On the Rights of the Natural Person: The Unhealthy State of the Human Animal, the Environment, and Regulation.

Nature is more than an economic resource. It is a temple of spiritual nourishment. Ideally, if you are far enough from the city and deep in a natural landscape, you will find solace from city noises and lights, from cars, trucks, and hopefully even planes. You will be able to hear the wind, the quiet shuffle of the leaves, or a squirrel’s claws against the wooden branches of a tree. Better still, you will be able to hear nothing at all: “the sound of silence.” And at night, you’ll see the moon like you’ve never seen it before, and you’ll see the stars: so many stars! You’ll be able to breathe clean air, and it will feel sweet and healing to your lungs - like you are feeding yourself with each breath. The water will be so cool and clear, and with a bit of filtration, it will taste so alive and delicious, rather than the stuff we have pouring from our taps and even purchased in fancy bottles. In the woods, up in the mountains, by the beach, and on the rivers, there are gorgeous opportunities to experience so many profoundly simple and necessary activities.

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Manslaughter-by-Phone: The Tragedy of Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy

This week, Michelle Carter was imprisoned in Massachusetts for a jarring version of the crime of involuntary manslaughter. This case has an astounding twist: she was found guilty of manslaughter for sending text messages and having phone conversations to urge her 18 year-old long-distance boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself, something he’d allegedly been wanting and planning to do for a long time and finally did. Carter was 17 at the time of Mr. Roy’s suicide. Even when Mr. Roy was having second thoughts about killing himself, Ms. Carter urged him to carry forward and finish the job. He did. The Massachusetts high court decided that Ms. Carter, by her text messages and phone conversations, overwhelmed Mr. Roy’s fragile willpower and thus directly caused his death, nevermind the fact that she was nowhere near the location of his suicide at the time they were texting and talking with each other.

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Disarm and Destroy: School Policies Prohibiting Attorney Representation in Administrative Proceedings - and How to Fight Back!

An attorney can do much for a student or other individual facing a school in an administrative grievance, investigation, hearing, or appeal, be it reviewing the facts and properly advising the individual, drafting correspondence or other documents in the dispute, negotiating with the school, representing the individual at hearings, filing complaints with governmental bodies, or preparing the foundations for litigation against the school in the court system. Schools know this, and that’s why they scurrilously try to prohibit attorney representation for individuals - be they students, teachers, or staff - in such disputes. It’s far easier for schools to remain unopposed, to intimidate you, and to take your money and time and leave you holding your head on the curb after it’s all over.

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New York's "Blindfold Law" is the Devil's Bargain and Should be Repealed Now

In the meantime, it remains up to aggressive criminal defense attorneys such as myself to continue to push for the Constitutional rights of our clients against stonewalling efforts of prosecutors who diabolically seek to delay the revealing of exculpatory and other crucial evidence, and more so, to offer our clients who are facing the deprivation of their freedoms and very lives not some limp guiding hand through the devil’s bargain of plea deal negotiations but rather an earnest and intense defense focused on investigating the allegations and evidence and utilizing the facts and the law to ensure that justice, not mere rote work, is accomplished.

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Apples and Peppers: Allowing End Users as well as Developers to Sue Apple for App Prices Violates Valid Precedent

There's no evidence of any explicit or even any implied conspiracy between app developers and Apple to price fix. It stretches reason to think that every app developer has somehow entered into an implied conspiracy with Apple to raise the price of the app by Apple’s 30% commission! App prices are based on competitive principles. Consider the plethora of $1.99 apps. Without Apples’s 30% commission, those would be priced at $1.39, you think? Nope.

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The Corruption Report: US Political Corruption at the Local, State & Federal Levels

It is our civic duty to know what our government is doing. For many unfortunate people in our nation, such reading material is a too familiar synopsis of what hell they have personally experienced at the hands of biased, bullying, and corrupt government officials at all levels of government. Knowledge is power. With action at the voting booth, we can begin to make a difference. Speak out. Resist. We all deserve a true democracy – nothing less.

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The Facebook Hearing, the ‘Tech Company’ Misnomer, and the Luddite Gap in Congress

It’s ridiculous to suggest that Facebook should independently monitor every third party’s advertisement on its site to make sure that the advertiser and the ad are legitimate, authentic, and safe for general consumption; but frankly between its “flag” feature where users can report problematic ads or behavior on the platform, its Artificial Intelligence surveillance, and its team of 10,000+ ad auditors (which Zuckerberg stated in the Senate that he’s increasing to 20,000 soon), Facebook is doing exactly that. So what more could we reasonably ask? On top of that, it’s Facebook users who are choosing to share so much private information about themselves with the public on their Facebook profiles!

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This Time We Must Support the Brave Protesters In Iran Seeking Democracy

All is not well in Iran. Quite the contrary, life in Iran for the people there is fear, poverty, dirt, disease, and corruption. Its pathetic statistical standing in world rankings in all such areas are facts. The voice of the people in the so-called Islamic Republic of Iran is rising again. We who fight with drones and missiles, we whose primary military-political export is regime change allegedly in the name of Democracy, must offer this linchpin nation in the Middle East far more than President Trump’s words that “the world is watching”.

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Of Empires and Colonies: Oliver Stone’s “Untold History of the United States”

Having just finished watching on Netflix the 12-part documentary by Oliver Stone, “Untold History of the United States” (2012), I find myself amazed. At risk of coming off as conceited, I am amazed at myself and at my many history teachers: for how did I, having studied Western history at the highest quality grade schools, university, graduate schools, and law school, having been an exceptional and curious student, and having continued to study such topics as history and politics well past my academic years, not know so much of the essential information gifted us in this documentary (and its companion 700-page book) by famed film-maker Mr. Stone and co-author Peter Kuznick, an American University historian?

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Will Farmers or 3rd Party Repair Shops Sue John Deere for Allegedly Contractually Prohibiting Unlicensed Tractor Repairs?

In the last couple years, tractor manufacturer John Deere (formally Deere and Co.) has allegedly been limiting the ability of purchasers of its tractors to independently work on these tractors or from having any third party parts & repair providers work on said tractors unless they are licensed by John Deere to do so.

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Precedented: Mr. Trump Fits Perfectly into US History of Elitism, Nepotism, and Corruption.

With few tools at our disposal, we must use them maximally and wisely: Protest, resist, vote, and support businesses that reflect your politics. Most importantly, let’s not make Mr. Trump into some sort of lightning rod. The corruption and anti-democratic actions of US politics is a much bigger story than our current President. Our resistance efforts should be similarly multi-pronged.

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Islamophobia requires our response

Middle Eastern Americans are removed from U.S. airlines ostensibly for speaking Arabic on board. Muslims are attacked outside U.S. mosques. Whispers and sometimes shouts of “terrorist” follow them in their daily lives. Their ethnicity is used against them in their jobs, in the courts, in relationships, in everyday business transactions. The stereotype is that they are dangerous, hateful and backward. Ugly epithets are flung at them. Where is the community outrage?

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Argo's Iranophobia and the Destabilization of Iran for Oil Profits and Regional Domination

US history is finally clear on the fact that the CIA paid mercenary Iranians to cause riots and protest the leadership of Iran in 1953 when the USA subversively overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mosaddegh, and replaced him with the monarchy of the Shah in order to promote the USA’s own oil interests in the region. Of course, the US administration in 1953 internally justified its own shameful actions as promoting democracy in Iran, whatever that means.

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Je ne suis pas Charlie: Hate Speech amidst “Freedom” Rhetoric

In short, the USA and all the world’s nations stand to benefit from intelligently drafting and fairly enforcing laws that restrict and punish hate speech whilst upholding free speech to ensure that political, social, and artistic creativity flourish and racism and illegal discrimination are eradicated from the public domain. Laws rationally banning public hate speech can be drafted and should be drafted, for nobody can doubt the power and efficacy of the pen. Surely we can all learn this lesson from the martyred artists of Charlie Hebdo, may they rest in peace.

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Tort Reform, Defamation of Character, Depression in the Technology Age, and Other Modern Ethical Qualms

Indeed, technology is a double-edged sword. Perhaps part of the litigiousness of our nation, and especially of California, New York, and New Jersey, is caused by the ultimate distance that technology has placed between us, what with people feeling far more heady and sharp-tongued to slash and burn at each other’s character, business, and style on the internet’s social media sites, review sites, video posting sites, and all their comment sections, not to mention through the modes of email, text message, and of course the telephone.

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Unwanted Refugees: Racism against Middle Eastern-Americans Requires a Public Response

What can we, as Middle Eastern-Americans, expect from our new home’s cultural perceptions of us but antagonism? Whispers and sometimes shouts of “terrorist” follow us in our daily lives. Our Middle Eastern ethnicity is used as a stereotype against us in our jobs, in courtrooms, in our relationships, in day-to-day business transactions, such that we are painted as dangerous, hateful, and backwards. When we are called ugly epithets, such as “sand-n****r” or “dune-c**n”, there is no public outrage.

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Artisanal Coffee and Chocolate: My Silent Partners

I am convinced that the San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the best coffee roasters in the world. The Bay Area has Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Thanksgiving, Barefoot, Verve, Sight Glass, Bicycle, Ritual, Roast, and the Johnny-Come-Lately of the group and my personal favorite, Wrecking Ball. After watching Amy Ferraris’ fun documentary, The Perfect Cappuccino, I was tempted to do my own little taste test among my favorite roasters in the area.

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No Housing, No Arts, No Community! — Oakland’s “Ghost Ship” Fire Born of Rental Pandemic

To stop the inevitable migration of artists, middle class families, and progressive white collar professionals from our nation’s cosmopolitan centers to outskirt towns and emerging middle American metro-areas, we need more aggressive housing safety regulations, much more expansive rent-control laws, and more affordable housing projects in Oakland and the cities across the nation like it, from Brooklyn, NY and Somerville, MA to LA, Austin, Seattle, and Portland.

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