The Supreme Court

Show Details for the week of August 1st, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • The DNC from the inside, and the outside, with Lenny Siegel
  • The Freak out over Brexit in the context of Interventions and Austerity, with Robin Hahnel

More about this week’s guests:

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Image Credit: Mountain View Voice

Lenny Siegel is a member of the Mountain View (CA) City Council and was a Bernie Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention. Siegel was a leader of the anti-war student movement at Stanford University from 1966 to 1975. He founded Mountain View Voices for Peace for both Iraq Wars. Since 1989, he’s become a national leader in the effort to clean up contaminated military bases. He ran for office three times before eventually winning. His term expires in 2019.

Quote: “The highlight of the evening for me came when former CIA Director Leon Panetta spoke. Other than honoring veterans, few speakers at the convention have addressed foreign policy. But Panetta was assigned to defend the Obama-Clinton policies of regime change and the war on terror, two terms they don’t use because they were associated with George W. Bush. To be honest, given what happened, I don’t remember exactly what he said, other than claiming credit for killing Osama bin Laden. I sat there quietly and sadly, holding up a hand-made sign I got from the fellow sitting next to me. It read, ‘End the drone wars.’ Democrats are quick to criticize Republican wars, but most are reluctant to challenge Democratic Commanders in Chief. I am not looking forward to four or eight more years of endless war. To my surprise, across the hall the Oregon delegation started chanting ‘No more war!’ Or maybe it was ‘wars.’ Our larger group quickly echoed them. I couldn’t tell if other delegates joined in. Before long, the masters of the house dimmed the lights shining on the Oregon delegation. We shouted ‘Lights, Lights …’ The Oregonians pulled out their smartphones and turned on their flashlight apps. It looked like a cosmic constellation. We shone ours, and I believe others were shining elsewhere in the arena.”

robin_hahnelRobin Hahnel is professor emeritus at the American University. He is best known as a radical economist and co-creator of a post-capitalist economic model known as “participatory economics.” His ten books include The Political Economy of Participatory Economics (Princeton University Press). He just wrote the piece “Brexit: Establishment Freak Out,” which states: “It is comical to watch the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic panic over short-run economic damage due to market ‘over reaction,’ because any danger of this is due to their own negligence. Only because the establishment has hitched our economic destinies to the whims of financial markets is there any need to worry that Brexit might trigger yet another global meltdown. Only because the establishment failed to implement prudent, financial regulation in the seven years since the last financial crisis crashed the global economy is there any danger today. Only because the Cameron government and the European Commission responded to the Great Recession with counterproductive fiscal austerity is a return to deeper recession in Europe quite probable. But we can be sure of one thing: All negative economic trends will now be blamed on Brexit and the populist ‘mob’ who brought it on, rather than on the establishment’s neoliberal policies which are actually responsible.” You can follow him on Twitter here: @RobinHahnel and you can read more examples of his work here:

Economic Growth, Climate Change, and Capitalism

Brexit: Establishment Freak Out

‘Told You So’ Is Bitter Sweet

Capitalist Cheating

An Open Letter to the Climate Justice Movement

Read more…

Show Details for the week of February 22nd, 2016

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On The Monitor this week

  • “The World is My Country” – an interview on the forthcoming documentary from director Arthur Kanegis
  • On Scalia legacy and Rubio’s candidacy – an interview with Greg Palast

Listen to this show

More about this week’s guests:

Arthur Kanegis

2184120_300x300“The World is My Country”, the forthcoming documentary from director Arthur Kanegis, chronicles the origin and validity of the World Passport, a document issued by the World Service Authority (WSA) in Washington, D.C. An excerpt of the film includes a portion of a 2015 Beats By Dre interview with Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def), in which he expressed profound support for the World Passport. “My country is called Earth,” bey proclaims. “This whole thing belongs to everybody that’s on it.”

Since the detainment of Yasiin Bey by South African authorities, 2 days after being prevented to board a flight to Ethiopia to fulfill a performance obligation and attempting to use his World Passport in January, clarity, in terms of the validity of the World Passport has been in great demand. The documentary’s director, the WSA, and Bey’s attorneys have all been working to shed more light on the matter.

“We’re rushing to release this excerpt from our forthcoming documentary to set the record straight,” said director Arthur Kanegis. “This excerpt shows that the World Passport is a fundamental human rights document that has been issued by the World Service Authority (WSA) in Washington DC for more than 60 years. Visas have been stamped on it by 90% of the world’s nations.”

WATCH THE 9 MINUTE EXCERPT OF “THE WORLD IS MY COUNTRY”

In the film, attorney David Gallup, President of WSA, talks about the bey case: “We immediately sent a legal statement to the government through his attorney explaining the legal validity and recognition by the government of South Africa,” Gallup says in the excerpt, “including copies of stamps from the government, the most recent one as you can see on our website here in the last few months.”

The film shows that South Africa has allowed World Passport holders entry into the country at least eleven times within the past few years, according to worldserivice.org. The site shows copies of visas from 183 countries. “People can apply for World Documents using the forms on www.worldservice.org” Gallup said, “or contact us at 202-638-2662 or info@worldservice.org.”

“We hope that once South African officials see this film, they will not only honor Yasiin Bey’s World Passport, but also move to the forefront of recognizing this important human rights document,” said director Author Kanegis. “After all, Nelson Mandela himself said, “we are citizens of the world,” and South Africa’s constitution says, ‘everyone has the right to freedom of movement’ and ‘everyone has the right to leave the Republic.’”

Find out more about the film at www.futurewave.org

Greg Palast

Greg Palast has been called the “most important investigative reporter of our time – up there with Woodward and Bernstein” (The Guardian).  Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone and Harper’s Magazine. Visit his website here: www.gregpalast.com

Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse , The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.

His books have been translated into two dozen languages. KPFT LISTENERS can DOWNLOAD GREG’S COMIC BOOK FOR FREE: Steal Back Your Vote Comic Download

His brand new film of his documentary reports for BBC Newsnight and Democracy Now! is called Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

Palast is known for complex undercover investigations, spanning five continents, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from Caracas to California, using the skills he learned over two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud.

Articles under discussion on the show:

Scalia’s Black Beemer

Rubio’s Billionaire Vulture: Paul Singer, the GOP’s Baddie Sugar Daddie

Who hatched Rubio?

Show Details for the week of November 10th, 2014

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Despite the Democrats shalacking in the midterms the Minimum Wage is Four for Four…in “Red States.” We talk to Peter Davis about the issue.
  • As Veteran’s Day approaches, why do we keep thanking the troops? We discuss the topic with Rory Fanning.

More about this week’s guests:

Peter Davis  is a campaign activist for Time for a Raise campaign, a project of Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law. He and Ralph Nader just co-wrote a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi which states: “Buried underneath the coverage of the Democrats’ second midterm ‘shalackin’ in a row is a stark public sentiment that provides a path forward for your caucuses during the upcoming lame duck session. Despite the Republican wave, a minimum wage raise passed in every state in which it was on the ballot. These were not coastal blue states: the four 2014 minimum wage ballot initiatives ­­– for Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota — ­­passed in Republican-dominated states which all elected Republican senators alongside the initiative. If your caucuses were to uniformly and exuberantly push for a minimum wage raise in the upcoming Congressional work session, it would transition the national media narrative away from Republican momentum in the never-­ending horse race and towards whether the new Congressional leadership will be responsive to the public sentiment and needs of American workers.” See the full letter.

In August, Nader wrote the piece “Democrats Are Doomed (Unless They Make the Minimum Wage the #1 November Election Issue).”

Nader’s latest book is Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Earlier this year, Nader’s office hosted a conference on left-right alliance. See video of the conference here.

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a housing activist living in Chicago, Illinois and the author of the forthcoming book, Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America (Haymarket, 2014).

 

Quote:

“Last week, in a quiet indie bookstore on the north side of Chicago, I saw the latest issue of Rolling Stone resting on a chrome-colored plastic table a few feet from a barista brewing a vanilla latte. A cold October rain fell outside. A friend of mine grabbed the issue and began flipping through it. Knowing that I was a veteran, he said, ‘Hey, did you see this?’ pointing to a news story that seemed more like an ad. It read in part:  “This Veterans Day, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, and Metallica will be among numerous artists who will head to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on November 11th for ‘The Concert For Valor,’ an all-star event that will pay tribute to armed services.

Concert For Valor? That sounds like something the North Korean government would organize,’ I said as I typed Concertforvalor.com into my MacBook Pro looking for more information… As I read, my heart sank, my shoulders slumped. Special guests at the Concert for Valor were to include: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg. The mission of the concert, according to a  press release, was to ‘raise awareness’ of veterans issues and ‘provide a national stage for ensuring that veterans and their families know that their fellow Americans’ gratitude is genuine. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen were to serve in an advisory capacity, and Starbucks, HBO, and JP Morgan Chase were to pay for it all. ‘We are honored to play a small role to help raise awareness and support for our service men and women,’ said HBO chairman Richard Plepler. Will the ‘Concert for Valor’ mention the trillions of dollars rung up terrorizing Muslim countries for oil , the ratcheting up of the police and surveillance state in this country since 9/11, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost thanks to the wars of George W. Bush and Barack Obama? Is anyone going to dedicate a song to Chelsea Manning , or John Kiriakou , or Edward Snowden — two of them languishing in prison and one in exile — for their service to the American people? Will the Concert for Valor raise anyone’s awareness when it comes to the fact that, to this day, veterans lack proper medical attention, particularly for mental health issues, or that there is a veteran suicide every 80 minutes in this country? Let’s hope they find time in between drum solos, but myself, I’m not counting on it.”

Recent Articles:

Rory Fanning, Why Do We Keep Thanking the Troops?

Friendly? All Deaths Are Shameful in a War That Shouldn’t Be

Show Details for the week of July 7th, 2014

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Why Should a Woman’s Health Care Depend on Her Employer? The SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision – a doctor’s perspective with Elizabeth Rosenthal
  • The escalation of violence in Gaza – recent events discussed with Jennifer Loewenstein

More about this week’s guests:

Elizabeth Rosenthal is is a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. She is an executive board member of the NY Metro chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. A very experienced advocate for single payer, upon her retirement after 40 years in private practice, Dr. Rosenthal has focused her energies on the state of U.S. health care and argued for the rationale of a single payer system. She has appeared on radio and television and she helped lead a fact-finding delegation to Canada to compare the Canadian system with the US.  Dr. Rosenthal received in medical degree from New York University’s School of Medicine.

Quote: “If we had a single-payer health care system instead of our current employer-based health insurance, this question would be moot. Women would not be at the mercy of their employer to get access to family planning services and contraceptive care.”

 


Jennifer Loewenstein is  Faculty associate in Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Loewenstein has spent extensive time in Gaza including witnessing attacks. She is now in touch with human rights groups there.

Quote: “More than three times the number of the Israeli youths murdered near Hebron were murdered by the Israeli military in its terrorist rampage across the West Bank since the three [Israeli youths] went missing. But we will never see the handsome photos and bios of the dead Palestinians because they are ‘human animals’ according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, unworthy of our grief. … Israel has been dying to arrest many of those it freed in deals over the last year or so, especially those connected to the Gilad Shalit case. … Clashes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood are growing more violent after the murder of a Palestinian teen by the Israeli military there. He was innocent of any crime. … Israel is already taking ‘justice’ into its own hands without any proof, real trial, or legal punishment of the accused. The accused teens’ families have already had their homes destroyed.”

In the story “Is Israel Preparing New Military Offensive against Gaza?“, the Real News reports “Israel is punishing Gaza despite no evidence that shows Hamas was responsible for the deaths of the Israeli teenagers.”

Show Details for the week of May 26th, 2014

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The Monitor this week is divided into the usual two segments of interviews. In the first interview with have a National Security and Civil Liberties discussion with Marcy Wheeler and in the second we discuss What the Sino-Russian Gas Deal Says about American Foreign Policy’s Self-Damaging Trajectory with Flynt Leverett.

More about this week’s guests:

Marcy Wheeler  is an American independent journalist specializing in national security and civil liberties. Wheeler publishes on her own site, Emptywheel. She makes occasional contributions to the commentary and analysis section of The Guardian, progressive news site Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Michigan Liberal. Between early December 2007 and July 2011 Wheeler published primarily on Jane Hamsher’s FireDogLake (FDL) and prior to that on The Next Hurrah.

During United States v. Libby, the trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, along with other regular press-accredited contributors to FireDogLake, Wheeler reported on the testimony live from the courtroom. In her accounts of the Libby trial, she describes her entries as “not a transcript”. Nevertheless, such bloggers’ eye-witness accounts served as sources of reliable information about the trial for their readers. During the trial, she appeared on camera in video reports posted online on PoliticsTV.com, along with other accredited Libby trial blogger-correspondents such as TalkLeft creator Jeralyn Merritt and FDL creator Jane Hamsher and FDL principal blogger Christy Hardin Smith.

In October 2013, Newsweek published an article about Wheeler titled “The Woman Who Knows The NSA’s Secrets.”

Read: Four Reasons USA Freedumber is Worse than the Status Quo

 

Flynt Leverett is professor of international affairs at Penn State and co-author of Going to Tehran:  Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is part of the founding faculty for Penn State’s School of International Affairs, faculty affiliate at the Dickinson School of Law, and a visiting scholar at Peking University’s School of International Studies. With his wife and frequent co-author, Hillary Mann Leverett, he writes www.GoingToTehran.com, a prominent forum for realist analysis on Iran and the Middle East.

From 1992 to 2003, Prof. Leverett had a distinguished career in the U.S. Government. He served nine years as senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, focusing on the Middle East. On the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, he earned a Superior Honor Award for his contributions to forming an international coalition to fight terrorism after the 9/11 attacks and to diplomatic efforts with Libya that led to the normalization of U.S.-Libyan relations after years of estrangement. In 2002, he went to the White House to serve as the National Security Council’s senior director for Middle East affairs; he left government service in 2003 because of disagreements over Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Prof. Leverett has written extensively on the international relations, politics, and political economy of the Middle East and on U.S. Middle East policy. His latest book, Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (2013), is now in paperback, with a new Afterword.  Before publication, Going to Tehran was excerpted in Harper’s and highlighted by Foreign Policy as a “Book to Read in 2013.” It was also the launch point for a Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs symposium on “The U.S.-Iranian Relationship and the Future of International Order.” While controversial for many U.S. policy elites, Going to Tehran has been lauded by leading public intellectuals like Andrew Bacevich, Noam Chomsky, and Glenn Greenwald.

Read: The Sino-Russian Hydrocarbon Axis Grows Up

Show Details for the week of April 7th, 2014

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On The Monitor this week:

The first interview was supposed to be with Suzanne Massie but there was in issue with the recording of the interview so that will be played on next week’s show. Instead we opened the phone lines and took listener calls.

Below are details of the second segment:

  • USA Today reports: “The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections. The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision leaves in place the base limits on what can be given to each individual campaign.” Citizen United 2.0: The Supreme Court expands the definition of ‘money as speech’ – an interview with Robert Weissman

 

 

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen, which notes in a statement: “Today, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on the aggregate amounts people can donate to candidates, political parties and political committees. Demonstrations that Public Citizen helped organize are scheduled to take place throughout the country in response.” For more information, visit: citizen.org/mccutcheon and moneyout-votersin.org.

Quote: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission strikes a devastating blow at the very foundation of our democracy. This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights. The Supreme Court today holds that the purported right of a few hundred superrich individuals to spend outrageously large sums on campaign contributions outweighs the national interest in political equality and a government free of corruption. In practical terms, the decision means that one individual can write a single check for $5.9 million to be spent by candidates, political parties and political committees. Even after Citizens United, this case is absolutely stunning. It is sure to go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of American jurisprudence. Until today, nobody could contribute more than $123,000 total in each two-year election cycle to political candidates and parties. Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants – predominantly in undisclosed contributions filtered through the likes of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – distorting our elections. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups. Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees. … There are literally only a few hundred people who can and will take advantage of this horrendous ruling. But those are exactly the people our elected officials will now be answering to. That is not democracy. It is plutocracy. Today’s reckless Supreme Court ruling threatens so many of the things we love about our country. No matter what five Supreme Court justices say, the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us. Our only hope of overturning this McCutcheon travesty — along with Citizens United — is if millions of Americans band together in saying ‘Enough!’ to plutocracy. We couldn’t face a starker choice: Accept rule by the few, based on wealth. Or join together to protect and reclaim our democracy – the notion that We, the People decide. Today, people across the nation will be responding with protests to this outrageous decision. We, the People insist that our government and our country remain of, by and for the people – all the people, not just those few who have amassed billions in wealth. A vibrant movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy has emerged since the 2010 issuance of that fateful decision. The demonstrations today – unprecedented as a same-day response to a Supreme Court decision – are just the latest manifestation of how that movement is now exploding across the country. We refuse to cede control of our country and our government to amoral multinationals and morally comprised plutocrats.”

Show Details for the week of July 8th, 2013

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On this week’s show:
  • How the Security-Industrial Complex is tracking your data and what that means for you – an interview with Richard Stallman
  • The president should fire James Clapper and Keith Alexander over domestic spying revealed by Edward Snowden – an interview with Ray McGovern

More about this week’s guests:

Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman was induced into the Internet Hall of Fame. He is founder of the Free Software Foundation and has pioneered the notion of copyleft.
Quote: “It is said that ‘knowledge is power.’ Internet corporations took this maxim to heart, and set out to know as much as possible about each of us. Then the U.S. and other governments began massively collecting personal information from these companies, and in other ways too. That’s how they hope to have power over us. Digital technology turns out to mean building a giant digital dossier about each person. This might be OK if we had a government we could trust implicitly to respect human rights, one that would never try to stretch its power. What we have, under Bush and Obama, is a security-industrial complex that systematically crosses legal limits, egged on by corporations that will make more money through putting together more extensive dossiers, and saying they are doing this to ‘keep us safe’ from real but minor threats. It used to be that the threat to people’s freedom from computers was that they used programs that the users don’t control — nonfree programs, that is. The free software movement aims to provide free/libre replacements for nonfree programs. Free software is software that respects the users’ freedom and community. A program that isn’t free gives its owner unjust power over its users. Often it is designed to spy on them, restrict them, or even abuse them. (See ‘Proprietary Surveillance,’ DefectiveByDesign.org and ‘Proprietary Sabotage.’) With free software, the users can fix the program so it doesn’t spy, restrict, or mistreat. But the threats have multiplied. For years I’ve called portable phones ‘Stalin’s dream’ because of their surveillance capabilities. (Their movements are tracked, and they can be converted remotely into listening devices that transmit your conversations all the time, even when you try to shut them off.) For years I’ve warned that it is a mistake to entrust personal data to web sites, or even identify yourself to them. For years I’ve paid cash rather than use my credit card. The U.S. is slowly converting driver’s licenses into national ID cards. Without showing ID, you can’t fly, or ride Amtrak, or stay in a hotel in New York City, or open a bank account, or fill a prescription for pain killers. The immigration bill now being considered may make it impossible to get a job without national ID. Meanwhile, as license-plate cameras spread around our cities, the U.S. is slowly assembling a system that will track all movements of all cars, as is done in the UK. ‘Smart meters’ will build a dossier of how much electricity you use each hour or each minute, which says whether you are home. And the Internet of Things threatens to recruit all the products in your home as digital informers. Once data is collected, it will be misused. Formal limits on accessing the data will do nothing to stop the state from collecting all sorts of data about anyone it is determined to crush, such as torture whistleblower John Kiriakou. If no one dares tell us what the state is doing, the state will get out of control. We need to stop the accumulation of digital dossiers about people in general. Such collection should be permitted only under a court order applying to a specific person.”
Stallman sent his statement in an email with the following at the top:
        [To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider
        [ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,
        [ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example.
Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. Ray McGovern leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of Tell the Word, an expression of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He also teaches at its Servant Leadership School. In January 2003, Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the way intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq. On the afternoon of the day (Feb. 5, 2003) Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the UN Security Council on Iraq, VIPS sent an urgent memorandum to President George W. Bush, in which we gave Powell a C minus for content. We ended the memo with this:“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond … the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, after a five-year study by his committee, described the intelligence used to “justify” war on Iraq as “unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”

As an act of conscience, on March 2, 2006 Ray returned the Intelligence Commendation Medallion given him at retirement for “especially meritorious service,” explaining, “I do not want to be associated, however remotely, with an agency engaged in torture.”  He returned it to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R, Michigan), then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman.

Recent Op-Ed: Obama needs to take charge on NSA spying scandal

Visit Ray’s Website for more.