Isabella’s Islay

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Shocking! Former World Banker Says “Second Species” Controls Earth | Alternative

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Shocking! Former World Banker Says “Second Species” Controls Earth

Saturday, March 29, 2014 17:520(Before It’s News)Posted by Monte Aldone “The group that’s behind the network of control, one of these groups are hominids, they’re not human beings. They are very smart, they are not creative, they are mathematical. They had a much stronger force in the earlier ice-age. They have elongated skulls, they may produce offspring in mating with female humans, but that offspring is not fertile. We live in a world of secret societies, and secrets, and the information that ought to be public is not public.”  These are some of the shocking statements that came from Karen Hudes shortly after gaining attention for being a credible world bank whistleblower, stating that the world is in a “currency war,” that the Federal Reserve continues to print money and if they keep going at the pace they are on, other countries will no longer accept this currency.Much of what she has to say corroborates with ancient historical and archeological evidence, as well as modern day disclosures of other strange phenomenon, like UFOs, secret societies and more. For someone like this to gain credibility as a World Bank whistle-blower and then all of a sudden make a comment like this is quite shocking.There is an enormous amount of growing evidence out there to suggest we are not alone, and that we have indeed been visited.  In the above interview with Red Ice Radio, Karen goes on to say:“These countries are not monolithic, there are forces fighting the corruption and there are forces that have totally been co-opted, and the way they act is treasonous to the people in those countries. The group that’s behind the network of control are the Jesuits, and there are also some groups behind them.. not human beings.” Karen held her senior position at the World Bank for twelve years before deciding to blow the whistle on the World Bank and corruption within it. She studies law at Yale Law School and economics at the University of Amsterdam. She worked in the US Export Import Bank of the US from 1980-1985 and in the Legal Department of the World Bank from 1986-2007. She established the Non-Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association.While she was working at the World Bank, she happened to uncover a lot of corrupt activities. It got to the stage where she could no longer keep quiet about the corruption and she followed the proper procedures to report her findings. She first went to the World Banks Evaluation Department and country directors, and then to the U.S. Treasury Department and even the United States Congress.All of her requests were ignored, and in some cases, completely covered up.So she went public.Over the last few years she got involved with a group of whistle blowers and started connecting the dots. She found that the corruption wasn’t just at the World Bank, but was woven throughout the fabric of the entirety of the global financial and political systems. She has labelled the situation a ‘global conspiracy’.Twenty three minutes into this interview is when Karen Hudes starts discussing the information surrounding what may relate to Courtney Brown’s Announcement. Future Money Trends: “Who is calling the shots at the Vatican. I am assuming it’s not the pope.”Karen Hudes: “Well, there is something called the black pope but that’s umm… that’s not the ultimate reason why we have been in the fix that we are in. What we have found out, and this sounds implausible, but it’s absolutely correct, the fact that its been held in secret doesn’t mean that it’s not true. It is true. There is a second species on this planet.They are not extraterrestrial, they are very much with us, they made maps in the previous ice age. The remnants of their civilizations are all over the place. A lot of times along the coast its submerged because the umm… amount, the sea level has gone up by 400 meters, but this group has large brains. They are very distinct from homo sapiens.  Charles Hapgood’s book ‘Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings’, Graham Hancock’s book ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ and Rand & Rose Flem-Ath’s book ‘When the Sky Fell: In search of Atlantis’ all mention the Peri Reis maps which depict the Antarctic perfectly mapped, ice free, which could make the maps as old as 11,000BC (I own all of these books)Their DNA is so different that if the two species mated, their offspring would be infertile and we know this because their DNA was just tested. They have skulls all over the place because they have been on Earth with us, but after the ice age there weren’t that many of them. And so they have been hiding and one of the places they have been hiding is in the Vatican. That’s why the Vatican are wearing those miters. It turns out thats also what the high priests wore in the early beginnings of Judaism. Moses was actually Akhenaten who was a Pharaoh. They know this because the papaira which was taken from one of the pyramids talks about this. The people that were doing archaeology in Israel know this, and the reason is that not only Homo Capensis trying to keep human beings under control by divide and conquer, using our money system, they have also been doing this with our religion. Organised religion. Trying to get human beings to hate people of different faiths so that they will kill each other off, so that the people in the back, manipulating human beings, could… what can I say, could use us like cattle. That’s what’s been going on through our history.” Future Money Trends: “Okay Karen, your an attorney, you worked for the World Bank for 20 years, what your saying is on the fringe of conspiracy, it sounds crazy so… I mean obviously you have had to come to terms with this. What have you seen that has made you so confident to actually say this stuff publicly?” A bas relief of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and wife Queen Nefertiti with their three children, all with elongated craniums. SourceKaren Hudes: “Because they have been going to meetings. I sent an email to a fellow in Portugal and the next day he went to a meeting of Bankers and he sent me back an email saying that at that meeting there had been a big skulled individual with bright blue eyes.  Another person in touch with Doctor Edward Spencer, who is a retired neurologist, he’s the one who started telling me about this. A friend of his was in Egypt and saw these homo (cepranensis?) running around. They are umm… their skulls are all over the planet. It’s not a conspiracy theory. Just because this group likes to hide and likes to accuse people of having conspiracy theories doesn’t make these facts (raw?), they are facts.”The whole interview is worth listening to if you have the time, as the other areas that Karen Hudes discusses actually do make a lot of sense, even though for some people they may seem a bit extreme or very ‘out there’. As with any source, a good way to examine the credibility is to look at all areas being discussed and search out if there are truths that we may already understand or accept. At the end of this article I will list the other subjects Karen Hudes brings up.I will now again mention the webbot forecast from Clif High’s webbot report ‘The Shape of Things to Come, Volume 1, issue 1‘ from September the 30th 2012, as this information that Karen Hudes discusses actually resembles the webbot prediction in a stronger way than others.There is a period of time predicted where there are major food shortages in the US which causes possible rioting or protest situations. What causes the shortages? Clif mentions that the cause could be related to a number of elements such as a economic collapse, false flag events, strange things in the sky that seem invisible or cloaked and extraterrestrial activity.During this period of time documents are released on the internet. Now, these documents may have been found underground as the report is suggesting,  or may simply be released during a period of time in relation to the above conditions.These documents are said to show strong evidence towards humanity being a genetic subject and will change the way we look at human history and its evolution. The evidence will show that extraterrestrials have been involved with the creation of life on earth. This information is based upon past civilisations as well, in connection to that. This in turn will cause a breakdown in the various religions around the world over the weeks after the information has been released.Karen Hudes also says this,“I have gone to something called the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions and I have been collaborating with all the whistle blowers of the world… and we’re bound and determined that we’re going to get this corruption taken care of.”This group of whistle-blowers that she is a part of, perhaps Courtney Brown is also part of this group and that they are planning to make a combined release of evidence and information towards not only what Karen Hudes has mentioned within this interview, but also other information. The recent DNA results on the Paracas elongated skulls would be a good addition to any evidence presented.With relation to the rest of the interview with Future Money Trends, Karen Hudes also goes into the following topics,“We have solved the mystery as to why humanity has had nothing but wars and terrible problems… why we’re always at each other’s throats.” … “A very accurate… it’s called the power transition model… it uses political science and computer modelings… that model is 90% to 95% accurate… and it is predicting that the corruption that has been plaguing the world, it turns out for millennia, is coming down… a lot of people call that the Matrix, a lot of people call that the banksters… it’s actually much, much more. The fact that he [NSA Whistle Blower Edward Snowden] is getting coverage on the mainstream media should be letting people know that he is part of the Matrix, because the mainstream media is owned and controlled by the same group that are the owners of the Bank for International Settlement… that is a scam.” … “People are supposed to have currency that’s issued by their governments directly which doesn’t carry interest. That is what John F. Kennedy was trying to do and the reason why he was assassinated. That’s what Lincoln was doing with the Greenbacks… that’s why Lincoln was assassinated…” …$“The banks that are Too-Big-To-Fail… that’s really one banking cartel… and that group is going around buying up politicians… there are secret societies like the Knights of Malta and they’re promoting people and making sure that those people become the gatekeepers. This is a great clip of her telling us some important stuff. Before you brush off what she has to say, keep in mind that the reality of many strange phenomenon has a large amount of proof to back it up, or at least be open to the possibility.  Source: http://www.apparentlyapparel.com/2/post/2014/03/former-world-banker-says-second-species-controls-earth.htmlRelated StoriesMuhammad Contra MundumMysterious Booming Sounds In Missouri Ozarks Warning Of Coming Earthquake On New Madrid Fault? (Updated Video)Did some of Syria’s WMDs come from America?Wiggins chokes, gives up b’ball to play for Leafs insteadOxnard resident dies under suspicious circumstances–Police InvestigatingTurkey and NATO caught planning false flag attack to blame SyriaMessage about the GCR, RV, Reset (and whatever else “world financial stuff” you might throw out there), from a “Goat”…Your State of Mind Affects How Fast Your Body HealsKaren Hudes says we are controlled by a second Species on this planet.90-Year-Old Woman Healed Pelvis With Carrot Juice

Comments

Your Comments                     Total 15 commentsAnonomousOmg, Becky look at her butt.MAR 29, 2014, 6:35 PM  0ReplyAnonymousI like big butts and I can not lieYou other brothers can’t denyThat when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waistAnd a round thing in your faceYou get sprung… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ImZTwYwCugMAR 30, 2014, 1:05 AM  0ReplysimpelThe Extraterrestrial Presence in our World Today: What You Aren’t Being Toldhttp://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/04/29/the-extraterrestrial-presence-in-our-world-today-what-you-arent-being-told/In the early 1950s, the first meetings between various extraterrestrials and the US government took place directly with Dwight Eisenhower as president. These encounters are well-documented, and it is reported that meetings with both benevolent and malevolent ETs (4 groups) took place up until the mid 1960s. [4] Apparently, the US rejected further relations with benevolent ETs that wished to assist humanity in its spiritual development because they requested that we permanently disarm our nuclear arsenal. This was viewed with great suspicion and no exchange of technology was offered. However, it appears that a treaty was signed by the Greys and the US government in 1954 known as the Grenada Treaty. This deal was engineered between the treasonous Majestic-12 group (MJ-12) and the Greys (serving the oppressive Orion Group) and involved the transfer of information and technology, in exchange for certain freedoms they could exercise within the United States. [5] Essentially, this MJ-12 group gave these ETs access to vital resources: human and cattle for “medical experiments”, which are more accurately known as abductions. The terms were that only a very small amount of humans could be taken, they had to be returned to their original location, their memories had to be wiped following the encounter, and the ETs had to submit a list of all abducted humans at regular intervals to MJ-12. After only a few years of this, it became clear that the ETs violated this agreement with impunity by taking more than a million-fold the amount of people that they promised.ET Intervention: ‘Allies Of Humanity Briefings’ Marshall Vian Summers FREE Download http://www.alliesofhumanity.org/allies-of-humanity-book1.pdfExtraterrestrial Intruders: The Reality Of The Extraterrestrial Life Visiting Our World http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QEqPZpbA5g&list=PLxgfBwG_5wUBlqkSKTgfC3XK4Z1R1vN4MAR 30, 2014, 1:52 AM  1MarkZach, actually the “second species” work for the elites in charge, the elites will control the remaining human and a social reconstruction of the sheep as workers and consumers, this “second species” is intended to be the mastermind of the planet, being the link between the planet and extraterrestrial races. That’s the plan.MAR 29, 2014, 7:13 PM  1ReplyTHEWARNINGSECONDCOMING.COMDemonic entities (multidimensional aliens) through influencing humans have successfully created genetically engineered bodies for demonic possession in order to rule the human race physically rather than only through multidimensional means.MAR 30, 2014, 11:48 AM  0ReplyInangNo, those Illuminati Psychopaths are DEMONIC but defintely human (i.e. Satanic)- not ALIENS! Talking about scapegoating the poor “Aliens”!‘Aliens’-sighting is part of the Satanic Illuminati’s mind-control project under CIA Disinformation Project – “to manipulate our minds and render us helpless since such information is “beyond our realm”” – quoted from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x-cHySUlw , Illuminati Satanism [Documentary] About Satanic Rituals , by EYEOFILLUMINATI2012 (note: Strangely the link does not work at Google or Yahoo – go straight into You Tube website and print: Illuminati Satanism [Documentary] About Satanic Rituals + EYEOFILLUMINATI2012)!Since the Vatican is suspected much of belonging to the Satanic Illuminati Cabal, now being sued by the brave Rev. Kevin Annett (see /alternative/2014/03/ex-catholic-priest-says-vatican-is-satanic-coven-ratzinger-still-running-the-ship-now-from-behind-scenes-2927128.html, Priest Says Vatican Is Satanic Coven, Ratzinger Still Running The Ship Now From Behind Scenes, By Indian in the machine, March 27), we can guess why the Vatican is also interested in ‘Aliens’ alright! Maybe they’ll then be able to blame the murderous Pedophilia charges on these ‘Aliens’!MAR 29, 2014, 7:38 PM  1ReplyInangAliens = Second Species – both terms are part of the Satanic Illuminati’s mind-control project; to confuse us! MAR 29, 2014, 7:44 PM  1ReplyshanchenThis is a cover for covering the bank corruption, transfer attention. Should be one of the cia disinformation project, let’s go to hate people against them. mvwotches.comMAR 29, 2014, 8:33 PM  2ReplyAnonymousKaren is one of that alien species you can tell it. They are called ZOG.MAR 29, 2014, 9:24 PM  1ReplyseanFreemasons the Reptilians..Jesuits the Anti-ChristYou should read this Zach very well documented and referencedhttp://www.sacred-texts.com/fort/damn/index.htmThis also, it deals with the RH Negative Blood Types, which i had known about for quite sometime, but this person did a great job in tracking it and putting it all togetherhttp://dublinsmick.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/dna-evidence-for-atlantis-edgar-cayce-right-again/MAR 30, 2014, 4:44 AM  0ReplyI AINT HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE!If this woman worked for me I would have fired her as well.The bank did a great job.After all, she is a sheepshead American. Nothing good comes from America.MAR 30, 2014, 5:01 AM  1ReplyPharisees.orgKaren Hudes is mentally ill and/or a disinfo agent.  THE WORLD BANK IS CORRUPT, no no way, how can the world bank be corrupt, damn what an earth shaking revelation from wb whistle blower Hudes that the wb is corrupt.whatever her game is, she is looney now claiming Moses is not of mankindMatthew 17: And there appeared with Christ Moses and ElijahMAR 30, 2014, 5:33 AM  1ReplyAlanThose two head images are different people…plus its Elijyah. you forgets the J… ^Yes one knows what it says in your book, that’s irrelevant, personally. MAR 30, 2014, 12:04 PM  0ReplyAnonymousPrep for Blue Beam, the fake alien invasion. She tells mostly truth to get us hooked and then throws in disinfo like this to further her handlers’ agenda. BewareMAR 30, 2014, 7:01 AM  0Replymothman777First the yahoos said it was the archons, then they said the Ashkenazim doing all the bad stuff were not real yahoos, then they tried saying it was 4th-dimensional reptiles in communities within the Earth’s crust, bi-locating to control human’s brains, now they are saying it is people with funny-shaped heads from different humanoid species.Those races have been on Earth alright, but they are not doing things to us today, the yahoos are.The yahoos will try anything on to divert attention away from the fact that the JWO has been taking over this planet with extreme malice towards the rest of us for several thousand years, doing us all in slowly with GMO’s, radiation, pointless Rothschild-created wars, preventing Raymond Royal Rife and Tesla technology from saving many millions of lives, creating Communism and bogus Abrahamic religions that have killed many millions, you name it, it is all them.The US 1991 Noahide laws were not brought in by people with funny-shaped heads, nor is the Samson Option threat of nuclear annihilation of every country on the face of the Earth outside yahoo land being made by any other people but paranoid psychotic delusional yahoos.MAR 30, 2014, 11:13 AM  0ReplyAbout | Advertise With Us | FAQ | Contact | Editorial Guidelines | Privacy | Terms of Service | Copyright Notification | RSS Subscribe | WidgetsPortions copyright © 2013 Before It’s News Inc., All Rights Reserved.Before It’s News® is a registered Service Mark of Before It’s News Inc..SHARE THIS STORY:GET ALERTS:  

Read More Shocking! Former World Banker Says “Second Species” Controls Earth | Alternative

Why atheism.

Why Atheism? by Mark ThomasJust about everyone is an atheist when it comes to other gods — the gods that other people believe in or that nobody believes in anymore.  I’m an atheist about all gods because there’s no reliable evidence for any god, or even for Jesus.  There is also extensive evidence that Jesus and all gods are fictional characters — myths created mainly by primitive people who had little understanding of how our universe operates.  We all like myths and other stories, but we don’t have to believe them.

History and Developmentof Science and Scientific Naturalism

Let’s start with a quick experiment.  You can grab three coins and actually do the experiment, or just do a thought experiment.Drop one coin and watch it fall.  Do this again.  Hold out the third coin.If you were to the release third coin, what do you think would happen?  If you could get ten good Christians to pray that this next coin wouldn’t fall, would it still fall?  How about one thousand faithful Muslims?  How about one million people of any faith?  I think that it would still fall.  Drop the third coin.Our understanding of the world around us, and our abilities to predict what will happen are based on naturalism — the basis of science.  Naturalism is also the basis for how all people live their lives most of the time.To be explicit, modern science relies on methodological naturalism.  This means that science doesn’t incorporate any supernatural or religious assumptions and doesn’t seek any religious or supernatural explanations.  Science is the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process.  Science also depends on mathematics, which likewise has no religious or supernatural component.OK, let’s do another experiment.  If you were to take two coins and glue them together, then drop them at the same time as you drop a single coin, would they fall twice as fast as the single coin?  Aristotle (384 BCE* – 322 BCE) thought so, and for over 1900 years, his ideas were what was taught about this and many other subjects.  Some of the other ancient Greeks had many ideas that are now a basis for modern science, engineering, math, philosophy, and democracy.  Unfortunately for humankind, these ideas were largely forgotten for almost two thousand years while religion took control and Aristotle was revered as the source of supposedly scientific knowledge.

Galileo and Empirical Science

Around 1600, Galileo had a new idea for his culture.  He decided to do something that now seems like common sense — to actually test the idea of what we now call gravity.  He reasoned that two weights held together would fall at the same rate as one weight.  Then he did experiments to test the idea — and, not surprisingly to us, it was true.  This was the start of modern empirical science, and our collective understanding of the universe hasn’t been the same since.“Empirical” is a word that I’ll be using a lot.  It refers to ideas that are capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment.  Empirical evidence is not simply one type of evidence, but rather it is the only evidence that we can rely on, because it is reproducible.  Empirical evidence is the basis for physical science.Galileo also took the new invention of the telescope, refined it, and used it to look at the night sky.  He was astounded.  On the moon he could see mountains and valleys.  It wasn’t just some strange heavenly object; it was probably made out of the same stuff as Earth.  In 1610 Galileo looked at Jupiter and discovered that he could see four moons.  If moons orbited Jupiter then not everything orbited Earth, as the Catholic Church taught.  The motions of the planets in our skies made sense if the theories of Copernicus were true, and Earth and the other planets orbited the sun.  This was what Galileo taught, and in 1616 he was subject to the Inquisition.  They banned him from teaching this idea, which was opposed to the true faith and contrary to Holy Scripture.  However, Galileo later got permission from the pope (a friend of his) to write a book, as long as the Church’s ideas and Galileo’s were given equal weight.  Galileo’s book did not treat the two ideas equally, of course, so he was called to Rome in 1632 by the Catholic Church’s Inquisition, and told to recant his heretical ideas.This was no “simple request” by the Church.  The Inquisition had already executed Galileo’s friend Giordano Bruno.  Have you heard of him?  In 1600, the Christian authorities in Rome took him out of the dungeon he had been in for eight years, drove a nail thru ** his tongue, tied him to a metal post, put wood and some of his books under his feet, and burned him to death.  Bruno’s crime was writing ideas that the Catholic leaders didn’t like — Earth revolves around the sun, the sun is a star, there might be other worlds with other intelligent beings on them, Jesus didn’t possess god-like power, and souls can’t go to Heaven.  For these heretical ideas, the Catholic Church punished this brilliant man with an agonizingly slow death.Bruno was not the only man executed by the Christians for heretical ideas.  At least 77 others were either burned alive or hanged by the Roman Inquisition between 1553 and 1600.  Over the centuries, millions were killed in religious wars or for heresy(which often meant simply being the “wrong” type of Christian).  Sometimes it was more explicit heresy which threatened the church’s lock on truth.  The Italian freethinker Lucilio Vanini suggested that humans evolved from apes.  In 1618 he was tried in France and found guilty of atheism and witchcraft.  He had his tongue cut out, he was hanged, and his body was burned — as was customary with all heretics.  Six years later the French Parlement even decreed that criticism of Aristotle was punishable by death, and many more heretics were burned.  In Spain the Inquisition killed over 340,000 during a period of four centuries.Galileo no doubt knew what he was up against.  For the crime of heresy the Inquisition could put him in a dungeon, torture or even execute him.  So, after a long trial, this proud 70 year-old man obediently got on his knees and dutifully recanted.  But even after recanting, he was still sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life.  The Catholic Church officially condemned heliocentrism 31 years later, when Pope Alexander VII banned all books that affirmed Earth’s motion.  However, even as powerful as the Church was, they could not hold back the tidal wave of scientific discovery.  The Church eventually lost its battle over our view of the universe, but it only took them over three hundred years to admit it.  In 1992, after 12 years of deliberations, they grudgingly noted that Galileo had been right in supporting the Copernican theories.  Even then, they ascribed his genius to God, “who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions.”  But no such reprieve has been given for Bruno.  His writings are still on the Vatican’s list of forbidden texts, and Pope John Paul II refused to even apologize for the Catholic Church’s torture killing of Bruno.Galileo and others started something big — empirical science.  Thru ** science and the scientific method, we have come to a good understanding of the workings of the world and universe around us.  The weather, lightning, thunder, the planets and stars, disease, and life itself all function based on fairly well understood principles.  A god doesn’t control them; the physical properties of matter and energy control the universe.  This principle is at the center of naturalism — the idea that only matter and energy exist, and they have properties that are repeatable, understandable, and quantifiable within the limits of quantum mechanics.  Naturalism is founded on the ancient Greek philosophy of materialism.  We take naturalism so for granted that we typically don’t realize that it is based on several articles of faith.  This faith, however, is quite different from religious faith.  This faith is based on overwhelming past experience and results.  It is the faith that:There is an external world that exists independently of our minds.There are quantifiable natural laws that describe how things happen in this world, and we can attempt to understand them.These natural laws won’t change when we’re not looking; the universe isn’t totally chaotic.So far this faith has been well-founded, as shown by the amazing accomplishments of modern science, engineering and medicine.

God of the Gaps, or Argument From Ignorance

Until just a couple of hundred years ago, most people thought that a god or gods controlled everything.  Why did the wind blow?  Why was there lightning and thunder?  Why did the sun, moon, and stars apparently go around Earth?  Why did someone get sick and die?  Why did anything happen?  Well, obviously, God did it.  If a person doesn’t know how something works or why something happened, they can say, “God did it.”  This is known as the “god of the gaps,” or the “argument from ignorance,” and it is at the heart of the conflict between science and religion.  Science looks for natural causes, while religion looks for supernatural causes.  Science is steadily winning, because as we understand more and more about the universe, the gap where a god might function grows smaller and smaller.  Every time we learn more, gods have less room to operate.  When we learned what caused the sun to apparently move across the sky, there was no need for the Greek god Helios and his chariot.  When we understood what caused lightning, there was no need for the Greek god Zeus, the Roman god Jupiter, or the Norse god Thor.In fact, the understanding of lightning was one of the first areas of battle between science and Christianity.  When Ben Franklin discovered that lightning was just a big electric spark, he invented the lightning rod.  It was enormously successful at preventing buildings from being struck by lightning.  However, this caused a bit of a conundrum for the church leaders; should they trust in their god to prevent lightning strikes on their churches, or should they use these new lightning rods?  Up until then, lightning hit churches much more frequently than other, more “deserving” buildings — such as taverns or houses of ill repute.  “Why was that?” they might have wondered.  Could it be that churches had spires and were taller, or was it SATAN and his WITCHES? ……  Actually, that is what they often believed, and many a supposed witch was executed for having caused the destruction of a church.  When they started putting lightning rods on churches, witch killings stopped soon thereafter.  However, the obvious fact is that they were putting their trust in science and lightning rods, not religion and prayer.

Why God(s)?  Why Not?

The idea of an all-controlling, caring supernatural god is a very attractive one.  It can make our mortal lives seem less frightening, more comforting.  Somebody’s in control and won’t let bad things happen to us.  Many gods also promise that we can go to Heaven after we die, to live forever in some sort of bliss.The idea of a god is also an easy answer to questions about the world around us.  It satisfies a need that many people have where they would rather be certain than right.  Where did the universe come from?  A god created it.  Where did life come from?  A god created it, too.  Where did humans come from?  A god created us, and in his own image, to boot.For almost all believers, it’s not just “a god” that they believe in.  They believe in a particular god (or set of gods).Religious philosophers have tried for thousands of years to prove that there is a god or many gods.  They have come up with many arguments.  We will look at these arguments.  Because I live in a largely Judeo-Christian society, when I refer to God with a capital ‘G’ I will be referring to the Judeo-Christian god Yahweh (a.k.a. Jehovah) and probably the Muslim god Allah.  This god is male and is typically defined as having free will, and being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnibenevolent (all-good), perfect, eternal, and unchanging.  This god also created the universe and is separate from the physical world while still intervening in the physical world.  After all, what good is a god that doesn’t do anything?  Most of the arguments I use here will also apply to most of the other thousands of gods created by humankind, and most of the thousands of religions.  I certainly don’t know all of them, so I will deal with most of the major religions and their god(s).  I will also closely link god(s) and religion.  I do this advisedly because, for most people, one could not exist without the other.  In addition, if there were a god I would think that this god would be able to appropriately guide the religions created for it.There is at least one religion, essential Buddhism as thought to have been taught by Buddha, which does not have a god or any supernatural component.  To keep things a bit simpler here, the arguments I make regarding religion will probably not apply to this Buddhism or any other religion without a supernatural component.  However, almost all religions have grown from belief in god(s) and people’s narcissistic wish to believe that the universe was created just for their benefit.We need to define “atheist” and “atheism.”  A theist is a person who believes in a god or gods.  The Greek prefix “a-” means without; thus an atheist is without belief and doesn’t believe in any gods — and atheism is just the lack of belief in any gods.  Atheists can simply say that the existence of any god hasn’t been reliably proven.  For many, atheism is also the conclusion that no gods exist, based on the complete lack of reliable evidence for any god.  I take the strong atheist position — depending on how we define “God” we can prove that it does not exist, and I will use the typical definition just given for the Christian god Yahweh.Why am I doing this?  Is it just because I want to poke holes in people’s beliefs so that we can take away what makes them happy?  No, I’m doing this because I want to know what is true, be intellectually honest, and be open to reality.  And, I hope that you have similar reasons.This article is an argument in support of reason, rationality, intellectual honesty, and truth.  We must know the truth to act wisely, and truth comes from physical reality.  I put forth many of the reasons why atheism is true — based on physical reality — so they can be examined and evaluated.  I also show why atheism and the philosophical extension Humanism are important to the future of humankind.The arguments for the existence of god(s) fall into several areas.  I have arranged them into these categories:Mysticism and Revelation“Scientific” ClaimsLove and MoralityAppeals to AuthorityProphesy and MiraclesAppeals to Faith, Logic, and Emotion

What Tools Can We Use?

How can we examine these claims?  What tools can we use to determine truth of external reality?  We have (1) empirical, verifiable evidence; and we have (2) logic.  Evidence and logic are the best tools we have to determine how the universe really works.  These tools have been extraordinarily successful in science, engineering and medicine, and in our daily lives.  This is the standard that most of us expect in dealing with the real world; we expect doctors to use the latest medicine, and engineers to use empirical data when building bridges.  Why should we use anything else for examining external reality?When people believe things without evidence, they are left with no way to accurately judge whether or not what they believe reflects how things really are.  Their beliefs must then be based on feelings and emotion or the unquestioned authority of something or somebody else, not evidence.  I think that this is the reason for much of the emotional response to atheism.  For many, the idea of atheism challenges their deeply-held beliefs and emotions.  This can be painful, and can elicit a strong reaction.Each of us can choose between a magical view of the universe (one or more invisible, immaterial gods did it), or the “what you see is what you get” scientific version.  I think that science, using empirical evidence, has done a far better job in explaining how the universe works.Thinking is hard, and scientific thinking is hardest; it often leads to unpleasant conclusions with little emotional payoff.  Dramatic religious story-telling that supports wishful thinking is usually easier, more interesting, and much more emotionally fulfilling.At the center of science is intellectual honesty.  In order for ideas to be accepted in science, they must be supported by sufficient evidence and arguments.  Anybody can change what is accepted in science, if they can put forth evidence and arguments sufficient to show that their new idea is better.  In fact, the larger the change created by an individual, the more that individual is honored.  This is why Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein are honored — because their ideas radically changed our views of the universe.  With this process of change, science can grow and improve our understanding of the universe.  Conversely, most religions are stuck with unchanging “holy” words from a book or founder.

Mysticism, Revelation and Experience

Some people claim that there are other ways of knowing, such as mysticism, revelation or direct experience.  People claim that they can experience a god, with Christians sometimes thinking that what they call the Holy Spirit has come into them.  Many claim that near death experiences have shown them that a god exists.  How can we verify these claims?  We know that mystical experiences can be caused by hallucinogenic drugs, magnetic fields, brain injuries, and well-studied mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and seizures.  The “Holy Spirit” experience seems to be very similar to the well-documented experience of catharsis.  Near death experiences are likely the result of brain cells misfiring when they are oxygen-deprived, can be simulated by drugs, and are obviously subjective.  Fighter pilots, for instance, experience “tunnel vision” during high-G maneuvers, when their brains are deprived of oxygen.  People claiming knowledge thru mysticism or revelation often don’t even agree with each other.  The only way that I know to verify any mystic’s abilities is for the supposed mystic to be able to accurately, repeatedly, and verifiably know things that are supposedly impossible to know — such as events of the future.  I know of no one who can, or could.  Of course, we have to be very careful in any testing of such claims, because a good magician can easily fool us.  Even if there were somebody who could predict the future, that does not mean that there’s a god.  It would only mean that this person has peculiar skills.  I submit that mysticism and revelation result from internal, altered states of consciousness — with no basis in external reality.  Mysticism, revelation, and any other religious experience can only count at most for those who experience them; for all other people, they are merely hearsay.  In addition, religious experience seems to be highly subjective and varies dramatically between cultures.  Thus, we can’t depend on mysticism or religious revelation to give us reliable answers to any issues.

“Scientific” Arguments for God(s)

The biggest weakness in using a god to explain anything scientifically is that the explanation is not falsifiable, and thus not even testable.  There is no way to create an experiment to show that it’s wrong.  For every possible set of a test and a result, we could simply say, “A god did it.”  How did Earth and the universe begin, and why do they appear to be so old?  “A god did it.”  How did life start, and why does nature seem so balanced?  “A god did it.”  Once again, why does anything happen?  If we say that a god did it, there is no reason or opportunity to learn how the world really works.  If we had stayed with a god as the cause of all events, our modern culture would have been impossible.  We would have no real science, engineering, or medicine.  We would still be living in the Dark Ages.The “god did it” or “god of the gaps” argument has probably been around since humans first started creating gods.  It’s the basic premise behind all the “scientific” arguments for the existence of a god.  Here’s what the logic looks like when applied to two common weather phenomena:  Lightning and thunder are terrifying!  They must be caused by something else (that we don’t really understand either).  This something else must be a god because we can’t come up with a better explanation.The obvious main fault of  “god of the gaps” is its supposition that current lack of knowledge on a subject means that it can’t be known — that “unknown” means “unknowable.”  If this applies to an individual, it’s the argument from personal incredulity — because a person doesn’t understand something then he thinks that the subject must be unknown, unknowable, or false.When faced with an unknown, let’s first note that it’s perfectly OK to say, “I don’t know,” or, “We don’t know,” — just as it would have been when people in the past asked, “What causes lightning or tornadoes?” or, “Why do things fall to the ground?” or countless other questions for which we now have straightforward scientific explanations.  Obviously, just because we don’t know how something happened does not mean that a god did it.  Relegating an explanation of something to a god is easy; a person doesn’t have to think much.  Finding an explanation with science often involves hard work and analysis.  We can’t simply explain something mysterious by appealing to something more mysterious for which there is less evidence.“God did it” is not an explanation.  It tells no more than saying, “Santa did it.”For the fringe areas of knowledge that we don’t understand, we are using the tools of science to learn the secrets of nature.  As we have all seen, science has made excellent advances in our understanding of the universe, and will, no doubt, continue to do so.  There may also be things that are too difficult or impossible for us to understand, but that doesn’t mean that some god is behind them.There are three common  “god of the gaps” types of arguments for the existence of a god.  We have: (1) First Cause, (2) Argument From Design (including Intelligent Design), and (3) origin of consciousness.

First Cause, or Cosmological Argument

The First Cause, or Cosmological Argument, says that everything has a cause, and, since we supposedly can’t have an infinite series of causes stretching into the past, a god must be the first cause — an uncaused cause.  This argument was described by Aristotle, and has at least four problems.The main problem of the First Cause Argument is the idea that every event has a cause.  As we discovered in the 20th century, the universe is actually ruled at the bottom level by quantum mechanics, in which it’s possible for particles and events to have no cause.  An obvious example of quantum mechanics in action is the radioactive decay of a uranium atom.  There is no previous cause for each such event, and we can only predict it with probability.  The averaging of quantum effects gives us the Newtonian experience that we have.  However, Newtonian physics does not control the universe; quantum mechanics and Einsteinian relativity do.  We now know that the universe has an intrinsic, bottom level of uncertainty that cannot be bypassed.  Quantum mechanics also shows us that objects can appear out of nothing and then disappear back into nothing.  Even in supposedly empty space, virtual particles are continuously appearing and disappearing.  This is a real and measurable process, via what are known as the Casimir effect and the Lamb shift.Quantum mechanics shows us that subatomic particles such as electrons, protons and neutrons can disappear and reappear in a different place, without existing in the intervening space.  Such particles can even be in more than one place at a time, if that time is brief enough.  Perhaps even stranger, an electron can travel between two points by taking all possible paths simultaneously.I’d like to emphasize that quantum mechanics doesn’t make sense in our experience of the world.  As Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “The theory of quantum electrodynamics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense.  And it agrees fully with experiment.  So I hope you can accept nature as she is — absurd.”

The Big Bang

The beginning of the observable universe — of all the matter and energy in it and even of time itself — is called the Big Bang.  The science of quantum mechanics has only existed since the early 1900’s, and already we’ve been able to use it to get extremely close to understanding the beginning of the observable universe — with no god needed.  How close can we get?  Approximately a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.  (Our current knowledge of physics doesn’t work before then.)  The Big Bang theory is supported by extensive data.  Six prominent facts are:The red shift of almost all galaxies, getting greater as their distance increases.— This shows that the galaxies are flying away from each other, at greater speeds at greater distances.The cosmic microwave background radiation.— This is a remnant of the radiation from the Big Bang, and has cooled over time to the exact temperature predicted.The variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation.— These variations fit theoretical predictions, and were caused by quantum differences near the start of Big Bang.The proportions of the lightest elements and isotopes.— This helps show that the calculations for nuclear interactions immediately following the Big Bang are correct.The changes in galaxies as we look further away (and thus back in time), with distant galaxies more primitive and having fewer heavy elements.— This shows some of the changes in the universe since the Big Bang, and confirms the deep time of the universe.The change in the apparent speed of type 1a supernova as we look back in time, with distant supernova exploding more slowly.— This shows that the light has been stretched out by the expansion of space over billions of years.There are many well-respected physicists, such as Stephen Hawking, Alan Guth, Lawrence Krauss, Sean M. Carroll, Victor Stenger, Leonard Mlodinow, Michio Kaku, Robert A.J. Matthews, and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, who have created scientific models where the Big Bang and thus the entire universe could arise and expand from nothing but a random quantum fluctuation of vacuum energy — via natural processes and with a total energy of zero.  Alan Guth calls this Inflation Theory.Even tho Inflation Theory doesn’t make sense in the Newtonian physics of our experience of the world, it does make sense in quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general relativity.  In relativity, gravity is negative energy and matter is positive energy.  Because the two seem to be equal in absolute total value, our observable universe appears balanced to the sum of zero.  Our universe could thus have come into existence without violating conservation of mass and energy — with the matter of the universe condensing out of the positive energy as the universe cooled, and gravity created from the negative energy.  As Lawrence Krauss noted, “The total energy of the universe is precisely zero, because gravity can have negative energy. The negative energy of gravity balances out the positive energy of matter. Only such a universe can begin from nothing. The laws of physics allow a universe to begin from nothing. You don’t need a deity. Quantum fluctuations can produce a universe.”Cosmologists have shown that the positive energy of the universe is divided into about 68% dark energy, 27% dark matter (both of which we now have little understanding), and about 5% regular matter such as atoms — everything we see.  As Lawrence Krauss said, “Why such a universe in which we’re so irrelevant would be made for us is beyond me.”There is excellent experimental and theoretical evidence to support Inflation Theory.  We may eventually determine that Inflation Theory is wrong or incomplete, and we may never be able to completely understand the actual beginning.  It could be that we’re not smart enough or that the physical science necessary is not possible for us to do.  But, that doesn’t mean that a god caused the Big Bang — any more than our past lack of understanding of weather meant that a god caused lightning.

The Meta-Universe (a.k.a. Multiverse)

The next problem of the First Cause Argument is the assumption that an infinite chain of events is impossible.  This argument is made moot by the Big Bang, which negates the need for considering an infinite chain of events in our universe.  Because time started with the Big Bang, any question of what happened before is nonsensical — much like asking what is north of the North Pole.  Also, many cosmologists have proposed that our universe could be part of a much larger, super and perhaps eternal meta-universe.  In this meta-universe (a.k.a. multiverse) “baby” universes are created by pinching off from “parent” universes — leaving no way to inquire about the characteristics of a parent universe.  We certainly don’t know for sure, and may never know.  However, this meta-universe would allow infinite chains of events.Another problem comes from the common definition of God as eternal, perfect and unchanging.  If these qualities were true, then why would God need a universe and how could God change from not needing a universe to needing and creating one?  This god would have existed for an eternity and then decided to create the universe.  Thus, the Creator God that is eternal, perfect and unchanging is impossible.The last problem with the First Cause Argument lies in its assumption that this eternal god exists, something that it is trying to prove.  This is known as begging the question.  Even a child can ask, “If God created the universe, then who created God?”  If the answer is that God is uncaused, then the same answer could certainly be applied to the existence of the universe — that it is uncaused.  Besides, which god are we talking about?  People using the First Cause Argument always make the assumption that their god did the creating.  Muslims think that Allah created the universe.  Hindus think that Brahma did it.  Christians and Jews think that Yahweh did it.  Most religions have a story of how their god created the universe.  The idea of a god as creator of the universe makes for a good tale, but it obviously tells us little about the characteristics of that god.  What they are doing is explaining one mystery with a bigger mystery, and that is fallacious logic.

Argument From Design (Teleological Argument)

The Argument From Design states that the universe is so complex that it requires a designer, like a watch requires a watchmaker.  It’s just another argument from ignorance.Many people think that the world looks like it was designed (and by their god, to boot).  Of course, the sun also looks like it goes around the Earth.  It is only thru science that we know that both of these perceptions are wrong.To explain the complexity of the universe and life, all we need are the properties of self-organization and emergence that arise out of complex adaptive systems.  Stars, galaxies and planets have come into being as the universe has slowly increased in complexity over time — from the simplicity of the Big Bang.  Biology and paleontology have shown that life has also slowly grown in complexity over time — dependent only on the the rules of physics and chemistry.  No god was necessary.I will discuss more about complexity in the following sections on Intelligent Design and the Theory of Evolution.

Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Irreducible Complexity

One form of the Argument From Design is called Intelligent Design (ID), which has evolved from biblical creationism.  It states that life on Earth is so complex that it must have had an intelligent designer, and it is gaining strength by masquerading as a science.  It’s a belief structure and not science because there is no body of research to support its claims, and it makes no testable predictions.  To get around legal restrictions on teaching religious dogma, proponents of ID often say that they don’t know what this designer was; it could have been an alien or a god.  This is disingenuous.  If it was an alien, then the obvious question is: where and how did the alien originate?  If they really mean God, which is what some of them have admitted, then ID is basically creationism with a few new ideas.  So, I will treat ID and creationism as basically the same.Proponents of the Argument From Design and Intelligent Design make many claims:The complexity of life and the universe require a cause that is not part of this natural universe.Irreducible complexity shows that the odds against natural causes for certain processes are too great, so a designer is necessary.The physical laws require a lawgiver.The laws of physics were fine-tuned for life.Science can’t explain all the features of life.Our system of life on Earth was designed.The 2nd law of thermodynamics proves that evolution is impossible.What they really claim is “God did it!”Let’s start with the apparent design of the universe, and use a story of Sir Isaac Newton as an example.  A deeply religious man, Newton was struck by the order that he observed in the orbits of the planets, with all of them in the same plane.  He could think of no reason for this, so he attributed it to God.  Of course now, thru science, we understand the gravitational dynamics in the formation of solar systems fairly well, and no longer need to invoke a god.  Science is similarly showing how the rest of the universe works and eliminating the need for theistic explanations.Now let’s look at the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  This states that any closed system will tend toward disorder.  However, it does not apply to the Earth, because we live in an open system with energy constantly streaming in from our sun.  This is the energy that powers almost all life on our planet.  Thus the 2ndlaw of thermodynamics does not apply to evolution or any living being.Next, let’s consider the laws of physics.  They are really just our current best quantified explanations or descriptions of how matter and energy behave — not anything like man-made laws.  These descriptions have changed in the past (e.g. E=MC2) and will likely change in the future.  We currently don’t know why the parameters of matter and energy have certain values, but that doesn’t mean that some god set them that way.  The simple solution to the question of the source of the laws of physics is to accept them as brute fact, with no source.  It could also be that there are almost countless universes, each with different self-consistent laws and constants.  String theory, for example, allows for 10500 possible universes.  If some of them exist and even one of those allowed life, then that would be our universe.  This is known as the Anthropic Principle.  In other words, if our universe had different laws we would not exist to see it, and thus we naturally live in one that allows us to exist.Note also that gods are (pretty much by definition) exempt from any laws of physics.  So, positing a god as the source of the universe can ignore any laws of physics.If it were true that a god set up the universe specifically for us, he certainly waited a long time for the result.  The universe has been around for about 14 billion years.  It took about nine billion years before Earth was formed from the remnants of supernova stars.  Single celled bacteria were forming ecosystems about a billion years after that, as shown by the evidence for Earth’s history in its rocks and fossils.  For about two and a half billion years life consisted of only single celled organisms.  Life evolved and became more complex with multi-celled organisms.  It then took another billion years for fish, reptiles and mammals to appear.  Then humans, God’s supposed reason for the whole creation, finally came along within the last 200,000 years or so — on one planet orbiting one of the septillions of stars.  This seems like a lengthy, complex, massive, and apparently natural process for an omnipotent being that could have simply snapped everything (or just one magic planet) into existence.  Using a god as the source of the laws of physics just doesn’t make sense.  Once again, religionists are trying to explain one mystery with a bigger mystery.Ultimately, an “intelligent designer” of the universe or order or life explains nothing.  It simply moves the lack of knowledge up one level, because this “intelligent designer” is left without an explanation — unless you posit either that it always existed or a “more intelligent designer” of the “intelligent designer” … ad infinitum and ad nauseum.  If it always existed, then what caused it to go an infinite amount of time and abruptly decide to create the universe?  Thus, the “intelligent designer” answer is plagued with two insurmountable infinity problems.It’s important to note that the universe was not designed for life; in practically the entire universe conditions are extremely hostile to life.  Life is exceedingly sparse in the universe, even if it exists on every planet and moon.  All we do know is that life exists on one oasis — Earth.  Any sort of life that we can imagine only has a chance on what is likely only a small percentage of planets or moons.  Most of the universe is nearly empty, and almost all of the visible (non dark) matter is in stars or nebulae.  Saying that the universe is made just for us is like an individual arguing that the whole universe, Earth, life, the human species, all her ancestors, and her genes were created just for her.  “After all,” she could say, “look at the odds against everything being just as it was.  My god must have created everything just so I could exist.”The core argument in Intelligent Design is the fact that evolutionary biologists can’t yet fully explain all the features of life; therefore ID claims that life must have been designed by some intelligent being.  This is a “god of the gaps” argument, and it is scientifically, logically, and historically flawed.ID is scientifically flawed because it violates the ground rules of science by allowing supernatural (meaning outside of nature) causation.ID is logically flawed in two ways.  The first logical flaw in ID is that it’s based on a lack of knowledge — explaining gaps in knowledge by invoking the magic of an unknown (perhaps supernatural) being.  Like all  “god of the gaps” arguments, ID is not falsifiable, can’t even be tested, and says nothing about the moral qualities of this unknown being, god, or gods.  The second logical flaw is in the assumption it makes that, because something is supposedly very highly unlikely, something else must have designed it.  What ID proponents blatantly ignore, because they take the existence of their god as a given, is the fact that this unknown designer must be even more complex, and thus less probable, than what ID was invoked to explain.  The basic question is thus, “Who designed the designer?”  This argument dates back to David Hume in the 1700’s.  Richard Dawkins calls it the “ultimate Boeing 747 gambit” because it shows the fatal weakness of Fred Hoyle’s ID argument that the “probability of life originating on Earth is no greater than the chance that a hurricane, sweeping through a scrapyard, would have the luck to assemble a Boeing 747.”  A designer god would have to be immeasurably more complex than a 747 — an ultimate Boeing 747.ID is historically flawed because science has shown excellent progress in explaining the world around us.  As professor of physics Bob Park wrote, “All of science is built on territory once occupied by gods.  Is there some boundary at which science is supposed to stop?”.  There is nothing to show that evolutionary biology should be abandoned simply because it has not yet explained the origins of every single process of life.  Because biochemical processes don’t leave behind fossils, it’s not as easy to explain their origins as it is for bone structures that do fossilize.  However, evolutionary biologists are making excellent progress in understanding the origins and processes of the biochemistry of life.Proponents of ID have also created the idea of irreducible complexity, which is central to ID.  It states that many processes of life are too complex and irreducible to have evolved; therefore a designer must have created them.  This complexity comes from many interrelated parts or processes, which supposedly are useless without all the other parts or processes.  This is just another “god of the gaps” and it also falls apart under close examination.“What good is half an eye?” they ask.  The answer is simple.  Any amount of vision is better than none, and any change that improves vision probably improves survivability.  Starting with basic light-sensing cells, eyes have evolved thru natural selection — one small step at a time.  Richard Dawkins has an excellent explanation of this (and much more) in his bookClimbing Mount Improbable.An icon of the irreducible complexity concept is the bacterial flagellum, with its many similarities to an electric motor — and about 30 protein components required to produce a working biological function.  Unfortunately for the ID movement, research has demolished the flagellum’s status as an example of irreducible complexity.  Some bacteria use what is known as type III secretory system (TTSS) to allow them to inject proteins directly into the cytoplasm of a host cell.  TTSS has a strong likeness in structure to the flagellum, and uses about 15 to 20 of the same proteins.  This shows that the flagellum is not irreducibly complex, because a functioning structure (albeit with a different function) can be made with 10 to 15 fewer proteins.  A detailed analysis can be found in The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of “Irreducible Complexity”.Intelligent Design is simply not science; it’s religion dressed up to look like science to the uninformed.  It is mystical pseudoscience.I’d like to address a common statement made by creationists — that scientists have supposedly never actually witnessed evolution, so evolution either: a) isn’t real science, or b) hasn’t happened.  First, this is a gross mischaracterization of science.  There are many processes that scientists can understand without directly witnessing them, such as much of geology or fusion at the cores of stars.  Second, this statement ignores the fact that evolution usually takes thousands or millions of years.  It’s like looking at a tree and saying that it’s not growing because you can’t see any growth in a day.  Third, for many, many species we have excellent evidence in the fossil record and genetic data of the changes of the species.  Fourth, scientists have actually witnessed the rapid evolution of new species — the apple moth from the hawthorn moth, a new species of polychaetes fish, and many more.

The Theory of Evolution

Life is a process — not a design.  It requires an explanation — not an intelligent designer.  This explanation is the fact and theory of evolution.  “Evolution” simply means change over time.  It’s a fact that enormous changes to life on Earth have occurred.  The 3.5 billion year fossil record is clear and unambiguous on this.  The Theory of Evolution explains the natural processes that caused these changes, and it explains the genetic similarities that all life on Earth has.There are at least eleven areas of study and empirical data supporting the Theory of Evolution.  They are:Paleontology (fossils)Distribution of Animals and PlantsComparative AnatomyEmbryologyVestigial OrgansGeneticsNatural SelectionSexual SelectionMolecular BiologyBad DesignLab ExperimentsI will only deal here with brief overviews of paleontology, embryology, vestigial organs, genetics, natural selection, bad design, and lab experiments.  I will also look at the related science of abiogenesis — the study of the origin of life.

Paleontology

The history of life on Earth is in its fossils, and more than 99% of all species that ever existed are now extinct.  (Note that this is a lousy record for any sort of intelligent designer.)  We have extensive fossils showing how species have come and gone over the last several hundred million years.  Here are just a few examples:Trilobites appeared over 500 million years ago and existed for 300 million years (with over 15,000 known species).About 375 million years ago, land animals were evolving from fish.Dinosaurs (with an estimated 200,000 species) lived 251 to 65.5 million years ago.Horses are descended from the cat-sized Eohippus of 50 to 60 million years ago.Whales are descended from land animals of 52 million years ago.Humans are descended from a long line of hominids, over at least 4.4 million years.The dating methods for determining the ages of fossils and rocks are well established.  They usually depend on the radioactive decay of different isotopes of elements, and can be used on objects that are hundreds to billions of years old.  For an in-depth explanation, see Accuracy of Fossils and Dating Methods.The evidence for evolution of life is overwhelming and conclusive.  This evidence is not just in the fossils, but also in the body parts and genes of almost every living thing.  If you have any doubts, take a little time to learn the concepts of evolution, then spend a few hours in any natural history museum or public library.  If your mind is at all open, you will see the evidence.  Remember, ignorance of how evolution works is no argument against it.  The basic Theory of Evolution is completely solid, and will continue to be updated as we learn more about the complex history of life.

Embryology

Unlike other primates, humans don’t have a thick coat of fur.  At around six months after conception, humans and all other primates have a downy coat of hair called lanugo.  For humans, this coat is usually shed about a month before birth, altho some premature infants are born with it.  Even whale fetuses have and shed lanugo, which is a relic of their land ancestry.The embryos of all cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) also show the evidence of their four legged land ancestry, with hind limb structures that are obvious at about 24 days of age.  In dolphins these typically have almost completely disappeared by 48 days, altho in 2006 a bottlenose dolphin was found in Japan with rear fins.  In whales these structures often develop into a pelvis and useless rudimentary rear legs that are contained within the body.All vertebrates have embryos that have fish-like features with tails and what are called branchial arches.  In fish these arches develop into the jaw and gills.  In humans and other mammals they go thru complex changes to develop into structures in the adult head and upper body.Fish embryos become fish.  Amphibian embryos start like fish, and add extra development to become amphibians.  Reptile embryos start like fish, go thru developments like amphibians, and add extra development to become reptiles.  Mammalian embryos go thru all these stages, then lose some reptilian development and add extra development to become mammals.  In mammals the initial fish-like circulatory system turns into an amphibian-like system.  It then changes to a system similar to embryonic reptiles, and finally turns into a true mammalian circulatory system.This “recapitulation” of our evolutionary history is also followed in the embryonic development of other organs, such as our kidneys.  Three different types of kidneys are formed sequentially, with the first two similar to those of fish and reptiles.  Only the last (mammalian) organs are kept.All these embryological changes only truly make sense when viewed thru the lens of evolution, where each individual (and eventually species) inherits the development processes of its immediate ancestor.

Vestigial Organs

You don’t even need to go to a natural history museum or library to see evidence for evolution; our own bodies have many signs of our evolutionary heritage.  When we get goose bumps, our bodies are trying to keep warm by raising hairs that are no longer dense enough to help.  The muscles that allow us to wiggle our ears are of no use for us, but they did help some distant ancestors.  Humans also have many other useless, vestigial organs such as nipples and mammary glands on males (like all mammals) and the tailbone, which is just a holdover from when our primate ancestors actually had tails millions of years ago.Many other species also have obvious useless, vestigial organs:Flightless birds such as kiwis and ostriches have vestigial wings.Some whales still have vestigial legs and pelvic bones, as noted above.Some fish which live in caves are blind but still have vestigial eyes.Dandelions reproduce without fertilization and basically clone themselves; altho they have the proper organs necessary for sexual reproduction, they do not use them.Intelligent Design completely fails to explain these vestigial organs on embryos, adults, and plants — which are obviously suboptimal.  The Theory of Evolution explains them perfectly.  If some god designed us and all life, he/she/it certainly didn’t do a perfect job.  Stephen J. Gould stated it well; “Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution — paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce.”

Genetics

Every cell in our bodies contains the evidence of our evolutionary origins.  The basic process of life on Earth is so common that we share about 50% of our genes with carrots, and about 99% of our genes with chimpanzees (but, that’s a difference of 15 million to 30 million genes and gene switches).  In fact, humans are genetically closer to chimps than mice are to rats.  Here are some useful biological facts:We get an exact copy of the mitochondria in each cell from our mother, almost every time.Every male gets an exact copy of his Y chromosome from his father, almost every time.Both mitochondria and Y chromosomes slowly mutate over time at known rates.With this knowledge, geneticists can estimate how recently any two of us shared a common female ancestor, or any two males shared a common male ancestor.  Using this information and other data, the evidence strongly points to the claim that most or all of us are descended from a group of Africans that started migrating about 100,000 years ago.We share about 99% of our genes with chimps, but we have 23 pairs of chromosomes while chimps and other great apes have 24.  A close examination of the chromosomes shows that one pair of our chromosomes is made of two from the other primates.  Our combined chromosome even shows the evidence of where the two chromosomes joined, with the ends of the old chromosomes in the middle of the joined chromosome.  For more, see Evidence of Common Descent between Man and Other Primates.Most animals have the capability to synthesize vitamin C, but in humans and other primates the gene for this is broken and doesn’t function.  The differences in the DNA sequences for this broken gene (called a pseudogene) correlate to the genetic drift that is predicted by evolutionary theory, with chimpanzees being the most similar to humans — followed by orangutans and macaques.

Natural Selection

Let me address a common example that proponents of Intelligent Design use.  [See general eye diagram.]  “Look at the wonderful design of the human eye,” they say.  “Surely this design could not have happened by chance.  It must be that “God did it.”  Actually, it did happen by chance — countless little chance events of changes in the gene pool over generations, all controlled by the harsh realities of natural selection and survival of the fittest.  While the initial changes in the gene pool (mutations) were chance events, survival of the fittest is obviously not random.  This is the heart of the basic Theory of Evolution; individuals can pass their genes and characteristics on to their offspring.  If a gene makes an individual more likely to have offspring that survive, its offspring (carrying that gene) will also be more likely to have offspring that survive.  In effect, species are designed to fit their environment.  The designer is the blind process of evolution, however, not some god or gods.  Evolution creates an illusion of human or supernatural design.  This illusion is so powerful that it took until 1859 for us to discover it, when Charles Darwin put forth one of the greatest ideas in science — evolution by natural selection.  This idea was the progenitor and center of the Theory of Evolution.Darwin was limited by the scientific knowledge of the time, and thus didn’t know about genes — the way that characteristics are inherited.  This limitation was soon filled in by Gregor Mendel, who showed that the inheritance of traits follows particular mathematical laws.

Bad Design

The faults in the design of the human eye, especially, show its evolutionary origins.  [See eye diagram of retina.]  When we study the retina at the back of the eye, we can see that the cell layers are backwards.  Light has to travel thru seven layers of cells before reaching the light sensing cells.  Then the signals go back thru these layers to the nerves on the inside surface.  In addition, the blood vessels are on the inside surface and further block the light.  A truly intelligent designer could have done better than the human eye.  Actually, evolution did a better job with the eyes of birds (which have no blood vessels in the retina) and the octopus and squid (which have the light sensing cells on the surface).In fact, vision is so useful for survival that eyes have evolved independently at least twenty separate times, with at least a dozen different designs.Humans and other animals have many more examples of sub-optimal or bad design.  Here are a few:One of the worst designs in mammals is the nerve for the larynx, called the recurrent laryngeal nerve.  It is much longer than it needs to be — going from the brain into the chest, around the aorta, and back up to the larynx.  In humans it’s about three feet too long, but in giraffes it’s about fifteen feet longer than needed.The human pelvis slopes forward, which was useful for our knuckle-walking ancestors.  The only reason that we can walk upright is because we have an incredible sharp bend at the base of our spines (which is the source for so much low back pain).  Our abdominal organs are even suspended from the spine, which is just a vestigial holdover from when the spine was actually above them.The human baby’s skull is too big, such that many women painfully die in childbirth if they don’t get modern medicine.

Lab Experiments

Many people think that science requires lab experiments, which is a gross misunderstanding of science.  The Theory of Evolution doesn’t need lab experiments for verification; it has the entire history of life on Earth.  It is a bonus that successful lab experiments have been done, using random mutation and survival of the fittest to create new bacteria.  Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory developed new strains of bacteria that live in harsh environments while consuming carbon-rich materials such as oil and coal.  There are also new strains of bacteria (using new enzymes) that can digest byproducts of nylon manufacture.

A Bottom-Up Process

The Theory of Evolution explains embryological quirks, vestigial organs, and other bad designs.  It also explains how order and complexity (like eyes and new enzymes) can grow from simplicity.  Over billions of years, evolution has resulted in the vast array of species on our planet, with their many complex organs and traits.  We understand how biological patterns emerge.  Climbing Mount Improbable, by Richard Dawkins, shows how highly intrinsically improbable features of organisms can come about thru very small (and possible) evolutionary steps.  Daniel Dennett explains, in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, how evolution is the central organizing natural process that gives rise to complexity.  Evolution doesn’t require a top-down designer; it is a bottom-up process that results in complexity and order naturally emerging from simplicity.

“Only a Theory”

People often say that evolution is “only a theory.”  It’s important to remember that the term “theory” in science is not the same as it is in general usage.  A scientific theory is a unifying concept that explains a large body of data.  It is a hypothesis that has withstood the test of time and the challenge of opposing views.  The Theory of Evolution is the basic unifying concept of biology.  The CEO of The American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alan Leshner, wrote, “Although scientists may debate details of the mechanisms of evolution, there is no argument among scientists as to whether evolution is taking place.”  The National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States, has declared evolution “one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have,” and notes that evolution is supported by an overwhelming scientific consensus.  The Theory of Evolution has as much validity as the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the germ theory of disease.  It’s interesting to note that the idea that the Earth goes around the sun is also a scientific theory — albeit one with extensive evidence.  Every day our eyes are deceived, when we see the sun rising and setting as it apparently goes around the Earth.Evolution is thus both a fact and a theory.  It is a fact that species have evolved.  The Theory of Evolution explains our best understanding of the processes that cause evolution.  It’s a lot like gravity.  Gravity is obviously a fact.  The theory of gravity attempts to explain how gravity works.  Actually, we know less about how gravity works than how evolution works.There is an underlying problem with the design argument, and most proponents of Intelligent Design probably aren’t aware of it.  By assuming that living things have some sort of metaphysical purpose, they are intrinsically assuming what they want to prove.  Purpose is an abstract human concept that exists only in our minds, much like beauty — with no physical reality.  In the universe things have no intrinsic purpose; they just exist.  Does an atom have any purpose?  Does a pebble?  Does a star?  Does an amoeba, plant or any living thing have a real external purpose?  We could say that living things have the purpose of procreating to continue their species.  However, we must realize that this is just our viewpoint, our interpretation.  Rocks, trees, people, stars, and the universe have no intrinsic purpose.  We can create purpose for ourselves, and that is good because it’s a useful concept; but it’s important to understand that purpose is a human construct.  Remember, when proponents of ID begin their arguments by noting the design and purpose of nature, they are assuming what they want to prove.  Don’t be fooled by this logic sleight of hand.  No intelligent designer is needed for purpose to exist, because purpose exists only in our minds.

Abiogenesis

Even more basic than evolution is the field of science called abiogenesis, which deals with the origins of life from non-life.  Simple experiments have shown that amino acids, the molecular units that make up proteins, can be made in lab conditions simulating Earth’s early atmosphere, and they are even found in outer space.  The other critical molecular types — lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleotides — can also result from natural chemical processes.  These molecules are not living, but abiogenesis scientists are learning many ways that life could have originated from them.Dr. Jack Szostak, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has shown how primitive protocells could form with lipids as a cellular wall and a self-polymerizing nucleotide inside.  These could grow and divide driven purely by physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics.  Evolution could take it from there.Many abiogenesis researchers think that life or its precursors could have started as RNA, and then evolved to DNA.  A veryinteresting experiment showed that life-like evolution can occur in a test tube, with synthesized RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components.  It’s not biology, but it shows how evolutionary processes can happen in non-living molecules.Remember that Earth had billions of years and countless environments to create life, while scientists have only been trying since the 1950’s.  I think that we’ve made good progress.  And, even if we’re not smart enough to understand the origin of life, that doesn’t mean that some god did it.For more, see articles and websites listed in our “Abiogenesis”science section.

Evolution of Our View of Our Place in the Universe

A basis for the creationism idea is the concept that humans are at the center of the universe.  The idea of a god used to make some sense, when people thought that the Earth was the unmoving center of creation, and humans were the reason that there was an Earth and everything else.  The biblical universewas much simpler then.  The flat Earth was at the base, and above was the vast solid dome called the firmament.  It contained the stars and held back the celestial waters.  Above that were Heaven and God.We now know that the universe is almost unimaginably immense, complex, and ancient.  It is the height of conceit for humans to believe that this whole universe was made just for us.  Our perspective has changed.  We are no longer at the center of the universe — not our planet, not our star, and not our galaxy.  As people grow and mature, one of the big realizations is that they aren’t at the center.  It is the same for our species; it is time for us to realize that we are not at the center either.It is also necessary to note that in order for Intelligent Design to be true, these areas of science would be largely false: evolutionary biology, paleobiology, cosmology, astronomy, physics, paleontology, archeology, historical geology, zoology, botany, and biogeography, plus much of early human history.  These fields of science make predictions and get results.  ID makes no verifiable predictions and gets no useful results, and thus cannot in any way be called a science.  A simple example of this is the field of oil exploration, where you won’t find any geologists using creationism or ID — because they don’t get results.  And, with large amounts of money at stake, the companies want results.The most common reason people give for why they believe in God is the apparent design of the world.  I think that this is part of why proponents of ID are putting so much energy into promoting their view and attempting to refute evolution.  They realize that if the design argument were to fall, people might rethink their belief in God.Many people say things like, “Isn’t that baby cute?” or, “Isn’t that sunset beautiful?  There MUST be a god.”  I think that, if they are going to give their god credit for the apparent good and beauty in the world, they should also give their god credit for the evil and ugliness — such as natural disasters, babies with birth defects, and all the diseases.  The morality of nature shows its evolutionary heritage.  What loving, intelligent designer would have invented the diseases of the world, including a parasite that blinds millions of people and a gene that covers babies with excruciating blisters?  This is part of the Problem of Evil, which I will cover later.For more, see articles and websites listed in our “Evolution”science section.

Origin of Consciousness

Some people c

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The Economic Scam of the Century » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The Economic Scam of the Century

by MIKE WHITNEYThe leaders of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee,  Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho),  released a draft bill on Sunday that would provide explicit government guarantees on mortgage-backed securities (MBS) generated by privately-owned banks and financial institutions. The gigantic giveaway to Wall Street would put US taxpayers on the hook for 90 percent of the losses on toxic MBS the likes of which crashed the financial system in 2008 plunging the economy into the deepest slump since the Great Depression. Proponents of the bill say that new rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) –which set standards for a “qualified mortgage” (QM)– assure that borrowers will be able to repay their loans thus reducing the chances of a similar meltdown in the future. However, those QE rules were largely shaped by lobbyists and attorneys from the banking industry who eviscerated strict underwriting requirements– like high FICO scores and 20 percent down payments– in order to lend freely to borrowers who may be less able to repay their loans.  Additionally, a particularly lethal clause has been inserted into the bill that would provide blanket coverage for all MBS  (whether they met the CFPB’s QE standard or not) in the event of another financial crisis. Here’s the paragraph:“Sec.305. Authority to protect taxpayers in unusual and exigent market conditions….If the Corporation, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, determine that unusual and exigent circumstances threaten mortgage credit availability within the U.S. housing market, FMIC may provide insurance on covered securities that do not meet the requirements under section 302 including those for first loss position of private market holders.” (“Freddie And Fannie Reform – The Monster Has Arrived”, Zero Hedge)In other words, if the bill passes,  US taxpayers will be responsible for any and all bailouts deemed necessary by the regulators mentioned above.  And, since all of those regulators are in Wall Street’s hip-pocket, there’s no question what they’ll do when the time comes. They’ll bailout they’re fatcat buddies and dump the losses on John Q. Public.If you can’t believe what you are reading or if you think that the system is so thoroughly corrupt it can’t be fixed; you’re not alone. This latest outrage just confirms that the Congress, the executive and all the chief regulators are mere marionettes performing whatever task is asked of them by their Wall Street paymasters.The stated goal of the Johnson-Crapo bill is to “overhaul” mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that “private capital can play the central role in home finance.” (That’s how Barack Obama summed it up.) Of course, that’s not really the purpose at all. The real objective is to hand over the profit-generating mechanism to the private banks (Fannie and Freddie have been raking in the dough for the last three years) while the red ink is passed on to the public. That’s what’s really going on.According to the Wall Street Journal,  the bill will“construct an elaborate new platform by which a number of private-sector entities, together with a privately held but federally regulated utility, would replace key roles long played by Fannie and Freddie….”“The legislation replaces the mortgage-finance giants with a new system in which the government would continue to play a potentially significant role insuring U.S. home loans.” (“Plan for Mortgage Giants Takes Shape”, Wall Street Journal) “Significant role”? What significant role? (Here’s where it gets interesting.)The WSJ:“The Senate bill would repurpose the firms’ existing regulator as a new “Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp.” and charge the agency with approving new firms to pool loans into securities. Those firms could then purchase federal insurance to guarantee payments to investors in those bonds. The FMIC would insure mortgage bonds much the way the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. provides bank-deposit insurance.”Unbelievable. So they want to turn F and F into an insurance company that backs up the garbage mortgages created by the same banks that just ripped us all off for trillions of dollars on the same freaking swindle?You can’t be serious?More from the WSJ:  “Mortgage guarantors would be required to maintain a 10% capital buffer against losses and to have that capital extinguished before the federal insurance would be triggered.”10 percent? What the hell difference does 10 percent make; that’s a drop in the bucket.  If the banks are going to issue mortgages to people who can’t repay the debt, then they need to cover the damn losses themselves, otherwise they shouldn’t be in the banking biz to begin with, right?This is such an outrageous, in-your-face ripoff, it shouldn’t even require a response. These jokers should be laughed out of the senate. All the same,  the bill is moving forward, and President Twoface has thrown his weigh behind it. Is there sort of illicit, under-the-table, villainous activity this man won’t support?Not when it comes to his big bank buddies, there isn’t. Now check out this clip from an article by economist Dean Baker. Baker refers to the Corker-Warner bill, but the Crapo-Johnson fiasco is roughly the same deal. Here’s Baker:“The Corker-Warner bill does much more than just eliminate Fannie and Freddie. In their place, it would establish a system whereby private financial institutions could issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that carry a government guarantee. In the event that a large number of mortgages in the MBS went bad, the investors would be on the hook for losses up to 10 percent of its value, after that point the government gets the tab.If you think that sounds like a reasonable system, then you must not have been around during the housing crash and ensuing financial crisis. At the peak of the crisis in 2008-2009 the worst subprime MBS were selling at 30-40 cents on the dollar. This means the government would have been picking up a large tab under the Corker-Warner system, even if investors had been forced to eat a loss equal to 10 percent of the MBS price.The pre-crisis financial structure gave banks an enormous incentive to package low quality and even fraudulent mortgages into MBS. The system laid out in the Corker-Warner bill would make these incentives even larger. The biggest difference is that now the banks can tell investors that their MBS come with a government guarantee, so that they most they stand to lose is 10 percent of the purchase price.” (“The disastrous idea for privatizing Fannie and Freddie”, Dean Baker, Al Jazeera)Just ponder that last part for a minute: “The bill would make these incentives even larger.”Do you really think we should create bigger incentives for these dirtbags to rip us off? Does that make sense to you? Here’s more from Baker:“The changes in financial regulation are also unlikely to provide much protection. In the immediate wake of the crisis there were demands securitizers keep a substantial stake in the mortgages they put into their pools, to ensure that they had an incentive to only securitize good mortgages. Some reformers were demanding as much as a 20 percent stake in every mortgage.Over the course of the debate on the Dodd-Frank bill and subsequent rules writing this stake got ever smaller. Instead of being 20 percent, it was decided that securitizers only had to keep a 5 percent stake. And for mortgages meeting certain standards they wouldn’t have to keep any stake at all.Originally only mortgages in which the homeowner had a down payment of 20 percent or more passed this good mortgage standard. That cutoff got lowered to 10 percent and then was lowered further to 5 percent. Even though mortgages with just 5 percent down are four times as likely to default as mortgages with 20 percent or more down, securitizers will not be required to keep any stake in them when they put them into a MBS.”Hold on there, Dean. You mean Dodd Frank didn’t ”put things right”?  What the heck? I thought that “tough new regulations” assured us that the banks wouldn’t blow up the system again in five years or so. Was that all baloney?Yep, sure was. 100% baloney. Once the banks unleashed their army of attorneys and lobbyists on Capital Hill,  new regulations didn’t stand a chance. They turned Dodd Frank into mincemeat and now we’re back to square one.And don’t expect the ratings agencies to help out either because they’re in the same shape they were before the crash. No changes at all.  They still get paid by the guys who issue the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) which is about the same as if you paid the salary of the guy who grades your midterm exam. Do you think that might cloud his judgment a bit? You’re damn right, it would; just like paying the ratings agencies guarantees you’ll get the rating you want. The whole system sucks.And as far as the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, well, you guessed it. The banks played a role in drafting the new “Qualified Mortgage” standard too, which is really no standard at all, since no self-respecting lender would ever use the same criteria for issuing a loan or mortgage. For example, no banker is going to say, “Heck, Josh, we don’t need your credit scores. We don’t need a down-payment. We’re all friends here, right? So, how much do you need for that mortgage old buddy, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000.  You name it. The sky’s the limit.”No down payment? No credit scores? And they have the audacity to call this a qualified mortgage?Qualified for what? Qualified for sticking it to the taxpayers?  The real purpose of the qualified mortgage is to protect the banks from their own shifty deals. That’s what it’s all about. It provides them with “safe harbor” in the event that the borrower defaults. What does that mean?It means that the government can’t get its money back if the loan blows up.   The qualified mortgage actually protects the banks, not the consumer. That’s why it’s such a farce,  just like Dodd Frank is a farce. Nothing has changed. Nothing. In fact, it’s gotten worse. Now we’re on the hook for whatever losses the banks run up peddling mortgage credit to anyone who can fog a mirror.We’ll leave the last word for Dean Baker, since he seems like the only guy in America who has figured out what the hell is going on:“In short, the Corker-Warner plan to privatize Fannie and Freddie is essentially a proposal to reinstitute the structure of incentives that gave us the housing bubble and the financial crisis, but this time with the added fuel of an explicit government guarantee on the subprime MBS. If that doesn’t sound like a great idea to you then you haven’t spent enough time around powerful people in Washington.”The Johnson-Crapo bill doesn’t have anything to do with “winding down” Fannie and Freddie or “overhauling” the mortgage finance industry. It’s a bald-face ripoff engineered by two chiseling senators who are putting the country at risk to beef up Wall Street’s bottom line.It’s the scam of the century.MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be 

Read More The Economic Scam of the Century » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Lies osborne

I didn’t watch or listen to today’s performance by Baron Gideon. I have high enough blood pressure already.

However, somebody at the Labour Party emailed me the main points Gideon attempted to make, with translations. It was a shame she made the whole email into one huge graphic, and told me to share it on FaceBook, but we can’t all be good with computers, I suppose.

Anyway, I diligently cut and pasted for several minutes, to give you this. I hope it will display sensibly…
#BaronGideon  

Read More Lies osborne

Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards

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Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards

Administration Won’t Name Offending Prosecutors

  Topics: Government AccountabilityRelated Content: Inspector General Oversight March 13, 2014An internal affairs office at the Justice Department has found that, over the last decade, hundreds of federal prosecutors and other Justice employees violated rules, laws, or ethical standards governing their work.The violations include instances in which attorneys who have a duty to uphold justice have, according to the internal affairs office, misled courts, withheld evidence that could have helped defendants, abused prosecutorial and investigative power, and violated constitutional rights.From fiscal year 2002 through fiscal year 2013, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) documented more than 650 infractions, according to a Project On Government Oversight review of data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and from OPR reports.

 Infraction Severity

(from most to least serious)1. Intentionally violated a clear and unambiguous obligation or standard imposed by law, applicable rule of professional conduct, or DOJ regulation or policy2. Recklessly disregarded an obligation to comply with that obligation or standard3. Exercised poor judgement4. Made a mistake [does not lead to disciplinary action]The Justice Department does not officially consider the last two to constitute misconduct.Source: U.S. Justice Department, Office of Professional Responsibility, “Analytical Framework,” July 6, 2005, pp. 2-4.In the majority of the matters—more than 400—OPR categorized the violations as being at the more severe end of the scale: recklessness or intentional misconduct, as distinct from error or poor judgment.The information the Justice Department has disclosed is only part of the story. No less significant is what as a matter of policy it keeps from the public.As a general practice, the Justice Department does not make public the names of attorneys who acted improperly or the defendants whose cases were affected. The result: the Department, its lawyers, and the internal watchdog office itself are insulated from meaningful public scrutiny and accountability.During the Clinton Administration, the Justice Department responded to such criticism by declaring that it would make more of OPR’s findings public, including the names of offenders, and it issued a policy statement extolling the importance of disclosure.[1] But the Department’s promise of greater openness had major caveats, and its subsequent track record of disclosing the results of investigations does not appear to have lived up to its rhetoric. The policy statement was scrapped during the George W. Bush Administration and has not been revived.POGO’s review of the record since fiscal year 2002 raises questions that are difficult to answer without greater transparency: Are the Justice Department and its internal affairs office taking misconduct seriously enough? Or are they pulling punches? And has Justice Department management watered down the results of the watchdog’s probes?

Types of Misconduct

An examination of OPR case data for the past 12 fiscal years shows that, among the more severe violations—those that involve recklessness or intentional wrongdoing and are defined by the Department as professional misconduct—OPR substantiated:48 allegations that federal attorneys misled courts, including 20 instances in which OPR determined that the violations were intentional29 allegations that federal prosecutors failed to provide exculpatory information to defendants, including 1 instance OPR concluded was intentional13 allegations that Justice Department personnel violated constitutional or civil rights4 allegations of abuse of investigative or prosecutorial authority or general prosecutorial misconduct, including 3 instances in which OPR determined that the violations were intentional3 allegations that prosecutors abused the grand jury or indictment process1 allegation of “overzealous prosecution”POGO requested information on OPR investigations through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to augment the limited information available in OPR’s annual reports and data for the years 2004 through 2007 previously obtained through FOIA by governmentattic.org.[2] OPR annual reports contain statistics on allegations it received and investigations it conducted. They also include summaries of closed investigations. The past two annual reports provide a statistical breakdown of its investigative findings by infraction category.During the 12-year period that POGO examined, OPR investigated about 2,100 allegations and substantiated about 650.

Examples of Misconduct

Among numerous investigations in which misconduct was found in fiscal year 2012, the most recent year for which OPR has issued an annual report,[3] OPR described these examples:A DOJ attorney failed to provide information to the defense that could have been used to counter a key witness for the prosecution. The DOJ attorney failed to disclose that, before the trial, another witness had implicated the key witness in the crime and had contradicted the key witness’s testimony. (The Department gave the DOJ attorney a 10-day suspension.)[4]A DOJ prosecutor developed a “close personal relationship” with the defendant in a case he was prosecuting, “had numerous personal contacts” with the defendant without the consent of the defendant’s lawyer, and, without telling his supervisors at the Justice Department, negotiated a plea agreement permitting release of the defendant from custody. (When the annual report was written, the Department had not determined what punishment, if any, to impose.)[5]A DOJ attorney was assigned a criminal case with 15 months remaining under the statute of limitations, the amount of time the government is given by law to file charges. He allowed the “clear and unambiguous” time limit to expire without filing charges or alerting the Department about the impending deadline so it could decide what to do. (The Department gave the DOJ attorney “a letter of admonishment.”)[6]An immigration judge—immigration courts fall within the Justice Department—made disparaging remarks about foreign nationals, showed bias, and violated procedural standards in cases where defendants were “contesting removal proceedings”—in other words, fighting to stay in the United States. (The Department gave the immigration judge a 30-day suspension.)[7]A DOJ attorney failed “to timely disclose to the defense a tape recording of the crime despite repeated defense requests for the information,” and falsely told the court that the government had no evidence that a key witness had been diagnosed with a mental illness. (The Department gave the attorney a 14-day suspension.)[8]

Perspective

The Project On Government Oversight posed extensive questions to and invited comment from both OPR and the Justice Department’s public affairs office. They did not respond.High-level DOJ officials have said in the past that given the context—tens of thousands of its attorneys working on tens of thousands of cases each year—the amount of misconduct is small.[9]But the potential stakes are high, from whether people facing federal charges get a fair day in court to whether the U.S. government is properly represented in disputes with corporations where taxpayer money is on the line. It’s not only that innocent people could be wrongly convicted and sent to prison; it’s also that, where the legal process has been tainted, convictions of guilty parties can be thrown out.The watchdog office used its most recent annual report to praise the Department.“During Fiscal Year 2012, Department of Justice attorneys continued to perform their duties in accordance with the high professional standards expected of the nation’s principal law enforcement agency,” OPR said.[10] “When Department attorneys engaged in misconduct, exercised poor judgment, or made mistakes, they were held accountable for their conduct,” OPR added.[11]OPR makes it hard for anyone to second-guess such assertions.For example, in some cases, including some of those highlighted in the bullet points above, OPR has reported that it shared its findings with state bar authorities—the legal profession’s self-regulatory societies—for potential disciplinary action. However, without the names of the government lawyers involved, there is no easy way of checking what discipline if any the bar authorities imposed.OPR also hinted in some cases that there could be further consequences within the Justice Department, saying it had referred its findings “to the DOJ attorney’s component for consideration in a management context.” What, if anything, happened “in a management context” was not reported.At least one DOJ official has expressed doubt about the degree of accountability when OPR does find there has been misconduct. Scott N. Schools, then an Associate Deputy Attorney General who had supervisory responsibility over OPR,[12] was described in a federal ruling last year as having testified that the Department had been too soft on offenders. Merit Systems Protection Board Administrative Judge Benjamin Gutman wrote that Schools had indicated “he had long believed that the agency was being too lenient in disciplining attorneys for professional misconduct.”[13]Despite that testimony, in an email to POGO, Schools said, “I think that the Department presently is doing an effective job of holding prosecutors accountable for alleged misconduct.”[14]Contrary to the views of some critics, Schools argued that OPR might be more prone to finding violations of ethical standards than state bar authorities. “When OPR investigates a Department attorney, it applies a lower standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence) than most state bar associations (clear and convincing evidence),” he wrote. “So in that sense, the Department has decided to hold its attorneys to a higher standard than the professional licensing bodies,” he added.[15]

About OPR: The Basics

The Department of JusticeThe Office of Professional Responsibility was created as part of an effort to rehabilitate the Justice Department in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal that toppled President Nixon. It was a response to the ethical lapses and misconduct by Justice Department officials that had come to light.OPR’s task is to investigate allegations that DOJ’s lawyers are not practicing law in a manner consistent with the laws, rules, and guidelines that govern their professional conduct. The lawyers overseen by OPR include prosecutors who handle criminal cases; attorneys who advise the White House and regulatory agencies on how to interpret laws; immigration judges who sit on special courts administered by the Justice Department; FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when allegations against them are coupled with allegations against Justice Department attorneys; and lawyers who defend the government against lawsuits or pursue lawsuits on the government’s behalf.Investigations are opened in response to judicial opinions and referrals; tips from lawyers, other private citizens, Justice Department insiders, and other federal agencies; and news reports.OPR, which was staffed by 16 line attorneys at the end of fiscal year 2012, spends most of its time assessing and investigating allegations of wrongdoing. It also conducts DOJ ethics training, is involved in the development of ethics policies, and analyzes trends to identify potentially systemic ethics problems.Even when it concludes misconduct has occurred, OPR does not have the final word. Its investigative findings are reviewed by the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and other relevant management officials. In cases involving prosecutors when OPR concludes the actions were intentional or due to reckless disregard of standards, the Professional Misconduct Review Unit (PMRU), which was created in 2011, reviews OPR’s findings. DOJ management and the PMRU can soften or reject OPR’s conclusions.One of the examples above shows how OPR can take a milder view of the facts than independent authorities do, and how Justice Department management can soften even those conclusions.[16]In this example, OPR got involved after a court found fault with a federal prosecution. The OPR summary says a DOJ attorney informed OPR of a court decision “in which the court criticized the DOJ attorney for failing to disclose information that a key government witness expected to receive a substantial reward following his testimony at trial.”[17] Furthermore, “The court also found that the DOJ attorney failed to disclose information that a witness claimed that the defendant was known to possess a gun of a different caliber than the weapon used in the crime.” The defendant was granted a new trial as a result of the judge’s findings.INFOGRAPHIC: The DOJ’s Secret Files(Click here for more)OPR investigated. It disagreed with the court, concluding that “the DOJ attorney did not commit professional misconduct with respect to the two findings that formed the basis for the court’s decision to grant the defendant a new trial.” OPR did conclude, however, that there was one count of intentional misconduct. Its investigation found that “the DOJ attorney committed intentional professional misconduct in violation of his duty of candor to the court because the DOJ attorney knew, but did not disclose, that the witness had revealed that he previously had been diagnosed with a mental health illness, and that the government possessed evidence indicating that the witness suffered from an ongoing mental health disorder.”[18]The Professional Misconduct Review Unit took a look at OPR’s finding of intentional misconduct. It downgraded the finding to reckless disregard of the attorney’s duty of candor to the court, and that became the DOJ’s official finding.On another matter in the same case, OPR found that the DOJ attorney had exercised poor judgment—which the DOJ does not classify as misconduct.The public remains in the dark about who the DOJ attorney is and what case the attorney was working on.In addition to conclusions of what type of misconduct an attorney may have engaged in, OPR can also recommend a range of potential disciplinary actions. But DOJ management—whose public image might be tarnished by such findings—decides what punishment, if any, is actually assigned. Punishment can range from oral reprimands to termination of employment. If an attorney is believed to have committed criminal acts, rather than just violations of professional standards, the matter is referred to DOJ’s Public Integrity Section or to a U.S. Attorney’s office. When DOJ management agrees it is warranted, OPR informs state bar disciplinary authorities of violations.In the case above, DOJ imposed a 14-day suspension on the attorney as punishment. The relevant state bar was notified of DOJ’s official finding.Apart from the summaries the OPR publishes, what we know of the kinds of unprofessional conduct that occurs is reflected in the relatively rare high-profile cases that make headlines.For instance, federal prosecutors kept evidence from attorneys for the late Ted Stevens—then a long-serving Republican Senator from Alaska—that could have assisted his defense as he faced criminal charges that he failed to disclose gifts from an oil and gas services provider. The indictment of Stevens and the subsequent guilty verdict in October 2008—which could have sent him to prison—were set aside by Attorney General Eric Holder in April 2009 after an FBI special agent blew the whistle and allegations of prosecutorial abuse were found to be valid.[19] By the time his conviction was set aside, Stevens, who was Alaska’s Senator for four decades, had narrowly lost a bid for reelection.[20]In another case, Justice Department attorneys were accused of giving the CIA flawed legal advice green-lighting the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on suspected terrorists. These techniques included stripping prisoners nude, putting them in so-called stress positions, depriving them of sleep, and “waterboarding” them to simulate drowning. Critics regard the techniques as torture under international treaties. But Justice Department lawyers wrote memos[21] defining torture narrowly to give government agencies the green light to engage in aggressive actions in order to compel prisoners to produce information.Because of the extraordinary interest in these cases, Congress made publicly available OPR’s report and other documents, which detailed DOJ management’s response to OPR as well as the responses from DOJ officials accused of wrongdoing. (More on that below.)

A Long History of Secrecy

The OPR has a long history of secrecy. As author and journalist David Burnham recounted in a book about the Justice Department, the watchdog unit’s first annual report in the 1970s “offered…readers an extremely limited summary description of the sanctions that had been imposed as a result of OPR’s investigations….Not only did the report fail to name names, it also failed to describe, even in general terms, the nature of the three situations that had been confirmed [as warranting discipline] and what kind of sanctions were imposed on the malefactors.”[22]In January 1993, The Washington Post described secrecy and dysfunction at OPR. “[T]he system they have in place could not be better for sweeping things under the rug,” the leader of a government audit toldThe Post.[23]In December 1993, a federal judge complained that he had been waiting more than three years for the Justice Department to act on a case of prosecutorial misconduct. Reacting to that development, then-Attorney General Janet Reno pledged to reform OPR and make more information about its findings public.[24]“I have concluded that more frequent disclosure of the results of OPR’s findings concerning professional misconduct by attorneys will promote public accountability and further the fair administration of justice and the law enforcement process,”[25] then-Deputy Attorney General Philip B. Heymann said in a memo explaining the shift.“[S]erving as an attorney with the Department of Justice carries with it a responsibility to observe high ethical standards,” Heymann wrote. “The public’s interest in knowing whether all of our attorneys are consistently satisfying those standards should be weighed in the balance when making the determination about whether disclosure is appropriate,” he added.Subsequently, OPR released detailed accounts of investigations naming the offenders in some cases where misconduct was found. Those accounts, which OPR described as summarized reports, were more elaborate than the brief summaries in the annual reports. Even when no misconduct was found, some summarized reports were made available to clear attorneys’ names.[26]However, as it turned out, OPR released few of the more elaborate accounts. For several years, OPR’s annual reports said how many summarized reports the office released, and for fiscal years 1994 through 1997, the total came to 16. (Over the same period, OPR reported that it completed more than 900 investigations of alleged misconduct.)The annual reports for 1998 through 2001 did not say how many of the more detailed accounts were made public. Then, references to the Clinton-era disclosure policy stopped appearing in the annual reports.During the George W. Bush administration, the Department abandoned the policy Heymann had articulated in 1993.[27]Associate Deputy Attorney General David MargolisIn a 2008 story about a “growing shroud of secrecy” at OPR, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Justice Department had reversed the Clinton-era policy. It didn’t say when that happened, but it reported that Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis said it was his decision to excuse the OPR from preparing summaries of cases that might be released to the public. According to the newspaper, Margolis said the decision reflected a lack of resources and concern about balancing public interests with the privacy rights of individual attorneys facing accusations.“My goal is to get fair and speedy dispositions of allegations against our attorneys,” Margolis reportedly said, “and, to the extent possible, let the public know what we did and why we did it without unnecessarily or gratuitously…publicly humiliating our line attorneys as individuals.”[28]In its two most recent annual reports, those for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, OPR has expanded its disclosure by including statistics on the types of misconduct found in cases OPR closed in those years—the kind of information POGO obtained through FOIA for those years and many others. But despite pledging to provide unprecedented government transparency,[29] the Obama administration has not changed course on the issue of identifying the lawyers involved.This continued secrecy has not gone unnoticed.The American Bar Association has recommended that the Obama administration make more information available about DOJ attorney misconduct. The ABA passed a resolution in 2010 calling upon the Obama administration to return to the 1993 policy or something similar.[30] “The non-public nature of DOJ’s disciplinary determinations deprives the public of information about prosecutors and civil government lawyers who are alleged to have engaged in acts that warrant discipline and about how DOJ responds in such cases,” stated the resolution.The ABA said it was calling on the DOJ to “‘release as much information regarding completed individual investigations as possible, consistent with privacy interests and law enforcement confidentiality concerns,’ whether by reinstituting the practices of DOJ pursuant to its 1993 policy or otherwise.”[31]As matters now stand, DOJ’s handling of misconduct cases feeds perceptions that the Department does not aggressively police misconduct in its own ranks.

 “DOJ’s secrecy undermines public confidence in prosecutorial accountability.”

“DOJ’s secrecy undermines public confidence in prosecutorial accountability,” Bruce A. Green, a Fordham University law professor and a contact person listed on the ABA resolution, wrote in The Yale Law Journal in March 2009. “When kept secret, OPR’s work fails to effectively deter future prosecutorial misconduct or educate federal prosecutors about where the disciplinary lines are drawn.”“OPR’s work is even more secretive than ordinary attorney disciplinary processes, which have themselves been criticized as too opaque,” argued Green, “yet there is a far greater public interest in transparency when it comes to wrongdoing by prosecutors than by private attorneys.”[32]In 2007 testimony before Congress, then-Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine similarly criticized OPR for its lack of transparency. “While the OIG [Office of Inspector General] operates transparently, OPR does not,” Fine said. “The OIG publicly releases its reports on matters of public interest, with the facts and analysis underlying our conclusions available for review. In contrast, OPR operates in secret. Its reports, even when they examine matters of significant public interest, are not publicly released.”[33]In 2008, a federal judge in Massachusetts expressed more fundamental frustration with OPR.The Justice Department’s handling of a Massachusetts case “raises serious questions about whether judges should continue to rely upon the department to investigate and sanction misconduct by federal prosecutors,” U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf wrote in a letter to the attorney general at the time, Michael Mukasey.[34]“As one who took pride in assisting Attorney General Edward Levi in establishing [the Office of Professional Responsibility] more than thirty years ago,” Wolf wrote, “I sadly doubt it is now capable of serving its intended purpose.”[35]OPR’s practice of shielding names and case details from public disclosure isn’t the only path taken in the federal government. For instance, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity makes public case summaries, including names of researchers, when it finds research misconduct.[36] The Securities and Exchange Commission issues public enforcement actions against accountants for improper professional conduct in audits of publicly traded companies.[37]  And the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office regularly makes reports of investigations available in response to Freedom of Information requests even when they clear officials of wrongdoing.[38]

Justice Department Misconduct: Just the Tip of the Iceberg?

The Justice Department argues that misconduct within its ranks is rare.In 2010, while acknowledging that even “a single instance of prosecutorial misconduct is unacceptable,” then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler wrote in a USA Today op-ed that “Overwhelmingly, the cases we bring are handled according to the highest ethical standards. Indeed, an internal review ordered by Attorney General Eric Holder last year found misconduct in just a tiny fraction of the 90,000 or so cases brought annually.”[39] POGO has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for this internal review.“Over the past 10 years, the Department has filed over 800,000 cases involving more than one million defendants,” the Justice Department said in a March 2012 statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “In the same time period, only one-third of one percent (.33 percent) of these cases warranted inquiries and investigations of professional misconduct by the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.[40]“Less than three-hundredths of one percent (.03 percent) related to alleged discovery violations, and just a fraction of these resulted in actual findings of misconduct.” (The term “discovery” refers to the gathering and exchange of evidence before trial; a key requirement is that “exculpatory” information be shared with the defense.[41])However, misconduct identified by OPR may represent only a fraction of actual misconduct by Justice Department attorneys for a variety of reasons. For instance, it may be harder to detect misconduct occurring during the grand jury investigations that often precede indictments because those are non-public processes and defense lawyers are not present to witness violations or raise concerns. Another reason cases of misconduct may go undetected is that it can be difficult to determine from the outside whether prosecutors or attorneys representing the U.S. government in civil suits are withholding information. Sometimes it takes a whistleblower—as in the Senator Stevens case—to bring the misconduct to light, and it is possible that many who know about misconduct do not come forward to blow the whistle.

Reduced Prison Sentences

The handful of cases publicly known tends to raise questions about OPR and about the systems in place for disciplining misbehaving federal attorneys.In one case, OPR found intentional misconduct on the part of former Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Paul Howes,[42] but it took years for OPR to send its findings to state bar authorities who could take disciplinary action against him.

[I]t took years for OPR to send its findings to state bar authorities who could take disciplinary action against him.

According to OPR, Howes had made improper payments to many witnesses and informants during the 1990s when he was investigating and prosecuting members of a deadly drug gang in Washington, DC. Howes allegedly abused a witness voucher system, which was meant to compensate witnesses for court appearances and the like. Some of his payments went to relatives and girlfriends of witnesses, OPR found.[43] The report concluded that Howes “viewed the voucher system as a resource to be used as he saw fit in order to accomplish the goal of convicting some very violent, homicidal drug dealers.”According to OPR, colleagues described Howes as a talented, effective prosecutor willing to bend the rules to get results.[44]Eric Holder, who was then heading the U.S. Attorney’s Office in DC, was tipped off by one of Howes’s informants and sent the allegations to OPR in 1996.OPR finished its report in February 1998, but said it did not seek criminal charges against Howes because of doubts it had about convincing a jury of his guilt.Howes “undoubtedly would portray himself to a jury, as he has to us, as a beleaguered lone wolf battling a stifling and uncomprehending bureaucracy,” according to the OPR report.Howes resigned from the Justice Department and moved to San Diego.[45]A disciplinary authority for members of the DC bar, the Office of Bar Counsel, learned about the allegations against Howes from newspaper articles and requested the 1998 OPR report in March 2002.[46] OPR didn’t send the report until October 2002, five months after the request, and four years after the report was completed. The report stayed confidential until a federal judge in a case involving Howes forced the report into the public domain in 2003. It took the Bar Counsel four more years to do its own investigation of Howes, which went farther than the OPR report in probing Howes’ actions by looking at more of his cases.[47] Eventually, in early 2007, the Bar Counsel sought a two-year suspension of Howes,[48] and an appeals court went further and disbarred him in 2012.[49]In a 2010 report, the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility, which hears charges brought by the Bar Counsel, said Howes took exception to some findings but stipulated that he committed several violations, including intentionally failing to disclose exculpatory information to defendants.[50] In his defense, Howes reportedly said, for example, that he gave vouchers to witnesses who were incarcerated to keep them from turning to crime again and getting killed when they were released from prison.[51]The OPR report on Howes is on OPR’s website, but only because a federal judge did not buy DOJ’s arguments against unsealing it during a lawsuit.[52] After it was made public, DOJ instituted reforms in 2004 regarding its witness-voucher payments—years after OPR had found abuses under Howes.[53]The fact that Howes engaged in misconduct led to substantially reduced prison sentences for several individuals convicted of crimes.[54]Howes did not respond to POGO’s request for comment.

How OPR Can Get Sidelined

John YooThen there’s the case of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.In 2009, OPR finished a report on the Justice Department’s advancement of controversial legal arguments that provided justification for the U.S. government to use brutal interrogation tactics, such as waterboarding, that many view as torture. The report examined the work of two high-level attorneys who worked within DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel: Jay Bybee, who led the office from 2001 through 2003, and John Yoo, the deputy assistant attorney general in that office.[55]But OPR did not make this report of almost 300 pages available to the public; Congress did.The report found that “John Yoo committed intentional professional misconduct when he violated his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice,” and that Jay Bybee “committed professional misconduct when he acted in reckless disregard of his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.”[56]About five months later, after considering rebuttals from Yoo and Bybee, Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis in 2010 issued the Justice Department’sfinal ruling on the investigation. Margolis rejected OPR’s misconduct findings, writing that a “finding of misconduct depends on application of a known, unambiguous obligation or standard to the attorney’s conduct.” He argued that he was “unpersuaded that OPR has identified such a standard” and did not authorize OPR to send its findings to the state bar disciplinary authorities.[57]“While I have declined to adopt OPR’s findings of misconduct, I fear that John Yoo’s loyalty to his own ideology and convictions clouded his view of his obligation to his client and led him to author opinions that reflected his own extreme, albeit sincerely held, views of executive power,” Margolis added.[58]Neither Yoo nor Bybee responded to a POGO request for comment.In a 2009 response to OPR, lawyers for Bybee wrote that he “honestly believed the advice he gave” and “did not violate his duties of competence, independence, or candor, as those disciplinary rules have always been understood.”[59]Yoo wrote an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer calling Margolis’s decision “a victory for the people fighting the war on terror.”[60]Yoo wrote that “OPR’s political bias was legion,” that it “was incompetent,” that its report was “deeply riddled with errors,” that “OPR failed, as Margolis made clear, to even identify and understand the ethical rules that it is charged with enforcing,” and that its investigation took so long it missed the deadline to file any complaints of attorney malpractice.“OPR selectively tried to persecute only a few officials in the Office of Legal Counsel. OPR failed to interview, and reach conclusions on, the work of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and other high-ranking officials, even though they received several briefings on our memos and approved them,” Yoo wrote. “OPR also excluded subsequent officials in the Justice Department who continued to approve of enhanced interrogation methods on grounds almost identical to the ones in our memos.”“OPR lawyers—and the Obama administration—disagreed with the policy choices made by President Bush on the detention and interrogation of terrorists. But instead of arguing against those policies honestly and openly, they decided to fight them under the pretext of a cooked-up ethics investigation,” Yoo argued.[61]Coming from a perspective substantially different from that of Yoo, legal scholars such as David Cole at the Georgetown University Law Center have questioned Margolis’s reasoning, but they were only able to do so because Congress made public the underlying DOJ documents.[62]“Where the OPR viewed the errors cumulatively as evidence of an extraordinary and ultimately bad-faith effort to contort the law to a predetermined result, Margolis considered the errors one by one, and concluded that no single error ‘of itself’ warranted a finding of professional misconduct. Margolis, in short, missed the forest for the trees,” Cole wrote.[63]More fundamentally, Cole argued, “Remarkably, neither the OPR nor Margolis directly considered the illegality of the conduct that was authorized by the memos….Why, then, did the OPR and Margolis fail to consider the legality of the brutality itself? Almost certainly because doing so would have implicated not only John Yoo and Jay Bybee, but all of the lawyers who approved these methods over the five-year course of their implementation….”[64]Yoo is currently a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, and Bybee is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Ted Stevens Case

Former Senator Ted StevensThe high-profile case of the late Senator Stevens shows why many are skeptical of DOJ’s ability to robustly investigate and police allegations of misconduct by its own attorneys, particularly supervisors. In a stunning reversal, after prosecuting Senator Ted Stevens, the Justice Department found itself on the defensive. There is no disputing that the prosecution was a debacle, yet the Department has had trouble holding anyone accountable.Stevens, a Senator from Alaska at the time, was charged in 2008 with failing to report gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, such as renovations to his home, from an oil services company and its chief executive.[65]On October 27, 2008,[66] three months after his indictment,[67] a jury found Stevens guilty. After his conviction, calls came for his resignation from across the political spectrum and from many quarters in the Senate. Those calls became moot because on November 2, 2008, Stevens lost his bid for re-election by a relatively narrow margin.[68]Asserting that he was innocent, Stevens accused the Justice Department of severe prosecutorial misconduct and vowed to appeal his conviction or have it dismissed.[69]In February 2009, an FBI special agent blew the whistle. He said the prosecution team had withheld important evidence from Stevens’ defense attorneys that could have helped the Senator win a verdict of “not guilty.”[70]Over the next few months, the federal judge in the case held the prosecutors in contempt, the Attorney General voided the convictions and dismissed the indictment, the OPR launched a probe of the prosecutors’ conduct, and the judge, citing his concerns with OPR, appointed an independent investigator.[71]Judge Emmet Sullivan said the appointment of an independent investigator was warranted because “the events and allegations in this case are too serious and too numerous to be left to an internal investigation that has no outside accountability.”[72]In May 2012, the Senate Judiciary Committee, not OPR, publicly released OPR’s August 2011 report on misconduct in the Stevens case.[73]OPR’s report stated that prosecutors Joseph W. Bottini and James A. Goeke “acted in reckless disregard of” their disclosure obligations.[74] OPR exonerated two other officials, concluding that Public Integrity Section Chief William M. Welch II and Edward Sullivan “did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment with respect to any of the disclosure violations identified in the report.”[75] Welch’s deputy, Brenda K. Morris, the leader of the prosecution team, was found to have exercised poor judgment, which the Justice Department does not classify as misconduct.[76]In contrast, the independent investigator found more serious violations. The investigative team led by Henry F. Schuelke III found that some of the same acts by Bottini and Goeke rose to the level of intentional misconduct.Two investigations, two sets of conclusions. The outside investigation had judged the prosecutors more critically than the inside investigation had. But that wasn’t all.Within the Justice Department, OPR answered to higher authorities, and those higher authorities further muddied the waters. The Professional Misconduct Review Unit tasked a member of its staff to review OPR’s report. In an 82-page memo, the staff member, Terrence Berg, assigned less responsibility to Bottini and Goeke. He concluded that they had demonstrated poor judgment but not recklessness. He essentially found that it was unfair for OPR to pin blame on the two prosecutors because supervisors had contributed to the problem. He argued that responsibility rested with the prosecution team rather than with individual members. “[C]onduct by the supervisors was of equal or comparatively greater consequence in causing the disclosure violations and created a unique and extremely difficult set of circumstances under which the line attorneys were required to function,” the staff member wrote.[77]“I come away with the conviction that the failures that led to the collapse of the Stevens prosecution were caused by team lapses rather than individual misdeeds,” Berg wrote.[78]However, the PMRU chief, Kevin Ohlson, overruled his own staff member with respect to Bottini and Goeke. Ultimately, Bottini was given 40 days of suspension without pay and Goeke was given 15 days of suspension without pay.[79]Lawyers for the late Senator Stevens decried the punishments as woefully inadequate. “The punishment imposed is laughable. It is pathetic,” three Williams & Connolly LLP lawyers said in a written statement. “The Department of Justice demonstrated conclusively that it is not capable of disciplining its prosecutors.”[80]But that wasn’t the end of the story, either.Bottini and Goeke appealed their suspensions to a federal panel that handles personnel disputes involving government employees. In April 2013, the panel reversed the suspensions on the grounds that the Justice Department did not follow its own policy when it essentially rejected the conclusions of the PMRU staff member. The panel judge held that the Department “committed harmful procedural error” by letting the PMRU chief, rather than a subordinate PMRU attorney, propose discipline.[81]While they declined to comment to POGO, in official responses to the government, lawyers for Bottini and Goeke cited the Berg memo in defending the prosecutors. “Goeke cannot be held individually responsible for management decisions he had no authority to make or countermand,” lawyers for Goeke wrote. “The Department of Justice cannot ignore the findings in the Berg Report simply because they are inconvenient or contrary to the stated desire of other powerful and vocal people for retribution and punishment.”[82]“Bottini made serious mistakes, but he did so while working in good faith to meet his disclosure obligations; they were mistakes made by a man trying to do the right thing,” lawyers for Bottini wrote. “This good-faith effort, by definition, cannot be prosecutorial misconduct.”[83]The Justice Department has appealed the decision of the personnel panel, saying that it properly modified its own policies in allowing PMRU Chief Ohlson to overrule Berg’s opinion.[84]In 2012 Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) asked James Cole, who was then deputy attorney general, why DOJ had found less culpability on the part of the two prosecutors than the court-appointed investigator had. Cole wrote that, “in contrast” to Schuelke’s review, OPR analyzed the facts it generated during its investigation against the applicable ethics rules and then “followed its longstanding analytical framework.” The official noted some of the reasons OPR did not believe the attorneys’ actions were intentional: Bottini and Goeke had pressed for disclosure of some exculpatory evidence and there was “an absence of documents or e-mails to support the notion that the withholding of exculpatory material was intentional.”[85]

 As of April 5, 2013…only Goeke had served any of his suspension—one day.

As of April 5, 2013, the date of an administrative ruling discussing the matter, only Goeke had served any of his suspension—one day.[86]William Welch departed DOJ in April 2012 and is now an associate chief counsel at CIGNA, a health insurance company.[87]The independent investigator for the trial judge commented favorably on Welch in a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Whenever controversial disclosure issues were brought to his attention, Mr. Welch directed that disclosures be made,” Schuelke wrote. However, Schuelke said Morris “did indeed abdicate her supervisory responsibilities.”[88]Brenda Morris left the Justice Department and is now a deputy general counsel at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.[89] She declined to comment to POGO.Amid the fallout, one of the prosecutors under investigation committed suicide. That attorney was also reportedly upset because he believed that higher-level supervisory attorneys were given a pass.Ultimately, the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section was left in disarray with many critics arguing that it is more gun-shy now and less likely to pursue public corruption cases.[90]There is no way to know whether Stevens would have been found guilty if the Justice Department had met its legal obligations to share potentially useful evidence with the defense. As in other cases, prosecutorial misconduct tarnished a case that might have had merit.

Conclusion

Secrecy at the Office of Professional Responsibility has fueled suspicions that the Justice Department does not police attorney misconduct aggressively. The Clinton-era disclosure policy was an attempt to push OPR more in the direction of transparency while still balancing privacy and other concerns. Although it was an important step to proactively disclose OPR findings, there were too many limitations to that disclosure standard. Most problematic was that for those cases involving “an allegation of serious professional misconduct,” there needed to be a “demonstrated public interest in the disposition.”[91] However, how can the public demonstrate an interest in a case if they know nothing about it? Does the mere fact that DOJ has been able to keep a case quiet justify not making the disciplinary determinations public once the case has concluded?

[H]ow can the public demonstrate an interest in a case if they know nothing about it?

Stephen Saltzburg, George Washington University Law Professor and co-author of the August 2010 ABA resolution regarding professional misconduct by DOJ attorneys, told POGO he suspects “most of the Senator Stevens-level cases hit the news because a judge files a motion” reprimanding prosecutors. The hundreds of allegations confirmed by OPR as misconduct raises the question of whether the public really knows about all the significant instances of professional misconduct within DOJ.[92]He added that he and others in the legal community want confidence that allegations are treated fairly and consistently. More transparency might help.Something else that might help is transferring the responsibility for investigating allegations of DOJ attorney misconduct to the DOJ Office of Inspector General.OPR existed prior to the creation of the DOJ Office of Inspector General in 1988 by the Inspector General Act Amendments. At the time, the amendments specifically carved out DOJ attorneys from the IG’s jurisdiction, and kept OPR to investigate allegations against DOJ attorneys.[93] As the DOJ IG testified before the House Oversight and Government Committee, “While we have jurisdiction to review alleged misconduct by non-lawyers in the Department, under Section 8E of the Inspector General Act, we do not have the same jurisdiction over alleged misconduct committed by Department attorneys when they act in their capacity as lawyers—namely, when they are litigating, investigating, or providing legal advice.”[94] Given OPR’s current exclusive jurisdiction over DOJ attorneys’ professional misconduct, the DOJ IG has been prevented from conducting oversight in this area of great sensitivity.Even the head of OPR for 22 years—the late Michael Shaheen—who originally opposed the creation of the DOJ OIG, told NPR in 2007 that the DOJ OIG is “a quick and efficient office that’s empowered to investigate both administrative and criminal matters,” and given the “arguable ineffectiveness or limited effectiveness of the current Office of Professional Responsibility” the OIG should take over.[95]Until the IG does take over, to alleviate concerns that DOJ management isn’t aggressively disciplining its own attorneys for misconduct, OPR should have the authority to make referrals to state bars with jurisdiction, and thereby allow state bar authorities to open an investigation and take necessary disciplinary actions.

Recommendations

Report Misconduct to Relevant State Bar AuthoritiesAt the conclusion of OPR’s review, if OPR finds that there was misconduct and that the misconduct was an intentional violation or a result of reckless disregard, OPR must notify relevant state bar authorities of its findings. In addition, if DOJ management or PMRU weigh in on the matter, OPR shall notify relevant state bar authorities within 30 days of its receipt of DOJ management’s or PMRU’s findings.Increase Transparency Although the Clinton-era disclosure policy was better than what is currently the standard, it is inadequate. Among other things, any DOJ policy on attorney misconduct needs to ensure that proactive disclosure does not require a demonstrated public interest. When serious allegations of misconduct are found to have merit, details of findings of misconduct and corrective and disciplinary actions should be posted online in a timely fashion, similar to how many state bar authorities deal with ethical violations—including the name of the attorneys who acted improperly and the defendants and cases affected by the misconduct. The public interest in learning about government misconduct can far outweigh any privacy interests for the attorneys whose salaries are paid by taxpayers. If allegations of reckless or intentional misconduct are not upheld by OPR, those unredacted findings should be reported to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees for review. This new congressional oversight would better prevent OPR inappropriately letting offending government attorneys off the hook.Empower the DOJ Office of Inspector General to Investigate Misconduct The DOJ OIG should be given the explicit authority to investigate allegations of misconduct throughout the agency like all other OIGs. It’s time to end this wrong-headed exception and to create more independent oversight of and accountability for DOJ attorneys.An interim step would be to require OPR to send allegations to the DOJ OIG as they come up, giving the OIG the right of first refusal to do investigations. However, eventually OPR should be merged with the DOJ OIG, especially considering OPR’s relatively small size. It could become a specialized unit of the DOJ OIG, similar to how many OIGs have separate audit, criminal investigative, and program evaluation divisions.Nick Schwellenbach, former Director of Investigations for the Project On Government Oversight, periodically writes for POGO and is the primary author of this report. POGO Investigator Neil Gordon and former POGO Investigator Jacob Wiens contributed. Questions regarding this piece should be directed to Joe Newman, POGO Director of Communications.Images from the Department of Justice (1, 2), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Flickr userSarah McGowen and the Miller Center.[1] Memorandum from Philip B. Heymann, Deputy Attorney General, to Michael E. Shaheen, Jr., Counsel, Office of Professional Responsibility, regarding the “Disclosure of the Results of Investigation of Alleged Professional Misconduct by Department Attorneys,” December 13, 1993.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014) (Hereinafter Memo Regarding Disclosure of the Results of Investigation of Alleged Professional Misconduct by Department Attorneys)[2] The number of allegations does not necessarily equate to the number of attorneys involved; there can be more than one allegation per attorney, and there can be more than one attorney under scrutiny in any individual allegation of misconduct. A single court case can also give rise to multiple allegations.[3] Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility, Annual Report, 2012.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014) (Hereinafter OPR 2012 Annual Report)[4] “OPR referred its finding of professional misconduct to the PMRU. The PMRU affirmed OPR’s finding of professional misconduct and imposed a 10-day suspension. OPR referred its finding of poor judgment to the DOJ attorney’s component for consideration in a management context. OPR has notified the appropriate state bar of DOJ’s professional misconduct findings.” OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 24-25.[5] OPR found that the prosecutor engaged in both “intentional professional misconduct” and “misconduct in reckless disregard of the DOJ attorney’s professional obligations….OPR referred its findings of professional misconduct to the PMRU, which has this matter under review.” OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 26-27.[6] “OPR referred its findings of professional misconduct against the DOJ attorney to the PMRU. The PMRU affirmed OPR’s findings of professional misconduct and issued a letter of admonishment. OPR has notified the appropriate state bar of OPR’s findings of professional misconduct. OPR referred its finding of poor judgment against the DOJ supervisory attorney to the DOJ supervisory attorney’s component for consideration in a management context.” OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 33-34.[7] “OPR referred the matter to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and recommended a range of discipline from a seven-day suspension to termination. EOIR affirmed OPR’s findings and imposed a 30-day suspension.” OPR 2012 Annual Report, p. 32.[8] “OPR referred its professional misconduct findings to the PMRU. The PMRU concluded that based on information that the DOJ attorney provided to it, the DOJ attorney did not commit intentional professional misconduct but rather acted in reckless disregard of his obligation of candor to the court. The Department imposed a 14 -day suspension. OPR referred its findings of poor judgment to the DOJ attorney’s component for consideration in a management context. OPR has notified the appropriate state bar of DOJ’s professional misconduct findings.” OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 25-26.[9] Gary G. Grindler “Opposing view on legal system: Don’t mix mistakes, misconduct,” USA Today, October 7, 2010.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014) (Hereinafter “Opposing view on legal system: Don’t mix mistakes, misconduct”)[10] OPR 2012 Annual Report, p. 44.[11] OPR 2012 Annual Report, p. 44.[12] David Stout, “Scott Schools, a Power in DOJ Bureaucracy, Is Leaving After Two Decades,” Main Justice, February 11, 2014.  (Downloaded March 11, 2014)[13] United States of America Merit Systems Protection Board Western Regional Office, Initial Decision Regarding James A. Goeke and Joseph W. Bottini v. Department of Justice, April 5, 2013, p. 18.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014) (Hereinafter Initial Decision Regarding James A. Goeke and Joseph W. Bottini v. Department of Justice)[14] Email from Scott Schools to Nick Schwellenbach, March 11, 2014.[15] Email from Scott Schools to Nick Schwellenbach, March 11, 2014.[16] OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 25-26.[17] OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 25.[18] By describing this as a violation of the lawyer’s “duty of candor to the court,” OPR does not appear to have categorized it for statistical purposes as a case of withholding exculpatory evidence. OPR 2012 Annual Report, pp. 25-26.[19] Devlin Barrett and Nedra Pickler, “Ted Stevens Conviction To Be Voided,” The Huffington Post, April 1, 2009.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[20] Paul Kane, “Sen. Ted Stevens Loses Reelection Bid,” The Washington Post, November 19, 2008.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[21] The New York Times, “A Guide to the Memos on Torture,” 2005. (Downloaded March 7, 2014)[22] David Burnham, Above the Law: Secret Deals, Political Fixes and Other Misadventures of the U.S. Department of Justice. New York: Scribner, 1996, p. 333. (Burnham is a member of POGO’s board of directors.)[23] Jim McGee, “Prosecutor Oversight Is Often Hidden From Sight,” The Washington Post, January 15, 1993, p. A1.[24] Jim McGee, “Justice Dept. Sets Changes On Discipline; Prosecutors’ Conduct Had Led to Complaints,” The Washington Post, December 14, 1993, p. A1; “A Reno Reform,” The Washington Post, December 20, 1993, p. A24.[25] Memo Regarding Disclosure of the Results of Investigation of Alleged Professional Misconduct by Department Attorneys[26] “Public Disclosure of OPR Findings: During the fiscal year, the Department implemented a policy providing for the public disclosure of the results of OPR investigations in certain cases involving allegations of attorney misconduct. (3) Under the policy, the Department will disclose the results of certain OPR investigations, including those involving a finding of intentional misconduct or involving an allegation of serious professional misconduct in which there has been a demonstration of public interest, where the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interest of the attorney and any law enforcement interests. Disclosure can also be made at the request of the Department attorney who was the subject of the allegations when disclosure would not compromise law enforcement interests. Pursuant to the policy, the Deputy Attorney General issued two public disclosure reports in fiscal year 1994.” (“3. The policy was announced in a December 13, 1993 memorandum from then Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann.”) Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility, Fiscal Year 1994 Annual Report. (Downloaded March 10, 2014)[27] OPR jointly published reports with the DOJ Office of Inspector General involving managerial attorneys’ misconduct in DOJ personnel matters, such as Bush administration political appointee Monica Goodling’s improper consideration of job applicants’ political affiliation when screening candidates for civil service positions within the DOJ.[28] Richard B. Schmitt, “More scrutiny, secrecy at Justice; The unit that monitors lawyers’ conduct has tackled big issues since 9/11, yet it has halted regular public reports.” The Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2008, p. A-14. (Downloaded March 12, 2014)[29] Memorandum from Barack Obama, President of the United States, to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, regarding “Transparency and Open Government.”  (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[30] American Bar Association, House of Delegates,Recommendation, August 10, 2010.  (Downloaded February 28, 2014) (Hereinafter ABA 2010 Recommendation)[31] Through the phrase “consistent with privacy interests,” the ABA resolution would leave open the possibility that lawyers found to have engaged in professional misconduct would not be named in every case. That is consistent with DOJ’s posture under the 1993 policy. ABA 2010 Recommendation, p. 2.[32] “DOJ encourages corporations to disclose the results of their internal investigations to promote compliance with the law; it ought to apply the same standard of transparency to itself,” Green wrote. Bruce A. Green, “Regulating Federal Prosecutors: Let There Be Light,” 118 Yale Law Journal, Pocket Part 156, 2009.  (Downloaded March 10, 2014).[33] Statement of Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General, Department of Justice, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on “Strengthening the Unique Role of the Nation’s Inspectors General,” July 11, 2007.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[34] United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, Memorandum and Order Re: United States of America v. Darwin Jones CR. NO 07-10289-MLW, May 18, 2009, p.28.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014) (Hereinafter Memorandum and Order Re: United States of America v. Darwin Jones)[35] Memorandum and Order Re: United States of America v. Darwin Jones[36] There are limits to the Office of Research Integrity’s transparency. According to the website: “The list only includes those who CURRENTLY have an imposed administrative actions [sic] against them. It does NOT include the names of individuals whose administrative actions periods have expired.” The Office of Research Integrity, “Case Summaries,” (Emphasis in original).  (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[37] Securities and Exchange Commission, “Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases,” February 2014. (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[38] Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, “FOIA Reading Room.”  (Downloaded March 6, 2014)[39] “Opposing view on legal system: Don’t mix mistakes, misconduct”[40] Statement from the Department of Justice, for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on “the Special Counsel’s Report on the Prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens,” March 28, 2012, p. 2.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014) (Hereinafter Justice Department Statement for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary)[41] Justice Department Statement for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, p. 2.[42] United States Department of Justice, Report of Investigation of Allegation of Misconduct in the Newton Street Crew Prosecution Part I, February 9, 1998.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014); Department of Justice,Report of Investigation of Allegation of Misconduct in the Newton Street Crew Prosecution Part 2, February 9, 1998.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014) (Hereinafter Report of Investigation of Allegation of Misconduct in the Newton Street Crew Prosecution Part 2)[43] Report of Investigation of Allegation of Misconduct in the Newton Street Crew Prosecution Part 2, p. 65.[44] Report of Investigation of Allegation of Misconduct in the Newton Street Crew Prosecution Part 2, p. 82.[45] Brendan Smith, “Problematic Prosecutions: D.C. Bar Counsel Charges Former Prosecutor G. Paul Howes With Misconduct in Gang Cases,” LegalTimes, February 12, 2007.  (Downloaded March 6, 2014) (Hereinafter Problematic Prosecutions)[46] District Court of Appeals, Board on Professional Responsibility, Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility and Separate Statement of Mr. Bolze as to Sanction, July 27, 2010, p. 2. (Downloaded March 7, 2014) (Hereinafter Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility and Separate Statement of Mr. Bolze as to Sanction)[47] District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Board on Professional Responsibility, Hearing Committee Number One, Report and Recommendation of Hearing Committee Number One in the Matter of G. Paul Howes, July 27, 2010, p. 3.  (Downloaded March 10, 2014) (Hereinafter Report and Recommendation of Hearing Committee Number One in the Matter of G. Paul Howes)[48] Report and Recommendation of Hearing Committee Number One in the Matter of G. Paul Howes, p. 64.[49] District Court of Appeals, Transcript of Argument No. 10-BG-938, in Re G. Paul Howes, Respondent, March 8, 2012, p. 4.  (Downloaded March 10, 2014)[50] Report and Recommendation of Hearing Committee Number One in the Matter of G. Paul Howes, pp. 48, 32, 74; Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility and Separate Statement of Mr. Bolze as to Sanction, pp. 3-4.[51] Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility and Separate Statement of Mr. Bolze as to Sanction, p. 16.[52] United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Memorandum Opinion in Re Application of Antoine Rice, United States of America v. Mark Hoyle, et al., November 12, 2003, p. 3 and p. 28.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014)[53] Problematic Prosecutions, p. 2; Report of Investigation of Allegation of Misconduct in the Newton Street Crew Prosecution Part 2, p. 85.[54] Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility and Separate Statement of Mr. Bolze as to Sanction, p. 2 fn. 2.[55] United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, “DOJ Report on Bush Administration Interrogation Memos and Related Documents.” (Accessed via Wayback Machine)  (Downloaded March 7, 2014)[56] Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility, Report: Investigation into the Office of Legal Counsel’s Memoranda Concerning Issues Relating to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Use of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” on Suspected Terrorists, July 29, 2009, p. 11.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014)[57] Memorandum from David Margolis, Associate Deputy Attorney General, to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, regarding “Obligations to the Findings of Professional Misconduct in the Office of Professional Responsibility’s Report of Investigations into the Office of Legal Counsel’s Memoranda Concerning Issues Relating to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Use of ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’ on Suspected Terrorists,” January 5, 2010, p. 2.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014) (Hereinafter January 5, 2010, Memorandum from David Margolis)[58] January 5, 2010, Memorandum from David Margolis, p. 67.[59] Maureen E. Mahoney and Everett C. Johnson, Latham & Watkins LLP, on behalf of Judge Jay S. Bybee, Classified Response to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility Classified Report Dated July 29, 2009, October 9, 2009, pp. 1-2.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014)[60] John Yoo, “Finally, an end to Justice Dept. investigation,” Taiwan News, March 3, 2010.  (Downloaded March 7, 2014) (Hereinafter “Finally, an end to Justice Dept. investigation”)[61] “Finally, an end to Justice Dept. investigation”[62] David Cole, “The Sacrificial Yoo: Accounting for Torture in the OPR Report,” Journal of National Security Law & Policy, Vol. 4, Issue 455, 2010, p

Read More Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards