Below is my column in USA Today on the prosecution of three state and local officials in the Flint, Michigan water scandal. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has promised more (and higher ranking) defendants in the coming weeks. However, as discussed in this column, these cases are not as straightforward as the pictures of bottles of Flint water juxtaposed against clean water. While there are strong elements to some of the charges, the prosecution is not nearly as easily or obvious as has been suggested in the media, in my view.
If you thought Donald Trump was raising eyebrows in a presidential election with his support for torture and killing the families of terrorists, he appears perfectly moderate in comparison to Philippine presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte likes to comment on his genitals and recently attracted international criticism for a disgusting joke about his desire to rape a female minister who was savagely killed in 1989. Now he is being quoted as saying that he would pardon himself for mass murder if elected and hand out thousands of pardons to government officials accused of such crimes.
We have previously discussed the bizarre situation of two candidates (Trump and Clinton) with historic negative polling numbers emerge as the frontrunners for the general election. Six out of ten voters say that they are unwilling to vote for either Trump or Clinton. Now a new poll shows that over half of American voters believe that the primary system is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want a new system for electing their leaders. What is remarkable is how detached the system appears from the voters. The GOP primary is advancing a candidate with high exceptionally negatives for the general election. In the meantime, the public is in open revolt of the “establishment” so the Democratic leadership has lined up to guarantee the selection of the candidate who is the ultimate establishment figure. Now one-fourth of voters are saying that they will stay at home rather than vote for either of the frontrunners.
Lawyers often try to take a bite out of the evidence but one Russian lawyer takes that expression to a literal degree. This Russian lawyer was caught on CCTV actually eating the report showing the level of alcohol in his client’s system at the time of an automobile accident. The video is below.
There is an interesting case out of Indiana where a would-be burglar who was shot by an owner is suing over the wounding. David A. Bailey, 31, reportedly broke into the garage of David McLaughlin of Dunkirk, Ind., on April 21, 2014. McLaughlin, now 33, fired gunshots at the intruder as Bailey fled from his property — hitting him in the left arm.
The slaughter of intellectuals and civil liberties advocates has continued in Bangladesh. A U.S. Embassy worker and editor of Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine Xulhaz Mannan was one of two men hacked to death this week in what is believed to be the latest murders by Islamic extremists. We have been discussing the surge of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, particularly targeting secular writers. Law student and secular writer Nazimuddin Samad, 26, was the sixth such victim recently. Then last week we had the murder of a popular professor.
As Western leaders like Angela Merkel cave into the authoritarian demands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in crushing free speech, journalists and cartoonists are fighting back. After a Dutch journalist was arrested in Turkey this weekend for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the most-read newspaper in the Netherlands threw down the gauntlet and published a front-page editorial cartoon that shows Erdogan as an ape crushing Europe’s free speech. Since Erdogan demands the prosecution of journalists even outside of Turkey who insult him, the publication could force another confrontation with the aspiring dictator. In the meantime, the West (including the United States) continue to prop up Erdogan as he destroys secular government in Turkey, arrests journalists, and denies the most basic forms of free speech.