What does Charlie Baker like about Jeff Sessions?

To celebrate Rosa Parks Day this year, I called the Governor’s office to follow-up on his thoughts about Trump’s appointees. A few weeks ago, Baker told the press that he didn’t want to “pre-judge” the appointments. Instead he said:

Trump “has made clear he wants to unify the country post-election, and I said that, based on some of Bannon’s previous remarks and activities, that was a concern to me,” Baker said of the pick. “But I’m going to take a page from President Obama’s book on this one, who said the other day that he thinks the Trump administration’s team should be judged on the totality of his appointments. Let’s see what else happens.”

Time has passed and Trump has named more people to his cabinet. In fact, so far Trump has selected individuals who control a combined eleven billion dollars in personal wealth. So much for draining the swamp.

Because the office of the Governor represents me and my interests, I want to know what Charlie Baker thinks about Trump’s appointments. So yesterday I called again, for the third time, to ask. And once again, his aide Shauna greeted me on the other end of the line. We’re starting to get familiar with one another. And I like her a lot. Our conversation went something like this:

Hi, Shauna! Good morning. How are you? First of all, I’d like to wish you a very happy Rosa Parks Day!

Shauna seemed very happy to have been wished a happy Rosa Parks Day. I continued.

I know I’ve called before to ask this. Governor Baker said that he didn’t want to pre-judge Trump’s appointments until we had a clearer view of his whole administration. Now that a few weeks have passed and we know more of his appointments, can you tell me which of Trump’s appointments the Governor likes and supports?

Regrettably, Shauna told me that she is not authorized to make statements on the subject other than what has already been released to the public. So I asked the only natural next question.

Can I speak with someone who is authorized to tell me what the Governor thinks on the matter?

Even though she wasn’t sure whether her supervisor had the proper authorization to tell me my governor’s opinion on matters of public governance, she forwarded my call to her supervisor John anyway. Once John picked up the phone, I started over.

Hi, John. Good morning. How are you today? First of all, I’d like to wish you a very happy Rosa Parks Day!

I paused for his response and half-heartedly hoped that he’d wish me a happy Rosa Parks Day in return. Instead, the line fell silent. So I pressed on.

I’ve called a few times before to find out what Charlie Baker thinks of Trump’s appointments to the cabinet. A few weeks ago he told the Globe that he wanted to wait to judge the administration on the totality of Trump’s appointments. Now that he has appointed more people to his cabinet, can you tell me which of Trump’s appointments does Governor Baker support and why?

John reminded me that Baker has already said that he is concerned by Bannon’s appointment. But that was not my question.

I appreciate that he is concerned about Bannon. But there have been several over appointments. For instance, Trump has named Jeff Sessions to run the Department of Justice. Jeff Sessions is a man who was too racist to be confirmed as a federal judge. I do not support racism in my government officials. I’d like to know does Charlie Baker support racism in his government officials? I’d like to know which of Trump’s appointments the Governor agrees with and supports and why.

John then told me that he’d pass my request onto the Governor.

Charlie Baker, please have the dignity and the courage to continue the public conversation you began a few weeks ago. Please tell me which of Trump’s cabinet appointments you support. I ask you as one of your constituents and as a voter.

Please call Baker’s office and ask him the same. The number is (617) 725-4005. #makeAmericaGreatAgain #drainTheSwamp

Merry Christmas! New law gives your home computer and phone to government

Has your computer ever been infected with malware or spyware? Well, if it has, a new law that will go into effect December 1, says that if you’re computer has been hacked into into, then the federal government can legally hack into it without your knowing about it, too!

That’s right! Anyone acting on behalf of the federal government can go to any judge in any district to get a warrant to search your computer just because some jerk on the Internet infected your computer with some bogus scamware.

That means those bank statements and other private documents you keep on your home computer are up for grabs. Pictures of your friends, of your family, of you—including that selfie stash of yours! they’re all fair game. Run a company with sensitive customer data? Well, if any of your computers gets hacked, KA-BOOM! The feds can legally hack it, too. They can peek around and copy all of your company records. Who cares if it’s confidential? Now it’s “evidence”.

Starting three years ago, the Department of Justice drafted changes to the Search and Seizure rules of Federal Criminal Procedure law. The DOJ sent its changes to the Federal Courts. The courts okayed the changes to hack into American computers and passed them on to the Supreme Court. SCOTUS approved the changes on April 28. Now Congress has them for review. If not blocked, they go into effect on December 1. Christmas comes early for the FBI!

I’ve highlighted the relevant parts of the proposed amendment to the Search and Seizure Rule 41 that give the feds license over your data if your computer has been infected by malware and is part of a botnet.

10 FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Rule 41. Search and Seizure
***
(b) Authority to Issue a Warrant.
At the request of a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government:
* * *
(6) a magistrate judge with authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if:

(A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means; or
(B) in an investigation of a violation of U.S.C. §1030(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts

But there is hope! You are the hope. You can call Congress. Here’s what to say.

Congress can change the law. There is a bill in the House and one in the Senate to repeal this odious big government overreach of power and invasion of privacy.

Here’s what I said when I called Rep. Katherine Clark’s office earlier (district office: (617) 354-0292):

Hi, my name is Joshua Reyes and I live in Cambridge, MA. I’m calling to ask Representative Clark to cosponsor H.R.5321 Stopping Mass Hacking Act. Personal privacy is important to me. And I do not expect to give up my personal privacy just because my computer or phone is connected to the internet. Does Representative Clark agree with me?

Thank you and have a nice day.

And to my senators Warren (Boston office: (617) 565-3170) and Markey (Boston office: (617) 565-8519):

Hi, my name is Joshua Reyes and I live in Cambridge, MA. I’m calling to ask Senator Markey/Warren to cosponsor S.3475 Review the Rule Act of 2016. Personal privacy is important to me. And I do not expect to give up my personal privacy just because my computer or phone is connected to the internet. Does Senator Markey/Warren agree with me?

Thank you and have a nice day.

Many representatives and senators don’t know about this obscure amendment. So it’s important to call now and let them know how you feel! December 1 is just a day away. I believe in you!


Don’t live in Massachusetts? No problem! Look up your representative. Look up your senators.

Ask the Globe to investigate Trump’s appointees

I love the Boston Globe newspaper. I’m a subscriber. They do really good work, like this very readable informational piece on assault riffles.

So I thought, I don’t know much about Trumps appointees. And I can imagine a Thanksgiving conversation with my family going like this:

Do you know anything about this Harold Hamm guy Trump wants on his cabinet? —No? Me, neither.

And that’s no good. I don’t know anything about billionaire, oil-tychoon Harold Hamm. Instead, I’d like the conversation to go more like this:

Do you know anythign about this Harold Hamm guy Trump wants on his cabinet? No, let’s pull up his biography on the Boston Globe.

What! Hamm tried to get university scientists fired because he didn’t want them to report on earthquake activity associated with gas and oil extraction in his state?

Investigating Trump’s appointees and communicating their history is exactly what a good functioning, independent, free press can do. It’s a role critical to democracy because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth. And an good informed citizenry makes for a stronger republic. So I called the Boston Globe news room to pitch my idea. Here’s what I said:

Good morning! My name is Joshua Reyes and I’m a subscriber to the Boston Globe. First, I’d like to that you for the good work the Globe does.

I have something that I like the Globe to do. I’d like you to write biographies of Trump’s appointees. I don’t know much about them. So when I talk with my family about politics, I’d like to say, “Let’s just look up their biography on the Globe.”

Can the Boston Globe investigate the appointees and publish individual bios of them?

The person who answered was really friendly and seemed to like the idea. She said she’d pass it on to their political editor.

You can call, too! The news room number is (617) 929-3100.

The press needs help your help. Investigations take time and money to do well. Reporters need a livelihood, too. In this society, you get the news you pay for. So you should buy a subscription to your favorite local paper. If you need a suggestion, though, go for the Globe.