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Monday :: August 17, 2015

Monday Night Open Thread

In case anyone is wondering why I haven't been blogging the past week, here's the answer: I just found out I have to move again. My two year lease is up Oct. 7 and the owners notified me last week they want to sell rather than renew my lease.

It shouldn't be as bad as last time since I have 6 weeks instead of 3 to find a new home, and I have less to move since I put so much in storage last time, but it's still very stressful. [More...]

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Saturday :: August 15, 2015

Saturday Open Thread

I'll be back soon, hopefully by tomorrow. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Is the Intelligence Community Violating EO 13526 on Classification?

On December 29, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13526. In the preamble, this EO is described as:

Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their Government. Also, our Nation's progress depends on the free flow of information both within the Government and to the American people. Nevertheless, throughout our history, the national defense has required that certain information be maintained in confidence in order to protect our citizens, our democratic institutions, our homeland security, and our interactions with foreign nations. Protecting information critical to our Nation's security and demonstrating our commitment to open Government through accurate and accountable application of classification standards and routine, secure, and effective declassification are equally important priorities.

Is the Intelligence Community (IC) acting consistently with the principles of this Executive Order? We have many reasons to doubt it. The Hillary Clinton e-mail brouhaha is a great illustration of this. Richard Lempert, a fellow at Brookings and a former DHS official, writes:

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Friday :: August 14, 2015

AP Story Demonstrates Weak Claims Against Hillary On E-mails

In an AP Story sourced by Intelligence Community officials, the extreme weakness of the claims against Hillary Clinton are well explained. AP writes:

The two emails on Hillary Rodham Clinton's private server that an auditor deemed "top secret" include a discussion of a news article detailing a U.S. drone operation and a separate conversation that could point back to highly classified material in an improper manner or merely reflect information collected independently, U.S. officials who have reviewed the correspondence told The Associated Press. [My emphasis]

The idea that an email discussing a news article could be deemed "Top Secret" is ludicrous of course. But the IC is nothing if not ludicrous when it comes to classification issues. The story continues:

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Thursday :: August 13, 2015

Thursday Open Thread

Looks like I'll be busy at jails and in court the rest of the week.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: August 12, 2015

Send Good Thoughts to Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter, 90, announced today that he has cancer. It was discovered after surgery for a mass on his liver. It has spread to other parts of his body.

He will be getting treatment at Emory Health Care in Atlanta. I'm sending good thoughts his way, and hope you do too.

A memorable Jimmy Carter quote: [More...]

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State Dept. Disagrees That Clinton E-mails Contained Classified Information

While some will claim that:

. It is not in dispute that her cache of 30,000 e-mails contained classified documents from as many as five U.S. intelligence agencies.

This claim would be false. For one the State Department disputes it:

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Tuesday :: August 11, 2015

Tuesday Night Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. I'm back to computer issues today -- I had to have the solid state hard drive replaced in my desktop and now I'm back to Windows 7 and reinstalling all my programs. I'm not sure if I will upgrade again to Windows 10. It is faster and prettier, but I don't like having everything linked to a Microsoft account or that my name shows in the browser.

All topics welcome.

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Monday :: August 10, 2015

Mexican Court Upholds Suspension of Extradition Arrest Order for El Chapo

Another court has upheld the protection order for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. More here. (Use google translate.)

From what I can understand, a three judge panel of the Collegiate Court has rejected the Mexican Attorney General's request to overturn a District Court Order granting a temporary order of protection to El Chapo against his being turned over to for extradition to the U.S. before he is given a hearing at which he can raise his defenses to extradition.

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Carlos Lehder Wants to Go Home

Carlos Lehder has written a letter to Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, asking him to intervene with U.S. authorities so he go come home to Colombia to die. (Apparently he is not ill, he is just thinking of death since he is "close to 70." He's about to turn 66.) He ends his letter with (via google translate):

"With humility and the hope of the paisa arriero, expelled from Colombia, I have remained and survived 28 years in captivity... I am getting close to 70 years of age and deserve to die in Colombia."

Lehder was the first of the Medellin cartel leaders to be extradited to the U.S. In 1987, he was arrested, whisked onto a plane and brought to the U.S. At that time his net worth was estimated to be $2.5 billion. His trial lasted 7 months, he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole plus 135 years. (Here is the court opinion affirming his conviction and sentence. [More...]

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State of Emergency Declared in Ferguson

There is no rest in Ferguson, MO on the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. St. Louis Executive has declared a state of emergency.

Prosecutors announced they have filed charges against 18 year old Tyrone Harris, who was shot by police last night. Dozens of protesters have been arrested outside the federal courthouse in St. Louis and charged with trespassing.

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Saturday :: August 08, 2015

Trump Steps In It Again

Trump is in the doghouse again, this time due to reactions by fellow Republicans to comments he made about Fox News Host Megyn Kelly after the Republican debate. Trump told CNN Kelly "had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

That comment resulted in Trump being axed from a Republican gathering hosted by the Red State Blog. Trump had been invited to be a "keynote speaker" at the event, which had a guest list of about 900 people. Red State is edited by Erick Erickson, who is also a Fox News Contributor. [More...]

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Friday :: August 07, 2015

Friday Night Open Thread

What a long week! Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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DA Brauchler's Post Verdict Statement on the James Holmes Trial

Live blog: DA George Brauchler begins his press conference with a reading of the names of the 12 victims who died in the Aurora theater shootings.

He refuses to use James Holmes' name, calling him "that guy."

He says even though the verdict didn't go his way, and that his view of justice called for a death sentence, "those jurors did a helluva job."

While he's disappointed in the outcome, he is not disappointed in the process and he still believes in the system. He praises the jurors.

He talks about the work of the police officers and how they prevented many more injuries.[More...]

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James Holmes Sentenced to Life In Prison

The jury did not reach a unanimous death verdict in the trial of James Holmes. He will receive life in prison without parole.

Great work by Colorado Public Defenders Tamara Brady, Daniel King and the rest of the defense team. It was an enormous uphill battle to save his life, and they did it.

Holmes agreed to plead guilty and accept a sentence of life without parole before trial, but Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler would not agree and insisted on a far more costly death penalty trial. The cost of this trial is estimated to be between $5 and $10 million. That money could have better spent elsewhere.

There are only three inmates with death sentences in Colorado. All three were charged and tried by the Arapahoe County DA's office. (Brauchler was not D.A. then.) All three are African-American. The last execution in Colorado was 18 years ago, in 1977 (Gary Davis.) The last death penalty verdict was 6 years ago (Robert Ray.) The death penalty in Colorado has been severely criticized as arbitrarily applied.

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