As President Barack Obama speaks on drone strikes today and in some detail on the decision to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, I thought it timely to re-post the following, originally posted on October 13, 2011.
Lincoln and al-Awlaki
The recent United States drone attack that killed the American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen has been criticized by sources as disparate as the editorial page of the New York Times to libertarian Republican presidential candidate Representative Ron Paul to the ACLU to liberal bloggers. These critics have made the case that the administration may have violated the Constitution in killing al-Awlaki; that the administration has leaked information concerning the secret legal memorandum that justified killing al-Awlaki but not made public the memorandum itself; and that the administration has failed to lay out the case against the imam. With questions swirling as to the administration’s constitutional authority to kill al-Awlaki without providing legal due process I thought it would be interesting to consult the words of the American president accused of routinely violating constitutionally protected individual rights, Abraham Lincoln. Continue reading
Yesterday Lt. Governor Tim Murray announced he would resign to take a $200,000 per year job with the Worcester Chamber of Commerce. This would suggest that Murray and the Chamber believe he is at little risk of being indicted by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz or Attorney General Martha Coakley for campaign finance violations he may have committed along with felon Michael McLaughlin, former head of the Chelsea Housing Authority.
McLaughlin in turn will walk or serve a very short sentence on his federal plea deal and is not likely to face any state time for campaign finance violations. Our score card would read: Prosecutors get publicity for corruption crusades, McLaughlin and Murray walk. Can that be right? Continue reading
Multiple sources are saying that Lt. Governor Tim Murray will resign to take a job as president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Strike while the iron is hot: the job reportedly pays $200,000, fits his skill set, is near his home, he has small children, and his political career was running out the string.
Murray will be remembered of course for the early morning state vehicle car crash in 2011 and his alleged fund raising connections to disgraced (some one write in, can Mike McLaughlin be disgraced?) Chelsea Housing chief McLaughlin. US Attorney Carmen Ortiz has reportedly been ready to give McLaughlin a sweet heart deal in exchange for testimony against Murray. Apparently the Chamber isn’t concerned and given the recent inability of prosecutors in this state to convict pols in politics-as-usual cases, perhaps they have reason for comfort. If Ortiz doesn’t get Murray out of the McLaughlin deal, you have to wonder.
Murray is reportedly popular in the Patrick administration. He cheerfully served as a campaign attack dog and handled a lot of the odious patronage dealings (McLaughlin’s son, maybe Sheila Burgess though he denies it) that are an essential part of Beacon Hill relations. In that respect he caught some of the attacks that otherwise might have reached the governor, another important function for the second in command.
I’ll be on with Michael Graham of the New England Talk Network at 12:15 to discuss the resignation.
I thought I’d do a quick post tying together small unrelated lowlights of local politics and then I realized they are related. So herewith a Massachusetts Mélange of Money, featuring Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez, with a cameo from Senator Mo Cowan as the man on the white horse. Continue reading
A while back I wrote of the US Senate special election that the known-knowns favor the Democrat. That was written before the primaries that gave us nominees Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez and holds true today. But what about the unknown-unknowns? Continue reading
Sunday’s Boston Globe story on Michael McLaughlin reminds me again of the oddity of the proceedings against him. Usually prosecutors offer a soft deal to a lesser criminal figure so he’ll turn on a bigger fish. In McLaughlin’s case US Attorney Carmen Ortiz seems willing to go soft on the whale to reel in a few guppies. Continue reading
Everyone who nods affirmatively when someone criticizes “professional” politicians and praises the need for “non-politicians” in Washington should be forced to read Stephanie Ebbert’s Boston Globe article about Gabriel Gomez’s positions on abortion. The title, “Gomez unclear on some aspects of abortion,” could make the hall of fame for understatement. Continue reading
The other day, I expressed my concerns about Ed Markey’s decision to “disinvite” former Geogia Democratic congressman Ben Jones from a fund raiser at which Jones’ band was scheduled to be the entertainment. Well, it looks like Cooter thought even less of the Markey campaign’s attempt to avoid bringing the Confederate flag into our little senate race. Jones’ Boston Globe op-ed expresses some of the same concerns as I did, though in much more colorful and evocative prose. Continue reading
Wednesday I recorded a radio interview for WUMB’s public affairs program Commonwealth Journal with John Rosenthal, founder and chairman of Stop Handgun Violence. He argued that massacres like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, and Virginia Tech are not only good for business, but part of the business plan of Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger, and Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Freedom Group, manufacturer of the Bushmaster rifle used in the massacre in Newtown CT. Mass murder for profit? How could this be? Continue reading