter without kind of the consultation that he's claiming he has.

I just -- you know, sometimes I just wonder: You know, is he tweeting these things out as a distraction to some of the very serious breakdowns in the White House? But this involves real human beings, who are -- who have committed to a life of service to the U.S. military, that he is now just kind of cruelly, categorically denouncing. And it doesn't even fit with some of his prior statements in LGBT rights, claiming to be a champion of LGBT rights and the like. Look, I don't -- this kind of stuff is absolutely cruel. There's no reason for it.

And what's interesting now is that we now know that the military says that they aren't even sure that this will get implemented or how it will be implemented. My guess is that they're hoping that this is just going to -- this kind of policy by tweets may kind of die on the vine, because how does something like that get implemented? When we have some very serious issues and threats facing the nation, this one just seemed like an unnecessary distraction with very cruel implications that -- and that's why you saw the kind of bipartisan kind of outrage expressed.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, they say they're moving forward with it. So what will happen?

VANITA GUPTA: Well, you know, your -- that question is one that I'm asking and that many of us are asking. There's litigation. There was a lawsuit that was filed yesterday, and I suspect there will be -- there will be more. But I think everyone's waiting to see what is actually going to happen with this, because there hasn't been any plan or process that's been put in place. When the White House spokesperson got asked about what this was going to look like and what was going to -- what the next steps were, the spokesperson had no idea, either. And so, again, I think that we are in a wait-and-see approach. There's certainly going to be a lot of challenges to this policy. And why anyone thinks that this serves the United States of America is beyond me.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Vanita, another issue on which Trump has reversed the Obama administration's legacy is, of course, on voting rights. Earlier this year, he convened a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to look into the so-called question of voter fraud. Can you comment on the significance of that, and if you think that, too, as you said earlier, that these are distractions, his tweets, from the serious breakdowns in the White House? Was that also an effect of that?

VANITA GUPTA: Well, this commission, I think, needs to be -- we need to be watching this commission very, very closely. I think there's no question that its composition -- one of the co-chairs is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has had a long-standing agenda to undermine voting rights, to -- an anti-immigrant agenda. He crafted SB 1070 in Arizona. He is a co-chair. He has been found by numerous federal courts, his policies, to have been unlawful. He was responsible for unlawful purging of voters in his own state prior to the 2016 election. There are three other individuals who similarly have long track records of trying to restrict the franchise: Hans von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, Ken Blackwell, Ohio's former secretary of state, who threw out a bunch of ballots because they weren't printed on the right card stock, and received a lot of controversy.

The concern here is that when the president, after the election, claimed that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, with absolutely no proof to substantiate that whatsoever -- and, of course, he won that election -- that that kind of created the groundwork for this commission. Kris Kobach has wanted to amend the 1993 National Voter Registration Act for quite some time. He met with the president-elect before -- I think it was in December -- with a plan in mind to have this amendment. And there's no question that this commission is going to try to find evidence, and inflate it wildly, of claims of voter fraud and try to use that as a prelude to mass voter suppression, to amend the National Voter Registration Act. And I think it is incumbent on all of us who care about voting rights to make sure that state and local election officials understand they have a lot of power in making sure that voters don't get unlawfully purged off of their rolls. It is going to be really important for state officials, who have long had power over how their elections get administered, that they understand that communities are watching and making sure that voters are not unlawfully purged. But, look, it was this commission --

AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, Vanita --


AMY GOODMAN: Before we go, in the latest attack on voting rights, the Justice Department filed a brief just Monday --


AMY GOODMAN: -- supporting the state of Ohio's efforts to purge infrequent voters from their election rolls? Can you respond about how significant this is right now?

VANITA GUPTA: That was a very significant decision. It was significant because just under a year ago the same Justice Department had filed a brief articulating a very long-standing position that states can't pull people off of their rolls just for not voting, for inactivity. They need to have evidence of a move or that somebody has died or something else, like a higher threshold to pull people off of their rolls. That was a long-standing position by the Justice Department --

AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.

VANITA GUPTA: -- that this Justice Department reversed.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Vanita Gupta, I want to thank you very much for being with us, president and chief executive now of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, formerly head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Obama administration.

          Trump DOJ's Latest Move Confirms Worst Fears About Voting Rights        

(Photo: Bizoo_n / iStock / Getty Images Plus)(Photo: Bizoo_n / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Legal experts and voting rights advocates are raising alarms about a reversal in the Justice Department's long-standing interpretation of a federal law that dictates when and how states can purge voters from their rolls.

Regarding the pending Supreme Court case Husted v A. Philip Randolph Institute, President Donald Trump's Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus brief (pdf) in favor of Ohio's voter-rolls maintenance program -- which cancels registrations of those who do not update their registrations or vote over six years -- a move that critics warn "opens the door for wide-scale unlawful purging of the voter registration rolls across our country."

"Just last summer, the Justice Department had affirmed in this same case, before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, its view that Ohio's voter purge practices violated federal law," said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

"The law hasn't changed since the Department accurately told the Court that Ohio's voter purge was unlawful. The facts haven't changed. Only the leadership of the Department has changed," said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) -- further clarified in 2002 with the Help America Vote Act -- requires states to maintain accurate voter rolls by removing registrations of people who have moved or died. It also says that states' maintenance programs "shall not result in the removal of the name of any person from the official list of voters registered to vote in an election for Federal office by reason of the person's failure to vote." States are authorized to remove a registrant's name from the rolls if they fail to respond to an address-verification notice, and then do not vote during a period spanning two federal elections.

Many states wait for an indication that a voter may have moved before turning to the NVRA process, but states such as Ohio send a notice "to voters who lack voter activity over two years, and removes individuals from the rolls if they both fail to respond to the notice and fail to engage in voter activity for four more years."

As a result of last year's appeals court ruling against the Ohio program, the Toledo Blade reported: "About 7,500 voters who were purged from Ohio voter registration rolls from 2011-2014 but were then reinstated at the order of a federal judge last year showed up and voted in the 2016 presidential election."

The DOJ under former President Barack Obama supported the appeals court ruling, noting that in 2010 the department had issued guidance that "addresses the precise issue presented in this case and articulates the department's position that states must have reliable evidence indicating a voter's change of address before they initiate the NVRA-prescribed process to cancel the voter's registration based on a change of residence."

However, Ohio appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case, and the new DOJ -- headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose history with regard to civil rights has raised concerns since President Donlad Trump nominated him -- has now revised its guidance for the law. The shift may not have widespread department support, though, as Ari Berman reported in Mother Jones: "Notably, no career lawyers from the Civil Rights Division signed the brief, as is customary, potentially signifying internal opposition to the department's new position."

It certainly has voting rights advocates worried. Gupta said: "The sudden shift in longstanding position because of a change in political administrations raises real concerns about the politicization of the Justice Department's historic role in protecting voting rights."

However, criticisms of the Trump administration and its Justice Department aren't limited to this recent shift in policy, which follows a number of other voter-related measures that have been criticized as attacks on voting rights.

"Monday's filing was further confirmation of some of our worst fears about the Trump administration's crackdown on voting rights," Gupta said. "Whether through repeated false statements about supposed mass illegal voting, creating a sham commission to pave the way for voter purges, or telling courts that it's acceptable for states to remove eligible voters from the rolls without adequate evidence, the Trump administration is leading an attack on voting rights."

"The Department of Justice's latest reversal of its position in a critical voting rights case represents just the latest example of an agency whose leadership has lost its moral compass," said Clarke.

          DOJ guidelines tied FBI hands on Orlando shooter        
WASHINGTON – Concern has been raised as to why Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who massacred 49 people at a local bar after having been interviewed twice in 2013 and 2014 by the FBI about terrorism, wasn’t on its radar to prevent a weekend shooting spree that also wounded 53 others, according to a report in [...]
          Houston Legal Links 8/4/2017        
Top legal news: Rancor between firefighters, mayor flares up over petition count (Chron subsc); Faith leaders rally, oppose bathroom bill (Chron subsc); Texas will relocate 1,000 heat-vulnerable inmates to facilities with air conditioning; House Defies Abbott's Agenda, Votes 138-0 to Restore Funds for Disabled Kids; Gov. Abbott, Raking in Cash During Special Session, Resists Effort to End Practice; Harris Co. felony court judge threatened by accused felon, investigators say; Litigator of the Week: The King of Texas' Animal Anti-SLAPP Kingdom (Texas Lawyer); Dallas Atty Pleads Guilty To $27M Workers' Comp Fraud (Law360); EcoHub Sues Houston to Find Out How Its Recycling Deal Fell Apart; Family with pending murder trial questions why Governor hasn't appointed judge; Children's advocacy group cites gaps in foster care reform; EFF Urges Judge To Unseal Records In 'Stupid Patent' Row (Law360); Sen. John Cornyn Still Against Legalizing Weed And Twitter Is Displeased; Marathon Petroleum To Pay $86M To Settle Refinery Fire Suits (Law360); Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison confirmed as NATO ambassador; Hey, Texplainer: Why can't we create a statewide property tax to fund public education?; Police on the hunt for suspect behind string of fondling, lewd incidents at Lone Star campus; Inmate's family sues Texas prisons for 2015 heat death & Pacific Drilling considers bankruptcy after CEO departure. For the water cooler: Former US attorney charged with aggravated stalking of ex-girlfriend; Missouri law making it harder to sue for race bias sponsored by senator whose business faces suit; Big Pharma Marketing Directly To Judges, Which Is Terrifying; Woman who encouraged her boyfriend’s 2014 suicide is sentenced; The Clarence Thomas Clerk Mafia: Legal Brain Trust Of The Trump Administration; Supreme Court Leaves Stone Age, Will Now Require Electronic Filing; First Amendment defender Floyd Abrams warns of threats to free speech in ‘fake news’ era (podcast); Judges, drug court officials targeted by pharmaceutical company regarding its anti-opioid medication; Suit claims Harvard admissions policy discriminates against Asian-Americans; is DOJ investigating?; Thanks to shrinking class sizes, a greater percentage of new law grads find employment; “You Can’t Sue People for Being Mean to You, Bob” & Standard Of Review: A New Character Does Not Give ‘Suits’ The Boost It Needs.
          SERAMBI (Sebar Jilbab Bersama KAMMI) Usung Tema “Love Yourself Love Your Hijab”        

Kudus, – Minggu (26/2) dalam rangka hari jilbab internasional KAMMI (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Muslim Indonesia), bersama ODOJ (One Day One Juz) DPA Kudus, KRJ (Komunitas Rumah Jodoh) mengadakan acara SERAMBI (Sebar Jilbab Bersama KAMMI) di Alun-alun Simpang 7 Kudus bersamaan dengan CFD. Kegiatan yang di usung dengan tema “Love Yourself Love Your Hijab”, membagikan…

The post SERAMBI (Sebar Jilbab Bersama KAMMI) Usung Tema “Love Yourself Love Your Hijab” appeared first on ISKNEWS.COM.

          Lambda Legal blasts Trump and the DOJ over plans to undermine and sabotage affirmative action policies        
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Lambda Legal CEO Rachel B. Tiven blasted the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over new reports revealing plans to undermine and attack affirmative action policies. A report from The New York Times this week affirmed the effort will dedicate resources from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division toward investigating and […]
          DOJ filing on Title VII: ‘Another step in a campaign against the civil rights of so many communities’ (VIDEO)        
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Friday on News One Now,  guest host Ray Baker interviewed Harper Jean Tobin, the policy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality about the Department of Justice having filed an unsolicited amicus brief on Wednesday stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover job discrimination based […]
          The Justice Department takes aim at LGBT people        
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Justice Department filed a brief Wednesday arguing that LGBT people are not protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. HUFFPost reported tha DOJ lawyers, arguing under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in which they […]
          Quick Friday Post – United States Attorney General wants tougher sentencing.        
Just on my way out the door and saw this one: Attorney General Sessions thinks we need tougher sentencing and has instructed DOJ attorneys to ask for more time for crime. Like we don’t have enough people in federal prison? And tougher sentences mean that folks with federal restitution and fines to pay won’t pay....… Continue Reading
          DOJ Report Highlights Problem of Solitary Confinement of Mentaly Ill. Is Privatization a Solution?        

from Hit & Run -, by Ed Krayewski, on Jul 19

The federal prison system abuses its use of solitary confinement of prisoners, particularly those identified as mentally ill.

A new inspector general's report (PDF) from the Department of Justice (DOJ) illustrates how little oversight there is of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The report demonstrates the need for some measure of privatization, with the appropriate priorities, to establish clear guidelines for solitary confinement in contracts with the federal government.

The Reason Foundation's Lauren Krisai and Leonard Gilroy have written about public-private partnerships in healthcare in corrections helping control costs, improve performance, and increase accountability. You can read the study here (PDF).

There is, however, little political will to do it.

According to the report, the BOP's "guidance and policies do not clearly define 'restrictive housing' or 'extended placement'." The inspector general noted that BOP "houses inmates, including those with mental illness, for long periods of time isolated from other inmates and with limited human contact," conditions which could constitute solitary confinement under definitions used in DOJ Civil Rights Division investigations and by the United Nations.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found one inmate, for example, who spent 19 years in a "restrictive housing unit" before being sent to a residential treatment facility.

"Although the BOP states that it does not practice solitary confinement, or even recognize the term, we found inmates, including those with mental illness, who were housed in single-cell confinement for long periods of time, isolated from other inmates and with limited human contact," the report said.

The OIG provided numerous examples of the misuse of confinement. BOP didn't have adequate policies to address the needs of mentally ill inmates in restrictive housing, and did not limit how long inmates could spend in restrictive housing (limiting instead how short stays could be).

The federal prison system as the largest number of people in solitary and "they're also isolating people, putting people in solitary at a higher percentage rate" than state counterparts, Jean Casella, co-executive director of Solitary Watch, says. The OIG found it was 7 percent in the federal system compared to between 4 and 5 percent at the state level. The national average is "way higher than it needs to be to begin with," Casella says.

"I think this report was pretty thorough and pretty hard hitting and we probably will not see its like again for quite a while," Casella says.

The OIG found federal prisons kept mentally ill inmates in "Special Management Units" (SMUs), a form of restrictive housing for an average of 896 consecutive days. Inmates with mental illness spent "disproportionately longer periods of time" in restrictive housing than other inmates. And 13 percent of inmates with mental illnesses in the OIG's sample population were released directly from prison after spending nearly 29 months in a special management unit before their release.

While the Obama administration imposed a new policy in 2014 increasing the standards of mental health care for federal inmates, the "the total number of inmates who receive regular mental health treatment decreased by approximately 30 percent, including 56 percent for inmates in SMUs, and about 20 percent overall for inmates in" restrictive housing, according to the report

"Based on our review, it appears that mental health staff may have reduced the number of inmates, including those in… [restrictive housing], who must receive regular mental health treatment because they did not have the necessary staffing resources to meet the policy's increased treatment standards," the report found.

"In the few states that have actually banned the placement of mentally ill in solitary at all, including New York and Colorado and a couple of others, suddenly you find that… fewer people are getting diagnosed as having that mental illness because it means that if they have it, they have to be sent to a special unit," Casella says.

The inspector general call on the BOP to establish a policy explaining when single-cell confinement should be used, identify "all forms of restrictive housing utilized throughout its institutions" and bring them up to date on policy, that it make sure mental health staff document diagnoses and enter them into electronic systems, develop formal performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of residential mental health treatment programs, and to "provide additional guidance and training to mental health staff on diagnosing mental illness."

"The inspector general does not have any significant enforcement capability, that's my understanding," Casella explains. "it would have to either be legislation or high level policy change from the executive branch to make any meaningful change."

England, Casella says, has "a three-pronged oversight system with prison ombudsman's office and her majesty's inspector of the prisons and citizen oversight boards, and this really robust structure for oversight, and we don't have anything like that here.

"And we also don't have a Congress that really cares very much about people in prison. They don't vote, we're a law and order society, supposedly, other voters don't care that much about what happens to people in prison, and there is no oversight structure."

The Trump administration might be more open to privatization with the potential for reform, bringing in oversight in as if through a back door. Casella does not, however, believe privatization is helpful.

"You would think that [the private sector] couldn't do a worse job than the government does but they actually do a worse job," she says, "and that's because the only criteria that they're held to, they know the only thing that's really meaningful to the people who are giving them the contracts is cost."

The key, says Sasha Volokh, a law professor at Emory who studies privatization, is embedding reform in the language of the contract.

Contracts could, for example, "tax" the use of solitary confinement, or in-custody deaths, assaults, and even recidivism—deducting from the total contract pay out based on a formula tied to those metrics.

"There's potential to make the private sector really accountable," says Volokh, "and you might think that they would be more likely to do what they're told if they're more concerned about not getting their contract renewed and so on, so obviously this requires a public sector that is willing to not renew contracts and to monitor contract terms and so on."

Holding the public sector accountable for reform in the private sector has been particularly problematic, he says.

"Public systems can be really non-transparent," Volokh says, "it can be really difficult to reform public systems, and it can be hard to fire these people because of government employee unions, because of civil service rules and things like that so the public system can be really non-transparent and unaccountable."

"I don't want to totally discount that there might be ways of monitoring the government which are easier than ways of monitoring private firms," he says, "but those may face more resistance from entrenched interests in the government sector.

After its report, the inspector general's office is largely powerless to effect change in the BOP. Not so if it has the threat of a canceled contract. Even the threat of moving to a private provider could induce change in the public system. And the BOP could also be motivated to reform if the public sector can compete for bids with the private sector, making it easier to improve outcomes across the board.

Privatization through contracts offers a substantive incentive to reduce the use of solitary confinement and to meet treatment quality standards. The political will is still necessary, but it would no longer face the institutional resistance of the public sector.

          DOJ Report Highlights Problem of Solitary Confinement of Mentally Ill. Is Privatization a Solution?        

from, by Ed Krayewski, on Jul 19

The federal prison system abuses its use of solitary confinement of prisoners, particularly those identified as mentally ill.

A new inspector general's report (PDF) from the Department of Justice (DOJ) illustrates how little oversight there is of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The report demonstrates the need for some measure of privatization, with the appropriate priorities, to establish clear guidelines for solitary confinement in contracts with the federal government.

The Reason Foundation's Lauren Krisai and Leonard Gilroy have written about public-private partnerships in healthcare in corrections helping control costs, improve performance, and increase accountability. You can read the study here (PDF).

There is, however, little political will to do it.

According to the report, the BOP's "guidance and policies do not clearly define 'restrictive housing' or 'extended placement'." The inspector general noted that BOP "houses inmates, including those with mental illness, for long periods of time isolated from other inmates and with limited human contact," conditions which could constitute solitary confinement under definitions used in DOJ Civil Rights Division investigations and by the United Nations.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found one inmate, for example, who spent 19 years in a "restrictive housing unit" before being sent to a residential treatment facility.

"Although the BOP states that it does not practice solitary confinement, or even recognize the term, we found inmates, including those with mental illness, who were housed in single-cell confinement for long periods of time, isolated from other inmates and with limited human contact," the report said.

The OIG provided numerous examples of the misuse of confinement. BOP didn't have adequate policies to address the needs of mentally ill inmates in restrictive housing, and did not limit how long inmates could spend in restrictive housing (limiting instead how short stays could be).

The federal prison system as the largest number of people in solitary and "they're also isolating people, putting people in solitary at a higher percentage rate" than state counterparts, Jean Casella, co-executive director of Solitary Watch, says. The OIG found it was 7 percent in the federal system compared to between 4 and 5 percent at the state level. The national average is "way higher than it needs to be to begin with," Casella says.

"I think this report was pretty thorough and pretty hard hitting and we probably will not see its like again for quite a while," Casella says.

The OIG found federal prisons kept mentally ill inmates in "Special Management Units" (SMUs), a form of restrictive housing for an average of 896 consecutive days. Inmates with mental illness spent "disproportionately longer periods of time" in restrictive housing than other inmates. And 13 percent of inmates with mental illnesses in the OIG's sample population were released directly from prison after spending nearly 29 months in a special management unit before their release.

While the Obama administration imposed a new policy in 2014 increasing the standards of mental health care for federal inmates, the "the total number of inmates who receive regular mental health treatment decreased by approximately 30 percent, including 56 percent for inmates in SMUs, and about 20 percent overall for inmates in" restrictive housing, according to the report

"Based on our review, it appears that mental health staff may have reduced the number of inmates, including those in… [restrictive housing], who must receive regular mental health treatment because they did not have the necessary staffing resources to meet the policy's increased treatment standards," the report found.

"In the few states that have actually banned the placement of mentally ill in solitary at all, including New York and Colorado and a couple of others, suddenly you find that… fewer people are getting diagnosed as having that mental illness because it means that if they have it, they have to be sent to a special unit," Casella says.

The inspector general call on the BOP to establish a policy explaining when single-cell confinement should be used, identify "all forms of restrictive housing utilized throughout its institutions" and bring them up to date on policy, that it make sure mental health staff document diagnoses and enter them into electronic systems, develop formal performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of residential mental health treatment programs, and to "provide additional guidance and training to mental health staff on diagnosing mental illness."

"The inspector general does not have any significant enforcement capability, that's my understanding," Casella explains. "it would have to either be legislation or high level policy change from the executive branch to make any meaningful change."

England, Casella says, has "a three-pronged oversight system with prison ombudsman's office and her majesty's inspector of the prisons and citizen oversight boards, and this really robust structure for oversight, and we don't have anything like that here.

"And we also don't have a Congress that really cares very much about people in prison. They don't vote, we're a law and order society, supposedly, other voters don't care that much about what happens to people in prison, and there is no oversight structure."

The Trump administration might be more open to privatization with the potential for reform, bringing in oversight in as if through a back door. Casella does not, however, believe privatization is helpful.

"You would think that [the private sector] couldn't do a worse job than the government does but they actually do a worse job," she says, "and that's because the only criteria that they're held to, they know the only thing that's really meaningful to the people who are giving them the contracts is cost."

The key, says Sasha Volokh, a law professor at Emory who studies privatization, is embedding reform in the language of the contract.

Contracts could, for example, "tax" the use of solitary confinement, or in-custody deaths, assaults, and even recidivism—deducting from the total contract pay out based on a formula tied to those metrics.

"There's potential to make the private sector really accountable," says Volokh, "and you might think that they would be more likely to do what they're told if they're more concerned about not getting their contract renewed and so on, so obviously this requires a public sector that is willing to not renew contracts and to monitor contract terms."

Holding the public sector accountable for reforms in the private sector has been particularly problematic, he says.

"Public systems can be really non-transparent," Volokh says, "it can be really difficult to reform public systems, and it can be hard to fire these people because of government employee unions, because of civil service rules and things like that so the public system can be really unaccountable."

"I don't want to totally discount that there might be ways of monitoring the government which are easier than ways of monitoring private firms," he says, "but those may face more resistance from entrenched interests in the government sector.

After its report, the inspector general's office is largely powerless to effect change in the BOP. Not so if it has the threat of a canceled contract. Even the threat of moving to a private provider could induce change in the public system. And the BOP could also be motivated to reform if the public sector can compete for bids with the private sector, making it easier to improve outcomes across the board.

Privatization through contracts offers a substantive incentive to reduce the use of solitary confinement and to meet treatment quality standards. The political will is still necessary, but it would no longer face the institutional resistance of the public sector.

          Jeff Sessions’ Failed Policies From The Past        
              Hopefully, Memphis Police Department’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice to fight crime in Memphis won’t be one of those federal programs we live to regret. Memphis was one of the 12 cities where Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ DOJ will “combat violent crime,” according to the department’s […]
          Roland Martin Frets Trump 'Putting Thousands of African-American Troops at Risk'        

On Wednesday's News One Now, far-left host Roland Martin bordered on caricature when he teased the show by asking if President Donald Trump is "putting thousands of African-American troops but more importantly their families at risk" by talking tough on North Korea, as if the lives of white troops were not worthy of note if war broke out.

And, as a segment was devoted to griping over alleged "voter suppression" efforts by the Justice Department, one guest provocatively demanded that Republicans "come get your racist cousins" in the DOJ as he asserted that "This is racism, white nationalism, and part of Jeff Sessions's strategy to turn back -- roll back the 20th century."

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. ET, after beginning the tease by recalling current flooding in New Orleans, Martin turned to "voter suppression" as he continued:

In another move by the Trump administration to reverse Obama-era policies and to trample on voting rights, the Department of Justice now supports a plan in Ohio to purge eligible voters from the rolls -- another mass voter suppression campaign by Donald Trump.

The left-wing host then oddly suggested that the show would discuss how African-Americans specifically would be impacted by potential war in North Korea as he added:

Lots of scary talk about North Korea nuclear weapons, most of it coming from President Trump. Is that putting thousands of African-American troops but more importantly their families at risk? We will talk with retired Army General William "Kip" Ward in a simulcast with the Tom Joyner morning show.

Martin never got around to explaining why he was concerned specifically about how African-American troops but not white troops would be impacted by war as the racial element was dropped when retired General William Ward as a guest discussed the North Korea situation.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Earlier in the show, Martin also devoted a segment to one of his favorite topics -- Republicans allegedly trying to engage in "voter suppression" to hurt black voter participation. The most incendiary portion came when guest and Professor Greg Carr of Howard University accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of racism. After Martin commented that "The political folks are the ones driving this in DOJ," Carr responded:

Absolutely. GOP, message to you: Come get your racist cousins. This is racism, white nationalism, and part of Jeff Sessions's strategy to turn back -- roll back the 20th century. The parallel is in the period after Reconstruction when the states began in their state constitutions to roll this back. 

That's why you have to have a federal government. There's a reason why no career lawyers signed onto this brief. They have moved this to the political apparatus. And you got an attorney general -- I'm sorry, secretary of state -- in Ohio who's running for governor, and all of these cats are trying to get it close enough to steal. If they can get it close enough to steal, they will steal it. They will steal it.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, August 9, News One Now:

7:01 a.m. ET [TEASE]

ROLAND MARTIN: In another move by the Trump administration to reverse Obama-era policies and to trample on voting rights, the Department of Justice now supports a plan in Ohio to purge eligible voters from the rolls -- another mass voter suppression campaign by Donald Trump. Lots of scary talk about North Korea nuclear weapons, most of it coming from President Trump. Is that putting thousands of African-American troops but more importantly their families at risk? We will talk with retired Army General William "Kip" Ward in a simulcast with the Tom Joyner morning show.


7:11 a.m. ET

MARTIN: All right, folks, we've been covering voter suppression on this show over the last several years, and we now see more of this by the Trump Department of Justice. The Department filed a brief in an Ohio case headed to the Supreme Court which reversed the Obama administration's position in favor of voting rights. Under current Ohio law, if a voter has not cast a vote in two years, the state will send them a notice by mail. 

If the voter does not respond to that notice and casts no ballot for the next four years, he or she will be purged from voter rolls. Well, that's a problem because, again, it impacts voters. The Ohio voting -- so, first of all, again, that's what happens to Ohio. It goes to the Supreme Court. ... Again, another example of this Trump administration and Republicans desiring to suppress the vote.


MARTIN: And what's crazy about this is, if you choose not to vote, first of all, I wish folks do vote, but if you choose not to vote, fine. But what's the logic in removing people just because they didn't vote?

KRISTEN CLARKE, LAWYERS COMMUNITY FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW: That's right. This -- there is no logic to what the state of Ohio is doing.


MARTIN: According to analysis by Reuters, neighborhoods that have a high proportion of poor African-American residents will be hit hardest by this purging effort. We keep saying it -- Republicans, look, if you want black votes, Donald Trump said, "What the hell do you have to lose?" We see a lot. This consistent Republican efforts to purge voters.


MARTIN: And that's the fundamental issue right there. The political folks are the ones driving this in DOJ.

GREG CARR, HOWARD UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES: Absolutely. GOP, message to you: Come get your racist cousins. This is racism, white nationalism, and part of Jeff Sessions's strategy to turn back -- roll back the 20th century. The parallel is in the period after Reconstruction when the states began in their state constitutions to roll this back. 

That's why you have to have a federal government. There's a reason why no career lawyers signed onto this brief. They have moved this to the political apparatus. And you got an attorney general -- I'm sorry, secretary of state -- in Ohio who's running for governor, and all of these cats are trying to get it close enough to steal. If they can get it close enough to steal, they will steal it. They will steal it.

          United Airlines' CEO, Jeff Smisek Steps Down Over DOJ Investigation        

United Airlines' chairman and CEO, Jeff Smisek has stepped down and has been replaced by Oscar Munoz. Smisek was replaced due to an ongoing investigation into United Airlines' dealing with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's former chairman David Samson

          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Diving Deeper: DOJ Cover-up of Black Market Activity Using Secret Swiss Bank Accounts        
EpisodeWhistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld returns to dive deeper into the secret Swiss banking scandal. Last episode we learned about the significant black market activity that the secret accounts were used to launder money and that the DOJ and the Obama administration was determined to turn a blind eye on the entire affair. This episode we dig deeper into the DOJs activities and what nefarious characters they refused to prosecute and investigate.   View the rest of the article here: http://sa ...
          5 Top Publishing News Stories of the Week, 8/12 – 8/16        

Every week we recommend 5 links to publishing news that the young professional should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know. **** Online writing platform Wattpad launched a new crowdfunding tool to help writers further their own publishing initiatives. Apple and the DOJ have marked their calendars for a May 2014 trial, in which damages–and corresponding penalties–will be determined. Summer reading didn’t get […]

The post 5 Top Publishing News Stories of the Week, 8/12 – 8/16 appeared first on Publishing Trendsetter.

          Blog Post: Cos., DOJ Miss Mark On Class Waivers, NLRB Tells High Court        
U.S. Supreme Court precedent does not require the justices to find that the Federal Arbitration Act supersedes another federal statute where the laws contradict, the National Labor Relations Board said Wednesday in defense of its stance that labor laws invalidate so-called class action waiver agreements between employees and employers.
          News organizations and reporters targeted in new Department of Justice clampdown on leaks        
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that he will be pursuing prosecutions against individuals who have leaked information that has resulted in a major threat to national security and that the DOJ may begin issuing subpoenas to media outlets that have reported information thought to be leaked. The number of leaks and leak-related […]
          District Court Orders Release Of Another DOJ Drone-Killing Memo, Cites [REDACTED] In Support        
New York's Southern District Court -- which has been hosting (along with the Second Circuit Appeals Court) the ACLU and New York Times' long-running, concurrent FOIA lawsuits against the government over its drone killing memos -- has reached a partial decision on some of the embattled documents.

The court's decision was actually delivered on Sept. 30th, but its conclusion and order have spent the last month under seal while the government applied its redactions. An accompanying memo from the presiding judge [pdf link] notes that the court isn't buying all the government's redaction arguments.
I disagree with the Government's redaction of the bulk of the first full paragraph and the second and third paragraphs on page 9, which as drafted by this court contain not a whit of classified material (the Government does not suggest otherwise), and which I do not believe would tend to reveal any classified information. In order to preserve that issue for appellate review, I will release on the public docket the opinion with all the Government's proposed redactions today, along with this cover note indicating my conclusion about this material. Should the Second Circuit agree with the Government that the material was properly redacted, nothing will be lost; should it agree with my view that nothing the Government has redacted on page 9 should be redacted, it will so indicate.
Indeed, page 9 of the order [pdf link] leaves almost everything to the imagination, retaining only a single sentence that really makes you wish the court hadn't deferred to the government's judgement.

The issue raised by the Government's objection to disclosure is potentially fascinating and incredibly complicated.
The rest of the document is the government's proprietary blend of abysmal scanning and heavy redactions. After some discussion about documents the government has already released and information revealed by government officials' own statements, the court drills deeper into the DOJ's redaction justifications. Of course, we can't actually read the government's reasoning or the court's reactions because the government has final cut approval. The DOJ's broad redactions remove a majority of the last 14 pages, leaving behind tantalizing sentences like:

The Government's blithe assertion to the contrary, these waiver issues are not so easily resolved

if that be true, I see no reason why I am even going through this exercise.
The court orders the government to release the contested documents (legal opinions from the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel) discussed in the order (the remaining documents related to the FOIA requests will likely be discussed next year), noting there is "no just reason for delay" considering both the public's interest in these memos, as well as the fact that it has been more than three years since the documents were requested.

So, another long-running FOIA lawsuit is showing a little return on investment. Unfortunately, the government's lengthy redactions prevent the public from seeing what arguments it's using in defense of its FOIA stiffarm, as well as keeping it from drawing any legal insight from the court's response.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

          Why did Loretta Lynch need DOJ Talking Points about a meeting she alone attended?        
AG Jeff Sessions should order DOJ to stop fighting the FOIA requests and unmask the talking points
          Did You Get the Memo? Confronting Corporate Wrongdoing        

After the financial crisis of 2008 and the current, ongoing instances of large fines levied against banks and other financial companies, many people continually bemoan why penalties have not also included jail time and prosecution of executives who have behaved unethically. The message has finally reached the highest levels of government and change is on the horizon. 

In a speech at NYU Law last week, hosted by the school's Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates presented the memo covering a new Department of Justice initiative designed to fight corporate fraud and other misconduct by going after individuals who perpetrated the wrongdoing. In addition to punitive actions against an organization (what many see as a macro-level punishment that does little to deter misconduct on the micro, or personal, level), the DOJ will now turn its considerable resources to affecting change at the source, i.e. those that engage in personal malfeasance under the guise of doing their job.

Yates highlighted six key steps to strengthen their pursuit of individual corporate wrongdoing- some that were new and others that reflect best practices already employed by many federal prosecutors. The main provisions demand that firms cooperate more conspicuously than ever before. Further, firms that receive cooperation credit cannot hide behind the veneer of the corporation and must disclose all information about individuals involved in misconduct. 

In other words, the "Yates Memo" puts executive leadership on high alert that they themselves will be more aggressively targeted and prosecuted if they are found to be acting unlawfully. Whether this will prove effective, or merely increase the obfuscation and shielding of executives, as we have seen in the past, is yet to be determined.

Research shows that leadership is perhaps the most important lever in creating and sustaining an ethical culture in organizations. The DOJ is right to look closer and devise strategies that will help nudge people to make better decisions. Her message to all United States attorneys shows that the commitment and desire is there- now both she and the public will see if corporations too have gotten the memo.

Watch a video of the talk, via NYU Law:



          Commission, Mayor Mark Luttrell at odds on DOJ oversight        
On Monday, commissioners approved a resolution opposing the mayor's push to end federal oversight of the juvenile justice system instead of the budget.
          Episode 577: Suicide Squad        
We come gunning for Suicide Squad and discuss Nerve, The Little Prince, Last Chance U, BvS: DOJ - Ultimate Edition, Batman: The Killing Joke, Key Largo, Gold and Human Highway.

0:00 - Intro: No Man's Sky
22:50 - Review: Suicide Squad
1:36:10 - Other Stuff We Watched: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition, Last Chance U, Bad Moms, Nerve, Batman: The Killing Joke, A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY, Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, Wartorn: 1861-2010, The Little Prince, Key Largo, Busking Turf Wars, Gold, Luv, Human Highway
2:39:30 - Junk Mail: Early Post-Credit Scenes, Stealing Digital Codes from the Library, Can a Cringe-Inducing Film Be in Your Top 100?, French on Blu-ray Spines
3:03:35 - This Week on DVD and Blu-ray
3:05:00 - Outro
3:07:50 - Spoiler Discussion: Suicide Squad
          Russian to Judgement        
obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, russia, hacking, investigation, asshole, hillary, election

Barack Obama has ordered a "full review" of cyber-chicanery associated with the 2016 elections, under the belief that Russia may have tampered with our sacred voting process by somehow having created a 30 year history of corruption by Hillary Clinton and everyone she's ever been in contact with.

Where do we even begin? The CIA - no doubt under orders and perhaps the threat of waterboarding - has issued a strong but factually vague statement that people who may have connections to people who may be Russian may have provided Wikileaks with vast amounts of hacked information about Hillary's decades-long history of sleazy deals and ineptitude, which may have influenced the election because (unlike most information given to voters) it was all true.

The accusations would be more plausible if the CIA, FBI, and DOJ weren't so thoroughly compromised by their own political cover-ups and scandals at this point. As their main mission is now the protection of undeserving Democratic asses, we're not exactly impressed with anything they're saying now.

And just how "meta" is the accusation that Russia tried to corrupt our election process by releasing proof (and plenty of it) that Hillary and the DNC had already corrupted the election process? Who's the actual criminal here, and who's simply a witness?

Hope n' Change actually thinks it pretty unlikely that Russia had anything to do with the release of damning information about Hillary and her cohorts in crime. After all, if they had hacked all this dirt (not to mention every Top Secret hosted on her email server) wouldn't they want Hillary to win so that they'd own an American President because of all the blackmail potential?

That's why we think it far more likely that the source of the hacked material was an individual patriot from the Democratic party or a domestic intelligence agency who saw this as the only way to save America from a corrupt, shrieking, money-grubbing, two-faced, brain-damaged harpy with a gift for screwing up every policy issue she's ever touched.

Obama's highly publicized demand for a report on computer espionage is supposed to be rushed to his Oval Office desk (no doubt to be left between his fingernail clippings and scuff marks from the heels of his shoes), but the results may never be made public. Which is hardly surprising, considering that the actual purpose of Obama's call for an investigation is simply to delegitimize the upcoming Presidency of Donald Trump.

In other words, a hostile government really is trying to subvert the will of American voters. It just happens to be the government currently in Washington.

          'Let Local People Solve Local Problems,' Memphis Says In Bid To End DOJ Oversight        
Five years ago, the Justice Department concluded that juvenile courts in Memphis, Tenn., failed to give due process to children. Civil rights investigators uncovered significant racial disparities , and they reached a deal to fix some of those failings. Now, local officials are asking to terminate federal oversight. They're making their pitch to Justice Department leaders, who have a very different view of civil rights enforcement from the previous administration. When the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Memphis a few weeks ago, he heard an earful from local officials over the breakfast table. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell told the attorney general that it's time to end expensive federal oversight of the juvenile courts. Because, he said, they've already done a lot of heavy lifting. Public defenders now represent 60 percent of the kids who appear in court, up from none five years ago. The controversy in Memphis represents part of a much larger debate. President Trump and
          Too Close For Comfort: Insiders Worry About DOJ Lawyers Speaking At White House        
John Huber is a career prosecutor in Utah who's served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. This month, the Trump White House nominated him to serve as a U.S. attorney in that state. But it came as something of a surprise to current and former Justice Department veterans Wednesday when Huber appeared for a news conference in Washington: not in the halls of Justice, but at the White House podium. Huber and the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement used the platform to advocate for the passage of House bills that increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who break the law and jurisdictions that refuse to share information with federal immigration authorities. "Kate's Law enhances our ability to stem the tide of criminals who seem to almost always return to victimize us," Huber told the reporters assembled in the briefing room. He added: "Forty percent of my felony caseload in Utah are criminal alien prosecutions. If it's a problem in Utah, it's a problem for
          Pres. Duterte Lashes Out at Critics During a Speech Given in Myanmar. WATCH!        
The tough-talking nature of President Rodrigo Duterte was once again on full display after addressing his critics in a speech given in Myanmar for his official visit. Despite the ongoing opposition about his administration's anti-drug campaign, Duterte remained steadfast and lashed out at Senator Leila De Lima, Senator Antonio Trillanes and even Vice President Leni Robredo.

Duterte reiterated that he is willing to lay down his life, honor and his position as the president of the country for the relentless battle against drugs, even if his arch rivals attempt to bring him down in the process. He took a shot at Robredo, saying that the VP is eager to become the next president of the Philippines after taking his drug battles to the UN.

In his speech, the president also criticized Senator Leila De Lima who cited her involvement in the illegal drug trades during her time as the secretary of the DOJ being her downfall. He also brought up the allegations of Sen. Trillanes about the supposed P200 million bank deposits in the president's account and challenged government officials to release any evidence and if proven true, he will resign as the president of the country.

Watch the full video right down below to hear what the president has to say!

Leni Robredo Delima at Trillanes Nasapul sa Speech ni Pres. Duterte sa Myanmar
Posted by All About Davao on Sunday, March 19, 2017
Don't forget to give the post a share and let us know what you think by leaving your comments right down below!

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          DOJ flips on SCOTUS purge case        
Justin here (and with a caveat: at DOJ, I worked on amicus briefs on this issue, including in this case). Today, DOJ filed an amicus brief in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.  The case, now at SCOTUS, is about … Continue reading
          Trump DOJ To Go After Affirmative Action in Higher Ed.        

NewsBusters - On Wednesday, the network morning shows were all deeply troubled by a New York Times report that the Trump Justice Department was preparing to defend the civil rights of white students applying to college. At the top of ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos sounded the alarm: 
“Breaking overnight, new reports the Trump administration is taking on Affirmative Action, preparing to investigate whether colleges are discriminating against white students.” 
Minutes later, correspondent Mary Bruce breathlessly declared:
“Overnight, The New York Times is reporting that the Justice Department is working on a plan to investigate and potentially sue universities for admission policies that are found to discriminate against white applicants'. ....critics say this cuts to the core of efforts to expand educational opportunities for minority students and could be a sign that the administration is changing course on a key civil rights issue.”

The problem with this version of the story is that the DOJ is actually looking into an unresolved discrimination suit from the Obama years brought by 64 Asian students for having points deducted from entrance exams simply for being Asian, while other groups have points added. But that truth points the finger of discrimination in the wrong direction for the media. 

A quick reading of the constitution says we are are equal under the law. Why should someone get extra points toward admission because of skin color? Are we to consider them inferior? And why are some docked points because they are smarter then most? Higher Education is not a civil right. IT"S A PRIVILEGE. A privilege you should earn by hard work.  Let the cream rise to the top.  

The Supreme Court has already ruled that schools cannot use racial quotas in admissions, but many of them do it anyways. The fact that race is being used to determine a student’s admission to a college is against the law and should be stopped. The only way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
          "Sinister And Sadistic" Obama Orders Shutdown Of AMBER Alert Website        

President Obama's Justice Department has ordered the closing of the national AMBER Alert website. See below:

While the website has a government domain name, it is not costing the federal government any significant money, if any. A query into the 2013 DOJ budget yields no mention of AMBER Alert funding.

Meanwhile, there has been no word of Obama's personal golf course shutting down.

Patrick J. Buchanan is absolutely correct in his assessment of Obama that:
He wants to maximize the pain in order to maximize his political gain. That is exactly what Obama is doing. It is a sinister and sadistic tactic.

          Comment #4297        
Yahoo news is now reporting that the FBI says there will be no charges for Hillary over the new emails. I say this is

Hillary must have paid off Comey big time. The NYPD has said they have all kinds of incriminating evidence in the emails

from Anthony Weiner, and the DOJ is pushing back against them to keep them from releasing it. How does the FBI go

through 650,000 emails in a week, when it took them months to go through the original 33,000? With all the reports of FBI

age... [ More ]
          Comment #4234        
l am not kidding you.

Reagan had his investigations while IN office. There is a difference. Uncovering stuff after President's have left don't count. I am being as neutral as possible, One thing is for certain-you cannot rewrite Reagan's history, it's in books and that includes bubba's as well.Which begs the question: How many ongoing investigations are there involving Obama ...and what for? Btw- the DOJ attempting to stop an FBI investigation days before people go to the polls is not absurd
          Comment #4232        
You kidding me noise? Wait until obama's out of office. The rats will sing. IRS targeting political opponents. DOJ stopping FBI investigations. obama sent Hillary emails to Hillary's unsecured server using a pseudonym. This whole administration stinks. Nixon was a choir boy compared to obama.
          Comment #4224        
Obama and his entire administration will go down as the most corrupt in history. He has destroyed the integrity of the IRS, DOJ and the State Department. Four years of Trump won't be enough to fix what Obama has done.
          Comment #4094        
Sure, it's all on the square;

Top DOJ official Involved in clinton probe represented Podesta-clinton chairman

'Kept me out of jail': Top DOJ official involved in ...

The Justice Department official in charge of informing Congress about the newly reactivated Hillary Clinton email probe is a political appointee and forme... [ More ]
          Bobby Jindal: Obama’s DOJ Cares More About Race Than Education        
Piyush Jindal (pictured) has the sort of story many immigrants (and minorities in general, for that matter) find inspirational. As the son of two Indian immigrants, Jindal has managed to become the 55th governor of the state of Louisiana and is considered to be a viable contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. However, his […]
          ulambayar-ийн Австралийн Байнгын оршин суух эрх дэх сэтгэгдэл         
sain bnuu ih shan medeelel ogch bgad bayrtai bnaa bas bayrllaa bi tumur zamd 7n jil ajillaj bgamaa odoo australia yawah mash ih huseltei bga tul haana hend handaj visanii zowolgoo awch boloh we minii bodloo australiad ajillaj amidrahad ih shan bh gej bodoj bn hariu pls
          UN and DOJ Promote Nationalization of Local Police        
​​​​​Date:    August 4, 2016

Host:     Jim Schneider  
   Robert Romano

          Trump White House Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government        
Previously unannounced directives will limit the Department of Justice’s use of a storied civil rights enforcement tool, and loosen the Department of Education’s requirements on investigations. For decades, the Department of Justice has used court-enforced agreements to protect civil rights, successfully desegregating school systems, reforming police departments, ensuring access for the disabled and defending the religious.Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight.The move is just one part of a move by the Trump administration to limit federal civil rights enforcement.…
          DOJ Promotes LGBT: Silence = Disapproval        
Crosstalk Home

Show Information

Air Date: May 20, 2013

Host: Vic Eliason

Guest: Matt Barber

Listen: MP3 |
          DOJ Forces Pro-Homosexual Agenda        
Crosstalk Home

Show Information

Air Date: May 30, 2012

Host: Jim Schneider

Guest: Steve Crampton

Listen: MP3 |
          Inside The Iran Nuclear Deal, How Coal Workers & Environmentalists Saved A NY Town, How Jeff Sessions Is Taking Your Stuff, HBO's 'Confederate'         

Trita Parsi goes behind the scenes of the Iran nuclear deal. Elizabeth McGowan on how environmentalists and coal workers teamed up to save their upstate NY town. CJ Ciaramella explains how the DOJ is embracing civil asset forfeiture. Bree Newsome and April Reign on HBO's controversial new show "Confederate."

Jonathan Capehart guest hosted this episode of the "The Leonard Lopate Show."

          Congress approves ‘ceasefire’ extension on medical marijuana        
President Obama has extended a federal ‘ceasefire’ on targeting lawfully ran state medical cannabis programs. The president signed the FY 2016 omnibus appropriations bill on Friday, which contains Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment prohibiting the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana programs and businesses, the Huffington Post reports. The DOJ will
          REPORT: DOJ Under AG Sessions Blocks Access to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails (VIDEO)        

The Gateway Pundit reported Thursday that a federal judge ordered a new search into Hilary Clinton’s Benghazi emails. In an interesting ...

The post REPORT: DOJ Under AG Sessions Blocks Access to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails (VIDEO) appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

          Google Vs DOJ: Who’s Lying About Google Apps?        
The rhetoric between Google and the Department of Justice is heating up after the DOJ accused the search engine giant publicaly lying about Google Apps receiving FISMA (or Federal Information Security Management Act) certification. Not surprisingly, Microsoft has joined the fray by declaring that their nemesis is evil, and portraying their foe as untrustworthy by linking to documents […]

Jay Sekulow Details DOJ's Panicked Response to Loretta Lynch's Meeting With Bill ClintonEarlier this week the American Center for Law and Justice released a treasure trove of information about the infamous secret tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and President Bill Clinton last year.

The government watch dog group released 400 emails they were previously told by the FBI did not exist. In them we learned Lynch used an email alias to discuss the secret meeting, that Department staff was in a panic over the optics and that liberal reporters worked with DOJ to squash the story as quickly as possible. Talking points used by DOJ to defend the meeting with the press have been completely redacted.

ACLJ President Jay Sekulow, who also serves as President Trump's personal attorney, detailed the findings during a recent interview on Fox News.  

See video here:

ACLJ has turned over all uncovered documentation to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is formally investigating the meeting between Lynch and Clinton.
Investigative Report: 
Generals Stirring the Proverbial Political Pot
By: Diane Sori/ The Patriot Factor / Right Side Patriots on American Political Radio

Last Friday AG Jeff Sessions held a press conference to address the ongoing leaks that are affected the Trump presidency...a press conference I expected so much from only to get little to nothing of substance. Same old, same old, was the order of the day to such a degree that I am convinced Jeff Sessions is not up to the task he is now charged with. With the demeanor of a milquetoast of sorts, what Trump needs from his AG, especially with the leaks actually increasing not decreasing, would be what amounts to a bull in a China shop...and simply...Jeff Sessions ain't it.

"This nation must end the culture of leaks"...Sessions said, stating the obvious when the obvious did not need to be said. And saying that the DOJ might...I in there's a possibility it will not...begin reviewing the potential for media subpoenas...shows a laize-faire attitude towards a media whose actions amount to treason if what they are willfully leaking affects national security or the safety of our troops. I did, however, agree when Sessions said that the press does not have an "unlimited" role in American society. "They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press' role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law-abiding Americans," were his exact words rightfully said, but following those words was no stating of how to do what his words insinuated we do.

A let down for sure yet not unexpected when a weak man is put into a position that calls for a man of fortitude and strength...not one whose strongest words to the leakers were, “Don't do it.”The leakers must be shaking in their boots with that one...sarcastically said.
And the timing of this press conference was laughable at best for it was announced just the day before a new and most grievous of leaks hit the public in the transcripts of private telephone conversations between President Trump and the president of Mexico, and President Trump and the prime minister of Australia. 
“No government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders," Sessions said, again stating the obvious while ignoring the fact that the answer to the leaking is hiding in plain site. And I cannot believe that AG Jeff Sessions has no clue as to who the leaker is...but I'll say again what I have said since day one...I believe National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster is the very man they all seek.

Now I will lay out my case for why McMaster must go.

I first stated some reasons for believing so almost immediately upon his appointment, and wrote about it back in March in article titled, The Manipulation of Willful article you can read in-full by simply clicking on said title. Briefly and to the point, Gen. H.R. McMaster is an islamic-condoner whose beliefs about islam and the enemy we currently face are directly in opposition to those of President opposition to such a degree that he vocally supported Barack HUSSEIN Obama's 'very bad' nuclear deal with Iran. 
And McMaster on numerous occasions has stated that he believes islam is a religion of peace hijacked by radicals, as could be witnessed in his first words said to his new staff after he assumed the national security advisor position...words to the affect that he considered the term “radical islamic terrorism” both “unhelpful”and “counterproductive,”and that eliminating that term would be “an improvement” in how we fight the enemy. 
An improvement in how we fight those out to kill us all I think not for the man who said those words believes that the term radical islamic terrorism as per his own words, “angers the Muslim world, stokes anti-American fires, and endangers U.S. troops and national security,” forgetting that words are not a weapon of war...actions taken are. 
And all of McMaster's words said fit perfectly together with Obama's words that we must “win the hearts and minds of the enemy”...that we dare not send his brethren to kingdom come where they truly belong. And really why wouldn't McMaster say what he says and do what he does for I believe the general is an Obama he is a holdover from the Obama of but a few generals not fired by Obama when he purged his command of generals he deemed "not loyal" to his way of fighting the enemy...or should I say not fighting the enemy. 
An Obama operative 'planted' to do as much damage to the Trump presidency as he can do for who would dare to question the doings or decisions of a lieutenant general with an almost impeccable military record, but a general who is a known anti-Semite who hates Israel (remember, Gen. McMaster was the lone voice against President Trump visiting the Western Wall and if Trump insisted on doing so not to let Netanyahu accompany him for fear it would offend muslims not because of falsely reported security concerns), and who like Obama has no love or respect for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unlike President Trump who does and also calls him friend. 

But even with this, what I want to know is who recommended and got President Trump to appoint as national security advisor a man who opposes almost all of his 'to-do' list...the start of which is the fact that McMaster opposes the president's temporary muslim travel ban; that McMaster opposes getting us out of Afghanistan while wanting us further engaged in Syria; and that he wants the 'very bad' Iranian nuclear deal kept in place as is. And to McMaster, China is not a big Trump it rightfully is.

So the rumor mill is ripe with possibilities but seems to be zeroing in on RINO Sen. John McCain as the one who pushed for McMaster's appointment after the firing of Gen. Flynn, and that he did so while pretending to have buried the hatchet after Trump apologized for some questionable words said about McCain's war-time service in Viet Nam...words said during a contentious campaign season. And if these rumors are true McCain buried the hatchet all right...right in President Trump's back.

And now on top of all this surfaces an undated and unclassified letter Gen. H.R. McMaster himself wrote and sent via U.S. snail-mail...a letter delivered the last week in Obama's former National Security Advisor Susan Rice...she of Benghazi talk show infamy and he using Obama's oft said catch phrase “going forward”in the second line of said letter. And in this letter McMaster gave Rice permission to not only keep her top-secret security clearance, but he also afforded her both “unfettered”and “continuing”access to highly classified information as well as waiving her “need-to-know”requirement on any and in everything...she viewed and/or received during her tenure under Obama. 
And what makes this beyond grievous is the fact that McMaster allowed Susan Rice these privileges even after she had been exposed as the one who “unmasked” bothmembers of President Trump’s transition team and other Americans surveilled under the Obama administration...even giving some of their names to the media and the press.

But know that under some specific circumstances as per “Executive Order 13526 Section 4.4 Access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel,” certain senior government officials can be given what's called “unfettered” access to classified information, with their “need to know”being waived for a set period of time. But the question is why would one of Trump's key advisors give such privileges to someone now under Congressional investigation...especially someone who is assuredly part of the shadow government trying to take this president down. Simply, they would not unless that person was not loyal to the man he now works for, but was a man whose loyalty and allegiances still lie with the very man who runs said shadow in one Barack HUSSEIN Obama. 
But the bottom line concerning this letter and what amounts to McMaster overstepping his bounds...his position is an advisory one not one where he can delegate policy...means that with Susan Rice actually no longer holding a government position and with Obama who appointed her no longer president, Rice should no longer be in possession of or have any access to any paper work or computer files she had when she was working in her official government is as simple as that. And McMaster knew this, still did what he did, and said not a word about it to President Trump.

And dare we forget that McMaster has fired many folks our president trusted and counted on. To name just a few... McMaster fired top White House intelligence aide Ezra Cohen-Watnick who played a key role in exposing Obama's appointed personnel eavesdropping on Trump officials; he fired Rich Higgins, senior director for strategic planning after he wrote a memo about globalists and islamist collaborating together to subvert Trump’s policy agenda; and just recently McMaster fired Col. Derek Harvey, the senior director for the Middle East after 'supposed' complaints from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a McMaster ally of sorts who, unfortunately while a great military tactician, takes a somewhat soft stance on islam itself while taking a somewhat questionable stance on Israel. More on this in a bit.

To add to the list of those fired by McMaster is Adam Lovinger, senior director for strategic assessments, fired after he attended a bar-mitzvah in Israel because he accused anti-Trump bureaucrats of politicizing the security clearance process; as well as Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, who was forced out of the NSC in April. And according to word out of D.C., McMaster is still firing others...including any and all opposed to Obama's 'very bad' nuclear deal...and any and all who dare to mention any of Obama's islamic-condoning holdovers.

But what did and do most of these folks have in common... first, most were hired by Gen. Michael Flynn, the very man Trump first appointed as national security advisor and a man who dared to tell the truth about muslims and islam. And second, most of those fired were champions of Israel... with many being Jewish...and were opposed to the 'so-called' Palestinians so-wanted two-state solution...the solution to help her enemies nail Israel's coffin shut.

And if all I stated was not reason enough to fire McMaster there's the matter of both his Deputy Security Advisor Dina Habib-Powell...a close friend of Obama's roomie and still string-puller Valerie Jarrett as well as being friends with Huma 'Muslim Brotherhood' Abedin...and of Kris Bauman, the man he appointed the National Security Council’s new "point man" on all things Israel. 

First...Habib-Powell. This woman is a member of Vital Voices, an organization founded and co-chaired by none other than Hillary Clinton herself and its rumored to be yet another part of her "donation racket"...and she is the one person reported to work hand-in-hand with McMaster...sort of a 'twofer' if you will. But here's a bit of extremely disconcerting the 1990s Habib-Powell was actually caught leaking to the press “negative stories”on Ginny Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. 

Birds of a feather it seems as what one got caught doing the other is now highly suspected of doing...and I believe did do...or even did it together.

Second...Kris Bauman. McMaster appointed Bauman, a fellow islamic-condoner, Hamas supporter/apologist and John Kerry protege...who believes that the “Israel Lobby” is a threat and that Israel should be pressured into making concessions to islamic terrorists as well as retreat to its now indefensible '67 borders...and a man who when part of the Obama team's last round of peace talks said, “the Obama Administration must find creative (but legal) ways to include Hamas in a solution” basically be his personal advisor on Israel. A man who believes that Israel is at fault for the failure of all previous peace efforts and that peace can only be achieved when the U.S. applies enough diplomatic and economic pressure on Israel, will now be advising our president via McMaster on critical Israeli-Palestinian issues.

A friend and supporter of Israel Gen. H.R. McMaster is not no matter the media's or his supporter's claim to the contrary as his NSC is now full of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, supporters.

And last for now it must be said that it was Gen. McMaster himself along with his recently appointed Senior Director of Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali...who is CAIR’s 'so-called' diversity outreach coordinator...blocked anti-islamic activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali from formally presenting her paper on radical islamic terrorism at the NSC unless an official representative from CAIR could speak to refute her work. Traveling to D.C. to present her work before the Senate, McMaster was also the one who prevented Ali from meeting with President Trump, allowing her only an 'informal' meeting with NSC members.

But even with all I presented here know there is more that will come out about Gen. H.R. McMaster and those he surrounds himself with...after all he appears to be James Comey's 'deep state' replacement...much more to add to the case for his firing (and dare I say arrest for subversion) for McMaster serves solely at the pleasure of the president, and like his buddy Comey, he can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” - words once said by Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis.

A bit ago I mentioned Secretary of Defense James Mattis... a man 'eased' into retirement by Obama...but know that one critical Middle East stance of his raises some red flags for me for Gen. Mattis, has instead of placing blame for the region’s unrest on islam’s 1,400-year-old violent history, he places the blame for regional anti-Western, anti-American, sentiments and hostilities on the “Arab street’s” perception of the “injustice of oppression” supposedly suffered by the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation. In fact, in 2013 at the Aspen Security Forum, Mattis defended...and still defends...the two-state solution saying,“I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel.”

Guess what we are and rightly so as Israel is the Middle East's only democracy...a beacon of freedom amongst those out to kill us well as being our staunchest ally.

And Gen. Mattis also recently stated that Israel's control of Judea and Samaria was “unsustainable,” and that Jewish “settlements”could turn Israel into an “apartheid state.” Sounds a bit too close to words said by Obama if you ask me, but remember, General Mattis was Obama's appointee to head CentCom.

But please don't get me wrong as I support our military one hundred plus percent, but supporting our military does not mean I cannot disagree with some choices made for why out of our vast military pool of possible choices did President Trump give two key positions to one holdover Obama appointee and the other a man who might or might not be a true supporter of Israel. Why...obviously our president is being given cleverly manipulated information... information not to help his presidency succeed but information to help in destroying it...and to do so via his own appointees.

Also, and with all honor and due respect for their service, I feel it must be noted that maybe the time has come for our political leaders to realize that those military men and women who came of age and wore our nation's uniform during the Viet Nam era up to the time of the First Gulf War fought a different type of war and a vastly different enemy than we are fighting today. And so when choosing military men to lead our troops into today's wars and even when choosing those who will advise our president, maybe those people should be drawn only from those valiant and brave men and women who have lived and fought...and maybe still do... during this age of escalating islamic terrorism for they know first hand better than most the here and now tangibles of the enemy we currently face.

And in the case of Gen. Mattis, who not long ago told Congress that we are "not winning" the war in Afghanistan (see and hear the general saying those words here: a great morale booster for our troops currently on the ground or those being sent there...the most important question that must be asked is are we, under his command, really winning in the Middle East more so than we were before. Unfortunately, I think not for while Mosul has been won back from ISIS control that winning in the long run remains tentative at best...Syria is still in turmoil as we continue to support the wrong side as in the anything but 'rebels' who are tentacles of ISIS and al-Qaeda...and Iran gets closer everyday to its goal of wiping Israel off the map.

So while the good general wages an intensely focused battle against ISIS, the fact remains that there is more to the Middle East conundrum than just ISIS, including the political battle of words we fight with our NATO allies over Israel...Israel who NATO condemns while they excuse the actions of the islamists even as their countries are being invaded and overrun by said islamists. And we have our own problems right here at home in that certain policy setters and advisors, while not condoning the islamists per se, still refuse to stand strong and admit who the enemy we fight really in islam itself. And Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis is one such person, for this general above all else should know that you cannot win a war against an enemy you still refuse to name.

And that leads into the question do military men make good politicians or good cabinet choices. To that, except for some well-known exceptions, I'm not so sure they do. And why...while service in the military does prepare someone to make tough decisions and show leadership especially in times of war...politics is and will always remain a game that most times does not play by the rules. And with the military demanding allegiance to a certain set of rules above all else, and with politicians rarely playing by the rules, a politician is better suited to play the dirty game called politics. But a military leader close at hand is needed for their battle, weapons, tactical, and delegating of duties expertise, but even that can turn into a game playing negative when said military leader is not really part of this case... president's team.

This is surely the case with Gen. H.R. McMaster who needs to be sent packing post-haste, but in the case of General James Mattis and even to some degree with newly appointed Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, only time, battles won, right sides taken, and people rightfully fired will tell. But know that sometimes too much brass itself does indeed tarnish the proverbial political pot especially when that political pot is hand delivered by Barack HUSSEIN Obama... the still in operation enemy within.

Copyright @ 2017 Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor


Today, Tuesday, August 8th from 7 to 9pm on American Political Radio, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori discuss "Generals Stirring the Proverbial Political Pot, revisit the issue of sanctuary cities, and important news of the day.

Hope you can tune in at:

Just a Thought...
Rahm Emanuel...Clueless as to the Constitution
By: Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor

So Rahm Emanuel wants to sue President Trump and the DOJ over sanctuary cities losing government funding...of which Chicago is but one of way too many. Hate to tell good ol' libertard Emanuel, but the power to set immigration policy...which does apply to sanctuary per the U.S. a federal NOT a state or local issue. So sue away... waste Chicago's taxpayer dollars on a case you do NOT constitutionally have. Maybe that will shake up Chicagoans to vote your sorry butt out of office.
          Think Tank Medical Combats Future DOJ & RAC Investigations of Hospitals for Improper ICD Implantation Procedures        

In a continued effort to ensure ICD Compliance within CMS Guidelines, Think Tank Medical now offers hospitals a private, dedicated version of the CMS ICD Application to distribute to all doctors, cardiologists and electrophysiologists within their facilities.

(PRWeb January 29, 2013)

Read the full story at

          The United States Department of Justice Withdraws Its Objection to a Nationwide Order Banning the Implementation and Enforcement of the Departments of Justice and Education’s Guidance on Transgender Students        
On February 10, 2017, the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Trump administration withdrew a motion made in November 2016 under the Obama administration with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; in its motion, the DOJ objected to a Texas Federal Court judge’s nationwide ban on the enforcement by...… Continue Reading
          Farming Business Under DOJ & USDA Review        

The Departments of Justice and Agriculture are holding their final workshop to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. This final workshop will focus on margins.

According to the DOJ

This workshop will look at the discrepancies between the prices received by farmers and the prices paid by consumers. As a concluding event, discussions from previous workshops will be incorporated into the analysis of agriculture markets nationally.

This all day event wraps up a series of workshops that began in March of 2010. The four previous workshops covered Issues of Concern to Farmers, the Poultry Industry, the Dairy Industry, and the Livestock Industry.

read more

          Washington State Tells DOJ Voter Rolls Are 'Accurate' 
Washington state’s voter rolls are “accurate,” and the state follows federal election laws. That’s the message Washington Director of Elections, Lori Augino, is sending to the U.S. Department of Justice.
          Linkpost | 1.19.2012        
• Windows 8 Pro upgrade pricing will jump from $40 to $200 on Feb. 1 – Get Windows 8 cheap while you can. • Senator John Cornyn Asks Eric Holder To Explain DOJ Prosecution Of Aaron Swartz – Texas’ senior U.S. senator inserts himself into the Aaron Swartz controversy. And After Aaron: how an antiquated  Read More
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Larry Pratt Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 30 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms. DOJ CONFESSION Asst Attorney General Admits that Operation Fast and Furious led to Murders In a shocking admission, Asst Attorney General Ronald Weich admitted in a letter to House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary ranking member Charles Grassley that the operation known as Fast and Furious led to the deaths of multiple people. Another do not miss end time radio program. Please visit Remember we do not agree %100 with Our guest it is up to you to pray and seek the truth.
          Trump Is on a Mission to Convert White Resentment into a Federal Agency        
Several government agencies are abandoning enforcement of equal rights to elevate white America.

Trump appointees with white power leanings are not just scaling back federal civil rights protections. They are elevating the defense of white Americans across the government as the nation’s demographics become increasingly diverse.

This startling shift can be seen across many departments, from justice to education to environmental protection to labor. It’s not just top appointees in policymaking posts who have long opposed affirmative action and worked to subvert equal rights for minorities; it’s also emerging civil rights enforcement directives, proposed budgets slashing civil rights lawyers and announcements for new anti-minority agendas.

“This White House initiative represents a dangerous departure from policies and practices that help heal our nation’s racial divisions; instead, it serves as a desperate appeal to the worst fears of those who consciously or subconsciously despise the increasing diversity and shifting power dynamic in America today,” said Edward A. Hailes Jr., managing director and general counsel at Advancement Project’s national office.

This pro-white cant was heard at the White House Wednesday, when Trump and two GOP senators, Arkansas' Tom Cotton and Georgia's David Perdue, proposed legislation to make it harder for non-English-speaking foreigners to get green cards making them legal visitors, which Cotton said hurts the working class. 

“It [the current immigration system] puts great downward pressure on people who work with their hands and work with their feet,” Cotton said, speaking to Trump's white base—who often lack higher education but have solid middle-class incomes. “Now, for some people, they may think that’s a symbol of America’s virtue and generosity. I think it’s a symbol we’re not committed to working-class Americans. And we need to change that.”

Trump's support for cutting legal immigration in half revives his racist campaign attacks on non-whites and national identity. It's one more sign that suggests his slogan, "Make America Great Again," actually means "Make White America Great Again." Another sign came earlier this week when his appointees at the Justice Department, the hub of civil rights enforcement for the past 50 years, announced they were looking to hire lawyers for “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” This revives the anti-white bias issue after the Supreme Court rejected it in 2016, although a longtime white supremacist legal crusader is seeking to revive it in Texas state court.

“DOJ’s active investigation of race-conscious admissions policies is expected to have a chilling effect on those institutions, public and private, committed to pursuing the educational benefits of diversity,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said Wednesday. “AG Sessions is diverting critical resources on a wasteful campaign to recruit DOJ attorneys to dismantle the very policies that helped to level the playing field caused by years of debilitating discrimination.”

But the DOJ announcement did not occur in a vacuum. At the Department of Education, acting civil rights chief Candace Johnson has said the agency will narrow the way it looks at campus-based sexual and racial discrimination cases. Johnson has opposed affirmative action for non-whites since her student days at Stanford University. The agency also wants to eliminate 40 civil rights division posts.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new leaders want to end its environmental justice initiatives, which serve communities of color. The Labor Department wants to shut its anti-discrimination office.

But the signals coming from the Department of Justice are sweeping, and span a range of areas that suggest appointees with white power leanings have taken the reins. The DOJ is also backing away from consent decrees, which it has used to push local police departments and municipalities to change policies contributing to institutional racism.

DOJ spokespeople would not comment why the department's new senior appointees want to investigate race-based discrimination at universities. But there are strong clues where that agenda may be coming from, as some of the same people who have urged the DOJ to refocus the Voting Section’s priorities on policing the vote have also sued state universities over lower tuition rates for undocumented students.

In late March, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who Trump appointed as vice chair to a presidential election integrity commission, and several appointees wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him to purge the DOJ of liberal lawyers and return to “race-neutral voting rights enforcement.”

That means stop suing red states for harsh voter ID laws that have been shown to discriminate against non-whites, and stop suing red states for illegal race-based gerrymanders. States that have lost in federal court to the DOJ include Texas, North Carolina and Alabama (Sessions' home state). Others appointed to Trump's election panel include J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ attorney who has long complained that Obama’s DOJ never prosecuted blacks for oppressing white voters.  

Kobach’s career has also included the same legal action the DOJ is now looking at in state college and university admissions. Before he got involved in voting rights, he worked with anti-immigrant groups that sued three states that did not charge higher out-of-state tuition rates to Dreamer students. Kobach sued university systems in Kansas, California and Nebraska; his side lost in court.

These efforts by the Trump administration are disturbing on many levels, not just by subverting the historic civil rights mission and achievements of the mid-20th century, but seeking to elevate white Americans by institutionally turning blind eyes to a spectrum of discrimination. Trump's announcement that he seeks to cut legal immigration in half, especially by limiting the visas granted to family members of lower-wage workers sends another unambiguous message about race and national identity; he is seeking to return America to a more tribal and racially divided era.

“For years, Republicans have made it a priority to vilify immigrants and encourage bigotry and prejudice,” Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way political director, said. “Let’s be clear: This legislation has absolutely nothing to do with helping our economy and everything to do with playing up the Trump administration’s nativist agenda and boosting support from his base after failing to deliver his campaign promises on health care. President Trump continues to demonstrate that he is willing to abandon our country’s values in order to push his own extreme agenda and score a few political points.”

But it’s not just scoring points. Trump’s White House is putting white power sympathizers in top positions across the government. He’s ignoring history and rolling back the clock by rekindling the same post-Civil War sentiments as when whites lashed out at newly freed blacks and immigrants, declaring the federal government and law was meant to serve white America before all others. 


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          Dissention in antitrust agencies        
The Wall Street Journal reports major conflicts between the DOJ and the FTC over antitrust jurisdiction.  There are only two of them, and they are not subject to rules against collusion and open agreements.  Nonetheless, they can’t get along and they cannot decide on market division.    Maybe they will take this as information about […]
          Detroit ER Doctor Charged With Performing Female Genital Mutilations        

Gary Fouse

Hat tip The Blaze

“The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country,” she added in a statement, “and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”

Image result for jumana nagarwala

A doctor in Detroit has been charged for performing female genital mutilations. She is an emergency room physician named Jumana Nagarwala. She is facing federal charges.

I can only pray that this story is widely publicized. This practice has encroached upon Europe. It is done behind closed doors. In other cases, young girls are sent back to the family's country of origin to have the procedure performed. No doubt some families here have sent their daughters back to the old country for the same purpose. Now this.

These girls are entitled to the same protections we all enjoy here in America. I am heartened that the new DOJ is prosecuting this. I doubt the Obama DOJ would have brought charges.

          Kim Dotcom & Internet Party Leader Suzie Dawson Discuss Seth Rich        
from The Outer Light: Kim Dotcom and Internet Party Leader Suzie Dawson discuss Seth Rich VIDEO: KimDotCom speaks to the Internet Party about the Seth Rich investigation. RELATED: FBI RAIDING CLINTON FOUNDATION OFFICES AFTER DOJ ALLOWS FIVE FBI INVESTIGATIONS TO CONTINUE… NOPE!
          'Let Local People Solve Local Problems,' Memphis Says In Bid To End DOJ Oversight        
Five years ago, the Justice Department concluded that juvenile courts in Memphis, Tenn., failed to give due process to children. Civil rights investigators uncovered significant racial disparities , and they reached a deal to fix some of those failings. Now, local officials are asking to terminate federal oversight. They're making their pitch to Justice Department leaders, who have a very different view of civil rights enforcement from the previous administration. When the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Memphis a few weeks ago, he heard an earful from local officials over the breakfast table. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell told the attorney general that it's time to end expensive federal oversight of the juvenile courts. Because, he said, they've already done a lot of heavy lifting. Public defenders now represent 60 percent of the kids who appear in court, up from none five years ago. The controversy in Memphis represents part of a much larger debate. President Trump and
          Too Close For Comfort: Insiders Worry About DOJ Lawyers Speaking At White House        
John Huber is a career prosecutor in Utah who's served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. This month, the Trump White House nominated him to serve as a U.S. attorney in that state. But it came as something of a surprise to current and former Justice Department veterans Wednesday when Huber appeared for a news conference in Washington: not in the halls of Justice, but at the White House podium. Huber and the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement used the platform to advocate for the passage of House bills that increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who break the law and jurisdictions that refuse to share information with federal immigration authorities. "Kate's Law enhances our ability to stem the tide of criminals who seem to almost always return to victimize us," Huber told the reporters assembled in the briefing room. He added: "Forty percent of my felony caseload in Utah are criminal alien prosecutions. If it's a problem in Utah, it's a problem for
          Feds Want To Keep DOJ Report Out Of Chicago Police Officer’s Trial        
The report “would mislead the jury, and would confuse the pertinent issues” in Officer Marco Proano’s trial, prosecutors said.
          Book Review: The End of Ownership        

In the digital age, a lot depends on whether we actually own our stuff, and who gets to decide that in the first place.

In The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Age, Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz walk us through a detailed and highly readable explanation of exactly how we’re losing our rights to own and control our media and devices, and what’s at stake for us individually and as a society. The authors carefully trace the technological changes and legal changes that have, they argue, eroded our rights to do as we please with our stuff. Among these changes are the shift towards cloud distribution and subscription models, expanding copyright and patent laws, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and use of End User License Agreements (EULAs) to assert all content is “licensed” rather than “owned.” And Perzanowski and Schultz present compelling evidence that many of us are unaware of what we’re giving up when we “buy” digital goods.

Ownership, as the authors explain, provides a lot of benefits. Most importantly, ownership of our stuff supports our individual autonomy, defined by the authors as our “sense of self-direction, that our behavior reflects our own preferences and choices rather than the dictates of some external authority.” It lets us choose what we do with the stuff that we buy – we can keep it, lend it, resell it, repair it, give it away, or modify it, without seeking anyone’s permission. Those rights have broader implications for society as a whole – when we can resell our stuff, we enable secondary and resale markets that help disseminate knowledge and technology, support intellectual privacy, and promote competition and user innovation. And they’re critical to the ability of libraries and archives to serve their missions – when a library owns the books or media in its collection, it can lend those books and media almost without restriction, and it generally will do so in a way that safeguards the intellectual privacy of its users.

These rights, long established for personal property, are safeguarded in part by copyright law’s “exhaustion doctrine.” As the authors make clear, that doctrine, which holds that some of a copyright holders’ rights to control what happens to a copy are “exhausted” when they sell the copy, is a necessary feature in copyright law’s effort to limit the powers granted to copyright holders so that overbroad copyright restrictions do not undermine the intended benefit to the public as a whole.

Throughout the book, Perzanowski and Schultz present a historical account of rights holder attempts to overcome exhaustion and exert more control over what people do with their media and devices. The authors describe book publishers’ hostile, “fearful” response to lending libraries in the 1930’s:

…a group of publishers hired PR pioneer Edward Bernays….to fight against used “dollar books” and the practice of book lending. Bernays decided to run a contest to “look for a pejorative word for the book borrower, the wretch who raised hell with book sales and deprived authors of earned royalties.”…Suggested names included “bookweevil,”…”libracide,” “booklooter,” “bookbum,” “culture vulture,” … with the winning entry being “booksneak.”

Publishers weren’t alone, the authors show that both record labels and Hollywood studios fought against the rise of secondary markets for music and home video rental, respectively. Hollywood fought a particularly aggressive battle against the VCR. In the end, the authors note, Hollywood continued to “resist[] the home video market,” at least until they gained more control over the distribution technology.

But while historically, overzealous rights holders may have been stymied to some extent by the law’s limitation of their rights, recent technological changes have made their quest a lot easier.

“In a little more than the decade,” the authors explain, we’ve seen dramatic changes in content distribution, from tangible copies, to digital downloads, to the cloud, and now, increasingly, to subscription services. These technological changes have precipitated corresponding changes in our abilities to own the works in our libraries. While, as the authors explain, copyright law has long relied on the existence of a physical copy to draw the lines between rights holders’ and copy owners’ respective rights, “[e]ach of these shifts in distribution technology has taken us another step away from the copy-centric vision at the heart of copyright law.” Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept up: “Even as copies escape our possession and disappear from our experience, copyright law continues to insist that without them, we only have the rights copyright holders are kind enough to grant us.”

Perzanowski and Schultz point to End User License Agreements (EULAs), with their excessive length, one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it nature, complicated legalese, and relentless insistence that what you buy is only “licensed” to you (not “owned”), as a main culprit behind the decline of ownership.  They provide some pretty standout examples – including EULAs that exceed the lengths of classic works of literature, and those that claim to prevent a startling array of activity. For the authors, these EULAs

. . . create private regulatory schemes that impose all manner of obligations and restrictions, often without meaningful notice, much less assent. And in the process, licenses effectively rewrite the balance between creators and the public that our IP laws are meant to maintain. They are an effort to redefine sales, which transfer ownership to the buyer, as something more like conditional grants of access.

And unfortunately, despite their departure from some of contract law’s core principles, some courts have permitted their enforcement, “so long as the license recites the proper incantations.”

The authors are at their most poetic in their criticism of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Section 1201 of the DMCA, perhaps the worst scourges of ownership in the book. As they point out, even in the absence of restrictive EULA terms, DRM embeds rights holders’ control directly into our technologies themselves – in our cars, our toys, our insulin pumps and heart monitors. Comparing it to Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, they explain:

While not nearly as dramatic as flamethrowers and fighting robot dogs, the unilateral right to enforce such restrictions through DRM exerts many of the types of social control Bradbury feared. Reading, listening, and watching become contingent and surveilled. That system dramatically shifts power and autonomy away from individuals in favor of retailers and rights holders, allowing for enforcement without anything approaching due process.

As Perzanowski and Schultz explain, these shifts aren’t just about our relationship to our stuff. They recalibrate the relationship between rights holders and consumers on a broad scale:

When we say that personal property rights are being eroded or eliminated in the digital marketplace, we mean that rights to use, to control, to keep, and to transfer purchases – physical and digital – are being plucked from the bundle of rights purchasers have historically enjoyed and given instead to IP rights holders. That in turn means that those rights holders are given greater control over how each of us consume media, use our devices, interact with our friends and family, spend our money, and live our lives. Cast in these terms, it is clear that there is a looming conflict between the respective rights of consumers and IP rights holders.

The authors repeatedly remind us that who makes the decision between what is owned and what is licensed is crucial – both on the individual and societal scale. When we allow companies to define when we can own our stuff, through EULAs or Digital Rights Management, we shift crucially important decisions about how our society should work away from legislatures, courts, and public processes, to private entities with little incentive to serve our interests. And, when we don’t know exactly what we give up when we “buy” digital goods, we’re not making an informed choice. Further, when we opt for mere access over ownership, our choices have broader societal effects. The more we shift to licensing and subscription models, the more it may become harder for those who would rather own their stuff to exercise that option – stores close, companies shift distribution models, and some works disappear from the market.

In the end, Perzanowski and Schultz leave us with a thread of hope that we still might see a future for ownership of digital goods. They believe that at least some courts and policy makers, and “[p]erhaps more importantly, readers, listeners, and tinkerers – ordinary people – are expressing their own reluctance to accept ownership as an artifact of some bygone predigital era.” And they provide a set of arguments and reform proposals to martial in the fight to save ownership before it’s too late. They lay out an array of technological and legal strategies to reduce deceptive practices, curb abusive EULAs, and, reform copyright law. The most thoroughly developed of these proposes a legislative restructuring of copyright exhaustion in a flexible, multi-factor format, in part modeled on the United States’ fair use doctrine. It’s a good idea, and it would probably work.  But (and the authors acknowledge this) even modest attempts at reform have failed to garner the necessary support in Congress to move forward. A more ambitious proposal, like this one, seems at least unlikely in the near term.

Overall, the End of Ownership is a deeply concerning exposition of how we’re losing valuable rights. The questions it raises about whether and how we can preserve the benefits of ownership in the digital age will likely continue to be relevant even as technology, and the law, evolve. Most critically, it asks us to rethink who we want making the decisions that shape how we live our lives. While the book tackles complex issues in law and technology, it does so in a way that’s accessible and interesting both for lawyers and laypersons alike. The book’s ample real world examples of everything from disappearing e-book libraries, to tractors, dolls, and medical devices resistant to their owners’ control bring home both the impact of abstract legal doctrines and the urgency of their reform.

 To learn about some of EFF’s efforts to protect your rights of ownership and autonomy, you can:

          Did The DOJ Embrace The 2nd Circuit's Caronia Ruling In Amarin's Off-Label Challenge?        
The Federal government continues to fight drug company efforts to talk about clinical information, rather than issue clarifying guidelines that could reconcile its regulatory prerogative with the First Amendment and the interests of doctors and patients.
          Answering the Sunday Question for Liberals... Where does the Cabinet rank?        
Jonathan Bernstein asks a weekly question of liberals and conservatives. I'm going to try and answer him as best as I can most weeks. Here is his question for today,
Obama's cabinet: who are the winners so far? Losers? Who do you hope will move up to a bigger job? Who do you hope will disappear and never be heard from again? Biggest disappointment? Biggest (positive) surprise?
Really interesting question. I am not going to have something to say on each Cabinet member but here is where I see a few of them...


1. Hilary Clinton. Arguably she had the biggest job starting on Day 1, maybe you put Tim Geithner ahead of her. Regardless, she was charged with fixing State after the George W. Bush administration and restoring some sense of America's honor around the globe. I think she has done a solid job in the face of numerous international crisis as well.

2. Hilda Solis. She has given DOL a new direction and new life. Much like Eric Holder and his revitalization of the Civil Rights Division, Solis' has brought new energy and focus to long dormant agencies which protect worker safety. The West Virginia mining disaster helped remind us all just how important these agencies really are.

Here is a great profile of Solis from The Nation from a year ago.


1. Tim Geithner. Given his tax issues he's lacked credibility from day one. He projects all of the aura of charisma of a flacid penis. And his role within the cabinet appeared to be on the level of Larry Summers pool boy. The economy has stabilized somewhat but Geithner is widely reviled in the public for all of the above named reasons and then some. People hate him so much that they just assume he used to work at Goldman Sachs - he's not.

Good piece from The Atlantic from April, 2010 on Tim Geithner.

2. Ken Salazar. After the debacle in Louisiana and the related Minerals Management Service screw-up (wherein Salazar utterly and inexplicably failed to implement reforms of a known corrupt high-profile agency until BP helped push it to the front-page - again) I really can't believe he still has his job. I really did not like him as my Senator but I felt that Interior would be a good fit for him given his background. But Salazar has failed and failed publicly, his image is forever tarnished.

Want to Make Him a Winner but...

Eric Holder. As terrible as John Ashcroft was (and I am from Missouri, so I am well aware of the depths of his depravity) the reign of Alberto Gonzalez is just an utter embarrassment. So Holder had quite a crater to pull the DOJ out of and I think on many, many fronts he has. The Civil Rights division in particular has been utterly resurrected. But then there are the civil liberties issues as most recently highlighted by the Bradley Manning fiasco. My gut tells me (or possibly it is just a naive hope) that Holder's heart isn't into it and that the White House is driving these decisions but nonetheless Holder is out front defending them. So I can't make him a winner, but I also have a hard time labeling the man a loser too - he most decidedly is not.

I highly recommend this GQ piece from last year on Holder, it cuts to the heart of the internal conflict which Holder is facing.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. 

Ray LaHood. The guy is on my television twice a week. I'm not really sure what he does besides prepare for, then give, then de-brief from press conferences. He seemed to pursue Toyota vigorously (though plaintiff's attorneys are gunning for the Toyota-exonerating NHTSA report) but his anti-texting zealotry reminds me of C. Everett Koop. Not that he's wrong mind you, just that I'm not used to seeing a Secretary of Transportation taking such a public stance on anything. Where any of them like this over seat-belts or airbags back in the 70's and 80's?

          Sexual Orientation and Title VII        
There has been considerable commentary on the Justice Department’s filing of an amicus brief saying that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover employment “discrimination based on sexual orientation.” The DOJ filed the brief in the case of Donald Zarda, who filed suit against his former employer Altitude Express in […]
          New DOJ unit will use data analytics to combat opioid fraud        
The Department of Justice announced it will create a unit that will use healthcare fraud data to combat the opioid epidemic. The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit will focus specifically on illegal opioid distribution and will use fraud data to track down people who may be contributing to opioid addiction.
          DOJ Report On Chicago Police Finds 'Pattern Of Excessive Force'        
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: It's a little more than a year since the city of Chicago released video showing a white police officer shooting a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 16 times. Protesters poured into the streets after the long-delayed release of the video, and they called for reforms. Today, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch went to Chicago to discuss the Justice Department's year-long investigation into the city's police department. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports. CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Chicago is the latest city to have its police department come under the close scrutiny of the Justice Department following a controversial fatal encounter between police and a citizen. In 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a white police officer, but it took a court order for the city to release the police video. That officer has since been charged with murder. Today, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department had interviewed
          Ireland’s Country Sports Organizations Reach Agreement On Firearms Licensing Fees        

We are delighted an agreement has been reached on firearms fees & a banded system for rifles between an alliance of shooting & rural organizations, the DOJ & the Police Service of Northern Ireland...

This post Ireland’s Country Sports Organizations Reach Agreement On Firearms Licensing Fees appeared first on Shooting Sports News .

          Firearms Dealers In Northern Ireland NOT Required To Keep Electronic Records        

Countryside Alliance Ireland welcomes the decision by the DOJ for Northern Ireland that it is not a requirement for Registered Firearms Dealers in Northern Ireland to hold records electronically...

This post Firearms Dealers In Northern Ireland NOT Required To Keep Electronic Records appeared first on Shooting Sports News .

          Luttrell’s Triple Whammy        
County mayor’s composure wears thin after commission action (and inaction) on a triad of issues.

Give Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell points for coming front and center to account for an effort by himself and two other county officials to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to discontinue its oversight of Juvenile Court operations.

Give Luttrell an Excedrin or a flak jacket (pick one) as a remedy for the consequences of that candor. Double his dose or his armament for the triple whammy he incurred during Monday's regular meeting of the Shelby County Commission, a legislative body that has been carrying on guerrilla warfare against the mayor's authority for at least two years. 

The commission ramped up its assault on Monday with action on three different fronts.

First, after a run-through of a commission agenda that ultimately bypassed the matter of the county's 2017-18 budget, the commission voted in favor of an add-on resolution, sponsored by Democrat Walter Bailey, that directly opposed the request by Luttrell, Sheriff Bill Oldham, and Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael (all Republicans) that was expressed in their recently publicized letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking to end DOJ oversight of the court.

That vote was unanimous after a fashion, with seven members — six Democrats and Republican David Reaves — voting aye and four, all Republicans, abstaining. 

Clearly, the abstention by the four non-concurring (but also non-objecting) GOP members — Terry Roland, Steve Basar, George Chism, and Heidi Shafer — was based less on aversion to the action of Luttrell, Oldham, and Michael than on a wish to be discreet on a racially charged matter that numerous audience members, all opposing the officials' action, had spoken to on the meeting's front end.

The DOJ's Memorandum of Understanding with the county, dating from 2012, was based on a department investigation of what it ultimately proclaimed to be administrative problems and racial bias on the court's part. 

Saying, "You may not get what you're asking for," Roland, in fact, made the point that a Department of Justice under Sessions undoubtedly had a different attitude toward the Juvenile Court matter than the department, led by Eric Holder, that imposed oversight in the 2012 MOU — a point countered by resolution supporter Van Turner, who insisted that "local monitors" were and would continue to be the actual overseers and that the court's irregularities had not been sufficiently addressed, as Luttrell suggested they had.    

An obviously angry mayor then said the commission majority's action was "much ado about nothing," said that it would be ignored in Washington, and that, in any case, he would veto it, so that "it won't have the county seal."

The second whammy was presented to the mayor in a resolution, sponsored by Turner, asking the administration to submit any change in county security operations to the commission for its approval. 

Luttrell's CAO, Harvey Kennedy, lambasted that one as yet another incursion on executive prerogatives, and the resolution failed by a 3-4 vote — a result that was probably inevitable, inasmuch as a commission majority had approved the changeover in question — from the security management of Allied Universal, a corporation based outside Shelby County, to that of Clarion Security, a local operation headed by a woman, Kim Heathcott, in conjunction with four local majority-black companies.

The changeover satisfied the commission's recently adopted guidelines requiring an increase in county contracts with locally owned small businesses (LOSBs) and business enterprises owned by racial minorities or women (MWBEs).

And the final provocation to the mayor's usual calm demeanor — the third whammy, as it were  — came from the commission's decision, by a 6-4 vote, to postpone approval of Luttrell's proposed 2017-18 operating budget because of unresolved amendment requests, all made relatively recently and including some which, as Luttrell noted, had only been presented to him on Monday. An uncharacteristically fuming Luttrell called the delay "frustrating," and, on that matter, he was echoed by commission budget chairman Steve Basar, who pronounced himself "disgusted" and by Commissioner David Reaves, who vented his displeasure by voting no on an otherwise unanimous continuing-budget resolution, leaving current expenditure requirements in place pending some forthcoming late agreement on a new budget, technically due to be in place by July 1st.

          Echoes of Discord        
Local disagreements on key issues reflect the national partisan divide.

As partisan disagreements on pending legislative measures continued to dominate the Washington political scene, there were distinct local echoes.

Even as Democrats in Congress were trying to force open discussion of the Senate's pending version of an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill, now being prepared in private by an ad hoc group of Republican Senators, the party faithful across the state held press conferences last Friday protesting the GOP's close-to-the-vest strategy.

In Memphis, the protest, led by London Lamar, president of the Tennessee Young Democrats and including state Representative Antonio Parkinson, was held in front of the Cliff Davis Federal Building downtown. The group's call for open discussion of health-care legislation was directed not only at congressional Republicans but at Tennessee Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. David Kustoff specifically.

Though the matter of the federal government's current direct oversight of mandated improvements in the procedures of Shelby County's Juvenile Court was not, per se, a partisan issue, local attitudes toward it have tended to cleave along party lines.

Such, at least, was the appearance of things after news accounts surfaced over the weekend detailing recent efforts by three county officials seeking an end to federal oversight of Shelby County Juvenile Court, the result of a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the Department of Justice.

The officials — county Mayor Mark Luttrell, Sheriff Bill Oldham, and Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael — were all elected under the Republican electoral banner. 

The three officials discussed the matter of ending the federal oversight with Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his recent visit to Memphis. As attorney general, Sessions has taken a hard-line approach to law enforcement, focusing on what he sees as a need for more stringent enforcement and stricter penalties.

Luttrell, Oldham, and Michael subsequently elaborated on their request in a formal letter to the DOJ, which maintained that the court's shortcomings — pinpointed in the DOJ investigation and subsequent MOU — have been rectified.

That claim drew negative reaction, much of it from local Democrats. One critic was state Representative Larry Miller, speaking as a panelist Monday morning at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Answering a question from the audience about legislative action on juvenile justice, Miller noted the county officials' letter to the DOJ and took issue with it: "They're saying, 'We've done it. ... We no longer need oversight.'" Disagreeing, Miller said, "We're not there yet. The system is based on incarceration of young black men."

A more reserved response came from former county Commissioner Sidney Chism, now an employee of the Sheriff's Department and a declared candidate in next year's race for county mayor. Said Chism, evidently speaking on behalf of Sheriff Oldham: "He has taken the goals seriously and has worked hard to achieve them, and I think he believes they have been achieved."

Two legislators who were on Monday's panel at the NCRM — state representatives Joe Towns and John DeBerry — commented afterward that the MOU should remain in effect but acknowledged, like Chism, that Luttrell, Michael, and Oldham seemed to have made good-faith efforts to raise the standards in effect at Juvenile Court.

But another nay vote came from 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen, who noted in a prepared statement that he had supported the original intervention by the Justice Department and said, "While progress has been made since 2012, there are still reports of race playing a factor in court hearings and reports of the juvenile detention facilities becoming more dangerous." 

As of Tuesday, Sessions had not formally responded to the officials' request.

          County Officials Seek End of Federal Monitoring of Juvenile Court        
The federal monitoring of Shelby County's Juvenile Court, instituted in a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding with the county, could end forthwith if the Department of Justice responds favorably to a request to end the monitoring from three county officials: Mayor Mark Luttrell, Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael, and Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham.

The officials discussed the matter of ending the federal oversight with Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his recent visit to Memphis  and elaborated on their request in a formal letter to the DOJ.

The DOJ's  MOU with the county and the resultant monitoring procedures began following an investigation of Juvenile Court in response to a request from then County Commissioner Henri Brooks. The Department concurred with Brooks' complaint alleging a series of problems, including administrative inefficiencies and de facto racial bias, and the Memorandum of Understanding followed.

The letter to the Department from Luttrell, Michael, and Oldham maintains that the Court's shortcomings pinpointed in the DOJ investrigation and subsequent order have been fully rectified.

Should the Department of Justice concur with the local officials' request, such action would be in line with a new policy pursued by Sessions, who has called upon local law-enforcement jurisdictions to be stricter in their enforcement of legal penalties.

Local Responses

Reaction to news of the three County officials' request of the Department of Justice generated quick reaction locally -- much of it negative.

One critic was state Representative Larry Miller, speaking as a panelist Monday morning at the National Civil Rights Museum during the kickoff event for a Legislative Black Caucus statewide tour.

Answering a question from the audience about legislative action on juvenile justice, Miller said, "The first introduction to the justice system is Juvenile Court, where the rate of recidivism is 80 percent. Think of it ...I go in, I come out, and I go in again."

He then noted the county officials' letter to the DOJ and took issue with it: "They’re saying, 'We’ve done it, We’ve got it where it needs to be. We no longer need oversight.'" Expressing his disagreement, Miller said, "We're not there yet. The system is based on incarceration of young black men."

During a break in proceedings at the NCRM, Tami Sawyer, a local activist on justice matters and former legislative candidate, also objected.

"We haven’t resolved the issues of our Juvenile Court system," Sawyer said. "We still have high recidivism rates, the services that are being provided are sub-par, we didn’t have electricity for a week, [and]we didn’t have air-conditioning last summer. How can we say we care about our kids when we don’t want to get the help to support them?"

Characterizing Attorney General Sessions as someone who "in the past has had views that are deemed racist," Sawyer said, "That Mayor Luttrell and Judge Michael and Sheriff Oldham want to take that approach, it seems tome that they just want to check something off instead of really making change."

Another audience member, however, was more accepting of the thee officials' desire to see direct federal oversight lifted from Juvenile Court.

This was former County Commissioner Sidney Chism, now an employee of the Sheriff's Department and a declared candidate in next year's race for County Mayor.

Said Chism, evidently speaking on behalf of Sheriff Oldham: "He has taken the goals seriously and has worked hard to achieve them, and I think he believes they have been achieved."

Two legislators who were on Monday's panel at the NCRM commented afterward to the effect that the Memorandum of Understanding should remain in effect but acknowledged that Luttrell,Michael, and Oldham seemed to have made good-faith efforts to raise the standards in effect at Juvenile Court.

Congressman Weighs In

Later in the day, 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen, noting that he had strongly supported the original intervention by the Justice Department, issued this statement:

“I am concerned about efforts to end Shelby County’s agreement with the Justice Department to address the routine violation of due process and equal protection at the Juvenile Court.

“While progress has been made since 2012, there are still reports of race playing a factor in court hearings and reports of the juvenile detention facilities becoming more dangerous. I was disturbed by DOJ’s initial findings, and I was proud to work with then-Attorney General Eric Holder and others at the Department of Justice to help resolve this matter in a fair and transparent way.

"I urge the Department of Justice to continue to monitor the Shelby County juvenile justice system to ensure the constitutional standards of all children are met.”


          CREW Files IRS and DOJ Complaint Against Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist        
Washington, D.C. — Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) a
          Trump Is on a Mission to Convert White Resentment into a Federal Agency        
Several government agencies are abandoning enforcement of equal rights to elevate white America.

Trump appointees with white power leanings are not just scaling back federal civil rights protections. They are elevating the defense of white Americans across the government as the nation’s demographics become increasingly diverse.

This startling shift can be seen across many departments, from justice to education to environmental protection to labor. It’s not just top appointees in policymaking posts who have long opposed affirmative action and worked to subvert equal rights for minorities; it’s also emerging civil rights enforcement directives, proposed budgets slashing civil rights lawyers and announcements for new anti-minority agendas.

“This White House initiative represents a dangerous departure from policies and practices that help heal our nation’s racial divisions; instead, it serves as a desperate appeal to the worst fears of those who consciously or subconsciously despise the increasing diversity and shifting power dynamic in America today,” said Edward A. Hailes Jr., managing director and general counsel at Advancement Project’s national office.

This pro-white cant was heard at the White House Wednesday, when Trump and two GOP senators, Arkansas' Tom Cotton and Georgia's David Perdue, proposed legislation to make it harder for non-English-speaking foreigners to get green cards making them legal visitors, which Cotton said hurts the working class. 

“It [the current immigration system] puts great downward pressure on people who work with their hands and work with their feet,” Cotton said, speaking to Trump's white base—who often lack higher education but have solid middle-class incomes. “Now, for some people, they may think that’s a symbol of America’s virtue and generosity. I think it’s a symbol we’re not committed to working-class Americans. And we need to change that.”

Trump's support for cutting legal immigration in half revives his racist campaign attacks on non-whites and national identity. It's one more sign that suggests his slogan, "Make America Great Again," actually means "Make White America Great Again." Another sign came earlier this week when his appointees at the Justice Department, the hub of civil rights enforcement for the past 50 years, announced they were looking to hire lawyers for “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” This revives the anti-white bias issue after the Supreme Court rejected it in 2016, although a longtime white supremacist legal crusader is seeking to revive it in Texas state court.

“DOJ’s active investigation of race-conscious admissions policies is expected to have a chilling effect on those institutions, public and private, committed to pursuing the educational benefits of diversity,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said Wednesday. “AG Sessions is diverting critical resources on a wasteful campaign to recruit DOJ attorneys to dismantle the very policies that helped to level the playing field caused by years of debilitating discrimination.”

But the DOJ announcement did not occur in a vacuum. At the Department of Education, acting civil rights chief Candace Johnson has said the agency will narrow the way it looks at campus-based sexual and racial discrimination cases. Johnson has opposed affirmative action for non-whites since her student days at Stanford University. The agency also wants to eliminate 40 civil rights division posts.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new leaders want to end its environmental justice initiatives, which serve communities of color. The Labor Department wants to shut its anti-discrimination office.

But the signals coming from the Department of Justice are sweeping, and span a range of areas that suggest appointees with white power leanings have taken the reins. The DOJ is also backing away from consent decrees, which it has used to push local police departments and municipalities to change policies contributing to institutional racism.

DOJ spokespeople would not comment why the department's new senior appointees want to investigate race-based discrimination at universities. But there are strong clues where that agenda may be coming from, as some of the same people who have urged the DOJ to refocus the Voting Section’s priorities on policing the vote have also sued state universities over lower tuition rates for undocumented students.

In late March, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who Trump appointed as vice chair to a presidential election integrity commission, and several appointees wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him to purge the DOJ of liberal lawyers and return to “race-neutral voting rights enforcement.”

That means stop suing red states for harsh voter ID laws that have been shown to discriminate against non-whites, and stop suing red states for illegal race-based gerrymanders. States that have lost in federal court to the DOJ include Texas, North Carolina and Alabama (Sessions' home state). Others appointed to Trump's election panel include J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ attorney who has long complained that Obama’s DOJ never prosecuted blacks for oppressing white voters.  

Kobach’s career has also included the same legal action the DOJ is now looking at in state college and university admissions. Before he got involved in voting rights, he worked with anti-immigrant groups that sued three states that did not charge higher out-of-state tuition rates to Dreamer students. Kobach sued university systems in Kansas, California and Nebraska; his side lost in court.

These efforts by the Trump administration are disturbing on many levels, not just by subverting the historic civil rights mission and achievements of the mid-20th century, but seeking to elevate white Americans by institutionally turning blind eyes to a spectrum of discrimination. Trump's announcement that he seeks to cut legal immigration in half, especially by limiting the visas granted to family members of lower-wage workers sends another unambiguous message about race and national identity; he is seeking to return America to a more tribal and racially divided era.

“For years, Republicans have made it a priority to vilify immigrants and encourage bigotry and prejudice,” Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way political director, said. “Let’s be clear: This legislation has absolutely nothing to do with helping our economy and everything to do with playing up the Trump administration’s nativist agenda and boosting support from his base after failing to deliver his campaign promises on health care. President Trump continues to demonstrate that he is willing to abandon our country’s values in order to push his own extreme agenda and score a few political points.”

But it’s not just scoring points. Trump’s White House is putting white power sympathizers in top positions across the government. He’s ignoring history and rolling back the clock by rekindling the same post-Civil War sentiments as when whites lashed out at newly freed blacks and immigrants, declaring the federal government and law was meant to serve white America before all others. 


Related Stories

          Obama DOJ weighs in on marriage law        
          Emails en Irlande : le DoJ mène le combat contre Microsoft devant la Cour Suprême        
Dans la bataille qui l’oppose au ministère américain de la Justice, Microsoft a remporté deux victoires. Mais le DoJ ne s’avoue pas vaincu et souhaite maintenant que le combat remonte jusqu’à la Cour Suprême. Alors que Google perd du terrain dans une situation similaire, la question du stockage dans le cloud est toujours l’enjeu majeur …
          Spoofing in an Algorithmic Ecosystem        
A London trader recently charged with price manipulation appears to have been using a strategy designed to trigger high-frequency trading algorithms. Whether he used an algorithm himself is beside the point: he made money because the market is dominated by computer programs responding rapidly to incoming market data, and he understood the basic logic of their structure.

Specifically, Navinder Singh Sarao is accused of having posted large sell orders that created the impression of substantial fundamental supply in the S&P E-mini futures contract:
The authorities said he used a variety of trading techniques designed to push prices sharply in one direction and then profit from other investors following the pattern or exiting the market.

The DoJ said by allegedly placing multiple, simultaneous, large-volume sell orders at different price points — a technique known as “layering”— Mr Sarao created the appearance of substantial supply in the market.
Layering is a type of spoofing, a strategy of entering bids or offers with the intent to cancel them before completion.
Who are these "other investors" that followed the pattern or exited the market? Surely not the fundamental buyers and sellers placing orders based on an analysis of information about the companies of which the index is composed. Such investors would not generally be sensitive to the kind of order book details that Sarao was trying to manipulate (though they may buy or sell using algorithms sensitive to trading volume in order to limit market impact). Furthermore, as Andrei Kirilenko and his co-authors found in a transaction level analysis, fundamental buyers and sellers account for a very small portion of daily volume in this contract.

As far as I can tell, the strategies that Sarao was trying to trigger were high-frequency trading programs that combine passive market making with aggressive order anticipation based on privileged access and rapid responses to incoming market data. Such strategies correspond to just one percent of accounts on this exchange, but are responsible for almost half of all trading volume and appear on one or both sides of almost three-quarters of traded contracts.

The most sophisticated algorithms would have detected Sarao's spoofing and may even have tried to profit from it, but less nimble ones would have fallen prey. In this manner he was able to syphon off a modest portion of HFT profits, amounting to about four forty million dollars over four years.

What is strange about this case is the fact that spoofing of this kind is, to quote one market observer, as common as oxygen. It is frequently used and defended against within the high frequency trading community. So why was Sarao singled out for prosecution? I suspect that it was because his was a relatively small account, using a simple and fairly transparent strategy. Larger firms that combine multiple strategies with continually evolving algorithms will not display so clear a signature. 

It's important to distinguish Sarao's strategy from the ecology within which it was able to thrive. A key feature of this ecology is the widespread use of information extracting strategies, the proliferation of which makes direct investments in the acquisition and analysis of fundamental information less profitable, and makes extreme events such as the flash crash practically inevitable.

          "What's the Big Deal With Fast & Furious?"        
The other day a friend asked me what the big deal was with the whole Fast & Furious/Gunwalker scandal: "Why is it a 'scandal' at all? Don't cops run stings all the time?" I told him that unless he had at least a half-hour I would have to get back him. I then sat down and started really looking at everything and realized I should have told him an hour, at least.

The facts: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed suspected straw buyers to purchase hundreds (estimates I've seen range from a few hundred to over 2,300) of firearms from Federal Firearm Licensed dealers which were then sent to drug gangs in Mexico. These facts are not in dispute. Despite what you may have read in the mainstream media there was no 'botching' of the operation. It was never intended for the weapons to be traced past the border. There was no coordination with Mexican authorities, and even the US Embassy to Mexico and the ATF agents working there were kept in the dark. Operation Fast & Furious did exactly what it was intended to do: It funneled guns purchased from US gun dealers to the Mexican drug cartels.

Let's be honest though, the acquisition of a few hundred or even a few thousand semi-automatic rifles by the cartels is a drop in the bucket when compared to drug war/military aid and direct commercial sales from the US o the Mexican government. Given that 150,000 soldiers deserted between 2002 and 2008 it is safe to assume that a whole bunch of military grade weapons went with them and that most of those weapons wound up in the hands of the cartels. No, what makes this a scandal are the program's motivations, the moral and legal questions (including the DoJ's lies and cover-up) surrounding allowing these firearms to be shipped the cartels, and the unintended consequences of the program.

Taking those items in reverse order, let's look first at the unintended consequences of the program (we'll address the question of whether they were, in fact, unintended in the motivations section). One consequence is the Fast & Furious weapons linked to the murders of two American LEOs, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona and I.C.E. Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico. At least two (and possibly three) weapons found at the Terry murder site were weapons which had been sold to a straw purchaser under the auspices of Fast & Furious and the straw buyer who purchased the weapon which killed Agent Zapata had been under surveillance by the ATF from before that purchase was made.

Another consequence would be the 200-plus murders of Mexican citizens that are linked to Fast & Furious weapons and the dozen or so violent crimes in the US which have been linked to Fast & Furious weapons. In fact ten of Arizona's fifteen sheriffshave called for a special prosecutor to investigate Attorney General Holder and any other administration officials who may have been involved. In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN Pinal County AZ Sheriff Paul Babeu stated:

"I'm fearful, not just my deputies, other officers, citizens in America that we're going to be facing the barrels of guns that have been put in the hands of the most violent criminals in North America and who's going to be held accountable for this?

As for the moral question: What kind of myopic microcephalic moral midget thinks it is okay to ship thousands of weapons to people who are arguably the most vicious criminals in North America?!? Criminals who routinely kidnap, torture and kill police,prosecutorsfamily members of officialsjournalists, and even bloggers? Criminals who leave dismembered bodies hanging from overpasses for morning commuters to enjoy? The leaders of the ATF, DoJ and other complicit alphabet agencies simply can not evade their moral responsibility for some of these atrocities regardless of whether the cartels could have gotten the weapons without the ATF's help. On top of that you have the moral question of ordering gun shop owners to complete suspicious transactions, assuring them that the guns they sell will be traced and interdicted while knowing that was a lie. How do you think the man who sold the guns that killed Brian Terry or Jaime Zapata felt when he found out his weapons were responsible for their deaths? How about the dealer who sold the two AK-47s implicated in the kidnapping, extended torture and eventual murder of Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez?

Now the legal questions surrounding Fast & Furious are spreading like ripples on a pond that's been hit by an artillery shell. We have, hell, they're not even allegations anymore, we have hard evidence (five memos addressed to Holder, from July and August of 2010) that AG Holder lied under oath to Congress when he stated in May of 2011 that he only heard about the operation "over the last few weeks", and was still lying when he offered a corrective statement "I probably could have said a couple of months".

We have evidence that the ATF and DoJ both deliberately gave false replies to Congressional inquiries. There are indications that, despite their denials, high level officials in the State Department and in the Department of Homeland Security were read-in on Fast & Furious, and the furious tap-dancing that Secretaries Clinton and Napolitano engaged in before Congress has only fueled speculation that they did know about Fast & Furious and are trying to distance themselves as far as possible from its consequences. Leaders of these agencies have stonewalled, dodged and obfuscated in desperate attempts to cover-up their roles in all the deaths and crimes associated with Fast & Furious weapons, apparently oblivious to the fact that they are (supposedly) answerable to Congress.

As for President Obama, despite his claims to have known nothing about Fast & Furious until the spring of 2011, we have visitor logs from the White House showing Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler visiting the President four times between May 7 and May 19 of 2010, which is about two months after he was thoroughly briefed on Fast & Furious and about two months before what  The Los Angeles Times called "the height of Fast and Furious" during the summer of 2010. Even though DAG Grindler was a not infrequent visitor to the White House, out of the 40 visits he made, those were the only times he met directly with the President.

Committing perjury in furtherance of a cover-up (even if it was sufficient to bring down the Nixon administration) is the least of the crimes committed during Fast & Furious. As lawyer David Hardy points out in his blog Of Arms & the Law, Fast & Furious violated 22 U.S.C. Â§ 2778, the Arms Export Control Act. Unless, that is, Secretary of State Clinton was lying about her knowledge of and involvement with Fast & Furious, because only she has the authority to issue the permit that DoJ and ATF would have required to lawfully walk guns across the border. Furthermore, as Hardy points out, all the supervisors and decision-makers up the chain of command would be liable under 18 U.S. C. §2 as 'principals' to the criminal act. The penalty (for both actors and principals) for violating the Act is a prison term not to exceed ten years, a fine not to exceed $1,000,000, or both, for each violation. Let's see now, 2,000 weapons is 2,000 violations . . . umm, carry the two, so that would be a prison term not to exceed twenty thousand years and/or a fine not to exceed two billion dollars for each and every bureaucrat involved, all the way up the chain to . . . acting ATF head Kenneth E. Melson? Attorney General Holder? President Obama? Thus it does become important to find out what each of these individuals knew and when they knew it.

In addition to the Arms Control Export Act, James Stinebower (Former Navy Intelligence Officer, Professional Staff Member to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Naval Attaché) writes that Fast & Furious almost certainly violated both the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. § 1701) and the Kingpin Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 1901-08), which was an extension of the IEEPA. Mr. Stinebower is in a position to speak authoritatively on this since he helped write the Kingpin Act. Furthermore the IEEPA explicitly applies to U.S. Government departments and agencies and permits no exceptions for law enforcement operations unless, prior to initiating Fast & Furious, AG Holder obtained a waiver from the Secretary of the Treasury, authorizing the op. Since Holder claims not to have even known about Fast & Furious until the spring of 2011 it will be rather difficult for him to now say he got the authorization.

On top of perjury and violations of the Trading with the Enemy Act, Sheriff Babeu pointed out in an interview with Fox-TV: "If somebody gives a gun to somebody knowing they’re going to commit murder, guess what we call them? We call them accomplices." Indeed officials in the Mexican Government have called for the extradition of any ATF and DoJ officials who authorized or participated in Fast & Furious. Mexican Senator Santiago Creel, the likely successor to President Calderone, suggested that officials should be tried in both the US and Mexico, stating "What can't happen is that this now ends on an administrative sanction, or a resignation. No, no, no. Human lives were lost here." While some might think this is an overreaction, Fox News commentator William Lajeunesse made the comparison of what the US would do if we discovered that officials of the Mexican government had enabled and permitted thousands of kilos of pure cocaine to cross into our country, resulting in hundreds of deaths of our citizens. I think calling for extradition and prosecution of the officials responsible would be the mildest of our reactions.

Now we come to the real meat of Operation Fast & Furious: what possibly could have motivated agencies of the United States Government engage in these activities? According to an article in the Los Angeles Times"'Operation Fast and Furious was conceived to get some of the bigger fish down there,' said one official close to the congressional investigation" and according to this story from CNN "the ATF allowed people suspected of being straw-purchasers of weapons to sell their weapons, hoping to build bigger cases against Mexican criminal organizations." The only problem with this official story is how in Hades was it supposed to work? National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea (one of the two men most responsible for bringing this story to light, the other being Sipsey Street Irregular blogger Mike Vanderboegh) explains it this way:

"You don’t let thousands of guns escape into the wild, totally losing control of them, and knowing they will be found at crime scenes and traced back to U.S. gun stores, and then think that following a trail between a small-level buyer and a smaller-level user is going to lead you to the crime lord."

Indeed, the official story reminds me of nothing so much as the S. Harris 'then a miracle occurs' cartoon, and like the senior mathematician in the cartoon we should all be saying to the ATF "I think you should be more explicit here in step two."

So if the official motivation is just plain silly, then why do it? There a several different theories floating around the internet, and like so many internet theories some are less plausible than others. One I would call the least plausible is that this was actually a CIA operation to strengthen the Sinaloa cartel because they were afraid Los Zetas were getting strong enough to actually topple the Mexican government. Left unexplained by that particular theory is why the CIA would choose to buy semi-auto rifles from border gun stores.

To my mind the most plausible theory is one being loudly derided by the antis as nothing more than paranoia: Operation Fast & Furious was launched to boost the ATF's statistics showing that an "iron river" of US guns was flowing into Mexico. This would then provide the Obama administration with the pretext they needed to tighten US gun control laws. Before my gentle readers accuse me of paranoia, let me point out that the "iron river" argument has already been used to tighten gun sales regulations in the states bordering Mexico and that Operation Fast & Furious itself has been used by Senator Feinstein to call for strengthening the ATF and stricter gun control laws. Also you can look back to before Fast & Furious hit the news and see the coordinated effort by the Obama and Calderone administrations to push for more gun control. By repeating the lie that 90% of Mexico's crime guns came from the US over and over and over and over and over the stage was being set to push forpassage of a new Assault Weapons Ban. Yes it was called a renewal, but the proposed legislation was much stricter in its definitions and increased hugely the number of weapons that would be affected. Only in the face of strenuous opposition and the collapse of the 90% lie did Obama cease his efforts to get a new ban.

Operation Fast & Furious provides an almost textbook example of the banality of evil, and those who came up with the idea, the supervisors who implemented the plan and quashed dissent on the part of the street level agents need to go to prison. Period.

          Campus Question – August 8, 2017        
Tonight’s question, greetings, and banter here. (More) Today the Klanmaster General’s Department of Just Us reversed its position in a voting rights case, arguing in an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court that Ohio should be allowed to purge voters who miss three consecutive elections. Election Law blogger and former DOJ attorney Justin Levitt […]
          Comment on Шинэков by gegeen        
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          The Business Rusch: Writers And The DOJ Lawsuit        
The Business Rusch: Writers and The DOJ Lawsuit Kristine Kathryn Rusch This week, the Department of Justice filed its lawsuit against Apple and five publishers. Three publishers settled immediately with two, as of this writing, going forward—Penguin and MacMillan. I am not a lawyer, so I cannot comment on the filing.  A few have, including Charles Petit on his website. He points out various things […]
          Lawmakers Ask DOJ To Back LGBT Worker Protections        
Reps. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., on Tuesday led a group of about 60 lawmakers in urging the U.S. Department of Justice to rescind its recently adopted position that Title VII doesn't protect against sexual orientation discrimination...(read more)
          Cos., DOJ Miss Mark On Class Waivers, NLRB Tells High Court        
U.S. Supreme Court precedent does not require the justices to find that the Federal Arbitration Act supersedes another federal statute where the laws contradict, the National Labor Relations Board said Wednesday in defense of its stance that labor laws...(read more)
          Does this mean the DOJ was right all these years?        
Think panto: DOJ: Oh yes it can... MS: Oh no it can't... etc for how ever many years that trial lasted. next point. I thought the only problem with not having IE on a windows was that you could not patch. But now its got an auto tool this is not a problem. Does any one know of any explorer or other windows parts which you cannot use FireFox (or other browser) to view web links in?
          RE: IE no integrated        
This all comes from the DOJ vs MS trial where MS lawyers got so many people up to swear blind that you just could not remove IE from Windows. Alot of this comes from all the fud MS kicked out back them.
          RE: Does this mean the DOJ was right all these years?        
"Think panto: DOJ: Oh yes it can... MS: Oh no it can't... etc for how ever many years that trial lasted." Actually, I was highly amused when I noticed that you can easily set up XP embedded without IE, media player, etc. ;-) I for one think that it is a (very) good thing that they are not integrating IE as tightly into the system. Now all they need to do is sandbox IE and Windows would immediately become more secure.
          'That’s an overreaction': Deputy attorney general dismisses criticism of threat to subpoena reporters        

rod rosensteinFox News

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein pushed back against criticism of the Department of Justice's announcement that it may begin subpoenaing journalists during investigations of classified information leaks.

On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the department was "reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas," a move that free speech and press freedom groups said would compel reporters to break agreements to conceal a source’s identity or face legal consequences.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Rosenstein dismissed the criticism.

"That’s an overreaction, Chris. The attorney general has been very clear," Rosenstein said. "We're after the leakers, not the journalists. We’re after people who are committing crimes."

But pressed by host Chris Wallace on whether he would prosecute journalists for failing to disclose sources, Rosenstein dodged the question.

"You don't consider the publishing of classified information as a crime," Wallace said.

"I don't think you can draw any general line like that, it depends on the facts and circumstances. Generally speaking, reporters who publish information are not committing a crime. But there might be a circumstance that they do. I haven't seen any of those to date, but I wouldn't rule it out."

A number of press advocacy groups decried Sessions' announcement last week as a threat to reporters and whistleblowers.

Freedom of the Press Foundation senior reporter Peter Sterne said the DOJ was "explicitly threatening to haul journalists before grand juries and force them to testify about their confidential sources or face jail time."

"Sessions’ comments seem intended to have a chilling effect on journalism, by making reporters and their sources think twice before publishing information that the government does not like," Sterne said. "That will leave leave all Americans less informed about what the Trump administration is doing behind closed doors."

NOW WATCH: Taiwanese parliament broke out into a water balloon and chair-throwing brawl

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Jeff Sessions gets slammed over Justice Department plan to cramp down on leaks

          Koment te Rrëfim për fëmijën tim… Adriana Dine nga Jozef Radi        
Adriana Dine Ju falenderoj të gjithëve ju që e keni lexuar dhe keni bërë komente për tregimin tim. Dy zonjave të mësipërme desha t'ju them thjesht se nuk kam dashur as të ofendoj e të poshtëroj mësuesit në përgjithësi, por në një ngjarje specifike ka qenë një mësuese e tillë, e cila ka emër dhe mbiemër. Nuk e di nëse zonjat e mësipërme mund ta kuptojnë sadopak tmerrin që kemi kaluar ne, ku i vetmi krim, ishte ardhja jonë në këtë botë nga prindër të dënuar. Në ato pak tregime të rrëfyera kam përshkruar disa momente tejet të dhimbshme të jetës sime, po asnjëherë nuk ka qënë synimi të ofendoj o të poshtëroj ndokënd, përkundrazi edhe në atë skëterrë ku na kishte hedhur fati, kam gjetur plot njerëz, bashkëvuajtës dhe vendas të mrekullueshëm, që me gjithë frikën dhe terrorin e asaj kohe na kanë ndihmuar dhe mbajtur afer. Djali im ka pasur edhe mësues të tjerë që e kanë trajtuar si fëmijë dhe e kanë vlërësuar pa asnjë ndryshim nga të tjerët. Ai edhe sot e mban mend dhe e kujton me shumë respekt një mësues si Josif Davidhi, i cili i ka lënë përshtypjen e një edukatori të vërtetë, por më e rëndësishmja është se krahas mësuesve fanatikë ishin edhe ata që na trajtonin si njerëz pa dallim se kush ishim dhe pse ishim aty në kampet e interrnimit. Marre nga muri i Fb, 16 korrik 2017
          DOJ Ignores Citi's Elite Criminals: Wins Whistleblowers' 4th Lemons Award        
We could, of course, retire the Bank Whistleblowers United's Lemons title -- for ignoring or trivializing elite fraud -- by awarding it permanently to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
          Comment on Yes Bob… This Shit Really Does Just Write Itself.. by High Plains Drifter        
Not if I can help it. This shitbag was the chairman of King and Spaudings " Government Investigations practice group" In and out of the DOJ for self enrichment , to put on his huge resume'. Shitbag GSK attorney Lauren Stevens also used King and Spaulding for her scapegoat as her defense in hiding the off label promotion of Welbutrin, among other things...and got by with it. Did the other shitbags at King and Spaulding pay any consequence ? Hell no because in reality it was Stevens decision herself...the DOJ prosecutor, Sara Bloom the same one that let GSK off the hook in the 3 billion dollar gift case, also lost this case. She should not have even been prosecuting Stevens, with little Court "trial" experience...yet she did..WHY ?because she was in on the fix in my opinion...just as she was for 10 years coddling GSK and their the off label and kickback case. Christopher Wray was at DOJ from 2003-2005 In the GSK case also, then back to King and Spaulding. His resume says he was " involved in off label promotion defense and other issues involving healthcare at King and Spaulding " He also worked under the shitbag James Comey at DOJ, who stated " No reasonable prosecutor would indict Hillary Clinton and her email scandal, the basement setup !!! Nut job. Long story short, while Trump may not be aware of the Stewart Dolin trial or the Lauren Stevens trial, or even that most people would have a hard time imagining that Eric Holder, another shitbag with revolving door syndrome, probably never fully recused himself in the GSK case...he needs to be informed. The swamp is not being drained, it is increasingly deeper if Wray becomes FBI chief. Just think, Wray working for Enron , another scandal at King and Spaulding...will have to recuse himself with practically every Fortune 500 company, as cases come against them. I think it's over folks, the Deep State career bastards are everywhere ...and nobody can even figure it all out. King and Spaulding brag about all the revolving door crinals they have among their 900 attorneys. These slimebags are the "4th" branch of government and have infiltrated the other 3 branches, something which our founding fathers could not have imagined. Disgusting and probably eventually the downfall of of our Country.... Fucking attorneys, scum to the core for the most part...and I've met a lot over the last 15 years...follow the money--never a statement more true.
          More amicus briefs filed: Eagle Forum, Liberty Counsel — in support of Obama DOJ DOMA defense        
More amicus briefs filed: Eagle Forum and Mat Staver & Bam Bam’s Liberty Counsel — in support of the government’s DOMA defense in Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al. From Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD): We have received amicus briefs on behalf of DOJ from Eagle Forum, the American […]
          Batman vs Superman DOJ Batman ARTFX+ Statue -- Dark Knight Kotobukiya        
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          Batman vs Superman DOJ Superman ARTFX+ Statue Dark Knight Kotobukiya        
Batman vs Superman DOJ Superman ARTFX+ Statue Dark Knight Kotobukiya -- FEB162704

Kotobukiya returns to the films based on DC Comic's characters with the Superman Dawn of Justice ARTFX+ statue! Based on Superman's appearance in BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, Superman looks like he's stepped off the screen in this highly detailed 1/10 scale statue. Georama base and dynam..

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          Ladar Levison Explains How The US Legal System Was Stacked Against Lavabit        
Last month, after Lavabit lost its appeal, we noted that the court avoided the major constitutional issues, focusing on how the company and its founder Ladar Levison mucked up procedural stuff early on, effectively barring him from raising the more serious constitutional issues on appeal. We pointed out that this was unfortunate on many levels, but also noted that this shows how important it is to get a good lawyer early on, rather than trying to handle things yourself. Levison has now written a more thorough explanation over at the Guardian, in which he seeks to explain why gag orders and other issues made it almost impossible for him to get good legal help, leading to the procedural issues later on:
In the first two weeks, I was served legal papers a total of seven times and was in contact with the FBI every other day. (This was the period a prosecutor would later characterize as my "period of silence".) It took a week for me to identify an attorney who could adequately represent me, given the complex technological and legal issues involved – and we were in contact for less than a day when agents served me with a summons ordering me to appear in a Virginia courtroom, over 1,000 miles from my home. Two days later, I was served the first subpoena for the encryption keys.

With such short notice, my first attorney was unable to appear alongside me in court. Because the whole case was under seal, I couldn't even admit to anyone who wasn't an attorney that I needed a lawyer, let alone why. In the days before my appearance, I would spend hours repeating the facts of the case to a dozen attorneys, as I sought someone else that was qualified to represent me. I also discovered that as a third party in a federal criminal indictment, I had no right to counsel. After all, only my property was in jeopardy – not my liberty. Finally, I was forced to choose between appearing alone or facing a bench warrant for my arrest.

In Virginia, the government replaced its encryption key subpoena with a search warrant and a new court date. I retained a small, local law firm before I went back to my home state, which was then forced to assemble a legal strategy and file briefs in just a few short days. The court barred them from consulting outside experts about either the statutes or the technology involved in the case. The court didn't even deliver transcripts of my first appearance to my own lawyers for two months, and forced them to proceed without access to the information they needed.

Then, a federal judge entered an order of contempt against me – without even so much as a hearing.
This is, without a doubt, problematic, and shows the kind of massive imbalance that is set up in these situations. The government has the power to force companies to do what it wants, and companies have little ability to push back, especially when they're left scrambling under gag orders and with limited information.

That said, Levison still should shoulder some of the blame. Yes, he had to scramble to find lawyers, but if you're setting up a "private" and "secure" email service, in which you're making certain promises to users that you must know the government won't like, you need to have ready and competent legal help on call from the beginning. In the last year or so, there has been an explosion of new startups and services promising more private and secure messaging. I hope that all of them are reading what happened here and that they all have competent legal representation who understands the underlying issues ready to go now, rather than waiting until the DOJ knocks on their doors. There will still be some issues, depending on the specifics of the request and jurisdiction, but from what Levison is saying, he was starting from scratch at a point when he should have been much more prepared.

Again: if you are offering private or secure services, you need to have a competent and knowledgeable lawyer on call who can pick up your case immediately.

In the end, while the ruling against Lavabit was disappointing, perhaps it's a blessing in disguise. Hopefully, the next time this issue comes up, it comes up with a company that's much more legally prepared to deal with it, and can present a much stronger case.

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          Lavabit Case Shows Why We Need Tech Literate Judges        
While there's plenty of attention being paid to Lavabit's temporary re-opening for the sake of letting people export their accounts, a much more interesting issue is the recent development in the legal case. Lavabit has filed its latest brief, and there are some interesting discussions about the details of the case. From my reading, Lavabit makes a very strong argument that the government has no right to demand the production of Lavabit's private SSL keys, as it's an overreach way beyond what traditional wiretapping laws allow. Lawyer Orin Kerr's analysis argues that Lavabit's case is weak, mainly arguing that the federal government can subpoena whatever the hell they want, and just because it conflicts with your business model: too bad. Lavabit argues that complying with the government's order is oppressive because it would effectively mean it would be committing fraud on all its customers:
[T]o comply with the government’s subpoena would have either required Lavabit to perpetrate a fraud on its customer base or shut down entirely. That is the key point, and the resulting harm goes far beyond a mere inconvenient search for records. Just as requiring a hotel owner to install glass doors on all its hotel rooms would destroy the hotel’s business, Lavabit cannot exist as an honest company if the government is entitled to take this sort of information in secret. Its relationship with its customers and business partners depends on an assurance that it will not secretly enable the government to monitor all of their communications at all times. If a mere grand jury subpoena can be used to get around that (in secret, no less), then no business—anywhere—can credibly offer its customers a secure email service.
But Kerr points out that this is a "really weak argument":
This strikes me as a really weak argument. Lavabit is essentially claiming that its anti-government business model trumps the subpoena power. That is, it is arguing that the subpoena is “oppressive” precisely because it would work: It would allow the government to conduct the surveillance it is allowed to conduct under the Pen Register statute.
Further, Kerr argues that to accept Lavabit's argument would mean that any company that announces an "ideology or business strategy" that opposes government surveillance could then resist legitimate government subpoenas simply by arguing that they are oppressive and abusive.

I respect Kerr and always look forward to his legal analysis, but I think he's wrong at a variety of levels here, and, tragically the judge in the case seems to have the same confused view of what Lavabit is actually arguing (though, one could argue, that is actually the fault of Lavabit in not making its case clearly). Lawyer Scott Greenfield does a good job explaining why Kerr has mischaracterized Lavabit's defense -- first noting that being pro-privacy is hardly being "anti-government" as Kerr implies. Then pointing out that Lavabit's argument isn't that the government's demand for its private keys was merely oppressive because of its business model, but because it would put Lavabit out of business -- which is not the same thing.
This isn't really a fair characterization of Lavabit's point. Initially, the argument is that revelation of the private key would be the ruination of the business. By exposing every customer to government disclosure, and covert disclosure at that, the government would take a viable business, making money and delivering a service as businesses are allowed to do in America, and destroy it. Poof, company gone. Business gone. Revenue gone. Wham, bam, thank you, Ladar.
But there's an even bigger point in here, which I think Kerr misses entirely, and Greenfield skips over: from a technology standpoint, what the government is demanding of Lavabit is absolutely oppressive and abusive. And, for that, it helps to look at Ed Felten's discussion of the case, in which he notes that the judge and other DOJ supporters in this case (including, it would seem, Kerr) are basically arguing that "If court orders are legitimate, why should we allow engineers to design services that protect users against court-ordered access." But Felten points out that requiring "court ordered access" is tantamount to requiring a massive vulnerability to insider attacks:
To see why, consider two companies, which we’ll call Lavabit and Guavabit. At Lavabit, an employee, on receiving a court order, copies user data and gives it to an outside party—in this case, the government. Meanwhile, over at Guavabit, an employee, on receiving a bribe or extortion threat from a drug cartel, copies user data and gives it to an outside party—in this case, the drug cartel.

From a purely technological standpoint, these two scenarios are exactly the same: an employee copies user data and gives it to an outside party. Only two things are different: the employee’s motivation, and the destination of the data after it leaves the company. Neither of these differences is visible to the company’s technology—it can’t read the employee’s mind to learn the motivation, and it can’t tell where the data will go once it has been extracted from the company’s system. Technical measures that prevent one access scenario will unavoidably prevent the other one.

Insider attacks are a big problem. You might have read about a recent insider attack against the NSA by Edward Snowden. Similar but less spectacular attacks happen all the time, and Lavabit, or any well-run service that holds user data, has good reason to try to control them.
Now, go back to the judge's order or Kerr's analysis, and revisit it with what Felten pointed out, and you realize how far off-base both the Judge and Kerr are in their analyses. Lavabit didn't design its system to be setup the way it was because it was "anti-government," but rather because it wanted to create secure email that protects against a variety of different kinds of attacks, both insider and outsider. That's why it found the government's request so "abusive" and "oppressive." Not because of an ideological disagreement, but rather because of the technological reality that handing over Lavabit's private keys absolutely wrecks any real security of Lavabit's system, which is Lavabit's entire business.

So, while Kerr and the judge in the case seem to think it's a mere ideological issue, that's simply not true. It's a technological issue, on which Lavabit's entire business was based. If Kerr and the judge are correct, then, as Felten properly notes, it becomes effectively illegal to build a really secure communications system. That seems positively ridiculous, especially in a time when we're told (by the very government agency that wants to do all this spying) that we need better online security to protect against attacks.

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          Süßer Junge 32        

Die Sommerflamme

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme

Das Jahr: 2009
Das Land: die USA
Das Genre: Grosser Dick, die Europäischen Muskeln, rotowyje, anal, den Gruppensex, den Stoß der Brigade
Die Länge: 02:12:44
Der Gerichtete: Ritschi Oldman
Studio: die Träger des Titans
Die Kaste: Brian Brauer, John Chill, Marko Blasse, das Marco Marcos, das Otto Roberts, der Polos die Brise, die Kreuzfahrt Tomak, Thomas Li

Die Beschreibung:
8 aufgehängt, jung, und der nicht abgeschnittenen europäischen Kontakte!! Der Besitz Titenmen monopol-marko Blasse.

Das Format: awi
Die Dauer: 02:12:45
Video: 688x384, XviD, 1483 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 1.5 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:amazingcigarbargains - merkwürdig heiss und durchsickernd mit dem schrecklichen Treffen der Leidenschaften stark vom Kran des Schwulen Luden, verlegen merkwürdig heiss der Schwule des Pornos aus Berlin, die merkwürdig heissen Kontakte, die in der offenen Luft die merkwürdig riesigen hochwertigen Monopolfotosätze schlagen, die in den Krankenhäusern genommenen Zustände von unseren Agenten, erwarten Sie innen! Der Polos der schwierig grobe Schwule des Pornos - tatuirowal Pfund der Stutzer des Muskels.
SeanCody - SC1397 - Brice und Calvin (Ohne Sattel) - der grobe sexuelle lustige Fetisch.
, Die aussehenden am besten Stecker Kräne... Der Gyen des Geschlechtes des Schwulen der Jungen des Colleges, markieren Sie den nackten Menschen die heisseste entkleidete Statur.
[die Pazifikunterhaltung Sun] der Haarige Geizhals vol1 die Szene - chomegejseks die erotischen Fotografien.
Die Webseite gewährt Ihnen grösser als 25 000 Bildschirmbilder der Männer in der universellen Form von den Armeejungen den sexuellen Seeleuten, ebenso, wie 500 Stunden heissen Videos für das Laden. Cuteboymovies markiert die heisse Jugend, echgui die Filme den Schwulen.
Die Väter und der Bereich der Schweine 2-heiss fuking der heissen Schwulen.

Der heisse Muskel (Nossiteli Alfamal / Eurosahne)

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2011
Studio: die Träger/Eurosahne Alfamal
Die Kaste: Alex Monetti, Benito Moss, David Wajt, Denis Rid, Ennio Gwardi, Martin Peter, Matthews Ross, Sak Ist Mager-
Die Genres: oralnyj Sex, Analen Sex, der Geizhals, der Muskel, Großen Diks
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Die Sachen werden heiss und dampfförmig mit ihnen der riesige Geizhals des festen Muskels! Mit acht außerordentlich bogopodobnymi von den Kontakten, den sportlichen ausgezeichnet gebildeten Muskelorganisationen, die sie die gute Anwendung finden, jedem Zoll einander, einschließlich ihre MASSIVEN Kräne anbetend! Sie sind die wahrhaften Männer, mit dick, diks pulsierend, dass Sie sterben werden, um darauf auszuschröpfen, bis der Mut der AE beginnen wird herauszuschießen. Es nur, dass diese heissen Sportler mit einem ganzen Laden des schrecklichen analen Effektes machen, um es zu entwickeln! Des Hes erlauben Sie sie schmierten die Götter ein, laufen fort, bekommen den Heissen Muskel jetzt!

Das Format: asf
Die Dauer: 01:28:18
Video: 848x480, Video Windows Media 9, 3710 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 187 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 2.4 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:It Luden, waren ein leiser Tag des Heimes mit den Burschen, die für einiges Vergnügen gesammelt sind. Die schwarzen Archive der schwulen Filme, die großen Körper wie.
Abbsx 006, geben die guten Männer.
Dieser bezeichnet die typische Zahl der Erklärungen, die auf die Abschirmung für die lustige Suche der Galerien des Klistiers weibischen Mannes auf den Hauptsuchsystemen herausgeführt sind. Die Bedingungen rss am besten Stecker Videos - der Araber des Forums die lustige Erotik.
Einschließlich den Maler, sexuell lustig asiatisch weibisch den Mann!
KROWOSMESCHENIJE schlägt die Jungen krowosmeschenija die STECKER unberührten Geschichten des Haares des Ladens, die zuerst massirujut die BESTEN Fotos die ENTKLEIDETEN Staturen der Krankenschwester der Abb. krowosmeschenija die Abb. krowosmeschenija PIC die Mitgliedschaften in krowosmeschenii, dschpeg die Demonstrationsladen einer Serie Nurse der Mitgliedschaft, dunkel schmutzig SCHLAGEND, FEUCHT ksksks die Phantasie ksksks schlagen. Die Schwulen fühlen die schlagartige Attacke - Video des Sohnes der reife Vater.
BoundInPublic - hat der Zerrissene Junge das Loch und gefüllt in Herrn Mit Litere geschüttelt; der Freund ostin das Wilde entoni.

Des Hes Meiner Hündin der Oberfläche aufnehmend! (2012) DWDRIP

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2012
Studio: Neu SKS
Die Kaste: der Andreas Kawalli, Dillon der Tank, Fred Oliwje, Kosta Iwo, Dschek Williams, James Konnor, John James, der Jordanische Fuchs, den Kai die Kreuzfahrt, Leo Makk, das Marco die DJe Lakka, Mett der Hughes, den Nil das Stevens
Die Genres: oralnyj Sex, Rimming, der Muskel, beschäftigt sich mit der Masturbation, die nicht Abgeschnittenen Kräne, die Kräne des Monsters, gesichts-kumschot
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Wenn Sie gesichts- semjaiswerschenije mögen werden, so werden Sie mögen auf meiner Hündin der Oberfläche Aufnehmend! Der Besitz von den 28 Burschen, die in ihre Laden in der merkwürdig Hornverbindung rotowogo den Effekte und einschließlich das Einschalten den 13 Mut schießen, fliegend gesichts- semjaiswerschenijem.

Das Format: lewfpref
Die Dauer: 02:00:42
Video: 640x360, AVC (H.264), 1594 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 122 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 1.5 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:Gay Luden, verlegen die Web-Kameras, Barry schrie, ist davor stehengeblieben, was jetzt Polo und mein Heim ist. Der lustige Dreifahrmuskel, den Kranz des Urlaubes, den fortführen...
Lucasentertainment michael lukas intermittiert lukas monopol- franko ferarri aufgehängt für den Aufgehängten; der Hörer ksksks der dunkle Schwule.
Die heissen Männer des Colleges im schrecklichen Effekt, ein Heisses Paar schlägt für den alten Burschen Heiss Liebes- Bestehend drei Personen der Polos der Verbrecher die Heisse Liebesdrei der Verbrecher Sex33:48 die Heissen Verbrecher, mögen... Das Lange Jahr der Herstellung der Weines des Sohnes des Vaters: wird schwierig schwarz.
Der Noah hat gequält, der sexuelle blinde Schwule der Sünden.
Die Russen 94 Russen Im Prager russischen Fernsehhomosexuellen die heissen lustigen russischen weibischen Männer, junng die Teenager, der Mensch der Afroamerikaner, ist Oralnyje die universellen Spielformen und um vieles mehr! Die Schule der Studenten des Schwulen der Cartoönse des Kontaktes, antonis der Esel auslesend.
Die leere Panik (die Regieversion des Filmes); der weiße Schwule der Jäger.

Tres Fekeros Fri-For-ol

Die Schwulen
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2012
Studio: CorbinFisher
Die Kaste: Connor, Dawson und Josh
Die Genres: Anal / Oralnyj verdoppelt Sex, die Durchdringung, Ohne Sattel, das Trio, Cumshots,
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Es war der merkwürdige Durchgang und Dousson, der Connor und der Josh hat eine merkwürdige Uhrzeit. Wie sie die Speziese übertreten können, die sie auch das Geschlecht sahen, das sie hatten? samam sich in der leidenschaftlichen Dreifahrdiskussion helfend! Dousson und schlägt der Josh den Connor, der Josh und der Connor Schlagen Dousson, sowohl der Connor als auch Dousson fickt, und das Doppelzimmer der Mensch dringen durch des Joshes durch! Es - kamfest, der diesem tres fekeros erlauben wird, erinnern sich ihren Durchgang für immer!

Das Format: lewfpref
Die Dauer: 28:43
Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264)
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 737.9 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Schopa Downloaded:Hairy, die Geleckte Und Schlugen - Sein schwieriger Esel Luden, waren grösser überfüllt, als er dachte, wenn es penetr verlegt... Die Kostprobe der weibischen Männer jeder; die Widia des Fernsehers des Gehörnten.
Die Testwebseiten Truwajon - frei Stecker!
Nserebed NSFW die Männer nt nt 83 nt 84 ntens pornographisch nackt Ntungamo 11 nackt bordscher chosten narma das Signal och snart kommer "Wintern"... Erleichtert twara swenger i der Minen appdeteringer. Harmonisch chopper waj mellan Pask. Valborg... Der Standort... och Vinter. Das Solo des Menschen des Läufers chd - haarig sexuell voll groß verlegt.
Das Präservativ der Hotelnummern mit zwei Einzelbetten markiert die Orgie t. 2; der Schwule des Fetischs bdsm Video.
Richtig, es ist ein wenig gut verdammt wa die Kompanien niemals hat der Brigade der schwulen Verbrecher geschmerzt. Der Mensch, an dem die geraden Burschen - der Schwule saugen, verlegt den Vater, verlegt!
Des Gedächtnisses der Gefangenschaft, die lustigen soliden Cartoönse.

Durchtränkt 2 - Aufgesaugt bis zum Extrem

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme

Das Jahr: 2003
Das Land: die USA
Das Genre: Rotowoj, Analen, Sicheren Sex, Rimming, die Gruppe, Semjaiswerschenije
Die Länge: 01:31:52
Der Gerichtete: ksi die Xien LaRue
Studio: der Falke
Verbindend vom Star: Tajler der Gunn, Matthews Rusch, Tschejs Hunter, Dschosch Ueston, Wins Ditonno, die Bobbys Williams, der Trenten Atkins, Filippo Romano, Alex Lemond, Karlos Morales, das Fernando Montana, Dringen Sekeri durch, das Fässchen die Devlin

Die Beschreibung: "der Durchtränkte Bereich 2: Aufgesaugt Bis zum Extrem" die zweite Hälfte des letzten hawaiischen Abenteuers des Falken. Video neistorii fängt mit maskli Filippo Romano in der äusserlichen Dusche um den Bobbys von Williams an. Es - rotowaja ist die einzige Szene, aber die Betonung auf rimming / Auslesender. Romano wenn gern habend, um jemanden und dann eine Ernährung jenen Menschen seinen Finger abwechselnd auszulesen (und er - auch der große Bewunderer oblisywanija der Achselhöhlen auch).
Dann, auf der schwarzen, felsigen Strandlinie, raskormlennych die Unterteile Karlossa Moralessa für sehr bestimmten Fernand Montana. Keine Respektlosigkeit zu den Agenten ist der AE hier vorbestimmt, aber der Teufel nimm, wir haben fortgesetzt, außer dem blauen Ozean hinter ihnen, ebenso, wie fast des deutlichen blauen Himmels anzustarren. Merkwürdig!
Bodybuilder Matthew Rusch rasend die Zipfel den Sympathischen goss ' Tajler den Gunn. Wir können noch nicht vorwiegen, wie die Hüften massiv Einstürzend! Es ist zwei beder des Gunnes erforderlich, um insgesamt einen zu bilden Einstürzend.
Klassischer sternförmige Tschejs Hunter Sokola erscheint in der nächsten Szene, wo er sympathischen jungen hellen Trent Atkins aus seinem Anzug für die Unterwasserfahrt reinigt, bevor es zu schlagen. Wir haben die Altersunterschiede zwischen zwei (Atkins - leicht 10-15 Jahre der Junior Hunters) wirklich ausgerissen, auch als Atkins zur tiefen Kehle den ganzen riesigen Kran Hunters wie dem auch sei verwaltet. Und der Himmel weiß nur, wieviel sollte sich die Uhrzeit Atkins vorbereiten, zu nehmen es ist Hunters sein Esel wild. Die Szene geht von Atkinsom zu Ende, der sich auf dem geneigten Hunter befindet, energisch zurückkehrend, bevor sie die Positionen umschalten werden, und schießt Hunter ins Laden auf dem Hals Atkinsa. Gmm!
Um Video, Alex Lemonda zu schließen, versammelt sich Dschoscha Uestona (jetzt der weiße Blonde und die Bräunung), Wins Ditonno, das Fässchen, das die Devlin und Sekeri Durchstechen, auf dem ziemlich einfachen Eingang für einiges lowin '. LeMonde - das sexuelle Tier! Erstens liest er beharrlich aus - er schlägt der Devlin mit drei Zahlen dann verteilt den Esel der Devlin mit dem Langen ist wild. Jener LeMonde - ein Hitzkopf, gut. Die Szene geht von der Brust Ditonno, der mit dem Allgemeinen aufnehmend abgedeckt ist zu Ende.

Das Format: awi
Die Dauer: 01:31:52
Video: 640x480, XviD, 1987 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 93 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 1.4 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch das Wismut Downloaded:Massive, die In den Arsche Massiven Orgija Biseks Ficken - die epische zweihohle Orgie in der Gymnastik Luden, dem verbindenden Star 20 mögender Burschen des Kranes und der Jungen der Massive Birkhahn, trainieren den weißen Stutzer die massiven Birkhähne. Der Stecker Schwule schlägt mov, krejg parker stellt vor.
Die weibischen Männer der Tätowierung die dunklen Träger der Gasse: verlegen Sie die ausgeschröpfte muskulöse Jugend.
Morgen für die lustigeren Teenagerabb. des Pornos und Video. Der Kran die unerfahrenen Clips der Männer markiert den Schwulen, asiatisch weibisch den Mann häuslichen Videos!
Nextdoortwink philip rajan die Aufseher sarubki - weibisch der Mann Videos der weibischen Männer.
Willkommen in die Welt der Verführung der GERADEN Burschen! Die Jungen, wenn seir, den ein wenig flaumigen Trigger.
Die Nacht Im Brun; die lustigen Filme des Jungen.

Der schwarze Traum die Weißen Sahne

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme
Video die Zunge: das Englische

In der Macht der sexuellen Attraktivität der Unterdrückung des unglaublichen die Johnnys wieder ankommenden Schicksals und des vollen Bootes der sexuellen fertigen Kontakte, einschließlich den Superstar Matthews Rusch und des Erpels der Jaden; der Schwarze Traum die Weißen Sahne chleschtschet die sexuelle Wahnsinnstat zu ganz a? ˜ nase der Stand. Erproben Sie den Schwarzen Traum die Weißen Sahne, interrassenmässig einschließlich das Festival.

Das Format: asf
Die Dauer: 01:33:00
Video: 640x480, Video Windows Media 9, 1735 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 1.2 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:you'll Luden, finden allen von den Mager- asiatischen Jungen zu den aufgehängten lateinamerikanischen weibischen Männern und es ist der großen Menge der sexuellen hellen weibischen Männer aus Europa und der Vereinigte Staaten 124 76 Vorstellungen 76 % 76 - 76 endlich. Steve chuper der Schwule: die Forschungen markieren den Schwulen...
Meinen den Esel (2006) DWDRIP, die weibischen Männer des hängenden Randes der Füllung der Schrauben Zu verlegen.
Diese Schnitte füllt seine Oberfläche aus ist wild... Die Militärburschen, die chardkor haben, des grossen Jungen des Geschlechtes der Meisen.
Hungrig Väter Dick (der 2009) Siterip-alte Kran der haarige Bursche!
Beobachten Sie, dass einer von ihnen seine Freunde schlong und verbunden darüber wie leidenschaftlich aufstellt! Sportlich weibisch der Mann hält sich der offenbare Bursche - in der Überzeugung die Bewegung T auf
[die Pazifikunterhaltung Sun] die Szene des Lehrers #1, asiatisch twinks der schwule Asiat!

Die realen Schmutzigen Filme: Kinkfest 7

Lustig BDSM
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2010
Studio: 3. Weltweite Video
Die Kaste: kein Zugängliches
Die Genres: die Kompilation, Anal, Rotowaja, das Spiel des Hängenden Randes der Füllung, die Extreme Durchdringung, den Fisting, den Schwein, Pissing, Rimming, die Haut
Video die Zunge: das Englische

7. in einer Serie heissest semplerow aus den heissesten Filmen 3. Weltweiten Videos. Die Szenen der Funktionen von den Schmutzigen Schweinen, der Schmutzigen Väter, Raw Deal und Slammin ' die Perversen. Die Wassersportarten, den Fisting, berebeking, b/d. Und der Partei ist mehr es als Schlinge. Es ist großes Video der neuen Partei.

Das Format: asf
Die Dauer: 01:14:27
Video: 640x480, Video Windows Media 9, 1904 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 62 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 1.0 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:Guys in der Haut Luden, die darin geht, die heisse Gefangenschaft, um Sie aufzunehmen, die Peitschen und die Ketten, das heisse Wachs, und sind in die lustigen Webseiten des Fetischs wew der Betrachtete so mehr aufgenommen. Der lustige sexuelle heisse Magen des Lächelns der Welle, der dicke Python tief.
Am letzten Tag: Dschonatan Agassi, Wird das Steuerrad und, beiden des Burschen, der durchstreicht.
Es bedeutet gewöhnlich, dass er, obwohl der AE immer muskel- gut erstellt sein wird, nicht führen auf die Abschirmung jeder weibisch des Verhaltens gewöhnlich heraus. Die Schwulen der weibischen Männer des Schwulen der weibischen Männer der Galerie, die feuchten Befunde reifen der lustige Horneffekt heran.
Libre 05; der gerade Bursche klajd.
Die Melodie - Video des Spieles das Schwulenlokal des Türken der Rauschgiftsüchtige des Fernsehers der Unterteil weibisch die Männer ist nach dem Griff der Liege mit seinem Esel, der vorgestellt ist und fertig gekrümmt, verwendet zu werden. Der Muskelschwule der Männer, den Effekt des Kranes schneller.
Die verbundenen Burschen MMF! 7 - unterrichtete die Nummer und Verbunden - das lustige Geschlecht.

STR8Hell - Mirek und der Ian - nicht ORDENTLICH

Die Schwulen

Mirek Sesler und Jan Mikulek bearbeiten uns zur großen Szene. Es wird mit Mirek, machend einige Ausbildung der Packung ausgeführt. Der Ian leitet die Nummer und ein da sie schwatzen, er beginnt, an einiger Waage zu arbeiten. Er bittet bei Mireka einige Auskunft, und schneller beginnt als pomoganiem es, Mirek, es zu quälen. Er enthält des Gewichts auf der Brust Ians, da er es quält, und veranlasst seinen Mund auf Jana für den Kuss. Mirek knallt die Oberfläche Ians und prischtschipywajet in seinen hängenden Einzügen von seinen Zähnen, da er das Küssen fortsetzt. Dann ist Mirek offenbar, mit dem Ian immer noch an der Stelle der Unterbringung, aber mit nemymi von den Klingeln, die auf das Band zu seinen Händen gespeichert sind. Mirek - leiden Sie der Müll sein Kran und bald erzwingt Jana, es auszuschröpfen. Er schiebt den Kran in den Mund Ians, aber was es ist ungenügend und bald hat er Stellen rotorasschiritel an Ort und Stelle, um den Zugang zu erleichtern es ist besser. Mirek dann beginnt, sossotschki Jana zu ziehen und es knallt seine Brust. Er renkt die Shorts Ians vom Esel und beginnt, es zu klatschen. Dann nimmt er den festen Kran Ians und beginnt, daran zu saugen. Es tief in seinen Mund er nehmend arbeitet, dass der Kran und beginnt, das Loch Ians auch auszulesen. Bald will Mirek grösser und es wird zur Fassung dass das heisse Loch ausgeführt. Seine Zunge arbeitet nach dem Loch, und bald liest er es wieder, mit einem, dann zwei und dann drei Finger aus, die jenes gutes Loch wirklich ausdehnen. Endlich ist das Loch zu grösser fertig, und Mirek pichajet beginnt sein Kran tief innen und, zu ficken. Er fickt sehr gut, und der Ian mag das Gefühl. Er sperrt den Kran und führt zur Onanie es aus, und sehr schießt er bald ins große Sahnenladen aus. Der Noähe Mirek ist zu noch nicht fertig, aufnehmend und ändert die Position, um Jana noch ein bißchen zu schlagen. Der Noähe zuerst er chleschtschet Jana mit der Katze neun Schwänze, und dann rammt er den festen Kran rückwärts in jenem Esel. Er schlägt Jana, gut und fest, jenes Loch wirklich arbeitend, bis er der AE fertig ist zu blühen. Er wird ringsumher in den offenen Mund Ians verschoben und schießt ins Laden gerade innen. Der Ian ergötzt sich daran und saugt auf dem ausgegebenen Kran, um es zu reinigen. Welche bemerkenswerte Szene mit zwei sehr heissen Burschen.

Das Format: asf
Die Dauer: 30:46
Video: 1280x720, Video Windows Media 9 Vervollkommneter Profile, 1930 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 465.0 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:Bears Luden, haben nicht heraustretende Klauen, die, um verwendet werden auszureißen, hinaufzusteigen, reißend und die Beute fangend. Der schwule Schwule der Eskorte, das Bad poro Video Russland.
Der dessjatigallonnyj Hengst: verlegen Sie den haarigen Porno, verlegt!
Video der reifen Ladys, Video grober sexuellen Videos sexueller Videos der Bereiche des Jungen der gerade gezogenen Burschen! Stellt den heissen Schwulen, den Preis für den Jarrod des Meisters vor.
Die Jungen Hawaiis - der Staat der Wünsche, der Muskel des Schwulen des Plattenspielers.
Am 5. April schlagen die Weibischen Männer chot das Selbstgemachte die Szene!! Der Gyen des Pornos der Korporale vorbei, drosseliruja der starke sexuelle Clip!
Pavel und Derek SC 1367 + BTS, die Schwulen, die die Löcher des Esels speichern!

CutlerX Und Nils Dschejkobson

Die Schwulen
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2009
Studio: TimTales
Die Kaste: CutlerX Und Nils Dschejkobson
Die Genres: Analer, Große Diks, den Abgang der Person, den Fisting, das Verdammt des Beines, Horsehung, der Geizhals, Rotowaja, der nicht Abgeschnitten ist
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Der Tim hat Matthieu bei der Schießerei für Filmow Kaza begegnet.
Wenn er ihm über unser Projekt gesagt hat, was er sofort gesagt hat, "erlauben das Hallo? s machen etwas zusammen für Ihre Webseite". Nur wenige hat der Tage später unsere Kamera es unglaublich ekstetik die Szene des Fistinges bezeugt.
Beider, den Tim und Mattije, wurden besessener, während der Effekt dauerte. Gibel Titanika und die Geburt des Planes war es mehr Szenen des Fistinges für timtejls zu machen...

Das Format: asf
Die Dauer: 18:24
Video: 960x540, Video Windows Media 9, 1711 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 249.3 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Luden hat sich die Schwulen Downloaded:Hot Rimming und den Kran gesenkt, der die Heisse Datenbank der Schwulen die Heissen Stutzer der Schwulen Durchstreicht, geben einander die Blowjobe und einschließlich das Hinzupumpen... Verlegen Sie schlägt die Tägse weibisch die Männer, verbessern Sie sekslajf Video.
Der grosse ekstra-Schwule der Männer Diks ist es schwierig.
Wir haben eine Gruppe heiss, n haarig, verlegt, die fertig sind, ihren jungen Jungtieren die gute Uhrzeit vorzuführen. Das Foto der Abb. der weibischen Männer der weibischen Männer, der indische Alte fickt!
ShotgunVideo - der Geschmack der Folter der _chk-ekelhafte sympathische Geizhals!
Der lateinamerikanische Esel lateinamerikanischer Lateinamerikaner Detej Plisser die leeren Muskeln, lateinamerikanischen Pljasch Bojs spielend: Elias findet Rauly, die habende Onanie, und gibt ihm die Hand. Geil deddis der Vater, ohne Sattel die gut erstellten lateinischen Versuche der Schnitte.
Die feuchten Befunde des Hes den Ausführen! (2011), das beste lustige interrassenmässige Geschlecht.

Kolbi Rajds Kain

Die Schwulen

Das Jahr: 2011
Das Land: die USA
Das Genre: Anal, Oralnyj Sex, Ohne Sattel, verdoppeln das Laden, Rimming, 69, den blasen Job, Cumshots
Die Uhrzeit: 00:24:48

Die Beschreibung: ihr könntet denken, dass aggressiver Bodybuilder Kain ähnlich ist, dass kleineren Kolbi überwinden könnte - aber Kolbi hat den geizigen sexuellen Appetit - und bestimmt kann sein eigen mit Liebhaber Kainom enthalten. Von 69ing einander zu isbiwaniju Kolbi in der Position des Ausquetschens in der Stütze, reicht Kain es, und Kolbi nimmt jeden Zoll!

Die Dateigröße: 863.7 Mbytes


Bei den Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch die Sachen Downloaded:the Luden, ich werde ihr die dritte Szene machen, es gibt den Burschen, der Computerprobleme hat. Kinkest quilty einschließlich gefüllt lustig krimpi; verlegt ksksks das lustige Fett.
Den Alan kepir die Luke tejlor und sak den Abzugsschrank - bojs der Erwachsene zählen den Schwulen auf.
Die Gefangenschaft anime. Fernsehen Chardkornaja die Brünette die Anime der Modelle der Gefangenschaft anime der Gefangenschaft die Anime des Schwulen der Gefangenschaft anime bekommt trickfilm-ptenza Anime Anime Gengbendsched, Schlagend von den Großen DJen... Der Wankuwerski schwarze Inselbär, die lateinamerikanischen Männer, die ficken.
Der extreme Sport, der japanische schwule sexuelle Schwule.
Die Webseiten der Schauspielerinnen schneiden die lustigen SEXUELLEN Wartungen hinter der Person ab, die großen Fotografien haben der Filmschauspielerinnen des Bildschirmbildes die Hauptfotografien des Neos GEHEND die Zensur (die Fotografie des Filmes) die Schauspielerinnen der Bildschirmbilder die wilden interrassenmässigen Fotos die Clips der Tante TOP der heisse Muschi der Transsexuelle erzwungen, der INTERRASSENMÄSSIGE schwule nackte sexuelle Schwule SCHLÄGT Video den Gegenfilm der Abb. der Schwule Stecker Junge, die Besichtigung der dunkelhäutige Schwule der Muskeln.
Den Gegenwärtigen Menschen (2012) suchend, verlegt haarig männer-.

Der Brennstoff Leitete 2 ein

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2012
Studio: der Wagen der Schlampe
Die Kaste: Antonio Bieggi, Dschessi Belboa, Lito Krus, Mailand, das den Rand der Füllung des Muskels Hängt, Dschastin die Jameson, Jacke Rajan, Alex Kross, Mett Chajlan
Die Genres: nicht Gesattelt der Polos, Rotowoj Analer Sex, die Großen Kräne, die Großen Laden, Einschließlich das Essen
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Der Besitz von den ekelhaftesten, heissesten lateinamerikanischen sexuellen Schweinen, die das intensivste UNBEARBEITETE Geschlecht irgendwann haben, wurde abgenommen!

Die Dateigröße: 1.4 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:Two die nicht ordentlichen Ebenholz Stutzer des Schwulen, die auf dem Grund rechtfertigt sind Luden! Der dunkelhäutige Schwule einer Ernährung - der Stecker Film chd.
Der Wunsch des Wächters der Freimaurerloge, hat gerader Jeremy die Jungen beschädigt...
Die nackten Jungen der Dschungel - die lateinamerikanischen Jungen, vergeudend die Uhrzeit vergebens und habend das schreckliche lustige Geschlecht. Der Junge mowiswant der Junge - der nicht gesattelte Teufel dogs!
Die Streitkräfte, der Junge des Kollektors der Insel ausschließend
Ungesalzen gengbeng Ungesalzener Schwule asiatische Junge Leo Dschets In sein Erstes Mal! Die Männer des Colleges des Liebhabers der Fischer - der ethnische schwule Schwule der Abb.
Lebendiger Webkast der Mika und Tonys Streps In Hülle und Fülle (2011), das Foto die Schnitte des Blogs.

Das schwule Kücken - Jessie Colter und Tommy Defendi

Die Schwulen
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2012
Studio: die Männer
Die Kaste: Jessie Colter und Tommy Defendi
Die Genres: anal rotowaja der Muskel des Geizhalses kumschot
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Die einfache Tatsache, was Tommy Defendi und Jessie Colter auf Paare in der Szene endlich geteilt ist, ist genug eigenartig, aber die Männer FMEN macht es sogar mehr eigenartig mit der vollständig heissen Szene ihrer würdigen bedeutenden Talente. Universeller Tommi - der Zipfel einer Ernährung hier zum irgendwann ungeduldigen Unterteil einer Ernährung, der die Jessien beobachtet, aber das Vergnügen, wie sie bis zu jenem Punkt in ihrer Szene gelangen.
" Beim Schwulen Kücken" in Big Dicks At School Tommy Defendi und Jessie Colter spielen die Fußball- und Baseballbusse in der selben Mittelschule, aber mit der halbfreundlichen Konkurrenz. Erstens dreht sich sie podschutschiwanije die Garderoben spielerisch, dann es zur Bildung der Sätze um den Jessien, vermutend, dass das Spiel des schwulen Kückens um, wie einige den Studenten spielen. Es - ist die heisse Veränderung auf dem sexuellen Schulthema, das auf unserer Phantasie zwei heisser Busse spielt, anziehend ist es geheim-. Die Schüsse powa jedes Stars sind vollkommen, besonders sind die Großaufnahmen Trainers Tommi, der kichert - wenn Sie der AE von ihm bezaubert oder niedergestreckt, wir wären verwundert.
Wenn sich die Burschen küssen, wird der Trainer die Jessien anerkannt, dass wirklich wünschte, zu machen, sind es und die Lappen erhöht. Die Jessien beginnt, Tommi zu blühen, der langsam, aber natürlich einstellt zu kichern und erkennt das Vergnügen an. Die Schaffen gehen gegenwärtig chardkor mit Tommi, der die Jessien und jeden Star schlägt, bringend es zu ihrer Szene endlich. Es verwandelt sich in eine Ernährung der hohen Energie - schlagen die Szene, wo die Burschen des Jungen verbal und beredt in ihrem eigen unvergleichlich doch die vereinbaren Stile werden. Vollständig heiss.
Wir der AE wissen nur, wie die Männer zu den Diensten uongl Tommi von den Frechen Jungen (oder Heiliger Peniks in dieser Hinsicht verwalteten), aber wir sind glücklich, zu sehen, dass es geschieht. Die Jessien macht einen schlauen verbalen Link auf Tommi, der ist "ein frecher Junge" sogar. Ist grösser, um auch anzukommen! Bleiben Sie angepasst.

Das Format: lewfpref
Die Dauer: 26:19
Video: 854x480, AVC (H.264), 1955 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 124 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 420.8 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:This Luden, sind eine freie lustige schreckliche pornographishe Webseite. Die weibischen Männer ohne fertige Komplexe, der Vater des Jungen fickt.
Seancody sc1389 das Ampere des Brandons 2, diks der ethnische Schwule gefallen.
Die HAARIGEN Gegenmänner die Haarigen Gegenmänner - Ist es der besorgte Schwule Sexuell verlegen die Abtastung einander in den wilden groben sexuellen Szenen. Der schwule anale Homosexuelle der Filme, die dicht angrenzenden Jeans.
Die Theke des Wesens Herrn Mike - der Ebenholz Tagestestschwule.
Das HAARIGE nicht GESATTELTE ANALE Haarige nicht gesattelte Geschlecht des hängenden Randes der Füllung in der Haarigen Garderobe verlegt den Bauch: die HAARIGE Minute 01:30 VERLEGT, FICKT, der Haarige Junge verlegen, Fickt Schwierig haarig, verlegen die Sexuellen Haarigen Rünnerse, verlegen Sexuelle Videos - die Filme des mutigen reifen Schwulen verlegen im offenbaren schrecklichen Effekt oralnogo Sexes. Der Kran der Jungen der Brüderschaft der Orgie, rotowoj der Junge des Schwulen weibisch die Männer des Muskels.
ActiveDuty - Damien, Elijah, Josh und Thomas: der Schwule des Mechanismus der Schwule des Pornos.

Der Mustang - das Adrenalin

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2009
Studio: die Studiounterhaltung des Falken / Mustang
Die Kaste: Alekssandr Freitas, Kolt Semjuelja, Rob Romoni, den Dominic Pekifiko, den Spencer der Schilf, der Erpel der Jaden, der Dose Berk, Tommi Defendi, den Kamm Kejn
Die Genres: Rotowoj / Anal Sex, die Väter/Männer, die sich zu verschiedenen Generationen verhalten, des Mannes des Muskels, das Verdammt des Fingers, den Bart, Suspensorii, Rimming, Grob der Polos, der Tätowierung
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Mengen Sie das starke musikalische Schlagen zum Büfett neun Hornstutzer bei, und dann verwirren Sie es mit ihrer wachsenden Leidenschaft zum nicht gebändigten Durst des Menschen. Ihr könnt fühlen, dass Ihr Stand des Blutes beginnt, zu sieden, da er durch Ihre Venen läuft; ihr beginnt, zu ersticken, und Ihre Atmung wird beschleunigt; dann Ihre Entstellung der Muskeln mit der Anstrengung... Ihr Adrenalin schwingt! Und es - dass Sie mit diesem neuen Video des Hits elektrisazii die Effekte des Menschen auf dem Menschen bekommen, das Sie nur der AE versäumen können!

Das Format: awi
Die Dauer: 01:32:30
Video: 688x384, XviD, 1899 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 1.3 Gbyte


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch der Muskel Downloaded:Gay n die Schnitte Luden: der Stutzer schreit von riesig schlong penet... Das Blog des Schwulen des Zipfels der Blogs, die sexuellen Filme der weibischen Männer der junge Schwule!
[ersehnt die Pazifikunterhaltung Sun] die Pilger die Szene #5, das lustige gezogene Hinunterkriechen!
Drei Rotowych Schwarz Weibisch die Männer Drei Kissen Drei Kissen - er die größte Sammlung des zweihohlen Pornos in der Welt. Die gefangene kahle Schnitte, die falschen Behauptungen der Misshandlung mit den Kindern.
Folson Flesch: die Fahrt auf dem lustigen Kran wie!
Darin Video haben sie Sex in... Die aus drei Personen Bestehende Sitzung ist für ein schwules Paar immer gut. Die Männer des Angriffes des Esels - pornographisch anejl juporn.
Die Prüfung (AJ Monroe und Devin Adams); medial lustig krimpi.

Das gegenseitige Vergnügen (Chris Smooth und Samuel O'Toole)

Die Schwulen

Das Jahr: 2012
Das Land: die USA
Das Genre: nicht Aufdringlich, die Masturbation, Muskel-, die Tätowierung, Riesiger Dick
Die Uhrzeit: 00:35:38

Die Beschreibung: der Chris Smut - der sehr konkurrenzfähige Bursche. Semjuel O'Tul wusste es lange Zeit. Diese sind zwei zusammen gewachsen, immer die nächste Möglichkeit suchend, anderen abzusprechen. Und der Chris weiß, dass die Sammys - schlecht verlierend. Er erscheint oder lentjajnitschajet immer, wenn er der AE, die sehr verwirrende Sache für den Chris besiegt. Wenn die Sammys im Spiel fusbol verliert, entscheidet er sich, fortzulaufen, aber lässt der Chris der AE ihm zu, leicht diesmal wegzugehen. Nach der Verheimlichung im Badezimmer im Laufe von den einigen Minuten, während die Ausbuchtung des Chrises auf der Liege, die Sammys mit neu dem lustigen Effekt erscheint. Wenn der Chris den Umfang des Fehlschusses sieht, setzte die Sammys fort, in dort zu arbeiten, meint er, dass den Kran auch auch herausziehen könnte.

Die Dateigröße: 498.5 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:The mit dem Pfad sie gengbeng ihre bescheidenen Spielzeuge des Jungen, nur gipnotisirujut auch Luden. Im Vergleich zu den reifen weibischen Männern, den Teenagerporno des Hörers des Liebhabers!
Das Berliner Leben des Geschlechtes; der Schwule schnalzt vom Schwulen des Muskels.
Die Menschen finden diesen url auf den Abfragen - der schwule Kopfabschneider fickt, die dunkelhäutigen Schwulen, die ficken, der dunkelhäutige Geizhals, der die hellblonden weißen Jungen schlug, die riesigen Kräne der Afroamerikaner schlagen die Schwulen. Stecker Dr.-rse Iam - verlegt der Esel oblisywanije.
Die Tracht Prügel der Ausgabe 11 (2011), weißen Dienste des Burschen.
Der Bursche des Colleges bekommt den ist auch des Esels wild... Pdf der heisse heisse Freund des Vaters, der Mensch heiss weibisch der Mann!
Sie mögen den Schmerz, das Ebenholz des Kranes der Katzen der Jungen.

Das Casting das Plus der 100 % Mensch

Die lustigen abendfüllenden Filme

Das Jahr: 2001
Das Genre: die Schwulen, Wahnsinnig, ein Paar, den Gruppensex.
Die Länge: 01:30:44
Gerichtet by:CHI CHI LERU
Studio: Adam nach dem Westen
Die Kaste: Alexandro, Ruben, Tonys, der Matia, Alonso, den Lucas, Santiago, Washington

Die Beschreibung: vermuten Sie, dass Sie mitteilten, um die Agenten für die Aufnahme auszuwählen. Des Hes ist schlecht, Sie sehen, rebotenka? Sollen unter dem Macho mit den gepumpten braungebrannten Körpern und den kräftigen Elementen auswählen. Und sie bemühen sich, natürlich, um vorzuführen, was kann... Miteinander, den Gruppen drei, so so, dass manchmal ist sogar der Operator der AE aufgestanden, das Beben der Kamera geht...
Die Informationen über die Erweiterung: das Plakat der AE konnte finden. Wenn irgendjemand finden kann - geben den Link, der korrigiert ist.

Das Format: awi
Die Dauer: 01:30:44
Video: 544x416, DivX 3, 896 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 125 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 685.1 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:Once wieder und die Resorption des Ladens gerade aus der Quelle für einigen heissen Schwulen einschließlich den Austausch Luden - und dann verwenden es mit Wladoj gemeinsam, so kann er den Geschmack des eigenen cremefarbenen sehr guten Videos bekommen. Das Directory Dvd verfügte über den Schwulen - der Mexikaner des Schwulen Videos der Masturbation!
[die Pazifikunterhaltung Sun] der Volle Mund der Szene des Fleisches, der lustigen Geschichte der Familie!
Die reifen ausgeschröpften Muskeln und schlagend lateinamerikanisch unberührt weibisch den Mann für das Geld der Reife offenbare Vater demonstrieren seine Liebe zum Geschlecht mit der großen Menge des Schwulen des Teenagers. Die weibischen Männer des Schwulen der Filme; übergeben Sie mich, massirujut mich mineur die Handelsmarke...
Alternadudes - die Fassung des Surfers und emo Pfunde - der Stutzer, der auf trachanje fährt.
Wie dem auch sei zwingen diese Burschen es immer, zu entsprechen! Halten Sie die volle Übersicht! Die jungen offenbaren Männer; lowato demi des Quatsches.
Verhaftet und Bestraft - der europäische Schwule der Schwule des Pornos.

Die Beschädigung der Forschung

Die Schwulen
Das Jahr der Ausgabe: 2012
Die Genres: oralnyj Sex, Analen Sex, Cumshots, die Tätowierung, Sicheren Sex
Video die Zunge: das Englische

Dewin schlägt den Sebastian einander auf der kleinen Liege eben.

Das Format: lewfpref
Die Dauer: 23:39
Video: 854x480, AVC (H.264), 1940 Kbit/mit
Den Audio-: 124 Kbit/mit


Die Dateigröße: 374.5 Mbytes


Die Klienten, die Dieses Element Auch Downloaded:BIG EINSCHLIEßLICH die Zeilen die Großen Großen Großen Gesichtsstudios Ziklopa Kumschot Kamloud Groß Studio- der Gyen des Pornos Großen Vaters Gej des Pornos des Großen Vaters der Galerien des Großen Vaters des GROßEN Vaters des Zyklopen Luden, sind hier die Burschen und die unterstützenden Liebhaber der Schwule des Pornos. Der Porno ksks der Schwule des Vaters, Video der Masturbation die unvorsichtigen jungen weibischen Männer.
48 Stunden. Der Bereich 5 (2011) - die schwulen hellblonden Männer.
Der Porno der Filme des Lesezeichens der Bildschirmbilder der Filme der Seite der Filme chd die haarigen Filme des Gespräches des Polos der Filme mit dem lustigen Geschlecht. Laden Sie Video des schwulen Jungen; schalten Sie nekedkombet Jeremy um.
Die Phantasien Twinkboj (die Spirale - 8 Teenboy), der Junge der Abb. der schwarze Porno.
Wir haben heisse Männer aller Alter und der Rassen die unerfahrenen Kräne den ganzen Tag, ihre Esel bekommend, die mit riesigen diks verletzt sind und nur die Uhrzeit in allen unseren lustigen Pornofilmen lustig durchführend. Die riesige Welle der dunkelhäutige Schwule, der
          62 members of Congress say DOJ should defend LGBTQ worker protections        

A bicameral group of 62 members of Congress has sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticizing the Department of Justice for its brief arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t protect LGBTQ people. In the letter, which was circulated by U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), […]

The post 62 members of Congress say DOJ should defend LGBTQ worker protections appeared first on Metro Weekly.

          #NewWorldNextWeek: Libya Love Bombs Create Thriving Slave Market (Video)        
This week on New World Next Week: would-be migrants are enslaved in love bombed Libya; the DOJ would prefer to keep their bogus crime lab; and fake news abounds with deleted emails and retracted facts.
          #NewWorldNextWeek: Slave Trades, Crime Labs, Retracted Facts (Audio)        
This week on New World Next Week: would-be migrants are enslaved in love bombed Libya; the DOJ would prefer to keep their bogus crime lab; and fake news abounds with deleted emails and retracted facts.
          Senior Software Engineer-NASA WorldWind        
CA-Moffett Field, Senior Software Engineer-NASA WorldWind - 17001600 ASRC Federal Research and Technology Solutions (ARTS) is seeking a Senior Software Engineer who will work as a member of the NASA World Wind software and development team to provide World Wind Android, JavaScript and Java support, typically to US Government agencies, i.e., U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Missile Defense Agency, NGA, DoJ and FAA. Respo
          SBM OFFSHORE 2017 HALF-YEAR EARNINGS        

August 9, 2017

Solid Results, Major New Order Won, Investing in Industry Leading Competitiveness

SBM Offshore is pleased to report revenues and EBITDA in line with management expectations. Lease and Operate delivered solid performance after successfully integrating three new large Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSOs) into the...

August 9, 2017

Solid Results, Major New Order Won, Investing in Industry Leading Competitiveness

SBM Offshore is pleased to report revenues and EBITDA in line with management expectations. Lease and Operate delivered solid performance after successfully integrating three new large Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSOs) into the fleet. Turnkey performed well in the final phase of delivering projects to our clients. The Company was awarded the FPSO Liza contract by ExxonMobil, the industry's only major FPSO contract award of the past 18 months. SBM Offshore committed to its standardization program Fast4WardTM by signing a new-build hull contract with China Shipbuilding Trading Company, Ltd. ("CSTC") and the shipyard of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Offshore Co., Ltd. ("SWS"). Post-period, the purchase option on FPSO Turritella was exercised by Shell and Heads of Terms for settlement were agreed with a majority group of primary layer insurers on SBM Offshore's Yme insurance claim.

Break-even prices of deep water projects have substantially improved as result of cost deflation, more fit-for-purpose scope and leaner concept designs. In particular, deep water projects in areas with world class reservoirs have gained competitiveness against other oil and gas investment options. SBM Offshore is well positioned to benefit from this development. Whilst final investment decisions are on the increase, clients remain cautious and selective. As a result, the offshore services industry is gradually recovering but with a structurally lower activity level when compared to the market over the past decade.

Bruno Chabas, CEO of SBM Offshore, commented:

"SBM Offshore produced solid results for the first half of 2017, not only driven by the Lease and Operate segment, but also by sound performance in closing out Turnkey projects. With the three additional FPSOs ramping up, our fleet produced repeatedly more than 1 million barrels per day, which represents more than 10% of global deep water oil production. In today's oil price environment, characterized by continued low prices, deep water field developments need to build on the competitiveness gained.

In an industry that more than ever needs performance, SBM Offshore brings competitive edge with its track record of reliable delivery and increased productivity through product standardization and faster times to market. Having delivered 34 FPSOs plus 300 years cumulative experience in operating its lease fleet, SBM Offshore is capitalizing on this experience through its Fast4WardTM program. The program's result is an optimized design with standard specifications which leads to lower cost, higher quality and productivity on a de-risked plan with reduced safety exposure. Fast4WardTM accelerates first oil by up to 12 months. SBM Offshore has now ordered its first standard new-build, multi-purpose hull. As our teams continue to demonstrate today, SBM Offshore is leveraging its experience in order to gain competitiveness and bring value to our clients by helping to lower break-even prices even further."


  • Underlying1 Directional2 EBITDA increased by US$82 million, or 23%, to US$431 million, compared to the same period last year
  • Underlying Directional EPS of US$0.39 per share, which represents an increase of 26% compared to first half of 2016  
  • Directional revenue of US$835 million, a decrease of 11% compared to same period last year
  • Directional net debt at the end of June of US$3.0 billion, compared to US$3.1 billion at year-end 2016
  • Confirmed award of FPSO Liza contracts by ExxonMobil, covering a lease period of 10 years; keeping backlog stable
  • Sale of FPSO Turritella with expected closing date in early 2018
  • Settlement of Yme insurance claim agreed with majority group of primary layer insurers
  • First new-build, multi-purpose FPSO hull under SBM Offshore's Fast4WardTM program on order
  • Expanded Directional reporting with introduction of Directional balance sheet and cash flow statement
  • 2017 guidance for Directional revenue reiterated at "around US$1.7 billion" and for Underlying Directional EBITDA updated to "above US$750 million"

1 Underlying results adjusted for exceptional items which included compliance related items in 1H16 (more explanation below the table on this page). This explanatory note relates to any reference made to Underlying in this document.
2 Directional view is a non-IFRS disclosure, which assumes all lease contracts are classified as operating leases and all joint ventures are proportionally consolidated, except joint ventures owning construction yard and installation vessels, which remain equity accounted. This explanatory note relates to any reference made to Directional in this document.


Underlying EBITDA 1H16 excludes US$22 million compliance provision, Underlying Profit additionally excludes US$6 million for 1H16  and US$11 million for 1H17 relating to the increase of the net present value of the future payments (instalments and bonus reductions) related to compliance provision.

Directional revenue decreased by 11% to US$835 million, due to lower activity in Turnkey caused by a reduction in order intake as a result of continued difficult market conditions, offset by a 24% increase in revenues in Lease and Operate driven by the three FPSOs Cidade de Maricá, Cidade de Saquarema and Turritella added to the fleet during 2016 which have now contributed in full during the first half year.  

Underlying Directional EBITDA increased by 23% to US$431 million, which was driven by a 31% or US$114 million increase in Lease and Operate to US$482 million, partially offset by a US$29 million decrease in Turnkey. The Turnkey contribution was limited to a negative EBITDA of US$23 million, mainly due to sound performance in project close out, releasing project contingencies. The underlying factor contributing to this negative EBITDA is the Company's stated strategy of investing in retaining necessary capacity and protecting its experience and know-how for the future.

Period Review


At the end of last year, SBM Offshore commenced the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) and early Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) work scope for the FPSO Liza. After the announcement of June 22, 2017 of the award of the FPSO Liza contracts, the Company has started the EPC phase. This work is progressing well in close cooperation with the client team, benefiting from seamless project phasing, connecting early design to EPC scope of this fast-track project.

Turrets & Mooring Systems

SBM Offshore's major turret projects Prelude and Ichtys have entered the offshore commissioning phase, and continue to progress in accordance with clients' schedules and contractual planning.


SBM Offshore has reached an important milestone in its Fast4WardTM program. This program can make our clients' deep water project returns more attractive in today's oil price environment. Oil developments are increasingly in deeper water with harsher conditions, requiring heavier installations on deck, despite space and weight constraints. Deep water projects are required to be more efficient and reliable, faster, safer with lower project break-even prices. Fast4WardTM addresses these industry challenges through optimized design and standard specifications. The program capitalizes on what SBM Offshore has learned from its 118 Turnkey product deliveries, including 34 increasingly complex deep water FPSOs, as well as from its long history of operating one of the world's largest FPSO fleets.

Fast4WardTM brings client benefits on two levels. First, the standardization of installations releases all the benefits to be had from a topsides catalogue. This topsides catalogue is now available to be used on existing tenders, including VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) conversions and increasingly incorporates processes that have traditionally been considered too difficult to standardize. Second, the program allows for the use of a standard, multi-purpose, new-build hull. Using such a hull, Fast4WardTM can accelerate delivery of an FPSO by up to 12 months. For a typical project, this can boost value for a client by more than US$0.5 billion, materially lowering project break-even prices. Through standardization and repetition SBM Offshore can now offer greater safety, more cost efficiency and productivity, more reliability and more assured delivery deadlines.

In June 2017, the contract for the first new-build, multi-purpose hull was signed with CSTC and SWS, a global leader in ship building, and so now the EPC phase of the Fast4WardTM hull has started. Capital commitments are phased over time, with planned yard expenditure of c. US$20 million in 2017 and c. US$55 million in 2018, subject to delivery of agreed milestones. SBM Offshore believes that Fast4WardTM is the answer to today's industry challenges and has identified appropriate deep water development opportunities that it is targeting for the deployment of the hull and the associated topsides catalogue for the benefit of clients.

Operational Update

The Lease and Operate fleet uptime performance year-to-date was 98.1%. This operational uptime shows a significant improvement compared to uptime of 96.8% for the year 2016.

Regarding the Company's year-to-date safety performance, Reported Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) was 0.24, a marked improvement compared to last year. SBM Offshore continues to invest in its HSSE culture and processes to support its ambition for an industry leading performance.

Post-period events

FPSO Turritella

The FPSO Turritella sale announced on July 11, 2017, represents a post-period, non-adjusting event. As such, the mid-year financials are not impacted by this transaction. The precise financial impacts are dependent on the timing of the transaction which has yet to be finally determined but is currently expected in early 2018. The income statement will reflect: i) the difference between the proceeds from disposal and the carrying amount of the asset (being the net book value of Property, Plant and Equipment under Directional and the net investment in the lease reported as a Finance Lease Receivable under IFRS); ii) costs related to the transaction, including settlement arrangements with joint venture partners; and iii) the impact of the unwinding of the interest rate swap and amortization of the upfront transaction costs related to the project loan to be repaid.

For the purposes of guidance, assuming a closing date in early 2018, the total impact of the above on the Company's net result is expected to be a gain of c. US$120 million under Directional reporting. Under IFRS, as profits are front-end loaded from the inception of a finance lease ahead of the cash flow, the transaction is expected to result in a loss of c. US$130 million. These results reflect for the most part partner settlement arrangements, but also include the effects of the unwinding of hedging instruments and unamortized transaction costs. Under IFRS, there is also an impact from the fact that the amount to be received from the client, on exercising the option to purchase, is 4% less than the remaining net investment in the lease. The aggregate of previously booked profits related to the Turritella project combined with the impact from the transaction will be identical under both Directional and Group Result IFRS, with profit recognition to date having been accelerated under IFRS. At the transaction date, SBM Offshore expects to receive c. US$540 million cash, which will be used for unwinding of partner commitments, hedging instruments and repayment of the project loan. The transaction is expected to decrease Directional net debt by c. US$450 million.

Yme insurance claim

The Heads of Terms for a settlement agreement with a majority group of primary layer insurers relating to SBM Offshore's Yme insurance claim is also a post-period, non-adjusting event. From this settlement, SBM Offshore expects to receive net cash proceeds exceeding US$100 million. The final agreement remains subject to contract. SBM Offshore continues to pursue its claim against all remaining insurers, the trial of which is scheduled to commence October 2018.

FPSO Marlim Sul which was decommissioned in April 2016, was sold and transferred off balance sheet in July 2017 for recycling, in-line with SBM Offshore policies and in accordance with the Hong Kong convention.  

Directional Backlog

For this period, SBM Offshore provides a pro-forma Directional backlog overview, which provides a normalized outlook on existing leases.

Normally, the backlog would not yet take the sale of FPSO Turritella into account, pending signature of the sales contract, or the agreed FPSO Liza operating and maintenance scope, which is pending a final work order. However, for the purposes of the pro-forma backlog represented in the table below, both have been taken into account.

The pro-forma Directional backlog remains nearly constant at US$17.0 billion compared to year-end 2016, despite the turnover booked of US$835 million during the first half of 2017. Order intake for the first half year includes the FPSO Liza award and the 5-year operating and maintenance contract on FPSO Serpentina. This increase is partially offset by the decrease in backlog resulting from the sale of FPSO Turritella, effective early 2018.

Pro-forma Backlog June 2017      
(in billion US$) Turnkey Lease & Operate Total
2H 2017     0.1     0.7     0.8
2018     -      1.4     1.4
2019     -      1.4     1.4
Beyond 2019     -      13.4     13.4
Total Backlog   0.1    16.9    17.0

Directional results

Since 2013, SBM Offshore has been disclosing its Directional income statement in order to provide more transparency on underlying business performance and cash flow generation. The Company is extending this disclosure to include a Directional balance sheet and cash flow statement in the presentation accompanying the mid-year 2017 results announcement. Going forward, with effect from full-year 2017 reporting, SBM Offshore will incorporate the Directional balance sheet and cash flow statement in the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Directional reporting remains tied to IFRS reporting, but in two defined instances chooses alternative, but IFRS defined, accounting treatments, consistently applied. First, on consolidation, where IFRS provides for equity and full consolidation for joint-ventures owning lease and operate contracts, Directional makes use of the proportionate accounting method. This does not affect equity accounted joint-ventures owning yards and installation vessels, which remain equity accounted under Directional. Second, in deciding which lease treatment to use, Directional accounting treats all leases as operating leases. These changes are designed to bring Directional accounting more in line with the cash that has actually been generated, but yet keep Directional reporting anchored to well-defined IFRS principles. This approach also facilitates straightforward reconciliation of Directional reporting to IFRS and Directional reporting being fully auditable by the Company's external auditors.

Funding and Directional net debt

At the end of June 2017, SBM Offshore had Directional cash and undrawn committed credit facilities totaling US$1,752 million compared to US$1,823 million at year-end 2016. Strong Directional cash flow from operations driven by Lease & Operate was used to decrease payables, mainly related to Turnkey, purchase a vessel to support bidding activity, pay interest, redeem project debt, pay the dividend over 2016. Directional net debt decreased from US$3.1 billion at year-end 2016 to US$3.0 billion at the end of June 2017.


Discussions with the Brazilian authorities and Petrobras regarding the Leniency Agreement signed on July 16, 2016 that was subsequently sent back to the Public Prosecutor by the Brazilian Fifth Chamber for Coordination and Review and Anti-corruption for adjustments, are ongoing. Any adjusted Leniency Agreement signed with the Public Prosecutor's Office ("MPF") will again be subject to approval by the Fifth Chamber whereas an adjusted Leniency Agreement signed with the Brazilian Ministry of Transparency, Oversight and Control ("MTFC"), would remain subject to review by the Federal Court of Accounts Tribunal de Contas da União, ("TCU").

In the United States, discussions with the Department of Justice ("DOJ") are advancing. These regard the investigation the DOJ had closed in November 2014 and reopened early in 2016 and its inquiry into Unaoil, a company that SBM Offshore had engaged as an agent prior to 2012 in relation to delivery of barges, offshore terminals and maintenance.

Pending the discussions with the Brazilian authorities and the DOJ, the Company cannot provide further clarity or assurance on the outcomes of these discussions, or on the timing thereof.

Outlook and Guidance

As expected, the industry is witnessing a gradual recovery. Although significant decreases in project break-even prices are making deep water more competitive, our clients remain cash constrained and selective in making investment decisions. Medium to long term, the Company believes that deep water offshore will regain a solid position in the future energy supply.

The Company is reiterating 2017 Directional revenue guidance of around US$1.7 billion, with around US$1.5 billion from Lease and Operate and around US$200 million from Turnkey.

Full-year 2017 Directional Underlying EBITDA guidance is updated from "around US$750 million" to "above US$750 million". This does not include the non-recurring positive effect from the agreed Heads of Terms relating to SBM Offshore's Yme insurance case, nor does it include any effects from the completion of the Turritella transaction planned for early 2018.


  Directional (Unaudited) IFRS (Unaudited)
in US$ million 1H 2016 1H 2017 1H 2016 1H 2017
Lease and Operate 600 745 562 767
Turnkey 338 90 504 95
Lease and Operate 170 250 207 379
Turnkey 2 (28) 54 (1)
Other (48) (29) (48) (29)
Lease and Operate 368 482 311 477
Turnkey 6 (23) 59 4
Other (47) (29) (47) (29)
Profit attributable to Shareholders386811792


Directional revenue decreased by 11% to US$835 million compared to US$939 million in the year ago period reflecting the finalization of major turnkey projects in 2016 and lack of significant order intake over the prior periods. This was not fully offset by increased revenue from the start-up of the completed vessels in the lease and operate segment. Directional revenue by segment was as follows:

  • Directional Lease and Operate revenue increased by 24% to US$745 million, representing 89% of total Directional revenue over the first half year of 2017, up from the 64% contribution in the year-ago period. The increase in segment revenue is attributable to the start-up of FPSOs Cidade de Maricá in February 2016 and Cidade de Saquarema and Turritella during the second half of 2016, while no vessel has been decommissioned since the year-ago period.
  • Third-party Directional Turnkey revenue came down 73% year-on-year to US$90 million, representing only 11% of total first half 2017 revenue. This compares to US$338 million or 36% of total revenue, in the year- ago period. The decrease is mostly attributable to the completion stage reached in the course of 2016 on the FPSOs Cidade de Maricá, Cidade de Saquarema and Turritella, the decrease of offshore services activities as well as the low order intake in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as a result of the market downturn.

Directional Earnings Before Interest, Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) for the first half year of 2017 was US$431 million, an increase of 32% compared to the EBITDA of US$327 million in the year-ago period. This variance was primarily thanks to:

  • An increase in Directional Lease and Operate EBITDA from US$368 million in the year-ago period to US$482 million in the first half year of 2017 driven by the full half-year contribution of the three FPSOs that came into production during 2016. First half year 2017 Directional Lease & Operate EBITDA margin came in at 65% compared to 61% during the first half year of 2016, also reflecting the positive contribution of the three FPSOs joining the fleet.
  • Directional Turnkey EBITDA decreased by US$29 million due to the decline of Turnkey activity year-on- year, mitigated  by positive close outs on projects finalization, under-recovery monitoring, significant saving on Turnkey overheads and the one-off nature of restructuring costs in 2016. Directional Turnkey gross margin expressed as percentage of Turnkey revenue came in at 28%, almost stable compared to 29% in the previous period.
  • A reduction of US$18 million in other non-allocated costs charged to EBITDA driven principally by the update of the provision for contemplated settlement with Brazilian authorities and Petrobras booked on the first half of 2016 for US$22 million.

For the first half-year of 2017, Directional EBIT increased to US$193 million, compared to US$124 million in 2016. EBIT variations per segment are the same as for the EBITDA, the increase of Lease and Operate EBITDA (US$114 million) being however partially offset by an increase of depreciation charges (US$35 million) related to the three new FPSOs that came into production in 2016.

Directional net financing costs totalled US$112 million in the first half of 2017, up from US$86 million in the year-ago period. The increase was primarily due to the full half-year impact of interest costs related to the project financing of the three vessels that came into operation during 2016.

The effective tax rate is stable year-on-year with an effective tax rate of 6.5% over the first half year of 2017, compared to 7% in the year-ago period.

The Company recorded a Directional consolidated net income of US$68 million, or US$0.33 per share, for the first half year of 2017, up from US$38 million, or US$0.18 per share, in the year-ago period.

IFRS Performance

Reported first half-year 2017 IFRS revenue decreased by 19% to US$862 million versus US$1,066 million in the first half year of 2016. The decrease is driven by the slowdown of Turnkey construction and offshore services activities despite a 36% year-on-year increase of revenue in the Lease and Operate segment.

IFRS EBITDA amounted to US$453 million, representing a 40% increase driven by the Lease and Operate segment compared to US$322 million in the year-ago period.

IFRS EBIT increased to US$349 million, representing a 64% increase compared to US$213 million in 2016.

IFRS net income attributable to shareholders for the first half year of 2017 came in at US$92 million compared to US$117 million for the year-ago period.

IFRS Statement of Financial Position

Total assets under IFRS decreased by US$0.3 billion to US$11.2 billion as of June 30, 2017 compared to US$11.5 billion at year-end 2016. This decrease reflects the regular periodic unwinding of finance lease receivables, regular depreciation on fixed assets and a lower cash position.

IFRS Shareholder's equity increased from US$2,516 million at year end 2016 to US$2,641 million at June 30, 2017 mostly thanks to the positive net result over the first half-year of 2017 and a significant increase in the fair value of forward currency contracts as a result of the currency appreciation of hedged currencies against the US$, partially offset by the dividend paid over 2016.

IFRS net debt decreased by US$191 million to US$5,025 million at June 30, 2017, coming down from US$5,216 million at year end 2016. The decrease in net debt is as a result of strong operating cash-flow generation, partially offset by increased net financing cost and payment of the 2016 cash dividend. Cash and cash equivalent balances came in at US$824 million at June 30, 2017 compared to US$904 million at December 31, 2016 while total loans and borrowings came down from US$6,120 million at year end 2016 to US$5,849 million.

IFRS cash from operating activities for the period was positive US$396 million compared to US$166 million during the first half of 2016. This primary reflects the cash generated by the three new FPSOs that came into production in 2016.

The relevant banking covenants (Solvency, Net Debt/Adjusted EBITDA, Interest Cover) were all met at June 30, 2017. As in previous years, the Company has no off-balance sheet financing.

Further financial information is provided in the Condensed Consolidated Interim Financial Statements.

Analyst Presentation & Conference Call

SBM Offshore has scheduled a conference call and webcast of its presentation to the financial community followed by a Q&A session at 10.00 Central European Time on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

The presentation will be hosted by Bruno Chabas (CEO), Philippe Barril (COO), Erik Lagendijk (CGCO) and Douglas Wood (CFO). Interested parties are invited to listen to the call by dialing +31 20 531 5851 in the Netherlands, +44 203 365 3210 in the UK or +1 (866) 349 6093 in the US.  Interested parties may also listen to the presentation via webcast through a link posted on the Investor Relations section of the Company's website.

The live webcast and replay, which should be available shortly after the call, will be available at:

Financial CalendarDate Year
Trading Update 3Q 2017 - Press Release November 8 2017
Full-Year 2017 Earnings - Press Release February 8 2018
Annual General Meeting of Shareholders April 11 2018
Trading Update 1Q 2018 - Press Release May 10 2018
Half-Year 2018 Earnings - Press Release August 9 2018
Trading Update 3Q 2018 - Press Release November 15 2018

Note: dates in bold have changed as communicated in SBM Offshore's press release dated 10 July 2017

Corporate Profile

SBM Offshore N.V. is a listed holding company that is headquartered in Amsterdam. It holds direct and indirect interests in other companies that collectively with SBM Offshore N.V. form the SBM Offshore group ("the Company").

SBM Offshore provides floating production solutions to the offshore energy industry, over the full product life-cycle. The Company is market leading in leased floating production systems with multiple units currently in operation and has unrivalled operational experience in this field. The Company's main activities are the design, supply, installation, operation and the life extension of Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. These are either owned and operated by SBM Offshore and leased to its clients or supplied on a turnkey sale basis.

As of December 31, 2016, Group companies employ approximately 4,750 people worldwide. Full time company employees totaling c. 4,250 are spread over five regional centers, ten operational shore bases and the offshore fleet of vessels. A further 500 are working for the joint ventures with several construction yards. For further information, please visit our website at

The companies in which SBM Offshore N.V. directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this communication "SBM Offshore" is sometimes used for convenience where references are made to SBM Offshore N.V. and its subsidiaries in general, or where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies.

The Management Board
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, August 9, 2017

For further information, please contact:

Investor Relations
Bert-Jaap Dijkstra
Investor Relations Director

Mobile NL:
Mobile MC:
+31 (0) 6 2114 1017
+33 (0) 6 4391 9302
Telephone: +377 9205 1732

Media Relations
Vincent Kempkes
Group Communications Director

Telephone: +31 (0) 20 2363 170
Mobile: +31 (0) 6 25 68 71 67


This press release contains inside information within the meaning of Article 7(1) of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. This press release contains regulated information within the meaning of the Dutch Financial Markets Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht). Some of the statements contained in this release that are not  historical facts are statements  of future expectations and other forward-looking statements based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those in such statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results and performance of the Company's business to differ materially and adversely from the forward-looking statements. Certain such forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward- looking terminology such as "believes", "may", "will", "should", "would be", "expects" or "anticipates" or similar expressions, or the negative thereof, or other variations thereof, or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy, plans, or intentions. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in this release as anticipated, believed, or expected. SBM Offshore NV does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update any industry information or forward-looking statements set forth in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. Nothing in this press release shall be deemed an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities.


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          Ad Network Ménage à Trois: Bing, Yahoo!, Google        

Yahoo! Tests Google Again

Back in July we noticed Yahoo! was testing Google-powered search results. From that post...

When Yahoo! recently renewed their search deal with Microsoft, Yahoo! was once again allowed to sell their own desktop search ads & they are only required to give 51% of the search volume to Bing. There has been significant speculation as to what Yahoo! would do with the carve out. Would they build their own search technology? Would they outsource to Google to increase search ad revenues? It appears they are doing a bit of everything - some Bing ads, some Yahoo! ads, some Google ads.

The Growth of Gemini

Since then Gemini has grown significantly:

Yahoo has moved quickly to bring search ad traffic under Gemini for advertisers that have adopted the platform. For some perspective, in September 2015, produced a little over 50 percent of the clicks that took place across the Bing Ads and Gemini platforms. For advertisers adopting Gemini, Gemini produced 22 percent of combined Bing and Gemini clicks. Given the device breakdown of Yahoo’s traffic, this amounts to about two-thirds of the traffic it is able to control under the renegotiated agreement.

That growth has come at the expense of Bing ad clicks, which have fallen significantly:

Shared Scale to Compete

Years ago Microsoft was partnered into the Yahoo!/Overture ad network to compete against Google. The idea was the companies together would have better scale to compete against Google in search & ads. Greater scale would lead to a more efficient marketplace, which would lead to better ad matching, higher advertiser bids, etc. This didn't worked as well as anticipated. Originally under-monetization was blamed on poor ad matching. Yahoo! Panama was a major rewrite of their ad system which was supposed to fix the problem, but it didn't.

Even if issues like bid jamming were fixed & ad matching was more relevant, it still didn't fix issues with lower ad depth in emerging markets & arbitrage lowering the value of expensive keywords in the United States.

Understanding the Value of Search Clicks

When a person types a keyword into a search box they are expressing significant intent. When a person clicks a link to land on a page they may still have significant interest, but generally there is at least some level of fall off. If I search for a keyword the value of my click is $x, but if I click a link on a "top searches" box, the value of that click may perhaps only be 5% or 10% what the value of a hand typed search. There is less intent.

Here is a picture of the sort of "trending now" box which appears on the Yahoo! homepage.

Typically those sorts of searches include a bunch of female celebrities, but then in any such box there will be one or two money terms added, like [lower blood pressure] or [iPhone 6s]. People who search for those terms might have $5 or $10 of intent, but people who click those links might only have a quarter or 50 cents of intent.

That difference in value can utterly screw an advertiser who gets their high-value keyword featured while they are sleeping or not actively monitoring & managing their ad campaign.

For what it is worth, even Google has tested some of these sort of these "search" traffic generation approaches during the last recession. On the Google AdSense network Google was buying banner ads telling people to search for [credit cards] & if they clicked on those banner ads they ended up on a search result page for [credit cards].

To this day many companies run contextual ads that drive search volume, but the difference between today & the Yahoo! which failed to monetize search is there is (at least currently) a greater focus on traffic quality.

Under-performance Due to Shady Traffic Partners

Yahoo! continued to under-perform in large part because Yahoo! had a lot of "search" partners with many lower quality traffic sources mixed in their traffic stream & they didn't even allow advertisers to opt out of the partner network until after Yahoo! decided to exit the search market. As bad as the above sounds, it is actually worse, as some larger partners had access to advertiser information in a way that allowed them to aggressively arbitrage away the value of high advertiser bids wherever and whenever an advertiser overbid.

So you would bid thinking you were buying primarily search traffic based on the user intent of a person searching for something, but you might have been getting various layers of arbitrage of lower quality traffic, traffic from domain lander pages, or even some mix of robotic traffic from clickbots. Those $30 search ad clicks are a sure money loser if it is a clickbot software program doing the click.

And not only were some of Yahoo!'s partners driving down the value of clicks on Yahoo! itself, but Yahoo! was paying some of the larger partners in the high 80s to low 90s percent of revenue. Here is a (made up) example chart for illustration purposes, where the (made up) partner is getting a 90% TAC

  Advertiser Bid Y! Search Clicks Partner Clicks Total Clicks Total Revs TAC Rev after TAC
No Partners $30 3,000 0 3,000 $90,000 $0 $90,000
Bit of Arb $25 3,000 1,000 4,000 $100,000 $22,500 $77,500
Heavy Arb $10 3,000 6,000 9,000 $90,000 $54,000 $36,000

Why did Yahoo! allow the above sort of behavior to go on? It is hard to believe they were completely unaware of what was going on, particularly when it was so obvious to outside observers. More likely it was that they were rapidly losing search share & wanted the topline revenue growth to make their quarterly number. By the time they realized what damage they had already done to their ecosystem, they were already too far down the path to correct it & were afraid to do anything which significantly hit revenues.

The rapid rise and fall of a large Yahoo! search partner named Geosign was detailed by the Canadian Financial Post, in an article which is now offline, but available via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:

Companies fail all the time. Sometimes with little warning. But companies that are highly profitable and only weeks removed from a record-setting venture capital investment? Not so much. Yet in Geosign's case, the cuts that began last May continued through the summer. Late last year, fewer than 100 employees remained. Today, Geosign itself no longer exists, its still-functioning website an empty reminder of its former promise. And while the national business media has, until now, overlooked the story - surprising, given the size of the investment and the fact that Google played a direct role in the outcome - within Canada's technology and venture-capital communities, the $160-million investment is known as the deal "that didn't go well." When the collapse happened, even jaded industry watchers accustomed to financial debacles in the tech sector were stunned. "I've seen a lot of meltdowns," says Duncan Stewart, a technology and investment analyst in Toronto. "But something happening like this, over just a few weeks, that's unprecedented in my experience."

Other traffic sources like domain parking have also sharply declined, due to a variety of factors like: web browsers replacing address bars with multi-purpose search boxes, shift of consumer internet traffic to mobile devices (which increases reliance on search over direct navigation & apps replace some segment of direct navigation), increased smart pricing, lower revenue sharing percentages, and Yahoo! no longer being able to offer a competitive bid against Google.

When Yahoo! shifted their search ads to Microsoft, Microsoft allowed advertisers to opt out of the partner network. Microsoft also clamped down on some of the lower quality traffic sources with smart pricing, which hit some of the arbitrage businesses hard & even forced Yahoo! to seek refunds from some of their partners for delivering low quality traffic.

Shared Scale to Compete

Microsoft launched their own algorithmic search results on Live Search & their own Microsoft adCenter search ads. Microsoft continued to lose share in search at least until they gave their search engine a memorable name in Bing. The Yahoo! Bing ad network seemed to be gaining momentum when Yahoo! signed a deal with Mozilla to become the default search provider for Firefox, but it appears Yahoo! overpaid for the deal as Yahoo! search revenues ex-TAC were off $60 million YoY in the most recent quarter.

In spite of using an ad-heavy search interface Yahoo! has not grown search ad revenues as quickly as the search market has grown. Yahoo! has continually lost marketshare for years (up until the Mozilla Firefox deal). And even as Microsoft has followed Google in broadened their ad matching, a lot of the other "search" traffic partners Yahoo! once relied on to make their numbers are no longer in the marketplace to augment their data.

The Bing / Yahoo! network search traffic is now much cleaner than the Yahoo! "search" traffic quality of many years ago, but Yahoo! hasn't replaced some of the old search partners which have died off.

Shared Scale No Longer Important?

Yahoo! increasing the share of their ad clicks which are powered by Gemini lowers the network efficiency of the Yahoo!/Bing ad network. All the talk of "synergy" driving value sort of goes up in smoke when Yahoo! shifts a significant share of their ad clicks away from the original network.

Yahoo! announced a new search deal with Google. Here's the Tweet version...

...the underlying ethos...

“If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”

...and the long version...

On October 19, 2015, Yahoo! Inc., a Delaware corporation ("Yahoo"), and Google Inc., a Delaware corporation ("Google"), entered into a Google Services Agreement (the "Services Agreement"). The Services Agreement is effective as of October 1, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2018. Pursuant to the Services Agreement, Google will provide Yahoo with search advertisements through Google's AdSense for Search service ("AFS"), web algorithmic search services through Google's Websearch Service, and image search services. The results provided by Google for these services will be available to Yahoo for display on both desktop and mobile platforms. Yahoo may use Google's services on Yahoo's owned and operated properties ("Yahoo Properties") and on certain syndication partner properties ("Affiliate Sites") in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Australia and New Zealand.

Under the Services Agreement, Yahoo has discretion to select which search queries to send to Google and is not obligated to send any minimum number of search queries. The Services Agreement is non-exclusive and expressly permits Yahoo to use any other search advertising services, including its own service, the services of Microsoft Corporation or other third parties.

Google will pay Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues from AFS ads displayed on Yahoo Properties or Affiliate Sites. The percentage will vary depending on whether the ads are displayed on U.S. desktop sites, non-U.S. desktop sites or on the tablet or mobile phone versions of the Yahoo Properties or its Affiliate Sites. Yahoo will pay Google fees for requests for image search results or web algorithmic search results.

Either party may terminate the Services Agreement (1) upon a material breach subject to certain limitations; (2) in the event of a change in control (as defined in the Services Agreement); (3) after first discussing with the other party in good faith its concerns and potential alternatives to termination (a) in its entirety or in the U.S. only, if it reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding brought by any U.S. federal or state agency to enjoin the parties from consummating, implementing or otherwise performing the Services Agreement, (b) in part, in a country other than the U.S., if either party reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding or reasonably anticipates that the continued performance under the Services Agreement in such country would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding in such country, (c) in its entirety if either party reasonably anticipates a filing by the European Commission to enjoin it from performing the Services Agreement or that continued performance of the Services Agreement would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding involving either party in Europe or India, or (d) in its entirety, on 60 days notice if the other party's exercise of these termination rights in this clause (3) has collectively and materially diminished the economic value of the Services Agreement. Each party agrees to defend or settle any lawsuits or similar actions related to the Services Agreement unless doing so is not commercially reasonable (taking all factors into account, including without limitation effects on a party's brand or business outside of the scope of the Services Agreement).

In addition, Google may suspend Yahoo's use of services upon certain events and may terminate the Services Agreement if such events are not cured. Yahoo may terminate the Services Agreement if Google breaches certain service level and server latency specified in the Services Agreement.

In connection with the Services Agreement, Yahoo and Google have agreed to certain procedures with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the "DOJ") to facilitate review of the Services Agreement by the DOJ, including delaying the implementation of the Services Agreement in the U.S. in order to provide the DOJ with a reasonable period of review.

Where Are We Headed?

Danny Sullivan mentioned the 51% of search share Yahoo! is required to deliver to Bing applies only to desktop traffic & Yahoo! has no such limit on mobile searches. In theory this could mean Yahoo! could quickly become a Google shop, with Microsoft as a backfill partner.

When asked about the future of Gemini on today's investor conference call Marissa Mayer stated she expected Gemini to continue scaling more on mobile. She also stated she felt the Google deal would help Yahoo! refine their ad mix & give them additional opportunities in international markets. Yahoo! is increasingly reliant on the US & is unable to bid to win marketshare in foreign markets.

(Myopic) Learning Systems

Marissa Mayer sounded both insightful and myopic on today's conference call. She mentioned how as they scale up Gemini the cost of that is reflected in foregone revenues from optimizing their learning systems and improving their ad relevancy. On its face, that sort of comment sounds totally reasonable.

An unsophisticated or utterly ignorant market participant might even cheer it on, without realizing the additional complexity, management cost & risk they are promoting.

Where the myopic quick win view falls flat is on the other side of the market.

Sure a large web platform can use big data to optimize their performance and squeeze out additional pennies of yield, but for an advertiser these blended networks can be a real struggle. How do they budget for any given network when a single company is arbitrarily mixing between 3 parallel networks? A small shift in Google AdWords ad spend might not be hard to manage, but what happens if an advertiser suddenly gets a bunch of [trending topic] search ad clicks? Or maybe they get a huge slug of mobile clicks which don't work very well for their business. Do they disable the associated keyword in Yahoo! Gemini? Or Bing Ads? Or Google AdWords? All 3?'

Do they find that when they pause their ads in one network that quickly leads to the second (or third) network quickly carrying their ads across?

Even if you can track and manage it on a granular basis, the additional management time is non-trivial. One of the fundamental keys to a solid online advertising strategy is to have granular control so you can quickly alter distribution. But if you turn your ads off in one network only to find that leads your ads from the second network to get carried across that creates a bit of chaos. The more networks there are in parallel that bleed together the blurrier things get.

This sort of "overlap = bad" mindset is precisely why search engines suggest creating tight ad campaigns and ad groups. But you lose that control when things arbitrarily shift about.

To appreciate how expensive those sorts of costs can be, consider what has happened with programmatic ads:

Platforms that facilitate automated sales for media companies typically take 10% to 20% of the revenue that passes through their hands, according to the IAB report. Networks that service programmatic buys typically mark up inventory, citing the value that they add, by 30% to 50%. And then there are the essential data-management platforms, which take 10% to 15% of a buy, industry executives said.

If you are managing a client budget for paid search, how do you determine a pre-approved budget for each network when the traffic mix & quality might rapidly oscillate across the networks?

Don't take my word for it though, read the Yahoo! Ads Twitter account

When Yahoo! tries to manage their yield they will not only be choosing among 3 parallel networks on their end, but they will also have individual advertisers making a wide variety of changes on the other end. And some of those advertisers will not only be influenced by the ad networks, but also the organic rankings which come with the ads.

If one search engine is ranking you well in the organic search results for an important keyword and another is not, then you should bid more aggressively on your ads on the search engine which is ranking your site, because by voting with your budget you may well be voting on which underlying relevancy algorithm is chosen to deliver the associated organic search results accompanying the ads.

That last point was important & I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere yet, so it is worth repeating: your PPC ad bids may determine which search relevancy algorithm drives Yahoo! Search organic results.

Time to Quit Digging & Drop The Shovel

The other (BIG) issue is that as they give Google more search marketshare they give Google more granular data, which in turn means they

  • make buying on their own network less worthy of the management cost & complexity
  • make Google more of a "must buy"
  • will never close the monetization gap with Google

Even today Google announced a new tool for offering advertisers granular localized search data. Search partners won't directly benefit from those tools.

The old problem with Yahoo! was they were heavily reliant on search partners who drove down the traffic value. The future problem may well be if the marginally profitable Bing leaves the search market, Google will drive down the amount of revenue they share with Yahoo!.

If the Yahoo! Google search deal gets approved, Bing might shift back to losing money unless Microsoft buys Yahoo! after the Alibaba share spin out.

Ever track how Google's TAC has shifted over the past decade?

It has only been a decade so far, but MAYBE THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT.


          Yahoo! Search Testing Google Search Results        

Search PandaMonium

A couple days ago Microsoft announced a deal with AOL to have AOL sell Microsoft display ads & for Bing to power AOL's organic search results and paid search ads for a decade starting in January.

The search landscape is still undergoing changes.

I am uncertain to what degree they are testing search results from Google, but on some web browsers I am seeing Yahoo! organics and ads powered by Bing & in other browsers I am seeing Yahoo! organics and ads powered by Google. Here are a couple screenshots.

Bing Version

Google Version

Comparing The SERPs

Notable differences between the versions:

search provider Bing Google
top ad color purple blue
top ad favicon yes no
clickable ad area all headline
ad label right of each ad near URL once in gray above all ads
ad URL redirect
ad units above organics 5 4
ad sitelinks many fewer
ad star rating color blue yellow
Yahoo! verticals like Tumblr & Answers mixed into organic results not mixed in
footer "powered by Bing" message shown missing

When the Google ads run on the Yahoo! SERPs for many keywords I am seeing many of the search arbitrage players in the top ads. Typically these ads are more commonly relegated to's right rail ad positions.

The Google Yahoo! Search Backstory

Back in 2008 when Yahoo! was fighting to not get acquired they signed an ad agreement with Google, but it was blocked by the DOJ due to antitrust concerns. Unless Google loses Apple as a search partner, they are arguably more dominant today in general web search than they were back in 2008. Some have argued apps drastically change the way people search, but Google has went to great lengths to depreciate the roll of apps & suck people back into their search ecosystem with features baked into Google Now on tap & in-app keyword highlighting that can push a user from an app into a Google search result.

In Q4 last year Yahoo! replaced Google as the default search provider in Firefox in the United States.

And Yahoo! recently signed a deal with Oracle to bundle default Yahoo! Search settings on Java updates. Almost all the Bing network gains of late have been driven by Yahoo!.

A little over a year ago Yahoo! launched Gemini to begin rebuilding their own search ad network, starting with mobile. In their Q1 report, RKG stated "Among advertisers adopting Gemini, 36% of combined Bing and Yahoo mobile traffic was served by Yahoo in March 2015."

When Yahoo! recently renewed their search deal with Microsoft, Yahoo! was once again allowed to sell their own desktop search ads & they are only required to give 51% of the search volume to Bing. There has been significant speculation as to what Yahoo! would do with the carve out. Would they build their own search technology? Would they outsource to Google to increase search ad revenues? It appears they are doing a bit of everything - some Bing ads, some Yahoo! ads, some Google ads.

Bing reports the relative share of Yahoo! search ad volume they deliver on a rolling basis: "data covers all device-types. The relative volume (y-axis) is an index based on average traffic in April, therefore it is possible for the volume to go above 1.0. The chart is updated on a weekly basis."

If Yahoo! gives Google significant share it could create issues where users who switch between the different algorithms might get frustrated by the results being significantly different. Or if users don't care it could prove general web search is so highly commoditized the average searcher is totally unaware of the changes. The latter is more likely, given most searchers can't even distinguish between search ads and organic search results.

The FTC was lenient toward Google in spite of Google's clearly articulated intent to abuse their dominant market position. Google has until August 17th to respond to EU antitrust charges. I am a bit surprised Google would be willing to run this type of test while still undergoing antitrust scrutiny in Europe.

Choosing to Choose Choice

When Mozilla signed the deal with Yahoo! & dumped Google they pushed it as "promoting choice."

A cynic might question how much actual choice there is if on many searches the logo is different but the underlying ads & organic results are powered by Google, and an ex-Google executive runs Yahoo!.

"Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black." - Henry Ford


          Forum: What's Your Reaction To the White House Staff Changes?        

Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's Question:What's Your Reaction To the White House Staff Changes?

Don Surber:Trump is a CEO. He expects performance. Priebus and Spicer failed. They are gone.

Last year he went through Lewandowski and Manafort before he got the campaign manager he wanted all along: Kellyanne Conway. She was his first choice. She chose a pro-Cruz pac instead. But after the nomination, she agreed to run his campaign.

Kelly earned Trump's trust. Scaramucci got CNN to retract Fake News and fire those responsible. His interview with Ryan Lizza at New Yorker (a staunch Trump hater) was numbingly stupid. We shall see how long he lasts.

This is the entertainment section of the news, the stuff that fills the void of hours on the cable networks while they avoid the news, which is pretty good right now. The economy is expanding, illegal aliens are self-deporting, and ISIS has ebbed.

Remember, we do not know these people personally. We do know their pedigrees. Kelly retired with four stars. A Marine. Scaramucci is a millionaire investment banker. So they are men of accomplishment. We shall see how this works out.

Fausta: How many people outside of Washington D.C. and the punditry actually notice WH staff changes?

Rob Miller: Some of you may recall that I predicted that Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus would end up replaced some time ago.

In Spicer's case, from his very first presser, it was obvious that he lacked the poise and confidence to deal effectively with the sort of rabid hyenas that inhabit the press corps. I'm actually amazed he lasted this long.

Priebus's case is somewhat different. As head of the RNC, he worked hard to get Trump elected once he was the nominee, just as Scott Walker did. On Election night, the president elect made special mention of his efforts and his effectiveness and called him to the stage to be applauded.

And he certainly was effective and successful in that position. Priebus is a highly competent political operative. The position of chief of staff was unfortunately a mismatch. There's a certain attitude prevalent in Wisconsin, Minnesota and a few other states where 'niceness' and civility is prized at all costs. Priebus had this attitude, and a very different one is called for as chief of staff. In that position, the most successful performers need, to varying degrees, the work ethic and attention to detail of Donald Rumsfeld, the realpolitik of Machiavelli, and on occasion, the ruthlessness of Genghis Khan. General Kelly is a lot closer to these attitudes, and is someone who will literally put the fear of G-d into leakers and incompetents. Priebus didn't.

There are some indications also that Priebus might have inadvertently leaked stuff to the hostile press, and reportedly, Priebus was also upset about the firing of his close friend Sean Spicer and a little too dogmatic in showing his displeasure. It's too bad a different job that used his strong points couldn't have been found, although Trump apparently offered him some alternatives.

OK, the new and not so new faces. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has already shown her capability as a WH spokes person. Mike Huckabee is one of my favorite American political figures, and it still annoys me to think what a fine president he would have made if he had gotten the nomination instead of clueless John McCain. There's no question in my mind he would have beaten Obama like a gong, an honest, plain spoken patriot and successful governor versus a serial con artist with no executive experience and a radical, post America mindset..

Sarah's like her dad in that respect, with little tolerance for fools. She'll do fine. Although I have to admit I wish President Trump would offer Milo Yiannopoulos a position if Milo would take the pay cut. Aside from being a superb communicator and easily making mincemeat out of lefty journos at places like PBS and the BBC, the entertainment value would be superb. Just imagining what Milo would do to a pillowcases like CNN's Jim Acosta elicits a wicked chuckle from me.

General Kelly will do quite a bit to help drain the swamp and spread fear over any transgressors. He is one tough, old style Marine. His temporary successor, his deputy Elaine Duke has years of experience in these matters and if she is confirmed after the recess will likely be a capable replacement at Homeland Security. She wouldn't be General Kelly's second in command if she wasn't first class.

And now we come to the new director of WH communications, Anthony Sacramucci. Maybe it's because I grew up in a house where both my parents (Z'L) indulged in very direct BrooklynSpeak, but the profanity doesn't bother me particularly and having a no-nonsense Sicilian in a position where he can directly affect both messaging and the terrorizing of potential leakers and malcontents could be a very astute move, given the circumstances. Personally, I find statements like "Washington is full of backstabbers, I'm more of a front stabber" to be highly entertaining, and maybe exactly the mindset that's called for. I also have a feeling that the Ryan Lizza interview was deliberately outre'. There's nothing more effective then convincing people to underestimate you as a cartoon character and a fool...after which they can be ambushed effectively when they least expect it.

Speaking of tactics and slightly off topic, I think the entire Trump-Sessions kerfluffle is manufactured as well. Jeff Sessions was one of Trump's earliest supporters, and the president is known for loyalty downward as well as prizing loyalty upwards.

Consider this:

When Jeff Sessions was first being confirmed, he was vilified as a racist almost as bad as Hitler, an odd description for the man who destroyed the KKK in his home state of Alabama. He was labeled a bigot, a crook, you name it. Now, because Trump has given AG Sessions criticism, the media is calling Jeff Sessions honest, incorruptible, highly principled and by golly, a real nice guy...just ask his ex-playmates in the Senate. And it's just sickening, sickening to see that nasty Trump bullying him, isn't it?

Meanwhile, under the wire, AG Sessions is launching his own DOJ investigation into the leakers as well as other matters concerning the Clintons and Loretta Lynch.Imagine the hilarity,boys and girls, when the Left tries to reverse itself and attack Sessions once the bullet hits the bone of these items.

Mike McDaniel: My reaction? “Yearrrrggghhh!” No? How about this one: “meh.” Yes. I like that one, and I suspect normal Americans do too.

So Reince Priebus is out and General John Kelly is in? Yawn. New Yawk hustler Anthony Scaramucci--sounds like a penny ante thug in a gangster movie with a nickname like “Tony da Shiv,” doesn’t it?--said some naughty words in what he may have thought was an off the record--or not--interview with a reporter? Take two aspirin and call somebody who gives a rodent’s posterior.

I keep saying this, and no one listens: Donald Trump is a mover and shaker. He became rich by accomplishing things others couldn’t do, under budget, under schedule, and right. He works hard, each and every day, and expects everyone that works for him to do the same. He expects competence, because absent same, millions are lost, and I his current job, lives are lost. And he is not, for a moment, a feckless, simpering, whining politician afraid of his shadow. He doesn’t mince words; he beats them into submission. Chuck Norris grudgingly respects him. He’s a man, a hunka hunka burnin’ love, he’ll be back, he ain’t got time to bleed, he’s the eye of the tiger, hear him roar, and he doesn’t care what the media thinks.

In other words, President Donald J. Trump is doing what normal Americans elected him to do: drain the swamp, which includes the White House. They know, in the real world, if they’re not doing their job, they expect to be fired. They figure if Mr. Trump fired somebody, he had a good reason, and don’t much care to know the details, though they are waiting, patiently for the moment, to see the prosecutions of basketfuls of the actual deplorables leaking classified and otherwise restricted secrets to the press. Priebus was a leaker? Why didn’t Trump fire him sooner? They’d like to see the press prosecuted for that too, and boy oh boy, do they want to see Sarah Palin own The New York Times. They want, naïve and silly though it may be, the rule of law to apply to everyone, particularly the smug asshats of the Beltway, and Donald Trump seems to be working to do just that.

They’ll forgive a great many mistakes by anyone that accomplishes that. Keep us informed about that progress, and as for the rest—meh.

 Puma By Design: Actually, I am quite pleased that President Trump is cleaning house and while I wish that he had implemented Operation Clean ‘Em Out sooner, six months makes perfect sense.

The President, like any leader needed time to get his bearings on the comings, goings and trappings not only in the White House but the swamp in its entirety. As for the trappings and betrayal, there is plenty.

This, of course, is where now former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus came in. Priebus, a NeverTrumper from day one and that was his first mistake.

Priebus is of the swamp and fooled no one in. After all, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell supposedly urged the President to choose Priebus as his Chief of Staff.

If by chance, Ryan and McConnell (and even Priebus) thought that there was a debt to be paid (the mindset of an elitist), then okay, it is a wrap. Here we are six months later with both Ryan and McConnell having proved themselves a failure as well, the debt is now paid in full.

Although their presence was solely at the pleasure of the President, Spicer, Priebus and the presence of other swamp dwellers in the White House for a time could not be avoided.

Enter July 2017 and the clock has run out on Priebus and fellow swamp critters whose presence were (and are) a hindrance to the President and his agenda. Their biggest mistake is underestimating the novice in the White House.

The Atlantic writes that “For once, the rumors of Reince Priebus’s demise were not exaggerated.”

The faux outrage is just that. It was obvious as far back as last January (pre-Inauguration) that Priebus’ tenure in the White House and that of the swamp critters he brought along with him was temporary.

The Communist media complex is in contact with Barack Obama and his anti-Trump operatives in the Obama War Room gathering talking points for the day's talking points which consists of making much to do about nothing, sabotage and treason.

I look forward to White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci and former Secretary of Homeland Security Ret. General John Kelly, whose tenure as the President's Chief of Staff starts tomorrow (Monday) to fumigate the place and set things right.

Neutralize (I said “neutralize”) the buggers.

Laura Rambeau Lee :With President Trump coming into the White House lacking political experience it seems inevitable that assembling a harmonious team would be one of his toughest challenges.

Appointing Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff seemed an odd choice initially, but who better to help him become accustomed to the job, to aid in suggesting cabinet appointments, and assist in navigating D.C.? Now that Trump has six months on the job things are shaking out. Priebus is an establishment Republican and the establishment Republicans are not who elected President Trump. It was the conservative wing of the Republican Party along with Democrat and Independent voters disenchanted with the direction our country is heading.

If President Trump is going to keep his promises to those who elected him he needs like minded people close to him. Reince Priebus served his purpose and it is no shameful thing for him to leave. I hope the appointment of retired General John Kelly as new chief of staff will help tighten things up internally and limit the distractions a hungry media delights in reporting. Kelly did an excellent job at DHS in the short time he was there. Hopefully the chain of command issues will be worked out with him as chief of staff and leakers will be routed out and fired.

Expect more shaking out of the initial cabinet appointees in the weeks to come. Hopefully the changes will be beneficial to the advancement of the agenda the president was elected to implement.

 Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the 'net. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

          BREAKING: Another Senate Pro-Medical Marijuana Vote        

[image:1 align:right caption:true]BREAKING: The Senate Appropriations Committee just voted to extend the ban on DOJ spending funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

read more

          Jeff Sessions hints at jailing journalists, and the press had better take such threats seriously because Sessions & Associates have used such tactics in Alabama        

Jeff Sessions, at "leaks" press conference
The journalism world is in a state of anxiety after Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions hinted last Friday that he might begin issuing subpoenas to reporters in an effort to shut down leaks. If journalists failed to respond properly to such subpoenas, it could put them at risk for being arrested and incarcerated.

Most reporting on the subject so far has treated Sessions' words as radical and overreaching.   In fact, the notion isn't new at all in Alabama -- where Sessions served as U.S. attorney, attorney general, and U.S. senator over more than 35 years.

Less than four years ago, law-enforcement officers beat up a journalist in his own home near Birmingham, doused him with pepper spray, made an arrest (after threatening to break the journalist's arms) and hauled him to the Shelby County Jail for a five-month stay. Cops also made multiple attempts to arrest the journalist's wife. Chris Blevins, the primary Shelby County deputy involved in the arrest, never stated why he was on the journalist's property, never showed an arrest warrant, and never said he had an arrest warrant. A judge later ordered Blevins and a prosecutor to produce copies of any warrants in the case, and they responded that they didn't have any. The lack of any apparent warrant makes the case sound more like a kidnapping than an arrest.

How do I know so much about the case -- and the threats to press freedom in Jeff Sessions' Alabama? I was the journalist in question. I know what it's like to be stripped and placed in what might be called a "haz mat" shower to remove pepper spray before being issued jail garb. I know what it's like to have a fellow inmate jump about 25 feet to his death and land 10 feet or so from me. I know what sound a human head makes when it cracks on a concrete floor during a suicide. I know what it's like to see fights and near-fights break out regularly -- usually over issues related to use of a jail block's television or phones.

My experience has Jeff Sessions' fingerprints -- or those of his associates -- all over it. I know, from firsthand experience, that journalists had better take Sessions seriously when he threatens police action against them. Sessions has no respect for the rule of law, in general -- or the First Amendment in particular. And his focus on leaks appears mainly to be an effort to get back in Trump's good graces, after being the target of stinging criticism for recusing from the Russia investigation. In other words, Sessions is trying to save his own job by going after the press -- and he and Trump might figure this is their last, best hope to throw a wrench in Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation.

What is the primary lesson from my incarceration -- which has its own Wikipedia entry, by the way? In early 2013, I wrote several unflattering stories about individuals connected to Jeff Sessions (See herehere, and here.) Next thing I knew, cops were swarming our property on a regular basis -- with one finally breaking in and arresting me.

Was Jeff Sessions directly involved in using the police state to attack a free press? We have two pending federal lawsuits designed to help answer that question -- and many others. But there is no question that Sessions was indirectly involved; at least five defendants in the two lawsuits -- Rob Riley, U.S. Judge Bill Pryor, U.S. Senator Luther Strange, political operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison, Trump "communications specialist" Cliff Sims and the Web site he founded, Yellowhammer News -- are closely aligned with Sessions. (Complaints in both lawsuits are embedded at the end of this post.)

Bottom line? Jeff Sessions and his acolytes see the threat of jail time as a legitimate way to control the press, and they have a history of using such tactics. I know, from personal experience.

In short, I was the only U.S. journalist to be incarcerated in 2013 (from Oct. 23, 2013, to March 26, 2014) -- the only journalist arrested in the western hemisphere that year. I'm the only U.S. journalist to be arrested since 2006 -- more than a decade -- and my incarceration is the third longest for a journalist in American history. Before me, was San Francisco-based free-lance videographer Joshua Wolf (2006), New York Times reporter Judith Miller (2005), and true-crime writer Vanessa Leggett (2001).

I am the only American journalist to be arrested in the 2000s for a case that had no criminal implications. Our research indicates I am the only journalist to be incarcerated because of an unlawful preliminary injunction, which has been an improper prior restraint under more than 200 years of First Amendment law. In other words, my case might represent the worst abuse of a journalist on American soil.

In essence, I was arrested because of this blog, Legal Schnauzer. I wasn't trying to protect sources; I wasn't ordered to turn over documents from my reporting about a possible crime. My reporting had nothing to do with national security. Those are the kinds of cases for which journalists lawfully can be hit with subpoenas and the threat of jail time.

In my case, someone decided this blog had to be shut down, and they figured the best way to do it was to arrest me -- and to try to arrest my wife, Carol, even though she had nothing to do with the blog at the time. (Note: Carol played a key role by managing to escape capture and get word out to the press about my arrest. She also kept the blog alive by writing regular reports about my situation. If she had not managed to do that, I might still be in jail, or more likely, be dead. If cops had abducted her, too, we both probably would be dead.)

When fellow inmates asked me why I was in jail -- and noted that I didn't look like most of the other prisoners -- I answered truthfully and directly: "I was arrested for blogging." That inevitably drew howls of laughter. Newbies often said, "Oh, you're the blogger guy. I've already heard about you. You're famous in here."

Some of the more thoughtful inmates would say something like, "Hey, wait, they can't do that. You can't arrest someone for blogging." The only response I could muster was, "Well, here I am."

How did I -- a guy with hardly even a traffic ticket on my record at the time -- wind up in jail? The short answer: I wrote accurate, hard-hitting posts about some of Jeff Sessions' cronies -- and I learned that you can go to jail for that in Alabama. (Note: I've been sued twice by Sessions' cronies; in both instances, my reporting was found -- as a matter of law -- to be neither false nor defamatory.)

Here is a little longer answer about how I wound up in jail:

* In January 2013, I began to publish a series of posts about an extramarital affair involving Homewood attorney Rob Riley (son of former GOP governor Bob Riley) and lobbyist Liberty Duke. The Rileys are closely aligned with Jeff Sessions;

* In July 2013, I began to publish a series of posts about an extramarital affair involving then Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (he is now U.S. senator, replacing Jeff Sessions) and his one-time campaign manager, Jessica Medeiros Garrison. As noted, Strange replaced Sessions in the U.S. Senate, via appointment by former Gov. Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley, and now faces a special election, with the primaries on August 15. Garrison used to work for Sessions.

* In September 2013, I began to publish a series of posts about nude photographs of U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor that had appeared in the 1990s at the gay-porn Web site. Sessions and Pryor are so close that the AG pushed Trump to appoint Pryor to the U.S. Supreme Court seat that went to Neil Gorsuch.

My mugshot, as the only American ever arrested
for blogging.
Riley and Duke eventually filed a lawsuit against me, claiming defamation and seeking a preliminary injunction, which has been an unlawful prior restraint under 200 years of First Amendment law, as set out in Near v. Minnesota and related cases. I had filed a motion to quash service as unlawful and was preparing to challenge the preliminary injunction when cops broke into our home and arrested me. Interestingly, Riley and Duke made no effort to prove my reporting was false or defamatory -- and the burden of proof was on them. They sought no discovery, no trial, no jury -- none of the procedures that, by law, go with a legitimate defamation case.

The record indicates the lawsuit had no purpose other than to provide a (bogus) excuse to have me thrown in jail. Since Riley/Duke asked to have the record sealed -- and corrupt, retired Judge Claud Neilson granted anything they asked -- it's never been clear when their lawsuit actually was filed. But I did not become aware of it until after I had written about Bill Pryor and his ties to gay pornography. And Pryor is a long-time acolyte of . . . Jeff Sessions -- with Sessions hiring Pryor in the Alabama AG's office and pushing for Pryor to be appointed as his successor as AG.

At least one national-security expert clearly finds Sessions' language to be troubling. Politico's Kel McClanahan, executive director of a Maryland-based public interest law firm, wrote a piece titled "Jeff Sessions' Attack on the Media Is Worse Than You Think." McClanahan says Sessions is equating journalists with spies:

Don’t get me wrong; leaking classified information to the media is illegal, and it can result in harm to our national security. But recognizing that fact is a far cry from saying that leaking to a reporter is anything close to selling secrets to China: The two deserve to be treated differently. While it is true that the courts might decide to draw a line in the sand if the DOJ moves too far in this direction, they also might not, and even the courts’ hands are tied if new laws go into effect. Sessions is playing a long game here, and this is just him setting the public opinion foundation before he starts asking for more authorities to combat leaks. When he starts asking for those authorities, we the public need to be able to voice an informed opinion as to whether the threat of leakers is as great as he says it is, without confusing leakers with spies.

Do U.S. journalists grasp the threat that Jeff Sessions poses? This is from a report by Michael Calderone, at Huffington Post:

Journalists were alarmed Friday after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice was revisiting guidelines for handling media subpoenas in leak investigations and said there needed to be limits on press freedom.

“Are you saying you will jail journalists, Mr. Attorney General?” a reporter asked as Sessions exited the room. “Do you plan to prosecute journalists?”

Sessions didn’t answer that question, or any, at the press conference. He “tells room of reporters he may make it easier to jail them if they don’t reveal sources,” MSNBC host and attorney Ari Melber tweeted, and “leaves without taking any press questions.”

Ari Melber provides an interesting tweet, but he hasn't lived in my shoes. I've been a journalist for 30-plus years in Jeff Sessions' Alabama, and I know what a toxic culture he and his brethren have created. They have built what I call "The New Confederacy," where the U.S. Constitution is ignored and "laws" are pulled out of thin air to favor white, conservative elites.

When a reporter asks, "Are you saying you will jail journalists, Mr. Attorney General?" I can provide this clear-eyed answer: "You can bet your press pass that's what he's saying. And you can bet he will try it, in an effort to protect himself and Trump from repercussions of the Russiagate scandal." Here's one of the central tenets of "The New Confederacy": White, conservative elites are not to be held accountable -- for anything.

That sounds warped, but hard-earned experience has taught me just how warped Jeff Sessions can be. No other journalist in the country has the perspective on Trump's AG that I do. And I absolutely expect him to try jailing journalists, whether there is any support for it, under the law, or not.

          Donald Trump nominated a corrupt attorney general in Alabama's Jeff Sessions, but it turns out that Sessions is not corrupt enough for Trump's tastes        

Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump
Donald Trump nominated one of the most corrupt individuals in public life to be U.S. attorney general, but we now learn that Jeff Sessions is not corrupt enough to suit Trump.

In an administration that has been filled with job-dropping moments, this one might have moved to the top of the list. From a CNN report, based on a Trump interview with The New York Times:

President Donald Trump said in an interview published Wednesday that he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself over matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's remarks, in a 50-minute interview with The New York Times, represent an extraordinary rebuke from the President toward the nation's top law enforcement official who happens to be one of his earliest political allies.

"Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the President," Trump said, referring to himself. "How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair -- and that's a mild word -- to the President."

We know Sessions has no problem taking corrupt actions. As U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, he made it a practice to prosecute political opponents. As Alabama attorney general, Sessions hired the nephew of a black federal judge to force the judge's recusal in a case where the AG's office was accused of gross prosecutorial misconduct. That move adds to Sessions' already dubious record on matters of race, and a federal court has described the hiring of an attorney simply to force a judge's recusal  as a "breach of ethics."

Trump now is having "buyer's remorse" about Sessions. It seems Trump didn't want an attorney general who merely was corrupt -- he wanted one who was really corrupt, one who would take unlawful steps to protect a crime-infested administration.

Has Trump forgotten that Sessions got caught lying in his confirmation hearings about meetings with Russian officials? Has Trump forgotten that Sessions' false answer to a question from U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) pretty much forced the AG to recuse himself from all matters connected to various investigations of Trump's ties to Russia? No, Trump has not forgotten; but he views the Sessions quagmire in his usual twisted, self-interested way. From CNN:

Before Trump had a lock on the Republican nomination last year, Sessions became the first sitting senator to back the real estate mogul's presidential bid.

But several months into the job, Trump's warm feelings for Sessions have clearly cooled. In the interview, Trump scolded Sessions for telling the Senate judiciary committee that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign. It was later revealed he had met with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, at least two times.

Sessions later amended his testimony.

"Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers," the President said. "He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren't."

To have Donald Trump scold you for telling lies? That makes the mind swirl.

Trump's statements reveal a level of narcissism and dishonesty that is almost painful to contemplate. What do his statements suggest?

(1) That Trump knew an investigation was coming of his campaign's interactions with Russian interests;

(2) That Trump knew such an investigation could spell big trouble, so he needed someone to protect him and his inner circle;

(3) That Trump expected the AG to serve as his protector, not as "the people's lawyer."

(4) That Trump has no clue about the independence of the Department of Justice, that the DOJ is not supposed to take instructions from the White House on the handling of investigations or prosecutions.

Item No. 4 is particularly profound. In November 2016, the United States "elected" a man of commerce to be president, supposedly to "run the country like a business." We now are learning that such an outcome presents significant danger, especially when the businessman has no idea how government is supposed to work. From a February 2017 article on the subject at

After Watergate, Jimmy Carter campaigned on the promise to establish "as far as constitutionally possible, an independent Department of Justice,” and in 1978 his attorney general, Griffin Bell, sought to make good on that pledge by instituting procedures to insulate the Justice Department from political pressures. But what became the customary rules governing interaction between the White House and Justice were relaxed most recently under the George W. Bush administration, in a set of episodes the administration came to regret. As recounted by Politico in January, Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft, expanded the number of White House officials permitted to contact the Justice Department on non-national security members from four to 417; his second attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, further increased the number to 895 (according to findings by Senate Judiciary Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse, a former U.S. attorney). These changes ended in scandal: among other things, under Gonzalez, seven U.S. attorney generals were abruptly fired in 2006 for political reasons that, according to a subsequent report by the Justice Department Inspector General, "raised doubts about the integrity of Department prosecution decisions." Michael Mukasey reinstituted more traditional guidelines in 2007, and Eric Holder replaced them with his own substantively similar variant in 2009.

The heart of the [Holder] memo is a set of prescriptions limiting the Justice Department’s communications with the White House and Congress regarding pending or potential criminal or civil investigations or cases. The Department will advise the President on such investigations or cases “when—but only when—it is important for the performance of the President's duties and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.”

The author apparently could see that Trump's AG had a tough future ahead of him:

All of this suggests it may not be not enough for Attorney General Sessions to keep the 2009 policy guidance in place, or to issue his own—just as it wasn’t enough for him to assert at his confirmation hearings, as any Justice Department nominee must, that he intends to head an independent department capable of standing up to the President. If the White House persists in interfering with Justice Department strategy in general or investigations in particular, to maintain outside confidence in the Justice Department’s impartiality, it may be on Sessions to publicly—and as needed, repeatedly—reaffirm his Department’s continuing commitment to remaining “impartial and insulated from political influence.”

Jeff Sessions had every reason to know Trump is a blowhard -- and every reason to suspect Trump is a crook, especially when it comes to Russia. There was ample evidence of both, before and during the 2016 campaign. Since his lies to Congress were unveiled, Sessions probably has gone into "Dear God, please keep me out of prison" mode. In the meantime, Sessions is left to deal with a president who appears to be both ignorant and emotionally unhinged.

In short, Jeff Sessions is in a mess. But it's largely a mess of his own making.
          Student Loans: Oversight of Servicemembers' Interest Rate Cap Could Be Strengthened, November 15, 2016        
What GAO Found The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides servicemembers with an interest rate cap of 6 percent on student loans while they are on active duty. The number of servicemembers with federal student loans who received this rate cap increased as a result of the Department of Education (Education) requiring federal loan servicers to regularly use the Department of Defense's (DOD) SCRA website to identify eligible servicemembers and automatically apply the rate cap without requiring servicemembers to provide written notice of active duty (see figure). Using the automated process, some federal loan servicers identified borrowers who had been eligible for the rate cap as far back as 2008, when the SCRA rate cap first applied to federal loans, and retroactively applied the cap. Number of Servicemembers with Federal Student Loans Who Received the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap, October 2008 to December 2015 Note: In December 2014 the Department of Education issued the final in a series of updates to its contracts with the 10 federal student loan servicers directing them to use the SCRA website on a monthly basis. Servicemembers can face challenges obtaining the SCRA rate cap due to their failure to receive accurate information. Federal internal control standards state that agencies should externally communicate the information necessary to achieve their objectives. However, some servicemembers eligible for the cap may not receive it because information used by DOD to inform them about the cap is inaccurate: for example, some DOD information states that the rate cap does not apply to student loans. In addition, because the automated process to identify eligible servicemembers is not required for private student loans, servicemembers with private loans may be particularly at risk of not receiving the accurate information needed to obtain the cap themselves. While Education monitors the application of the SCRA cap for federally owned or guaranteed student loans, there is a gap in oversight for private student loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), four federal financial regulators of banks, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) each oversees aspects of private student loans or SCRA, but none has the authority to routinely oversee SCRA compliance at nonbank entities that handle private student loans. These nonbank entities include institutions of higher education and private companies. The resulting gap in oversight of SCRA compliance for these nonbank entities that make or service private student loans increases the risk that servicemembers will not receive a benefit for which they are eligible. Why GAO Did This Study SCRA helps servicemembers financially by capping interest rates on student loans during active duty. As of May 2016, about 1.3 million servicemembers were on active duty. The number of active duty servicemembers with student loans is unknown, as is the number eligible for the rate cap who may not have received it. GAO was asked to review implementation of the rate cap for servicemembers' student loans. This report examines: (1) the number of servicemembers who received the cap for student loans (2) challenges that servicemembers face in doing so, and (3) the extent to which federal agencies oversee implementation of the cap. GAO analyzed data from 2008 through 2015 from the 10 federal student loan servicers; reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, policies, and training materials; and interviewed representatives of the servicers and servicemember advocacy groups, and officials from DOD, Education, the CFPB and DOJ. What GAO Recommends GAO is making four recommendations, including that DOD improve the accuracy of SCRA information on student loans, and that CFPB and DOJ collaborate to ensure routine oversight of nonbank lenders and servicers, and seek additional authority, if needed. DOD disagreed and said it already provides accurate information. DOJ agreed and CFPB did not specifically agree, but said that all eligible servicemembers should receive the cap. GAO maintains that DOD's outreach materials are not always accurate and that routine oversight is necessary for nonbank lenders and servicers. For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or
          Hillary, The FBI & A Travesty Of Justice        

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

– FBI Director James Comey, 5 July 2016, announcing that the FBI had concluded its investigation of Hillary's handling of our nation's classified information and would not recommend that DOJ file charges (full text here).

I could not believe this morning's press conference. First, FBI Director James Comey laid out facts establishing that Hillary Clinton violated our laws regarding classified information. Then, he said that he would not recommend prosecution. Good God, we are now living in a banana republic. The politically connected are above the law.

Hillary Clinton set up a private e-mail system in order to hide her activities while Secretary of State from being made public pursuant to FOIA requests and legal process. She sent and received classified information across her private system, she stored the information on her private system, and the system was not only subject to hacking, but being run by people almost certainly without the security clearances to allow them such access. She should be in jail for life plus several centuries. Had anyone else done this, they would be.

What Comey did to exonerate Hillary was make up his own set of “straw men” laws, then burn them down. Let me explain.

The facts Comey laid out in his press conference can only be described as damning. They don't present a judgment call, they present jury questions under at least three statutes.

Here are the facts that Comey laid out in his speech. All are quotations, with my comments in brackets:

1. From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.

2. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent. [I have never seen information “up-classified” during my decade of working with classified information. I suspect that these were all emails sent from foreign officers directly to Clinton for her eyes only, and that the State Dept. is taking the position that, while the information in them is clearly sensitive, Clinton – who should have classified them – did not. Thus they cannot serve as the basis for prosecution. I find that highly questionable, but at this point, to quote a scurrilous as of yet unconvicted felon, “what difference does it make?”]

3. The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014.

4. “We found seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. [We knew of at least two e-mail chains that included this information. The investigation shows it was worse than we thought.]

5. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. [That kills Hillary's best defense, that these email ended up on her system without her knowledge out of mere negligence]

6. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. [In other words, Hillary's good heart, empty head defense is bullshit.]

7. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

8. None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail. [Comey fails to address whether the people responsible for and with access to these servers had adequate security clearances. That is an important point that he ignored.]

9. [W]e assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account. [So much for the claim that the absence of evidence means that she was not hacked. So what happens if Iran, Russia, China, and a host of other nations now have all of Hillary's e-mails, even those that the FBI was not able to reconstruct from the “wiped” servers? And what if those emails contain damning statements about which she could be blackmailed?]

10. Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it. [Thank you, Director Comey, for making clear a point that everyone who has ever held a security clearance understands, but which Hillary deliberately tried to obfuscate for the many ignorant of how the system operates]

At least Comey put the lie to Clinton's many claims regarding this email system. Hillary's claim that the information was not marked classified was always a red herring to fool those many useful idiots who wanted to believe her innocent. Further, Comey made clear that anyone in Hillary's position knew or should have known that the information they were discussing was sensitive and should have been handled as classified material. Indeed, with those two issues settled, the question of whether Hillary should be prosecuted should have been a slam dunk.

Yet Comey declined. Why?

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

Comey misstated the applicable laws. Under his formulation of new security law, Hillary could only be convicted if she was intentionally divulging our national secrets to a foreign party or the press. The fact that she broke every actual law hundreds if not thousands of times, that she did so in order to hide her activities in violation of other laws, and the fact that she destroyed several thousand government records is meaningless to Comey. That is not the **** law.

Let's match the facts up with the laws Hillary violated. The laws at issue are:

18 USC 793 – Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information
(f) Whoever . . . having lawful possession or control of any document . . . or information, relating to the national defense, (1) – through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior office ------ Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

18 USC 1924 - Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material
(1) Whoever, being an officer . . . of the United States, and, by virtue of his office . . . becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both

18 USC 1519 - Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy
Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Let's match facts to law now.

Under 18 USC 793(f), Hillary had lawful possession of top secret documents which, by definition, relate to national defense. According to Comey, any reasonable person in her position would have known this. And yet she uses her private system to send and receive e-mails discussing this information. In addition, she stored those emails on a private server that was not the “proper place of custody.” She is guilty of violating this statute more than eight times. Whether she intended to make the information available to foreign nations to the detriment of our nation is wholly irrelevant. The standard is whether she was grossly negligent. And as pointed out below, the purpose of that standard is to make sure that people entrusted with our nation's secrets take required measures to safeguard them. As Comey states explicitly, Clinton did not.

Under 18 USC 1924 (1), with Comey saying that Hillary knew that she was dealing with classified information and that markings are irrelevant to this law, Hillary doesn't even have a bare patina of a defense against this statute. She intentionally retained classified information at an unauthorized location. Period.

Then there is 18 USC 1519. Oh my word. Comey doesn't give us enough information to fully assess this one, but if she destroyed tens of thousands of documents that were in fact government records, the likelihood of her being in violation of this statute is extremely high. Indeed, Comey appears to ignore the interplay between Clinton's actions, the Benghazi committees that were seeking documents while Hillary was still in office, and the various FOIA law suits. If any of those emails were responsive to the Congressional investigations or the FOIA lawsuits, Hillary should be facing multiple felony counts. I would be amazed if Hillary does not stand in violation of this statute hundreds, if not thousands of times over.

Bottom line, we now live in a nation that the progressive left has turned into a banana republic. Every day this woman spends outside of a jail cell is an affront to justice and the rule of law in this nation.

Looking around the internet, I see several others have reached similar conclusions.

Rudy Giulaiani:

Austin Bay: James Comey Sells Out

Today, the FBI sold out the Rule of Law in America. After describing clear evidence of extensive mishandling of classified national security information, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI will not recommend indicting former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. This is naked crony government, ugly and exposed. Comey’s decision will go down as one of the government’s worst assaults on truth in its War on Honesty.

Today’s press conference was, in many respects, an exercise in legal and cognitive dissonance. Comey acknowledged Clinton sent and received Top Secret emails that “any reasonable person” understands not to discuss on an unclassified system.

Red flags? Excuse me, sir—that’s a crime

Andrew McCarthy: FBI Rewrites Federal Law To Let Hillary Off The Hook

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18) . . .

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

Paul Mirengoff (Powerline): "Comey simply ignored the statutory standard he laid out. A first year associate at a law firm wouldn’t dare present an analysis like this."

Scott Johnson (Powerline): "Comey’s additional assertion that the applicable laws have never been enforced under these facts is inexplicable. Have we ever had a case remotely similar to this one? What we have here is Comey comity with the Clinton exception to the criminal laws."

Chris Cizzilla (Wapo): Hillary Clintons E-Mail Problems Might Be Even Worse Than We Thought

FBI Director James B. Comey dismantled large portions of Clinton's long-told story about her private server and what she sent or received on it during a stirring 15-minute news conference, after which he took no questions. While Comey exonerated Clinton, legally speaking, he provided huge amounts of fodder that could badly hamstring her in the court of public opinion. . . .

It’s hard to read Comey’s statement as anything other than a wholesale rebuke of the story Clinton and her campaign team have been telling ever since the existence of her private email server came to light in spring 2015. She did send and receive classified emails. The setup did leave her — and the classified information on the server — subject to a possible foreign hack. She and her team did delete emails as personal that contained professional information.

Those are facts, facts delivered by the Justice Department of a Democratic administration. And those facts run absolutely counter to the narrative put forth by the Clinton operation: that this whole thing was a Republican witch-hunt pushed by a bored and adversarial media. . . .


By sceptical

(Thanks to Quasi, JSwift, Q.A. and Baldo for reviewing the manuscript and making suggestions.)

MONDAY JANUARY 1: USC Law Prof. Susan Estrich writes an opinion article for Fox News titled “Duke Prosecutor’s Fourth Victim:

“There are four victims of District Attorney Mike Nifong’s twisted tactics in the Duke Lacrosse case. The first three, of course, are the young men who never would have been charged with anything had Nifong adhered to the standard practices in his own office. With luck, they will ultimately be exonerated, and be able to move on with their lives, albeit after having endured a chapter in hell. The fourth victim is unlikely to be so lucky; she will not be exonerated at trial, and she will not be able to move on with her life. (…) The woman is a liar. That is the English translation of the latest round of maneuvers, in which the prosecution dismissed the rape charges because the woman could no longer say, as she once did, that she had intercourse with three men at the party. In other words, she lied when she said she did. (…) The defense attorneys will obliterate her, permanently painting her as the worst sort of nut and slut. We will not hate the boys, we will hate her. The defendants have no choice: their freedom depends on destroying her credibility. Mike Nifong does have a choice. He doesn’t have to build a case on someone who shouldn’t be carrying it. It’s his job to recognize that and act accordingly-- for her sake, and the community’s, as well as the defendants.”

Raleigh News & Observer (N&O) columnist Ruth Sheehan suggests “It’s Time to Drop Charges:”

“Every time I think the Duke lacrosse case cannot get any more excruciating to watch -- it does. There was a moment of hope right before Christmas, when we got word that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was dropping charges. Finally! I thought. Nifong has come to his senses and is putting us all out of our misery -- from the three men charged in the alleged sexual assault of a dancer at their stripper party to the alleged victim herself. But as it turned out, Nifong dropped only one of the charges in the case -- rape -- leaving the sexual assault and kidnapping charges to stand. These are charges, like rape, that could put the men behind bars for life. Nifong's explanation for dropping the rape charge only added to the excruciation factor: The accuser said she now cannot remember whether a penis was involved in the alleged attack. I cringe just typing the words. As the victim of a date rape more than 20 years ago myself, I can attest that there are some details you can train your mind to glance over. Whether a penis was involved is a detail one is unlikely to forget. What kind of dimwitted fools does Nifong believe us, and the potential jurors, to be? I ask this, of course, from some experience. I was one of the hopelessly naive who fell -- hard -- for Nifong's original depiction of the case.”

TUESDAY JANUARY 2: DA Mike Nifong is sworn in for his first four-year term early today in private. Nifong insists he did not intend to keep out the media or the public from the ceremony, but says he scheduled it for 8 a.m. so his staff could go to work afterward without dealing with the media. The building does not open to the public until 8:30 a.m. "This was not a media event. This was an event that is required for us to do our jobs," Nifong tells reporters later. "The message we're trying to send is: This is 2007. We're here to do our jobs. We're not here to help you guys sell newspapers or get press coverage."

African-American columnist Thomas Sowell writes an article in the National Review Online titled “Nifong’s Deliverance:”

“Nifong’s actions are inexplicable only if you assume that his purpose was to get at the truth about what actually happened at the party where the stripper claimed to have been raped. That assumption has never been made in this column. From day one, I have never believed that this case was about rape, about the Duke lacrosse players, or about the “exotic dancers” or strippers. District Attorney Nifong’s actions are perfectly consistent and logical from start to finish, once you see that this case is about Nifong’s own career.

(…) It was not a question of winning the case. It was a question of winning the election. As for the case, that was not scheduled to come to trial until a year later. If you cared about justice, you would want to go to trial much sooner, either to nail the Duke students if they were guilty or exonerate them if they were not. But nothing suggests that this was Nifong’s agenda. Now that so many of his misdeeds have been so widely publicized, Nifong’s agenda has to include keeping his job and avoiding disbarment or even being prosecuted himself."

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 3: Duke University invites indicted students Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann to return to Duke in good standing. “We have decided that the right and fair thing to do is to welcome back Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to resume their studies at Duke for the spring semester," President Richard Brodhead says in a statement. Both were barred from the campus last semester while their case made its way through courts. The third defendant, David Evans, graduated in May. Brodhead in his statement notes that the validity of the remaining charges is in question. "Although the students still face serious charges and larger issues require Duke’s collective attention, the circumstances in this case have changed substantially, and it is appropriate that the students have an opportunity to continue their education," Brodhead says. But Kevin Finnerty tells WRAL that his son wants to get through the criminal process before returning to school. "I think we're going to need to focus on the serious charges that still exist, and we'll need to leave ourselves the flexibility once we get a successful resolution," he explains. Wade Smith, a lawyer representing Finnerty, says, "We're happy about this decision. We think it says good things about the direction of this investigation and good things about our client." Smith adds, . "We're not looking for apologies today. We're saying to Duke, 'You've done the right thing.'" Seligmann's attorney, James Cooney III, says that Seligmann and his parents are considering their options regarding Duke's offer. "We are also glad that Duke University has now made it clear that Reade is welcome to return to the university and look forward to the day that he can return to living a normal life and continuing his education as a full-time student," the Seligmann family says in a statement. The university could still punish Seligmann and Finnerty if they are convicted of any of the remaining charges, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta says in a memo to Brodhead recommending that the players be allowed to come back. Both Seligmann and Finnerty would be eligible to return to the lacrosse team, Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence states. “It’s a step forward, but because charges still exist, this remains a complex issue for the students and their families,” says John Danowski, Duke’s head lacrosse coach. Teammates seem to feel no ambiguity about their colleagues. “It's no secret how much we want them back. Not only are they good players, but we just miss them as great friends of ours,” explains Casey Carroll, a senior on the lacrosse team. "We're all ecstatic," assistant lacrosse coach Kevin Cassesse says. "I think it's a great statement from Brodhead and the university, and in my opinion, it was the right thing to do."

Metro Magazine publishes an article by Susan Swanson about her visit to the Finnerty home in New York where she interviews Collin and his parents Mary Ellen and Kevin:

“A statue of the Madonna and child stands near the landscaped entrance to the Finnerty home. The house itself is large and warmly decorated in muted shades of browns, greens and reds. No doubt it serves as a welcome retreat these days for the Finnertys’ five children. Collin is the middle child; his two older brothers live and work in New York City and his younger sisters are still at home. Mary Ellen is a tall woman who admits that her hair “gets a little blonder the older I get.” (…)

“What gets me so angry,” Mary Ellen told me, “is that I held this child in my arms; I protected him. He was a good kid in high school. He was never a curfew breaker — and I was the strictest mother in America, according to all of the kids. The boys always worked hard and their spending money they earned. It was never handed to them, despite all these articles that talk about spoiled rich kids.” (…)

“People think that I have the toughest time,” Collin said, “but it’s harder for my mom. It’s tough to see her deal with this day after day for something that never happened. I’ll be happy to see her sitting on a beach or some place, not having to think about this. When it’s over, I’ll be happy to see my whole family relieved, but especially for my mom. Right now I can’t contemplate a day without this going on. A perfect day for me would be just hanging out with my brothers. I could zone it out, not think about it for an hour … but at some point it always comes back around.”

Duke Prof. Karla Holloway objects to the invitation by Duke for Finnerty and Seligmann to return to campus. In a private e-mail to colleagues she repeats third-hand charges of racism against the lacrosse team. “I will share with you what I have not previously shared publicly,” Holloway writes. “It has colored this matter for me since last spring. It is legally hearsay, but nevertheless speaks volumes to what I think are the intricacies of the event that deserve a legal hearing.” Holloway then recalls how last spring, while she was in Duke VP John Burness’ office, she overheard him speaking with Duke Campus police by phone. “…[T]he Vice President took a call from the Duke Police, who had returned from a meeting with the Durham Police,” Holloway continues. “He repeated aloud what the person on the phone was telling him: “So you are telling me that when the boys opened the door and saw the dancers they said “Oh no, we’re not going to f—k a ‘n’ (expletive).’” The e-mail continues, “I cannot help but think that if I was privy to this, this statement had to have been shared with our administration. (…) So what does it mean to readmit students with an indictment for violent acts, without an internal investigation of our own regarding the event? I think it is a choice the institution has made. And it has led to my own that I cannot work in shared good faith at a time when principled conduct matters less than polls and parents’ pleas.”

In his Jan. 3 e-mail response, Vice Pres. Burness writes, “The comments you overheard in my office which were attributed to the Durham Police were as you described them. We both found them to be profoundly painful/disgusting. They clearly, if true, spoke volumes about the climate of the event, but I knew that it was not clear who had made them and I knew that conducting our own investigation would instantly be seen as compromising that of the Durham Police. That would play into the hands of those who assumed—-as many people in Durham did as the case first surfaced—Duke would use its power to influence the case and the process.” Burness continues, “ I also knew that the Durham Police didn’t clarify who apparently had said it and I made no assumption that the students who ultimately were indicted, did. But I also knew that [Duke President] Dick [Brodhead] had said from the start that independent of the criminal allegations, some inappropriate and dishonorable things had occurred that night and when the Police investigation was concluded, he committed that Duke would conduct its own review.”

THURSDAY JANUARY 4: WRAL reports that Crystal Mangum, the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case, gave birth to a girl at UNC Hospitals by a Caesarean section. No other details are available about the birth. The hospital issues a statement saying, "In response to ongoing media reports surrounding the Duke lacrosse case, we acknowledge that the focus of this attention is a patient here at UNC Hospitals. UNC Hospitals will not provide additional information or updates on this patient’s condition. The patient says it is her hope and expectation that her privacy will be respected."

Kyle Dowd, a former Duke lacrosse player, sues the university and a former instructor, alleging that she unfairly gave him a failing grade because he was a member of the team. Dowd graduated in May 2006, two months after Crystal Mangum claimed she was raped at a lacrosse team party. Dowd's lawsuit alleges that visiting professor Kim Curtis gave him an F in a politics and literature class that nearly prevented him from graduating, even though he had earned passing grades on his assignments to that point. Dowd and his parents, Patricia and Benjamin Dowd, are asking for $60,000 in punitive and compensatory damages. "I wanted to prevent such occurrences from happening to another student at Duke," Kyle Dowd tells WRAL."I didn't want to see another professor further their political agenda by maliciously hurting another student." According to the lawsuit, only one other person in the 40-student class, another lacrosse player, received an F. "Defendant Curtis engaged in extreme outrageous and unethical conduct ... due to personal bias and prejudice," the lawsuit says. According to the lawsuit, Curtis told Dowd he received a failing grade for participation because he had not attended class and because he made wrong statements in a paper without backing them up. The lawsuit claims Dowd missed six out of 30 classes — one an excused absence for a lacrosse match and the other five resulting because of the criminal investigation involving the lacrosse team. Each time Dowd had sent an e-mail to Curtis informing her about his absence. The lawsuit also states that Curtis, a visiting assistant professor at the time who specialized in political theory and feminist theory, signed an advertisement in The Duke Chronicle that sympathized with the alleged victim. It also states that Curtis sent an e-mail to students in her class letting them know that she was available to talk about "how this is affecting you, what we should do as a community, etc." Dowd appealed the grade, and the university changed it to a D, citing a calculation error. He and his parents ask in the lawsuit for the grade to be changed to a "P" for passing.

Eighteen members of the Duke Economics Department, including Chairman Roy Weintraub, send a letter to The Chronicle (which publishes it January 9):

“To the Editor:
We, the undersigned Economics Department faculty members at Duke University, are cognizant of the fact that, to date, the only collective signed statement by faculty members concerning the events of last March was an advertisement in the Duke University Chronicle subsequent to protests and a forum on March 29, 2006. We are aware too that the advertisement was cited as prejudicial to the defendants in the defense motion to change the venue of the trial involving the three Duke lacrosse team members. We regret that the Duke faculty is now seen as prejudiced against certain of its own students.

1) In light of recent events detailed in court proceedings, it appears that there were a number of irregular acts committed by members of the Durham law enforcement agencies and District Attorney’s Office. We join with President Brodhead in calling for an investigation of those acts, inimical to students at our university.

2) We welcome all members of the lacrosse team, and all student athletes, as we do all our students as fellow members of the Duke community, to the classes we teach and the activities we sponsor.”

Brooklyn College History Prof. KC Johnson in his “Durham-in-Wonderland” blog analyzes in detail the faulty April 4 identification procedure in which accuser Crystal Mangum identified four alleged attackers, He concludes: “Flawed procedures beget flawed results. Corrupted procedures beget corrupted results. Flawed, corrupted procedures beget flawed, corrupted results.”

FRIDAY JANUARY 5: Duke English Prof. Cathy Davidson writes an article in the N&O titled “In the Aftermath of A Social Disaster.” She rejects criticism of the April 6, 2006 “Listening” ad in The Chronicle. In the N&O article, Davidson, one of the “Group of 88,” is also the first to use the term “blog hooligans,” an appellation later adopted with pride by bloggers at LieStoppers and other sites.

“Last April I added my name to an ad published in the Duke Chronicle. The ad said that we faculty were listening to the anguish of students who felt demeaned by racist and sexist remarks swirling around in the media and on the campus quad in the aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house. (…) Like the other faculty members who signed the ad, I constantly receive e-mails asking me to rescind my signature. Some people write out of real misery for their children, Duke students who are distraught that their friends may have been falsely accused and unfairly treated. They believe professors have sided against the lacrosse players, and they are outraged. If we had written what they suppose, we would deserve their anger. But we didn't.

I empathize deeply with these parents and friends. I regret additional pain they felt when they heard about this ad. However, when I send them the actual ad, they are often surprised that it does not condemn the lacrosse players but focuses on larger campus and national concerns. I was touched, recently, when one mother concluded our thoughtful exchange by noting that she still didn't like the ad, but hoped that her daughter would have the opportunity to take a class with me someday.
On the other hand, most of my e-mail comes from right-wing "blog hooligans." These hateful, ranting and sometimes even threatening folks don't care about Duke or the lacrosse players. Their aim is to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring. They deliberately misrepresent the faculty and manipulate the feelings of those who care about the lacrosse players in order to foster their own demagogic political agenda. They contribute to the problem, not to the solution.”

Prof. KC Johnson deconstructs Davidson’s article in a blogpost “Apologia for a Disaster.” Several posters at LieStoppers criticize Davidson, including “Texas Mom,” who describes herself as “one of your ‘blog hooligans.’” “Texas Mom” writes in part:
I HAVE BEEN a single mother, a widow, with three small children, no life insurance, no health insurance, no visible means of support, and no education equipping me to enter the marketplace in my forties. (…) I did not turn to prostitution or stripping to support my children. Most women do not. Spare me the gratuitous "women as victims" garbage. (…) Crystal CHOSE to engage in behaviors that resulted in her separation from the Navy with a less than honorable discharge. Crystal CHOSE to have three children-- and, yes, that was a CHOICE, my generation fought for that right. Crystal CHOSE to work as a stripper and sex worker. This woman CHOSE to degrade herself-- it was not foisted upon her. Come down out of your ivory tower and talk to women who have raised children by themselves, we have lots of stories to tell about working hard at more than one job, about worrying about not having health insurance, about the humiliation of saying to a doctor, "How much will it cost; I can't afford it."

SATURDAY JANUARY 6: Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows writes an article “In Scandal’s Shadow” which gives a sympathetic portrait of Reade Seligmann. The article, made public today, is published in Newsweek’s January 15, 2007 issue:

Last April, Duke lacrosse star Reade Seligmann huddled with his dad at a Durham, N.C., law firm. A stripper hired to perform at a team party on March 13 claimed several players raped her. In a lineup, she'd identified three of them as her alleged assailants. Seligmann now awaited a call from the prosecutor that would tell him if he was one of the players she'd singled out. He felt certain he would be cleared. The call came. Reade, 20, was being indicted for first-degree rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. He had a strong alibi—cell-phone records would show he was busy calling his girlfriend at the time the alleged crime was taking place—but the D.A. declined to hear it. As he heard the news, Reade looked at his dad. It was the first time he'd ever seen his father cry. Then it hit him: how was he going to tell his mom? Kathy Seligmann was home in New Jersey with her three other boys. He dialed her number. "Mom," he said, "she picked me."

MONDAY JANUARY 8: Duke President Brodhead renews his call for DA Nifong to step aside from the sexual offense case against three former lacrosse players and give control to an independent party “who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process.” In an open letter as a new semester begins, Brodhead reviews recent events in the case and tries to explain the university’s responses since last March. Brodhead claims that from the early, “confusing” days of the case, the university has been guided by two principles: If true, the accusations were “grave and should be taken very seriously.” At the same time, “our students had to be presumed innocent until proven guilty through the legal process.” Now, he writes, in the wake of questions about Nifong’s handling of the case, the need for a fair legal process demands that he recuse himself. Early on, Brodhead recalls, Nifong said publicly that he was certain a rape had taken place. But on Dec. 22, Nifong dropped the rape charges, saying the accuser was no longer sure what had penetrated her. Given the certainty of the prosecutor’s early statements, Brodhead says the decision to drop the rape charges called the entire case into question. “We entrust our conflicts to the law to provide a path to a fair resolution,” Brodhead writes. “But to earn this faith from the public, those who work in the legal process must behave with elemental fairness and regard for the rights of those involved. We need and deserve for that faith to be restored.” KC Johnson criticizes Brodhead’s open letter in a blogpost “Brodhead’s Apologia,” as does blogger John-in-Carolina in a post titled “Brodhead Reveals Himself.”

MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan becomes the first mainstream journalist to call Nifong’s case a hoax as she discusses the changes in Mangum’s stories, which other observers attribute to her inability to tell the truth rather than inability to remember, and the resulting changes in Nifong’s charges:

“I sincerely hope that we don’t have a situation here where the charges are designed to conform to the evidence, once her original story could not be corroborated by the forensic evidence. The real problem now is that the prosecution’s case has completely crumbled and appears to be a complete hoax. If the accuser cannot testify as to whether she was raped because she cannot remember, then the damage to her credibility is so severe it warrants all the charges being dropped.”

TUESDAY JANUARY 9: An assault conviction in Washington, D.C., against lacrosse defendant Collin Finnerty has been expunged, authorities say. Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., was convicted in July of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to six months of probation in connection with an altercation with two bar patrons in November 2005. Judge John Bayly had agreed to dismiss the Washington assault charge once Finnerty completed his probation.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10: Durham Police Inv. Ben Himan and Linwood Wilson re-interview Tara Levicy, R.N., the SANE nurse- in- training who was present for Crystal Mangum’s SANE exam on March 14. Levicy confirms that she had indicated on two occasions that her findings were “consistent with a sexual assault.” Levicy says that in her view Mangum was not sure whether condoms were used because a victim can never be sure. She indicates that she was not surprised that DNA was not found. On the following day, she calls to revise her statement, conceding that another reason DNA is not found in an investigation is that the attack did not happen.

The judge presiding over the lacrosse case orders a paternity test on a child born January 4 to Crystal Mangum. The order by Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III confirms reports that Mangum had a child at that time. At a December hearing, attorneys for three former Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting Mangum requested the paternity test to show the child was not fathered by the players. DA Nifong said at the time that the woman was pregnant but that he did not think the child was conceived through any activity at the lacrosse party. To make sure, Smith ordered that the test be performed and the results given to the defense once the woman's child was born. The order contains no specific information about the child.

WTVD interviews campaign consultant Jackie Brown who helped DA Nifong win the primary election but then teamed up with Lewis Cheek to campaign against Nifong. Brown now says, "I would like for him to recuse himself and to let another prosecutor come in and look at the case." She says the lacrosse case initially had very little to do with Nifong's DA race. "Some of his first words to me were that he really didn't want to do this-- meaning the campaign, but that he needed three years and some odd months for retirement." With money as the motivation, Brown dismisses the notion Nifong had used the Duke Lacrosse case to get elected before the May primary, saying he wasn't politically savvy enough at that time and that he wasn't even focused on the case. However, the media frenzy, the appearance of an opponent in the November election, and mounting public pressure, Brown says that's when everything changed. "I think by the time November got here, if he had come out and changed his mind and apologize then he probably wouldn't have gotten re-elected," Brown states. While critics speculate about whether the Durham lacrosse case will be dismissed, Brown says if she knows Nifong, that won't happen. "He's like a bulldog with a bone and you're not going to take it away from him." The N&O reports that Nifong describes his former campaign director in an interview as a woman more concerned with getting credit for good work than doing it. "There were actually several people who said to me they would not consider voting for me because she worked on my campaign," Nifong says. "Her biggest concern during the campaign seemed to be how she was billed in the campaign ads."

Duke Prof. Karla Holloway resigns her position as race subgroup chair of Duke’s Campus Culture Initiative, to protest President Brodhead’s decision to lift the suspensions of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. “The decision by the university to readmit the students, especially just before a critical judicial decision on the case, is a clear use of corporate power, and a breach, I think, of ethical citizenship,” she writes in a letter. “I could no longer work in good faith with this breach of common trust.”

THURSDAY JANUARY 11: DA Nifong meets privately at his office with accuser Crystal Mangum for several hours. He tells her at the meeting he will be removing himself from the alleged sexual assault case. While she was there, Durham County sheriff's deputies serve her with a subpoena ordering her to be in court to testify at a scheduled Feb. 5, 2007 hearing. In the past 10 months, Nifong claims has never talked with her about the facts of the case. In court hearings, he says that when he met with her for the first time in the spring of 2006, they talked about other matters because she seemed upset.

A trial date of May 11, 2007 is announced for the ethics complaints filed against DA Nifong. The North Carolina State Bar had filed the complaint in December, asserting Nifong might have engaged in deceptive behavior in the way he has handled the alleged sexual assault case involving three members of the lacrosse team. The bar takes issue with the many comments Nifong made to the press early on in the case. He has hired Winston-Salem attorney David Freedman to defend him. Freedman has represented other attorneys in State Bar matters. A three-member panel will decide guilt or innocence and then, if guilty, may impose a sentence ranging from a warning to disbarment.

Defense attorneys in the Duke lacrosse case file an important supplemental motion citing mounting evidence for their argument that Judge W. Osmond Smith III throw out accuser Crystal Mangum’s identification of the suspects. The motion asserts that Mangums’s statements and the prosecution theories of what happened on March 13-14 keep changing. For example: 1) The defense says Mangum on Dec. 21 told Linwood Wilson, an investigator for Nifong, that the reported attack happened between 11:35 p.m. and midnight on March 13. The defense says the new claim contradicts the accuser's own cellular phone records, which show an incoming call at 11:36 p.m. that lasted for three minutes. Records also show that Reade Seligmann received a call on his cell phone during that period, the defense says. Time-stamped photos and records of a 911 call made by the second dancer also indicate the women did not leave the party until shortly before 1 a.m., nearly an hour after the most recent account has the alleged attack ending. In an April written statement, the accuser said she and the second dancer left the party immediately after the alleged assault. 2) In her latest statement, according to the defense, Mangum says Seligmann did not commit any sex act on her. Although he was repeatedly urged to take part in the alleged attack, she recalls, he said he could not because he was “getting married.” Lawyers have said that while Seligmann has a girlfriend, he is not engaged or married. The documents point out that in an April interview with police, Mangum then cited Seligmann as the attacker who she says stood in front of her and forced her to perform a sexual act. "The accuser's most recent recollection of events demonstrates clearly that she cannot accurately recall and describe her attackers and that any identification made by her is necessarily unreliable," the defense filing states. 3) The defense also claims Mangum now says the attacker she identified as David Evans did not have a mustache after all. In an April photo lineup, she told detectives he did. On Dec. 21, according to the motion, the accuser said she did not mean a "real mustache" but something more like a "5-o'clock shadow." 4) In that same interview, Mangum also states she is no longer certain she had been penetrated vaginally by a penis, a necessary element of rape charges in North Carolina. That led DA Nifong to dismiss rape charges against Seligmann, Evans and Collin Finnerty. Today’s filing is a supplement to a previous defense motion asking a judge to toss out the photo lineup in which the accuser identified the three suspects. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Feb. 5, and experts have said that without the photo lineup, Nifong would probably have to drop the case.

Duke Provost Peter Lange talks to the Arts & Sciences Council about the events surrounding the lacrosse case and calls for more civility in face of “personal attacks” on faculty members.
“Meanwhile some of our faculty, primarily African-American but not only so, have been under repeated attacks in personal emails and in blogs. The primary precipitant – in the sense that the content offended those writing the blogs or sending the emails – was the advertisement signed by 88 of Duke’s faculty and printed in the Duke Chronicle. Subsequently, the connection to the advertisement often has become attenuated and the ad has become rhetorically transformed into and manipulated as a symbol of all that was thought to be extreme and bad about Duke faculty, and, in some cases, universities more generally. At the same time, the emails and blogs attacking what people wrote or said have sometimes been replaced by personal attacks, some of them directed at the faculty member’s scholarship or intellectual credentials, some viciously personal, still others openly threatening or racist. (…)

With the passing of time, the heat has not gone down. In the last weeks, faculty members have shared with me emails and blog material that is as merciless, distorted and vituperative as in the past. The cumulative damage of the months of attacks on some of our faculty and the distress of those who sympathize with them is exceeding the limits of prudence about provoking external reactions. It is the Provost’s job to defend the fundamental value and values of the faculty and at some point refraining from that defense because it might produce more of the same becomes itself imprudent.”

KC Johnson presents his own chronology of the lacrosse case from March 14 through April 30, 2006 in a “Durham-in-Wonderland” post.

JANUARY 12: Facing ethics charges that could lead to disbarment, DA Nifong recuses himself and asks the North Carolina attorney general's office to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the Duke lacrosse case. Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, confirms in an e-mail that Nifong has sent a letter to Cooper's office with the request. Nifong's attorney, David Freedman, insists his client is not running from a weak case and that Nifong is disappointed he won't be able to take it to trial. He says Nifong met with Crystal Mangum this week to tell her in person of his decision to recuse himself. "He feels, as a result of the accusations against him, that he would be a distraction and he wants to make sure the accuser receives a fair trial," Freedman tells The Associated Press. "He still believes in the case. He just believes his continued presence would hurt her." Under North Carolina law, only a district attorney can formally request a special prosecutor. Duke University issues a statement saying it hopes Nifong's recusal could "restore confidence in the fairness of the legal process … We hope this change will lead to a fair and speedy resolution of this case." Defense attorney Joe Cheshire says he welcomes an independent party's involvement in the case. "We're extremely happy that a prosecutor who does not have an agenda, who is fair and honest, will take a look at this case," Cheshire says. "And we believe that when that happens, they will dismiss this case."

CBS News announces the Duke lacrosse case will be the focus of another "60 Minutes" report on Sunday. Last October, correspondent Ed Bradley interviewed David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, This time, the parents of the accused players will speak with correspondent Lesley Stahl. According to a CBS News release, Rae Evans says in the interview: "Mr. Nifong, you've picked on the wrong families. You've picked on the wrong family of the Duke lacrosse team. You've picked on the wrong family of Duke University. And you will pay every day for the rest of your life." Also, Dr. Brian Meehan is grilled on why he omitted exculpatory DNA evidence in his report.

SATURDAY JANUARY 13: NC Attorney General Roy Cooper announces at a news conference that Jim Coman, a former director of the State Bureau of Investigation and head of the attorney general's Special Prosecution Section, and Mary D. Winstead, a prosecutor in that division, will now oversee the Duke lacrosse case as special prosecutors. Coman has 22 years of experience in the Attorney General's office, and has prosecuted more than 250 criminal jury trials. Winstead is a former assistant district attorney for Durham and Wake counties and has 25 years of experience prosecuting cases across the state of North Carolina. “This is a review of all of the information and evidence that has been connected thus far. We will look to see if there are any things we need to reexamine,” Cooper tells reporters. "There is a lot that is there already, and it is incumbent on us to review all that.” Cooper states, “We’re taking a completely new, fresh look at this case. The path that these case travel will be lighted by the law and the evidence alone.”

In an article giving reaction to Nifong’s recusal, the N&O reports:
“Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge said Nifong's stepping aside won't change the substance of the evidence collected by the department's detectives that a sexual assault occurred. Hodge said he thinks that the case will still go forward and that the remaining charges will be prosecuted. "I don't think it changes anything that we've done," Hodge said. "It just means that we'll have to deal with a different attorney."

SUNDAY JANUARY 14: The CBS television news magazine “60 Minutes” presents interviews with the parents of defendants Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. The parents direct their anger at DA Nifong. "Every mother of a son in this country should be scared to death that this was so easy to perpetrate," says Kathy Seligmann. Rae Evans says she believes Nifong's relentless pursuit of the three players was politically motivated. "This is about a man who chose to use a troubled young woman's story of fantastic lies to advance his own political career, which was crumbling," she says. "He needed something big. He needed that magic bullet and he shot it and he shot it right at our sons." The Finnertys and Seligmanns say an invitation for their sons to return to school is too little too late. They state it would be hard to send their children back to a place where the leaders did not support them. Also on the program, Dr. Brian Meehan, of DNA Security Inc., admits he made a mistake by not stating in his report that he found DNA on the accuser from other men who were not lacrosse players. "In retrospect, I know there was a better way, and I should have done a better job of relaying that information," he says. In addition, "60 Minutes," reports Crystal Mangum has a long psychiatric history and has been treated with Seroquel and Depakote.

The blogger John-in-Carolina demolishes some of the myths about the Duke case:
“It’s all Nifong’s fault. No one else is to blame. Certainly not me.”
“It was such a really, really confusing time. And the issues were so complex. Gee, who could have known?”
“It was really the players, their parents and attorneys’ fault”

MONDAY JANUARY 15: WRAL reports that DA Nifong, who has recused himself in the Duke lacrosse case, could face another complaint from the North Carolina State Bar. Last month, the bar filed an ethics complaint against Nifong for his pretrial comments regarding the case, asserting that his conduct was dishonest and deceitful. The committee that handles complaints meets again Thursday. The bar won't confirm or deny whether it is looking into another complaint, but some observers say Nifong broke other professional conduct rules by failing to turn over exculpatory evidence, which works to a defendant's benefit rather than a prosecutor's, to defense attorneys in a timely manner. The evidence in question is test results in which no DNA from any lacrosse player was found on the accuser but there was DNA from other men. After a December hearing, Nifong insisted he did nothing wrong. "There was no attempt to hide anything," he said, adding that defense attorneys only had to ask for the evidence.

The N&O’s Joe Neff reveals that defense attorney Joe Cheshire sent a letter to DA Nifong March 30 warning Nifong that his comments were prejudicing the case. "Your reported comments have greatly prejudiced any court proceedings that may arise," Cheshire wrote on March 30, three days after Nifong began making public statements about the case. "I do not understand why you will reportedly speak to the media in such certain, condemning terms before all the evidence is in, but you will not have the courtesy to meet or even speak with a representative of someone you have publicly condemned, despite your knowledge of the presumption of innocence and your position as an officer of the court bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct related to pre-trial publicity." The letter makes it more difficult for Nifong to argue that his remarks were off-the-cuff, says Thomas Metzloff, who teaches legal ethics at Duke Law School.

Kathleen Eckelt R.N. in her “Forensic Talk” blog analyzes the revelation on “60 Minutes” that Crystal Mangum has been diagnosed as bi-polar and has been on the potent psychiatric medications Seroquel and Depakote.

KC Johnson in a “Durham-in-Wonderland” blogpost discusses “Race, Racism, and the Case” in which he examines how race has been exploited to advance the prosecution of the defendants in the lacrosse case.

TUESDAY JANUARY 16: DA Nifong writes a second letter to the North Carolina State Bar Grievance Committee, answering the new ethics charges against him. The contents were summarized in the July, 2007 Findings of Facts of the State Bar:

“107. In his responses to the Grievance Committee, Nifong: (a) acknowledged that he had discussed with Dr. Meehan during meetings in April and May 2006 the results of all DSI's testing, including the existence of DNA from multiple unidentified males on the rape kit items; (b) denied that he had agreed with Dr. Meehan to exclude the potentially exculpatory DNA test results from DSI's report; (c) stated that he viewed the evidence of DNA from multiple unidentified males on the rape kit items as "non-inculpatory" rather than as "specifically exculpatory"; and (d) represented that the discussion and agreement with Dr. Meehan to limit the information in DSI's report was based on privacy concerns about releasing the names and DNA profiles of the lacrosse players and others providing known reference specimens.”

It is reported that the U.S. Department of Justice has rejected U.S. Representative Walter Jones’ request that the federal government investigate DA Nifong's actions in the Duke lacrosse case. His spokeswoman says Jones will continue trying to get officials to examine Nifong's conduct. Jones last month sent two letters to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez asking him to investigate what Jones said he believed was prosecutorial misconduct by Nifong. Jones said in the letter that Nifong made prejudicial statements to the media and told Durham police to violate identification procedures. He also cited the fact that more than nine months had passed before Nifong spoke to the accuser in the case. U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling wrote to Jones last Thursday, saying the Justice Department wouldn't look into the matter. Hertling said the dismissal of the rape charge addressed some of Jones' concerns and that the North Carolina State Bar was examining Nifong's conduct. "Issues related to your concerns may well be raised in the local criminal case. Accordingly, based upon the information available at this time, it would be premature to initiate a federal investigation into this ongoing state criminal prosecution," Hertling wrote. Kathleen Joyce, Jones' press secretary, says that the congressman is continuing to press for a federal investigation. He has spoken with Hertling in recent days and plans to meet next week with director of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "It is Congressman Jones' position that, in light of Mr. Nifong's recusal from the case, there is no reason the Department of Justice should not initiate an investigation into whether Mr. Nifong's actions constitute prosecutorial misconduct and (have) denied the three Duke students their civil rights," Joyce says.

Dozens of Duke professors post "an open letter to the Duke community" on the web, explaining an ad last spring that has been widely criticized as a condemnation of lacrosse players. The new letter, signed by 87 faculty and posted at, refuses to apologize for the April, 2006 “Listening” ad and reiterates concerns about issues of race and sexual violence on the Duke campus. It says the ad-- published in the The Chronicle April 6-- has been grossly misinterpreted. That ad has been a subject of heated debate on blogs and its signers have received angry e-mails. "The ad has been read as a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused," the new letter says. "Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case....We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence." The letter is signed by "concerned faculty," many of whom endorsed the original ad. The April ad entitled "What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like?" included anonymous statements by students talking about racism and sexism on the campus. The ad also thanked "protesters making collective noise." The letter this week backs off that a bit, saying, "We do not endorse every demonstration that took place at the time." In the online letter, concerned faculty say they won't apologize despite the fury. "There have been public calls to the authors to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character," the letter states. "We reject all of these. We think the ad's authors were right to give voice to the students quoted, whose suffering is real. We also acknowledge the pain that has been generated by what we believe is a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the rape case." KC Johnson publishes a critique of the new letter in a blogpost titled “The (Rump) Group of 88 Strikes Again” and LieStoppers also responds with an analysis “Adding Insult to Injury.”

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 17: U.S. Representative Peter King calls on the Justice Department to launch an investigation of the district attorney in the Duke lacrosse case. In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, King asks that the FBI begin an investigation into whether DA Nifong violated the rights of the three accused players. "I am deeply disappointed by your apparent decision to defer a decision whether to nvestigate Mr. Nifong's prosecution of this case," King writes. He asks that the FBI investigate whether the DA may have violated the defendants’ civil rights, including the right to due process under the law. The Justice Department did not immediately reply. Yesterday the DOJ rejected a similar request from North Carolina U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, also a Republican.

The Johnsville News blog analyzes the text of the “Listening” ad of April 6, 2006 in light of yesterday’s open letter signed by many of the same Duke faculty members. The blog suggests that some of the statements attributed to students in the original ad may have been falsified by the ad’s primary author Prof. Wahneema Lubiano.

Duke Prof. Orin Starn, a critic of college athletics and specifically the lacrosse team, writes an op-ed for the Herald-Sun titled “Fast, Loose and Mean in the Blogosphere.”

“The Duke lacrosse saga has played itself out as much on the internet as in the courtroom, newspapers, or university halls. I like youtubing Ronaldinho’s greatest goals and e-mailing to my friends as much as the next guy. But the lacrosse mess has put on display the more squalid, sometimes vicious side of the Internet. Only a click away lies a whole ugly galaxy of insults misinterpretations, and, at worst, sick racist hate. The virtual lacrosse world is Mad Max’s Thunderdome in Gigabytes and bandwidth: no rules apply, or at least not involving those horse-and-buggy or oh-so-yesterday ink age civility, accuracy, or accountability.”

MONDAY JANUARY 22: North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley tells law students in New York that DA Mike Nifong broke a promise when he ran for a full term after being appointed to fill a vacancy. "I almost un-appointed him when he decided to run," Gov. Mike Easley says in a speech to students at New York University. "I rate that as probably the poorest appointment that I've made," Easley says. The speech was not reported at the time, but The News & Observer later obtained a recording of the speech from NYU’s spokesman. Easley visits New York to speak about public service. He discusses Nifong after an audience member asks him about the Duke case. Easley, a former prosecutor and state attorney general, says Nifong has done a poor job, adding, "You don't need me to tell you that." Easley appointed Nifong as the Durham prosecutor in April 2005 after naming then-DA Jim Hardin to a judgeship. Easley says Nifong, one of Hardin's assistant, said he wouldn't run for the office. The governor also is critical of Nifong's early statements, in which he told national news media that the case involved a racially motivated assault by lacrosse players. "That's how all this mess got started," Easley says. "He challenged the defense lawyers by talking about the case, calling the kids 'hooligans.' “

The Chronicle’s Rob Copeland interviews Duke President Brodhead about the lacrosse case.

Excerpts (C = Copeland, B = Brodhead):

C: Do you have any regrets about your handling of the scandal?

B: My principal regret is that the situation ever arose. I wish the party hadn't taken place. If the party had taken place, I wish the accusations had never arisen. I certainly wish that the district attorney had not made the statements that gave everyone such a degree of certainty about the matter. Once the situation existed, it had to be dealt with. I'm really not immune to self-criticism in any way, I believe we've handled this as straightforwardly and honorably as we could have, given the extraordinary nature of the situation and the changing nature of the facts.

C: Do you stand by all of your previous actions? Would you have done anything differently?

B: Let me take you back. You're talking about a series of events that were announced on the fifth of April, when 46 players were said to be under investigation. Every member of the Duke, Durham and national community had heard repeated statements on the certainty that the rape had taken place.... Duke was not free to say, "give us another year until we know the facts for certain."

C: To be fair, you did fire the coach and cancel the season.

B: The first thing we announced was the suspension of the season. Everytime I came near that subject, starting with the first day, I said this was not a presumption of the guilt of the players. It was not a disciplinary measure.... Many people have said to me in retrospect, "When you suspended the sport, that was your judgment of guilt." I say to them, "You are misinformed." It was an inevitability given the situation we were in. But I've tried then and in every other possible occasion to separate those acts from any question of judgment of the team.

C: Then why fire men's lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler?

B: When the coach's resignation was announced on April 5, I tried to take great care to indicate that I was not fingering him as responsible for this. What I said was that given the history that we were in the middle of living through, if and when we started the replaying of lacrosse, it couldn't be on the same terms as in the past.
We needed to close one chapter and start a new chapter. Changing the coach was just one of the necessities that came along with that. There was no pleasure to be taken in any of these decisions, but I think they were inevitable and it's all very well 10 months later to look back and say, "You should have done things differently."

C: Knowing what you do now, would you still ask for coach Pressler's resignation?

B: If I were put in the same circumstances again, I would do exactly the same thing.

C: Why did you not hold Athletics Director Joe Alleva responsible for the team as well? Why not ask for the resignations of Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, or any of the other administrators who were previously aware of the lacrosse team's issues. Why stop at coach Pressler?

B: The party was a team event. It wasn't just a group of people, it was something convened by the captain of the team. The Pressler resignation was not my attempt to say that he was responsible for the situation. It was simply a resignation of the inevitability that given where we were, we would need to make some differences to go forward with lacrosse.

C: There are numerous documented instances of fraternities, sororities and other organizations holding parties with underage drinking and strippers. Why not go after them as well, or replace their advisors?

B: You said there are documented cases. I would say that to my knowledge, there are rumored cases. The difference between this and other cases is that this one came to our attention.... It's not my idea of how to run an undergraduate school to have dragnets and police officers to investigate people and trap them in bad behavior. (…)

C: Why didn't you call for Nifong to step down, or for a special prosecutor to replace him?

B: There is absolutely no provision in the state of North Carolina for a special prosecutor to be brought in, except at the request of the DA. Why didn't I join with the defense team and file motions with them? Because it was essential that we not
be seen as a partisan player in this, but that we uphold the process that looks out over all parties and renders justice at the last.

C: On "60 Minutes" last week, the parents of the accused students said they would not want to send their children back to Duke. In particular, they said, "Who would want to send their kids back to a University which did not support them?" Do you understand that sentiment?

B: I'm a parent, and if my child were an object of such allegations, I can't imagine how appalled I would be. One of the very difficult things this whole time has been people's desire for Duke to stand up for its students. At the press conference on the 25th of March, I looked into 40 cameras and said, "These are my students too." This whole situation is a human issue.

Joan Collins writes a highly-praised article “The Other Duke Lacrosse Moms” in which she interviews the mothers of lacrosse players Matt Zash, Michael Catalino, Ryan McFadyen , Dan and Chris Loftus, and William Wolcott. The article relates that Zash had to live out of his car after being forced to vacate the Buchanan St. house; the Catalinos had to tell Michael that if he was indicted they did not have the funds to bail him from jail; and that Brian Loftus (father of Dan and Chris) is a New York firemen who was a first responder on 9/11 and is not one of the stereotyped rich lacrosse families . The article concludes:

“The hoax has caused so much pain for all the families of the 47 players. At the same time, the mothers described even stronger bonds with their husbands and children. The moms look at their sons with pride and admiration as they try to carry on with their lives. This is the resilience of youth. They know the truth is that nothing happened that night. The mothers stand in unity with the Finnerty, Seligmann and Evans families that Collin, Reade and Dave were wrongly indicted on charges for which they are absolutely innocent. Only when this “eclipse of justice” finally ends can peace return to these mothers’ hearts.”

TUESDAY JANUARY 23: Frostburg State Economics Prof. William Anderson reveals in a blogpost “The Cost of the Lie: Duke, the Courts, and Hoaxes” that legal expenses for the three indicted former lacrosse players now exceeds $5 million.

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in a “Talking Points” commentary attacks the “Group of 88” for their failure to apologize for their April 6, 2006 statement. His producers “ambush” Duke Profs. Ronen Plesser and Lee Baker, as well as DA Nifong in his bathrobe with his dog Tillie.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 24: The North Carolina State Bar files new and more serious ethics charges against DA Nifong, accusing him of withholding DNA evidence and misrepresenting the truth to the judge in the Duke lacrosse case. "It almost doesn't get any worse than lying to the judge in terms of ethical violations, but lying to the judge about information that suggests the defendant is innocent is even worse," University of North Carolina Law Prof. Joe Kennedy says. The State Bar revises the ethics complaint it filed in December, adding that Nifong allegedly withheld exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys and lied about it. Nifong received the amended complaint when he was already scheduled to appear in a hearing for the first charge, which alleges he violated ethics codes for pretrial comments he made early in the case. The State Bar cites findings from April 2006 that a second set of DNA tests excluded all of the lacrosse players as potential contributors. It also states that Nifong and Dr. Brian Meehan, the director of DNA Security, which conducted the tests, agreed to report to defense attorneys only positive DNA matches to samples from those who attended the lacrosse party. The complaint also states that they agreed to knowingly omit DNA matches to multiple other men found on the accuser. The defense had requested Nifong to hand over all the testing at least four different time. In court hearings, Nifong told defense attorneys and Judge Smith that he had released all of the evidence that would potentially benefit the defense. Nifong then did not hand over the complete evidence until October even though state law requires a prosecutor to hand over exculpatory information as quickly as possible. Nifong has no comment on the latest charges against him. "I'll do what I've been doing. Whatever I'll say, I'll say in the courtroom," he says leaving today’s hearing at the State Bar headquarters in Raleigh. At the hearing, he is granted an extension until Feb. 21 to make his official response to the State Bar's complaint. Nifong's May trial date is also postponed until June. If found guilty, he could be disbarred. Legal observers, however, say Nifong could face other troubles-- Judge Smith could find Nifong in contempt. Nifong could also be removed from office if someone were to file a complaint with the senior resident Superior Court judge and he finds the complaint valid. That judge, Orlando Hudson, told WRAL, however, that he has not received any complaints against Nifong.

The N&O profiles Linwood Wilson, Nifong’s investigator, whose career as a private investigator was marked by several ethics complaints: Twenty years ago he was investigated on suspicion of making false statements on the witness stand and setting up an illegal telephone tap, according to his file at the state agency that licenses private investigators. "I've worked for just about every domestic lawyer in Durham," Wilson says. "If these people feel I'm not a credible witness, I will sit on the stand all day long and say, 'Why did you hire me to work for your client?' Bring it on. My integrity stands for itself. I've never had anybody question my integrity." At 6-foot-4-inches tall, Wilson sings bass in the Spokesmen Quartet, a Southern gospel group. Married with two grown children, he was retired for seven years before being hired in December 2005 to help the DA track people accused of writing worthless checks.

The Johnsville News blog presents a picture album of the case with important visual documentation of events such as the “potbangers” protest at the Buchanan Street house.

John-in-Carolina analyzes the earliest coverage of the case in March, 2006 by the N&O. He charges the newspaper with biased reporting starting with its first report on March 24.

LieStoppers discusses the pernicious role of legal commentator Wendy Murphy in prolonging the lacrosse controversy: “As the Hoax nears death, Wendy Murphy desperately attempts to promote the fading fraud. Having proven repeatedly that truth is but a minor inconvenience, Murphy’s latest efforts demonstrate just how far she is willing to distort reality in order to advance her agenda. In an e-mail to supporters and a six page talking points memo published by the government funded National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Murphy appears to have found it necessary to contradict Defendant Nifong and the prosecution’s “evidence” and witnesses, including the false accuser herself, in order to continue to perpetuate the Hoax.”

THURSDAY JANUARY 25: Three law professors speaking at a Duke law school panel criticize the way DA Nifong has handled the case against three former lacrosse players. The three dissect the actions of Nifong over the past 10 months, and they conclude that he is a prosecutor headed for serious sanctions by the State Bar. "If everything's established, we're looking at a significant suspension," says Prof. Tom Metzloff. The bar's Disciplinary Hearing Commission will weigh the ethical and misconduct charges. Metzloff is joined on the panel by Duke Law Prof. James Coleman, a vocal critic of Nifong; Michael Tigar, an American University law professor; and Joseph Neff, an investigative reporter with the N&O. Coleman questions why Nifong and his investigators did not pur

By sceptical

(Thanks to Quasi, Baldo, Q.A. and JSwift for their additions and suggestions.)

FRIDAY DECEMBER 1: Duke Prof. Thomas Crowley writes a letter of apology in the Herald-Sun for his November 13 article criticizing the Duke lacrosse team, supporting Durham DA Mike Nifong, and suggesting the rape allegations against defendants David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann should go to trial:
“On Nov. 13, The Herald-Sun published an “Other Voices” piece by me concerning the Duke lacrosse case. I have subsequently been informed of errors in that letter. In particular my blanket statement about behavior of the lacrosse team was neither fair in general nor applicable to the particular case now in dispute. I apologize for this and any other errors.”

In his blog “Durham-in-Wonderland,” Brooklyn College history Prof. KC Johnson discusses the appointment of Robert Steel, Duke Board of Trustees chairman, as U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury: “Steel is serving two masters—Duke and the federal government. To date, he has exhibited an inexplicable unwillingness to criticize Mike Nifong’s “separate-but-equal” justice system for Duke students. In so doing, he, along with the Brodhead administration, has left in place an image of Duke as an institution whose upper leadership (much less its faculty, such as the Group of 88) does not particularly care about the school’s own students.”

Joan Foster pens an essay for the LieStoppers blog titled “Old Albums” which concludes:
“I'm sure that [Duke University President Richard] Brodhead, the Shakespeare scholar, knows well this quote.
‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d, becomes the throned monarch better than his crown;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.’
But, last Spring, Brodhead the "Throned Monarch," the Duke President, seemingly had little mercy or empathy or personal memory of any regret. The man of letters had little of note to say. His touted eloquence evaporated. His words were parsed and forced and noticeably flat. He could not seemingly relate in any way to these young men, indicted without evidence, condemned without conviction, smeared with a broad brush by their teachers, the local newspapers ,and an ambitious prosecutor lagging in a political race. He would not stand forcefully for their rights or even meet with their parents. His defenders say,...well, he wasn't the Drum Major in the Duke Lacrosse Persecution. Faint praise, but even so, he was marching in lock-step behind the cacophonous 88...and whatever horn he occasionally tooted...was too tinny and tentative to be heard above the din.
Pity Brodhead didn't take out HIS old albums, re-acquaint himself with Young Dick and his own frail humanity...before he turned his back on these boys and closed his door to their families. He might have been able to summon up some empathy and resolve. He might have been able to look their parents in the eye and deliver his "messages" himself. He might have been able to be the kind of man we could all look to now with admiration and confidence and respect. The kind of man we expect the President of Duke University to be. He might have even made a difference.”

SATURDAY DECEMBER 2: KC Johnson attempts to answer the question of why accuser Crystal Mangum happened to choose Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann as her attackers instead of others on the lacrosse team by analyzing census information about income in the hometowns of Duke lacrosse players.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 3: The Raleigh News & Observer (N&O) publishes an article by reporter Joe Neff detailing complaints that have been filed against DA Nifong for his actions in the lacrosse case. A request for a federal investigation has come from Michael Cornacchia of New York, one of Finnerty's attorneys. He has written to the U.S. attorney general, the FBI director, the congressional delegations of North Carolina and Long Island and others, saying Nifong has violated the civil rights of the three players. The case merits an immediate investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, writes Cornacchia, a former prosecutor who recently served as chief investigative counsel for the probe of the United Nation's oil-for-food program. Neff also reveals at least 17 complaints to the North Carolina State Bar about Nifong; these are usually confidential but the authors copied their complaints to the Governor’s office, putting the letters in the public domain. According to Neff, there have also been scores of letters sent to Gov. Mike Easley and Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper about the case, most criticizing Nifong.

MONDAY DECEMBER 4: Economics Prof. William Anderson of Frostburg State College states in a blogpost titled “Why I Write on the Duke Lacrosse Case:”
“What is important here is that white, middle and upper-class people have come to understand what many other people already knew: prosecutors and the police are more likely to lie than to tell the truth. After seeing a prosecutor lie to them — and watching the Duke University administration de facto side with the prosecution — they are beginning to understand the rottenness of American criminal justice. (That there are a gaggle of prosecutors, journalists, and others willing to support Michael Nifong's illegitimate case tells us that it is not only Durham, North Carolina, that supports legal corruption.) (…)
“So here I am. The Duke case is nearly nine months old, Nifong's "evidence" has been shredded by attorneys and the blogs, yet the case continues toward trial because government courts are not about truth or justice, but rather are a plaything for prosecutors. It is obvious that truth does not matter either to the prosecutors or the judges, but I also know that truth serves as sunlight. I think of what I am doing as shining a light on cockroaches, something that makes them scatter.”

THURSDAY DECEMBER 7: Durham Police Investigator Ben Himan interviews Angel Altmon, the security guard at the Kroger’s in Durham who called the police early in the morning of March 14 after Crystal Mangum and Kim (Roberts) Pittman sat in a car in the store’s parking lot. It is uncertain why it took Himan 8 months to locate and talk to Altmon because the security guard had already been interviewed by the media as early as March 29.

The Johnsville News comments on “Asymmetric Justice in Durham:” “Revenge against three northern white boys has become the rallying cry for a coalition of the avenging. Revenge, sweet revenge for who knows how many past grievances fueled a large portion of the electorate that supported the corrupt district attorney, Mike Nifong, in the November election. The coalition of the avenging cuts across racial lines; it includes Duke faculty members, Durham law enforcement, members of the African American community, Durham power brokers, and even some Duke students.
This coalition has confused revenge with justice. For them, the Duke case is not about a single alleged rape, it is about a host of past wrongs that have been hurled like rocks in a public stoning of these three innocent men. The coalition wants them punished as symbols and not duly protected as presumed innocent individuals under the justice system.
Advocates for the avenging coalition have taken to referring to David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann as the "Duke three," or just the lacrosse players, instead of using their proper names. They certainly find it more convenient to attack symbols than it is to attack three uniquely innocent men with names and families. Depersonalizing an act of revenge makes it easier, who dares to look their intended victims in the eye and acknowledged them by name? Societal retribution is best administered anonymously.”

MONDAY DECEMBER 11: The LieStoppers blog publishes critical comments it has received about its coverage of the lacrosse case in a post titled “The Real People of Durham and the Word on the Street.” A few samples: 1) "The real people of Durham hate obnoxious yankee punks who think they can come down here and piss on people's lawns and mistreat a local girl and try to get away with it." 2) "Joan Foster, there are a myriad of Nifong supporters posting because not everyone has idealised these accused rapists-sodomist-kidnappers as you have done and we see through the defense's manipulation and lies and see the truth: something happened at that party and it was not tiddlywinks.” 3) “You only care about the lacrosse players BECAUSE THEY ARE WHITE MALE ELITES and you could give a damn about the rest of the people being railroaded in Durham."

Prof. Bill Anderson poses the question “What if the Duke 3 Had Been Black?” in a blogpost. He concludes: “…various civil liberties groups in Durham like the NAACP and the ACLU have decided to abandon literally everything for which they have stood in the promotion of justice in order to try to railroad the Duke 3 into a conviction. Irving Joyner, a law professor at NCCU, suddenly has given up his usual support for changes of venue in racially-charged cases, claiming that because he believes a Durham jury would be more likely to convict, therefore, the trial must be held in Durham.
The real problem here is that racial politics, as well as the politics of entitlement, have clouded the judgment of many Durham residents. As I stated previously, I have no doubt that blacks in Durham in an ordinary rape case would have recognized the situation for what it was and would not be pressing for trial and conviction. Indeed, blacks have been railroaded in courts of "justice," and they rightly have had a historical reluctance to believe everything a prosecutor and the police might say. (…)
Yet, I doubt anyone in Durham really is listening or is willing to understand the ramifications of what Nifong and others there are doing. We are seeing the politics of entitlement at work, and in this case, there exist many people in Durham who believe that they are entitled to a conviction, even if it is wrongful. Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans are not real people to them, only political symbols that must be destroyed at all costs, and if this madness is permitted to continue, innocent blacks in the future also will suffer prison sentences or worse. Right now, however, the representatives of the NAACP and people like Joyner really don't care about that; they just want to see people go to prison, even if they committed no crime.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 12: It is revealed that a North Carolina congressman wants a federal investigation into how DA Nifong has handled the rape investigation of the Duke lacrosse players. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., in a December 7 letter is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to review the case, accusing Nifong of making prejudicial statements to the media and telling police to violate identification procedures. In the letter to Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, Jones also highlights the fact that Nifong has never spoken directly with the accuser. Attorneys for the accused are to be in court December 15 when Nifong is scheduled to hand over more evidence in the case. A trial could begin in Spring, 2007. When it does, it could be one of the longest in Durham County history because of the complexity of the case, in which there are three defendants and three sets of attorneys. Defense attorneys are saying that because of the media attention the case has received, they are considering asking for a change of venue, which has not happened in Durham for nearly 20 years. Nifong has said in recent months that a Durham County jury should decide the case

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 13: Defense attorneys file three blockbuster motions on consecutive days which attack the heart of Nifong’s case against the lacrosse players. The first, filed today, reveals a bombshell: detailed DNA testing by DNA Security, Inc. found genetic material from several males in Crystal Mangum’s body and in her panties -- but none at all from any team member, including none from the three charged with rape. The motion complains that the information was deliberately withheld in a report on the testing prosecutors provided earlier this year to the defense. "This is strong evidence of innocence in a case in which the accuser denied engaging in any sexual activity in the days before the alleged assault, told police she last had consensual sexual intercourse a week before the assault, and claimed that her attackers did not use condoms and ejaculated," the motion reads. Defense attorney Joseph Cheshire says in an interview that the report's findings suggest the accuser had sex shortly before the March team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper. "None of (the DNA material) happens to be from lacrosse players who are supposed to have had sex with her, which is pretty significant," according to Cheshire. Defense attorneys say the only DNA found related to their clients was a partial match to Evans on a fake fingernail that was found in a trash can at the house. That was the DNA result printed in the final report. The defense motion also contends that at least one sample sent to DNA Security Inc., a private lab in Burlington, might have been contaminated because it included DNA from Dr. Brian Meehan, the lab's director. The motion also claims there were other errors regarding numbering of tests, and asserts the testing and the report are legally and scientifically deficient.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 14: In the second of their consecutive blockbuster motions, defense attorneys in the Duke lacrosse case want Judge W. Osmond Smith III to throw out the photographic lineup in which accuser Crystal Mangum identified the defendants, and to bar her from making any in-court identifications. Attorneys for Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans ask that any in-court identifications by the accuser be prohibited on the grounds that they would be unreliable "as a result of tainted procedure … as a result of the numerous errors and misidentifications made by the accuser." Experts have said such a motion, if successful, could keep prosecutors from bringing the case to trial. "If the court throws out the out-of-court identification and rules that it is so suggestive that there can't be an in-court identification, then the case is effectively dismissed," says James E. Coleman Jr., a Duke law professor. The motion says that Mangum had failed to identify any of her attackers in an identification procedure before the April 4 lineup -- the one in which she did identify Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans as her attackers. The motion states that DA Nifong directed that a different identification procedure be used in which photos of all the white members of the team who were at the March 13 party were assembled in a PowerPoint presentation for her to view. Attorneys write that this happened despite the fact that two people at the party were not members of the lacrosse team. "In short, the accuser was asked to pick three people as her attackers from those present at the scene, and because only those thought to be at the scene were shown to her, she was, in effect, given a multiple-choice test in which there were no wrong answers," attorneys write. They also state that Mangum’s identification is "riddled with errors," with the accuser identifying two players who were later determined not to be at the party. "In the process of identifying her three attackers, the accuser actually identified four separate men as her attackers. The state apparently just chose three or four to indict without further investigation," the motion reads. It also states Mangum did not recognize people whom she had identified before and misidentified people as doing things at the party that the investigation showed they did not do.

In a commentary in “Durham-in-Wonderland” on the new motion to suppress Crystal Mangum’s identifications, KC Johnson notes: “Flawed procedures beget flawed results. In many ways, this case can be summarized with those five words. The latest bombshell defense motion demonstrates the point more clearly than any document thus far produced in the case. (…) This motion, in short, constitutes a devastating assault on Nifong’s case. It should serve not only to justify suppressing the lineup, but as a central exhibit in any ethics proceedings against Nifong conducted by the state bar.”

FRIDAY DECEMBER 15: A pivotal hearing is held before Judge Smith with all three defendants, their lawyers and families; their friends including several lacrosse players and coaches John Danowski and Mike Pressler; and DA Mike Nifong present. In the most important development, DNA Security Inc. (DNASI) lab director Dr. Brian Meehan admits under withering examination by defense attorneys Jim Cooney and Brad Bannon that he and Nifong agreed to report only parts of the results of the DNA testing—omitting the exculpatory information that DNA from multiple men not on the lacrosse team were found in Mangum and on her panties:
Did your report set forth the results of all of the
tests and examinations that you conducted in this case?
A. [Dr. Meehan}
No. It was limited to only some results.
Okay. And that was an intentional limitation arrived
at between you and representatives of the State of
North Carolina not to report on the results of all
examinations and tests that you did in this case?
THE COURT: Sheriff, I'll ask you to be looking
for people that are giving visible or audible reactions to
anything that takes place in the courtroom. If you detect who
it is, bring it to my attention. They'll be excluded from the
Under later questioning, Meehan admits that the report as written was less than the full truth. This intentional agreement between Meehan and Nifong to hide exculpatory evidence later is one of the major foundations for Nifong’s eventual disbarment.

Another major revelation at the hearing is that Crystal Mangum is pregnant. Judge Smith orders a paternity test for the accuser's child, even though both sides agree there's no chance one of the three indicted players could be the father. Nifong states Mangum is due the first week of February. The judge also enters an order allowing defense lawyers access to unspecified sealed records. The lawyers had previously requested access to military, social services and hospital records kept on the accuser.

Also at the hearing, defense lawyers file the third and last of their blockbuster motions, this one requesting a change of venue for the upcoming trial. The motion lays out in great detail the prejudicial statement made by Nifong, the local media, and Duke faculty against the defendants. At the conclusion of the session, defense lawyers and Nifong agree to schedule hearings during the week of Feb. 5, 2007. During those hearings, Nifong says he will put Mangum on the witness stand. The defense lawyers will have their own witnesses, and the judge will consider whether to throw out the accuser's identification of the three lacrosse players.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 16: “Saturday Night Live” features a skit on the Duke lacrosse case making fun of DA Nifong

SUNDAY DECEMBER 17: In an interview with Fox News, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales suggests that his office might investigate the way DA Nifong has handled the Duke lacrosse rape case. Gonzales confirms he received a letter asking for a federal probe into the investigation. "Well, that is a letter that we recently received," Gonzales tells Fox News' Brian Wilson. "It's being evaluated at the (Department of Justice). I can't say anything -- anything beyond that." Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-North Carolina, sent Gonzales the letter last week asking for a federal investigation into possible prosecutorial misconduct, and specifically, to determine whether the defendants' civil rights were violated. Gonzales says that even though the case is a state and local matter, the federal government could still become involved "if an investigation is conducted in such a way that civil rights laws are violated, that would be something that we might look into."

MONDAY DECEMBER 18: A University of North Carolina law professor says he believes there should be an investigation of DA Nifong's management of the Duke lacrosse case. "I think the best course of action, at this moment, is for Mike Nifong to remove himself from this case or for him to be removed," says Professor Joe Kennedy. The statement comes after Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, last week sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation into possible prosecutorial misconduct and to determine whether the defendants' civil rights were violated. Kennedy says that Jones' request seemed overblown to him until allegations later arose that Nifong and a lab director purposely withheld DNA results showing none of the charged players' DNA was found on or in the accuser's body but there was DNA from other men. "I think his actions with respect to nondisclosure of this DNA information needs to be investigated," Kennedy states. Nifong denies that he tried to hide anything and told WRAL that he is not concerned about the mounting criticism of him. He says he thinks he can fairly prosecute the case. According to Garry Frank, president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, however, other district attorneys have also expressed concerns about Nifong's conduct.

Duke President Brodhead says that DA Nifong’s case "will be on trial just as much" as the defendants. In a statement released by the university in response to the events of the December 15 hearing, Brodhead states the defendants should be presumed innocent as the case pushes toward a possible spring trial date. "As I told Ed Bradley during a '60 Minutes' interview last summer, given the concerns that have been raised, when it goes before a judge and jury the DA's case will be on trial just as much as our students will be," Brodhead states. "In the meanwhile, as I have said before, our students must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise." He insists that “Under American law, the legal system is the place to establish the facts and bring a case to a just resolution.”

The group Friends of Duke University through its spokeperson Jason Trompbour endorses the call of Rep. Walter Jones for a federal investigation into civil rights violations by DA Nifong. State Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Republican from Lenoir County, also weighs in, endorsing Jones' call for a federal investigation and suggesting a change in state law to allow prosecution of prosecutors who engage in professional misconduct. Only the N.C. State Bar currently has the authority to punish incidents of legal misconduct. "That's like having the fox guard the henhouse," LaRoque says.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 19: DNA Security Inc. (DNASI) issues a statement defending its DNA testing procedures in the Duke lacrosse case. With regard to the exclusion of exculpatory evidence of DNA from other men found in Mangum from its report, DNASI states in part: “Our report also specifically stated that DNA profiles obtained from additional reference specimens and evidence items were being retained pending instructions. Our report AND the additional results of tests where there was no DNA match were provided to our client, and then to defense counsel in the normal criminal pre-trial “discovery” process.” LieStoppers deconstructs the DNASI statement in an extensive blogpost.

The office of Rep. Walter Jones releases the text of a second letter sent by the North Carolina congressman to Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales calling for a federal investigation of Nifong. It reads in part: “Mr. Attorney General, I was encouraged to see that on Fox News yesterday you confirmed that you ‘received’ my December 7th letter and that the Justice Department is evaluating the facts it presents. The new revelations of potential prosecutorial misconduct exposed in last week’s court proceedings also require the Justice Department’s attention. At the request of a growing number of my constituents, I again urge you and your staff to fully investigate these matters to ensure that Mr. Nifong’s conduct has not illegally denied these students their constitutional rights to due process.”

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 20: DA Nifong receives a letter from the North Carolina State Bar informing him that it will be filing an ethics complaint against him. The text of the complaint is not revealed publicly until December 28. After receipt of the letter, Nifong decides to send his investigator Linwood Wilson to meet with Crystal Mangum.

In an N&O article “DA’s Footing in Lacrosse Case Unclear,” Ben Niolet explores means by which DA Nifong could be removed from the case. UNC law Prof. Joseph Kennedy says Nifong could take himself off the case, the defense could ask the judge to remove him, or the judge himself could take Nifong off the case. Typical conflicts of interest in criminal cases surface when a lawyer previously represented or prosecuted a witness, Kennedy says. Prosecutors are also replaced in cases where the state is prosecuting a law enforcement official. State law also allows a prosecutor to be removed under particular circumstances, including willful misconduct in office or conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute. The process begins when someone files a sworn statement in the prosecutor's county charging him or her with a violation. The senior resident Superior Court judge in that county, or a judge he or she selects, must review the complaint and decide whether it will go forward. (This particular process to remove Nifong was started later with a sworn statement by activist Beth Brewer.)

THURSDAY DECEMBER 21: Nifong’s chief investigator, Linwood Wilson, meets alone with accuser Crystal Mangum, who again changes several key details of her account. No police investigator was present, and Inv. Ben Himan later testifies that the Durham Police were not informed in advance of the interview with Mangum. At this meeting, Wilson states the accuser came up with a wholly new version of the “crime”—she now was asserting that the attack might have occurred with an object rather than penetration by a penis (required by North Carolina statute for a rape charge). This new version of events also has Mangum giving—for the first time in nine months—a precise time for the “attack,” 11.40pm. The new version also features Mangum recalling, again, for the first time, a “white” towel had been used to clean her up after the crime. This towel is said to have cleaned up the scene of the crime—but left the DNA of an unindicted resident of the house on the bathroom floor. And it cleans up the accuser—but retains none of her DNA. “How such a towel could be reconciled with the tenets of forensic science Nifong explained neither then nor since,” according to KC Johnson. At the meeting, Wilson also improperly shows Mangum pictures of the defendants, whom she recognized by their true names. Defense lawyers later use this incident as one of several arguments against an in-court identification by Mangum of her “attackers.”

FRIDAY DECEMBER 22: DA Nifong unexpectedly drops rape charges against Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann but plans to continue prosecuting them on the other charges of kidnapping and sexual offense. Defense attorneys call for all charges to be dismissed against the three. Nifong now says he didn't have enough evidence to proceed with a first-degree forcible rape case. ,The dismissal follows a meeting yesterday between Nifong's investigator Linwood Wilson and accuser Crystal Mangum. She told Wilson that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped, according to the dismissal motions. Specifically, Mangum could not say for sure she was penetrated by a penis. "Since there is no scientific or other evidence independent of the victim's testimony that would corroborate specifically (a rape charge), the state is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense," the motion states. Defense attorneys for the trio were quick to react. "Mr. Nifong, do the honorable thing -- end this case because there isn't a case to bring," attorney Wade Smith urges. "It is the ethical duty of a district attorney not to win a case, not to prosecute all cases, but to see that justice is done," attorney Joe Cheshire states. "After all these months and all that these young men have been through ... why are they investigating the case now?" he asks. Cheshire says, "Going forward with a case when he knows he has multiple, different, contradictory statements from that person, is that seeing that justice is done, or is that simply trying to fit facts into a prosecution to prosecute it at all costs?" Nifong declines to comment on the dismissal, and his office is closed this afternoon for a Christmas party.

There is swift public reaction to the dismissal of the rape charge. Duke President Brodhead expresses relief at the dismissal and calls on Nifong to turn the case over to an independent investigator. “Given the certainty with which the district attorney made his many public statements regarding the rape allegation, his decision today to drop that charge must call into question the validity of the remaining charges," Brodhead says in a statement. "The district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. Further, Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter." Duke athletics director Joe Alleva calls the dismissal "another step in establishing the entire truth in this matter." Finnerty's parents also say they are relieved that the rape charges were dropped. "Dropping this charge is long overdue. Dropping the other charges is long overdue, but we'll take it one step at a time," Kevin Finnerty says. "The state needs to apologize to these three boys, to their families. They need to immediately take dismissals and apologize to the entire community," states Bill Thomas, the attorney for an unindicted lacrosse player.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 23: The New York Times publishes an article by David Barstow and Duff Wilson titled “DNA Witness Jolted Dynamic of Duke Case” which includes comments made by DA Nifong in a three-hour interview with the Times December 21:
“Mr. Nifong acknowledged in the interview this week that he was keenly aware of the test results Mr. Meehan had omitted from his report when he signed that court filing on May 18. He denied, though, any effort to hide the results or delay their release. He has long been known locally for giving defense lawyers open access to his evidence, even before a state law required that. And, he said, even if the test results should have been turned over months earlier, the defense still had the evidence well in advance of any trial date — which had not yet been set. “So it’s not like this is something we discover on the fourth day of a five-day trial and say, ‘Oh, by the way,’ ” he said. “I mean, that’s not what’s going on.” But given the volume of evidence in this case, he said he simply did not realize that he had failed to turn over the DNA results in question. “It was not something that I specifically noticed,” he said, “because if I specifically noticed it I would have dealt with it.” (…)
Still, Mr. Nifong’s recollection appears to conflict with Mr. Meehan’s on one crucial point. Mr. Meehan recalled that they agreed not to publish the results of unidentified male DNA in the report; but Mr. Nifong said that did not happen. “I didn’t say, ‘Include this, don’t include this,’ ” Mr. Nifong said. He added: “I said, you know, ‘Publish the positive results,’ in other words, publish what you found. If you make a connection with something, if the evidence seems to be probative, that’s what should be in the report.” More broadly, Mr. Nifong said, trying to explain his failure to disclose the DNA tests sooner, he had other work to attend to. “You know, it’s not the only case I have right now,” he said. “I have two. The other one’s a quadruple homicide. If you ask me, to everybody but a reporter for an out-of-town newspaper, the quadruple homicide is probably the more significant case.” “But because we have some of these other sexy issues here,” he added, “you all are flipping out over this particular case, which is not the most significant case in our office. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t get attention. What I’m saying is in the overall pecking order of things, it’s not the most important thing that we’re doing.”

The state NAACP’s insistence that the Duke lacrosse case be pursued in the court of law rather than the court of public opinion is unaffected by a decision to drop rape charges against the players, the group’s president claims. “We’ve always been the one, and from Day 1 it’s in writing, that we never wanted to rush to judgment, or a delay of justice ... but a thorough and meticulous investigation,” the Rev. William J. Barber II says. “In some sense, we’re seeing the process work when things get sifted through.”

SUNDAY DECEMBER 24: In an N&O article titled “Pressure on Nifong in Duke Case” Joe Neff and Ben Niolet write: “To press forward in the Duke University lacrosse case, District Attorney Mike Nifong must rely on scanty evidence while deflecting serious questions about whether he broke the law or violated the ethics rules governing prosecutors. Nifong has acknowledged that the case now hangs on what the accuser says from the witness stand in a hearing scheduled for February. Meanwhile, pressure on Nifong continues to build. The State Bar has received multiple complaints demanding that he be disbarred. A congressman has called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate him. And when the case returns to court, Nifong might have to explain repeated misrepresentations to judges about what evidence he had and why he did not disclose it all, as state law requires.” The article documents untrue statements Nifong made in court on May 18, June 22, September 22, and October 27, 2006.

In an accompanying article, Neff and Niolet summarize Nifong’s current situation:
“His case relies on the words of the accuser, an escort service dancer who has told her story on at least 10 occasions to nurses, doctors and investigators. Her accounts have changed with every telling. At a hearing scheduled in February, the defense will seek to have her identification of the three defendants thrown out of court. The accuser will testify, and the fate of the case rests on what she says, Nifong told The New York Times last week. (…)
As Nifong's case has deteriorated, the defense case has grown stronger. DNA tests conducted by Meehan's lab found DNA from unknown men in samples taken from the accuser's body and underwear. Time-stamped photos show the accuser on the back porch of the house during the time when she said she was being raped inside. Seligmann has produced surveillance photos showing him withdrawing cash from a bank machine one mile away at the time the woman said she was raped. His cell-phone records and digital records of him entering his dorm back up his alibi.”

A News & Observer editor admits that the newspaper omitted two pieces of information from its interview of Crystal Mangum recounted in its infamous March 25, 2006 article “Dancer Gives Details of Ordeal,” which fanned the lacrosse controversy. Writing in the N&0’s “The Editors’ Blog,” Linda Williams states:
“As I explained previously, two things the accuser said did not make it in to print… As previously stated, the accuser offered a description of the second dancer hired for the party. The presence of a second woman at the party was already known, but she was not identified at that time. The description was withheld because it was irrelevant in the absence of any other available information about the second woman. The accusers' speculation about the actions of the second woman was also not printed. If we had printed that utterance- an admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth-- it would have been a conscious act of libel.”

TUESDAY DECEMBER 26: State Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Republican, says that the North Carolina attorney general needs to be given authority to investigate actions by the state’s 39 district attorneys. LaRoque, appearing on Fox TV’s legal affairs show with Greta Van Susteren, says the attorney general's office, not the state bar, should be the one to investigate misconduct charges against a district attorney. Currently, district attorneys can ask the state for help from the attorney general, but the attorney general cannot enter a case on his own.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 27: In a blogpost “Dead on Arrival” KC Johnson discusses Nifong’s case after the rape charges against Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann are dropped. He notes: “…now that the Nifong-Meehan conspiracy to withhold the exculpatory DNA evidence has unraveled, the rape charge no longer is tenable. So drop the rape charge and claim instead that the assault occurred with a foreign object—even though the accuser had never previously made such an allegation.” Johnson references noted SANE expert Kathleen Eckelt R.N.: “Where, Eckelt wonders, are the ‘significant number of injuries’ that would be expected from the latest version of events offered by Nifong? Eckelt’s conclusion is blunt: ‘Personally, like everything else that has come out about this case, I seriously question this type of hypothesis. Sexual assault by objects tends to leave far more injuries than rape alone.’ “

THURSDAY DECEMBER 28: The North Carolina State Bar files an ethics complaint against DA Nifong for his actions in the lacrosse case. The 17-page complaint accuses him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to reporters about the high-profile case. The complaint lists more than 100 examples of public statements Nifong made to the media since March. (The complaint as released does not address more recently revealed events such as the agreement by Nifong and Dr. Brian Meehan to withhold exculpatory evidence.) Among the rules the bar complaint says Nifong violated is a prohibition on making "comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused." Another of the rules Nifong was charged with breaking forbids "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The bar said that when DNA testing failed to find any evidence that any lacrosse player raped the accuser, Nifong told a reporter the players might have used a condom. According to the bar, Nifong knew that assertion was misleading, because he had received a report from an emergency room nurse in which the accuser said her attackers did not use a condom. In a statement, the bar reveals it opened a case against Nifong on March 30, a little more than two weeks after the party, and it found on Oct. 19 after an investigation that there was reasonable cause to refer the case to the bar's Disciplinary Commission for trial. A series of public hearings will be held before the Disciplinary Commission that eventually will lead to the public trial sometime next year. If it's determined that Nifong violated any ethical code of conduct, the penalties could range from a reprimand to disbarment.

The Wilmington Star becomes the first North Carolina newspaper to demand that DA Nifong resign: “Hiding behind paper hung over the windows of his office, Nifong issues written statements and refuses to talk with North Carolina reporters. Yet Thursday he gave a three-hour interview to The New York Times. Nifong doesn’t owe an explanation to the readers of a national newspaper. He owes an explanation to the people who elected him. He owes it to the people of this state. But he owes them more: his resignation.”

FRIDAY DECEMBER 29: The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys (NCCDA) issues an unprecedented statement that calls for DA Nifong to recuse himself from the Duke lacrosse case. The NCCDA, which has no regulatory authority, is made up of the state's elected district attorneys. The group's statement says: "It is in the interest of justice and the effective administration of criminal justice that Mr. Nifong immediately withdraw and recuse himself from the prosecution of these cases and request the cases be assigned to another prosecutorial authority." The organization also states it had offered unsolicited help to Nifong in a September letter, including extra assistant district attorneys, but the offer has not been accepted. Garry Frank, president of the NCCDA, told WRAL by telephone that the executive board chose its words carefully after reviewing Nifong's handling of the case. “It is the unanimous statement of the officers of the Conference of District Attorneys," Frank says.

Attorneys for defendants Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann file notice in a new motion of their intent to use Dr. Brian Meehan as their own expert witness. At a hearing Dec. 15, Meehan, head of DNA Security Inc., testified that he and Nifong agreed to leave exculpatory information out of a report summarizing DNA test results. The lab testing found genetic material from unknown men on accuser Crystal Mangum’s body and underwear. At trial, the defense wants Meehan to say that again. "It is anticipated that Dr. Meehan will testify that representatives of the State of North Carolina, including the Durham County District Attorney, were aware of the exculpatory results of DNA Security's work in this case and that an intentional decision was made not to report those exculpatory results to the defendants," the 93-page filing reads in part.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 30: Time magazine publishes an article “Is the Duke DA Guilty As Charged?” which foreshadows additional State Bar ethics charges against DA Nifong:
“Now that the North Carolina State Bar has filed a 17-page, 41-count ethics complaint against District Attorney Michael Nifong's handling of the Duke rape case, there's a different kind of New Year's countdown taking place in Durham: when and under what circumstances will Nifong leave office.
The Dec. 28 ethics charges are expected to be expanded when the state bar's grievance committee meets again Jan. 18. Like a grand jury, the committee meets periodically; the current ethics charges stem from its most recent meeting in October and cover public statements Nifong made about the case last March and April. At its next meeting, the committee will deal with revelations from a Dec. 15 court hearing in which the state's DNA expert admitted he and Nifong agreed to keep secret from the defense early DNA results showing no Duke lacrosse player could be implicated in an attack upon one of two exotic dancers hired for the March 14 house party."

The Newark, NJ Star-Ledger and the San Diego Union- Tribune newspapers each publish editorials criticizing DA Nifong’s handling of the Duke lacrosse case. The Star-Ledger calls Nifong’s behavior “the product of incompetence, overzealousness or outright misconduct” and asks for him to be removed from the case. The Union-Tribune characterizes Nifong’s conduct: “This isn’t just bad judgment. It’s a shocking abuse of power. Given his plain motive – Nifong won re-election by depicting himself as the crusader who wouldn’t let privileged white kids get away with brutalizing a young black woman – it is also despicable in its raw demagoguery. All this is why we look forward to the Durham DA having his own day in court.”

SUNDAY DECEMBER 31: An editorial in the Washington Post calls for all charges to be dropped in the Duke lacrosse case: “Just before Christmas, Mr. Nifong dropped rape charges after the accuser said she ‘could no longer testify with certainty that it occurred.’ But the three men remain charged with kidnapping and first-degree sexual offense, which carry equally severe penalties. Mr. Nifong should drop those charges as well.”

KC Johnson in his “Durham-in-Wonderland” blog examines in detail the commentary about the Duke lacrosse case from controversial television legal analyst Wendy Murphy. Johnson accuses her of making untrue statements, engaging in wholly unfounded speculation, and denigrating due process.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz releases a statement on the Duke case:
“I believe in the assumption of innocence before trial. I believe in the right of every defendant to a fair and impartial trial. I believe in the duty of every prosecutor to seek justice, and not merely victory in the courtroom. I believe these principles have been violated in the actions of Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong. Elected prosecutors must be held accountable for their misconduct and the prosecutor in the Duke case appears to have withheld exculpatory evidence, failed to interview the complaining witness in a timely fashion and refused to consider obvious evidence of innocence. His entire course of conduct in this case should be scrupulously investigated.”


December 1: Duke Prof. Thomas Crowley apologizes for and retracts article

December 1: KC Johnson on Robert Steel’s appointment as U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury

December 1: Joan Foster’s LieStoppers esssay on Brodhead

December 3: Joe Neff in N&O about complaints against Nifong

December 4: Prof. Bill Anderson on “Why I Write on the Duke Lacrosse Case”

December 7: The Johnsville News on “Asymmetric Justice in Durham”

December 11: LieStoppers on “The Real Durham and the Word from the Street”

December 11: Prof. Bill Anderson on “What it the Duke 3 Had Been Black?”

December 12: Rep. Walter Jones asks for federal probe of Nifong

December 13: Text of “Motion to Compel Discovery: Expert D.N.A. Analysis”

December 13: Defense motion on DNA testing reveals unidentified male DNA found

December 14: Text of “Motion to Suppress Alleged ‘Identification’ of Defendants by Accuser”

December 14: Defense motion on suppressing identifications

December 15: Pivotal hearing reveals Nifong, Meehan withheld exculpatory evidence

December 15: Text of “Motion to Change Venue”

December 15: Change of venue motion

December 15: Transcript of pivotal hearing

December 17: Atty. Gen. Gonzales to consider DOJ involvement

December 18: More calls for investigation of Nifong

December 19: DNASI issues statement on its DNA testing and report

December 19: U.S. Rep. Walter Jones sends second letter to Atty. Gen. Gonzales

December 20: LieStoppers on Herald-Sun’s support of Nifong

December 21: Linwood Wilson interviews Crystal Mangum; new version of “crime”

December 21: N&O’s Niolet on removing Nifong from lacrosse case

December 22: Nifong drops rape charges; defense attorneys call for dismissal of case;amp;amp;ei=5094&en=34e93e00af42c92e&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;hp=&ex=1166850000&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

December 23: New York Times article from interview with Nifong;amp;amp;amp;amp;en=6856a2f799205bc7&hp=&ex=1166936400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

December 23: NAACP’s William Barber on taking the case to trial

December 24: Neff & Niolet in N&O about pressure on Nifong

December 24: Neff & Niolet on weakness of Nifong’s case

December 24: N&O editor admits omissions from article recounting Mangum interview

December 26: Lawmaker: State Attorney General should be able to investigate DAs

December 27: KC Johnson on Nifong’s new theory of the crime

December 28: NC State Bar files ethics complaint against Nifong

December 28: Wilmington Star calls for Nifong’s resignation

December 29: North Carolina District Attorneys call for Nifong to recuse himself