Main Menu

Layers close to home

I’m trying to keep up on local affairs, and today I was reading the minutes of my local town council meeting. It’s a PDF file on the town web site. Two things annoy me about my town’s minutes: 1) They aren’t posted timely, and 2) they don’t have OCR data. As part of my looking into that 2nd issue, I opened the minutes in Adobe Acrobat and viewed properties:


The document was scanned by a Xerox WorkCentre 5955, and it created the PDF. As we know, some Xerox machines do amazing things, like breaking down documents into separate objects in ways that almost mimic what a human might do. This is a screen clip from the last page of the PDF file:


And here is the object that the Xerox created:

Minutes 9 February 2015_Page_7_Image_0003

I guess the birthers would say this must indicate a computer-generated forgery. They would be wrong.


Arpaio: still investigating the birth certificate, well, sort of, maybe

photo of Aaron KleinSheriff Joe Arpaio recorded an interview with Aaron Klein (pictured right), author, radio host and writer for WorldNetDaily, to be broadcast this Sunday night. An anonymously bylined article at WND talks about the interview, and picks out the Sheriff’s support for Donald Trump in its headline: “Sheriff Joe’s Got Trump’s Back.” Sheriff Joe criticizes the backlash to Trump’s remarks about Mexican immigrant rapists by saying:

I thought we have freedom of speech in this country

Well we do have free speech, free speech for Trump and free speech for his critics.

For our purposes, the part of the interview that is notable is a somewhat vague section of the article:

Arpaio added that Trump “did talk about the birth certificate in the past.”

“You know I’ve been working on that. So I don’t know. I guess you got to be politically correct when you run for office,” he said.

I’ll not try to guess exactly what “I’ve been working” means.



Montgomery sues ACLU

Commenter bob nailed this prediction. Dennis Montgomery is suing the ACLU, according to a press release  from Montgomery’s attorney Larry Klayman. The case is filed in Miami federal court (Case No. 15-cv-22452). In the PR piece Klayman describes Dennis Montgomery as an “NSA whistleblower.” I’d be interested in knowing exactly what whistle he blew and when.

This case is fallout from the Melendres v. Arpaio contempt proceedings, where the ACLU is defending Plaintiffs. Dennis Montgomery became tangentially associated with the case when it was learned in testimony before Judge G. Murray Snow that Sheriff Arpaio had employed Montgomery in some scheme to investigate alleged CIA snooping into Maricopa County residents’ bank accounts, alleged emails between judges (including Snow) and the justice department, and alleged government wiretapping of the Sheriff’s Office. Montgomery claimed to have telecommunications data he collected on behalf of the CIA. Arpaio himself said that what Montgomery provided was “junk.”

If what Montgomery says about taking CIA data is true, then there are several crimes he could be charged with. Montgomery makes himself out to be a whistleblower in the mode of Edward Snowden. Others label him a fraud.

My inexpert analysis of the 55-page complaint boils it down to two actionable allegations:

  1. The ACLU used information provided to them by Dennis Montgomery under an attorney-client relationship in a way adverse to Montgomery. This point remains “speculative” in the complaint, with no specific information being cited. The attorneys that Montgomery consulted with are not the attorneys on the Melendres case in Arizona; it’s not even the same ACLU chapter, Montgomery is suing them anyway.
  2. Defamation. ACLU counsel Dan Pochoda said to a reporter, “This guy [Sheriff Arpaio’’] hired a person [Dennis Montgomery] previously found to be a con man.” (The bracketed material was added by Klayman.) The New York Times article does name Montgomery before including the Pochoda quote. Times reporter Fernanda Santos said, based on her own research:

    “Mr. Montgomery[‘s] reputation, easily uncovered with a cursory search, includes ample allegations of deception. Federal officials came to believe that he had sold antiterrorism technology that proved to be a hoax.”

    In order to withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” It seems to me that the “factual matter” is pretty thin in this instance. No cited evidence whatever indicates that there was any communication of privileged information between the ACLU in Washington or New York and the ACLU of Arizona. As for being a con man, many sources had published that determination previously.

Some have speculated on this blog that the suit is nothing more than a delaying tactic, an attempt to stay proceedings in the Melendres case while this latest nuisance is dealt with, particularly since Klayman represents Arpaio in another matter.



Clueless Cruz comments: Hillary started the birther movement

In an interview with Katie Couric, Ted Cruz repeats the oft-heard, and oft-debunked Internet rumor that Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign started the birther movement.

You know it’s interesting, the whole Birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008  against Barack Obama.

— Ted Cruz

The interview was at Yahoo News, and reported by Brietbart News. For the real story, see Loren Collins’ “The Secret Origin of the Birthers.”

Read more:


Obama eulogizes slain South Carolina senator

I want to take another point of personal privilege to talk about something that I feel very connected to. As most of you know, I live in South Carolina and have done so longer than anywhere else. Perhaps a little less well known is that the alleged Charleston church shooter, Dylann Roof, was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, of the same denomination to which I belong (I don’t know if he was active), and that two of the victims of that shooting were graduates of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina (I am a life member of that seminary’s Auxiliary). The presiding bishop of my national church, Elizabeth Eaton, was scheduled to be at the funeral today of one of the victims, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator. Bishop Eaton said last week:

The suspected shooter (Dylann Roof) is a member of an ELCA congregation. All of a sudden and for all of us, this is an intensely personal tragedy. One of our own is alleged to have shot and killed two who adopted us as their own.

I am thankful for the circumstances that let me hear some of President Obama’s eulogy for Senator Pinckney. Temperatures were around 98 degrees when the Habit for Humanity build crew decided to pack up a little early because of the heat. When I got in my car the radio was tuned as it always is to South Carolina Educational Radio, and the President’s speech was in progress live.

I though his remarks were in places profound, in places moving, and wholly directed at a message of reconciliation. Some on the extreme right think Obama is a Muslim, but maybe they have never heard him sing “Amazing Grace” as he did today in a talk couched in the terms of Christian grace and God working through horrific events. Some say  that he promotes political division based on race, but you cannot find a trace of that in today’s eulogy—he spoke of the forgiveness expressed by the families of the victims and he even praised Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for her actions in the wake of the Charleston tragedy. This is what good people do in response to grief and loss.

So I am sharing the funeral video with you. Obama’s talk starts an hour and 22 minutes in.