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Gary S. Chafetz
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Blog Entries by Gary S. Chafetz

Shaking Hands With Obama in the Oval Office

(8) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 9:59 AM

(I was not permitted to post this piece until now.)

I felt guilty about meeting him.

The guy had two full-time jobs: running for reelection and running the country. And yet every month he takes about an hour from his impossibly busy schedule to shake hands, chat briefly and take...

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Junkie Pride

(4) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 10:54 AM

Did you know that you can get a four-year prison sentence if you ask your congressman, to whom you've given a campaign contribution, to insert birthday wishes for your Mom into the Congressional Record, something congressmen do all the time?

That is a fair inference from the recent Sixty Minutes...

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The Urgent Need to Hunt Down Osama bin Laden

(13) Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 12:17 PM

The president and his national security team have quietly instructed the CIA to intensify its efforts to hunt down, capture, or kill Osama bin Laden.

The reason is obvious.

In 1975, the government of South Vietnam collapsed soon after the withdrawal of American troops.

With the imminent withdrawal of American...

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Mubarak's Turn

(9) Comments | Posted January 30, 2011 | 8:44 PM

Today, the situation in Egypt is not so dissimilar to that of October 6, 1981 at 1 pm. And Hosni Mubarak, the current Egyptian president (who many view as a U.S.-supported dictator), was literally in the thick of it. Only back then, Mubarak was vice president and Anwar Sadat was...

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Cancer Be Not Proud

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2010 | 10:29 AM

Cancer!

If you haven't had it, the prospect terrifies you. If you have had it, it can unnerve and shatter you. Yet the dreaded disease may have an unexpected effect. It can ultimately change your life for the better. Indeed, in some ways, it was the best thing that's ever...

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SUPREME COURT FINALLY GUTS HONEST-SERVICE FRAUD

(6) Comments | Posted June 24, 2010 | 8:08 PM

Today, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court gutted the honest-services fraud statute --"depriv[ing] another of the intangible right of honest services"--declaring it unconstitutionally vague. The decision severely limits this controversial statute to matters involving bribery and/or "classic" kickbacks. And as a result, tens of thousands of federal prisoners--both former...

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Review of Casino Jack and the United States of Money by Alex Gibney

(6) Comments | Posted June 5, 2010 | 8:01 AM

I recently watched Casino Jack and the United State of Money, a new documentary about Jack Abramoff by filmmaker Alex Gibney, in a virtually empty movie theater. (Gibney won an Oscar for Documentary Feature in 2008.) Casino Jack regurgitated the identical story the media had proffered about "evil" Abramoff, and...

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THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT

(23) Comments | Posted May 31, 2010 | 12:17 PM

The fact that Israeli commandos were allowed to kill 10--and possibly as many as 20--pro-Palestinian activists aboard a small flotilla of boats, presumably bringing humanitarian supplies to Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, is symptomatic of how clueless the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is. These supplies were said to include...

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Pernell Roberts, 1928-2010

(9) Comments | Posted January 26, 2010 | 4:51 PM

Like many in my generation, I was an avid fan of the TV show Bonanza, launched in 1959. It was destined to become the second most popular TV western after Gunsmoke. In particular, I was mesmerized by the show's eldest brother, the suave, deep-voiced, dark-haired Adam Cartwright, played by Pernell...

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The Continuing Health-Care Debacle in America

(3) Comments | Posted January 21, 2010 | 6:20 PM

Today, I discovered yet again how unsavory the health-insurance industry is and lamented even more the deleterious effects of Scott Brown's election to the U. S. Senate from my home state of Massachusetts.

It was last September 1st that my health insurer forced me to accept a new insurance plan...

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THE FINAL DAYS OF HONEST-SERVICES FRAUD

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2009 | 12:32 PM

During oral arguments on Tuesday, virtually every justice on the U. S. Supreme Court expressed doubts about the disingenuous honest-services-fraud statute, suggesting its days are numbered.

What is honest-services fraud? No one really knows.

Indefinable and hence unconstitutionally vague, honest-services fraud is "a scheme or artifice to deprive another of...

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The Lost Army: Found At Last?

(7) Comments | Posted November 27, 2009 | 1:26 PM

A stunning archaeological find surfaced two weeks ago amid world-wide media coverage: "Vanished Persian Army Said Found in Desert." The longstanding mystery surrounding the Lost Army of Cambyses--50,000 Persian soldiers swallowed up in a hurricane-force sandstorm in 525 BC--had finally been solved.

As one of the world's leading experts on...

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The Ring of Truth

(28) Comments | Posted October 17, 2009 | 12:47 PM

Jack Abramoff--the imprisoned Washington ex-lobbyist--must be kicking himself.

On Thursday, October 15, a judge in Washington, D.C. reluctantly declared a mistrial for defendant Kevin Ring, one of Abramoff's most trusted lieutenants.[1] The jury had found itself hopelessly deadlocked on all eight counts, most of them "private honest-services fraud."[2] And...

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Bury Your Own

(1) Comments | Posted October 9, 2009 | 7:34 AM

Last week, we arranged for my 57-year-old brother-in-law to fly back from the rural Philippines. His health was failing and he was not expected to live more than a few months. He had been suffering for years from hepatitis C, contracted from a 1977 blood transfusion following a bad car...

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My Son, a U.S. Marine

(23) Comments | Posted September 21, 2009 | 5:48 AM

Barack Obama is not the first black man for whom I've voted for President of the United States. In 1968, I voted for someone who was running against Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey. His name was Eldridge Cleaver, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate. It was during the...

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UBS Whistleblower Sentenced to 40-Month Prison Term Puts Chill on Whistleblowing

(3) Comments | Posted August 27, 2009 | 6:43 AM

Former UBS private banker, Bradley Birkenfeld, son of a Boston neurosurgeon, may be one of the most effective whistleblowers in the nation's history. He has essentially destroyed the chance for wealthy Americans and/or criminals to hide their money in Swiss numbered bank accounts. UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, has agreed to...

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Occam's Razor Can Cut Down the Health Care Lobbyists

(20) Comments | Posted August 10, 2009 | 7:28 AM

Private health-insurance and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists are threatening the health and stability of America. Some argue that this is equivalent to crimes against humanity. Perhaps these lobbyists should be sent to prison, not the Jack Abramoffs of the world, whose transgressions were comparatively trivial.

What frightens these lobbyists, along...

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A Defining Moment in the History of Civil Rights

(7) Comments | Posted July 25, 2009 | 2:22 PM

Who are the beneficiaries of what appears to be the teapot tempest over the recent arrest of an African-American man in The People's Republic of Cambridge, Ma, one of the most liberal municipalities in America? Perhaps it is all of us, but in particular, the "victim" Henry Louis "Skip" Gates,...

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The Fraud of Honest-Services Fraud

(12) Comments | Posted June 22, 2009 | 11:57 PM

On June 22, The Boston Globe reported that the now disgraced, former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi announced that he would challenge the legal and intellectual validity of the controversial and nebulous honest-services fraud statute, for which he had been recently indicted. Windmill tilting notwithstanding, his challenge is both welcomed...

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Taken With a Grain of Salt

(3) Comments | Posted May 22, 2009 | 10:54 PM

What one reads in the newspapers is often oversimplified and distorted so much so that it borders on fiction--a lesson we need to be reminded of constantly.

On Thursday, May 21, The Washington Post reported that convicted and imprisoned ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, recently received a $520,189 IRS tax refund. The...

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