November News Reports 2011

Listed below is the Justice Integrity Project's monthly archive of cutting-edge news excerpts for November 2011.


Nov. 30

Louisville Courier-Journal, Obama administration OKs horse meat for Americans, Thomas McAdam, Nov. 30, 2011. They eat horses, don’t they? Just in time for the holidays (and remarkably coincident with the end of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs), President Obama last week quietly signed a law passed by congress that lifts the 5-year-old ban on federal funding for horse meat inspections; thereby allowing the sale and consumption of viande de cheval. By allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to resume horse meat inspections, the new law will effectively allow the operation of slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption. The last U.S. slaughterhouse that butchered horses closed in 2007. But now, our president wants us to start eating horses again.

Washington Post, Measure aims to get firms to share online data with government, Ellen Nakashima, Nov. 30, 2011.  Leaders of the House intelligence committee have crafted bipartisan legislation aimed at fostering the exchange of online information between the private sector and the government to better protect commercial computer networks from cyber­attacks.  The bill, introduced Wednesday by the committee’s chairman, Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), and ranking Democrat, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (Md.), has strong support from the telecommunications industry. The White House and civil liberties advocates, however, have raised concerns that the bill could jeopardize individuals’ privacy.

Washington Post, Diane Ravitch, my favorite adversary, Jay Mathews, Nov. 30, 2011. I like Ravitch. She favored me years ago with her personal e-mail address and has helped with many stories and columns. She has long been one of the clearest and most interesting education writers. I envy her energy and productivity at age 73.  This puts me at odds with her many detractors, often people who, like me, support more charter schools, test accountability, changes in the recruitment, training and compensation of teachers, and alterations in the size and structure of public schools. Ravitch was once on our side but turned against us.

Daily Caller, Roemer will officially seek ‘Americans Elect’ nomination, Alexis Levinson, Nov. 30 updated to Dec. 1, 2011. Republican presidential candidate and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer announced Wednesday evening that he would officially seek the presidential nomination of Americans Elect, a group that seeks to secure ballot access for a bipartisan third-party ticket. “Today I officially announce that I will seek the Americans Elect nomination as a proud Republican but as an even prouder American,” Roemer said in a statement. Roemer is the first candidate to openly seek the Americans Elect nomination. He initially considered the possibility of an Americans Elect ticket after he found out about being excluded from the Florida primary ballot, and decided against being on the South Carolina primary ballot because of the required filing fee. Roemer expressed dismay at the lack of seriousness with which the Republican Party had taken his candidacy. “I will take my message of ending business as usual in Washington directly to the American people. No other candidate is free from the special interests or has the experience I have,” said Roemer.

Washington Post, Justices weigh privacy damages, Robert Barnes, Nov. 30, 2011. Stanmore Cooper and the federal government each did something wrong. Cooper pleaded guilty for his actions and paid a $1,000 fine. Now he wants the government to pay. An attorney for Cooper, a pilot who is HIV-positive, conceded to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Cooper lied on official forms from 1994 until 2005 about his medical condition and the medication he was taking. But San Francisco lawyer Raymond A. Cardozo said the way federal officials discovered Cooper’s omission — two federal agencies shared records — violated the provisions of the 1974 Privacy Act, a post-Watergate reform meant to “restore the citizens’ faith in their government.” He said Cooper should be allowed to sue for the emotional distress he experienced from learning of the government’s actions. If not, he said, the government would be free to “silence” whistle-blowers and others by threatening to reveal private information about them. The Privacy Act allows those who think their rights were violated to sue the government for “actual damages.” The justices must decide whether that means only proven out-of-pocket financial losses, or compensation for mental and emotional distress.

Washington Post, Cain has simple strategy for handling criticism: Blanket denial, David A. Fahrenthold and Sandya Somashekhar, Nov. 30, 2011. Herman Cain, whose problems have transfixed the Republican presidential campaign, has used a different strategy. The businessman often responds to trouble with a flat, short answer: Whatever it is, it isn’t true. His denials usually come with little or no explanation. When other candidates — not to mention economists — began to find flaws in his “9-9-9” tax plan, Cain responded, “All those are simply not true.”

ABC-TV/Associated Press / Huffington Post, Ginger White Stands By Herman Cain Affair, Nov. 30, 2011. An Atlanta businesswoman said she had a "very casual affair" with Herman Cain and said she doesn't think he should be president. Ginger White stood by her assertion in a nationally broadcast interview, despite Cain's denials. She called the relationship an "on and off" affair. White told ABC's "Good Morning America" that it's "very disappointing that he would call me troubled."

Scott DraughonMy Technology Lawyer, The Difference with Newt, Scott Draughon (right), Nov. 30, 2011. The rise of Newt Gingrich to front-runner status among the GOP hopefuls brings intensified scrutiny and predictions for his demise. As the latest “Non-Romney” candidate to lead the polls, Newt follows the rise and fall of three previous front runners: Bachman, Perry and Cain. Newt suffers from none of these challenges. Newt clearly has depth of ideas and experience as demonstrated in his 21st Century Contract with America. He also has the vision and gravitas you would expect from a former Speaker of the House, as demonstrated in his debate performances. Newt’s authenticity as a leading conservative originates with a long list of achievements. Unlike his rivals, he is not new to the conservative cause and his brand as a conservative policy advocate is well established.

FireDogLake, Who Is Footing the Bill For Over 1,400 Police to Raid Occupy LA? Jon Walker, Nov. 30, 2011. Last night the Los Angeles police raided and shut down the Occupy LA encampment and then dismantled it, bringing in heavy equipment to destroy all structures and throw everything into dumpsters. Here’s the sanitized version from the AP: More than 1,400 police officers, some in riot gear, cleared the Occupy Los Angeles camp early Wednesday, driving protesters from a park around City Hall and arresting more than 200 who defied orders to leave. Let me emphasize the scale of force used. Over 1,400 police officers were deployed in this action to put an end to the danger of non-violent protesters camping illegally.  Apparently there is no crime more dangerous or more in need of massive police resources being used to eliminate it than peaceful illegal camping.  1,400 police working a late evening action. That is a lot of overtime. The size of the force used is going to add up to a serious cost.

Legal Schnauzer, Media Displays Breathtaking Hypocrisy in Coverage of the Penn State Scandal, Roger Shuler, Nov. 30, 2011. Humor is hard to find in the story of alleged child sexual abuse connected to the football program at Penn State University. But I've had to guffaw several times at the righteous indignation emanating from the mainstream media (MSM), expressing outrage that Penn State officials could turn a blind eye to misconduct in their midst. Some MSMers even have hurled the term "cover up" at iconic football coach Joe Paterno and other PSU honchos. Why has that brought guffaws--of the dark-humor variety--from yours truly? It's because few institutions in American life are more adept than the mainstream media at providing cover for bad behavior, even criminal conduct.

Rob KallOpEd News, Occupy Philly Cleared By 100s of Police. Occupy LA Cleared by 1200 Police, Rob Kall, Nov. 30, 2011.  200 arrested at Occupy LA, 40-50 arrested in Philly. No serious injuries or violence was reported in either city. In Philly the arrests occurred off the Occupy Philly site, when protesters marched to another location and refused to move when ordered by police. Police took  over the Dilworth Plaza where Occupy Philly has been. Occupiers marched to Rittenhouse Square, a small park in center city Philly surrounded by expensive condos. In 1200 LA  police gathered at Dodgers stadium in preparation for clearing Occupy LA. Live feed reported over 500 occupiers and protesters present in solidarity there. An occupy Philly man on the live feed said that the evictions are being coordinate by Homeland Security.

Nov. 29

Huffington Post, Barney Frank: Of Thee I Zing, VIDEO, Jason Linkins, Nov. 29, 2011. Our own Ben Craw provides the definitive highlight reel of Barney Frank cold-stickin' it to people. Enjoy (in hindsight at the very least)! As you know by now, longtime Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank will be retiring from the House of Representatives, opting to forego a post-redistricting reelection run next year for a career in writing and public policy advocacy. He'll leave behind a long legacy of legislating, obviously, but he'll also leave an equally impressive legacy of quips and zingers, which he deployed at will to ridicule reporters, belittle political opponents and, on one memorable occasion, compare the LaRouchie version of Ani DiFranco to a "dining room table."

The Nation, How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools, Lee Fang, Nov. 16, 2011. If the national movement to “reform” public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of “virtual schools”—charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet—as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits. But as recently as last year, the radical change envisioned by school reformers still seemed far off, even there. With some of the movement’s cherished ideas on the table, Florida Republicans, once known for championing extreme education laws, seemed to recoil from the fight. SB 2262, a bill to allow the creation of private virtual charters, vastly expanding the Florida Virtual School program, languished and died in committee. Charlie Crist, then the Republican governor, vetoed a bill to eliminate teacher tenure. The move, seen as a political offering to the teachers unions, disheartened privatization reform advocates. At one point, the GOP’s budget proposal even suggested a cut for state aid going to virtual school programs. From Idaho to Indiana to Florida, recently passed laws will radically reshape the face of education in America, shifting the responsibility of teaching generations of Americans to online education businesses, many of which have poor or nonexistent track records. The rush to privatize education will also turn tens of thousands of students into guinea pigs in a national experiment in virtual learning—a relatively new idea that allows for-profit companies to administer public schools completely online, with no brick-and-mortar classrooms or traditional teachers.

Justice Integrity Project, Barney Frank Announces Retirement, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 29, 2011. Congressman Barney Frank's announcement Nov. 28 that he'll not run for re-election next year prompted a range of reactions, ranging from fond memories to insinuations of serious misconduct. We don't normally cover political news in this space. But the role of the media and the sexual dimension of the misconduct claims, particularly in contrast to the Herman Cain news this week, seems worthy of at least brief examination.  More generally, even critics and targets might enjoy Barney Frank: Of Thee I Zing, a four-minute highlight video compiled by the Huffington Post of Frank's memorable wisecracks and insults through the years.

Justice Integrity Project, Cain, Thomas Scandals Show Media at Work, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 29, 2011. The big news as this week began was a climate expert's prediction that the world as we know it is in danger, with temperatures expected to increase 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Energy official sees climate ‘catastrophe’ was the report from a convention of climate experts. The implication is that the next generation -- and perhaps some of us -- will face massive famine and drought that will kill billions of people along the way to the century's end.  Let's leave that problem for another day, and focus on issues creating even bigger headlines: which of the many sex scandals among U.S. government leaders should the news media report in depth? The week's beginning brought an exceptional trove of raw material, which Washington insiders find as revealing for what's left out as for what's included.

Daily Caller, Roemer would want Lieberman for VP, open to bipartisan ticket, Alexis Levinson, Nov. 29, 2011. In an ideal world, Republican presidential candidate and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer would like Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate, but the Connecticut senator is not necessarily on the same page. “Senator Joe Lieberman’s reputation as a reformer and a man of integrity is unrivaled in American politics. He is unequivocally my first choice for a Vice Presidential running mate,” said Roemer in the statement. The two men’s differing party affiliations — Roemer is a Republican, Lieberman is an independent and formerly a Democrat, seems to actually be something Roemer sees as a plus. For one thing, he touted their shared history of switching parties — Roemer served as a Democratic congressman, and then switched to the Republican Party midway through his gubernatorial reign.

New Orleans Times-Picayune, Americans Elect could put Buddy Roemer on presidential ballot, Jonathan Tilove, Nov. 29, 2011. With deep pockets and a bold plan to challenge both parties from the center, Americans Elect has budgeted $30 million to gain ballot access in November in all 50 states for a presidential ticket that will be chosen in several rounds of online voting between April and June. The audacity of its ambition is matched only by public disgruntlement with the grinding partisan gridlock in Washington, a disgust that the leadership of Americans Elect believe make this moment ripe for picking a president independent of two parties they say are each hopelessly beholden to opposite ideological extremes.  "We've got to blow it up, and this is the biggest way to do it," said retired Adm. Dennis Blair of the two-party system. Blair, a former director of national intelligence for President Barack Obama, is a recent addition to Americans Elect's nine-member board, chaired by billionaire Peter Ackerman, a former top lieutenant to junk-bond king Michael Milliken, and the managing director of RockPort Capital and chairman of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. "We are offering a priceless gift of guaranteeing someone a third column in next November's election," Blair said. On whom this gift might be bestowed is anyone's guess, but officials of Americans Elect recently briefed former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, a Democrat-turned-Republican whose reformist bid for the GOP presidential nod has, up to now, failed to gain any traction.

Fox News / Your World, Americans Elect could put Buddy Roemer on presidential ballot, Neil Cavuto interview with Buddy Roemer, Nov. 29, 2011. Roemer: There's no question it is a hard way to go, but look at me now. As a proud Republican, I have not been invited to a single debate. There have been 10 national debates. My average donation is $60. I need to be on a national debate. Most people in America don't even know I am running. I'm the only guy running who has been a congressman and a governor.

FireDogLake, Cass Sunstein’s OIRA: The Most Powerful Regulation-Smiting Agency You’ve Never Heard Of,  David Dayen Tuesday Nov. 29, 2011.

Huntsville Times, Testifying at bingo re-trial could weaken governor's office, former Gov. Bob Riley says, Paul Gattis, Nov. 29, 2011, Former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said protecting the office of governor is the primary reason he doesn't want to testify in the gambling corruption re-trial. (The Huntsville Times file photo) Protecting the dignity of the governor's office is the chief reason former Gov. Bob Riley said he does not want to appear as a witness in the re-trial of the gambling corruption case.

Huffington Post, Herman Cain 'Reassessing' 2012 Candidacy: Report, Nov. 29, 2011. Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told his staff he is reassessing his candidacy and will make the decision whether to remain in the race in "the next several days," according to NRO's Bob Costa.

FireDogLake, Mark Udall Trying to Strip Out Indefinite Detention Regime from Defense Bill, David Dayen,  Nov. 29, 2011. Other than the payroll tax legislation, the big news in the Senate this week is the defense authorization bill, traditionally seen as must-pass legislation. It seems like every year there’s some big controversy over this bill.  This time that comes in the form of a measure that would mandate indefinite detentions of terrorist suspects in military custody and open the door for those indefinite detentions to extend to US citizens. The military would essentially have total control over detainees, and even with a dissipation of Al Qaeda they would be authorized to use the indefinite detention power over anyone they deem a dangerous threat to national security. A list of amendments is here. But the most important one comes from Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, who wants to strip out the indefinite detention changes.

Nov. 28

Washington Post, Energy official sees climate ‘catastrophe,’ Juliet Eilperin, Nov. 28, 2011. The chief economist for the International Energy Agency said Monday that current global energy consumption levels put the Earth on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100, an outcome he called “a catastrophe for all of us.”  Fatih Birol spoke as delegates from nearly 200 countries convened the opening day of annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

Bloomberg / Washington Post, Big Banks got $13 billion in undisclosed Fed loans; rescue remained secret as Congress doled out even more money, Bob Ivry, Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz, Nov. 28, 2011. The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.  The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Ted StevensWashington Post, Case closed, not yet; Ted Stevens’s prosecutors must face further scrutiny, Editorial board, Nov. 28, 2011. In the spring of 2009, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. took the extraordinary step of asking a federal judge to dismiss corruption charges against former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). This was no easy decision.  Mr. Stevens had been prosecuted by the Justice Department’s vaunted Public Integrity Section and convicted of failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from an Alaskan oil services firm and its former chief executive. Yet Mr. Holder rightly sought a reversal of the conviction and vowed not to relaunch the prosecution after learning that his lawyers had failed to turn over information to the defense that could have called the government’s case into question. Mr. Holder should ask for an independent assessment of whether the culpable attorneys should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice. The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which polices prosecutors, is conducting its own investigation; Mr. Holder should make its report public, as promised. The Justice Department should refer the report to the state bar associations that licensed these lawyers, so that they may consider disbarment or other punishments. A lawyer who commits acts of bad faith should never be entrusted with the kind of power prosecutors wield.

Politico, Herman Cain affair: Candidate fights back against Ginger White’s claims, Juana Summers and Maggie Haberman, Nov. 28, 2011. An Atlanta businesswoman said Monday she had a 13-year extramarital affair with Herman Cain, prompting an extensive and harsh denial from the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. But in an extraordinary step for a presidential candidate, Cain preempted the claims on national television.

Fox 5 Atlanta, GA, Ginger White: Herman Cain And I Were 'Involved In A Very Inappropriate' Relationship (VIDEO), Nov. 28, 2011. Ginger White says she and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain had an affair that lasted more than a decade in a report released by Atlanta-based station Fox 5 on Monday. The Georgia businesswoman said what occurred between herself and Cain was "pretty simple." She explained, "I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship."  White opened up about the alleged affair, which she said went on for thirteen years, over the holiday weekend. Even before White's accusations came to light, Cain sought to do damage control. During an interview on CNN on Monday, the presidential candidate preemptively said he was expecting to face allegations of "an affair for an extended period of time" and denied any wrongdoing. While Cain did not identify White by name during the appearance, he said of his accuser, "It is someone that I know who is an acquaintance that I thought was a friend." The Republican hopeful has vehemently denied their charges. "Here we go again," Cain said on Monday. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Washington Post, Judge rejects SEC-Citigroup settlement, David S. Hilzenrath, Nov. 28, 2011. A federal judge accused the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday of failing to do its job in one of the biggest cases to emerge from the mortgage meltdown, rejecting the agency’s plan to settle a lawsuit against Citigroup.

Barney FrankWashington Post, Frank won’t seek reelection to House, Paul Kane, Nov. 29, 2011. Love him or hate him — and there are few who fall anywhere in between — Rep. Barney Frank has spent the past three decades crafting one of Congress’s most pugnacious political personalities, which he has deployed frequently as a weapon in the ideological wars of the age…. In 1990, Frank was reprimanded during an investigation of allegations involving his relationship with a male prostitute who worked out of the lawmaker’s Capitol Hill townhouse. The panel found that Frank had no knowledge of the illegal activities, but it disciplined him for using his office to help take care of traffic tickets for his partner.

Washington Post, Fearlessly, Frank made his mark, Robert G. Kaiser, Nov. 28, 2011.  The House of Representatives is losing its least-typical member: Barney Frank announced Monday that he will retire at the end of next year. This is sad news for Congress, an institution that has faded to gray over the last generation. Sad, but predictable.

Montgomery Advertiser, Judge: Riley must be available to testify, Sebastian Kitchen, Nov. 28, 2011. A federal judge has ruled that former Gov. Bob Riley must be available to testify in the upcoming gambling corruption trial of VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and six other defendants. Attorneys for Riley and the state filed motions to quash the subpoenas sent by McGregor’s attorneys to Riley and Col. Chris Murphy, former director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. denied those motions in an order issued Monday. “As Governor Riley said during the first trial – if the court ultimately decides he has relevant testimony to give, he is ready and willing to testify,” said Matt Lembke, a private attorney representing Riley. Joe Espy, lead attorney for McGregor, said “our position has consistently been that Governor Riley must follow the law and that he, just like everyone else, should obey a subpoena. And if we need him to testify, he should be available.”

Global Research, Treason From Within: The Road towards a Police State in America; Defense Authorization bill allows for military detentions of American citizens in the US, Dr. Andrew Bosworth, Nov. 28, 2011. There is a shocking piece of legislation working its way through Congress. A Defense Authorization bill for 2012 allows for military detentions of American citizens on American soil. These can be indefinite detentions, with no trial. The American Civil Liberties Union statement (more of an alert) on November 23, 2011 deserves special attention: “The U.S. Senate is considering the unthinkable: changing detention laws to imprison people — including Americans living in the United States itself — indefinitely and without charge.” It is time, however, to raise a more fundamental question about the NDAA for 2012 and Sections 1031 and 1032. What sinister forces are behind the crafting of this legislation, behind closed doors? Most likely, officials in the defense and intelligence communities penned the legislation, then used Senators Carl Levin and John McCain to advance it. The “war on terror” was originally to be waged against foreigners in far-away lands, but Rep. Ron Paul was right, the anti-terror infrastructure is swinging around to be used against American citizens. This was the design all along. Hopefully, more sensible Senators and Representatives will squash this diabolical legislation.

Legal Schnauzer, Woman Gets Fired For Complaining About Porn In The Workplace, Roger Shuler, Nov. 28, 2011. Michelle Luebbert worked for a man who enjoyed copious amounts of pornography on his work computer, so she decided to do something about it. Determined that she no longer should be subjected to the sights and sounds emanating from her boss' office, Luebbert complained to higher ups. And they took immediate firing her. Now Luebbert is suing to get her job back, plus damages. If a jury sides with her, Luebbert's bank account should take a nice bump. And her former employer--the Webster Electric Cooperative in southwest Missouri--will have a spot in the Workplace Dunderheads Hall of Fame.

Al Jazeera, Private prison companies strive to keep millions behind bars to keep their profits up, James Ridgeway, Nov. 28, 2011. Several new reports argue that the greed and influence of private prison companies, as well as the perfidy of politicians, plays a role in keeping prisons and detention centres teeming. According to Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration, a report released this month by the American Civil Liberties Union, "Today, for-profit companies are responsible for approximately 6 per cent of state prisoners, 16 per cent of federal prisoners."

Washington Post, Health-care case brings fight over which Supreme Court justices should decide it, Robert Barnes, Nov. 27, 2011. Just a little more than an hour after some House Democrats recently demanded an inquiry into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s ethics, Senate Republicans stepped up the pressure on Justice Elena Kagan to take herself out of the court’s decision on the health-care reform act. The process repeated itself a few days later. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) called for the release of more documents about Kagan’s role as President Obama’s solicitor general; the liberal group People for the American Way came out with another broadside against Thomas. Washington Post, How ethical are these Supreme Court justices? Online Q&A With Ethics Expert John Steele, Nov. 28, 2011.

Nov. 27

Associated Press / Charlotte, 2 justices face criticism in health care case, Mark Sherman,  Nov. 27, 2011. Conservative interest groups and Republican lawmakers want Justice Elena Kagan off a case that centers on the new health care law. Liberals and Democrats in Congress say it's Justice Clarence Thomas who should sit it out. Neither justice is budging - the right decision, according to many ethicists and legal experts. None of the parties in the case has asked the justices to excuse themselves. But underlying the calls on both sides is their belief that the conservative Thomas is a sure vote to strike down President Barack Obama's health care law and that the liberal Kagan is certain to uphold the main domestic achievement of the man who appointed her.

Associated Press / Century Link, SWAT team's shooting of Marine causes outrage, Amnda Lee Myers, Nov. 27, 2011. Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons. An ordinary morning was unfolding in the middle-class Tucson neighborhood — until an armored vehicle pulled into the family's driveway and men wearing heavy body armor and helmets climbed out, weapons ready. The officers — four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 — moved to the door, briefly sounding a siren, then shouting "Police!" in English and Spanish. With a thrust of a battering ram, they broke the door open. Eight seconds passed before they opened fire into the house. And 10 seconds later, Guerena lay dying in a hallway 20-feet from the front door. The SWAT team fired 71 rounds, riddling his body 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet. The Pima County Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was at the home because Guerena was suspected of being involved in a drug-trafficking organization and that the shooting happened because he arrived at the door brandishing a gun. The county prosecutor's office says the shooting was justified.

Nov. 26

Journal Inquirier, No relief for Tribune in possible FCC rule, Harlan Levy, Nov. 26, 2011. The owner of the Hartford Courant and two Hartford television stations may find it harder to keep its TV licenses under a rule change reportedly being considered by the Federal Communications Commission. While the change said to be recommended by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski would allow companies to own both TV stations and newspapers in the nation’s top 20 TV markets, it would not allow such combinations in smaller markets — including No. 28, Hartford-New Haven — potentially barring media conglomerate Tribune Co. from continuing to own the Courant, Fox affiliate WTIC-TV61, and WTXX-TV20. Tribune, which has operated both the Courant and the two TV stations on FCC waivers for 12 years, then would have to choose between the newspaper and the TV stations if it could not get FCC waivers perpetually. “According to the reports that we’ve heard, the proposal would create a strong presumption against newspaper and broadcast ownership in markets ranked 21 and below,” says Andrew Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director of the nonprofit law firm Media Access Project in Washington, D.C. Getting a waiver under the proposed rules would be difficult, Schwartzman said this week, requiring “evidence that you were going to plow the efficiencies from the combined operations into improved service.”

Salon, Wes Clark and the neocon dream, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 26, 2011. In October, 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in which he denounced what he called “a policy coup” engineered by neocons in the wake of 9/11. After recounting how a Pentagon source had told him weeks after 9/11 of the Pentagon’s plan to attack Iraq notwithstanding its non-involvement in 9/11, this is how Clark described the aspirations of the “coup” being plotted by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and what he called “a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for the New American Century”: Six weeks later, I saw the same officer, and asked: “Why haven’t we attacked Iraq? Are we still going to attack Iraq?”

He said: “Sir, it’s worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

Clark said the aim of this plot was this: “They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.”...As far as I can tell, there’s barely any difference in goals within the foreign policy establishment. They just disagree on the best methods to achieve the goals. My guess is that everyone agrees we have to continue defending the mideast from outside interference (I love that Hillary line), and the [Democrats] just think that best path is four overt wars and three covert actions, while the neocons want to jump straight to seven wars. The difference between seven and four overt wars isn’t non-existent or unimportant, of course, but it’s a question of means. The neocon end as Clark reported them — regime change in those seven countries — seems as vibrant as ever. It’s just striking to listen to Clark describe those 7 countries in which the neocons plotted to have regime change back in 2001, and then compare that to what the U.S. Government did and continues to do since then with regard to those precise countries.

Nov. 25

FireDogLake, Washington Post Helps Senator Corker Spread the Big Lie on Fannie and Freddie, Dean Baker, Nov. 25, 2011. When a newspaper abandons journalistic standards in its news pages one hardly expects to find much commitment to truth on its opinion pages. Therefore it is not surprising that the Washington Post opened its pages to Tennessee Senator Bob Corker to spread the story that government support for homeownership through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the cause of the housing bubble.

FireDogLake, Chancellor Katehi Claims Her Police Force Disobeyed Her; So Why Is She Still Chancellor? Teddy Partridge, Nov. 25, 2011.  Linda Katehi claimed in a wide-ranging Sacramento Bee interview — in her office in the still-closed-to-the-public Administration Building — that her own police force no longer respects her authority. The UC/Davis Chancellor and global handmaiden to authoritarians made the best arguments for her own swift removal. Linda Katehi proves in this interview that her Chancellorship is both fatally disengaged and thoroughly disrespected. Why is the President of the UC system, and why are the UC regents, still supporting her? How long can she hang onto her job? Sign the petition for her removal here.

Naomi WolfGuardian, The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy, Naomi Wolf, Nov. 25, 2011. The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality. US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park. Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

Nov. 24

Huffington Post, America's Justice System Has Failed Us All, Conrad Black, Nov. 24, 2011. The unfairness, hypocrisy, and barbarism of the American criminal justice system is increasingly the subject of serious comment. Newt Gingrich is enjoying his brief sojourn as the non-Romney candidate of the Republicans, until the assassination squads in the New York Times and elsewhere give full play to his $1.6 million for history lessons to Fannie Mae, and his former love-ins with those great and reverend theologians Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and his peccadilloes while trying to impeach President Clinton for his peccadilloes. Although he has, as he put it when he resigned as speaker, "thrown too many interceptions," he has his moments., Texas Judge Caught Beating Daughter on Video Suspended, Annie Urban, Nov. 24, 2011. A few weeks ago, people around the world were shocked to see a YouTube video of a Texas judge beating his daughter repeatedly with a belt. Hillary Adams, now 23 years old, recently posted the video of the incident that occurred when she was 16 years old. On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court suspended him from his duties, with pay, pending an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. According to NPR, Adams agreed to the suspension, but has not admitted “guilt, fault or wrongdoing” in this case. In fact, Adams continues to insist that the beating was “not as bad as it looks on tape.”Nov. 24

Wired, 9 Reasons Wired Readers Should Wear Tinfoil Hats, David Kravets, Nov. 24, 2011. There’s plenty of reason to be concerned Big Brother is watching. We’re paranoid not because we have grandiose notions of our self-importance, but because the facts speak for themselves. Here’s our short list of nine reasons that Wired readers ought to wear tinfoil hats, or at least, fight for their rights and consider ways to protect themselves with encryption and defensive digital technologies. We know the list is incomplete, so if you have better reasons that we list here, put them in the comments and we’ll make a list based off them. Until then, remember: Don’t suspect a friend; report him.

Nov. 23

Black Agenda report, Gridlock is a Blessing: To Hell With Obama and His Van Joneses, Glen Ford, Nov. 23, 2011.  “Gridlock was all that stood in the way of Barack Obama finally consummating his long sought marriage with the GOP over the past year.” Saved, once again, by gridlock! In the absence of any serious social democratic presence in the U.S. Congress – a Progressive Caucus that went poof! years ago, a Black Caucus rendered ridiculous by Obamaism – glorious gridlock was the only force that could derail the SuperCommittee, just as gridlock saved us from Obama’s $4 trillion “Grand Bargain” with House Speaker John Boehner, this past summer. The Obama train, which was always headed in the same fatal direction as the GOP juggernaut, has been stopped in its tracks, despite the president’s vow to keep his hand on the throttle with a veto of any rollback of $1.2 trillion in automatic federal spending cuts. Having rejected a partnership with Obama, the Republicans will have great difficulty finishing off the last remnants of the New Deal and the Great Society in the coming election year. Instead, they will be consumed with keeping the military budget off the chopping block. In the course of over six years of intense scrutiny of candidate and President Obama, we at Black Agenda Report have learned to read him like a (comic) book. Last November 3, when Republicans won control of the House, we wrote: “We can only hope that the Republicans are so consumed with destroy-Obama fervor that they reject his entreaties to bipartisan collaboration, and rush to gridlock…. The best outcome that could result from Tuesday’s Democratic debacle is that the Republicans overreach and, in their white nationalist triumphalism, make it impossible for President Obama and congressional Democrats to reach an accommodation with rampaging reaction and racism.”

Naked Capitalism, How UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Brought Oppression Back To Greece’s Universities, Mark Ames, Nov. 23, 2011. Today, thanks in part to UC Davis chancellor “Chemical” Linda Katehi, Greek university campuses are no longer protected from state security forces. She helped undo her native country’s “university asylum” laws just in time for the latest austerity measures to kick in. Incredibly, Katehi attacked university campus freedom despite the fact that she was once a student at the very center of Greece’s anti-junta, pro-democracy rebellion–although what she was doing there, if anything at all, no one really knows.

Washington Post, FCC Deals Serious Blow To AT&T And T-Mobile Deal, Jia Lynn Yang, Nov. 23, 2011. AT&T, with its powerful army of lobbyists and years of experience navigating Washington, thought it could handily convince the government to approve its merger with T-Mobile. But regulators aren't buying it, and the $39 billion deal is facing its biggest threat yet. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski dealt a serious blow to the merger Tuesday, moving to block the deal on the basis of findings that it would cause job losses and higher prices for consumers, officials said. It was an unusual move for the FCC, which has not tried to block a deal since 2002. AT&T now faces its second major barrier from the government. The Justice Department's antitrust division has already sued and is scheduled to present its case against the deal in February before a federal judge. The hurdles keep mounting for AT&T, which bet big on the deal being approved. If the merger falls apart, the company is on the hook to hand over $3 billion in cash and something perhaps even more valuable - some of the spectrum that allows a wireless firm to offer services -- to T-Mobile's corporate parent, Deutsche Telekom. That looks increasingly likely with the FCC's decision. The agency has asked for an administrative hearing that would take place after the Justice Department's trial, meaning the government gets to take two cracks at blocking the deal.

Nov. 22

New York Times, Panel Rejects Many Obama Prospects for Judgeships, Charlie Savage, Nov. 22, 2011.  The American Bar Association has secretly declared a significant number of President Obama’s potential judicial nominees “not qualified,” slowing White House efforts to fill vacant judgeships — and nearly all of the prospects given poor ratings were women or members of a minority group, according to interviews. The White House has chosen not to nominate any person the bar association deemed unqualified, so their identities and negative ratings have not been made public. But the association’s judicial vetting committee has opposed 14 of the roughly 185 potential nominees the administration asked it to evaluate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Nov. 21

Washington Post, Stevens prosecutors shouldn’t be charged, investigator suggests, Del Quentin Wilber, Nov. 21, 2011. A judicial investigator has found evidence of “serious misconduct” in the prosecution of Ted Stevens on corruption charges, according to the federal judge who oversaw the corruption trial of former Alaska senator. Stevens, an Alaska Republican, was found guilty by a jury in October 2008 of seven counts of making false statements on financial disclosure statements to hide about $250,000 in gifts and free renovations to his Alaska house.  Several months after Stevens’ conviction, the Justice Department discovered that prosecutors had failed to turn over notes that contradicted a witness and asked U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to throw out the conviction.

Washington Post, Hugh Grant, Milly Dowler’s parents testify in News Corp. phone-hacking inquiry, Karla Adam, Nov. 21, 2011.  Movie star Hugh Grant delivered a withering attack on Britain’s tabloid press as he told a London courtroom on Monday that he thinks the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed News Corp. stretched beyond Rupert Murdoch-owned publications.  Earlier during the marathon session of a government-commissioned inquiry into media ethics, Bob and Sally Dowler, the first of five witnesses to testify on Monday, said they clung to hope that their 13-year-old daughter, Milly, was alive after someone working for News of the World deleted voice messages on her phone, freeing up space for new messages.

Columbia Journalism Review /The News Frontier, Will the IRS Derail Nonprofit Journalism? Steven Waldman, Nov. 21, 2011. In an era of newspaper closings and reporter layoffs, there has been one significant bright spot: an explosion of local, nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism enterprises focused on the kinds of accountability reporting that protects taxpayers and enriches democracy.  So it is beyond baffling that, according to CJR and other press reports, the Internal Revenue Service appears be slowing down or blocking approvals of tax-exempt status for nonprofit news startups.

Huffington Post, Mayor Bloomberg's First Amendment Problem, Timothy Karr, Nov. 21, 2011. Since the beginning of his crackdown against the Occupy Wall Street movement, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has gone to great lengths to present himself as a champion of the First Amendment. But the free speech rhetoric coming from City Hall hasn't matched the brutal reality experienced by journalists at the front lines of the protest. In the two months since the movement began 25 journalists have been arrested covering events across the country. More than half of these arrests have occurred in New York City, including 13 journalist arrests in the last week.

ABC-TV / Good Morning America, UC-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Denies Resignation, Says the 'University Needs Me,' George Stephanopoulos (VIDEO), Kate Kindelan, Nov. 21, 2011. University of California-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi says she won't resign despite outrage over her handling of campus officers' blasting pepper spray into the faces of students protesting Friday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Nov. 20

Boston Globe Magazine, Failing the Test, Schuster Institute’s Michael Blanding and Lindsay Markel, Nov. 20, 2011. (Subscription required.) WGBH “Morning Edition,” Phillip Martin, Nov. 21, 2011. Visit the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism’s website for a reading guide to “Failing the Test.” Learn more about the men named in the article who are waiting for tests. Learn about those in Massachusetts who have already been exonerated through DNA testing. Learn more about the importance of evidence preservation, and why it is crucial in a system that claims to seek justice for all.

Washington Post, Why Occupy Wall Street will keep up the fight, Kalle Lasn and Micah White, Nov. 20, 2011. Only a soft regime change can end the pervasive corruption at the heart of our political system, in which corporate money wins elections, drafts laws and trumps citizen desires. Only the plural voices of everyday Americans, the 99 percent, have the capacity to wake up the 1 percent to their greedy, self-serving ways, and to dismantle the global casino in which $1.3 trillion worth of derivatives, credit default swaps and other financial instruments slosh around every day without a hint of concern or regard for the millions of lives that such speculation can destroy.

Washington Post, DC Occupy camps are protesting the right way, Robert McCartney, Nov. 20, 2011. The Occupy movement is learning that hard lesson in cities across the nation, where its demonstrators have squatted in public spaces to press to reform America’s grossly inequitable economic power structure. In New York and other locales, activists failed to protect their image adequately. Their campgrounds were linked to sanitation problems, drug use and other woes. Mayors have ordered police to break up the camps — whose very presence typically violated some municipal ordinance — amid little public outcry. Happily, however, Washington is emerging as an exception. Protesters and authorities are each doing their part to help the campaign succeed.

Washington Post, More Eyes turn to license tag readers, Allison Klein and Josh White, Nov. 20, 2011. Scores of cameras across the city capture 1,800 images a minute and download the information into a rapidly expanding archive that can pinpoint people’s movements all over town.  More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.

Washington Post, Into Japan’s dead zone, Chico Harlan, Nov. 20, 2011. Eight months ago, people left this place in haste. Families raced from their homes without closing the front doors. They left half-finished wine bottles on their kitchen tables and sneakers in their foyers. They jumped in their cars without taking pets and left cows hitched to milking stanchions. Now the land stands empty, frozen in time, virtually untouched since the March 11 disaster that created a wasteland in the 12-mile circle of farmland that surrounds the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Some 78,000 people lived here; only a handful have been permitted to return. Cobwebs spread across storefronts. Mushrooms sprout from living-room floors. Weeds swallow train tracks. A few roads, shaken by the earthquake, are cantilevered like rice paddies. Near the coastline, boats borne inland by the tsunami still litter main roads.

Savannah Now / Savannah Morning News, A monumental day at Pin Point, Chuck Mobley, Nov. 20, 2011. With a powerful and poignant mixture of preaching and preservation, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the community of Pin Point celebrated the unveiling of a historical marker and the dedication of a heritage museum Saturday. I am a son of Pin Point,” said Thomas, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991.

Washington Post, Clarence Thomas attends hometown museum dedication; source of funding for institution prompts questions, Robert Barnes, Nov. 20, 2011. On a crisp morning, Thomas helped dedicate a Georgia historical marker noting the importance of Pin Point, where his birth and elevation to the Supreme Court was not the first accomplishment but simply the most recent. And then, with the rest of the crowd, he walked the 7/10s of a mile to the other end of a community too small to be called a town.  There, a whitewashed new Pin Point Heritage Museum has taken the place of the seafood cannery where his mother once worked while her baby rested in a crab basket. Its aim is to tell the rich story of the freed Sea Islands slaves who founded Pin Point, and to preserve what some historians say is the last piece of Georgia coastline still owned mostly by African Americans.  “Let us just savor this miracle,” Thomas said when it was his turn at the pulpit of his mother’s packed Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church. “Pin Point has a chance to survive.”  Pin Point is the world into which Thomas was born, but the museum is owed to the world in which Thomas now lives. His friend Harlan Crow, a wealthy Dallas developer who also donates to conservative political causes, has spent millions of dollars on the project. Comment section

Washington Post, Worst week in Washington, Chris Cillizza, Nov. 20, 2011. How do you say “Your 15 minutes of fame is up” in Cuban? That’s the question businessman Herman Cain may be asking after another week of bad press on the presidential campaign trail. (He wondered about the “Cuban” language at a Miami restaurant Wednesday.)  It began, as these things often do, innocently enough. Cain, who was in Wisconsin for some reason -- the state’s Republican primary is not until April - sat down with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Asked whether he agreed with President Obama’s approach to Libya, Cain said, “Okay, Libya,” and then paused for 10 - yes, 10 - full seconds before he said another word. He sputtered out that he didn’t support Obama’s policy before stopping himself mid-sentence and declaring: “No, that’s a different one. I’ve got to go back, got all this stuff twirling around in my head.”

Washington Post, Penn State pride erodes into agony, T. Frees Shapiro, Jenna Johnson and Joel Achenbach, Nov. 20, 2011. The Christmas lights are up. Jumbo snowflakes — blue and white, the school colors — dangle from the lampposts on Beaver and College avenues. On Thursday night, the mayor ordered the switch thrown to illuminate the city’s Christmas tree. On the surface, it’s the holiday season. But this place that calls itself Happy Valley is in anguish. Penn State has been gut-punched by the Jerry Sandusky child-rape accusations. The day of the tree-lighting ceremony, the NCAA sent a searing letter to the university’s interim president saying that it had opened an investigation of the school’s handling of the case.

Nov. 19

Huffington Post, Elizabeth Nichols, Occupy Portland Protester Pepper Sprayed In The Face, Identified, Dean Praetorius, Nov. 19, 2011.  In recent days pepper spray has become almost synonymous with the Occupy movement. Most recently this photo, which is quickly becoming an iconic image from the movement, has gone viral. It shows Occupy Portland protester Elizabeth Nichols getting hit directly in the face with pepper spray by Portland police. The shot was taken by Randy L. Rasmussen, a photographer for the Oregonian, during Thursday's protests.

New York Times, Charity Founded by Accused Ex-Coach May Fold, Mark Viera, Jo Becker and Pete Thamel, Nov. 18, 2011. The local charity founded by Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator who earlier this month was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys, is preparing to fold as it tries to reconstruct what it knew, and did, about any suspicions or allegations against Sandusky over the years.
David Woodle, the interim chief executive of the charity, known as the Second Mile, said in an interview Friday that the foundation was seeking to transfer its programs to other nonprofit organizations. The Second Mile’s leaders are looking at organizations that could, and would, carry forward the foundation’s work with disadvantaged youths.

FireDogLake, Lobbying Memo Seeks Methods to Discredit Occupy Movement, David Dayen, Nov. 19, 2011. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes broke some news this morning. He obtained a memo from a DC lobbying firm spelling out a strategy to undermine Occupy Wall Street. The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association. CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead. According to the memo, if Democrats embrace OWS, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.” The memo also suggests that Democratic victories in 2012 should not be the ABA’s biggest concern. “… (T)he bigger concern,” the memo says, “should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”

OpEd News, Police, Mayors... Use "Safety" to Excuse Worsening Violence, Like Pepper Spraying Peaceful UC Davis Students, Rob Kall, Nov. 19, 2011.

Nov. 18

Huffington Post, Clarence Thomas Assailed for Alleged Ethical Lapses by More House Dems, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) is turning up the heat on Justice Clarence Thomas based on new information that builds upon previous reports of his alleged ethical lapses. In late September, Slaughter had sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States to request official action on Thomas' multiyear failure to disclose his wife's income from various conservative think tanks and activist organizations.The Judicial Conference is the principal policy-making and administrative body for the federal court system. On Friday, Slaughter submitted a new letter, this time addressed to Chief Justice John Roberts in his capacity as the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference, to update and clarify the September letter. Only 19 other members of Congress joined her September letter; Friday's letter had the support of another 51 members. At issue is the fact that Thomas repeatedly checked a box titled "none" on annual financial disclosure forms in response to a question about the sources of spousal income. Yet during those years, his wife, Virginia Thomas, worked for the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and for the Tea Party lobbying group Liberty Central, which she helped found.  The first letter asserted that Thomas' nondisclosures persisted "[t]hroughout his entire tenure of the Supreme Court," which began in 1991. It was fair to infer from his "high level of legal training and experience," Slaughter wrote, that the justice's failure presented the type of "willful" behavior that federal law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Department of Justice for investigation.

Salon, The Fox/NYT nexus on OWS, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 18, 2011. The New York Times‘ media critic, Brian Stelter, yesterday had a long column criticizing the local Fox affiliate for claiming throughout the day — falsely — that OWS intended to “shut down” the New York City subway system. Stelter cited the “ominous” warnings from Fox anchor Greg Kelly — the son of NYPD Commission Raymond Kelly — saying things such as: “This is a big deal . . . .So far, they’ve focused their ire at the wealthy and those who support them, but when they start to shut down the commuting system for folks who are on their way to work, that’s something else.” Except, as Stelter documents, the whole thing was a fabrication from the start: while OWS announced their intention to “shut down” Wall Street, they intended merely to “occupy” the subway system by “handing out fliers.”

Nov. 17

GlennGerenwaldSalon, OWS-inspired activism, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 17, 2011. It was only a matter of time before a coordinated police crackdown was imposed to end the Occupy encampments. Law enforcement officials and policy-makers in America know full well that serious protests — and more — are inevitable given the economic tumult and suffering the U.S. has seen over the last three years (and will continue to see for the foreseeable future). A country cannot radically reduce quality-of-life expectations, devote itself to the interests of its super-rich, and all but eliminate its middle class without triggering sustained citizen fury.  The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.

Washington Post, GOP Report: TSA hasn't improved aviation security, Ashley Halsey III, Nov. 17, 2011. After a $56 billion federal investment in airline security, flying is no safer than it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the bare hands of passengers might be the best defense once a terrorist gets on board, two members of Congress said Wednesday. Deriding the Transportation Security Administration as a bloated bureaucracy that recruits security personnel with ads on gas pumps and pizza boxes, the two House Republicans said it needed to undergo almost a dozen reforms. “Americans have spent nearly $60 billion, and they are no safer today than they were before 9/11,” said Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.). “We need to make travel safe in America, and right now it’s not.”

Montgomery Advertiser, Attorney claims Riley made offers to stop gambling legislation, South Union Street blog, Nov. 17, 2011.  An attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor said then-Gov. Bob Riley made offers of substantial campaign contributions and projects to lawmakers to sway them to vote against gambling legislation.  McGregor and six other defendants, including three current or former state senators, are accused of trying to bribe or accepting bribes to vote for pro-gambling legislation. “We’re accused of a ‘yes’ vote. He did it for a ‘no’ vote,” said Joe Espy, lead attorney for McGregor.  Espy said he could not be more specific because a judge sealed the information.  Matt Lembke, a private attorney hired by Riley, called those accusations “outrageous slander” and said Riley never offered anything to anyone during his eight years in office.

Nov. 16

Harper's / No Comment, Abramoff 2.0, Scott Horton, Nov. 16, 2011. Jack Abramoff is back. “Casino Jack,” the man at the heart of the biggest corruption scandal in Washington since Teapot Dome, began his career as national chairman of the College Republicans, and went on to build a lobbying empire that set the gold standard for influence peddling. This empire milked clients, swayed Congress and the White House, and exercised sustained influence on the Justice Department even as its prosecutors had Abramoff in their sights. Since being released in June 2010 from a minimum-security federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland, Abramoff has been facing a dilemma: his brand has been trashed, and he badly needs to recreate himself. He claims now to want to expose the Beltway’s rampant corruption, a posture he is promoting with a blend that’s one part confessional, three parts movement-conservative gospel about the evils of government. Capitol Punishment acknowledges the modus operandi that earned Abramoff convictions for mail fraud and conspiracy, and lobs rounds at those he thinks betrayed him along the way, especially those politicians who took his money and then held him up to ridicule.

Across four pages in the middle of the book, Abramoff describes funneling $20 million to the Alabama G.O.P. and its allies in order to advance the interests of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, which operated a casino in Mississippi near the Alabama line. He writes that the Choctaw had three enemies in Alabama: Don Siegelman, the Democratic governor, who was proposing a state lottery to support Alabama’s education system; Milton McGregor, who was introducing gambling at facilities he ran in the state; and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which was seeking to develop a casino of its own. Abramoff writes that he used Ralph Reed to “organize the Christians” to stop these initiatives. In fact, it was the Justice Department that blocked Abramoff’s three “enemies.” After immense payments were funneled into G.O.P. coffers, Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys began criminal investigations that targeted Siegelman and McGregor, ultimately launching highly controversial trials with thin criminal pretexts. One U.S. attorney was also appointed to the licensing commission for the Poarch Creek Indians’ casino application, where she was able to block its progress. Abramoff’s ties to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his immediate entourage were considerable, and the Alabama U.S. attorney’s offices were probably the most thoroughly politicized in the country — a state of affairs that persists today.

Huffington Post, SOPA, The Internet Censorship Bill, Was Lauded By Both Parties In Key House Hearing, Zach Carter and Ryan Grim, Nov. 16, 2011. At a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans joined together to voice support for legislation that would criminalize much of the activity that occupies the Internet. The bipartisan bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act would establish major new powers for corporations intent on corralling copyrighted materials -- powers that would lead to big legal bills for start-ups and Silicon Valley giants alike. SOPA's Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, was already voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in September. Both political parties -- flush with campaign contributions from Hollywood studios and trial lawyers -- are eager to pass the legislation.

Washington Post, Q&A: EU chief privacy regulator on new Internet rules, Cecilia Kang, Nov. 16, 2011. Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission, is the continent’s leading advocate for laws on Internet privacy and data protection. And she’s not slowing down. Reding talked to Post Tech about these and other issues during a visit to Washington this week. She believes that self-regulation-- promoted by Web giants such as Google and Facebook --isn’t enough to protect online users. And she’s skeptical of comments by a senior tech adviser for President Obama, who earlier this week said the administration will try to convince Reding and other European regulators that new laws that would hamper U.S. Web firms.

Nov. 15

Jonathan Turley, Chicago Journalism Professor: Chicago Police Department Detained Him and Deleted Video of Arrest, Jonathan Turley, Nov. 15, 2011. Loyola University Professor Ralph Braseth in Chicago has shared with me a complaint alleging another incident of police ordering a citizen to delete videotape of an arrest taken in public. I have previously written about this worrisome trend. The difference is that Braseth is a journalism professor. The complaint raises some extremely serious allegations of censuring a journalist and violating core constitutional rights. If true, it is a telling retort to the taunting remarks of Judge Richard Posner recently about the “snooping” of citizens on police.

Salon, Debating Bush’s drug czar on legalization, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 15, 2011. Last Thursday at Brown University, I debated former Bush drug czar John Walters on the virtues of drug legalization, and the video is below. The aspect of With Liberty and Justice for Some that has received the most attention is the shield of immunity for elite lawbreaking, but the other side of that rule-of-law evisceration — the incomparably harsh and sprawling penal state America has created for its ordinary citizens — is at least as important, and it is the Drug War that personifies the worst abuses of that punishment system and accounts for much of it.

OpEd News, Fan Culture, Rape Culture, and the World Joe Paterno Made, Dave Zirin, Nov. 14, 2011.  Meet John Matko. John Matko is a 34-year-old Penn State class of 2000 alumnus, distraught by the recent revelations that legendary Coach Joe Paterno and those in charge allegedly shielded a serial child rapist, assistant Jerry Sandusky. He was livid that students chose to riot on campus this week, more upset about Paterno's dismissal than anything else. He was disgusted that the Board of Trustees decided to go ahead as planned with Saturday's Nebraska game just days after the revelations became public. John Matko felt angry and was compelled to act. He stood outside Saturday's Penn State-Nebraska game in Happy Valley and held up two signs. One read, "Put abused kids first." The other said, "Don't be fooled, they all knew. Tom Bradley, everyone must go." [Tom Bradley is the interim head coach.]

Politico, Judge: Condoleezza Rice's testimony at leak trial must be live, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 15, 2011. Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be required to testify live and in person at the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency officer accused of leaking top-secret information about U.S. efforts to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, a federal judge has ruled. Prosecutors want to tell jurors in the case against ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling about a White House meeting in April 2003 involving then-National Security Adviser Rice, then-CIA Director George Tenet along with New York Times reporter James Risen and then-DC bureau chief of the Times Jill Abramson. Court records indicate At the session, Rice and Tenet pleaded with Abramson and Risen not to publish information Risen had obtained about the CIA effort to give Iran flawed nuclear designs.

Nov. 14


Wayne Madsen Report, Welcome to Prosti-vania, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 14, 2011 (subscription only). The Penn State football pedophilia scandal will not stop at the Penn State campus in State College bit will have ramifications throughout Pennsylvania. The Penn State scandal already involves the current Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, and his two predecessors, Democrat Ed Rendell and Republican Tom Ridge.

Legal Schnauzer, Will Penn State Scandal Finally Bring Child Sexual Abuse Into the Spotlight? Roger Shuler, Nov. 14, 2011. America has a history of sweeping stories about child sexual abuse out of the spotlight. But we already are seeing signs that the evolving Penn State scandal might be changing that. Officials at The Citadel, another institution of "higher learning," revealed over the weekend that they had not adequately pursued allegations against a counselor at the school. Meanwhile, multiple news outlets are reporting that the Penn State scandal might expand to include charges that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky helped line up boys for sexual activity with wealthy university donors. How ugly could this get? Are Americans finally prepared to face an issue that more or less disappeared when reports about the Franklin Scandal surfaced in the late 1980s? The Franklin Scandal involved a child prostitution ring that had origins at orphanages in Nebraska and reportedly made its way to the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Investigative work by The Washington Times brought the story into the open. Craig J. Spence, a Republican lobbyist who reportedly arranged nocturnal tours for male prostitutes at the Reagan White House, was found dead in a room at the Boston Ritz Carlton in November 1989.

Former Nebraska State Senator John W. DeCamp, a Republican, wrote a book called The Franklin Cover-Up The BBC produced a documentary called Conspiracy of Silence, and it was to air on The Discovery Channel in May 1994. The program was pulled at the last minute, and the Franklin Scandal largely fell from view in the United states. (See video at the end of this post.)  Will America come to grips in 2011 with a horrifying subject that it chose to ignore in the 1980s and '90s? Some early signals indicate the answer might be yes.

Antonin Scalia and Clarence ThomasCommon Cause, Hours after considering challenges to health care reform, Supreme Court justices are honored at fundraiser sponsored by law firms representing reform opponents, Mary Boyle, Nov. 14, 2011. Hours after considering whether to hear challenges to national health care reform, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia were honored Thursday at a fundraiser sponsored in part by law firms engaged in the litigation. This is an apparent breach of ethical standards that apply to every other federal judge. That morning, all nine justices met to review appeals from lower federal courts. Their agenda included a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which the court announced today it would hear this term. A few hours later, Scalia and Thomas were honorees and speakers at an annual fundraising dinner for the Federalist Society, which describes itself as “conservatives and libertarians interested” in the law.

Nov. 13

Washington Post, Are you being watched? It's your fault, Jonathan Turley, Nov. 13, 2011. In December 1967, the Supreme Court issued what many consider to be one of its greatest and most eloquent decisions, in Katz v. United States. That case, which is celebrated as saving privacy in the United States, articulated the principle that “the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.” The decision reversed a long erosion of privacy protection and required greater use of warrants by the government.

Nov. 11

Politico, Obama won't release another surveillance opinion, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 11, 2011. The Justice Department is refusing to release a key legal opinion governing the use of "exigent letters," a mechanism the FBI uses to request information including telephone company records. In court filings Thursday night, the Obama administration said it would not release the January 2010 Office of Legal Counsel memo because portions of it are classified and because disclosing any part of the memo would damage the deliberative process and infringe on the attorney-client relationship.

Harper's No Comment, The Rizzo Investigation, Scott Horton, Nov. 11, 2011.  The CIA’s decision to launch a leak probe targeting a long-time employee who served as its highest legal officer is significant on at least two fronts. First, while the CIA will disclaim this interpretation, the probe should be understood as an acknowledgement of the accuracy of the statements John Rizzo made during his interview with Tara McKelvey. The second significant aspect of the Rizzo investigation relates to the Agency’s motives: it is difficult to believe that concerns about the disclosure of secrets damaging to national security are behind the inquiry. Nearly everything Rizzo said in the Newsweek interview has been said before by senior officials from the Bush and Obama administrations, albeit usually off the record. The only difference is that Rizzo’s statements were on the record. Why should this difference cause him to be investigated? Might it be that the CIA wishes to avoid public discussion about the drone campaign, and in particular to avoid discussion of the dominant role the Agency is playing?

OpEd News, The Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Scandal, the Second Mile Foundation, and Penn State,  Michael Collins, Nov. 11, 2011. This is a sexual assault scandal. It's not about football or any coach. It's about a criminal assailant who used his position and powerful organizations to commit sexual battery and deviant acts on at-risk youth. It's not going to be over soon so lets start calling it what it is - a scandal about people getting away with crimes and criminal neglect. The current focus on Pennsylvania State University, its football program, and former coach Joe Paterno will be replaced by a more pervasive sexual assault scandal in the coming days and weeks.  At-risk children and their often disadvantaged single parents were delivered up to a relentless sexual predator with exhibitionist tendencies as described in the findings of a special Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grand jury.


National Journal, Former top CIA lawyer under investigation, Marc Ambinder and Yochi Dreazen, Nov. 10, 2011. The Justice Department is investigating whether a former top U.S. intelligence official, John Rizzo, improperly disclosed classified information about the CIA's drone campaign, one of the spy agency's most secretive and politically sensitive programs. People familiar with the matter say that the CIA's general counsel’s office opened the probe in March, shortly after Newsweek published an article in which Rizzo -- who had retired in 2009 after serving as the CIA’s acting general counsel -- outlined an array of specific details about how CIA officials choose terrorists for drone strikes and which American officials sign off on actually carrying them out. The existence of the investigation hasn’t previously been reported.

Politico, Obama intelligence panel identified after suit, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 10, 2011. A federal lawsuit appears to have pried from the Obama administration the names of the members of a presidentially-appointed panel that handles reports of illegal and improper spying by the intelligence community. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said it asked for records on the make-up of the Intelligence Oversight Board in February, after a reporter's query for the information was rejected. The online civil liberties group sued in September after getting no response to its request. EFF says it got an answer to its FOIA a week after filing suit. The names on the Intelligence Oversight Board are no surprise: the two former senators who served as co-chairs of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), David Boren and Chuck Hagel, as well as a former Air Force general who's a member of the PIAB, Les Lyles.

Justice Integrity Project, Nov. 10 Radio: Lombardi Analyzes Italian Debt Crisis, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 10, 2011. The featured guest today on my Washington Update radio show was global analyst Guido George Lombardi, analyzing Italy's debt crisis and its impact on Europe and the United States. He argued that the media is exaggerating Italy's economic problems and predicted likely next steps. Also, he described the importance of the recent trip to the United States by French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen that we helped organize.

Justice Integrity Project, Herman Cain News Archive for Fall 2011, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 10, 2011. In view of the explosive developments regarding the Herman Cain presidential campaign this fall, the Justice Integrity Project provides a news archive below of coverage. The archive primarily covers developments since Politico revealed Oct. 30 that two former subordinates of Cain's at the National Restaurant Association won settlements after alleging improper conduct by Cain when he led the association in the 1990s.

Nov. 9

Mobile Press-Register, Feds ignore Gulf of Mexico oil spill in study of risks associated with oil exploration, Ben Raines, Nov. 9, 2011. Federal officials chose to exclude the Deepwater Horizon spill from an economic analysis of the risks associated with oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a draft document made public Tuesday. The draft Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement was released for public comment by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Regulation and Enforcement. The document weighs the environmental implications of continued drilling in federal waters between 2012 and 2017. The economic analysis associated with the new impact statement projects the potential for future spills and the damage they might cause based on all “spills from 1964-2010 excluding the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon (DWH) event.” The agency excluded the largest spill in U.S. history in its calculations “as a rough balance between the remote chance of another (Deepwater Horizon) event and the otherwise much safer performance” in the 46 years prior to the BP spill.

Forbes, Obama Learns Newspeak: The Administration's Perversion of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Harvey A. Silverglate, and Daniel Schwartz, Nov. 9, 2011. President Obama should know better. Our constitutional-law-professor-in-chief has, once again, taken the government to unprecedented levels of secrecy while institutionalizing the perversions of our seemingly never-ending war-on-terror. On October 30th, the administration, without seeking Congressional authorization, proposed an executive rule that will license governmental agencies to issue bald-faced lies to the citizenry, making a mockery not only of the Freedom of Information Act, but of the President’s supposed promise of transparency. Early in his presidency in 2009, in a “memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies” regarding proposed changes to the operation of the Freedom of Information Act, President Obama extolled the virtues of governmental openness, stating that

CBS 60 Minutes, Jack Abramoff:The lobbyist's playbook, Leslie Stahl, Nov. 6, 2011. Crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff explains how he asserted his influence in Congress for years, and how such corruption continues today despite ethics reform. Jack Abramoff, the notorious former lobbyist at the center of Washington's biggest corruption scandal in decades, spent more than three years in prison for his crimes. Now a free man, he reveals how he was able to influence politicians and their staffers through generous gifts and job offers. He tells Lesley Stahl the reforms instituted in the wake of his scandal have had little effect. The following is a script of "The Lobbyist's Playbook" which aired on Nov. 6, 2011. Jack Abramoff may be the most notorious and crooked lobbyist of our time. He was at the center of a massive scandal of brazen corruption and influence peddling. As a Republican lobbyist starting in the mid 1990s, he became a master at showering gifts on lawmakers in return for their votes on legislation and tax breaks favorable to his clients. He was so good at it, he took home $20 million a year. 

Legal Schnazuer, Abramoff Confirms That He Helped Turn Alabama Into a Political Cesspool, Roger Shuler, Nov. 10, 2011. Republican felon Jack Abramoff has written a new book that appears to be long on titillation and short on details. "Casino Jack" seems to pull more punches than "Smokin' Joe" Frazier ever threw. But while withholding more evidence than he provides, Abramoff confirms our worst fears: He helped soil our democracy in a way that almost certainly is unprecedented--and Alabama was one of his prime playgrounds.  How did he do it? Mainly by playing conservative Christians for fools.  The book is called "Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from America's Most Notorious Lobbyist." And after reading it, even the least rational Alabamians are likely to understand the following:

* Bob Riley rose to the governorship on a wave of GOP criminality;
* Don Siegelman, indeed, was targeted for a political prosecution -- partly to assuage Abramoff's clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians;
* Milton McGregor was targeted for a political prosecution in the ongoing Alabama bingo case--again to protect the Mississippi Choctaws.

The big loser in Abramoff's book, however, is the U.S. Department of Justice. We learn that the DOJ uncovered only a fraction of the criminal actions connected to Abramoff -- or perhaps we should say the department acted on only a tiny portion of what it uncovered. In fact, the Abramoff "prosecution" now looks mostly like an exercise in political damage control -- one that, so far, has helped protect Bob Riley and his henchmen in Alabama. Most importantly, Abramoff indicates that the DOJ remains a dysfunctional mess under Barack Obama, with enough embedded Bushies and spineless Obamaphiles on the loose to pull off a charade like the Alabama bingo case. In a sense, "Casino Jack" is at the heart of a story about simple mathematics.

Birmingham News /, Jack Abramoff's book says Choctaws funded Alabama anti-gambling efforts, Mary Orndorff, Nov. 9, 2011. Jack Abramoff helped his Indian gaming clients in Mississippi protect $400 million in annual revenue by spending $20 million of their money to defeat gambling expansions in Alabama, the convicted former lobbyist wrote in his new book. Abramoff spent 3½ years in jail after pleading guilty to corruption-related charges, including bilking the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and others out of millions of dollars and bribing public officials in Washington, D.C. Jack Abramoff helped his Indian gaming clients in Mississippi protect $400 million in annual revenue by spending $20 million of their money to defeat gambling expansions in Alabama, the convicted former lobbyist wrote in his new book.

Nov. 8

Protect Our Elections, Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas: Two Peas from the Same Pod, CL, Nov. 8, 2011.  When it comes to the politics of sexual scandals, there’s an iron-clad rule that Clarence Thomas’s handlers recognized implicitly, which Herman Cain may be about to pay the price for breaking: Two women is company, three’s a crowd. Four, which is the number who have now accused Cain of inappropriate sexual behavior, is a farewell chorus.

Nov. 7

Justice Integrity Project, Cain's 'Lynching' Defense Problem...Thomas Lied, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 7, 2011. GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain describes himself as a victim of a "high-tech lynching" -- not a playboy chasing women on his staff, as four have claimed, most recently on Nov. 7. Cain’s “lynching” defense is modeled on the one his friend, Clarence Thomas, used so effectively in 1991 to deflect sexual harassment charges from Anita Hill and thereby win a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. Cain's ad has helped him raise $1.2 million in the past week, he told CNN, and buttressed his support among conservatives. OpEd News, Cain's 'Lynching' Defense Problem...Clarence Thomas Lied, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 7, 2011.

Nov. 4

Chicago Tribune, Ameet Sachdev's Chicago Law, Nov. 4, 2011. Eugene Wedoff, a longtime judge on the federal bankruptcy court in Chicago, faces questions about his impartiality in a trial, but the scrutiny may be undeserved, according to a fellow judge.Wedoff is presiding over a dispute in which the trustee in the Emerald Casino bankruptcy blamed former officers and directors for the casino's failure and seeks at least $519 million in monetary damages. Jenner & Block represents the trustee. On Sept. 29, weeks before Wedoff was about to make a ruling in the high-stakes case, the trustee informed the court that Jenner had hired one of the judge's children, Carl Wedoff, who graduated from law school in 2008.

Nov. 3

The Hill, Restaurant group will decide Friday if Cain accuser can tell her story, Justin Sink, Nov. 3, 2011. The National Restaurant Association has pledged to announce a decision Friday as to whether it will allow a former employee who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment to release a statement detailing her side of the story, the trade group announced Thursday. Details about the alleged harassment are hampering Cain, who has struggled to stay ahead of an increasingly tangled and complex story. Cain, meanwhile, said the accusations were unfounded and had been disproved in an investigation by the restaurant association.“He’s trying to get famous and make some money,” Cain said about Bennett on the Sean Hannity radio show Thursday. “I don’t know where his head is … he’s not accepting that the charges were found baseless.”

Politico, Justice Department pulls controversial FOIA regs, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 3, 2011. The Justice Department is nixing proposed Freedom of Information Act regulations that lawmakers from both parties had assailed as authorizing federal officials to lie to FOIA requesters. The proposal said that when an agency determined certain exclusions from FOIA apply, "the component utilizing the exclusion will respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist. This response should not differ in wording from any other response given by the component." Though the regulation was proposed in March, the movement against it seemed to gather steam in recent days, moving beyond the traditional FOIA requester community and drawing public criticism from Republicans who said it promoted lying by the government. On Thursday, DOJ threw in the towel. "Having now received a number of comments on the Department's proposed regulations in this area, the Department is now actively considering those comments and is reexamining whether there are other approaches to applying exclusions that protect the vital law enforcement and security concerns that motivated Congress to exclude certain records from the FOIA and do so in the most transparent manner possible," DOJ legislative liaison Ronald Weich wrote in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the lawmakers who questioned the proposal., Alabama's newest U.S. attorney won't be involved in the retrial in Alabama's gambling corruption case, Aug. 18, 2011. Montgomery attorney George Beck had his investiture Wednesday as U.S. attorney for Alabama's Middle District. After the ceremony, he told reporters that he will be recused from the gambling case like his predecessor Leura Canary was. Beck said the case will continue to be directed by the Justice Department in Washington. The initial trial in the case ended Aug. 11 with 2 defendants getting acquitted on all charges. The other seven defendants face retrials because the jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on all charges.

Montgomery Advertiser /, Judge wants binder used to prep Siegelman witness, Brian Lyman, Nov. 3, 2011. A U.S. Magistrate Judge Thursday ordered the U.S. Attorney in Montgomery to turn over a binder used to prepare a key witness in the 2006 corruption trial of former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Charles S. Coody ordered George Beck, the U.S. Attorney for Alabama's Middle District, to submit the documents relating to former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey to allow him to review it. At a discovery hearing on Wednesday, attorneys for both Siegelman and Scrushy argued they needed access to documents to evaluate claims made by Bailey on the news program 60 Minutes that he rewrote his testimony for prosecutors dozens of times. The attorneys also argued for discovery on other issues, including the recusal of then-U.S. Attorney Leura Canary; Coody had not issued any rulings on those subjects as of Thursday morning.

Politico, Justice Department pulls controversial FOIA regs, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 3, 2011. The Justice Department is nixing proposed Freedom of Information Act regulations that lawmakers from both parties had assailed as authorizing federal officials to lie to FOIA requesters.On Thursday, DOJ threw in the towel.

Nov. 2
Wall Street Journal, Feds Shift Tracking Defense, Jennifer Valentin-Devries, Nov. 2, 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice now says its use of a cellphone-tracking device in a controversial Arizona case could be considered a "search" under the Fourth Amendment, a tactical move legal experts say is designed to protect the secrecy of the gadgets known as "stingrays." For more than a year, federal prosecutors have argued in U.S. District Court that the use of the stingray device—which can locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call—wasn't a search, in part because the user had no reasonable expectation of privacy while using Verizon Wireless cellphone service. Under that argument, authorities wouldn't need to obtain a search warrant before using one of the devices.
Addicting Info, Judge In Texas Beats Disabled Daughter With Belt For Downloading Music (VIDEO),  Stephen D. Foster Jr., Nov. 2, 2011.
Nov. 1,

Vox Citizen, Bill Moyers remarks for Public Citizen’s 40th Anniversary Gala, Staff video, Nov. 2011, Peabody Award-winning journalist Bill Moyers’ keynote remarks for Public Citizen’s 40th Anniversary Gala are found below: "The great progressive of a century ago, Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin – a Republican, by the way – believed that “Democracy is a life; and involves constant struggle.”  Democracy has been your life for four decades now, and would have been even more imperiled today if you had not stayed the course."


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