David Kirkpatrick

March 18, 2010

The Catholic church is an international criminal organization

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:37 pm

It’s now been fully exposed as a criminal organization that systemically damages children everywhere it operates and uses its power, influence and secrecy to protect its leadership beyond any other ideal. Take children out of that equation and I’ve just provided a blanket description of every other international organized crime cabal. It’s high time for the international court system to dig into, and dig into hard, the Vatican, and criminally charge and punish the pedophiles — and their protectors in the church, including the Pope — to the fullest extent of the law.

This statement from Monsignor Maurice Dooley in Ireland could be “exhibit A” for the prosecution on why to pursue this matter criminally. Catholic omerta, the pedophilic priest’s best friend (emphasis mine in the blockquote):

Mgr Dooley was asked what action he would take if a paedophile priest approached him now to confide his crimes.

I would not tell anyone,” he said. “That is his responsibility. I am considering only my responsibility. My responsibility is to maintain the confidentiality of information which I had been given under the contract of confidentiality.

“There must be somebody else aware of what he is up to, and he could be stopped. It is not my function.

“I would tell (the priest) to stop abusing children,” he added.

“But I am not going to go to the police or social services in order to betray the trust he has put in me,” said Mgr Dooley who was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

March 6, 2010

First time farce, second time tragedy

Read this whole piece on the Liz Cheney group Keep America Safe’s shameless attack on U.S. Justice attorneys who upheld American legal tradition and the Constitution by defending Guantanano Bay detainees. I blogged on this topic earlier this week here.

From the first link:

Interviewing Liz Cheney, Bill O’Reilly ran side-by-side photos of Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver who Katyal successfully represented in the Supreme Court. (Neal Katyal, I should mention, is my Georgetown colleague, on leave to the SG’s office.) Some readers might remember Steven Colbert’s hilarious 2006 interview with Katyal soon after the Hamdan decision. Colbert began, “You defended a detainee at Gitmo in front of the Supreme Court — for what reason? Why did you do it?” Neal replied: “A simple thing: he wanted a fair trial….” Colbert (cutting Katyal off): “Why do you hate our troops?” It brought gales of laughter from the audience. Watch the whole thing — it’s one of the few times that Colbert was actually upstaged by his guest.

First time farce, second time tragedy. Colbert’s joke is Bill O’Reilly’s reality — the reality of a nauseating reprise of McCarthyism. No one is laughing now.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

February 23, 2010

Justice Department on the torture memos

If you’re following the current story on the John Yoo and Judge Jay Bybee torture memos you know the Office of Professional Responsibility report found the memos shameful, but Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis has recommended the Justice Department will not refer a finding of professional misconduct. With this announcement many talking heads on the right, often ex-officials of the Bush 43 administration, have gone on the attack claiming all this news totally exonerates Yoo and Bybee. Not so. Margolis basically says their legal advice was very questionable and essentially straddles the line of misconduct enough he can’t rule against them.

One thing the OPR report does illuminate is simply how shameful and shameless the United States government, particularly the executive branch and Department of Justice, behaved during the Bush years. These individuals may escape personal and professional repercussions, but history will not be kind to anyone who is associated with dragging America down into the ranks of states that torture.

Jack Balkin offers a great explanation/take-down on just how low of bar Yoo and Bybee barely escaped through Margolis’ decision not to find for professional misconduct.

Here’s a quick sample:

Instead, Margolis argues that, judging by (among other things) a review of D.C. bar rules, the standard for attorney misconduct is set pretty damn low, and is only violated by lawyers who (here I put it colloquially) are the scum of the earth. Lawyers barely above the scum of the earth are therefore excused.

And here’s Balkin’s excellent concluding graf:

Whether or not the DOJ refers Yoo and Bybee for professional discipline, no one should think that either man behaved according to the high standards we should expect of government attorneys. They, and the government officials who worked with them, shamed this nation. They dragged America’s reputation in the dirt. They severely damaged our good name in the eyes of the world. They undermined the values this country stands for and that the legal profession should stand for. Nothing the DOJ does now–or fails to do–will change that.

February 15, 2010

Dick Cheney admits to being a war criminal

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:11 am

Cheney openly declared himself a “big supporter of waterboarding.”

Waterboarding is considered torture under U.S. and international law, and the imposition of, or ordering from a leadership position of, torture constitutes a war crime.

There is no possibility Cheney was confused and didn’t realize he was admitting to criminal activity. He clearly is either playing chicken with the Obama Justice Department on the potential for legal action on his admission, or he’s truly gone around the bend and sees himself far enough above the law that legal statutes no longer apply to to his activities.

At any rate I doubt he travels to many first world nations around the globe for the rest of his days.

From the link, Andrew Sullivan on this admission:

The question is therefore not if, but when, he is convicted as a war criminal – in his lifetime or posthumously.

In fact, the attorney general of the United States is legally obliged to prosecute someone who has openly admitted such a war crime or be in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention on Torture. For Eric Holder to ignore this duty subjects him too to prosecution. If the US government fails to enforce the provision against torture, the UN or a foreign court can initiate an investigation and prosecution.

These are not my opinions and they are not hyperbole. They are legal facts. Either this country is governed by the rule of law or it isn’t. Cheney’s clear admission of his central role in authorizing waterboarding and the clear evidence that such waterboarding did indeed take place means that prosecution must proceed.

Cheney himself just set in motion a chain of events that the civilized world must see to its conclusion or cease to be the civilized world. For such a high official to escape the clear letter of these treaties and conventions, and to openly brag of it, renders such treaties and conventions meaningless.

February 11, 2010

Big Brother …

… may well be a little electronic device in your pocket. It shouldn’t be shocking, but I never cease to be amazed at the unconstitutional power grabs the Federal government continues to attempt and take in terms of civil liberties and personal privacy. New technology is wonderful, but it is very important to track, and reign in, the long, sneaky arm of the Fed.

From the link:

If you own a cell phone, you should care about the outcome of a case scheduled to be argued in federal appeals court in Philadelphia tomorrow. It could well decide whether the government can use your cell phone to track you — even if it hasn’t shown probable cause to believe it will turn up evidence of a crime.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology will ask the court to require that the government at least show probable cause before it can track your whereabouts.

And:

There’s no question that cell phones and cell-phone records can be useful for police officers who need to track the movements of those they believe to be breaking the law. And it is important for law enforcement agents to have the tools they need to stop crimes. However, it is just as important to make sure such tools are used responsibly, in a manner that safeguards our personal privacy.

But documents obtained by the ACLU and the EFF as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that the government takes advantage of this technology to track cell phones as extensively as possible — often without first obtaining warrants — except in states where courts step in to establish boundaries.

And here is the absolutely ridiculous government argument for retaining this right to breach your privacy:

The government has argued that “one who does not wish to disclose his movements to the government need not use a cellular telephone.” This is a startling and dismaying statement coming from the United States. The government is supposed to care about people’s privacy. It should not be forcing the nation’s 277 million cell-phone subscribers to choose between risking being tracked and going without an essential communications tool.

What’s at stake in the case is not whether it’s OK for the government to track the locations of cell phones; we agree that cell-phone tracking is lawful and appropriate in certain situations. The question is whether the government should first have to show that it has good reason to think such tracking will turn up evidence of a crime.

Update 2/13/10 — the above link and quotes are from the ACLU. Here’s the Cato Institute’s take on this issue. As with many, many public policy issues, Cato and the ACLU are in total agreement here.

October 1, 2009

Nanny lawsuit — Dallas-style

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:50 am

This is about the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long, long while. Read the comments to see exactly how reviled these two attention-seeking ladies are among readers of this article. Talk about a frivolous lawsuit.

From the link:

A Dallas woman has filed a lawsuit seeking six figures from a former neighbor and landlord for damage she says was caused by cigarette smoke wafting through adjoining walls of her high-end townhome.

“Smoking is not a right, it’s a privilege,” said Chris Daniel, a retired nurse. “I’m sorry that people smoke. I think it’s foolish, but when it comes into my house and hurts my health and my daughter’s health and our belongings, it’s a different issue.”

More from the link:

A manager and attorney for Estancia Townhomes, a 52-building community near Prestonwood Country Club in North Dallas, said it’s unlikely the Daniels sustained any smoke damage. There is a solid, two-hour fire wall from the foundation to the roof between each of the homes.

And even if some smell did seep through, the Daniels renewed their lease at Estancia – where smoking is permitted – six months after they say the problem began.

“Why do people file lawsuits?” asked Ginger Tye, an attorney representing the property managers and owners. “They’re asking for money damages.”

August 30, 2009

Taking a power sander to his legacy …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:17 pm

Dick Cheney returns to the public sphere.

He may well avoid any legal problems related to his torture program breaking both United States and international law, but Cheney is certainly cementing his place in history. And it’s not going to be in the American hero section of the library.

From the link:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney asserted on Sunday that the Justice Department’s decision to review detainee interrogation practices by Central Intelligence Agency workers and contractors was “a political move” and that President Obama was trying to “duck the responsibility” by saying the choice was the attorney general’s.

From John Kerry:

Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and also a decorated Vietnam veteran, responded more bluntly on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that Mr. Cheney had shown through the years “frankly, a disrespect for the Constitution, for sharing of information with Congress, respect for the law, and I’m not surprised that he is upset about this.”

And from John McCain:

Mr. McCain’s sharpest departure from Mr. Cheney came in his criticism of the C.I.A.’s use of extreme interrogation methods, even as Mr. Cheney again insisted that they had provided critical, life-saving intelligence. The senator, a frequent critic of torture, said that such techniques violated the Geneva convention on torture, damaged United States relations with allies, substantially aided al-Qaeda with its recruitment and produced unreliable intelligence.

June 27, 2009

The no fun league strikes again

Filed under: Business, Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:04 pm

I love pro football. Almost all my sports blogging is on pro football. But — the moniker “no fun league” for NFL is all too fitting. The league is too ready to crack down on players for public relations reasons and far too draconian in its business dealings.

Now the no fun league wants to codify a lower court precedent with a Supreme Court ruling? I doubt the court takes the case and if it does I hope the NFL gets shot down. Sadly the Roberts court — which I had some hope for — might actually take a bullshit case like this.

From the second link:

In the legal equivalent of running up the score, the NFL is going to the U.S. Supreme Court in search of a bigger victory in an antitrust tussle over team merchandise than it already won from a lower court.The Supreme Court could decide as early as Monday whether it will hear the case, which involves American Needle Inc.’s challenge to the league’s exclusive contract for selling headwear such as caps and hats with team logos on them.

American Needle of Buffalo Grove, Ill., also is urging a high court review. Football team owners hope the Supreme Court will issue a broader decision that would insulate the NFL against what they contend are costly, frivolous antitrust lawsuits.

At the heart of the matter is whether the NFL’s teams constitute 32 distinct businesses or a single entity that can act collectively without violating antitrust law.

Update 6/29/09 — The big court is going to hear the case.

From the link:

In taking a case involving the National Football League’s exclusive licensing deal for sports merchandise, the Supreme Court could go beyond caps and give leagues more leeway in areas such as team relocation, legal scholars said Monday.”A broad ruling in favor of the NFL could rewrite almost all of sports antitrust law,” said Gabe Feldman, associate law professor and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University in New Orleans.

June 18, 2009

Supreme Court fails DNA testing case

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:50 pm

In a 5-4 decision (take a guess at the line-up on both sides of that vote), the Supreme Court ruled convicted prisoners do not have the right to DNA testing to attempt to prove their innocence. The majority cited the fact 46 states already allow for DNA testing post-conviction as reason that ability should remain with the states.

If these contentious 5-4 ruling keep happening with the same five siding for the power of statism and corporate interests over individual liberty I’m guessing the Roberts court will be seen as phenomenally regressive.

Many of the current court’s decisions run against popular sentiment and even against the stated judicial views of those deciding in the majority. There is a very real sense of situational justice at play, and that is not the role of the Supreme Court.

From the link:

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a dissent expressing his dismay that the majority had chosen to approve of Alaska’s denial of the evidence sought by the defendant. “The DNA test Osborne seeks is a simple one, its cost modest, and its results uniquely precise,” Justice Stevens said.

Since 1992, 238 people in the United States, some who were sitting on death row, have been exonerated of crimes through DNA testing. In many of those cases, the DNA testing used to clear them was not available at the time of the crime.

But several aspects of the Osborne case did not make the defendant a sympathetic one, so perhaps his case was not the ideal vehicle for those hoping that the nation’s highest court would find a constitutional right to “post-conviction” DNA testing — that is, after the normal appeals have been exhausted.

Here’s Reason mag’s Radley Balko on the case:

Representing the convicted man, the Innocence Project argued that a right to access a simple test that could establish actual innocence would be covered by the Constitution’s due process clause.

I wrote about the case, District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District v. Osborne, for The Daily Beast last March.

Update: via @radleybalko, head below the fold for the Innocence Project’s reaction. (more…)

June 1, 2009

Massive privacy violation in Colorado

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:46 pm

Astounding investigative overreach in Colorado while looking for illegal immigrants. Glad to see the judges in the case see things the same way. Fourth Amendment anyone?

From the link:

Immigrant advocates say they’ve seen nothing like it before or since: A prosecutor looking for illegal immigrants seized thousands of confidential tax records from an income tax preparer popular with Hispanics in this northern Colorado city.The October seizures led to identity theft and criminal impersonation charges against more than 70 people, and prosecutors allege that as many as 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants were working using false or stolen Social Security numbers.

But the American Civil Liberties Union said the documents of as many as 4,900 people were seized, many of them legal residents, and that the probe was the “equivalent of a house-by-house search of innocent homeowners in order to find a suspect believed to be somewhere in the neighborhood.”

Two judges have agreed, ruling that Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck had no probable cause to seize the records. Buck is appealing, however, and a ruling in his favor could open up a new avenue for prosecuting illegal immigrants.

April 9, 2009

Yet another Ponzi scheme

Wow, it seems Ponzi schemes have been alive and well across our land and it took a financial crisis to expose those critters to legal trouble.

From the link:

In the latest in a string of alleged Ponzi schemes, civil fraud charges have been filed against a Colorado investment manager who operated a $20 million operation that allegedly victimized dozens of investors in at least three states.

Shawn Merriman, 46, used some of his investors’ funds for personal expenses, including purchases of Rembrandt masterpieces worth millions of dollars and other artwork, according to a lawsuit announced Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Operating through Market Street Advisors, an Aurora-based firm he owned, Merriman allegedly promised investors annual returns as high as 20% from stock trading. He lost about $400,000 through aggressive investments by the initial investment fund he launched in 1995, the SEC said.

March 28, 2009

The wheels of justice creak …

… a little farther forward.

That line that Bush 43 officials might not want to travel overseas? It’s becoming reality. At some point the highest levels of U.S. jurisprudence will have to look into the fact of Bush administration war crimes.

From the link:

Spain’s national newspapers, El País and Público reported that the Spanish national security court has opened a criminal probe focusing on Bush Administration lawyers who pioneered the descent into torture at the prison in Guantánamo. The criminal complaint can be examined here. Públicoidentifies the targets as University of California law professor John Yoo, former Department of Defense general counsel William J. Haynes II (now a lawyer working for Chevron), former vice presidential chief-of-staff David Addington, former attorney general and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, now a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith.

The case was opened in the Spanish national security court, the Audencia Nacional. In July 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a former Spanish citizen who had been held in Guantánamo, labeling the regime established in Guantánamo a “legal black hole.” The court forbade Spanish cooperation with U.S. authorities in connection with the Guantánamo facility. The current criminal case evolved out of an investigation into allegations, sustained by Spain’s Supreme Court, that the Spanish citizen had been tortured in Guantánamo.

Andrew Sullivan makes a point on exactly what this means:

More ominous for Yoo and Addington et al is that the judge involved is the one who nailed Pinochet. That dude doesn’t mess around. Spain’s action means these war criminals are vulnerable in 24 European countries for arrest and prosecution for enabling torture. It’s a start.

March 20, 2009

The legal floodgates are open …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:00 am

… for the criminal activities of the Bush 43 years. Look for much more jurisprudence in the coming months and years.

From the link:

A federal judge has rejected a defense contractor’s claims that it cannot be sued by alleged torture victims at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Arlington, Va.-based CACI (KA’-kee) had claimed it was immune from the lawsuit because it was only providing interrogators as the government required. The company also said the case implicates policy questions too sensitive for litigation.

March 5, 2009

“Joe the Plumber” sues after suffering embarrassment

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:25 pm

No he’s not suing himselfbecause that would actually make sense. I can’t believe any GOPers (Pajamas Media, anyone) would do anything to promote this clown. He’s one more albatross around the neck of the Republicans during some dark, dark days.

From the link:

“Joe the Plumber” is suing three former state officials in Ohio, saying they violated his privacy when they gathered his personal information in a records search.

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher says in the federal lawsuit filed Thursday that he suffered emotional distress, harassment, humiliation and embarrassment as a result of their actions. He’s seeking unspecified punitive damages.

February 14, 2009

Nanny state in action — Oklahoma-style

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:39 pm

Well, it’s really nanny city because it is just Norman, and more than nannyism this really just violates the U.S. legal stance of innocent until proven guilty. I’m betting this bit of stupidity will end up costing the city of Norman a boat-load of legal fees and a dumping of the asinine law after the first court battle.

Fools in the city council mean wasted city funds.

From the link:

A new ordinance unanimously approved Tuesday by the Norman City Council will require residents to prove, in a court of law, they did not litter, rather than having the city attempt to prove they did.

The council unanimously approved the ordinance that holds businesses and individuals accountable for unlawfully discarded trash or litter.

City of Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said the littering ordinance targets those who discard trash inside, or next to, common dumpsters used by several businesses. Business owners on Campus Corner asked city officials to help them find a solution to the overflow of trash surrounding shared dumpsters on Campus Corner, he said.

January 20, 2009

Missing hedge fund manager

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:38 pm

I have a feeling this type of story, and reports of suicide, will continue for a while as rotten apples drop of the financial world’s trees.

From the link:

The F.B.I. and securities regulators have joined the investigation of Arthur Nadel, a Florida hedge fund manager who disappeared four days ago, leaving clients concerned that they might have lost as much as $350 million.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are helping on the case, police Lt. Stanley Beishline of Sarasota, Fla., said in a telephone interview.

 

One of Mr. Nadel’s business partners, Neil Moody, said Mr. Nadel had spoken to his wife, Peg, since he was reported missing. Mr. Nadel, 76, is president of Scoop Management in Sarasota, which oversees funds that include Valhalla Investment Partners. Mr. Moody holds no position in Scoop Management and was a partner with Mr. Nadel only on the Vahalla fund and two Viking funds.

Scoop’s claim to have managed as much as $350 million ”may be high because performance results were exaggerated,” Mr. Moody said in an interview. Mr. Moody said he did not know anything was wrong until Mr. Nadel was reported missing.

Mr. Nadel was last seen by his wife at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday when he left for work, said Lt. Chuck Lesaltato of the Sarasota County sheriff’s office.

January 6, 2009

RIAA afraid of light of day

Filed under: Arts, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:39 pm

One more reason to oppose the losing battle the RIAA seems determined to keep fighting. I love the recording industry and hate to watch what this dinosaur in its death throes is doing in terms of public relations and sector growth.

At this point the RIAA needs to be euthanized and the labels ought to get together and create something that works in the 21st century. The old guard had its try and failed miserably.

From the Boing Boing link:

Campaigning law prof Charlie Nesson wants the whole world to see how the RIAA shakes down students, so he’s asked for the proceedings to be webcast. The RIAA wants to hide under a rock:

A Harvard Law professor representing some students sued by the recording industry for illegally downloading music has filed a motion to broadcast online the proceedings of two cases being heard by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.The professor, Charles R. Nesson, argues in the motion that to stream the court proceedings over the Internet — or as the students put it in their request, ‘admit the Internet into the courtroom’ — would help the public understand the legal issues at play in the industry’s lawsuits against thousands of computer users, many of whom are college students.

December 24, 2008

Dick Cheney, self-avowed war criminal

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:50 pm

I don’t see how these comments fail to create serious legal implications for Cheney and the rest of the Bush 43 team.

Possibly the group could be exonerated given the gravity and uniqueness of the situation, but I doubt it. Many countries other than the US deal with much higher levels of terrorism and don’t resort breaking international law.

From the link:

Mr. Cheney, by contrast, is unbowed, defiant to the end. He called the Supreme Court “wrong” for overturning Bush policies on detainees at Guantánamo Bay; criticized his successor, Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.; and defended the harsh interrogation technique called waterboarding, considered by many legal authorities to be torture.

“I feel very good about what we did,” the vice president told The Washington Times, adding, “If I was faced with those circumstances again, I’d do exactly the same thing.”

The difference in tone, friends and advisers say, reflects a split over Mr. Bush’s second-term foreign policy, which Mr. Cheney resisted as too dovish. It also reveals their divergent approaches to post-White House life. Mr. Bush, who is planning a public policy center in Dallas, is trying to shape his legacy by offering historians a glimpse of his thinking, while Mr. Cheney, primarily concerned about the terrorist threat, is setting the stage for a role as a standard-bearer for conservatives on national security.

December 9, 2008

Blago post number two

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:08 pm

The first one is here. I just wanted to get some raw content from the official arrest release.

From the second link:

CHICAGO – Illinois Gov.

Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.

And here’s a little laundry list from page two of the twelve page PDF:

A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:

 

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a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;

 

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placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;

 

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promises of campaign funds – including cash up front; and

 

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a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

 

Everyone is commenting it’s a slow news day so Blago’s really getting it, but man, it’s deserved.

Blagojevich busted for selling Senate seat

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:51 pm

Obama’s Senate seat, that is. Looks like the president-elect is completely clean of this affair aside from some of his staff mentioned in the indictment, but man, Blagojevich is an idiot. I guess he thought he could carry corruption to a new level once a native son (well a native Senator, at least) got elected president.

I have the feeling he’s going down pretty hard and can expect zero slack from an Obama DoJ. According to the indictment he at least mouthed off about forcing Obama’s hand in some fashion. I’m thinking an asshat governor with that amount of stupidity might get a strong dose of exactly what he can and cannot do.

(note: gratuitous Pulp Fiction interlude.) “Do they speak english in what?”

From the Ambinder link:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and chief of staff John Harris were indicted this morning.

Read the charging document here:

blagocharged.pdf

I don’t think Team Obama expected the Illinois governor to be  “intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.” 

Most of the affidavit deals with post-election events, weird, because Blago has been under investigation for years. One allegedly incriminating conversation took place last Friday.

When discussing the Senate race, Blago allegedly told his chief of staff John Harris that, “I want to make money.”  (Unless there was a Senate candidate named Money, then he’s got a problem.”)

December 7, 2008

Scalia and golly waddles

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:37 pm

From the Daily Dish:

Jay Wexler was amused by FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc, a Supreme Court case about profanity:

The oral argument in the case had many funny moments.  By far the best one was when, in the midst of a back-and-forth with Carter Phillips regarding how the words “fuck” and “shit” may or may not get their special force from being connected to sexual and excretory activity, Justice Scalia said, and I kid you not, “Don’t use golly waddles instead of the F word.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your Supreme Court. Afraid of language as it is actually used. I shudder to think about Antonin’s dirty talk.

Seriously though, this is ridiculous. This is the highest court in our land. There is no room for prudery or the need for juvenile euphemism when discussing matters that in some cases involves life and death. (Obviously this doesn’t quite meet that standard.) Frankly, it’s fucking embarrassing.

December 6, 2008

Legal heat about to hit Bush 43 administration?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:56 pm

Looks very possible right now. The keystone figure is likely to be Alberto Gonzales and his actions as Attorney General. He’s facing some real civil and probable criminal charges — charges that Bush may be hard pressed to pardon away because of their explicitly political nature.

From the TPM Muckraker link:

It would appear that the most obvious reason for Terwilliger to withdraw from the civil suit is to be able to devote additional time to Dannehy’s more serious investigation into criminal wrong-doing.

That’s certainly the opinion of the veteran Washington lawyer bringing the civil suit in question. Dan Metcalfe, a former DOJ official and now the executive director of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University Washington College of Law, who brought the suit on behalf of the law students, told TPMmuckraker*: “I think it’s quite fair to say that the most plausible explanation for what happened is that [Terwilliger] learned he was going to be otherwise occupied on Gonzales’ behalf.”

That would jibe with the newsearlier this week that Dannehy has issued subpoenas through a grand jury — it would be common practice at this point for targets in the investigation to receive letters from the prosecutor informing them that they are under investigation. And of course it would be in sync with our report that Dannehy appears to have contacted Gonzales or his lawyer in connection with the probe.

Also from the link:

Late Update: There’s additional evidence that Terwilliger is feeling jumpy about the twin cases, and is anxious to draw a distinction between the civil suit and the possible criminal investigation. Within hours of a story being posted by the legal publication AM Law Dailyincorrectly stating that DOJ was paying Gonzales’ lawyers for their work on the Dannehy investigation, Terwilliger had posted the following comment on the site:

Please correct your story as it is plainly in error to report that the Justice Department is paying Judge Gonzales’ legal fees in connection with the Inspector General inquiries. Those fees are a private responsibility. DOJ is reportedly paying fees at governement [sic] rates to another law firm in connection with a civil law suit in which Judge Gonzales has been sued in his individual capacity in connection with events in which he was involved, if at all, in his offical [sic] capacity.

Go below the fold for even creepier facts about Gonzo …

(more…)

December 5, 2008

O.J. Simpson heading to prison

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:33 pm

Over his “memorabilia episode.” Minimum of nine years and maybe even up 33 years.

From the ESPN link:

A broken O.J. Simpson was sentenced Friday to at least nine years in prison and as many as 33 years for a hotel armed robbery after a judge rejected his apology and said, “It was much more than stupidity.”

 

The 61-year-old football Hall of Famer stood shackled and stone-faced when Judge Jackie Glass quickly rattled off his punishment soon after he made a rambling, five-minute plea for leniency, choking back tears as he told her: “I didn’t want to steal anything from anyone. … I’m sorry, sorry.”

 

Simpson said he was simply trying to retrieve sports memorabilia and other mementos, including his first wife’s wedding ring, from two dealers when he stormed a Las Vegas hotel room on Sept. 13, 2007.

December 4, 2008

Supreme Court to look into Obama’s citizenship?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:00 pm

Not very likely even though the topic is on the schedule. This is colossal waste of the court’s time and does nothing for national unity at a time when the US is facing a number of threats, not least of which is a financial crisis with no end or resolution in sight.

Once the robed nine refuse to hear the case it’ll only serve as more grist for the mills of the angry right who want to deny Obama’s legitimacy as president. That worked so well for the US during Clinton’s presidency, I’m sure we all all want of reprise angry cranks on the fringe right hoping block Obama’s policies by any means necessary.

From the link:

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Friday whether to take up a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, a continuation of a New Jersey case embraced by some opponents of Obama’s election.

The meeting of justices will coincide with a vigil by the filer’s supporters in Washington on the steps of the nation’s highest court.

The suit originally sought to stay the election, and was filed on behalf of Leo Donofrio against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.

Legal experts say the appeal has little chance of succeeding, despite appearing on the court’s schedule. Legal records show it is only the tip of an iceberg of nationwide efforts seeking to derail Obama’s election over accusations that he either wasn’t born a U.S. citizen or that he later renounced his citizenship in Indonesia.

The Obama campaign has maintained that he was born in Hawaii, has an authentic birth certificate, and is a “natural-born” U.S. citizen. Hawaiian officials agree.

Update 12/8 — To no one’s surprise, the Supreme Court refuses to hear this waste time.

The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.

The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth — his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject — he cannot possibly be a “natural born citizen,” one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.

November 21, 2008

Dog bites man …

Filed under: Business, et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:44 pm

IRS agent cheats on his taxes.

From the link:

An IRS revenue agent was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after he was indicted a few days earlier by a grand jury on charges of tax fraud and obstructing an investigation into his tax return.

Jim Liu, 42, of Diamond Bar, Calif., claimed on his tax return that he had suffered a loss on a real estate sale when he had actually realized a profit. Liu has been released on a $30,000 bond and is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 24.

November 18, 2008

Cheney, Gonzales indicted

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:24 pm

On prisonor abuse charges.

This is most likely the beginning of the floodgates. A day of reckoning is looming fast for a large portion of the Bush 43 regime.

From the link:

A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers.

The indictment criticizes Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

(via: the Daily Dish)

November 14, 2008

Deep rot at Justice

The Bush 43 Department of Justice has been a disgrace, and may well be much worse than the public even knows about right now. Good luck to the incoming DoJ team to shovel through this shitpile.

Scott Horton puts it all in perspective here.

From the Daily Beast link:

Painful as the appearances were of prosecutorial misconduct emerging from the Justice Department’s own letter, in retrospect that letter raises still more troubling issues. It now appears that the Justice Department was aware of even more startling allegations of misconduct raised directly by a member of the prosecution team, and documented with internal communications, but it consciously chose to hide all of this from the court and from opposing counsel. This would warrant another disciplinary review and possible action against the prosecutors.

In the meantime, U.S. Attorney Leura Canary is scrambling to find a new job. But her imminent departure serves to highlight a broader problem. As President-Elect Obama works to pick a new attorney general, his transition team is focused on a series of far more complex issues at the Justice Department. Public confidence in the work of the department has fallen to the lowest level since the Watergate scandal, when attorney generals John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst were indicted and convicted.

Alberto Gonzales and his three most senior deputies were all forced from office in disgrace as evidence mounted that they had abused the Department for political purposes. An internal investigation of this abuse could not be concluded because of obstruction from the White House and the refusal of Bush Administration lawyers to cooperate. A special prosecutor had to be appointed to investigate a number of allegations of politically abusive conduct concerning the operations of U.S. Attorney offices around the country.

Simply appointing a new attorney general will not resolve these problems, but it would be a significant first step. As the Siegelman case shows, some of the departing U.S. attorneys are leaving behind a legal toxic waste dump that may take years to clean up.

Deep Dive:  The key documents in the case.

Scott Horton is a law professor and writer on legal and national security affairs for Harper’s Magazine and The American Lawyer, among other publications.

If you have an interest in the Don Siegelman saga, TPMMuckraker has a many, many posts outlining this disgrace of justice in our nation, a nation of laws except under Bush 43’s DoJ as it turns out.

October 16, 2008

Spam operation busted

Filed under: Business, et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:19 am

I knew my spam pretty much disappeared, and here’s the reason. Kudos to all law enforcement enforcement involved. Thank you.

From the link:

Steve Baker, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Midwest Region announces that the FTC has shut down one of the largest spam operations in the world Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008, at a news conference in Chicago. The complex network involved countries from New Zealand to China to the United States. Spammers sent out billions of e-mails encouraging people to click through to professional-looking Web sites, which allegedly used false claims to peddle prescription medication, “male enhancement” pills and weight-loss drugs, the FTC said.

October 13, 2008

RIAA losing battles and already lost war

I’ve done some blogging on the RIAA and MPAA copyright battles. I love the entertainment industries, but these organizations are doing much more harm than good suing ordinary people and flailing about in death throes.

And even the base strategy is a losing propostion. I think the war is long over even if both are still fighting.

From the second link, a New America Foundation analysis:

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been taking a lot of people to court–basically, harassing folks in an attempt to curb file-sharing. The $220,000 verdict against Jammy Thomas got a lot of news (and probably worried a lot of folks). However, on appeal (i.e., after a new court not cherry-picked by the RIAA to try the case looked things over), the RIAA lost… again. ZDnet covered the verdict.

At its heart, the verdict reaffirms that simply making a copyrighted work available is not the same as actually distributing the work. In other words, copyright holders actually have to show harm before they can sue the pants off of people. More importantly, it lends yet more weight to the notion that our copyright laws are woefully out of date and that the RIAA has systematically overstepped the legal bounds of its authority under existing copyright law.

September 29, 2008

I’m sure CERN is resting easier tonight …

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:29 pm

… now that the Hawaii lawsuit attempting to stop the Large Hadron Collider’s startup got tossed.

From the link:

U.S. District Judge Helen Gilmor says in a ruling issued Friday that federal courts don’t have jurisdiction over the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, near Geneva.

Two Hawaii residents sued because they feared the machine could create black holes or other phenomena that could destroy the planet.

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