Civil Liberties Free Speech Freedom of Information

Shielding the Press


Today, the House of Representatives will vote on the bill
called The Free Flow of Information Act of 2007—or what most of us know as the Journalists’ Shield law.

It’s about time.

In 1972, in Supreme Court case of Branzburg v. Hayes, SCOTUS
opined that “news gathering is not without First Amendment protections.” The Supremes, however, could not agree about the form or breadth of those protections. As a consequence, journalists, editors and others have pushed for a national shield law for years, without success—although 33 states plus DC have passed their own journalistic shield laws.

That isn’t enough. In the last year alone, around two dozens journalists have subpoenaed or questioned about their confidential sources in Federal court.

Today, the LA Times has an editorial that lays out many of the issues surrounding this possible shield law.

Contrary to what critics claim, this proposed “shield law” isn’t a concession to special pleading by the news media. Its ultimate beneficiary is the public. Without confidential sources, the American people wouldn’t have known about misconduct in the Nixon administration, the secret history of the war in Vietnam or excesses in the war on terror such as the wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency. Locally, the historic abuses of the LAPD — from spying on its enemies to its destructive use of force against minorities — came to public light because sources shared facts with reporters who kept their identities secret.

By the way, the law doesn’t include bloggers

And it does have exceptions, which have mollified some critics: For instanced, in certain cases where prosecutors consider the information crucial to their case, a court will decide if the shield applies or not. Also, in cases of national security the shield would not reply,

Several newspapers around the country have pushed for the bill’s passage. Here’s how the Buffalo News Opinion puts it:

As we have frequently been reminded in recent months, if we, the people of the United States, want to know what our government is doing, in our name and with our money, we cannot always count on our government to tell us. We are often going to have to read it in the newspaper.

Or find it on a blog.

(Graphic from the Society of Professional Journalists)


  • Does the SPJ’s Code of Ethics address pushing this bill in the form of articles as a conflict of interest or in violation of presenting the complete truth, even if from another viewpoint?

    I really would have to think about this issue more, but my initial impression would be that the press should get no more special consideration than would an individual citizen–or a blogger.

    Oh, isn’t the picture with the handcuffs overdoing it a little?

  • Celeste you definitely don’t want to over do it and come across like a paranoid fool like the people who write and support some wacko blog. Just look at the wacko theories these paranoid fools promote.

    “…militant Muslims believe peace cannot be attained until Islam dominates the globe. And they make up much of the Muslim establishment in America. We know this by the words they’ve been caught on tape mouthing to Muslim audiences. We know this by their radical associations.

    But more damning, investigators recently uncovered smoking-gun documents revealing that many founders of the major Muslim groups in the U.S. were involved in a secret plot to take over the U.S. by using our religious and political freedoms against us.

    They call themselves Americans, but they view our system of government, our way of life, as an abomination to Allah. They’ve devised a scheme to sabotage our “miserable house” from within and dismantle it piece by piece, replacing it with “Dar al-Islam” — the House of Peace.”

  • The ole “national security” exception. Obviously whether something jeopordizes national security or not is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The current administration believes that public knowledge of almost any “War on Terror” program – from CIA rendition to warentless wire-tapping to methods of interrogation – undermine our national security. Obviously nobody wants Geraldo giving away troop cordinates, but there’s a lot of information deemed classified in the name of national security that I think should be public.

    Will judges decide on the validity of administration claims that revealed information undermined national security?

  • reg aka Celeste’s Source, take your immature tantrums back to Marc Cooper’s site and don’t try to ruin the comment section here, too, with your insanity. Remember…chocolate and sedatives.

  • I will always prefer liberty over a false sense of security.

    NEW YORK (CNN) — Six years of investigations and prosecutions have turned up little evidence of Islamic jihadists at work in the United States, according to a study released Monday.


    The study, conducted by New York University’s Center on Law and Security, tracked 510 cases billed as terrorism-related when arrests were made.

    But it found only 158 of those people arrested since al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks were prosecuted for terrorism.


    The study found only four people — including confessed al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid — were convicted of planning attacks within the United States.

    “The vast majority of cases turn out to include no link to terrorism once they go to court,” the report found. The analysis “suggests the presence of few, if any, prevalent terrorist threats currently within the U.S.”

    The report questioned the usefulness of the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act, passed after the September 11, 2001, attacks, finding prosecutors relied primarily on previous laws.

    “Although we are just beginning to discern the true extent and manner in which the administration has used the sweeping investigative powers granted by the Patriot Act, the record indicates that the criminal law provides an adequate tool set for trying suspected terrorists,” the report stated.

  • Those aren’t your choices, listener. You left off life. Also, it is not a FALSE sense of security. You need to take this seriously rather than rely on your left-wing rags.

    Several things come to mind.

    The relatively few(?) cases show that the war on terror within our borders is succeeding. It doesn’t show that the potential for threats doesen’t exist. We’re winning there, and CNN missed the boat on that one. Your sense of security should be a real one, but we shouldn’t let our guard down.

    Only(?) 158 out of 510 cases were actually terrorist related? If you lived in a large city, those 158 terrorist situations would mean a lot more to you than it does in podunk Texas. And, just because a case cannot be proven for a jury, sometimes because using evidence would reveal and compromise our data gathering, doesn’t mean that there was not threat or that there wasn’t cooperation being given to terrorists. Four convictions is four acts that weren’t carried out.

    The fact that innocent people are found innocent and that guilty people are found guilty is good. Our system is working.

    The costs to appease liberals is too great at this time. Unless someone shows me significant errors and abuses that have occured and cannot be corrected, then we don’t need any changes in today’s climate.

    And, please, quit posting the articles and, instead, try stating them. Certainly, you don’t need CNN to do your talking for you, do you?

  • Nice try Woody, but I’m not the person who posted that Roper Pearl here – although I quoted from a bit of it at Marc’s blog. (I’m sure “rosedog” could verify that from the IP if you wanted to make an issue of it.) I’m obviously not the only person who sees you characters for what you are – pretty damned crazy and twisted.

    If you can’t stand the heat, etc. etc…

    There’s no reason I would post something that’s obviously embarrassing to you and your buddy when you’re out in polite company under anything other than my usual “handle”, which I choose to use for several good reasons. Incidentally, today Roper calls the congressional Democrats “unpatriotic. Yes! Unpatriotic” (too add his emphasis) because they don’t see his set of alternate universe “facts” – the Iraq war has turned a corner and the country will surely be unified before long. If believing such delusional tripe – which you guys have been immersed in whenever you’ve debated the war for as long as I can remember – then there are damned few patriots left.

    Woody – in fairness, your paranoia is justifed because there really are dozens of people who’ve been exposed to your comments over the years who think you’re completely off the map of reasoned discourse.

  • Ooops – line in “11:10” should have read : If believing such delusional tripe – which you guys have been immersed in whenever you’ve debated the war for as long as I can remember – IS THE BAR FOR PATRIOTISM then there are damned few patriots left.

  • Celeste – Thanks for protecting my identity. I will now pursue my covert hunt for Communists, Islamic Jihadists and left-wing liberals who are hell bent on destroying our democracy. 😉

  • Celeste, may I suggest that you bar comments from people who hide and switch their identities as we know them at your site?

    If someone named Petula prefers the nom de plume of Listener or whatever, then that’s fine, as long as she is consistent in that use. But, if Petula is a regular commenter and sometimes identifies herself with another tag, such as Woody’s ghost or friends of Celeste, then that is not okay and is a form of concealment and is misleading–and, those names are frequently used in personal attacks. We should know if an off-the-wall comment came from someone that we should recognize.

    – –

    I see that it didn’t take reg any time to go into his serial attacks over here, just as I had asked him not to. As usual, he’s off topic, off of his meds, out of control, and out of his league, with no class or self-control.

  • The way Listener (#5) chooses to trivialize the terror threat as a reality just to spite the Bush Admin. is mind-numbing in its self-destructiveness. “Only” a certain number of proved terror threats and attemps prosecuted, whatever nonsensical data you choose to quote, doesn’t capture the whole situation. For example, the guy crossing the Western Canadian border a few years ago, with a carload of bombs to blow up LAX, but was stopped and prevented from doing so by sheer luck; numerous attempts against L A synagogues thwarted by FBI/cooperative law enforcement preventive measures; an attempt thwarted against an L A nightclub; etc. etc.

    I heard Baca speak at a local temple, and he said the Sheriff’s ofc. doesn’t disclose all the thwarted attempts or cases it’s working on for security reasons, but they’re very real. Ditto Bratton and LAPD, and other law enforcement agencies.

    Then there was Chertoff recently admitting what these and other officials have known first-hand: Al Queda has even infiltrated from the Southern, unsecured Mexican border and there are sleeper cells waiting for “the right time.” Only a fool thinks that what happened on the London subway, the Madrid train and elsewhere in Europe isn’t being contemplated here.

    As for the radical sentiments attributed to Muslims in #2, discounting them totally is foolish and ignorant, also. British intelligence has documented many cases of mosques openly spewing vile sentiments, which had been ignored before the subway bombings; there are fewer cases here in the U. S., where minorities are better integrated and most feel less hostile, but they definitely exist. Schools of Arabic language are another place where recruiting happens, and any moderate or mainstream Muslim should have no problem with keeping an eye out on those who abuse their classes or institutions for these purposes.

    I’m quite aware of and supportive of friends and Arabic/ Middle Eastern cultural org’s like the Levantine Cultural Center here in L A., where moderate and educated Muslims openly debate all these issues, as well as promote their culture and Middle Eastern peace. But they’d be the last to deny that these sentiments exist among some Muslims — just as there are skinheads and violent homophobes. (I guess it must have been similarly easy to dismiss Hitler’s rants, as being too far-fetched to believe anyone could act upon.)

    This reality has nothing to do with supporting, or not, Bush’s reasons for “liberating” or “declaring war on” Iraq, depending on one’s point of view. Even if you believe that he caused more of this anti-American/Western ferment than he solved (which I believe), the fact is, it’s here now, and thank goodness we have rational people trying to protect us.

  • Maggie, when the Clinton administration vacated the White House–wrecked, in shambles, and even missing furniture–and after years of Clinton disgracing the Office of the Presidency, I thought, “Thank goodness the adults are in charge now.”

  • RD – thanks for adding that data point. I think anyone who reads my stuff knows that if I had wanted to make a point about Woody or GMRoper I would do it under my own “handle”. Also, I wouldn’t have turned the issue on you. But I see that the guy who talks about who does and doesn’t have “class” is on a tear and continuing his totally false accusations. He’s welcome to his world of paranoia, conspiracies and people out to get him. I’ve always told him directly what I think of him, which he full well knows. Sorry to belabor this – it’s now straddling two blogs – but it disgusts me when people who’s standard mode is dishonesty, verbal bullying and serial accusations of bad faith on the part of everyone else portray themselves as victims because they get called on their shit.

  • Woody, I initially hoped so, too. Minor things like your mention of furniture do tell a lot about character, and I was put off by things like Hillary asking FOB to donate towards her household items in Washington when she became senator — including $500 for a silver ladle off a registry, like for a new and financially strapped bride. Shameless. But look how Bush managed to turn pro-US sympathy right after 9/11 into the strongest level of loathing against us ever (not that it isn’t always there — going back to the Cold War, the European “intellectuals” kept arguing that the U S was “just as bad” as Russia, prolonging the standoff. Of course, they had backing from our own left and academia).

    Given the tension against the west over Palestinian issue was before then, it was stupid to plunge into the Iraqi tribal battles. And in Afghanistan, as with Russia, we’re seen as aggressors despite our good intentions. Even though I believe the Bush admin. invaded both with good intentions, not for oil (despite my total dislike and distrust of Cheney and his callousness in interpreting market economy), there is no excuse for this sort of ignorance: knowing that the world is inclined to attribute the worst to our motives, he should never have invaded without getting broad support.

    But the Dems don’t seem to have grown up much, either. To give the enemy an open date for when we’ll withdraw, will just have them waiting and amassing forces until then. And the Dems alienating the Turks over Armenian genocide issue, just when we need them most, is naive, too.

    There are no adults anywhere. That’s why the whole country is still waiting for candidates, despite many in the field.

  • Maggie – I’d be interested in your take on Petraeus “giving the enemy an open date” for when the “surge” is due to end. If the surge is, indeed, a “success” we should be figuring out how to increase it, not pull back in a few months. Of course, that might mean the kind of national commitment spelled D-R-A-F-T. (Or going the “privatization” route and handing the job off to Blackwater.)

    For some thoughts on this and related issues from a guy with a West Point background, long experience studying military and diplomatic history (and who recently lost his son in Iraq, which doesn’t prove him right, but certainly makes me feel that he’s got a right to having his perspective factored in with a bit more gravity than those whose big contribution to the current conflict is tossing our opinons into blog threads) check out this article:

  • Also, Maggie – re: Iraq. How, precisely, do you define “the” enemy in that particular terrain ? Shiite fundamentalis militias allied with Iran who control much of the south, the Sunni neo-Baathist warlords who control the old Saddamist insurgent strongholds, or the AQI foreign fighter bin-Ladenists who are, by every estimate I’ve seen, a very small percentage of the “insurgents” and who, as I’ve long predicted, won’t survive long once the Sunni tribes decide they’re no longer useful and more trouble than they’re worth – which is now happening (although paying off Sunni warlords and increasing their access to weapons is going to have inevitable blowback once this relatively narrow mission is “accomplished”. My point, obviously, is that talk of “the enemy” in Iraq is tragically simplistic – we’ve got several tigers by the tail and I’m not sure anyone even knows for sure which one is most dangerous over the longer run.

  • Woody, you have 19 posts on the past 3 threads. Give it a rest. You’ve got your own blog.

    Maggie, at the risk of getting called a “typical leftist”, I don’t think Listner means to trivialize the threat of terrorize but to provide counterbalance. So much of our government policy is justified by terrorism that it’s worth having a good idea whether we’re reacting reasonably or not. Obviously the costs of an attack are catastrophic, but we need to look at the costs and benefits of anti-terrorism policies. While the threat of a terrorist attack was certainly under-noted before 9/11, today it’s probably an overhyped concern and that, I think, is what Listner’s arguing.

    As to your specific counter-examples, I think the point of the article (and the study) Listner cites is that many of those events that get reported as thwarted terrorist attacks aren’t prosecuted as such. I’m not sure why that is, but I imagine it’s because the government finds it much easier to get a conviction on criminal conspiracy charges. It certainly makes one wonder if a lot of these people aren’t a organized cells of religious fanatics but just some very dangerous nutballs.

    Here’s the article:

  • Mavis, I gave up commenting at Marc Coopers because you guys have no self-discipline and cannot control your easily set off rage; thus, ruining the comment section with profanities and personal attacks. It’s a shame when people like me, and there have been a number of them, quit commenting and are run off from a blog because of the lack of class and irrationality of those radical left-wingers who remain.

    Now, you’re resorting to following me here and keeping count of my comments. I don’t believe that I’m the subject of this post, but you and reg have already made five comments attacking me just in this one post alone.

    And, once again, my comments that you are counting are made necessary to deflect your nasty remarks rather than being constructive.

    We’ll let Celeste determine when some number of comments is enough. But, based upon your contribution so far, and I would think that one is enough from you.

  • Thanks, Mavis. Yes. You are correct. The sense of security we might gain from the Patriot Act, with it’s attendant FISA amendments (which I sincerely, but not optimistically, hope are allowed to expire in February) comes with a fairly steep (unacceptable to me) cost for the liberties lost. As argued by New York University’s Center on Law and Security, the Patriot Act with relaxed FISA amendments does not appear to accomplish the goals for which this legislation was intended. It appears that prosecutors are relying on the basics of criminal law to get the job done, which only means we’ve sacrificed the 4th amendment for something better accomplished by other means. Of course, then you have to wonder what we are sacrificing the 4th amendment for, if not from protection form terrorists? Absent the shield law, the press would be constrained, if not prohibited, from being able to explicate the degree to which our current administration has trampled our liberties. We do have a right to know what is being done in our name, and to hold the parties to that activity accountable. To the extent that the press is reliant on confidential sources to uncover those activities, I support a law which shields them from prosecution for doing so. Were it not for first amendment protections of the press, I would have no idea how deeply our administration has wounded the fourth.

  • Looks like poor conservative (and Ann Coulter loving) Woody is coming under attack from the left-wing insurgents. Woody you better come up with an exit strategy because just like Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush you have no idea what is required to stabilize hostile territory. Your battle tactic of calling everybody Anti-American and Un-Patriotic is failing miserably. You, just as George Bush have managed to motivate more insurgents against you.

  • L.A. Res, actually this problem has been going on for a long time and with other people, too. People on the left are rabid and cannot control their emotions. I wasn’t attacking them for what they said. They didn’t like what I wrote, so, rather than discuss the issues, one psycho in particular took it upon himself to write serial comments attacking me with misleading statements and profanity, while ignoring the real points of the discussion. That filth was ruining the site of a friend. I cared and the other guy didn’t. I exited gracefully and with class, and he even attacked that. Pretty sad your side.

  • Reg, I agree the US/Bush Admn. jumped into a civil war w/out realizing that Iraq doesn’t want a harmonious blending of their tribes/ religious factions into a happy democratic union. Saddam’s Baathists Sunnis controlled the “country” by terror and force, and kept it “united” as such, subjugating the Shiites and killing the Kurds. Another case where it was ignorance that got us into the mess, w/out a political or military understanding or exit strategy. At this point, there are some Arab scholars who picked up on a point I made in an article a while back under my real name, that the “solution” may have to be like a Dayton accord w/ the “former Yugoslavia,” letting the “country” split back into its pre-WWII ethnic divisions (just as Central Europe did after WWI, after the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed, and with it, the moral and military authority of the Emperor and his ancient regime). When only a dictator holds together an inherently divided populace with the rubber band of terror, letting loose that band releases all those held.

    Mavis, yes, I was talking more re: how minimizing terror is played out more on the ground in terms of daily decisions, especially in cities like L A and NYC, both of which Bratton has had in his purview. It really bothers me that there are a lot of local councilmen and others, who play down this threat in their attempt to reduce relative funding for that vs. beat cops for gangs, etc. (Not to minimize that, either.) I do think the Patriot Act, in terms of email and phone surveillance, as well as airport security measures, have abused the situation. Airport personnel feel free to act like the Gestapo now — look at the woman they killed — and I’ve seen flight attendants abuse their privilege to threaten passengers who just complained about their seats.

    (But I’m almost more concerned w/ other abuses of privacy by commercial companies, like the fact that if you have the same phone/internet/cable provider like AT&T, they can and do correlate and sell what you view on tv and cable, your internet sites and phone calls, and use and sell it anyway they wish. That’s even more intrusive than what the gov’t does — and should the gov’t ever decide to subpoena all that… Plus, it’s outrageous to me that our birth and marriage records, living trusts etc., w/ “private” DOB’s, SS#, Mother’s maiden names and all relatives, are available to all, including busybodies you don’t want to have any personal info, mail and telemarketers and crooks in Nigeria, and have been handily put onto internet search sites to make it easier for them to access. Even as the DA and feds are “concerned” about ID theft.)

    You’ll never find anyone more opposed to violations of personal privacy and dignity than me, but the gov’t misuse of the Patriot Act to spy on a few thousand people or surveying emails for generic codes, is the least of it.
    Then again, it may be that the atmosphere of compromising security by the gov’t has made us accepting of all these other compromises in the internet age as well — indignities we’d never have imagine ten years ago.

    PS Mavis, I just realized that you named yourself after a popular typing program used as schools, further confounding the gender ID issues you’d already raised. Maybe I’ll pipe up as a male, see if that changes the reactions I get.

  • Can someone please tell me what most of this has to do with Press Shield Laws?

    For what its worth i worry that such laws would shield the Judy Millers and Bob Novaks of the world in spreading poison. I recall a case in Minneapolis where a political aide spread a false rumor thru a “confidential” leak and when the paper burned him he sued and won on the grounds that the paper had promised anynomity.

    Nothing is cut and dried. I understand the need for confidentialty at times but I think reporters use it way too much.

  • Maggie – no comment on Petraeus ? I know it’s off-topic but you brought this issue up and attacked Democrats who want to set a pullout date because they believe that the war isn’t sustainable and there’s no coherent mission to accomplish. Do you support Petraeus’ “draw down the surge” date, or is that, as Bacevich suggests, a general cynically playing politics ? As for dividing Iraq, Biden-style (Peter Galbraith has also been a proponent of this), who does the deed, if the Iraqi parliament doesn’t adopt this as their plan – which they won’t ? Our soldiers ?

  • Since matters of nat’l security are exempted from it, someone wondered how that limitation is determined and and by whom. Which lead into what individual liberties are protected, or deserve to be, not just the rights of journalists. Who DO claim too broad protections, hence these court cases.

    — Judith Miller was perhaps self-righteous in her publicized case, but I don’t see how her articles “spread poison.” Speaking again of terrorism and what’s done to guard against it, she had an xlnt piece in NY’s City Journal comparing LA, NYC and other city efforts. Better than anything I’ve seen in our local media.

    But if you want people to stick too narrowly to “the topic,” like an English assignment, this isn’t the right blog.

  • REg, good q’s meriting a’s, quickly, I’d just say I don’t support dates, Petr’s or otherwise, since inflating troop numbers to make their gradual pullback look like a reduction is cynical, but aiming for objectives, like making the Iraqis self-sufficient except for a back-up presence, w/in… 12-24? mos is necessary. Then IF they are, we can pull out gradually, back to pre-surge levels, then ? am’t, as det’d at that time. The Iraqis don’t like “ultimatums” but pushing them privately to become self-sufficient would be in order. Everyone seems to acknowledge an indefinite presence as in S. Korea, in case of invasions.

    As for the canton-type arrangement (like Switz., or even Dutch-French Belgium) OR total breakups like former Yugo, or Czechoslovakia: that isn’t on the table for the Bush admin., which considers it defeat for their idea of a unified and democratic Iraq on a western model, so they haven’t pushed the “Iraqi” Parliament. I have seen how much the Serbs, Croats and Muslims (former Christians considered traitors) hate each other, so if they could do it…

    The Czecks and Slovaks, w/ Czechs being educated majority and Slovaks always feeling the second-class minority, are somewhat analogous and did it all peacefully, in the heart of Europe, but that’s not likely in Iraq, since Slovakia had cities and villages of rich medieval (actually Hungarian in culture) heritage perfect for trips shopping and investments by Austrians and Germans. Are Iraqi regions going to attract the vacation crowd or investments if they’re safer? Has that been considered? Will many western Iraqis invest?

    Which of these models would be used, would have to be worked out at a multiparty conference including the Europeans and others involved (Russians? What will keep the Iranians out?) but first, there’ll have to be a resignation that as it is, whether the Sunnis or Shiites are controlling group, the other will always fight them.

    The old Austro-Hungarian Empire actually worked pretty well, in retrospect: each nationality had its own cultural identity and schools, but a common military and foreign ministry to maximize their clout in trade relations. (As the Iraqi military becomes more professional and has s/thing to fight for, the unifying nature of the military should kick in as it has elsewhere in history.)

    The Kurds then remaining a small, unprotected minority that turkey may be more likely to go after now that they’re ticked off vs. the Armenian resolution, is a real problem —
    the remaining US/ Int’l force would have to protect them.

    Would Biden have more luck pushing this thinking in a new admin., not tied to Western democracy? I only know that my studies of European and Middle Eastern history have taught that the political solutions must be considered as a precondition for how to end the military participation, not be a byproduct later.

    (Sorry, ric — you can skip all this as off topic. Except that with all this talk of fighting terrorism, there’s little talk of the political goals or even visions.)

  • Maggie, don’t get dragged down and dragged into off-topic exchanges with no-class people who have an agenda and enjoy smearing people whom they can’t beat in rational arguments.

  • Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly/Political Animal reports the House passed a federal shield law [yesterday] by a veto-proof margin of 398-21. Of course there is the Senate to go.

  • Actually Maggie I also share your nostalgia for the old Austo-Hungarian Empire (loved the pastries!) and blame our dear President Wilson with his self-determination nonsense that gave us Yugoslavia and Iraq. It is intersting to note that the founder of Czechoslovakia , Jan Masyryk, was also sorry to see the old empire go. But then Franz Josef (or Tito) couldn’t live forever.

  • Maggie – I think you’re right about the political solution being primary. Which is what I don’t see in Iraq. I agree that breaking the country up would be the most rational thing – I just don’t see how to get there from the Bizarro World that seems to have taken hold. And I’m certain that we can’t enforce it. Given no political solution, I see our troops as human sacrifices in an attempt to stave off an admission of failure.

    If one could use the term “enemy” in Iraq with any coherence or precision, I’d be more open to discussion of something other than how the hell one gets our troops out.

  • BTW I note that the shield law in question covers bloggers if they make money and exempts “trade Secrets” from the shield. Great you’re a journalist if and only if you do it for money and you’re still on the hook if you violate a “trade secret” (cigarettes anyone?).

    Thanks a lot!

  • Maggie, don’t get dragged down and dragged into off-topic exchanges with no-class people who have an agenda and enjoy smearing people whom they can’t beat in rational arguments.

    Mirror, Mirror on the wall

  • ric, Franz Joseph was no Tito or Saddam, not a dictator, which is what made him and the empire extraordinary. He ruled for 70 years by virtue of moral authority — there were numerous times anarchists thought of assassinating him before Princip finally did it in Sarajevo, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Too dignified. And he genuinely believed in giving each ethnic group its cultural autonomy.

    Woody, thanks for the support. I actually don’t expect the regulars to agree w/ me much, so if they do once in a while, it’s a plus. Guess I just do it to interject a different POV. You do keep people on their toes yourself, it seems.

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