Calif Dem Wants Felons on Juries
California State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) has introduced legislation (SB 310) that would put convicted felons on juries. Current law bars ex-cons from serving on juries—a practice that Skinner calls "profoundly undemocratic."
"I am ashamed that it has taken so long for my Party to realize that routinely excluding victims of the justice system from playing a role in the judicial process is wrong," the Senator asserted. "Who among us is better suited to assess whether others should be subjected to the brutality of our prison system than individuals who have had to endure it themselves?"
"The criminal element is a segment of the population that should be represented in every phase of our governance," Skinner insists. "To exclude them denies them a basic human right and deprives us of the benefit of their unique insights in judging whether the accused may have had justifiable cause for the actions for which they are put on trial. While the law-abiding juror might be quick to decide that theft is wrong, a former thief on a jury may not be so hasty. For example, our welfare system extracts money from those who have more than they need in order to aid those who have less. If an accused thief can demonstrate that his need was greater than that of the person he robbed should we be in a hurry to send him to jail simply because he took the initiative to redistribute wealth that the government probably should've already done?"
Skinner acknowledged that "violence during the course of a privately undertaken redistribution of wealth may be problematic," but pointed out that "law-enforcement officers often engage in excessive violence when inserting themselves into social situations involving disputes over the ownership of property or personality clashes between individuals. Perhaps adding felons to juries will yield a more balanced perspective regarding the appropriate boundaries of legitimate uses of force."
Trump Ignites "Foreign Meddling" Controversy
President Trump's open-minded response to a hypothetical question posed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos unleashed a fire-storm of pious denunciations from Democrats and the media. Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether he would listen to any "dirt" on a political opponent if it were offered by a foreign government. Trump said "yes. Suppose, for example, that Norway wanted to tell me something unsettling about a person in our government or running for office. I think I'd listen and maybe pass on this information to the FBI if I thought it warranted their attention."
Loser of the 2016 presidential election Hillary Clinton pounced on Trump's remarks calling them "the smoking gun that proves he is unfit to be president." She went on to contrast Trump's "invitation to foreign meddling" with her own "measured response to the 'dirt' on Trump my campaign bought from Christopher Steele. We didn't broadcast a plea for foreign interference. We worked behind the scenes and, I might add, with the FBI to ensure that the information would be used properly."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) echoed Clinton's take, pointing out that "when Trump asked the Russians to find Hillary's lost emails in 2016 he was a private citizen and lacked authority to interact with foreign governments. Hillary, in contrast, was acting with the full cooperation of the Obama Administration in the effort to block the most unqualified candidate for the presidency in our nation's history. Just because that effort failed doesn't make Trump's election legitimate. We can't allow him to misuse the normal presidential communications with foreign governments as a mask for future illegal interactions with them."
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) averred that "the mere possibility of accepting political information from a foreign government as President Trump implied he might is simply unthinkable. It strikes at the very heart of our democracy. It was bad enough that the Democrats did this to try to sully Trump's reputation, but Republicans need to have higher ethical standards even if that means we lose to law-breaking Democrats. I agree with the great Senator Henry Clay that it is better to be right than be president. That way you keep your self respect."
Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub joined the chorus of objections to Trump's remarks stating "it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. Election." She attempted to distinguish Trump's hypothetical answer from the 2016 actions of the Clinton campaign by "citing some clear differences. First, while it is true that the Steele dossier was compiled by a former British spy and based on information obtained from the Russian government, the connection to Clinton was not direct. Two American intermediaries were between her campaign and the foreigners. Second, since the Clinton campaign paid several million dollars for this 'dirt' it was not a contribution to her campaign per se. It was a straightforward purchase, much like the purchase of an imported cigar from a local smoke shop, for example."
Trump characterized the outrage over his answer "hysterical hypocrisy. The fact is that it was the Democrats who actively solicited dirt concocted by a foreigner and worked with top FBI officials to use it to undermine my campaign and my administration. In the process they violated the civil rights of dozens of Americans by spying on their private conversations, abused their authority by intimidating witnesses, and forced taxpayers to bear the enormous expenses of investigating a non-existent crime. Given what happened it's ridiculous for anyone to claim that calling in the FBI to stop election interference makes any sense."
However, calling in the FBI would be mandatory if legislation just proposed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) is enacted. Blumenthal called his "Duty to Report" Act "essential if we want to preserve our form of government. As they have shown in their valiant effort to derail the Trump Administration these past two years, the FBI is our last line of defense against a hostile takeover of our government. Rather than expecting this heroic agency to have to do its crucial work covertly it's time we formally legitimize their role by requiring that all candidates report to the FBI and get the agency's approval before they are allowed to compete in the race for the presidency. If my bill had been in effect prior to the 2016 election Trump would not have been able to clear this hurdle and America would now be under the guidance of the most qualified person to ever seek the office."
Bernie Explains Socialism
Stunned by polls showing the doltish Joe Biden in the lead for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-Vt) gave socialism the "hard sell" and predicted that voters would be "delighted to pay higher taxes" if his policies are implemented.
The "delight" is expected to flow from what Sanders called an "economic bill of rights. Under this plan, the government will provide everything everyone needs for free. All that anyone has to do in exchange is turn over all his excess wealth to the government."
"The hassle of having to live by a household budget will be abolished," the candidate promised. "Questions like 'can I afford it?' will vanish from our minds. If you need it, the government will give it to you. The time spent trying to choose specific products or services will be freed up to engage in other pursuits because the government will make these decisions for everyone. Unnecessary products and services will be eliminated. Only essential items will be produced."
President Donald Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow rebutted Sanders' promises, saying "they are pretty standard for what socialists have repeatedly promised throughout history. Delivery has always been the difficult part. Human motivation teeters between greed and laziness. Capitalism has succeeded in delivering vast wealth to the masses of humanity by harnessing greed. Under capitalism, the path to great wealth comes from efficiently serving the needs of others. When socialists shutdown this path, laziness triumphs over greed. The inevitable result is poverty. Everyone wants the free stuff. No one has sufficient incentive to provide it. Coercion must be used to avert starvation. And, thus tyranny becomes the only option. Concealing this progression from socialism's promise to its ultimate end is Sanders' only hope for getting elected."
Biden Promises to Cure Cancer
In a bid to out-promise his rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, former Vice-President Joe Biden has pledged to cure cancer if he is elected. As it so often happens when Biden gloms onto an idea it turns out not to be an original thought. It was in 1971 that the much reviled President Richard Nixon declared "war on cancer." He even persuaded Congress to pass the National Cancer Act (P.L. 92–218).
The government's war on cancer is now nearing its 50th year. A recent development was the Obama Administration's "Cancer Moonshot" initiative that Biden himself announced in early 2016. "The idea was to imitate JFK's pledge to put a man on the moon within a decade," Biden explained. "The problem with Nixon's plan is that unlike JFK he didn't set a deadline for achieving the goal. I won't make that same mistake once I'm elected president. There will be a firm deadline and severe penalties will be imposed for failure to meet it."
The candidate refused to elaborate on what these penalties might be or to clarify how such a threat could be expected to generate the scientific breakthrough required to produce a cure, saying "I'm not going to show my cards until voters do their part to give me the powers that I need to make this miracle happen. The important thing to remember is that right now I am the only candidate who has offered to cure this dreaded disease. That's more than any of my competitors have done."