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December 7, 2005, 10:10 A.M.

One thing that I have to say for Randall “Duke” Cunningham is that in the end, he did the right thing. He stood up and accepted responsibility for his actions. This, however, does not overcome the colossal nature of his offenses. This man took $2.4 million in bribes. This is unprecedented crime and the punishment for Cunningham and all involved must be swift and severe. When you couple the Cunningham situation with that of Bill Frist and Scooter Libby, then this administration and the people around it have taken corruption to new depths.

When we first wrote about the Duke Cunningham situation, I was taken to task for rushing to judgment. I guess some things just are as they seem.

December 6, 2005, 4:40 P.M.

After three years, I have notified the Laconia Daily Sun that I will no longer be producing my weekly column. I hope to keep my website updated in a series of shorter articles during the week. I would like to keep up the practice of writing an occasional 800 to 900 word article and at some point I may make these available for republication.

I am no longer writing the weekly article in the Daily Sun for several reasons. First and foremost, the Laconia Daily Sun has a very liberal policy regarding letters. I admire them for this and I understood that when I began writing my opinion column that I was opening myself to criticism and rebuttal. I have never begrudged anyone their opinion. The idea of the article was for me to express my opinion in a manner that I hoped would be thought-provoking and evoke equally well-reasoned and issue-driven responses. For the most part, this has been the case.

Only recently a disturbing trend has developed that has caused me concern. Specifically, I have received a number of attacks not against the column, but against me personally. I found an increasing number of writers who have felt that my personal and professional life was fair game for their responses. I do not agree. It is my position that these types of responses to any letter should not be published. Certainly responses that are critical of the content of an article or of the opinions expressed by a particular author are fair game and from my perspective, welcome. I do not believe, however, that my job as an attorney or my personal financial situation are fair game for consideration or comment by readers, especially if they’re not going to get it right. The entire idea of my article was to evoke ideas and thoughts. If people are thinking about the content and writing responses, I don’t feel that it is necessary to respond to them. I will not respond to personal or professional attacks from people who know nothing about me.

That being said, I am also very busy and meeting a weekly deadline has become burdensome. For that reason, I intend to concentrate more on my website and not on a deadline-driven newspaper article at this time. I hope those of you who enjoyed reading the articles in the Daily Sun will understand.

December 6, 2005, 4:20 P.M.

On the Definition of Is: As I listened to the language of Condoleezza Rice’s denials regarding the use of European airspace and airports for transporting terrorists to destinations where they would be tortured, I could not help but think of the criticism heaped on Bill Clinton after his infamous machinations regarding the definition of “is.” For years I have been hearing from Republicans and other administration supporters about how actions of the current administration were justified because they were nothing compared to the moral and ethical dilemmas presented by the Clinton presidency. Of course, it’s a load of hogwash to try to compare sexual indiscretion (as bad as that is when it occurs in the White House) with misinformation and outright lies utilized to justify the invasion of Iraq. It has concerned me for some time that rather than looking critically at the current administration (which I was pleased to do with regard to the Clinton incident), the Bush administration chooses to go on the offensive. Rice’s speech contained veiled threats to allies and others regarding the exposure of their activities should they not “stand with us” in the current “war on terror.” This speech by Rice comes in the context of recent allegations regarding CIA torture, the participation of the German government in at least covering up information regarding the arrest of terrorists and the provision of those terrorists to the U.S. government, among other things.

Just as Bill Clinton had difficulty in defining exactly what sex is, Condoleezza Rice and the Bush administration have difficulty with the definition of torture. Apparently, the CIA does not see the mock-execution practice of waterboarding as being a method of torture. If you accept that definition, I guess Condoleezza Rice’s statement that the U.S. is not using European airspace or airports to transport suspects to countries where they can be tortured is accurate. It’s interesting, however, that Dr. Rice is speaking in the present tense. In other words, the administration is not denying and has not denied that they have transported terror suspects for the purpose of torture in the past.

You also can’t argue that the U.S. does not torture detainees in its custody when you refuse to accept a universal definition of torture. This type of verbal gymnastics would have had Clinton hung from a yardarm.

The fact of the matter is, the CIA is torturing suspects and that is the reason why they seek to have CIA prisons exempted from recently introduced legislation regarding torture. That legislation has been introduced by none other than John McCain (you will recall him as a victim of torture), who enjoys widespread support in the legislature. If we’re not torturing people, why is the CIA concerned that it should be exempted from regulation against torture. The fact is, the CIA is operating its own prisons, outside of the law, and it is using any method necessary to gain the information it desires. Any explanation or justification that does not acknowledge this fact is, and let’s be clear here, a lie.

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