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LEGAL PEOPLE

February 27 ,2024

Butzel attorney Debra A. Geroux will be a featured presenter during the Michigan Ambulatory Surgery Association (MASA) Quarterly Meeting on Friday, March 1, in Lansing. The focus of her presentation is, “Privacy Concerns with AdTech and Social Media in Healthcare.” She will discuss “HIPAA-Compliant Social Media Activity,” “Pixel Tracking on Healthcare Social Media / Websites,” and “Penalties for Violations of HIPAA and the FTC Act.”
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Butzel attorney Debra A. Geroux will be a featured presenter during the Michigan Ambulatory Surgery Association (MASA) Quarterly Meeting on Friday, March 1, in Lansing. The focus of her presentation is, “Privacy Concerns with AdTech and Social Media in Healthcare.” She will discuss “HIPAA-Compliant Social Media Activity,” “Pixel Tracking on Healthcare Social Media / Websites,” and “Penalties for Violations of HIPAA and the FTC Act.”

Geroux is co-chair of Butzel’s Health Care Industry Team. Her health care practice focuses on health care compliance, cybersecurity and privacy, and statutory reporting obligations. She has assisted health care practitioners in defense of state and federal debarment, fraud, waste and abuse investigations and litigation, licensing and credentialing, government and commercial payor audits and a host of other health care issues. She also has experience in supply chain and source contracting for a large Michigan-based health system, including negotiations of its IT contracts.
Geroux earned her Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC) designation from the Compliance and Certification Board. She also holds a Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC) designation.

Geroux has been named to Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year, Health Care Law, 2022 and 2024, and Best Lawyers in America, Health Care Law, 2018-2024 and Commercial Litigation, 2021-2023.

In addition, Jennifer Dukarski, Butzel attorney, shareholder and leader of the firm’s Connected Car and Autonomous Vehicle Specialty Team, will be featured during the University of Windsor Law and Technology Lab Conference titled, “Disruptive Technology: AI and its Impact on the Legal Profession and the Automotive Industry – What Path(s) for Regulation?” on Friday, March 1.  She will participate in a panel discussion on the challenges of AI in the emerging legal and regulatory environments.

Dukarski focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on emerging and disruptive issues: digital media and content, cybersecurity and privacy, infotainment and shared mobility, and connected and autonomous cars.

She has become a national leader in legal issues facing emerging automotive technology including challenging intellectual property issues surrounding data, artificial intelligence and automated systems.
A self-titled “recovering engineer,” Dukarski was named one of the 30 Women Defining the Future of Technology in January 2020 by Warner Communications for her thoughts and contributions to the tech industry.

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On behalf of Secrest Wardle, the Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Justin A. Grimske has been promoted to senior partner effective February 15.

Grimske began his career with Secrest Wardle in 2012, became a partner in 2017, and an executive partner in 2022. He is a member of the Amusement and Leisure, Construction, Motor Vehicle Litigation, Premises Liability, and Trucking/Commercial Litigation Practice Groups and proudly serves as the chair of the Amusement and Leisure Practice Group, a group that has been instrumental in the development of amusement and leisure case law in Michigan.

Grimske has been selected to the Super Lawyers magazine list of Michigan Rising Stars from 2019 to the present and has been selected as a Best Lawyers Ones to Watch from 2021 to the present. 

Additionally, he was selected as one of “Michigan’s Go To Lawyers” for negligence law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2023.

Grimske is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The Secrest Wardle Executive Committee is also pleased to announce that effective February 15, the following attorneys were promoted to the position of executive partner: Drew W. Broaddus, Brandon C. Hagaman, Amber Rouse Holloway, Christina K. Korkes, Robert J. Penrod, Daniel S. Schrode II, and Cleveland B. Simmons.

In addition, the Executive Committee announced that effective February 15, the following attorneys were promoted to the position of partner: Mohammad G. Beydoun, Jeffrey Bullard Jr., Zachary J. Diederichs, Andrew S. Gipe, and Fadee A. Nakkash.

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Taft Detroit announces a team of six new partners to the firm, bolstering its business and litigation practice groups. They are joining from Dinsmore & Shohl with Gus Andreasen, Joe DeVito, Ian Larkin, Tom Walters, and Evonne Xu based in the Taft Detroit office.

Newly elected Taft partner Joe DeVito said, “Our team is extremely honored and excited to be a part of Taft for many reasons, most importantly being the highly skilled practitioners and breadth of practice areas, which truly offers a full service legal option for our clients. In addition, the fast moving entrepreneurial and collegial culture is a perfect fit for our team. We are all confident that the Taft chapter of our careers will be the best yet!”

Andreasen is focused on private equity and corporate transactions, restructuring and distressed transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and private securities offerings. He regularly represents companies in global acquisitions and dispositions, as well as those in connection with distressed assets. Additionally, Andreasen often serves as general counsel for board and senior management, providing advice and assistance for general corporate matters and corporate governance. Throughout his career, he has been recognized as a top lawyer by various publications and earned the Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating.

DeVito is a corporate attorney, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate lending and restructuring transactions, real estate sales and leasing, international business transactions, and securities. He represents clients across several industries, including automotive, industrial, health care, fintech, service, and technology on all aspects of their strategic and legal objectives. He is recognized as a top lawyer within the legal community and has been named “Deal Maker of the Year” by various M&A publications.

Larkin is a transactional attorney, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, entity reorganizations, commercial lending, real estate, and a variety of general business matters for public companies, closely held businesses, and large private entities. Larkin counsels commercial clients on matters vital to their business, such as contracts, distribution agreements, and supply agreements, and advises them on leveraging transactions to achieve their goals. In addition, he serves as the outside general counsel for numerous businesses assisting them with day-to-day issues.

Walters is a trial attorney and a business adviser, focusing on complex commercial litigation. Throughout his career, he has prosecuted and defended business litigation cases, including automotive supply chain controversies, manufacturing disputes, real estate development and leasing, construction-related conflicts, sales representative commission claims, business stakeholder separations, and intellectual property matters. In addition, Walters has first-chair jury trial and arbitration experience.

Xu counsels clients across the world on corporate matters of all sizes, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances, finance, and stock acquisitions and sales. She also counsels commercial clients on issues vital to their business, such as contracts, real estate transactions, distribution agreements, licensing agreements, and supply agreements. Fluent in English and Chinese, Xu assists Chinese companies operating throughout the United States, as well as U.S. companies conducting business throughout China. She was recently named a Notable Woman in Law by Crain’s Detroit Business.

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Varnum intellectual property attorney Staci DeRegnaucourt has been named to the 2024 World Trademark Review 1000.  DeRegnaucourt has been named to the WTR 1000 for nine consecutive years.  She is one of only seven Michigan attorneys with a Gold Ranking.

DeRegnaucourt provides a full range of intellectual property services including trademark, copyright, and patent clearance, procurement, licensing and enforcement. She also represents clients in IP litigation matters and proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the International Trade Commission (ITC), and United States courts.

DeRegnaucourt is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law. She received her undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Michigan State University.

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Bodman PLC is pleased to share that attorneys Jacqueline W. August and Albert H. Pak have been appointed to leadership positions on the executive board of the Michigan Asian-Pacific American Bar Association (MAPABA).

August serves as the president emeritus. In this role, she will assist the president and other members of the Executive Board when needed. Pak will serve as vice president, a role in which he will support the president and perform all other duties incident to the office. Both will serve a one-year term in their executive leadership roles through February 2025.

August is a member of the firm’s Enterprise Procurement Practice Group. She represents business clients in connection with the drafting and negotiation of a broad range of commercial contracts, including vendor contracts for goods and services. She also has experience managing litigation claims related to premises liability and insurance defense matters, including conducting depositions, completing facilitations, attending motion and case evaluation hearings, and advising clients on case progression.

Pak is a member of the firm’s Exempt Organizations and Impact Investing Practice Group. He counsels nonprofit and other tax-exempt organizations and the investors who support them on a broad range of legal, operational, and financial issues. Pak also has experience in the nonprofit sector.

Founded in 1985, the mission of the MAPABA is to promote improvements in the administration of justice, to advance relations between the legal profession and the public, to secure equality of Asian Pacific Americans in society, to advocate the interest of Asian Pacific Americans in the legal profession, and to promote equality and social justice for all people.

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Maddin Hauser is pleased to announce that Gary M. Remer has joined the firm as a shareholder. A business lawyer whose counsel includes insights on M&A, franchising, tax, and employee benefits matters, Remer has been an advisor and ally to businesses for almost 30 years.

As outside general counsel for many of his clients, Remer assists businesses with legal and operational issues, from entity formation and governance to employment matters and succession planning. Well-versed in the legal, strategic, and practical landscape of franchising, he represents franchisors and franchisees at all stages of their business lifecycles.

Before his legal career, Remer was an IRS agent and Certified Public Accountant. He earned his law degree and Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University.

PREMi ADR Spotlight: Newly neutral

February 27 ,2024

I have been immersed in the field of ADR as both a provider and practitioner for over 25 years. I am probably most widely known as the Executive Director of the Mediation Tribunal Association (MTA). MTA, the once pilot program that resulted in the case evaluation court rule (MCR 2.403), is the largest provider of court-ordered case evaluation in Michigan. As the ADR Clerk of Wayne County Circuit Court, my office also administers the domestic relations dispute resolution program and mediation rosters for the court.
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By Lisa W. Timmons

I have been immersed in the field of ADR as both a provider and practitioner for over 25 years. I am probably most widely known as the Executive Director of the Mediation Tribunal Association (MTA). MTA, the once pilot program that resulted in the case evaluation court rule (MCR 2.403), is the largest provider of court-ordered case evaluation in Michigan. As the ADR Clerk of Wayne County Circuit Court, my office also administers the domestic relations dispute resolution program and mediation rosters for the court.

A lesser-known fact about me, however, is that before I obtained my law degree, I earned a Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution from Wayne State University. As a degree requirement, I selected the Detroit office of the EEOC for a required 40-hour externship. It was at the EEOC that I cut my teeth mediating EEO cases, and would continue in that vein for years, mediating EEO complaints on behalf of the United States Postal Service. After law school, I also started mediating domestic relations cases and have helped to resolve divorce, custody, and parenting time disputes.

In recent years, I decided to extend my ADR practice to encompass arbitration, allowing me to expand my ADR skill-set and honor my love of writing. Even though I was familiar with mediation and case evaluation, I still considered myself a new neutral and decided to learn all I could about arbitration. So what follows is my advice to someone who is “newly neutral,” whether from a career transition such as retirement, or for the practitioner that decides early on in their career to build a neutral practice.

I. What’s Your Why

Asking yourself “what’s your why” can push you to examine your reasons for developing a neutral practice. I see many seasoned litigators, nearing retirement, but desiring to continue devoting time to a law practice. The most successful professionals transitioning to neutral work are those known to have been collegial and apt negotiators regardless of which side of the “v” they appeared.

In the field of case evaluation, it is very common to see a plaintiff or defense attorney that has practiced on one side for many years, transition to neutral work at the sunset of their career. At the end of the day, many people chose a career in litigation to settle cases, and the knowledge and expertise that you bring to the table, is what will enable you to continue resolving cases as a neutral. So whether it’s a desire to continue a legal practice that assists others in settling cases, or the realization that day-to-day litigation is not for you, find out why you want to work as a neutral. That deeper dive will help you craft a path forward.

II. Specialization

The age-old question facing attorneys of whether to be a specialist or a generalist, also faces neutrals. Some retired jurists for example, mediate a broad swath of cases, like those that were on their docket in court—employment, medical malpractice, personal injury, and business cases. Others focus on a niche practice that largely follows their litigation work. Domestic relations attorneys frequently mediate domestic relations cases, personal injury attorneys often mediate automobile negligence cases, and business litigators lean toward business disputes, whether arbitration or mediation. While not an absolute, people tend to have resolution skills in a familiar subject matter.

I encourage people to drill down into a practice area and if possible, to build a unique niche within that bracket to give you an edge to stand out in an ever-growing field of ADR providers. For example, a domestic relations mediator who focuses on veterans or “gray divorce” will not only build their knowledge base in that niche area, but comes to mind when attorneys seek to find the right fit to help resolve their case. Accordingly, a mediator who previously defended real estate professionals will have an advantage mediating broker malpractice claims.

Some believe a proper methodology training prepares a practitioner to walk any party through to settlement, but the reality is that acceptability by the parties more often than not, falls on the subject-matter expertise the practitioner brings to the table. Construction, maritime, domestic relations, labor and employment law, and medical malpractice are just a sampling of areas which come to mind, where parties expect some experience and subject matter expertise.

III. Training

A. State Court Administrative Office (SCAO).  Regardless of specialization, any Michigan-based mediator should start with a SCAO approved training course. The SCAO 40-hour general civil training addresses the core principles of ADR, conflict theory, mediation models, and fundamental mediator skills, coupled with an overview of Michigan’s ADR rules and requirements. After the 40-hour training, additional coursework in domestic relations mediation, probate, special education, and other advanced mediator training is available. SCAO has an Office of Dispute Resolution, and its webpage contains valuable links for Community Dispute Resolution Programs (CDRPs), mediation training resources, and links to mediation centers.

B. The ADR Section of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM).  The SBM ADR Section is a very active section with expansive resources on ADR. The Section has a dedicated Skills Action Team that designs outstanding training and skill building opportunities, such as the mediator forum, where mediators share and learn from each other; the Section’s Annual Conference, offering over 8 hours of SCAO-approved advanced mediator training, the ADR Spring Series, offering an additional 8 hours of SCAO-approved advanced mediator training, and multiple brown bag Lunch and Learn meetings each year.

C. American Bar Association (ABA).  The ABA has a robust Dispute Resolution section with events, podcasts, and programming focused on all aspects of ADR. There are many other sections of the ABA that also have ADR committees that may touch on your practice area. For example, Litigation, International Law, Torts, Trial, and Insurance Practice (TIPS), Labor and Employment, Family Law, Business Law, and Construction Law are just a sampling of the practice groups with ADR sections.

D. State Bar Associations. Outside of  Michigan, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)  and the Florida Bar Association  are two examples of bar associations which offer extensive programming and events geared toward ADR. New York in particular, is the seat of large numbers of businesses, and the NYSBA focuses on ADR for those business disputes, with a nod toward arbitration. Seek a voluntary bar association that offers educational programming germane to your practice area.

E. Arbitration. The following are a few resources to learn more about arbitration:

1. The American Arbitration Association (AAA)  is one of the largest providers of domestic and international arbitration and mediation services. AAA provides training from basic ADR principles to more nuanced and advanced topics such as the impact of generative artificial intelligence on labor and employment cases to ethics in ADR. Joining the AAA as an arbitrator or mediator requires qualifications specific to each roster, but training is typically available to anyone interested.

2. The National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA).  The “Academy” is self-described as the preeminent organization of labor and employment arbitrators in the U.S. and Canada. Membership is highly-selective and obtained after a career focused on labor and employment arbitration. The NAA hosts an annual meeting that is open to anyone interested in arbitration and at any stage of your journey.

3. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  The FINRA website states that its arbitrators are “highly engaged, dynamic individuals who aid their communities and enhance their professional lives by resolving securities-related disputes.”  The FINRA application will harken you back to the application for Character and Fitness when you took the bar exam, which is understandable because these disputes involve topics like securities and fraud. FINRA also has excellent training resources.

4. American Health Law Association.  Offers a 14-hour arbitration training class for those interested in joining its health care arbitration roster.

5. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).  FMCS is an independent agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. The FMCS’ Institute for Conflict Management delivers practical, experience-based conflict resolution training for individuals and groups. Institute training is specifically designed to meet the real-world challenges of labor-management relations and organizational change.

F. Diversity Matters. I am a black female attorney. I have been told “you don’t look like an attorney.” I have been mistaken for the court reporter, my client, and a paralegal. This happens so frequently that there is a book on this topic by Tsedale M. Melaku.  To combat a lack of selection, opportunities, and a diminution of persons of color in ADR spaces, I dedicate my time and talent to organizations that champion diversity in ADR.

1. The Diversity and Inclusion Action Team (DIAT) of the SBM ADR Section.  I co-chair this group with Attorney Phillip Schaedler. DIAT was formed to promote and support diversity in the field of ADR, increase the cultural competence of ADR providers, and enlarge opportunities for minorities in ADR. DIAT welcomes anyone to attend its meetings scheduled on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Please contact me at  attorneytimmons@gmail.com or Phillip Schaedler at  adratty@comcast.net for the meeting link and more information.

2. Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi).  PREMi is an invitation only organization of attorney dispute resolution experts who have numerous years of experience in both conflict resolution processes and subject matter knowledge in many industries and disciplines. Joining this organization has been the pinnacle of achievement in my career. PREMi is committed to diversity in the race and gender of its roster, as a signatory to a diversity pledge, and some of our members are leaders in state-wide diversity efforts.

3. WIDR.  The American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Committee has a subcommittee of Women in Dispute Resolution. I am WIDR’s Michigan Regional Chair. Along with monthly webinars and videoconferences with engaging speakers that deliver information on ADR and most importantly, practice building opportunities, WIDR publishes a directory of Women in Dispute Resolution  to encourage the use of women in ADR.

4. SheResolves.  I am on the Advisory Council of SheResolves. It is an organization of highly-experienced ADR professionals with a mission to connect, support, and promote women mediators and arbitrators.

5. Ray Corollary Initiative (RCI).  The mission of the RCI is to increase the  diversity, equity, and inclusion in the selection of arbitrators, mediators, and other ADR neutrals.

6. Wolverine Bar Association and National Bar Association. I am the ADR chair of the Wolverine Bar Association (WBA).  The WBA was established by African- American attorneys during the 1930’s to coordinate the energies and talents of the increasing number of African-Americans admitted to practice throughout Michigan. The WBA is the Detroit chapter organization of the National Bar Association (NBA).  The NBA also has a Dispute Resolution section that provides programs cantered around ADR and diversity.

7. ArbitralWomen.  ArbitralWomen promotes women in dispute resolution through events, social gatherings, mentoring and by sponsoring female law students in moot court competitions.

IV. Marketing

An ADR practice does not typically fall into the “build it and they will come” model. New ADR practitioners will admit that after being advised to hang their shingle, the early practice days often reflect calendars with more “white spaces” than booked hearings. While by no means an exhaustive list, some marketing resources that focus on ADR are:

a. Susan Guthrie, Make Money Mediating Podcast.

b. Natalie Armstrong Motin hosts webinars and writes a newsletter, Marketing Resolution: Get Seen, specifically written to help mediators and arbitrators build a successful practice.

c. Arbitrator Andrea Dooley, located in the California bay area, blogs and has written two books on labor arbitration careers and a practice in labor arbitration.

Go forth and resolve!!
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Attorney Lisa W. Timmons is the chair-elect of the ADR Section of the State Bar of Michigan, a member of Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi), the Michigan Regional Chair of Women in Dispute Resolution (WIDR) a sub-committee of the ADR Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), and the ADR chair of the Wolverine Bar Association. Timmons arbitrates and mediates labor, employment, commercial, and consumer cases with AAA, USPS, New Era ADR, and MERC.

COMMENTARY: Enduring lesson of McCarthyism is worth recalling

February 27 ,2024

This is the fifth and final commentary in a series examining two periods of American history that Donald Trump claims were “great” compared to the present era: 1900 to 1910 and the post-World War II era through the 1950s.
The decade 1900-10 was the subject of the second and third commentaries in this series.
As previewed in the fourth commentary, Trump’s interest in the 1950s as a period of “greatness” has nothing to do with government policies of the time; but, instead resides in the political playbook employed by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy during the Red Scare.
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By Samuel Damren

This is the fifth and final commentary in a series examining two periods of American history that Donald Trump claims were “great” compared to the present era: 1900 to 1910 and the post-World War II era through the 1950s.

The decade 1900-10 was the subject of the second and third commentaries in this series.

As previewed in the fourth commentary, Trump’s interest in the 1950s as a period of “greatness” has nothing to do with government policies of the time; but, instead resides in the political playbook employed by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy during the Red Scare.  

It also is based on the fact that while McCarthy died in 1957, he and Trump shared the same lawyer across a span of decades: the notorious and once feared Roy Cohn.

Cohn was counsel to McCarthy’s permanent investigative subcommittee of the Senate’s Government Operations Committee. McCarthy was the Chair. He often conducted one-Senator hearings in violation of Senate rules and routinely teamed up with Cohn to question witnesses at Congressional hearings.

In the 1970s, well after McCarthy’s political downfall and censure by the United States Senate in December of 1954 for having treated fellow members with contempt, Cohn started working for the Trump Organization defending charges of racial discrimination in housing.  He soon became the young Donald Trump’s favorite lawyer and would serve as his “greatest mentor” according to associates.

In a Penthouse magazine interview in 1981, Cohn famously bragged “I decided long ago to make my own rules.” He, like McCarthy, died in disgrace, disbarred in 1986 from the practice of law for fraud, misrepresentation, and theft of client funds.

In “Ike and McCarthy” published in 2017, author David Nichols provides an exhaustive recitation of McCarthy’s political abuse and scare tactics as chairman of the Senate investigative subcommittee. Trump’s tactics in the politics of today are virtually inter-changeable with the tactics McCarthy and Cohn employed during the 1950s.

McCarthy made his first splash in national politics in 1950 when he delivered a speech in Wheeling, W.V. after the arrest by British authorities of a spy “channeling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.” In the speech, McCarthy claimed that he had “here in my hand the names of 205 communists in the State Department.”  

According to Nichols, the fact that McCarthy “did not actually have those names did not trouble him.” Making and publicizing accusations without support would become a mainstay for McCarthy just as it is for Trump.

Following his initial foray in the national spotlight, Nichols notes that “McCarthy presided over a permanent floating press conference. Lights, cameras, and microphones followed him everywhere.” He cowed critics with bombast and threats of being cast as disloyal anti-American communist sympathizers.

Accusations of that sort were of real political consequence in a time of high tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States.

During the 1952 presidential campaign, candidate Dwight Eisenhower was pressured by Republican officials to tolerate McCarthy’s self-promoting antics to shore up Wisconsin electoral votes. He did but was not happy about it.  

McCarthy had drawn Eisenhower’s ire the year before by “effectively charging” General George Marshall “with treason” for purportedly acceding to Soviet demands to set the 38th parallel as the dividing line between North and South Korea.

Disparaging and belittling American military heroes would become another “stock in trade” for McCarthy just as it is for Donald Trump.

In closed door Congressional hearings, McCarthy and Cohn repeatedly threatened witnesses with unjustified criminal charges and misled the press with supposed facts uncovered by their investigations.  

Doris Powell was a clerical worker for the Army involved in checking invoices for food purchases. She was on maternity leave when McCarthy subpoenaed her to appear for a hearing.

Prior to being employed by the Army, Powell worked briefly for “The People’s Voice,” a Harlem newspaper. McCarthy obtained a membership card in the communist party with her name on it. 

Powell never signed the card, nor paid dues nor joined the party. Unless she admitted membership in the communist party, McCarthy and Cohn threatened her with perjury charges. She refused.

After the hearing, McCarthy engaged in fanciful hyperbole by telling reporters that one of the witnesses being investigated by his subcommittee for ties to the communist party was a civilian Army employee with access through classified documents to troop movements around the globe.

Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Guliani, committed far greater abuses by falsely asserting across social media and in speeches that two female African-American poll workers in Georgia committed election fraud in the 2020 election. Trump similarly threatened Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with criminal investigation unless he found another 11,780 Trump votes.

Based on allegations of guilt by association, McCarthy and Cohn indiscriminately accused many members of the military of being security risks, ruined lives and reputations and sought to drum them out of military service. One serviceman, Milo Radulovich of Dexter, Mich. fought back.

His case, designated a Michigan Legal Milestone in 1998, became the subject of a famous Edward R. Morrow broadcast lambasting McCarthy on the CBS program “See it Now” in 1954.

McCarthy would later be publicly reprimanded that same year by Joseph Welch, a Boston lawyer engaged as private counsel for the Army, during televised hearings of McCarthy’s investigative subcommittee. When McCarthy gratuitously and falsely attacked a young associate in Welch’s firm during a heated moment in the proceeding, Welch memorably asked: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

Judge Arthur Engoron, who presided over the recent civil fraud trial of the Trump Organization in New York, must have shared a similar sentiment after Trump’s baseless and unrelenting attacks on his female law clerk during those proceedings.  

For many Americans, Welch’s stinging rebuke of McCarthy lifted the curtain on McCarthyism. To others, it may have been a different incident that did so; and, to still other Americans, it may have been the never-ending torrent of humiliations and cruelties that he heaped on anyone he perceived blocking his intended path.

For Joe McCarthy, it was – just as it is for Donald Trump – all about loyalty.

The lesson of McCarthyism is not that democracy ends when the dictator takes away the liberties and rights of free citizens.

The lesson of McCarthyism is that democracy ends when free citizens choose to give up their rights and liberties to prove unswerving loyalty to the leader.
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Samuel Damren is a retired Detroit lawyer and author of “What Justice Looks Like.”

COMMENTARY: Yet again, he is most deserving of the ‘worst’ title

February 27 ,2024

For the second time in eight years, the fans of our 15th president, James Buchanan Jr., should be celebrating.
Why? Once again, he was not rated the worst president in U.S. history by a group of American historians.
The first time came in 2021 and the scholars voted once more that Buchanan has been rehabilitated from that “honor.”
Who was rated the worst? Take a guess before you read the next paragraph.
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By Berl Falbaum

For the second time in eight years, the fans of our 15th president, James Buchanan Jr., should be celebrating.

Why? Once again, he was not rated the worst president in U.S. history by a group of American historians.

The first time came in 2021 and the scholars voted once more that Buchanan has been rehabilitated from that “honor.”

Who was rated the worst? Take a guess before you read the next paragraph.

I assume it wasn’t hard. Yes, Donald J. Trump. Indeed, it is the third time Trump has been rated at the bottom in such a poll.

I sought reaction from followers of Buchanan to ask if they were commemorating the new rating. But I could not find any; no Buchanan fan club. Perhaps that will change now that he is no longer at the bottom of the presidential heap.

I started to call Trump’s staff for a comment on the latest rating but decided to save time and just report what Trump would say.

“The polling was rigged. These historians are all Democratic left-wing Marxists who are destroying our country with such polls. We have to take our country back from these historians.”

And, to pour some salt into Trump’s wounds, Joe Biden was rated the 14th best president.  

The survey was conducted by Justin Vaughn, an associate professor of political science at Coastal Carolina University, and Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, and was based on 154 responses from academicians across the country.

Now, we would like to follow up on the Outstanding Hypocrite Award (OHA) which we launched in a recent column.

If you recall, we named three winners at that time. We also asked for nominations from our readers. We received three excellent suggestions discussed below. (Keep them coming.)

The first of the three recommended for the OHA is Senator J.D. Vance, the Republican from Ohio. He was a never-Trumper, calling the former president an “idiot,” but turned into an always-Trumper when he ran for the Senate.

He is the author of the best-selling book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” which was lauded by liberals and conservatives alike. I wondered what the fuss was about and read the book. I found it condescending, patronizing, and mean-spirited. It argued, overall, that poor people had no one to blame but themselves; they need to pull themselves up by their [nonexistent] boot straps.

The second nominee for an OHA is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court about 10 months before the election in 2016, McConnell, then majority leader, blocked a vote on Garland, stating that whoever won the election should have the privilege of the nomination.

Yet, when Trump nominated Amy Comey Barrett to the court only about three weeks before the election in 2020, McConnell rammed her confirmation through the Senate.

The third recommendation involves House Speaker Mike Johnson. He supported a bipartisan bill which included financial aid to Ukraine and Israel and more stringent border policies.

Then, apparently pressured by Trump to oppose the proposed legislation and avoid giving President Biden a win, he—as his hometown newspaper in Kentucky, The Advocate, editorialized—“flip-flopped,” and proudly proclaimed the Senate bill would be DOA when it arrives in the House.

Regarding the OHA, to be fair, I also received criticism for creating the award.  I was charged with not knowing the meaning of the word “hypocrite.” Some people, my critic argued, just change their minds.

Since I welcome different points of view, I went back to do some homework.

First, I re-researched how most Republicans viewed Trump in the 2015-16 campaign.

Here just a few of their characterizations: They called him a sniveling coward, a race-baiting religious bigot, a cancer, a kook, the world’s biggest jackass, a pathological liar, a serial philanderer, and a sniveling coward. Yes, this all came from Republicans. Senator Lindsey Graham, who now hangs on to Trump like a Siamese twin, told Trump to go to hell.

Then they “changed their minds” and embraced him while deciding whether to recommend him for sainthood to Pope Francis.

If that were not enough, they did a 180 on the 2020 election, first stating he lost it before arguing he actually won it by capturing all electoral votes. On January 6, many in the GOP said Trump was responsible for the insurrection before proclaiming he joined the Capitol police in trying to control protestors.

In my research, I also noticed when confronted with their “change of minds” they either denied ever criticizing Trump, could not remember doing so or dodged the question by talking about introducing legislation that would make littering a felony. They did not seem very proud of their reversals, implying they understood the meaning of “hypocrisy.”

Thus, after much reflection, I think it would be hypocritical of me to cancel the award. Moreover, an “Outstanding Change of Mind” award just doesn’t seem to have the proper zing or oomph and I don’t think it would do the trick.
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Berl Falbaum is a veteran journalist and author of 12 books.

COMMENTARY: Just how much is Putin’s backing worth in election?

February 26 ,2024

Before we get to the endorsement by Russian President Putin of Joe Biden for the presidency, a background story.
A few years ago, a good friend of mine, Joe Smith (not his real name), was running for Congress (he won) and was seeking endorsements from officeholders.
He was approached by a member of the Michigan State Legislature, Jim Johnson (not his real name), who had a reputation for corruption, lying and womanizing (Yeah, just like Trump).
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By Berl Falbaum
 
Before we get to the endorsement by Russian President Putin of Joe Biden for the presidency, a background story.

A few years ago, a good friend of mine, Joe Smith (not his real name), was running for Congress (he won) and was seeking endorsements from officeholders.

He was approached by a member of the Michigan State Legislature, Jim Johnson (not his real name), who had a reputation for corruption, lying and womanizing (Yeah, just like Trump).

“Joe,” said Johnson, “I really like you. Really, I do and I want you to win. But given my reputation which, incidentally, is totally undeserved, I don’t know what to do.  Should I endorse or oppose you?  Which will help you more?”

My friend was in a quandary. He did not want to tell the man to forget about the endorsement because it would imply that he shared the view of others that the man was a scumbag, and an endorsement or opposition would damage his campaign.  He managed to escape by lying that he did not have time to discuss the implications of the “kind offer.”

When Putin recently threw his support behind Biden, I wondered if the Russian leader had heard of my story.

In case you missed it, Putin was asked recently who he favors in the upcoming election. The Russian president did not hesitate.

Yes, he said, he would work with any U.S. president whom the American people elect. But he added he liked Biden better because the sitting president is “more experienced, predictable, an old-school politician.”

Asked about Biden’s age and mental acuity, Putin said he has not noticed any issues, or any decline in Biden’s memory or mental awareness.

Referring to a meeting he had with Biden three years earlier in Switzerland, Putin said, “Even then people were saying that he was incompetent, but I did not see anything of the sort. Yes, he kept looking at his papers, but to be honest, I kept doing the same. There was nothing peculiar.”

Putin certainly remembers that Biden called him a “killer,” “murderous dictator” and “pure thug.” Perhaps Putin has decided to let bygones be bygones.

So, was Putin serious or did he have a Machiavellian strategy in mind?  Did Putin believe that the endorsement from a brutal, murderous dictator would hurt Biden and throw votes to Trump? Or does he really believe that Biden is suffering from a decline in cognizance and believes the president would be easier to deceive than Trump?

On its face, one would think that Putin would embrace Trump who has shown his admiration for the Russian leader for seven years, all but kissing him on both cheeks. He may even have sent him a Valentine’s Day card.

In responding to the endorsement, Trump seemed to forget his unseemly fawning over Putin, stating Putin has given him “a great compliment, actually.  Of course, he would say that he wants to have Biden because he is going to be given everything.”

Now the question becomes whether Trump was strategically suggesting that he would be tougher on Putin than Biden, believing that Putin would understand his response. Trying to give his criticism of Putin some credibility, the former president added, “Putin is not a fan of mine.”

The most difficult question is how will Biden react. He surely must be grateful for having such a world leader commend his abilities and testify to his mental astuteness.

But can he quote Putin to the American public? Can he say, “Did you hear what Putin said about me?”

Other questions: Will he list the endorsement on his campaign literature?  Should he thank Putin—privately or publicly? Does he call him an s.o.b. for the politically underhanded endorsement?  If he does so on the record, would Putin sabotage Biden by revealing mistakes the president has made.

If we take this endorsement serious, the question is: how much is a Putin endorsement worth? Is there a pro-Putin faction in the U.S.? If so, how big is it, especially in swing states?
Wow, politics can sure become complicated. It is so dizzying.

The more I thought about this conundrum, the more I speculated that Putin and Trump may have planned this together. Sure, I know cynicism has its limits, but nevertheless, it is sort of fun to consider that. Moreover, several investigations found there was Russian interference in the 2020 election.

The White House, tossing gratitude to the winds, issued a statement asking that Putin “stay out of American elections.”

One thing is clear: Biden cannot say that he doesn’t remember receiving Putin’s endorsement.
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Berl Falbaum is a veteran journalist and author of 12 books.

COMMENTARY: Hypocrites abound in the strange world of American politics

February 23 ,2024

Those who have followed my scribblings know that I have spent considerable time haranguing about hypocrisy in our body politic, simply because it is endless.
So, I decided I would only cover the subject when we have candidates for my newly established Outstanding Hypocrite Award (OHA). These are politicians who, in my judgment, have displayed a special affinity for hypocrisy and, I admit, given the abundance of talent it is not always easy to pick a winner.
The actual award is beautiful, putting Oscars, Globes, Emmys to shame. It is a 12-inch tube light with colors, which are infinite, changing every five seconds.
After much consideration and study, here are my selections for the last few.
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By Berl Falbaum
 
Those who have followed my scribblings know that I have spent considerable time haranguing about hypocrisy in our body politic, simply because it is endless.
So, I decided I would only cover the subject when we have candidates for my newly established Outstanding Hypocrite Award (OHA). These are politicians who, in my judgment, have displayed a special affinity for hypocrisy and, I admit, given the abundance of talent it is not always easy to pick a winner.

The actual award is beautiful, putting Oscars, Globes, Emmys to shame. It is a 12-inch tube light with colors, which are infinite, changing every five seconds.
After much consideration and study, here are my selections for the last few.

—U.S. Senator Michael (Mike) Shumway Lee, the senior senator from Utah, became the 21st Republican senator to endorse Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination and, he told us gleefully, that he did so “wholeheartedly.”

In expressing his uncompromising support, Lee gushed:

 
“Look, whether you like Donald Trump or not, whether you agree with everything he says or not, he is our one opportunity to choose order over chaos and putting America first over America last. It’s time to get behind him.”

Well, Lee is someone who at one time did not like Trump very much. Thus, he may not only be worthy of my award, but he may also be suffering from convenient forgetfulness as well.

In October 2016, after the infamous Access Hollywood tape was revealed in which Trump brags, in profane terms, how he assaults women, Lee was appalled.
He produced a video and then posted the following message on Facebook:

“It occurred to me on countless occasions today that if anyone spoke to my wife or my daughter or my mother or any of my five sisters in the way Mr. Trump has spoken to women, I wouldn’t hire that person.

“I wouldn’t hire that person, wouldn’t want to be associated with that person.  And, I certainly don’t think I’d be comfortable hiring that person to be the leader of the free world.”

I read that statement several times and I found it to be fairly clear and unambiguous. There are no “in between the lines” messages.

Then, in another statement, he admitted, Trump “scares me to death.”

Lee’s decision to endorse Trump follows another hypocritical one: Publicly he did not agree with Trump’s lies about winning the 2020 election, but texts obtained by the January 6 committee investigating the insurrection revealed that Lee was on board in trying to overturn the election.

Lee’s messages to Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, endorsed support for Sidney Powell, a Republican lawyer who spread false narratives about an alleged stolen election. Powell was indicted, as were Trump and 17 others, for violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law as it relates to her efforts to overturn the election. She pleaded guilty to six misdemeanors which charged her of conspiring to intentionally interfere with performance of election duties.

—South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who is Black. He endorsed Trump, a candidate who: Banned Blacks from Trump property; embraced white supremacists; and supported the death penalty for the Central Park Five (all Blacks) whom he continued to insist were guilty even after they were exonerated of raping a white woman.

In addition, Trump spread conspiracy theories on where Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, was born; called Haiti and African countries “s—-hole” countries, and labeled the words “Black Lives Matter” “symbols of hate.”

With his endorsement, Scott joined David Duke, a former Grand Wizard in the KKK who called Trump’s election in 2016, the happiest day of his life, and Richard B. Spencer, a white supremacist leader, who also celebrated Trump’s victory.

Scott is also the recipient of my special Et Tu Brutus Award. He endorsed Trump even though it was Nikki Haley, when she was governor of South Carolina, who appointed him to a U.S. Senate vacancy, thereby launching his political career.

—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum who was a presidential candidate this year but dropped out early. He has endorsed Trump even though he once stated that he wouldn’t even do business with him. Early on, Burgum acknowledged that Joe Biden won the election — that the election was not stolen — and now dances around the issue.

—Texas Senator Ted Cruz. You may recall, in 2016, Trump disparaged the appearance of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and also implied that Cruz’s father may have had a hand in the assassination of JFK.

That got under Cruz’s skin and he called Trump a “sniveling coward,” “pathological liar,” and “serial philanderer.”

In early January, Trump again attacked Cruz, this time privately — it really wasn’t clear why because Cruz was no longer a presidential hopeful — stating that the good senator from Texas should not even exist.

We can assume that Cruz was not offended because the attack was private and he has endorsed Trump. He probably is grateful that he does exist so he can give his support to the former president.

Those are my winners for the OHA at this writing. We will continue with our awards from time to time. But given, as I have stated, there are so many deserving of consideration that I need your help.

Thus, if you have a candidate who you believe qualifies for this special recognition, drop me an email here at the DLN. 

I will give your recommendation serious attention. I can assure you, there is no shortage of candidates.
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Berl Falbaum is a veteran journalist and author of 12 books.