HomeUncategorized12.15-16 Open Threads

Leave a Reply

Photo and Image Files
Audio and Video Files
Other File Types
29 Comment threads
39 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
wi64BennyorlbucfanAint Supposed to Die A Natural Deathjcitybone Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Thanks orl!




In Reference to Orl’s opener, we have a big range of possibilities for mankind. We can end up in a Mad Max like dystopian future or we give up this Greed and power trip that the PTB are on and actually work towards a future where Greed,poverty, despair and power over others are a thing of the past. Another words WE GROW UP AS A SPECIES and put childish things behind us. Right now we seem hell bent on destroying ourselves….


Dave Dayen

Manchin Decides to Torpedo Permitting Reform

Angered by a pre-election presidential swipe at the coal industry, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has taken a hostage. Revealingly, that hostage is a chief architect within the executive branch of energy permitting reforms, which is supposedly a top priority of Manchin’s. (He recently sponsored a reform package that Republicans blocked.)

Late last week, Politico reported that Manchin would not hold a nomination hearing for Richard Glick, the current chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Glick’s term expired in June, and without confirmation by the end of the year, he would have to step down from FERC, leaving the agency deadlocked between Democrats and Republicans.

That could stall out the work FERC is doing on accelerating the electricity transmission build-out, which is generally seen as among the biggest challenges to the green transition. If more transmission lines cannot be built to move renewable energy from where it is produced to where power is needed, much of the clean-energy benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act will be lost, and hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases that could be avoided will be emitted per year.

Manchin conditioned his support for the IRA on getting a vote for his permitting reform bill. Ultimately, he pulled the package from the continuing resolution to fund the government in September because it didn’t have the votes. Manchin has talked about adding permitting reforms to the defense policy bill, which passes Congress every year.

The permitting package Manchin introduced earlier this year included electric transmission reforms that would give FERC “siting authority” to approve the construction of transmission lines (even over objections of regional planners) if they are deemed in the national interest. FERC has no such preemption authority now for transmission; it does have it for natural gas pipelines. The permitting bill would also allow FERC to undertake all environmental reviews for transmission projects, and to allocate the costs of such projects unilaterally.

This would hand FERC a considerable amount of power, which would all go to waste if the agency mired in gridlock because the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee—Manchin—refused to confirm its leader in a fit of pique. Even without new powers, Biden’s FERC is actively working to accelerate transmission permitting, which Manchin’s maneuver would also hamper.

The situation calls into question whether Manchin cares all that much about bolstering domestic energy production, or if he is more myopically interested in getting particular fossil fuel projects in West Virginia approved and built, over local objections. At any rate, it’s hard to say he’s a sincere believer in improving transmission build-out, when he’s stalling its biggest champion in the government.

Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon would only give the Prospect a brief one-line statement about the Glick nomination and its impact on permitting reform, one he has given other outlets. “The Chairman was not comfortable holding a hearing,” Runyon said in an email.

GLICK HAS BEEN FERC CHAIR since President Biden took office. He has convened task forces of state regulators to coordinate transmission planning that would cross state lines. In April, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on transmission, which would require better long-term regional planning and tackle the troublesome problem of cost allocation.

The situation calls into question whether Manchin cares all that much about bolstering domestic energy production.

A major difficulty with building new transmission lines is determining who pays for it. Utilities using the new transmission lines must divvy up the construction costs from revenues from ratepayers, and this inevitably leads to disputes. The proposed FERC rule establishes principles for a cost allocation method, preventing utilities from claiming that they will be unfairly burdened. Glick has said that cost allocation is critical to getting new transmission projects built.

The Manchin bill would go further in setting a method based on the benefits utilities would get from a new project. But as of now, FERC’s rule is the existing permitting reform happening within the government. And Glick, the man in Manchin’s crosshairs, is leading it.

The two have crossed swords before. Glick was the deciding vote for an update to pipeline reviews that “take into account a proposed project’s effect on climate change.” Manchin harshly criticized this vote at a hearing in March, calling it “a short-sighted attack on fossil fuel resources” that “serve[s] to further shut down the infrastructure that we desperately need as a country and further politicize energy development in our country.”

Perceived hostility to fossil fuel pipelines was probably enough to get Glick on the wrong side of Manchin. But Biden’s comments about shutting coal-fired power plants ahead of the midterms also infuriated Manchin. “We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar,” Biden told an audience in Carlsbad, California. Though White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to walk back the remarks, Manchin called them “outrageous and divorced from reality.”

Whether Manchin is taking out his frustrations with Biden on Glick or has an animus toward anyone asking questions about fossil fuel pipelines, the net effect of his refusal to advance Glick is that permitting reform for electricity transmission will suffer. Supporters of permitting reform for the purposes of accelerating clean energy made common cause with Manchin earlier this year, saying that his effort was essential to the green transition. Manchin does not appear to agree, or he wouldn’t consign one of the lead agencies in that effort to gridlock.

Manchin has already drawn his first challenger, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), for his Senate re-election in 2024.


What’s Wrong at the Times

The business side of The New York Times has a lot to crow about. Consider the following and forgive me for throwing all these numbers at you, dear reader.

  • After having an operating profit of $176 million in 2020, the Times estimates that its operating profit will jump to around $325 million this year, a very impressive 84 percent increase.
  • Digital subscriptions have soared to eight million (not including The Athletic), five times as many as the 1.6 million in 2016.
  • The Times has increased its dividend per share by 33 percent from two years ago and more than doubled its dividend from four years ago.
  • In February, the Times announced a $150 million stock buyback plan for this year, a move designed to please investors by boosting the company’s stock price.

Beyond that, total compensation for the Times’ publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, jumped by 49 percent last year, to $3.6 million, while compensation for the company’s CEO, Meredith Kopit Levien, climbed by 31.6 percent to $5.75 million, a nearly $1.4 million increase over 2020.

As Larry David would say, that’s pretty, pretty good.

But at the same time, Times management has told the 1,100-plus unionized journalists in its newsroom—the journalists who make the Times the world’s greatest newspaper—that it won’t give them raises that come close to keeping up with inflation. Not only that, until last week, 21 months after the newsroom’s union contract expired, Times management was insisting on eliminating its journalists’ pension plan and cutting its overall contributions to their health and retirement plans, notwithstanding the company’s vastly improved operating profits. (I should note that the newsroom’s 1,400-person bargaining unit also includes advertising salespeople, security guards, and some other Times employees.)

In the 21 months since the newsroom’s contract expired on March 30, 2021, inflation in the U.S. has risen by 12.4 percent, yet the Times is offering slightly less than that amount for the entire four-year length of the contract (ending in March 2025). Even if inflation subsides substantially, dropping to, say, 3 percent annually, Times journalists would see their pay drop by 7 percent by 2025 after factoring in inflation.

And if inflation averages 4 percent a year between now and March 2025, the value of a Times journalist’s paycheck would decline by around 10 percent after inflation over the life of the contract.

All this raises an obvious question of fairness: Why should Times management shower money gained from improved performance on investors and executives but not on the journalists who have risked their lives covering the war in Ukraine and other wars, the journalists who often work until midnight on big projects, the journalists who have won 122 Pulitzer Prizes, far more than any other news organization? Why shower money from the Times’ increased profits on investors who might have bought Times stock two months ago instead of on loyal, hardworking employees who have worked at the Times for two decades?

No wonder Times employees are angry. No wonder they went on strike for 24 hours last Thursday—the newsroom’s first walkout since their 88-day strike in 1978. No wonder Times employees are on the verge of voting to authorize an open-ended strike unless the two sides soon reach a settlement.

I was a reporter for the Times for 31 years, and covered labor and workplace issues during my last 19 years there, before retiring in late 2014. I was on the union’s negotiating committee in 2012, and back then we, too, were extremely frustrated with the Times’ lowball, sub-inflation wage offer and snail-like conduct in negotiations. Back in October 2012, with our contract having expired 18 months earlier and our contract talks inching forward at a glacial pace, we had grown so angry that more than 300 of us walked out and held a lunchtime protest outside the Times. We were making what we thought was a loud statement about Times management being too stingy and too slow in negotiations. We thought that protest was a big deal—the long-sleepy Newspaper Guild at the Times was finally waking up and flexing its muscles in what was the newsroom’s biggest protest in decades. (I should note, as many people would attest, that Donald McNeil, a star Times science and health writer at the time, did far more than anyone else to transform the newsroom’s bargaining unit from a lazy, lethargic, noncombative union into a feisty group of workers that was finally willing to stand up and fight.)

As angry as we were back then, hardly anyone was talking strike. The other day, I was speaking with a longtime NYT employee, who told me, “People are far more pissed off now.”

Frankly, I’m surprised that the Times’ publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, in negotiating his first contract with the newsroom, would let things get so angry. I like A.G.—I have fond memories of the piece he did when he was a Times reporter based in Kansas City and wrote about the trials and tribulations of being a vegetarian living in KC. But I fear that A.G., who became publisher in 2018, is getting bad advice, because he has signed off on a negotiating strategy and tactics that are hurting his—and the Times’—image and seriously hurting newsroom morale, as well.

I realize that the New York NewsGuild’s more militant leadership isn’t always easy to deal with. I realize it has put many new and sometimes difficult issues on the table, just as the Times has. And I have heard some Times journalists complain that the Guild’s in-your-face approach is one reason there is still no new contract more than 20 months after the old one expired.

But the main reason the contract talks have dragged on so frustratingly long is that the Times, with its bargaining strategy guided by the Proskauer Rose law firm, took seven months, an outrageously long time, just to put forward its first response to the union’s wage proposal and then another five months to respond to the union’s initial counterproposal on wages.

Guided by Proskauer, the Times has traditionally taken a drag-things-out-and-delay approach to negotiations. This unfortunate strategy seems deliberate, and it has often allowed Times management to avoid giving a retroactive raise for the first year after the contract expires—that’s what the Times did in the 2012 contract, and it is trying to do that again now. As a result of such maneuvering, no New York Times contract in the 21st century has enabled average newsroom salaries to keep pace with inflation. I surmise that another reason for the slow negotiations is that some lawyers at Proskauer like to drag out negotiations because the longer contract talks last, the more their billable hours climb. According to a 2016 Wall Street Journal article, Proskauer Rose’s “hourly partner billing rate has climbed as high as $1,475.”

While I have great respect for several lawyers at Proskauer, I didn’t love the Proskauer lawyers with whom we in the Guild negotiated. They often arrived late. They often sneered at us. They treated us like wayward fourth graders whenever we had the temerity to make a proposal they didn’t like.

In the current negotiations, the NewsGuild is demanding a wage increase averaging 5.25 percent a year over four years, or 22.7 percent compounded. Such a raise would seemingly keep pace with inflation and perhaps exceed it. According to the union, the Times’ latest wage offer comes to 2.875 per year, or 12 percent compounded. The Times offer, however, doesn’t appear to include a retroactive raise for the first year of any new contract, from March 2021 to March 2022, a 12-month period when inflation was running at 8.5 percent. Instead of a raise for that year, the Times is offering the lame excuse of a 4 percent one-time payment. The Times calls that payment a “bonus,” but it seems more like a booby prize.

I can certainly understand why the Times, like any company, would balk at giving a 22.7 percent contractual raise over four years. That number does seem high, but let’s not forget that inflation has been running at its highest rate in more than 40 years. (Pilots at Delta Air Lines just signed a three-year contract that awards raises of 34 percent.) I imagine that Times management is thinking, what if the Federal Reserve succeeds in reducing inflation to its 2 percent goal next year. If that happens, Times executives would be stewing that they were overpaying on salary.

Whatever pay increase the Times eventually agrees to, the NewsGuild is calling for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that would equal inflation, that would hold Guild members harmless against any increase in inflation. The Times has rejected that COLA proposal even though enlightened employers often agree to cost-of-living adjustments. Not only do such provisions protect employees from having their pay eroded by higher-than-expected inflation, but if inflation remains low, COLA provisions would help the employer’s bottom line by holding down any promised raises. I hope that Times management will see the light on this—and take the enlightened approach.

It’s not as if the Times can’t afford to give newsroom employees a 22.7 percent raise over four years. That’s around ten percentage points above what the Times is offering, and with each percentage point translating into $1.5 million a year in raises, that would cost the Times $15 million annually. That represents just 10 percent of the $150 million stock buyback and a small fraction of the Times’ current $465 million in cash on hand.

Times management will no doubt be thinking something like “What if the nation slides into recession and our profits plummet? We would never want to commit to anything like a 22.7 percent raise or to a cost-of-living clause that fully protects against inflation.” Smart negotiations and smart negotiators can address that, perhaps through a profit-sharing formula. I can see a formula where if profits remain strong, there’s a COLA that covers 100 percent of inflation, but if profits fall, perhaps the COLA provision would protect against just 75 percent of inflation.


pt 2

During the 2012 negotiations, the Times was proposing a 1.5 percent-a-year pay increase that wouldn’t keep up with inflation. Proskauer’s lawyers argued that a larger increase would hurt the bottom line. At the negotiating table, I proposed that the Times do some profit sharing—that if the union accepted a 1.5 percent raise and the Times profits were strong, then the Times should pay out profit-sharing money on top of the contractual raises that Times journalists were to receive.

I’ll never forget the Proskauer lawyer’s high-handed response: He dismissed the idea of profit sharing as an idiotic, absurd suggestion. I also remember Proskauer’s lawyer dismissing out of hand our proposal for newsroom employees to receive paid parental leave. I’m sure that Times executives keep close tabs on what’s happening at the bargaining table, but I sometimes wonder whether Times management realizes how bad Proskauer’s lawyers sometimes make them look. (Soon after the 2012 contract talks ended, then-executive editor Jill Abramson—embarrassed and incensed that the newsroom’s contract didn’t provide for paid parental leave—made some good internal trouble to make sure the Times provided paid parental leave to the newsroom employees who worked under her.)

I love the Times, and I do think it is the world’s greatest newspaper (despite such serious mistakes as paying far too much attention to Hillary Clinton’s emails and doing too much uncritical stenography about George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s false claims leading up to the Iraq War). I don’t cherish the idea of a strike by the Times’ journalists—strikes can last an unexpectedly long time and sow huge and lasting acrimony.

But I can certainly understand why many Times journalists are angry and ready to authorize a strike. Not only did their contract expire 21 months ago, but those journalists haven’t had a contractual raise since March 2020, 33 months ago. By failing to give its journalists raises for such a long time, despite high inflation, and by offering raises that would leave its journalists behind inflation, the Times is making its employees feel left behind and unappreciated. That’s something that no employer should ever do.

Times management can easily make peace, alleviate the anger, and prevent a strike. A solution shouldn’t be difficult. After several very good years, the Times has generously shared its good times—and its profits—with its investors and top executives, but it should also make sure to share those good times with the employees who day in and day out make the Times such a great newspaper—and such a valuable, profit-making property.



Looks like twitter is fast becoming sodom and gomorrah. Sad.



What a shame.


Disclose Act, which would have amended the 1971 Federal Elections Act to include more info on corporations, etc. Filibustered, 49-49.



Twitter Suspends Accounts of Half a Dozen Journalists

Twitter suspended the accounts of roughly half a dozen prominent journalists on Thursday, the latest change by the social media service under its new owner, Elon Musk.

The accounts suspended included Ryan Mac of The New York Times; Drew Harwell of The Washington Post; Aaron Rupar, an independent journalist; Donie O’Sullivan of CNN; Matt Binder of Mashable; Tony Webster, an independent journalist; Micah Lee of The Intercept; and the political journalist Keith Olbermann. It was unclear what the suspensions had in common; each user’s Twitter page included a message that said it suspended account that “violated the Twitter rules.”

The moves came a day after Twitter suspended more than 25 accounts that tracked the planes of government agencies, billionaires and high-profile individuals, including that of Mr. Musk. Many of the accounts were operated by Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student and flight tracking enthusiast who had used Twitter to post updates about the location of Mr. Musk’s private plane using publicly available information.

Last month, Mr. Musk had said he would allow the account that tracked his private plane to remain on Twitter, though he said it amounted to a security threat. “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” he said in a tweet at the time.

But he changed his mind this week, after he claimed a car in which one of his sons was traveling was accosted by a “crazy stalker.” On Wednesday, Mr. Musk tweeted that any account that posted “real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.”

Mr. Musk made Twitter Blue, an existing subscription service, the backbone of his strategy to increase revenue. We looked at who has signed up for it.
Some of the journalists whose accounts were suspended had written about the accounts that tracked the private planes or had tweeted about those accounts. Some have also written articles that have been critical of Mr. Musk and his ownership of Twitter. Many of them had tens of thousands of followers on the platform.

Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment and Twitter did not respond to an email for comment. In a tweet, Mr. Musk said Twitter’s rules on “doxxing” — which refers to the sharing of someone’s personal documents, including information such as their address — “apply to ‘journalists’ as well as everyone else.” He did not elaborate.

“Tonight’s suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including The New York Times’s Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate,” said Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesman for The Times. “Neither The Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action.”

Representatives for The Post and CNN did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In an appearance on CNN after his account was suspended, Mr. O’Sullivan said Twitter’s actions could intimidate journalists who cover companies owned by Mr. Musk.

I was disappointed to see that I was suspended from Twitter without explanation,” Mr. Webster, whose account was suspended, said in an emailed comment. He added that he had tweeted about the Twitter account that tracked Mr. Musk’s private plane before his suspension.

Mr. Binder, the Mashable journalist, said that he had been critical of Mr. Musk but had not broken any of Twitter’s listed policies.

After his suspension from Twitter, Mr. Sweeney turned to Mastodon, an alternative social network. After Mastodon used Twitter to promote Mr. Sweeney’s new account on Thursday, Twitter suspended Mastodon’s account. As some journalists shared the news of Mastodon’s suspension, their own accounts were suspended.

Mr. Musk, who purchased Twitter in October for $44 billion, had said that his takeover would expand free speech on the platform and allow more people to participate in the public conversation. In recent weeks, he allowed some banned users to return to the platform, including former President Donald J. Trump, who was barred from his account after the Jan. 6, 2021, riots on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Musk said in October that he would form a council to advise him on policy matters before making changes to the company’s content moderation policies. The council has not materialized. This week, Mr. Musk disbanded a trust and safety advisory group that had guided Twitter on thorny issues like harassment and child exploitation.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Mr. Musk tweeted in April, shortly after announcing his intent to buy the company.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death




the House of Representatives quietly passed a piece of legislation unanimously that stands up for the right of a free press against intrusions by the federal government.

That legislation, the Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying Act, or PRESS Act, stands a real chance of becoming law if the Senate takes it up before the expiration of the lame-duck session. The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said he supports the bill, which gives it a boost in its quest for a floor vote.

The PRESS Act is sponsored by Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, and it effectively blocks the federal government from using subpoenas, jail, or the threat of jail to force reporters to turn over sources, and it blocks tech companies from sharing sensitive information from journalists’ devices with the federal government.

This week, Durbin announced in the Chicago Sun-Times that he would be pushing for a vote by unanimous consent on the bill. “At a time when the former president is calling for journalists to be jailed and referring to the press as the ‘enemy of the people,’ it’s critical that we protect this pillar of our democracy,” he wrote. “That’s why I support the PRESS Act and have cleared it for fast-track consideration on the Senate ‘hotline.’”

On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, tried to move the bill through the Senate by unanimous consent, like had been done in the House, but it was blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “The press unfortunately has a long and sordid history of publishing sensitive information from inside the government that damages our national security,” Cotton said on the Senate floor, going on to cite the Pentagon Papers as an example of such a leak, which he claimed was published by the New York Times in order to turn the public against the war effort. He also criticized reporting on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which he claimed similarly undermined those war efforts. “Yet the PRESS Act would immunize journalists and leakers alike from scrutiny and consequences for their actions.”

The act would not, in fact, immunize leakers. The government would still be able to hunt and prosecute them as they do now; they just wouldn’t be able to threaten to jail journalists to pressure them to turn in their sources, as they did to The Intercept’s James Risen.

As for consequences for journalists, the First Amendment already bars the government from restricting the publication of any material, including classified information. The government can criminalize leaking but not publishing. That 200-year-old First Amendment protection is currently under threat by the prosecution of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange for publishing national security secrets, though the PRESS Act itself would not cover the case, because the government uncovered his source, Chelsea Manning, without relying on Assange.

“This effectively would grant journalists special legal privileges to disclose sensitive information that no other citizen enjoys,” Cotton falsely claimed. Indeed, all citizens have the right to publish classified information; the crime, again, is in the leaking of it.

Cotton added that he had a particular grievance with the Fourth Estate itself. “If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that too many journalists these days are little more than left-wing activists who are at best ambivalent about America and are cavalier about our security and about the truth,” Cotton said, ironically attacking under the guise of patriotism those working under the First Amendment.

“The PRESS Act does not say, ‘Let’s have a fast-track for the liberals,’” Wyden told The Intercept.

The bill does not restrict protections to professional journalists but to any “person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, investigates, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.”

Given Cotton’s objection, the remaining viable path for the bill is to get included in the year-end omnibus spending legislation, according to congressional sources and those working on the outside to push the bill through. A floor vote, given the need to overcome a filibuster, would eat up too much of the little floor time left in the session. Durbin’s support is crucial for such an inclusion, and the bill would also likely need the backing of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who told The Intercept he was still reviewing requests for the omnibus. Wyden said that he didn’t want to get into individual conversations with other senators but expressed optimism about the potential for the omnibus.

“After the PRESS Act passed the House with unanimous bipartisan support this fall, it came closer than ever to becoming law,” said Raskin. “A federal law to protect journalists in their work against the political whims of the day is a necessary step to defend press freedom. I am hopeful this measure can be included in a year-end omnibus package. It would be a great unifying statement.”

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wasn’t immediately able to comment on the status of the talks, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to do so. “I don’t have anything to say about it right now,” McConnell said Thursday afternoon.

A SECOND PROBLEM that has stalled previous press shield bills like this one is fearmongering about a terrorist with a ticking bomb somewhere, along with vague claims like Cotton’s that reporting on Iraq and Afghanistan empowered terrorists. The ticking-bomb situation has likely never occurred in the real world, but Raskin’s bill writes an exception directly into the law for that fantastical scenario.

The bill makes an exception if “disclosure of the protected information is necessary to prevent, or to identify any perpetrator of, an act of terrorism against the United States; or disclosure of the protected information is necessary to prevent a threat of imminent violence, significant bodily harm, or death.”

The final important question the bill addresses is what information is protected, and it arrives at an impressively sweeping definition. “The term ‘protected information’ means any information identifying a source who provided information as part of engaging in journalism, and any records, contents of a communication, documents, or information that a covered journalist obtained or created as part of engaging in journalism.”

Previous press shield laws have included huge gaping loopholes, written into the law at the behest of the national security establishment, which end up gutting the law. James Risen, back when he was at the New York Times, was in a long-running legal battle with the Bush administration and then the Obama administration in which they repeatedly threatened him with jail time for not revealing sources. He refused, and they eventually backed off, but if this bill were passed into law, prosecutors would not have been able to come after Risen. In Risen’s case, there was no imminent threat claimed by the government, just vaguely worded assertions about national security that shouldn’t be taken seriously coming from a government that lies regularly about such threats.

None of this is new for Cotton. He rose to right-wing fame writing to the New York Times from active duty in Iraq, calling for the jailing of Risen and two of his Times colleagues. “I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars,” Cotton wrote.

Wyden rejected Cotton’s argument. “You can’t get 435 members of Congress to vote for something if the intelligence community is saying it’s going to tie their hands,” Wyden said, pointing to the bill’s exceptions, and noting that he may be the longest-serving member of the Senate Intelligence Committee in American history.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Free Julian Assange.


Almost a parallel universe of twitter’s massive suspensions and the 2016 Ides of March.