#ReleaseTheMemo – and Then Some

On January 29, the US House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a four-page memo on the “Russiagate” inquiry, authored by committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA). Republican sources tell The Hill that the memo alleges “‘shocking’ surveillance abuses” by the Department of Justice. By the time you read this, we’ll all know much of the memo’s contents, as President Trump has reportedly signed off on the decision to release it with redactions.

While the memo may be a bombshell, what’s more interesting is the rigmarole surrounding its release and the non-release of a competing memo from the committee’s Democratic minority.

We live in an age of unparalleled transparency, thanks to heroes and martyrs like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange. It’s getting harder and harder for governments (and political parties and individual politicians) to keep secrets. That’s a good thing. The more we know, the more effectively we can attempt to hold the political class ever so slightly accountable.

Yet the jokers in Congress continue to arrogantly assume that they’re entitled to hide what they’re up to from the rest of us whenever they decide we don’t need to know.

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The Russia-Blamers Think You’re Stupid

“Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions,” the Washington Post claims in a September 25 headline.

Over at The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah explains “How Russian Hackers Used My Face to Sabotage Our Politics and Elect Trump.”

And US Senator James Lankford (R-OK) thinks that “the Russians and their troll farms” (as opposed to Donald Trump and professional football players) are behind the current “take a knee” kerfuffle between Donald Trump and professional football players.

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It’s Time To End America’s Longest War

In the latest round of saber-rattling between the US and North Korean governments, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid down the well-worn line. “All options,” he said during a visit to South Korea, “are on the table.”

If he’s serious, here’s an option that never seems to get much discussion lately:

US president Donald Trump should send Tillerson to tell Yun Byung-se, his counterpart in Seoul, that the US is withdrawing its troops from the Korean peninsula by a specific date, and that after that date the US will cease to guarantee, or accept responsibility for, the South’s security.

If the Korean War was a person, it would be old enough to collect Social Security benefits. It began on June 25, 1950 when the armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“North Korea”) invaded the Republic of Korea (“South Korea”).

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McCain versus Paul: The New Red Scare Masks US Foreign Policy Insanity

On March 15, US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) revealed just how ridiculous the American political establishment’s reliance on Vladimir Putin as boogeyman has become.

McCain, seeking the Senate’s unanimous consent to advance a bill supporting admission of the small country of Montenegro to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, warned that anyone who dissented would be “carrying out the desires and ambitions of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin.” True to form, when Kentucky Republican Rand Paul objected (meaning only that the matter will actually be debated instead of rubber-stamped), McCain asserted that “the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”

Paul’s having some fun with McCain’s over-the-top theatrics, describing McCain as “past his prime” and “unhinged” on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. But let’s set aside the rivalry aspect and look at what McCain’s hysterical performance says about US foreign policy.

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Shurat HaDin versus Facebook: Vexatious Litigation as Warfare

Shurat HaDin, Israel Law Center, characterizes itself as a non-governmental organization “at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide.”

On July 10, the organization filed a federal lawsuit on alleged behalf of the families of five Americans (one American tourist and four Israeli-American dual citizens) killed in attacks which the suit blames on Hamas, the Islamist organization governing Palestine’s Gaza Strip area. Facebook, the suit alleges, assists Hamas (in violation of the US Anti-Terrorism Act) in “recruiting, radicalizing, and instructing terrorists, raising funds, creating fear and carrying out attacks.”

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Hillary Clinton: More Equal Under the Law Than Others

In his July 5 press briefing, FBI director James Comey spoke 2,341 words explaining his decision not to recommend criminal charges over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to transmit, receive and store classified information during her tenure as US Secretary of State. He could have named that tune in four words:

“Because she’s Hillary Clinton.”

Comey left no doubt whatsoever that Clinton and her staff broke the law: “[T]there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. … any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”

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