Fixing Tech Troubles Jaron Lanier: How we need to remake the internet

Jaron Lanier on fixing our tech troubles and remake the internet

Jaron Zepel Lanier is an American computer philosophy writer, computer scientist, visual artist, and composer of classical music. Considered a founding father of the field of virtual reality, Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman left Atari in 1985 to found VPL Research, Inc., the first company to sell VR goggles and gloves.

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
No, Jaron does not have a Twitter account. No Reddit account. No Facebook account. They’re all fake fake FAKE!

Facebook and Google will be hated by most people.

Father of virtual reality: Facebook and Google are ‘behavior modification empires’ resulting from a tragic mistake.

The dangers of the concentration of data to democracy puts facebook and google at the center of Algorithmic enforcers of “cultural Marxism”

Jaron Lanier: How we need to remake the internet | TED Talk

Jaron Lanier: Who Owns the Future?

From media to manufacturing to medicine, technology is reshaping the face of more and more industries, marching them lock-step into an information economy. However, as author Jaron Lanier asks, if …

Facebook behavior modification

“The Facebook business model is mass behavior modification for pay. And for those who are not giving Facebook money, the only … reward they can get or positive feedback is just getting attention.”

Jaron Lanier interview on how social media ruins your life …
In this interview Jaron Lanier talks about Facebook, YouTube, Google and how the tech and social media giants are using algorithms to record data about their users – and how internet algorithms …

Jaron Lanier’s ideas for the future of profiting from your own data

In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge — but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli.

Antitrust Law – They have to much power over people with this “it’s all free” model. Father of virtual reality: Facebook and Google are ‘behavior modification empires’ resulting from a tragic mistake #TED2018

Also: ‘s explosive new book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” argues that big tech platforms like Facebook and Google are building “a global architecture of behavior modification” with dire consequences for democracy. 8-9AM ET:

Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism.

Behavior modification through surveillance
“we write the music and they [the users] dance to it.”
Anybody can be manipulated. It’s quite easy. And it’s the whole endgame of surveillance capitalism.
https://clarissasblog.com/2019/06/01/behavior-modification/

Tech companies know so much about us that they can predict our behavior. It’s especially easy for them because they can manipulate behavior. So “behavioral futures markets” are a way for these companies to place bets on our future behavior.
https://clarissasblog.com/2019/04/23/surveillance-capitalism-1/

Boy Scouts’ Sex Abuse Problem Is Worse Than Anyone Knew

These Men Say the Boy Scouts’ Sex Abuse Problem Is Worse Than Anyone Knew

By Eliana Dockterman
June 1, 2019

The Catholic Church faced more than 10,000 accusations of child abuse in the U.S. alone between 1950 and 2002, according to one report, and costly court cases that dragged on for years.

In fact, many of the former Scouts who have waited decades to come forward say they were inspired by other victims of long-ago abuse both in the church and in the entertainment, media and sports industries, who have gone public and seen perpetrators toppled from powerful positions and, in some cases, prosecuted. Those testimonies have also spurred several states to extend the statute of limitations on sex abuse cases, opening the door to more legal claims. The Boy Scouts quietly hired lobbyists to push against such laws, according to reporting by the Washington Post, for fear of facing an onslaught of criminal cases.

Because the Boy Scouts of America are a federally chartered non-profit, they must provide annual reports to Congress, and attorneys for the former Scouts say the organization has not included information about abuse accusations in those reports. “They were reporting…that they were a wholesome organization,” says Tim Kosnoff, one of the attorneys, “when they were kicking out child molesters at the rate of one every two days for 100 years.”

Sex Abuse Boy Scouts of America goes Broke

#SexAbuseBoyScoutsofAmerica

Boy Scouts of America considering bankruptcy
Companies are balking at paying settlements in response to sexual abuse allegations.

The Ironic Current Importance of State’s Rights by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

The Ironic Current Importance
of State’s Rights

by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

The United States Constitutional text does not explicitly incorporate “States’ Rights.” The first ten Amendments passed (out of twelve proposed) comprise the Bill of Rights which refer to rights remaining intrinsic to the people and the States, not governed by the Constitutional accord made by “We, the people”. Such a general recognition of both echos the Enlightenment recital of the “rights” invoked (as violated) by the Declaration of Independence. Other guarantees in the Constitution and the Bill of rights: e.g. privileges and immunities, due process, sanctity of homes (which Justice Douglas referenced with his “penumbra” and better described as implicit in a unified reading of all rights specified and/or directly inferable from them) refer to individual rights leaving the cognitive content of rights left with the States vague and arguably weak.

The Articles for Confederation failed. The Constitution, then required, clearly was not an accord between States but a Federal unified system founded by “We, the people” in an explicit Contract for specific powers to the government granted by the people with basic rights remaining with them.

Prescient though they were, neither the authors of the Federalist Papers or the Constitution allowed for the almost four fold expansion of the number of States accompanied with the extensive expansion of territory. The original thirteen States (former “British colonies”) were on one side of the Allegheny Mountains and did not extend the length of the Atlantic Coast. Then the barriers were breached. The “Americans” moved westward, with genocidal conquest and displacement of the Native Americans, an enormous land grab from Mexico, and the Louisiana purchase (Alaska, was purchased too, as a territory not to become a State until 1958.) An essential contention during this expansion concerned the legality and morality of slavery- “burning Kansas”.

The original thirteen States contained similar numbers of inhabitants. The new annexed areas did not. (Montana has less residents than Jerry Nadler’s district in New York City.) Some States have only one Congressman and two Senators. The anachronistic Electoral College has created Presidents who lost the national popular vote. This imbalance has led to legislative complications coupled with “seniority” which create laws and policies not favored by the majority in the total country, giving some small States and the entrenched South disproportionate power (with military bases and other government projects established preferentially there.)

States’ Rights, however, for States was a concept which became increasingly urged and developed as slavery came under increasing attack. Some historians consider the Civil War, not primarily based on the abolition of slavery, but rather on the assertion by States of Rights. Southern resistors called the horrifically bloody war “The War Between the States” which the victory of the Union clearly proved it was not (and accepted as not by the States with their recognition of Reconstruction Amendments) but a civil war with the rebellion, arguably treasonous. The Emancipation Proclamation, the statement of complete freedom from slavery (Juneteenth so known because of uncertain day and the title of a great Ralph Ellison novel) and the 13, 14, and 15 Amendments to the Constitution both abolished slavery country wide and established the further foundations of individual rights (implemented by enforcement statutes 42 USC 1983 et seq,)

Bad ideas often do not die. After the disastrous Hays-Tilden compromise, Jim Crow included the fraud of “separate but equal” (intrinsically incompatible) while the invocation of the phrase “States’s Rights” accompanied and justified the rise in oppression, deprivation, degradation , torture and murder in the sharply segregated South where individual rights were extinguished if a person had a “drop” of African blood (well before DNA was discovered – leading to recent startling genetic discoveries by those who are tested, some voluntarily).

When Rights Clash with Cultures

The history and atrocities are well known and documented, illustrated in big public settings by the “Dixiecrats” walking out of the 1948 Democratic convention (which echoed later in a refusal to seat the Mississippi Freedom Party). The very culture of the South was claimed to be protected by States’ Rights. (Compare the problems presented by a clash of cultural values accepted by a unified group, rather than urged by an oppressor class in that group, with individual rights – see my article Clash .

The myth of the glories of the ante-bellum South was enshrined in popular culture in books and movies (Powerful originators Birth of A Nation; Gone With the Wind) with poor rebel soldiers returning to ruins caused by “carpetbaggers and scallywags”, suffering aristocrats struggling to keep noble and glorious ceremonies and institutions alive, etc. which then continued into television shows with different narratives now increasingly emerging.

The assertion of “States Rights” became a fig leaf attempt (with occasional utopian nuances of Brandeis’s claim of States being laboratories for democratic experiments) for racism in all its evil manifestations. Very few accounts in history are so well documented. The Civil Rights movement ran afoul of what it meant in violence, injury, and death. It is still invoked and justifiably decried.

These are now special times with reactionaries in power (see my Hitler-Trump article on this website). Much necessary resistance of disgusting abuses of Federal Power are now resisted by States asserting their own independent powers.

This misuse of the Presidential power to pardon (Trump has reportedly asked if he could pardon himself.) starts our list with a minor example. But he can not pardon any one for State crimes. New York is currently passing a bill to prevent double jeopardy (frequently ignored in the past – quite troubling) from preventing such prosecutions with a direct eye on the Administration.

The doctrine that a sitting President can not be indicted (based on an off hand line in an internal memorandum in the Justice Department allowing for the impeachment of Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew, later internally memorialized) has no basis in the Constitution (Indeed the reference to high “crimes” as a basis for impeachment implies the opposite and Presidents have been Judiciary ruled to be liable in current civil actions – see Clinton).

The question might still arise whether a prosecution based on a related set of facts to the Federal crime might preclude would automatically extend the time for State or Federal prosecution – in any event, the Statute of Limitations can be legislatively extended. Many of those in the web of corruption (a few lightly sentenced in Federal Court) can be prosecuted in States depending on where their activities or corporations are located or have sufficient ties.

Preemption and exceptions are legal issues primarily beyond the technical scope of this survey. The rights of States can play an important role in these areas. California has strict emission policies, recognized as an exception in Federal law, to limit local and general pollution. Agent Orange and his acolytes want to remove that – could we not argue for a State’s right for local self protection?

New York State is working towards the releasing of Trump’s State Tax returns which would reflect the Federal Statement whose production, whose refusal, originally based on a lie of an audit which prevented (false) their disclosure, is now being litigated in Federal Courts. New York State is currently investigating charitable frauds by Trump organizations and improper family tax deductions. Across the Country’s Court dockets, groups of States are suing the Federal Government for rescinding many regulations and implementing policies that damage large groups: – consumers, workers, and the environment and health of individuals living there, etc. – often irreversibly (e.g. oil spills where there were specific safety restrictions enacted after the Deep Horizon bill) – the list for such evil acts challenged is very long, almost a new one every day, particularly if promulgated during the demonized (half African) previous President Obama. Local laws, City, and State may mitigate some of the damage if not “preempted.”

Various States have strict banking laws. These can be enforced against all the foreign illegal investment and money laundering regardless of Federal actions. Perjury in State Courts may be prosecuted there.

The United States is disgraced in front of the World for its immigration policies and inhumane treatment of those who cross the Southern Border. (Of course, the vast majority of those here without legal status have outstayed their visa time while some do essential (and mainly) agricultural work). We know, of course, that Trump has knowingly employed and mistreated “illegal aliens” who have built or maintain various enterprises associated with his name. Governors have pulled back National Guards Trump had at the border. Some cities offer sanctuary, official identification cards, even apparently driver’s licenses, housing, food, etc.) Trump has threatened, and may have partially executed, a movement of the detained (in terrible conditions) to “sanctuary cities” to punish them by sudden large arrivals of those desperately needy.

Not only has the current Administration cut back on medical assistance (and now proposing the same for food stamps) but also is trying to destroy Obamacare so as to cast about 20 million off insurance rolls. The States can and have extended Medicaid and other assistance to make up the lack – a few that is – the South rises again over poor, Black, and indigenous people.

Joint funding. by Federal and State budgets, of high speed rail in California and a desperately needed tunnel in New York’s rail system was committed. Trump (who presently forecloses “infrastructure” discussion without cessation of all the investigations which point to impeachment) has withdrawn from his share. Only the States can fund, which may prove impossible, to make up the difference.

HUD, headed by a total incompetent (whose ignorance of relevant terns led him to say “oreo” to a question about REO, thereby self-identifying), among all such in the cabinet, neglects maintenance and developments (budget cuts proposed by Trump). The leadership and funding must come from States and Cities. The prior examples suggest terrible tax burdens for the States, already targeted in the new Tax code, in retaliation for the large number of votes which led to Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by about three million. The Education Department’s attack on public education (and even school lunches) requires State opposition and adequate funding. Consumer and environmental protections (some essential or people will die suffering) under law and regulations, have been gutted (often with relevant personnel positions left unfilled and inadequate funding). Some have been and will be challenged in Courts by the States and rectified, if at all, by allocation of resources to them in the individual States. Besides the bloated Defense Department budget, this analysis covers all the government agencies adjudicatory (e.g. NLRB) and regulatory agencies. The extent of damage is almost inestimable and will require immediate remediation by a new improved administration and more besides. (See my article on Selective Inflation on this website.)

The States (compare the Senate) are acting on their prerogatives and advancing their rights to form a major resistance to the destruction wrought and the assistance now required. States rights, once used for oppression, offers an opportunity for citizens and governmental organization to resist and persist – as we citizens must.

Dare we suggest the Department of Justice (with secret powers and files similar to the CIA – see my article on this website about abolishing that agency) and the FBI (with its Hoover history, attempts to undermine civil rights leaders and movements, invasion of privacy, dossiers, etc. coupled with the arguable great failure to act efficiently either on Russian “meddling” in 2016 election or 9/11 attacks – see my article on 9/11 crimes criminals on this website ) are being attacked by the right wing for all the wrong reasons while the “neutral” journalists defend their integrity and prosecutors praise them publicly. Recall how Barr, properly known as “cover up Barr” for his role in Irangate under George H. W. Bush’s protection of Regan, announced his friendship with Mueller of the timid report, inadequate investigation, uncalled relevant witnesses, few American defendants indicted, convicted or sentenced to the lengthy jail time implicated. failure to make proper recommendations which allowed Barr to produce a lying, Trump protecting, public description of what is damning in detail – when not redacted. (Mueller is publicly praised as one of the best embodiments of Prosecutorial methods and action in the Department of Justice.) Barr, in turn. was praised as an “institutionalist” – even as he applied and received an appointment based on a fantasy (in his application letter), that the far right wing is trying to make a reality, that the President could do anything he wanted under the Constitution. Maybe properly staffed local law enforcement would be enough in these crime areas…consider the failure of referenced “National Intelligence” before 9/11 and New York’s apparently effective security since then (in spite of idiotic Muslim surveillance.)

One wonders what would happen if the lazy self-important journalists stopped covering anything the Liar in Chief says on Twitter, and perhaps purely partisan rallies, and instead, covered just official statements and acts then to spend the time saved by reporting the universal local problems now created and exacerbated (perhaps replacing too the repetitive presentation of disasters, including weather, crimes, fires, explosions, etc.).

Perhaps, then, there would be some value and less stigma attached to States Rights functioning to make the lives of “We, the People” better.

Continue reading “The Ironic Current Importance of State’s Rights by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.”

Congressman Blumenauer holds Arts Competition for high school students

For the third year in a row, Congressman Blumenauer will hold his own OR-03 Arts Competition for high school students in his congressional district in lieu of participating in the traditional Congressional Art competition. The winning entry will hang in Congressman Blumenauer’s Washington, DC office.

Republican members of the House of Representatives actually removed a students art from the wall. The decision to censor a student artist who had depicted the conflict between the African-American community and the police surrounding the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, led Congressman Blumenauer to make this decision.

“Artistic expression is critical to a healthy and vibrant democracy. In good conscience, I cannot be part of a contest that restricts the expression of young artists and their first amendment rights,” said Blumenauer. “We must defend the arts – which I believe are now under attack by the President as he seeks to slash cherished programs like the National Endowment of the Arts. We can’t let artists lose their voices. The minute we let censorship take hold, the closer we get to an authoritarian regime.”

Background

The traditional Congressional Art Competition allows high school students to submit artwork to their Congressional representative, and one submission from each district is selected as the winner. The artwork is then featured in the Capitol, alongside pieces from Congressional districts across the nation, to be enjoyed by members of Congress, staff, and visitors alike.

The competition sparked controversy <https://blumenauerforms.house.gov/components/redirect/r.aspx?ID=1647-211538> in 2017 when some Republican members of the House removed a painting from display. In Congressman Blumenauer’s opinion, this act inherently silenced the student artist from Missouri. The painting portrayed conflict between the African American community and law enforcement in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. Republican leadership repeatedly called for the painting’s removal, and as a result, it was permanently removed—deemed a violation of a rule that artwork in the Capitol cannot “depict contemporary political controversy, or of a sensationalistic or gruesome nature.” Following this incident, Congressman Blumenauer instituted his own OR-03 Arts Competition.

Student submissions and are due in our office, located at 911 NE 11th Ave. Suite 200, Portland, Oregon by Wednesday, May 1st at 5:00pm.

Please note that this is a secure building and you will need to call 503-231-2300 to have someone come down to receive your art.

For more information, contact Stone Hudson at 503-231-2300 or stone.hudson@mail.house.gov <mailto:stone.hudson@mail.house.gov>.

UFO Theyyyyyyeeeeerrrrrrr Heeeeeerrrrrrrreeeee

2004 THIS IS A REAL UFO SIGHTING

“60 Minutes” in May, Mr. Bigelow said he was “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth.

STUPID AMERICANS HELD BACK BY THEIR UFO JUVENILE TABOO TALK.

SCIENCE FICTION IS NOW FACT
SO GET OVER YOUR IGNORANT SELVES

The program collected video and audio recordings of reported U.F.O. incidents, including footage from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet showing an aircraft surrounded by some kind of glowing aura traveling at high speed and rotating as it moves. The Navy pilots can be heard trying to understand what they are seeing. “There’s a whole fleet of them,” one exclaims. Defense officials declined to release the location and date of the incident.

Luis Elizondo, who led the Pentagon effort to investigate U.F.O.s until October. He resigned to protest what he characterized as excessive secrecy and internal opposition to the program.
Mr. Bigelow, Bigelow Aerospace, Mr. Reid, Mr. John Glenn, Mr. Elizondo,  Mr. Stevens and Mr. Inouye, used to work with the Navy, C.I.A.  Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Harold E. Puthoff, William Lynn III
Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid, received most of the money allocated for the Pentagon program. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” in May, Mr. Bigelow said he was “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth.

The sightings were reported to the Pentagon’s shadowy, little-known Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program
$600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find. Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/16/us/politics/pentagon-program-ufo-harry-reid.html

How to report what the military calls unexplained aerial phenomena, or unidentified flying objects.

Videos filmed by Navy pilots show two encounters with flying objects.

One was captured by a plane’s camera off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 20, 2015. That footage, published previously but with little context, shows an object tilting like a spinning top moving against the wind. A pilot refers to a fleet of objects, but no imagery of a fleet was released. The second video was taken a few weeks later.

#UFO Videos filmed by Navy pilots #UFOVideosfilmedbyNavyPilots

Resizeable pull the bottom right corner to the right

The genes of living fungi indicate that their common ancestor lived over a billion years ago.

The genes of living fungi indicate that their common ancestor lived over a billion years ago.

New fossils were found in the remote Northwest Territories of the Canadian Arctic. The fossils were single-celled organisms. They were much bigger than bacteria, but Mr. Loron couldn’t determine exactly what they were. Dr. Rainbird’s analysis of the rocks showed that these organisms, whatever they were, had fossilized a billion years ago in an estuary, where a river flowed into a sea.

Three fossils produced a pattern that matches that of a substance called chitin. All fungi make chitin to build their tough walls. Only insects and a few other species do the same.

MARY BerbeeThe researchers concluded they had found an ancient fungus, which they named Ourasphaira giraldae. “This is the first evidence that fungi are a billion years old, even though we’ve thought they were for a long time,” said Mary Berbee, a mycologist at the University of British Columbia, who was not involved in the new research.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/science/fungi-fossils-plants.html

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program AWARDS GO TO

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

AWARDS GO TO

Previous awards: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

This program was established by Executive Order in 1964 to honor academic achievement by graduating high school seniors.

It was expanded in 1979 to honor students in the arts and in 2015 to honor students in career and technical education (CTE).  Each year, up to 161 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad.  Another 15 students are chosen at-large, 20 students are scholars in the arts, and 20 students are scholars in CTE.  More than 5,200 candidates qualified based on outstanding ACT or SAT scores or through nominations by Chief State School Officers, partner organizations, or the National Young Arts Foundation’s nationwide Young Arts competition.  The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars — appointed by the President — selects the finalists based on their academic success, school evaluations, transcripts, and essays, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.  Scholars will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 23.

 

The Commission on Presidential Scholars is a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor the Presidential Scholars. Commissioners are selected from across the country, representing the fields of education, medicine, law, social services, business, and other professions. The Commissioners make the final selection of the 161 Presidential Scholars. The Scholars demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service.

The Commission on Presidential Scholars picked because of Money, Religion, And Republican Power.

Eileen L. Weiser
Commission Chair
Member, Michigan State Board of Education
Michigan
The Weisers, both alumni of the University of Michigan, are Vice Chairs on the Campaign Leadership Board. 2014 $50 million gift to the University of Michigan.
$25 million designated to the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED), in the International Institute. The WCED studies how democracies emerge, the conditions necessary for assuring and extending political, social, and economic freedom, and how autocracies endure in Europe, Eurasia, and beyond.
The Weisers have long been committed to the study of emerging democracies, an interest that deepened in 2001-04 when Ron Weiser was tapped by President George W. Bush to serve as the ambassador to Slovakia, a country that faced considerable challenges in its transition to a democracy.
Ronald and Eileen Weiser donate $1.25M for UM-Dearborn’s new $90M Engineering Lab Building project

RATES OF PAY Schedule 8 is effective January 1, 2019.

The other schedules contained herein are effective on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2019.
Sec. 8. Prior Order Superseded.
Executive Order 13856 of December 28, 2018, is superseded as of the effective dates specified in section 7 of this order.
DONALD J. TRUMP THE WHITE HOUSE March 28, 2019

Sally Atwater
South Carolina
Days before runoff, Sally Atwater accused of assaulting student
Education superintendent candidate’s spokesman calls lawsuit a ‘political hit job’ https://ballotpedia.org/Sally_Atwater

Harvey LeRoy “Lee” Atwater (February 27, 1951 – March 29, 1991) was an American political consultant and strategist for the Republican Party.He was an adviser to US presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Tina S. Holland  Ph.D.
President, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
Louisiana
President, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University President’s Office 225-768-1710   Tina.Holland@franu.edu
http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2014/09/25/130-catholic-professors-send-letter-of-protest-of-common-core-to-all-bishops/

Mandy Manning
2018 National Teacher of the Year
Washington

Darla Romfo
President & COO, Children’s Scholarship Fund
North Dakota

His Eminence Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Washington
Washington, D.C.

Archbishop of Washington resigns over sexual abuse scandal
Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl following claims of cover-up

Donald Wuerl, the Church’s Most Oblivious Cleric

The cardinal’s repeated denials of knowledge and responsibility for sexual-abuse cover-ups defy all credibility.
The Catholic Church’s nightmare of a summer began with Theodore McCarrick. After news broke in June about his past sexual misconduct, including the abuse of minors, he resigned from the College of Cardinals and was exiled to a life of prayer and penance, out of the public eye. But the Archdiocese of Washington, which McCarrick once oversaw, remains very much in the eye of the storm.
There, McCarrick’s direct successor, the embattled cardinal Donald Wuerl, clings to his leadership role, even after weeks of criticism and calls for his resignation. He has done little to silence them and much to bring further censure upon himself.

The Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal Takes Down a Cardinal
The pope has accepted the resignation of the leader of the Archdiocese of Washington. Wuerl was a leading character in the Pennsylvania grand-jury report about abuse in six Catholic dioceses that was released over the summer. During the time he was the bishop of Pittsburgh, from 1988 to 2006, he wrote to the Vatican warning about sexual abusers within his diocese, calling pedophilia “incurable,” according to the report. But he also oversaw the reassignment of abusive priests, the report alleges, and even lent money to one cleric after accusations surfaced. Once the report was published, he faced pressure to resign, as well as backlash from home: At one Pittsburgh-area Catholic school named for Wuerl, vandals spray-painted over his name, apparently in protest.

 

Your City, Your State, Your K12 Public School all attacked using NSA weapon.

Your City, Your State, Your K12 Public School all attacked using NSA weapon.

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc
By Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane
May 25, 2019

In Pennsylvania School Districts Stockpiling Huge budget surplus accounts, while still raising property taxes every year

WannaCry? Hundreds of US schools still haven’t patched servers
A dive into vulnerability data shows even big districts’ servers still offering up SMB v. 1.

I think patching your software and making backups will protect you better than blaming the Gov’t
or
… than blaming the government who weaponized an unknown flaw in software and made sure not to tell the software vendor, in order to prevent a patch which customers could install, you mean?
or
Microsoft was warned, and the patch came out a month before Shadow Brokers dumped it.

If you’re wondering why ransomware continues to be such a problem for state and local governments and other public institutions, all you have to do to get an answer is poke around the Internet a little. Publicly accessible security-scan data shows that many public organizations have failed to do more than put a bandage over long-standing system vulnerabilities that, if successfully exploited, could bring their operations to a standstill.

While the method by which RobbinHood ransomware infected the network of Baltimore City two weeks ago is still unknown, insiders within city government have pointed to the incomplete efforts by the Office of Information Technology to get a handle on the city’s tangle of software, aging servers, and wide-flung network infrastructure. Baltimore isn’t even the only city to have been hit by ransomware in the last month—Lynn, Massachusetts, and Cartersville, Georgia, both had electronic payment systems taken offline by ransomware this month. Greenville, North Carolina, was struck by the same RobbinHood ransomware affecting Baltimore in April.

But cities aren’t the only highly vulnerable targets to be found by would-be attackers. There are hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected Windows systems in the United States that still appear to be vulnerable to an exploit of Microsoft Windows’ Server Message Block version 1 (SMB v. 1) file sharing protocol, despite repeated public warnings to patch systems following the worldwide outbreak of the WannaCry cryptographic malware two years ago. And based on data from the Shodan search engine and other public sources, hundreds of them—if not thousands—are servers in use at US public school systems. Even in cases where Microsoft’s patch of SMB v. 1 has been applied, the protocol remains a potential security problem—one that some organizations can’t completely close because some vendors still require the protocol for applications such as networked copiers and scanners.

While conducting research as a follow-up to our coverage of Baltimore City’s ongoing ransomware attack, Ars discovered that neighboring Baltimore County’s public school system had eight publicly accessible servers that still were running in configurations that indicated they were vulnerable to EternalBlue, the Equation Group exploit exposed by Shadow Brokers in April 2017 and then used as part of the WannaCry malware a month later. The exploit is now packaged as part of multiple malware kits, according to security researchers.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/05/two-years-after-wannacry-us-schools-still-vulnerable-to-eternalblue/

SEE

Where are the State AG’s in protecting the citizens from malware that “gets away” from the NSA? The weaponized software created by the NSA…. when employees who have been taught everything by the NSA leave their jobs and take what they know with them then form companies and sell their “knowledge /skills / know how” learned on the job by working for America to enemies.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/12/former-nsa-employee-pleads-guilty-to-taking-classified-data/


02
Dec 17

Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Data

A former employee for the National Security Agency pleaded guilty on Friday to taking classified data to his home computer in Maryland. According to published reports, U.S. intelligence officials believe the data was then stolen from his computer by hackers working for the Russian government.

Nghia Hoang Pho, 67, of Ellicott City, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to “willful retention of national defense information.” The U.S. Justice Department says that beginning in April 2006 Pho was employed as a developer for the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit, which develops specialized hacking tools to gather intelligence data from foreign targets and information systems.

According to Pho’s plea agreement, between 2010 and March 2015 he removed and retained highly sensitive classified “documents and writings that contained national defense information, including information classified as Top Secret.”

Pho is the third NSA worker to be charged in the past two years with mishandling classified data. His plea is the latest — and perhaps final — chapter in the NSA’s hunt for those responsible for leaking NSA hacking tools that have been published online over the past year by a shadowy group calling itself The Shadow Brokers.

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/436950-former-cia-nsa-employees-sue-agencies-over-alleged-censorship

Ex-NSA employees criticize Mike Rogers’ role with Israeli venture firm

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc By Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane May 25, 2019

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.

It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.

The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.

< – >

WHERE ARE THE CLASS ACTION SUITS?

WHY DOESN’T THE STATE HOLD THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE DAMAGE DONE TO THEIR CITIZENS?

Breaking news. Patch yourself for the CVEs exploited by NSA tools on the loose. This includes major cities!

ETERNALBLUE was initially nicknamed EternalBluescreen —NSA never seriously considered alerting Microsoft about discovering the vulnerability (before Shadow Brokers happened), and —“held on it” (“used it,” presumably) for more than five years
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/25/us/nsa-hacking-tool-baltimore.html


NEW: Baltimore was hit with an NSA hacking tool that is being used to hijack U.S. cities. ⁦⁩ and I spent months looking into the origins of EternalBlue, a stolen NSA weapon that is popping up in more and more attacks across the country.

The NSA spent more than a year searching for the flaw in Microsoft’s software and writing the code to exploit it.

NSA TAO operators jokingly referred to it as “EternalBluescreen” because it often crashed computer systems, a risk they might tip off targets. It took months to hone. Once it became a reliable espionage tool, it netted some of the NSA’s best counter-terrorism intelligence, and there was never any serious consideration that NSA would turn over the underlying flaw to Microsoft for patching.

The NSA kept it for 5+ years until unidentified hackers threatened to publish it.

In April 2017, the group, which calls itself the ShadowBrokers, dumped it online, where it has been picked up by North Korea, Russia, Iran and, just this week, China in attacks that have cut a path of destruction around the globe. But in the last year, it has boomeranged back to the NSA’s own backyard, hitting Baltimore, Allentown, San Antonio and countless other cities in attacks that have paralyzed municipal operations and alarmed government officials, who privately say the NSA needs to account. The NSA refuses to discuss the incidents or even acknowledge that the dumped tools were part of its cyber arsenal, but in an unusually candid interview, NSA former director Mike Rogers, who oversaw the agency during the leak, deflected blame. “If Toyota makes pickup trucks and someone takes a pickup truck, welds an explosive device onto the front, crashes it through a perimeter and into a crowd of people, is that Toyota’s responsibility?

“The N.S.A. wrote an exploit that was never designed to do what was done.”

Microsoft rejects that analogy: “These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They’re inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they’re not strapping a bomb to it. It’s already a bomb.”

EternalBlue is being packaged as part of many malware attacks as one possible lateral movement tool. Making a bomb is very much responsibility of the creator.

NSA toyota analogy was not correct. Exploit is like a bomb its a different matter who detonate it and where. NSA is very much responsible for their malicious espionage tools.

https://twitter.com/waveslide/status/1132442317372219392

EternalBlue was leaked 2 years ago. MS patched BEFORE it hit the wild. Some industry gossip the NSA knew they’d lost control and gave MS a heads-up. THIS PATCH HAS BEEN OUT FOR TWO YEARS! If it hits your network now, you deserve it. Usually, it’s a component of a malware package.

China has also been able to intercept an NSA tool as it attacked their networks. They stopped it, copied it, modified it, and sent it back to us and all of our allies.


‏ @bitsdigits
No, it wasn’t the NSA hacking tool that did this. It was basic exemptions to the #Baltimore #CIO policies that didn’t address patch management deficiencies that did this. Has anyone looked at what .gov requirements are
https://home.dotgov.gov/registration/requirements/

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/25/us/nsa-hacking-tool-baltimore.html

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.

It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.

The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.

< – >

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/25/us/nsa-hacking-tool-baltimore.html

In Pennsylvania School Districts Stockpiling Huge budget surplus accounts, while still raising property taxes every year

The Top Reasons Why Biden will NOT be a President

Why  #GenX #millennials won’t vote for #Biden

There are more Generation X, 60 million born between 1965 and 1980 than anybody else.

#Biden – no policy just words, ridiculous
#Women think he is creepy
#Women want to vote for a Women link Elizabeth Warren
#Biden praising oil and gas companies for wanting to fight global warming. What a joke.
#Biden is the FATHER of modern day mass incarceration.
#Biden is hitting up millionaires for campaign cash at private club events stocked with Cristal Champagne, langoustine, caviar, and live jazz. “Let Them Eat Cake”
‘Double standard’: Activists say #Biden‘s hard line drugs policies didn’t apply to his children’s cocaine and marijuana use
Joe Biden Has Called for Social Security Cuts 3 Times
Unlike other presidential candidates, Biden won’t be supporting legalization.
What big, Progressive policy of Joe’s has you the most excited? I can name ten policies of Bernie’s. Can you name just one of Joe’s?

millenials 83 million – Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker (Napster) For Generation X, anarchy was a business model.
The “New Economy” was about – no ethics needed – just steal it or break it. Elon Musk born 1971 Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google (b. 1973), Jack Dorsey of Twitter (b. 1976) and even Tom Anderson of Myspace (b. 1970) capitalist in hip-hop Jay-Z (b. 1969

In the past year, the Trump campaign has spent more than $12 million on Facebook ads alone—more than the 16 top-spending Democratic candidates have spent combined. Democrats should be worried. Nancy Pelosi frustrates Democratic activists on impeachment but party strategists like what she’s doing. Democrats of Pelosi’s generation, recalling how Republican zeal in pursuing President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998 cost the GOP House seats and Newt Gingrich his speakership, fear their own 2020 backfire.

Pew 71% believe that social media make people think they are making a difference when they really aren’t. OH REALLY?

boomers 75 million – Steve Jobs

Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

Millenials aren’t going to vote for BIDEN

Millennials are on the cusp of surpassing Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2016 (the latest date for which population estimates are available), Millennials, whom we define as ages 20 to 35 in 2016, numbered 71 million, and Boomers (ages 52 to 70) numbered 74 million. Millennials are expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.
@JoeBiden’s campaign has asked the @FEC for an extension in filing Biden’s personal financial disclosure, and the FEC has granted a 45-day extension.

  1. The military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about in 1961, and, related to that,
  2. The Big Bank crime wave and associated kleptocracy… plus all the politicians, institutions, think tanks, economists, media fanboys etc. who support #1 & #2.
  3. Roy Cohn White House: The Mueller Report Special, Part I
    “Barr has deep financial ties to Russia, including to some of the entities Mueller was investigating. Barr is also a close friend of Mueller’s. How could Mueller not have been aware both of Barr’s ties and what he would do to the probe?” “William Barr has troubling financial ties to Russia which should have obligated him to recuse himself. This didn’t get much attention in his confirmation hearings, even though the information is in the public domain.”
    We also discuss impeachment and the emergence of Elizabeth Warren as a candidate willing to take on the crises of corruption and complacency head-on – a vital move not only for 2020, but for now.
  4. U.S. Economy, 2008 housing crash “Generation Xers were hit particularly hard. “I think we have got a very significant psychological scar from this great recession,” Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger
    Since 1990, the median price of a house has increased by around 67%. Yet, median income has increased by only 11% over that same period. Factor in student loans — of which the average student has $37,172 — and you can see why Millennials aren’t running out to buy diamonds and homes.
  5. How mass shootings have changed the millennial generation https://www.statepress.com/article/2017/11/sppolitics-millennials-mass-shootings
  6. “Despite a booming economy, many U.S. households are still just holding on” Maybe it’s not really a booming economy? Maybe the models are misleading?
    Fed survey finds many consumers still in fragile economic condition While conditions are improving, many consumers couldn’t weather a large, unexpected expense.
    https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/fed-survey-finds-many-consumers-still-in-fragile-economic-condition-052419.html
  7. Percent saying they are NOT doing “at least OK.” This is from a Fed study. Greatest economy ever. The median American wage (according to the SSA) is $31.5k. Economists say these people need lower rates & higher prices. @realdonaldtrump @federalreserve
  8. In 2017 (latest available report), the Fed had 19,161 employees, including 1,630 “other officers” (not the President), making, on average, salaries (ex-benefits) of $233,099. The rest averaged over $100k.
    https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2017-ar-statistical-tables.htm
  9. ‘Psychologically scarred’ millennials are people between the ages of 18 and 34 and  the largest group of home buyers in the US. (The median age of a home buyer is 36.) Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, has some insight into why millennials are delaying their first home purchases. People are basically skipping starter homes; they’re renting until their 30s, and that first house they buy is a million dollars, and they just are not even buying the $200,000, $300,000, $400,000 home.
  10. Billionaire Robert Smith’s surprise gift to Morehouse College’s class of 2019 shows how Student debt has become one of the most important political, economic and social justice issues of our day. An estimated 44 million Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student debt. the Washington Post has subsequently reported, a representative for Smith said he’s only covering loans the students took out themselves (as opposed to loans taken out by family members) totaling about $10 million. The federal government reports that the average debt reported among Morehouse’s seniors is $26,000. more than 40 million people in the United States have student loans. And no graduation gift can help the millions of young people who never complete their degree.”

 

Towards Effective Adjudicative Ethics by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

Towards Effective Adjudicative Ethics by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

Introduction

The Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct is a through detailed careful achievement. (The Breyer Report upon it is scholarly and thoughtful.) Perhaps and maybe probably most Federal Judges know it well and attempt to follow it. Practitioners in the courts are often not familiar and transgressions appear to take place which do not precipitate effective enforcement. The further away from Presidential appointed Judges, the less these rules seem to guide. Federal agencies may be without such clear controls. State Courts have their own Rules of Judicial Conduct. There are many instances reported (and unreported) of violations. The administration of “justice” in non Judicial settings is often lacking in the appearance of civility and actuality of due process, yet affects many.

Litigators will say in private that “Judicial Ethics is an Oxymoron.” Some lawyers will say most Judges decisions can be explained by either laziness, stupidity, or some form of corruption, moral or monetary. For fear of retaliation, they will never say such things in public but often swap horror stories as illustrations in private.

Those who follow reports of Judicial conduct including Administrative Law Judges (formerly “hearing officers”) discover many cases of startling misconduct, adjudicators sleeping with prosecutors, witnesses, presiding over their own divorce cases, being paid to send Juveniles to for-Profit Juvenile jails, abuse of witnesses, defendants, parties, advocates, etc, outright bribery, collusion with one side, immigration hearings with 3 years olds forced to defend themselves alone against deportation, clear patterns of racial prejudice in disability hearings, outright sexual conduct in tribunals.

Most of us either as lawyers or citizens have waited excessively long times to be heard, been treated badly, feel not given a chance to present our case, received injustice (for ourselves or clients) in some tribunal or other from traffic court through the highest Federal Courts. This seems to have been around for a long time.

Some Judges are excellent and conscientious. Of that, there is not doubt. But what  about the others? For some there are Rules. But what about the enforcement? For some, including the highest, the Supreme Court (note when Judge Scalia died he was staying for free at a lodge attending a Secret Hunting Society event) to some of the lowest (Immigrations Courts) there are no rules.

It is the thesis of this article that there has to accountability and visibility (“transparency”, the cliched word, is not enough as it does not guarantee visibility) of the decision makers and effective measures to enforce sanctions against those who abuse power – commensurate with due process.

The necessity for rules is based on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some of the phrases such as “due process” are conceptually given some content by the common and decisional law (and may, as some argued be informed by comparative law invocations.) We note that “due process” in Judicial Ethical rules should not only lead to fair adjudication for people in the process but for procedures involving scrutiny of and imposition of sanctions on the empowered decision makers.

The First Amendment and the “Equal Protection of the Law” also undergird the discussion speaking to the right to petition the government for the redress of grievance, to have access to the government agencies in such a way as to receive protections and benefits for which they were designed, to have recourse to the various adjudicative tribunals to achieve just outcomes in private disputes, to make sure that freedoms are not restricted without sound reason (and “due process” of course). In the Federal system, it is clearly established, that the Judiciary is the third of three branches. It is therefore crucial that in a democracy, it presents both the appearance and actuality of being responsive to the people, accountable to principles, and represented by people whose conduct is appropriate for their power and duties.

I. The Supreme Court

The Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct apply to the Supreme Court as written. They are not applied. This is an error.

We look, for better or worse, to the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter of the Constitutional validity of our Federal principles and laws, and the interpretation of their application.
There are sociological and even jurisprudential disputes about whether there can ever be “objective” interpretations of the “law” but the Supreme Court is supposed to apply reason to the matters before it, the factors and issues involved, refer to the relevant principles in the Constitution, usually given some concrete meaning in previous decisions, and apply those principles to the facts to reach a decision then explained and justified with a decision. This ideal is what underpins its acceptance as the third branch and final arbiter of legal matters.

In recent years, we have seen the Court become increasingly “politicised”.
Judge Thomas will not hire those who do not share his political views saying they would become like “irritated pigs.” Appointments are scrutinized on how they will probably vote on controversial political issues which invoke the Constitution. Elective candidates speak about the type of politics they expect from the appointments they will accept (or in the President’s case) make. Eisenhower was disappointed in his appointment of Chief Justice Earl Warren whose Court ordered nationwide school integration. All this is in opposition to the ideal of the best legal reasoning being applied to the controversy, facts, and issues presented. Ironically, Justice Scalia, an obviously result oriented Judge, stated a law may be stupid but still Constitutional.

Recently, we have seen the aforementioned Justices Scalia and Thomas address the Federalist Society (and hire clerks from its ranks), law students who approach the law with a particular political perspective. Judge Scalia also attended secret meetings with the Koch brothers and their billionaire buddies. Both Judges made many speeches, accepted free travel and lodging from many groups. Other activities giving a political tonality can also be listed, Certainly if there were established an enforcement mechanism for the Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct, such activities could be called in question.

There are many ways in which a mechanism could be established. A panel of rotating Chief Judges could be appointed to hear complaints and issue decisions. That panel could also include members of the Bar with or without official Bar Association titles appointed by the President. Complaints could be screened by an independent group funded by the government and comprised of members of the Bar.
Other ideas are also possible.

II. Other Article III Judges

The Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals, and the District Court are all Article III (Constitutional) Judges.
As stated, there is a Federal Judicial Code of Conduct which is supposed to govern them. There was controversy about them a few years a ago resulting in a report by a Commission chaired by Justice Breyer, with recommendations, and considerable detailed scholarly work on the details.

Let us suggest what must be included at the minimum. Although the Constitution speaks of disqualification for “high crimes and misdemeanors” it must not be limited to that.
Complete disclosure of financial, familial, friendship, and legal connections must be disclosed, updated, and available to the public.
No Judge should sit when there is a conflict of interest. Divestment into new blind trusts should be a precondition of Judicial Service. Clearly activities such as campaigning for a candidate or pushing for a political position in public should be prohibited. Any common law felony or any defined activity which affects adjudication should lead to expulsion from the bench. (Bribes, obviously“gifts”; communications with parties, counsel, or ex parte with others which would affect the case). Shocking instances such as Irving Kaufman taking a vacation with the prosecutor Roy Cohn during the process where Kaufman had the State murder the Rosenbergs should have lead not only to his being put off the case. . .  and the bench – but instead he was elevated to the Circuit Court of Appeals. Publications should restricted to matters that have not or will not come before the Judge. These examples form a partial list of what should be included in a Rules and are, in principle.

It must be clear that each Judge is unbiased.
When not, a Judge should recuse =disqualify= him/herself from that case in which bias is involved. (Under the current Rules of Federal Procedure a denial of a Motion to Recuse is not immediately appealable. That is wrong since cases often settle before final adjudication; money runs out; recusal speaks to the essence of a fair trial.) There also must be protection against those who file Motions for Recusal (and complaints against Judges). Many practicing lawyers believe they hurt their clients, even on Appeal, if they have filed complaints (even with limited impact) or motions to recuse against a District Judge.

Federal Judges court room conduct is visible. It is not always appropriate. There are Judges who make lawyers and pro se clients wait, tell jokes at their expense (earning laughter from waiting lawyers not at their wit but to placate the Judge), excessively limit time of presentation, threaten lawyers with contempt, appear hung over, or under the influence of some substance. (This conduct may be worse in chambers.) They also appear not to have read the papers submitted or even unfamiliar with the area of law, even sarcastically dismissive of certain claims such as those made under Civil Rights, Disability, and Consumer Protection Acts. (When the contempt power should be used, when referral be made to the Ethics Committee to the Bar, when attorney fees should be assessed on what conduct is not clear.) At the moment, the Federal Rules appear to operate with a written complaint to the Chief Judge who can talk to the District Judge and arrange for surveillance. This is not enough. Although there are some surveys of lawyers about District Judges they seem to have little effect. Treatment of pro se parties is also important not only for justice but also for how its administration appears to the public. Rather there should be both encouragement, perhaps in signs or pamphlets, to report misconduct and a permanent committee to review complaints comprised of rotating Senior, Circuit, and District Court Judges. That committee should issue written reports available to the public = after all these are life time appointments. One abuse, not dealt with appropriately by the Circuit Courts, is delay by District Courts in rendering decisions or finding new issues on remand. The history of the Ward Cove decision is a stark illustration. As part of Judicial solidarity Circuit Court Judges are loathe to remove District Court Judges from cases. (After the 2nd Circuit reversed Judge Travia who wrongly ruled while admitting he had not read the controlling case and “suggested” he transfer it, they implemented a rule that Judge’s names were not to be in the captions of cases), The Federal Rules should address this matter mandating the Court of Appeals to remove cases from obstructing Judges.

Circuit Court Judges should be subject to the same review process although the treatment of lawyers and litigants tends to be much less and less frequently offensive and prejudicial. (But see the article in the April 2015 Verdict by Derfner and Weiss on Judge Friendly.) A similar complaint process, nevertheless, should be installed so that the public can hold those Courts accountable. There is no clear process for handling requests for recusal indicating that a mechanism should be put in place.

The Supreme Court’s visibility is such and it is so open to public scrutiny that open Court room conduct need not be subject to review. It is also unlikely that lower Court Judges whose decisions are reviewed by that Court would write anything even constructively critical. even in this age where questions often appear to be antagonistic or statements of positions, rather than probing or arguments or seeking clarification or thoughts or facts, distinctions, or concepts that would help the Court reach a decision.

The question of what a Judge does outside the Court seems to invoke the First Amendment. We have already invoked “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The current Federal Rules deal with these. As suggested, the assumption of duty does limit the First Amendment (as does Legal Ethics “confidentiality” imposed on lawyers). All political activity ought to be banned. (We will deal with State elective office later). Receipt of gifts (including services and lodging for free) and money for activities should be banned as leading to undue influence. The Rules can codify a system for a due process hearing leading to dismissal from the Bench.

But what about public drunkeness, nudity, obscene, or even racist, etc. language? What about family or friends engaging in such activities? What about extra-marital affairs? Attending prostitutes or one of the many pornographic (including perverted) internet sites?
Two issues arise:
(1) Is such behavior so egregious that it damages the “image” of the judiciary irreparably?
(2) Does such behavior demonstrate that the Judge has “lost his mind” so that he can not be able to reason and decide judicially? It is our opinion that Judges who make unpopular decisions would be too vulnerable to charges under these two issues and they take place outside the Judicial process. (Of course, neither they nor prosecutors – who commonly do – or other lawyers should comment in public about cases they have in litigation.)
The Constitution only speaks of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and dismissal (or sanctions) from the Bench ought to be limited to that and directly derivative Rules of Conduct. Clearly the cognitive content includes common law felonies, activities in the political arena, any retaliation against attorneys or parties , and any involvements which might produce bias (and the associated necessity for recusal in appropriate cases). The extension to the appearance of probity should be scrutinized intensely. A Judge surrenders some of his First Amendment rights and should refrain from speaking or writing about matters which may come before him.

An interesting question arises in this connection. It seems widely assumed Judges should be impeached (and several have been.) But note that Article III does not talk of Impeachment. It would be better if the Federal Rules established its own procedure obviating the importation of the procedure in Article II.

A word about the Law Clerks.
Their use, naturally, varies enormously Judge to Judge, from detailed work through research to even holding conferences, deciding, writing decisions. The obvious and simple concept since they do hold conferences, talk to lawyers, write decisions, and influence Judges, etc. is to impose the Federal Rules directly and explicitly upon them. Since many now serve for a number of years, all should be forbidden to belong to any group with a particular “legal philosophy.” The question arises whether they have any rights in their discharge. Due process would seem to indicate that they should have the type of administrative hearing the EEOC provides for those alleging discrimination held in front of a Judge from a different jurisdiction and, if successful, be reassigned to a different Judge. If no one is willing to take on a vindicated Clerk, salary and fringes should be paid for a reasonable time and a letter drawn acceptable as a recommendation to future employers.

Administrative clerks can also be obstructions, refusing to take papers or rejecting them for fabricated or over technical details as well as making people wait and just being rude. (The author once had papers rejected by the Chief Clerk of the 2nd Circuit because he thought the issue was not important. It was only accepted because of a Motion made before the Court started hearing cases, then argued, and after a long wait, mooted with the appellants successful.) Poor pro se appellants are often treated quite badly as opposed to “regular players” and big law firms. Clearly a well managed Court of Appeals can design supervision and enforcement mechanisms for such important ancillary matters.

Article II Judges are appointed without the necessity for Senate confirmation but not for life. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” need not apply to them but the Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct obviously should. Recently there has been an expansion of Magistrates with much delegations to them by District Courts including the option of trying cases. (They are referenced as “Judges” and have law clerks). In general, the atmosphere is more informal. In general, matters referred to magistrates when decided are rubber stamped by District Judges. Such a situation allows for considerable distortion of the discovery process, often experienced in the area of Civil Rights particularly against Government entities and some large Corporations.

One often hears complaints from those who embrace the title of Judges of how little they are paid. These same often exhibit the unscruitnized bias towards the poor and oppressed. The obvious remedy would be to start appointing people from the ranks of Legal Aid and Legal Services with extensive litigation experience who would experience a raise in salary and bring diversity of experience, background, and other characteristics in this category. Aside from the D.C. Presidents column in the DC journal in December 2012, no one has come close to mentioning this possibility. We can also suggest that these practitioners would also be sensitive to the treatment of those representing others than big and powerful interests.

It should be easier to set up an enforcement mechanism for Magistrates. Panels can be comprised both of Article III Judges, Article II Judges, practicing lawyers, even academics. Complaints could be made anonymously of general abusive conduct, bias, or unusual delays or discovery and motion practice (particularly Summary Judgement) with review of pattern and practice as well as particular misconduct. Unlike Article III Judges, we can be more stringent about outside conduct since they are not part of a Constitutional branch. Those who have been lobbyists or have published or lectured on a particular legal topic should be subject to automatic recusal by application to the Judge in charge of the case. Obviously they should be free to write and speak about other matters. Issues of recusal should be immediately appealable to the Judge to whom they are assigned.

There are a plethora of Article II courts for Claims, Taxes. etc. One particular branch is Bankruptcy which employs members of the Department of Justice as “trustees”. Sometimes these trustees have been found to be abusive and even to refuse to allow interpreters and engage in other such improper conduct. The disqualification and discipline of these trustees should be appealable from the Department of Justice (by whom they are employed) to a panel such as we have suggested. The question of recusal with distant relatives as creditors gets difficult in this area.  It should be very easy for Congress to pass legislation making payment of a fee for speaking (or provision of substantial benefit) a crime. One often hears about the “appearance” of impartiality as well as its existence. Given the attitude of many towards their experience with Article II Judges these guarantees would help with that “appearance.” (One would think that Tax Court Judges should have to pay their taxes scrupulously and regularly or no longer sit). This brief invocation of this area indicates that there should be a detailed study of the particular ethical problems of each area of the Article II Judges.

Sometimes Masters are appointed from the private bar. (E.g. Simon Rifkind, who also served as a District Court Judge who served as a Supreme Court referee in a water dispute). The Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct should seem to apply but the simplest mechanism would seem to be a Motion to the appointing Court (and appeals unless the appointment was by the Supreme Court.)

Some Jurisdictions has pro se Judges, who are hopefully sensitive and experienced, with unrepresented individuals with grievance. Obviously, they are subject to the same disciplinary considerations as other Judges. The ability to complain about them (and mistreatment by administrative clerks) should be made very easy by signs, pamphlets, forms, and places to file them. In general, pro se clients should be made aware of the disciplinary system. One group in particular should be noted: prisoners file many writs, some prisoners alone serve many law suits.

Many, of course, are without merit. Nonetheless, their papers deserve an appropriate reading. This author handled a case on appeal by a prisoner who had lost countless suits and found merit to persuade the 2nd Circuit that his First Amendment rights were violated when a Prison Chaplain put him in solitary confinement when they had a theological dispute. We need not explore the horror of our nation’s prisons or the distorted nature of its population to exhort the Judiciary, as a government entity, to give caged denizens the rightful impression that they, at least, received proper attention for their complaints from the Federal branch.

Most people actually encounter Federal adjudication in Federal agencies operating under laws and regulations. The decision makers once called “Hearing Officers” are now called “Administrative Law Judges.” There is no uniform code for them. Some agencies have no rules of conduct, some have proposed rules of conduct, none appear to have effective rules of enforcement.

Let us consider two agencies that have crucial effect on people’s lives.
The first is the Immigration Department which holds deportation hearings where there is no right to counsel and counsel is rarely present. Infants have been forced to represent themselves, some even held in arms. There appears to be no comprehensive rules promulgated to protect even from prejudice let alone assure due process. Certainly such hearings should be open to the public, counsel appointed (where is the vaunted pro bono activity of the Bar?), comprehensive Rules of Conduct promulgated and enforced by an independent Board but this is Utopian fantasizing.

Many people’s ability to subsist depends upon Social Security. Even access to a hearing may be a problem. For years, for example, hearings on disability claims for people in the Bronx were held in White Plains taking over an hour and a half to secluded office. (Getting there was sometimes used as proof that the person was not disabled. This author took his clients there by car services to avoid that problem.) Disability hearings in Manhattan, like Immigration hearings required long waits involving physical hardship. Prejudice was difficult to overcome. One Hearing Officer, a Helen Anyel, was clearly biased. It took Legal Services advocates years of reversing her decisions in Federal Court to accumulate enough evidence to bring a successful law suit to impose limits on her powers. Evidently, there is a need for an extensive Code of Conduct for Social Security “ALJs” to ensure due process, visibility, accountability, ability to complain, and enforcement. These agencies affect people’s lives deeply. These people are poor. Perhaps that is why there is no attention to Codes of Conduct.

On the other hand, the Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct which are very detailed (We have essentially focused only on bias and conflicts) can be stretched past reasonableness. There are many interesting intellectual questions raised in the area (e.g. can Judges, identified as such or not participate in State caucuses; what knowledge outside what the litigants have supplied can be sought?) but some actions taken in these areas seem excessive. The distinguished scholar Guido Calabrese, talking to a small group made some comparisons about the political situation of his youth with the contemporary scene which was reported by the New York Times. The 2nd Circuit disciplinary machinery forced a public apology. Such energy would be much better spent on supervising the Courtroom behavior of District Court Judges and their membership in various clubs and trips to various venues such as the Federal Bar Association in Hawaii, if minor matters require major attention.

No one, it is said, should be above the law.

The Federal Rules of Judicial Conduct must serve to ensure that is true of Judges. The Supreme Court therefore should be covered. Other appropriate rules should be added.

Justice demands visibility, accountability, and enforcement with due process.

Article III life time tenure requires no less; Article II implies more. Administrative agencies must have rules which guarantee fairness and accessibility with visibility, accountability, and enforcement.

It is widely acknowledged that the criminal law enforcement system, prison industrial complex is a scandal with its rates and duration of brutal incarceration. Fueled by the War on Drugs, the 1994 Crime Bill, and Mandatory Minimum sentencing, Federal prisons (particularly when private and driven by profit motive) are exercises in brutality not rehabilitation. (See Joshua Price, Incarceration and Social Death). The role of the Judiciary is limited in many regard. But, beyond the Rhenquist wreckage (and Clinton’s Prison Litigation Reform Law), there could be much more careful scrutiny of habeas corpus petitions and motions for relief dealing with conditions (e.g. solitary confinement) and less bias exhibited in favor of police and prosecutors. (Monroe Freedman has written extensively as to the lack of application of Legal Ethics to prosecutors.) Such bias may be subtle as well as overt but it may also be revealed in pasterns of rulings and jury instructions as well as decisions on prisoners’ papers. The appointment of distinguished criminal law defense lawyers to engage in observing and working with academics to gather data might have a salutary effect. An argument can be made that parole boards function as administrative tribunals (the demand that applicants show remorse and admit guilt even when justly claiming innocence is outrageous) so it should be so supervised; that parole officers are like Hearing Officers and ALJs so that there ought to be mechanisms to overturn arbitrary, racist, and excessively punitive actions.

III State Courts

Federal Judges are rarely accused or even suspected of monetary corruption.
In many jurisdictions that is not true of State Judges and those acting with State decision making power. There are, of course, exemplary State Judges, and in some geographical areas exemplary officials dealing with the imposition of sanctions. This author has never met another litigator who does not have an anecdotes casting aspersions on State Judges and State adjudicators. We note, in passing, that in New York, the State Judges sued in their own Courts for an increase in salaries (see the remarks above about recruiting from the ranks of those who represent the poor) which invokes a question of Conflict of Interest. There is a Code of Judicial Ethics (and many opinions under them – even one Casebook of them) for every State. We suggest that a flagrant or crucial violation of such a code should predicate a right to sue in the appropriate Federal District Court on the claim of Constitutional infringement of due process (and perhaps Equal Protection) for declaratory Judgement and an Injunction. There is an argument (particularly under Shelley v. Kramer) that an affirmative suit could be brought under the Civil Rights acts but it makes more juridical sense to have an Act of Congress establishing such a procedure.

There is a threshold question of whether Judges are appointed or elected. The backdrop of this distinction is constituted by the Jaybird cases from Texas which held that the (segregated) Democratic primaries were tantamount to the election and being segregated were unconstitutional and a later contrary Justice Scalia case, not mentioning these prior decisions, upholding a New York procedure where the nomination by the Democratic party was tantamount to winning the election to be a Judge. The comparative merits and demerits of these two systems are difficult to parse balancing back rooms versus campaign contributions which in this age of Citizens United seem to have an excessive influence = but is not for this article to resolve but to note the different consequences that ensue for Codes of Judicial Conduct under each system.

We must, unfortunately, eliminate as a practical matter the areas of widespread corruption, where articles like this fade into wisps of academic smoke. In Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich Mary Frances Berry details extensively how country wide whole communities, based on their experiences, have their votes for candidates, prosecutors, and Judges bought by a promise of transportation to and from the Voting Booth with the presentation of $5 and a pork chop sandwich as payment on the way back to their impoverished home. It is doubtful that Codes of Judicial Conduct can be enforced here.

Scandals need not be so obvious. For five years, there was a Family Court in Pennsylvania where the Judges were paid to sentence Juveniles for such misdeeds as truancy to a private jail making handsome profits. (see Kids for Cash) Eventually, such behavior even reached discussions in the American Bar Association Journal and the Judges went to jail but five years of ruined children’s lives is a long time. Where were the courageous lawyers? Where did they feel they could appeal without fear? Where was the local Bar association?

As others litigators have, this author has observed the indicia of partiality, if not worse (returning to a Court room to retrieve something after trial to glimpse opposing counsel and Judge going into Chambers together; knowing political and other connections of Judge and appointments of guardians ad item; being forced to file a Motion to Recuse a Family Court Judge for prejudice against Puerto Ricans with the Judge then ordering the clients to discharge me as counsel, etc. ) We all have heard of Judges asking personal injury lawyers when alone about with what other carriers they had cases, etc. Tales of direct payment are not unknown. Corruption can be implicit and subtle rather than overt and demonstrable. Complaints about it are dangerous to a practicing lawyer.

Indeed this article would not be written
if the author planned to litigate again.

In any event, corruption of this sort is a social and criminal matter, varying from locale to locale and unreachable in practice by the State’s Code of Judicial Conduct although undoubtedly forbidden by it. The general favoritism shown to prosecutors is an open secret daily evident to the Defense Bar and any impartial observer.

For elected Judges there is the problem of campaigning. Issues go from the obvious of campaigning in Robes and handing out brochures to making promises on how cases will be decided. State Codes should clearly prohibit some such. Clearly a candidate has a Free Speech right to speak about anything but if a matter comes before that candidate after election, recusal should be mandated and immediately appealable if denied.

There is also the issue of campaign donations. Mr. Blankenship, now under sentence of a year in jail for conduct leading to death of many miners, spent large sums of money to place a Judge on an appeals court dealing with the liability of his company for damages = the swing vote. This impropriety was overturned but suggests the danger. There should be a rule against any Judge sitting on any case involving someone who donated to his campaign.

For appointed Judges, we would suggest that former lobbyists should be automatically precluded from sitting and automatically recused if they testified to legislative bodies or advocacy groups on issues which arose in litigation = including appeals from administrative decisions. Both precautions are based on the necessity for impartiality.

Just as there are Federal Administrative agencies there are State tribunals for cab drivers, environmental matters, parking tickets, health concerns, and the like. These jobs are generally filled by part time lawyers. There appear to be no Codes of Conduct. There are also Human Rights and Disability agencies usually filled with Civil Servants but again with no codes on conduct. For reasons ranging from the need to have citizens believe in government impartiality and fairness to making sure that important rights are protected Codes of Conduct mirroring the ones imposed upon Judges particularly involving bias, conflicts, and abuse, etc. should be promulgated, publicized, and implemented.

In the lowest area of adjudications many many poor people are affected, seeking welfare, freedom from incarceration for lack of ability to pay minor fines, medicaid. Yet these areas are the most lawless and administered in the most disheartening and heartless ways. Clearly they should be the most visible and accountable instead of the opposite.

Many have detailed the defects of the “criminal justice” system in which the Judges play a significant part, processing rather than adjudicating (with enormous disparity in sentencing -also State by State). Military Courts have been criticized for their obvious defects (and so has the Veterans administration.) We need not include them to make this article a jeremiad against Judges, for the our main purpose is to review the considerations that should go into Judicial Codes, the application, protections of all parties, the gap between the ideals, the words associated with the ideals, and the realities in our adjudicative processes from the United States Supreme Court to the tribunals that normal citizens encounter as part of daily living under a country which promises a rule of law and Federally a branch devoted to Justice.

One last word.

At least we have been discussing Courts with rules.

Since the 1970s there has been a Secret “Court” with secret decisions about searches and seizures in clear violation of the 4th Amendment.

No rules are relevant here.

FISA should be abolished under the 4th and 5th Amendment.