Of course…

…it’s the fault of the voters that Kamala Harris is unelectable… they are simply not good enough to elect a black, female president. Yeah; that’s the ticket… it has nothing do do with her ineptness:

Jen Psaki says Kamala Harris is best alternative to Biden but worries America too ‘sexist and racist’

I’ve heard this argument before, when discussing the failure of socialist governments. In such cases (as told by the socialists) it’s the people who failed, not socialism. The people simply weren’t “good enough” citizens for socialism to succeed.

Such is the fate of Kamala Harris – the people simply aren’t “good enough” to elect an incompetent political figurehead –  no matter her sex or race. Thank Dog…

I wanna be a felon….

…because then gun laws won’t apply to me, and I’ll have a new Mercedes GLS450 to drive away from my shootings:

Gunman kills 1, injures 4 at Nashville coffee shop on Easter Sunday

Tell me again which gun law would have prevented this shooting? Because none of the current laws seemed to have any effect. After all, CRIMINALS BY DEFINITION DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW! Want proof? In this case the offender is alleged to be a felon and should not have had access to a firearm at all, let alone carry one – and yet he did so anyway.

Laws meant to reduce crime in which a firearm is used should be narrowly tailored towards criminals and their conduct, but have little to no impact on law-abiding citizens. Targeting guns or law-abiding citizens rather than criminals simply won’t work.

Laws that incarcerate criminals who have an ongoing history of violence might be a better way forward.  For instance, if a violent felon is subsequently convicted of firearms possession – a clear indicator of ongoing, violent tendencies – perhaps they should be removed from society permanently. I think such a law would have a much larger impact on so-called “gun violence” than a law requiring non-criminal citizens go through a background check to purchase ammunition – and probably have fewer Constitutional hurdles as well.

Common sense gun law: A law that incarcerates criminals rather than law-abiding gun owners.

A very slippery slope

I have a real problem with the slippery slope(s) created by the whole E. Jean Carrol v. Donald J. Trump case. As much as Trump is a tool, I find that this cases raises serious legal concerns regarding free speech. It also suggests that the legal system is an appropriate tool to bring down political foes that you can’t otherwise beat at the polls. Taken together, this is some seriously worrisome sh*t!

Short background (from a CNN article):

Carroll alleged Trump raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store and then defamed her when he denied her claim, said she wasn’t his type and suggested she made up the story to boost sales of her book. Trump denied all wrongdoing.

Here are my concerns, in no particular order:

1) Trump is entitled to claim his innocence
Ms. Carroll is cited as having claimed that Trump raped her. Trump is entitled to make a claim of innocence; doing so does not defame the claimant. Neither does voicing an opinion suggesting someone is not your type, or voicing an opinion on possible alternate motives for the allegations. Readers or witnesses to his claims of innocence can decide for themselves whether or not the allegations are true.

What’s next? Are convicted criminals civilly liable to witnesses or victims if they continue to assert their innocence? Even if they are eventually cleared of the crimes of which they are convicted?

2) A second case between these two was made possible as a result of a New York “look-back” law that allowed sexual assault victims to sue in civil court – no matter how much time had passed since the alleged assault.

Statute of limitations are designed to protect a defendant from stale claims, where delays may have have eroded the defendant’s ability to collect evidence for their defense. Such “look-back” laws are troubling because they favor the plaintiff while severely disadvantaging the defense. How do you defend yourself against a claim that allegedly occurred 20+ years ago? How do you gather evidence for your defense when no physical evidence or records remain? How do you begin to gather evidence when your accuser doesn’t even have to definitively state in their claim when the alleged event occurred?

In a volatile case involving a polarizing public figure, such cases will boil down to the local jury pool and their perception of each litigant – or worse, the latest public outrage  (in the case, the “anyone but Trump” and “me, too” movements). With little if any possibility of collecting physical evidence or eyewitnesses due to the time that has passed, the case will fall to the testimony of the more publicly-favored  litigant. This is patently unfair to the defense in this case, and the reason that such stale claims are generally barred by a statute of limitations.

3) In the second case the jury found that Ms. Carroll had been sexually assaulted, but not raped. Doesn’t this make Trump’s claims that she lied about the rape true (under the law), if only in part, and thus not defamation? Doesn’t any reputation damage due to Trump now denying her claim of rape fall to Carroll for having made the claim?

4) The trial judge allowed hearsay evidence (what the plaintiff had allegedly told others who were not direct witnesses), and also testimony by others regarding past unproven allegations (from 40 years prior) unrelated to this case. Given the severe disadvantage already placed on the defense (due to New York’s “look-back” law and the plaintiff’s inability to even define when the alleged attack occurred), such testimony was inappropriate and unduly prejudicial.

So, in short:

i) No one should be denied the right to assert their innocence – even if the defendant is guilty, and even more so when the allegations are rejected by a jury. Such assertions should be protected speech, and not actionable as defamation.

ii) Speaking personal opinions, or opinions on alternative theories for an accusation – particularly political theories – should also be protected speech.

iii) “Look-back” laws that allow civil litigation for long-past allegations should recognize the hardship they place on a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Evidence rules should be held to the highest standard to minimize the unfair impact such law have on the defendant.

I don’t care whether you love or hate Trump. I want you to think instead about the precedence it sets when someone can make an allegation against you, 20+ years after the alleged act. Think about you being denied the right to dispute the allegations because your denial causes the claimant “reputational harm” – even when at least part of the allegations are found lacking by a jury. Think about your trial, where physical evidence collection and witness development is impossible due to the extreme passage of time, and where the evidence presented consists largely of hearsay or the unproven allegations by others in unrelated matters. Think about your trial in a venue where the majority of the voters (the source of the jury pool) voted against you in the previous election.

This case never should have made it to court – and particularly not in an anti-Trump venue like New York.

Taxes are taxes…

…whether they are federal or local. Same pocket gets picked in the end: yours.

So my question is this: If the open border crisis is “…crushing city budgets…”, leading to demands for federal aid, why should we believe that shifting the costs to the federal government won’t just crush their budget instead? Is it really any different if the money comes from federal taxes rather than local taxes?

Denver mayor pleads for nationally coordinated effort on migrant crisis as city nears ‘breaking point’

The real solution is to enforce federal immigration law and stop illegal immigration. How about we try that instead of breaking our federal budget, eh?

NIMBY*

(* For those who are acronym-challenged, “Not In My Back Yard”)

New York City is clearly a “sanctuary” city – notice how they welcome illegal immigrants:

NYC Mayor Adams sues bus companies dropping off migrants for $700M

But, wait – isn’t the only real question here whether or not these “immigrants” wanted to go to New York? Haven’t the courts already decided that free travel is a right guaranteed by the Constitution? If so, then who is New York to limit their means of travel by punishing those who transport them?

Hypocrisy aside, it seems that New York really wants to treat these “immigrants” as second-class citizens.  I hope the courts recognize this New York law restricting travel for what it is – an infringement of constitutional rights. In any event, the real problem is the Biden administration’s failure to secure the border – not Texas attempting to spread the joy!

PS: So what happens when immigrants living in New York pay to bus in their illegal relatives, and then register them for state services so that they don’t have to pick up the tab for their support? I wonder how many of them will be charged under this statute? Since there’s no political benefit, my guess is none…

Gaza = Nazi ghetto?

Except that Jews in the Nazi ghettos didn’t elect a terrorist organization as their leaders, then massacre German citizens. Sorry, the comparison simply doesn’t quite work.

Despite backlash, Masha Gessen says comparing Gaza to a Nazi-era ghetto is necessary

I’ll give the author credit, however, for noticing these differences:

Gessen notes there are key differences between the two: The Nazi claim that ghettos were necessary to protect non-Jews from disease “had no basis in reality,” while Israel’s stance that the isolation of Gaza is necessary to protect against Palestinian terrorist attacks “stems from actual and repeated acts of violence.”

If the Palestinian-elected Hamas government had instead spent the last 17 years building peace and a functioning economy – instead of cancelling elections and becoming oligarchic dictators – Gaza might actually have been better off.

Saving democracy….

…by killing it? Really?

Colorado Supreme Court says Trump is ineligible to run again

This is a tough case. The section of the Constitution’s 14th amendment cited by the Colorado Supreme Court in justifying their decisions was designed to prevent those who previously served the United States but then served the confederacy from once again holding U.S. office. It reads in part:

Section 3
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

Section 5
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

The question really is this: What due process is required to conclude that a prior “officer of the United States … engaged in insurrection or rebellion”? Has Congress passed “…appropriate legislation…” to determine the required due process? Or was their intent to leave this determination to partisan, elected officials of the individual states – like the Colorado Supreme Court? Can you image the political “nuclear winter” that will follow if the Colorado Supreme Court ruling stands?

I am not a lawyer, but my guess is that the unstated right to participate in our government (“…government of the people, by the people, for the people…”) is a right that should not so lightly be curtailed. It is my belief that either proof of service with an entity at war with the United States (such as holding office under the Confederacy – what this provision was meant to address) or a conviction under U.S. law (or impeachment proceedings) for insurrection or rebellion should be required to deprive one of this right.

It is partisan attacks such as this that are the true danger to our democracy. The power must remain with the people via their right to vote for the candidate of their choice – not with those politicians who wield the law as a dull scythe to unjustly cut down their opponents.

PS: If you’re interested, a good overview of both sides of the Trump insurrection argument can be found here:

2023 National Lawyers Convention: Insurrection & the 14th Amendment

But it’s not racist when they’re white, right?

One from the “It’s not racist to be racist against white people” column:

Boston mayor sends holiday party invite meant only for ‘electeds of color,’ dividing city councilors

Great way to be a poster child for racism, no? Exclude a group specifically because of their race?

Per the above linked article, once the mayor’s office realized their error they sent the following in a subsequent email:

“I wanted to apologize for my previous email regarding a Holiday Party for tomorrow,” DosSantos wrote. “I did send that to everyone by accident and I apologize if my email may have offended or came across as so. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.”

Soooo…. they’re apologizing for sending the email, but not for what it said? Aren’t they essentially saying:

So sorry for sending you that racist email – you know, the one regarding the upcoming party from which you are being excluded specifically because of your race. Didn’t mean for you to see that… whoops! But don’t worry – if anyone gets offended we’ll just label them as “racist” and get them cancelled. Ha ha ha! I crack myself up. Boy, I’d better lay off the crack for awhile…

I’m really getting tired of saying this, but we will NEVER defeat racism by being racist. Ever.

It can, however, get you elected mayor of Boston.