September News Reports 2012

JIP Clips:

 

Sept. 23


New York Times, Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts, Sept. 23, 2012. Eric Schmitt, Helene Cooper and Michael S. Schmidt.  The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation. Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city. “It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.” The C.I.A.’s surveillance targets in Benghazi and eastern Libya include Ansar al-Sharia, a militia that some have blamed for the attack, as well as suspected members of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Sept. 22

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Edwin Wilson Dead: Former CIA Operative Dies At 84, Sept. 22, 2012. Edwin P. Wilson, a former CIA operative who was branded a traitor and convicted of shipping arms to Libya but whose conviction was overturned after he spent two decades in prison, has died. He was 84. Wilson who set up front companies abroad for the CIA and posed as a rich American businessman was convicted in 1983 for shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya. At trial, he said he did it to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA's request. A federal judge threw out that conviction in 2003, saying the government failed to correct information about Wilson's service to the CIA that it admitted internally was false. Wilson had been sentenced to 52 years in prison for selling arms and explosives to Libya in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and for other crimes. He more than 20 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, until he was released in 2004. He then moved to Edmonds, Wash., north of Seattle, to live with his brother. Wilson filed a civil lawsuit against seven former federal prosecutors and a former executive director of the CIA, but a judge in Houston dismissed the case in 2007. Investigative  reporter Joseph Trento, an expert on the CIA, in 2005 published, Prelude To Terror: Edward P. Wilson and the Legacy of America’s Private Intelligence Network. The book argued that rivals framed Wilson.

Sept. 19

Boston Phoenix, Political wisdom in a hypocritical age, Harvey Silverglate, Sept. 19, 2012. I've been fighting for social justice all my professional life. I've litigated against the military-surveillance-censorship axis of repression; battled puritans, police, and drug warriors; and generally campaigned on behalf of citizens' rights. Once, I believed in the inevitable progress of freHarvey Silverglateedom and decency, but things haven't worked out that way. We've won a few battles: gays entered the mainstream, racial minorities took a place at the table, police brutality is less pervasive, or at least more exposed (due, perhaps, more to ubiquitous cellphone cameras than legal reform). But on balance, my generation has made a mess. When current events can be best understood by watching Comedy Central, we're in trouble. This campaign season, I find myself reluctant to vote for either major party. I reject the Republicans' aggressive effort to intimidate the world and wreck civil liberties in a "war on terror," along with their destruction of the middle class by catering to the moguls. I similarly reject the Democrats' effort to intimidate the world and wreck civil liberties in the name of a "war on terror," and their willingness to betray the middle class by favoring a different set of interest groups.

Huffington Post, Fast And Furious Report: Justice Department At Fault In Gun-Trafficking Operation, David Ingram, Sept. 19, 2012. The U.S. Justice Department's internal watchdog on Wednesday referred 14 employees, including senior official Lanny Breuer, for possible internal discipline in connection with a botched gun probe in Arizona. A 471-page report was released following a 19-month review by the department's inspector general into "Operation Fast and Furious," which allowed about 2,000 potentially illegal firearms to cross the border into Mexico. The operation raised the fury of U.S. gun-rights advocates and is a focal point for Republican criticism of President Barack Obama leading up to the November 6 elections. Breuer, an Obama appointee and the head of the Justice Department's criminal division, is cited in the report for not alerting his superiors in 2010 to flaws in a program similar to Operation Fast and Furious that was started during George W. Bush's presidency. One of Breuer's aides, Jason Weinstein, whom the report also refers for possible disciplinary action, has resigned from the department, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday. Weinstein failed to question firearms officials about the questionable tactics they used, the report said.

Sept. 18

Huffington Post, Indefinite Detention Ban Stayed By Appeals Judge In NDAA Case, Michael McAuliffe, Sept. 18, 2012. A federal appeals judge gave the Obama administration the OK to keep enforcing its indefinite detention policy Tuesday, issuing a temporary stay of a ruling that had found the practice unconstitutional. The stay, issued by Judge Raymond Lohier of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, lasts until Sept. 28, when a three-judge appellate panel will hear the case. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who sits in the Southern District of New York, had ruled against the administration last week, issuing a permanent injunction against section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 on the grounds that it violates the First and Fifth Amendments. Forrest also denied a stay request, rebuffing the argument of federal lawyers that stopping enforcement of the law does "irreparable harm" to the government.

Sept. 17

Legal Schnauzer, Joe Scarborough Country: Autopsy on Lori Klausutis Leaves Out Critical Details About a Mysterious Death, Roger Shuler, Sept. 14, 2012. The autopsy of Lori Klausutis makes no reference to a time of death. That raises new questions about an investigation that started when the 28-year-old woman's body was found in the office of then U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough in summer 2001. Accidental death was the official finding in the Klausutis case, with a cardiac arrhythmia causing her to fall and hit her head on a desk. But the recent discovery of human remains at a storage unit in Pensacola, Florida, casts doubt on that ruling. That's because the storage unit was rented by Dr. Michael Berkland, the man who conducted the Klausutis autopsy 11 years earlier.

Salon, Rumor-mongering surrounds Chris Stevens’ death; Right-wing blogs continue to speculate about the ambassador's demise, Jillian Rayfield, Sept. 17, 2012. Since Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, there’s been no end of speculation about the exact circumstances of his death. Here’s what we know: American officials are still investigating what happened between the time Stevens was separated from his security detail, and when he was pronounced dead at the hospital. From the New York Times: "Officials in Washington said they were investigating that blacked-out period, but as they conduct that inquiry, witnesses have emerged who said that Mr. Stevens had fled to a room in the diplomatic compound, hoping to find safety behind a locked iron gate and wooden door. But fires raged around the mission, and Mr. Stevens, unable to escape the smoke and heat, died of asphyxiation.”

Newsmax, Obama Camp Uses Movie as Scapegoat, James Hirsen, Sept. 17, 2012. Over the last three-plus years, the Obama administration has taken the blame game to a new low. The most recent scapegoat that has been fashioned by the administration and affirmed by its mainstream media cohorts is some crudely produced film footage, upon which blame has been heaped for the assault on our embassies and the murders of the U.S. ambassador to Libya along with three of our fellow Americans. Obama’s defense forces in the mainstream media have promulgated the narrative that on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, 400 people stormed a U.S. embassy as an expression of outrage over a movie trailer. Absent from the narrative script was the mention of the insidious paramilitary nature of the operation and the mortars and rocket-propelled grenades that were utilized. Also omitted was the fact that the militants knew where to go to carry out their heinous acts. They knew that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was not at the embassy in Tripoli but instead had gone to the consulate in Benghazi. The attackers knew,too, that the ambassador had been transported to a “safe house.” And they additionally knew the whereabouts of the facility so that redirection of the assault could be accomplished. The initial and official reaction of the United States to the attack on the embassy in Egypt was to focus on the film footage. The statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo included a condemnation of the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.”

Reuters/Huffington Post, Antonin Scalia: Judge Richard Posner Lied In Judicial Philosophy Criticism, Sept. 17, 2012. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday escalated a war of words with a prominent appeals court judge, saying the judge lied in a recent criticism of Scalia's judicial philosophy. Scalia, 76, the longest-serving justice and a leading conservative on the court, said Judge Richard Posner, of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lied in a review in August of a book co-authored by Scalia. In the review, Posner accused Scalia of deviating from his own strict, text-based approach to interpreting law when he struck down a District of Columbia handgun ban in 2008 by considering the legislative history behind the law. "To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie," Scalia said in an interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler. Scalia and legal scholar Bryan Garner were discussing their new book, "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts," published by West, a unit of Thomson Reuters. The 567-page book sets out the legal philosophy, called "textual originalism," which says judges should adhere strictly to the text of laws and give them the meaning understood by the people who adopted them. Laws do not change in me a ning over time, they contend. The book has sparked a heated debate in legal circles after Posner accused the authors of making flawed arguments based on sloppy research. Posner said numerous cases that the authors held up as models of text-based decisions were influenced by other factors, including judges' personal views.

Sept. 16

Info-Wars/Tarpley Net, Romney Campaign, CIA Mormon Mafia, John Bolton’s Islamophobia Network Stir Middle East Chaos to Get October Surprise Against Obama, Interview of Webster Tarpley by Alex Jones, Sept. 16, 2012. (audio only). CIA’s Gitmo-Trained Asset Qumu Prime Suspect in Death of Ambassador Stevens.

The Guardian (United Kingdom) / OpEd News, Inside The Strange Hollywood Scam That Spread Chaos Across The Middle East, Max Blumenthal, Sept. 16, 2012. A group of rightwing extremists aimed to destabilize post-Mubarak Egypt and roil US politicians. They got their wish....A patrician moderate constantly on the defensive against his own right flank, Romney fell for the bait, baselessly accusing Obama of "sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks" and of issuing "an apology for America's values." The clumsy broadside backfired in dramatic fashion, opening Romney to strident criticism from across the spectrum, including from embarrassed Republican members of Congress. Obama wasted no time in authorizing a round of drone strikes on targets across Libya, which are likely to deepen regional hostility to the US.

A group of fringe extremists had proven that with a little bit of money and an unbelievably cynical scam, they could shape history to fit their apocalyptic vision. But in the end, they were not immune to the violence they incited. According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, radical Coptic separatist Morris Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington's M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head. "If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt," one of them shouted at him, "you'll be the reason!"

Politico, Maureen Dowd meets anti-Semitism charge, Dylan Byers, Sept. 16, 2012. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd set the Jewish political community on fire today with a column about the Republican ticket's foreign policy proposals that, according to her critics, peddled anti-Semitic imagery. Dowd fairly observed that neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan are experts in the field of foreign policy, but asserted their strategy was orchestrated by a "neocon puppet master" who was leading the neocon effort to "slither back" into power. She wrote: "As the spokesman for Paul Bremer during the Iraq occupation, [Dan] Senor helped perpetrate one of the biggest foreign policy bungles in American history. The clueless desert viceroys summarily disbanded the Iraqi Army, forced de-Baathification, stood frozen in denial as thugs looted ministries and museums, deluded themselves about the growing insurgency, and misled reporters with their Panglossian scenarios of progress. 'Off the record, Paris is burning,' Senor told a group of reporters a year into the war. 'On the record, security and stability are returning to Iraq.'” Responding to complaints, Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal wrote: "No fair-minded reading of Maureen Dowd's column supports the allegations you and others are making. She makes no reference, direct or implied, to anyone's religion."

Washington Post, Thomas concedes that ‘we the people’ didn’t include blacks, Robert Barnes, September 16, 2012. It is true, Justice Clarence Thomas acknowledged the other night, that the “we the people” extolled in the Constitution 225 years ago did not include people who looked like him. But the Declaration of Independence did, he contended, and that was something that a black kid growing up in Savannah, Ga., was told early on.

Sept. 15

Huffington Post, John Roberts Health Care Switch Detailed By Jeffrey Toobin In New Book, Mollie Reilly, September 15, 2012. Three months after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling on President Obama's health care law, new details have emerged on Chief Justice John Roberts' controversial vote in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act. According to excerpts of a new book by New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin published in Politico's Playbook on Saturday, Roberts had originally intended to side with his fellow conservatives on the court and overturn the law. However, Roberts' position turned "wobbly" as he considered the implications the ruling would have on his legacy. Toobin writes that Roberts became increasingly uncomfortable with overturning the entire law, and instead sought out a "middle ground." He found that middle ground in arguing in his majority opinion that the individual mandate "need not be read to do more than impose a tax," thus falling within Congress' power to collect taxes. The switch, according to Toobin, "enraged" Justice Antonin Scalia. In recent interviews, Scalia has insisted that there's no bad blood on the court. And, as Toobin points out, Roberts' ruling could come as a boon to conservatives.
Three months after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling on President Obama's health care law, new details have emerged on Chief Justice John Roberts' controversial vote in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act.

Sept. 14

Washington Post, Libya’s volatility keeping FBI agents from probing attack, Sari Horwitz, Sept. 14, 2012. A team of FBI agents assigned to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Libya has not been able to get into the country because of the volatile situation there, according to law enforcement officials.

Legal Schnauzer, CEO Ted Rollins' Ex Wife Is Living in Fear Over Reports About Child Sexual Abuse, Roger Shuler, Sept. 14, 2012. The ex-wife of Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins says she is afraid for her safety because of reports about an investigation into possible child sexual abuse during their marriage. She also expresses doubts that her son ever would achieve justice if he were to come forward and reveal what Ted Rollins did to him. (See videos at the end of this post.)

Huffington Post, Why Is the U.S. Government Bullying an American Hero? Valerie Plame Wilson, Sept. 14, 2012. Every day thousands of Americans working for the U.S. government spend all their waking hours keeping their fellow citizens safe. The vast majority of them work quietly -- and anonymously -- as they track our enemies, aid our allies, and seek out any and all threats to our country. And most of the men and women don't give a damn about the absurd posturing and contrived drama generated by America's political process. As I learned first-hand in 2003, there are times when the politicians bring the posturing and drama to you. I served my country, loyally and well, as a covert CIA operations officer focused on stopping nuclear weapon proliferation until the Bush administration decided to betray my secret identity as payback for my husband questioning the White House's justification for the Iraq War. The lesson was simple: If you offer the public a true story that is at odds with what the government wants you to know, they will stop at nothing to destroy you, your reputation, and the reputations of the people around you.
Huffington Post, Overcrowding In Federal Prisons Harms Inmates, Guards: GAO Report, Michael McLaughlin, Sept. 14, 2012. The federal prison system has been unable to keep pace with the stream of inmates flooding its facilities over the last five years despite adding space for thousands of new convicts, according to a government report. The ballooning incarcerated population puts inmates and guards in danger and holds back efforts to rehabilitate convicts, experts told HuffPost. The already-taxed Bureau of Prisons network swelled to 39 percent above capacity through last September, and is expected to surge to more than 45 percent above its limit in 2018, says the Government Accountability Office report, entitled "Growing Inmate Crowding Negatively Affects Inmates, Staff, and Infrastructure." The report was released on Wednesday. Last year's overcrowding level was the highest since 2004, when federal prisons were 41 percent above maximum levels -- called the "rated capacity." Wardens may see a spike in violence as more inmates are squeezed into tight living quarters, researchers warned. The overcrowding contributes "to increased inmate misconduct, which negatively affects the safety and security of inmates and staff," according to the report.

Sept. 13

FireDogLake, Permanent Injunction Against Indefinite Military Detention in NDAA Issued by Federal Judge, Kevin Gosztola, Sept. 13, 2012. A federal judge issued a ruling on September 12 that permanently enjoined a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was signed by President Barack Obama codifying indefinite military detention into United State law last year. She found that the writers, journalists and activists who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit had demonstrated actual and reasonably that their First Amendment-protected activities could subject them to indefinite military detention and ruled the public had a greater interest in preserving the First Amendment and due process rights than allowing law enforcement to have this tool.  Judge Katherine B. Forrest, a judge appointed by Obama, had already issued a temporary injunction against Section 1021 of the NDAA. That section authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), including “the authority of the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons.” The section said a “covered person” was “a person who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” Persons detained could be held without trial “under the law of war” until the “end of hostilities authorized by the AUMF.”

New York Times, Turmoil Over Contentious Video Spreads to Yemen and Iran,  Nasser Arrabyee and Alan Cowell,  Protesters sought to storm the United States embassy during a protest against an anti-Islamic film in Sana on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Turmoil in the Arab world linked to an American-made video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad spread on Thursday to Yemen, where hundreds of protesters attacked the American Embassy, two days after assailants killed four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador, and crowds tried to overrun the embassy compound in Cairo.

Wired, Anonymous’ Barrett Brown Raided by FBI During Online Chat, Kim Zetter, Sept. 13, 2012. For the second time this year, self-proclaimed Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown was raided by the FBI. The latest dramatic incident occurred late Wednesday evening while Brown and another woman identified by some as his girlfriend were participating in an online chat on TinyChat with other individuals. Two minutes into the recorded chat session, loud voices could be heard in the background of Brown’s residence in Texas while the woman in the room with him was in front of the computer screen. She quickly closed the computer screen, but the audio continued to capture events in the room as the FBI appeared to strong-arm Brown to put handcuffs on him. Brown could be heard yelling in the background. A spokeswoman in the Dallas County sherriff’s office confirmed to Wired that Brown was raided last night and was booked into the county jail around 11 p.m. She said the FBI removed him from the jail this morning to take him to a different facility, but she did not know where he was headed. Brown’s latest raid came after he posted a long and rambling YouTube video in which he talked about taking drugs (though not today, he noted) and about retaliating against an FBI Agent named Robert Smith after he learned that his mother might be hit with obstruction of justice charges. The threat of charges was apparently related to a laptop of Brown’s that he apparently hid.

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Steve Klein & 'Innocence Of Muslims': Film Promoter Remains Outspoken On Islam, Gillian Flaccus, Sept. 13, 2012. The public face for the anti-Muslim film inflaming the Middle East is not the filmmaker, but an insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran whose unabashed and outspoken hatred of radical Muslims has drawn the attention of civil libertarians, who say he's a hate monger. With the Coptic Christian filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in hiding, film promoter Steve Klein has taken center stage in the unfolding international drama. He's given a stream of interviews about the film and the man he says he knew only as Sam Bacile, and is using the attention to talk about his own political views. Nakoula, who used Bacile spelled multiple ways as a pseudonym, contacted Klein months ago for advice about the limits of American free speech and asked for help vetting the movie's script, Klein said in an interview with The Associated Press. The filmmaker asked the 61-year-old grandfather if he would act as a spokesman if the film "caught on," and he agreed. The role dovetailed with Klein's relentless pursuit of radical Muslims in America, an activity he says he began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It took on more meaning in 2007, when his son, then a 27-year-old Army staff sergeant, was seriously injured in Iraq. Matthew Klein, a medic, was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart for injuries he suffered in the attack by a suicide bomber, according to the Army Human Resources Command.

Sept. 12

Max Blumenthal, Meet The Right-Wing Extremist Behind Anti-Muslim Film That Sparked Deadly Riots, Sept. 12, 2012. The US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three US diplomats were killed in attacks and rioting provoked by an obscure, low-budget anti-Muslim film called “The Innocence of Muslims.” The producer of the film is a real estate developer supposedly named “Sam Bacile” who claims to be an Israeli Jew. Bacile told the AP the film was made with $5 million raised from “100 Jewish donors.” He said he was motivated to help his native country, Israel, by exposing the evils of Islam. While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement. He is Steve Klein, a Hemet, California based insurance salesman who claims to have led a “hunter-killer team” in Vietnam.” Klein is a right-wing extremist who emerged from the same axis of Islamophobia that produced Anders Behring Breivik and which takes inspiration from the writings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes. Klein claims credit for inspiring “Sam Bacile” to produce “The Innocence of Muslims,” promising him he would be “the next Theo Van Gogh,” referring to the Dutch columnist who was murdered by a Muslim extremist. Of the attacks in Libya, Klein said, “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

Sept. 11

Huffington Post, Re-Open the 9/11 Investigation Now, Bob Graham and Sharon Premoli, Sept. 11, 2012. The passage of time since September 11, 2001, has not diminished the distrust many of us feel surrounding the official story of how 9/11 happened and, more specifically, who financed and supported it. After eleven years, the time has come for the families of the victims, the survivors and all Americans to get the whole story behind 9/11. Yet the story of who may have facilitated the 19 hijackers and the infrastructure that supported the attacks -- a crucial element of the narrative -- has not been told. The pieces we do have underscore how much more remains unknown. [Editor's Note: Bob Graham is a former U.S. Senator from Florida, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-Chair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11. He is the author of two books on 9/11. Sharon Premoli, a survivor of the attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center, now runs the website Justiceagainstterrorism.net.]

Huffington Post, Libyan Consulate Attack: Who's to Blame? Kristen Breitweiser (9/11 widow and activist), Sept. 11, 2012.  Yesterday, I spent the day walking the beach and quietly reflecting about my husband, who was killed on September 11th. Eleven years later, I am finally able to find my own peace. By stark contrast, I woke up this morning to the news of four Americans killed in Libya and protests in Cairo. And, I asked myself "how could this have happened?"  Many people will assuredly believe that the only people to blame for this deadly violence are the Muslims who did it.  And undoubtedly, those who carried out this horrendous act are guilty.  But please remain mindful that the Muslims might not be the only ones responsible.  After reading reports including Al Jazeera's coverage below, some immediate questions came to my mind and I hope all Americans will demand the answers to these questions:

1. Who are the alleged "over 100 Jewish donors" who financed this film? Will they be sending their condolences to the families of the four Americans killed because of their film? Will they in any way be publicly held accountable for their support of this film and its message?

2. Will Sam Bacile, the filmmaker, and Morris Sadek, the film's promoter, be held accountable for their seeming incitement of terrorist acts against U.S. interests abroad?

3. Who allegedly translated this film into Arabic since it was originally not available in Arabic?

4. Specifically, how did this film get released and made available to Libyan and Egyptian youth on September 11th, particularly since it was apparently not readily available to them online in its full form?  In effect, in my opinion, somebody "pushed" this film out there to incite and spread hatred and rage in the Middle East on September 11th, and the identity of the person or organization behind this plot should be exposed and held accountable.

5. Given the broad and sweeping powers of the U.S. Patriot Act (an Act that I despise), will the U.S. government be electronically "backtracking" and investigating who is responsible for the creation, translation, and distribution of this film that has incited the senseless killings of four Americans? And will the families of those killed be able to hold any and all of these individuals or organizations accountable in an open court of law?

Finally, I offer my sincere condolences to the families of those killed yesterday; it breaks my heart to witness such violent acts particularly on the anniversary of September 11th.

Democracy Now!, Video interview and transcript of Interview with Don Siegelman and author Craig Unger, Amy Goodman, Sept. 11, 2012. Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, returns to federal prison today to resume his six-and-a-half-year sentence on a controversial bribery conviction that has been compared to a political witch hunt. Siegelman and his supporters say he was the target of a plot, in part orchestrated by former Bush administration deputy Karl Rove, for belonging to the Democratic Party in a state with a Republican majority. "No one wants to go to prison for something that is not a crime, and especially one orchestrated by Karl Rove," Siegelman said. "Everyone remembers the eight U.S. attorneys who were fired by Rove during the Bush administration because they would not pursue political prosecutions. Well, the U.S. attorney in Alabama, appointed by Bush, vetted by Rove, pursued a political prosecution." Sign the petition: www.change.org/pardondon.

J.L. EdmondsonLegal Schnauzer, Did Judge on Siegelman Appellate Panel Act Out of Fear From a Failed Attempt on his Life? Roger Shuler, Sept. 11, 2012. Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is due to report to federal custody today in Oakdale, Louisiana, providing absolute proof that large chunks of Americans are perfectly willing to accept the idea of political prisoners in our "democracy," circa 2012. We have written probably several hundred posts about the Siegelman travesty, and you might think that we wouldn't have anything left to say at this point. But you would be wrong, and that's largely because the case was so profoundly screwed up on so many levels that the news just keeps on coming. In fact, the following question is on our mind today: Was the appeal in the Siegelman case botched in part because one member of the three-judge panel operates out of fear from being the target of a failed assassination attempt more than 20 years ago?

Journal of 9/11 Studies, The 11th Anniversary of 9/11, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 11, 2012. The article below was written for the Journal of 9/11 Studies for the eleventh anniversary of September 11, 2001, the day that terminated accountable government and American liberty. In order to understand the improbability of the government’s explanation of 9/11, it is not necessary to know anything about what force or forces brought down the three World Trade Center buildings, what hit the Pentagon or caused the explosion, the flying skills or lack thereof of the alleged hijackers, whether the airliner crashed in Pennsylvania or was shot down, whether cell phone calls made at the altitudes could be received, or any other debated aspect of the controversy. You only have to know two things.

Paul Craig RobertsOne is that according to the official story, a handful of Arabs, mainly Saudi Arabians, operating independently of any government and competent intelligence service, men without James Bond and V for Vendetta capabilities, outwitted not only the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency, but all 16 US intelligence agencies, along with all security agencies of America’s NATO allies and Israel’s Mossad. It is hard to image a more far-fetched story – except for the second thing you need to know: The humiliating failure of US National Security did not result in immediate demands from the President of the United States, from Congress, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and from the media for an investigation of how such improbable total failure could have occurred. No one was held accountable for the greatest failure of national security in world history. Instead, the White House dragged its feet for a year resisting any investigation until the persistent demands from 9/11 families for accountability forced President George W. Bush to appoint a political commission, devoid of any experts, to hold a pretend investigation. [Editor's Note: Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, above right has been a noted conservative scholar for many years. He was assistant Treasury secretary during the Reagan administration and later associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, with responsibilities over its opinion pages. Currently, he leads the Institute for Political Economy.]

WhoWhatWhy. The Real Reason For The Afghan War? Russ Baker, Sept. 10, 2012. When the United States decided to invade Afghanistan to grab Osama bin Laden—and failed, but stayed on like an unwanted guest—could it have known that the Afghans were sitting on some of the world’s greatest reserves of mineral wealth? We’ve raised this topic before (see here)—where we noted the dubious 2010 claim, published by the New York Times, that “the vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was [recently] discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists.” Other evidence, and logic, point to the fact that everyone but the Western public knew for a long time, and before the 2001 invasion, that Afghanistan was a treasure trove. So we were interested to see a new piece from the Times that emphasizes those riches without stressing the crucial question: Was the original impetus for the invasion really Osama—or Mammon?

Sept. 10

Legal Schnauzer, Spotlight on Joe Scarborough: Arrest Is Made In Case of Human Remains at Florida Storage Unit, Roger Shuler, Sept. 10, 2012. A former medical examiner has been arrested on charges related to the discovery late last month of human remains at a storage unit in Pensacola, Florida. Michael Berkland faces a felony charge of improper storage of hazardous waste, a misdemeanor charge of nuisance injurious to public health, and driving with a suspended license. We have yet to see any references in the mainstream press to the fact that Berkland essentially closed the books on an investigation into the death of Lori Klausutis, who was found dead in summer 2001 in the office of then U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough. Now the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Scarborough largely has escaped scrutiny in the Klausutis case since Berkland ruled her death an accident, stemming from a cardiac arrhythmia that caused her to fall and strike her head on a desk. Several online news sources have raised questions about Berkland's findings in the Klausuits case, saying they are not supported by relevant scientific literature. The recent grisly discovery at a Pensacola storage unit raise new questions about Berkland's competence -- and perhaps his sanity.

New York Times, The Deafness Before the Storm, Kurt Eichenwald, Sept. 10, 2012. It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history. On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal. On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

WhoWhatWhy. The Real Reason For The Afghan War? Russ Baker, Sept. 10, 2012. When the United States decided to invade Afghanistan to grab Osama bin Laden—and failed, but stayed on like an unwanted guest—could it have known that the Afghans were sitting on some of the world’s greatest reserves of mineral wealth? We’ve raised this topic before (see here)—where we noted the dubious 2010 claim, published by the New York Times, that “the vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was [recently] discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists.” Other evidence, and logic, point to the fact that everyone but the Western public knew for a long time, and before the 2001 invasion, that Afghanistan was a treasure trove. So we were interested to see a new piece from the Times that emphasizes those riches without stressing the crucial question: Was the original impetus for the invasion really Osama—or Mammon?

Gerald Bard TjoflatLegal Schnauzer, Why Does the Public Tolerate Corrupt Judges Who Steal From Them? Rogert Shuler, Sept. 10, 2012. If I ran a video of a bank executive stealing money from a vault, it probably would go viral--and the public, understandably, would be outraged at what it was seeing. I ran the judicial equivalent of such a video last week, presenting irrefutable evidence of judges in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals committing what amounts to flagrant theft. So, where is the outrage? Why would we be appalled by the dishonest conduct of a bank executive, but shrug our shoulders at similar conduct from a federal judge? Why the double standard?  One could argue that the behavior of the judges actually is worse than that of our mythical banker. The banker likely would be paid via private funds while acting as a crook. The judges, on the other hand, are paid with public funds; they are using our own money to steal from us.  And make no mistake about it . . . corrupt judges, such as Gerald Bard Tjoflat, left, and J.L. Edmondson of the Eleventh Circuit, are stealing. They are thieves who happen to wear robes.  My anger on this subject is palpable because Tjoflat and Edmondson directly cheated me on the case in question -- a lawsuit over my wrongful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (You can read my response to UAB's Motion for Summary Judgment at the end of this post, and that document explains the relevant law; UAB's motion could not lawfully be granted, but it was, and the trial court's bogus ruling could not lawfully be upheld, but it was.) While I was the direct victim in this instance, all citizens are indirect victims of judicial thievery--and it's not just my opinion that Tjoflat and Edmondson are thieves; that's the term federal law uses to describe their actions.

Legal Schnauzer, Spotlight on Joe Scarborough: Arrest Is Made In Case of Human Remains at Florida Storage Unit, Roger Shuler, Sept. 10, 2012. A former medical examiner has been arrested on charges related to the discovery late last month of human remains at a storage unit in Pensacola, Florida. Michael Berkland faces a felony charge of improper storage of hazardous waste, a misdemeanor charge of nuisance injurious to public health, and driving with a suspended license. We have yet to see any references in the mainstream press to the fact that Berkland essentially closed the books on an investigation into the death of Lori Klausutis, who was found dead in summer 2001 in the office of then U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough. Now the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Scarborough largely has escaped scrutiny in the Klausutis case since Berkland ruled her death an accident, stemming from a cardiac arrhythmia that caused her to fall and strike her head on a desk. Several online news sources have raised questions about Berkland's findings in the Klausuits case, saying they are not supported by relevant scientific literature. The recent grisly discovery at a Pensacola storage unit raise new questions about Berkland's competence -- and perhaps his sanity.

Legal Schnauzer, Why Does the Public Tolerate Corrupt Judges Who Steal From Them? Rogert Shuler, Sept. 10, 2012. If I ran a video of a bank executive stealing money from a vault, it probably would go viral--and the public, understandably, would be outraged at what it was seeing. I ran the judicial equivalent of such a video last week, presenting irrefutable evidence of judges in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals committing what amounts to flagrant theft. In fact, I ran two posts--one here, and one here--that included documents every bit as damning as any video could be. And I showed this is not an isolated incident, that the same judges had committed similar acts of thievery before--in a case that captured national attention.  So, where is the outrage? Why would we be appalled by the dishonest conduct of a bank executive, but shrug our shoulders at similar conduct from a federal judge? Why the double standard?   One could argue that the behavior of the judges actually is worse than that of our mythical banker. The banker likely would be paid via private funds while acting as a crook. The judges, on the other hand, are paid with public funds; they are using our own money to steal from us.  And make no mistake about it . . . corrupt judges, such as Gerald Bard Tjoflat and J.L. Edmondson of the Eleventh Circuit, are stealing. They are thieves who happen to wear robes.  My anger on this subject is palpable because Tjoflat and Edmondson directly cheated me on the case in question -- a lawsuit over my wrongful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (You can read my response to UAB's Motion for Summary Judgment at the end of this post, and that document explains the relevant law; UAB's motion could not lawfully be granted, but it was, and the trial court's bogus ruling could not lawfully be upheld, but it was.) While I was the direct victim in this instance, all citizens are indirect victims of judicial thievery--and it's not just my opinion that Tjoflat and Edmondson are thieves; that's the term federal law uses to describe their actions.

Sept. 9

Mollie Reilly, John Roberts Health Care Switch Detailed By Jeffrey Toobin In New Book, Huffington Post, September 9, 2012. Three months after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling on President Obama's health care law, new details have emerged on Chief Justice John Roberts' controversial vote in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act.  According to excerpts of a new book by New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin published in Politico's Playbook on Saturday, Roberts had originally intended to side with his fellow conservatives on the court and overturn the law. However, Roberts' position turned "wobbly" as he considered the implications the ruling would have on his legacy.
Toobin writes that Roberts became increasingly uncomfortable with overturning the entire law, and instead sought out a "middle ground." He found that middle ground in arguing in his majority opinion that the individual mandate "need not be read to do more than impose a tax," thus falling within Congress' power to collect taxes.

Sept. 7

FireDogLake, Charlotte Was Transformed into a Total Securitized Metropolis for DNC,  Kevin Gosztola, Sept. 7, 2012. Americans watched speeches by Democratic Party titans like former President Bill Clinton or President Barack Obama, or rising stars like Sandra Fluke and only saw the cheers from delegates and others in attendance at the Democratic National Convention. The total security outside the convention center was taken for granted almost entirely, unless one happened to be a local or someone attending the event.  The transformation of a city area into a completely locked down zone was both fascinatingly surreal and discomforting, both because one had to wonder if it was all necessary and ponder what it says about our republic that political events are believed to require this high level of security.  Elected officials, presidential administration staff, the staff of Congress people, party operatives, lobbyists and business executives do. They need cops at the events to throw out reporters who ask questions that do not fit with the messaging of the party. They need hundreds of police to surround a protest and completely suffocate and tranquilize it so the numbers dwindle and a demonstration of more than fifty people doesn’t occur anywhere near the convention center, where they might have to face the people.

Huffington Post,The Curious Case of Don Siegelman, Mimi Kennedy, Sept. 3, 2012. Don Siegelman should be a star in the Democratic Party. Instead, he's a former elected official sentenced to prison by a right-wing judge in Alabama.

Legal Schnauzer, Karl Rove Acts Like a Jackass to Don Siegelman's Daughter at Democratic National Convention, Roger Shuler, Dana Siegelman, the daughter of Alabama's former governor, approached Karl Rove this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Showing Rove more politeness than he deserved, Ms. Siegelman introduced herself and tried to ask if there is anything Rove could do to help her father. After all, Don Siegelman is due to report to federal custody next Tuesday as the victim of perhaps the most notorious political prosecution in American history. Did Karl Rove care about the human costs of gross injustice? Not on your life. What did Dana Siegelman get for her trouble? An epic lesson in Republican rudeness. The TYT Network interviewed Dana Siegelman about her brief experience in Rove's orbit, and you can view the full video at the end of this post. If you ever have asked yourself, "Just how big a jackass is Karl Rove?" Dana Siegelman provides the answer with the following words: "I had no idea that Karl Rove would dare step in this building. And when I found out this morning that he was here, I sort of felt . . . I need to meet this person and let him know what he's done to my family."

Sept. 6

FireDogLake, Court After He Refuses to Prep for Early Voting, David Dayen, Sept. 6, 2012.  When we last left the early voting tussle in Ohio, a federal judge ordered the state to open the polls on the weekend before the election. The Secretary of State, Jon Husted, planned to file an appeal. But he went further than that. He said that he would not institute the court order until after the outcome of that appeal, and make no preparations for the early voting sites to open that weekend before the election. Husted’s order prohibited county boards of elections from setting hours for the weekend voting. Lynn Kinkaid, Director of the Butler County Board of Elections, which originally voted to hold weekend hours before Husted’s directive restricted them, told ThinkProgress the board is powerless to act against the Secretary of State’s directive. “I can’t imagine we would disobey a court order…he must have a good reason for it,” Kinkaid said. “He’s the big boss. I’m not going to second-guess my boss.”  Husted fired two Montgomery County election board members after they defied his directive and voted to hold weekend voting hours. Two other Ohio counties have asked Husted to reevaluate the voting restrictions.

Here's How I Got Screwed by the Same Appellate Court In Atlanta That Cheated Don Siegelman, Roger Shuler, Sept. 6, 2012.  We have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is filled with judges who are crooked. Their hatchet jobs on the Don Siegelman case and the Alabama hunting-club cases have been laid bare for the public to see. But now we have a third case that might represent the most blatant example yet of corruption in the Atlanta-based court. And this case hits close to home. We are talking about my lawsuit against the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and various individuals over my unlawful termination after 19 years on the job as an editor at UAB. A three-judge panel from the Eleventh Circuit butchered the appeal on at least a half dozen key points of law. But for now, we will focus on only one issue. It involves a simple concept of law, one that must be taught in Law School 101: Summary judgment  cannot be granted, or even considered, when the non-moving party (me, in this case) has been given no opportunity to conduct discovery. In fact, summary judgment cannot be considered on an incomplete record, as happens when one party tries to stonewall the other in discovery.

Harper's No Comment, CIA Waterboarding, Qaddafi Collaboration Revealed, Scott Horton, Sept. 6, 2012.  Just days after Attorney General Holder announced a formal decision of impunity resulting from a probe into 101 documented cases in which CIA agents engaged in acts of torture and abuse in apparent violation of CIA guidelines—including those approving torture—further explosive allegations have emerged that lay bare the scope of CIA cooperation with abusive regimes in the era before the Arab Spring. Drawing on interviews with Libyan prisoners previously held by the CIA in black-site facilities, as well as a large cache of secret documents that turned up when rebels seized Qaddafi’s state security offices last year, Human Rights Watch has issued a 156-page report(PDF) that meticulously documents a George W. Bush–era CIA program of torture, including waterboarding, in careful collaboration with former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi.

Sept. 5

Guardian (United Kingdom), Former governor Don Siegelman lobbies for presidential pardon at DNC, Andrew Gumbel, Sept. 5, 2012. The former Alabama governor was perhaps the highest profile victim of Karl Rove's political machine, sentenced to six years for bribery. Now his last hope for freedom is a presidential pardon. Siegelman is in Charlotte at the pleasure of a federal judge, and is just days away from resuming a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence, following a widely publicised conviction on bribery charges stemming from his time in office more than a decade ago. His goal at the convention is to drum up support for a presidential pardon, which he knows can come only once President Obama is safely back in the White House for a second term. It's not as much of a long shot as it may sound, because Siegelman is no ordinary felon. The magazine of the American Trial Lawyers Association has described him as "America's No 1 political prisoner", and his well-connected friends and supporters include more than 100 former state attorneys general and former Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry.

Sept. 4

Fox News, Former Gov. Don Siegelman: I’m Here Seeking My Freedom, Neil Cavuto, Sept. 4, 2012.  Former Gov. Don Siegelman, (D-Ala.), on being sentenced to prison for bribery. Cavuto: "This judge had it in for you from the beginning."

Wayne Madsen, Retaliation against Siegelman has roots in Bush 41 crimes, Wayne Madsen Report, Sept. 4, 2012. (Subscription required.) The re-imprisonment of former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman by George W. Bush-appointed U.S. Judge Mark E. Fuller is part of a political retaliation process that has its roots in the Iran-contra scandal, according to a high-level WMR source.

Bloomberg Business Week, Former SEAL’s Book Reveals Classified Information: Pentagon, John Walcott, Sept. 4, 2012.  The Pentagon’s chief spokesman said for the first time that a book written by a former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contained classified information. "Sensitive and classified information is contained in the book,” spokesman George Little said today at a Pentagon news conference. The comment escalates a conflict between the Pentagon and the author who wrote “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.” Little has previously said the author, who wrote under the pen-name “Mark Owen,” violated a non-disclosure agreement he signed as a Navy SEAL by not submitting the book for pre-publication review. The author’s attorney, Robert Luskin, has said a 2007 agreement “invites but by no means requires” pre-publication review. Luskin didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mailed requests for comment today. The book was scheduled for publication today by Dutton, a unit of Penguin Group USA. The author, first identified by Fox News, is Matt Bissonnette, 36, of La Mirada, California, who was a member of the elite counterterrorism SEAL Team Six that killed bin Laden. In the book, Bissonnette says he took steps to ensure that he wouldn’t be inadvertently releasing classified information and that he hired a former special-operations attorney to review the manuscript.

Institute for Political Economy, The Republicans Cross the Rubicon, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 4, 2012. Does anyone remember when National Public Radio was an independent voice? During the 1980s NPR was continually on the case of the Reagan administration. NPR certainly had a Democratic slant, and a lot of its reporting about the Reagan administration was one-sided. Yet, NPR was an independent voice, and it sometimes got things correct.Today the entire “mainstream media” is closed to truth-tellers. The US media is Washington’s propaganda ministry. The US media has only one function – to lie for Washington. What reminded me of NPR’s surrender was NPR’s August 31 report with its two regular talking voice political pundits discussing the Republican Convention and Romney’s speech. After witnessing the Republicans at their nominating convention at Tampa violate all their own rules and ride roughshod over the Ron Paul delegates, one expected some discussion of the Republican Party’s refusal to allow Ron Paul to be placed in nomination or his delegate account to be announced. The operative question was obvious: How can the American people trust the Republicans with the awesome power of the executive branch when the Republican Party just finished demonstrating for all to see its Stalinist qualities by crushing the anti-war, anti-police state wing of its party?

[Editor's Note: Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a scholar long associated with conservative organizations, and also was assistant Treasury secretary during the Reagan administration and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.]

Legal Schnauzer, Why Were No Opinions Issued On Appeals of Alabama Hunting-Club Lawsuits? Roger Shuler, Sept. 4, 2012. The legal profession reeks of dirty secrets, and one of my favorites is this: Many federal judges do not write the opinions they issue. Attorney William Domnarski shined light on the subject in a recent op-ed piece for The New York Times, noting that ghost-written judicial opinions raise serious questions about the integrity of federal courts--as if federal courts had any integrity to begin with. Law clerks write the opinions for almost all federal appellate judges, Domnarski writes, and it stands to reason that the practice also is common in federal trial courts. Domnarski says members of the legal tribe rarely discuss the issue because it "raises too many embarrassing questions." Domnarski goes on to write: "We have become too comfortable with the troubling idea that judging does not require that judges do their own work."  So what is the public to make of instances where federal appellate judges do no work at all on a case before them?  That apparently is what happened on a pair of lawsuits that originated in Birmingham, alleging that corrupt lawyers and judges used a hunting club as a place to fix Jefferson County divorce cases.

New York Times, Judges Should Write Their Own Opinions, William Domnarski,  May 31, 2012. There is a crisis in the federal appellate judiciary. No, I’m not referring to the high number of judicial vacancies or overloaded case dockets — though those are real problems. The crisis I have in mind rarely is discussed because it raises too many embarrassing questions. I’m talking about the longstanding and well-established practice of having law clerks ghostwrite judges’ legal opinions. We have become too comfortable with the troubling idea that judging does not require that judges do their own work.

Sept. 3

Scott HortonCraig Unger Cover

Harper's No Comment, Boss Rove: Six Questions for Craig Unger, Scott Horton (left), Sept. 3, 2012. After four years in the political penalty box, Karl Rove has returned as the undeniable mastermind of the G.O.P.’s electoral effort. Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger has just published a new book, Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power, that focuses on Rove’s fall from grace during the Bush years and his remarkable political resurrection. It shows how Rove’s tactics are remaking the nation’s political landscape and explains why, win or lose in 2012, he is likely to be a dominant force in Republican politics for some time. I put six questions to Unger about his new book:

Horton: A large part of your book focuses on a computer-services company, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, called SmarTech. You note that after SmarTech began serving Ohio’s electoral returns at 11:14 p.m. on election night in 2004, inexplicable anomalies began to flood the vote totals—all of which favored George W. Bush. The company also appears repeatedly in your book as the inner sanctum of G.O.P. voting-technology strategies, and as the host of servers on which Karl Rove’s mysteriously vanishing emails were stored. Yet when you asked Rove about SmarTech, he insisted he “had no idea who it was.” What do you think of Rove’s denial, and why do you devote so much of your book to the company? Unger: When I repeated the question to Rove, his response morphed into a classic Watergate-like non-denial denial in which he claimed to be “so many layers removed” from such operations that he didn’t “recall” the company. Whatever the state of his memory, Rove’s relationship to SmarTech is emblematic of how he operates: with no fingerprints, via entities that serve his interests in extraordinary ways even though he has no visible ties to them.

 

Huffington Post,The Curious Case of Don Siegelman, Mimi Kennedy, Sept. 3, 2012. Don Siegelman should be a star in the Democratic Party. Instead, he's a former elected official sentenced to prison by a right-wing judge in Alabama.

Sept. 1

Truthout / Huffington Post, John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution, Sept. 1, 2012. Now that the Republican primary circus is over, I started to think about what it would mean to vote for Obama...Since mostly we hear from the daily hypocrisies of Mitt and friends, I thought we should examine "our guy" on a few issues with a bit more scrutiny than we hear from the "progressive left," which seems to be little or none at all. Three markers — the Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the escalation speech at West Point, and the recent speech by Eric Holder — crossed that Rubicon line for me...Mr. Obama, the Christian president with the Muslim-sounding name, would heed the admonitions of neither religion's prophets about making war and do what no empire or leader, including Alexander the Great, could do: he would, he assured us "get the job done in Afghanistan." And so we have our democratic president receiving the Nobel Peace Prize as he sends 30,000 more troops to a ten-year-old conflict in a country that's been war-torn for 5,000 years.

John J. DonohueNew York Times, A Trial on Death Row, Lincoln Caplan, Sept. 1, 2012. An extraordinary trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Connecticut, held at the prison housing the state’s death row. The petitioners are inmates sentenced to death for violent felonies, who are seeking to have their sentences reduced to life without parole on the ground that the death penalty in Connecticut is unconstitutional because it has been randomly imposed on a small group of people. In April, Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty and the fifth in five years. But that law does not apply to those already sentenced. The inmates in this case will be presenting evidence compiled by John Donohue, a Stanford law professor, who studied how capital punishment was imposed in every Connecticut murder case from 1973 (when the state passed a death penalty law) to 2007. His analysis dispelled the erroneous claim that only the “worst of the worst” among criminals are given the death penalty. Instead, he found that the penalty has been applied with “arbitrariness and discrimination” based on race and geography, and that death row inmates are indistinguishable from other violent offenders who escaped capital punishment. The study was commissioned by a court-appointed lawyer for Sedrick Cobb, who was sentenced to death in 1991. Mr. Cobb was allowed to challenge the unfairness involved in Connecticut’s use of the death penalty through this state habeas corpus action, and others on death row joined him as petitioners. An expert for the state has failed repeatedly to undermine the credibility of the study, perhaps because there’s no way to refute such clear evidence of arbitrariness and discrimination.