Category: Society

Juror 1261: Was Justice Undone In The Trial Of Roger Stone

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Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the controversy surrounding the foreperson on the Stone trial and the discovery of biased public comments made before she was called as a juror. The comments raise very serious questions about not just the inclusion of Tomeka Hart on the jury but the legitimacy of the conviction in light of her participation. Courts are extremely reluctant to set aside verdicts and often deny motions for new trials like the two filed by Stone. However, such disclosures make a mockery of the process — and ultimately the court — if undisclosed bias does not have a remedy for a defendant. No defendant can prove conclusively that such bias made the difference, but no prosecutor can prove that it did not. What remains is a dangerous element of doubt in a criminal trial.

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Has The Time Come To Name The “Dishonored Dead”?

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A comparatively small burial plot of the World War I Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France contains the remains of American military personnel who, following convictions in US Military Courts Martial, remain as nearly anonymous as the numbered markers above them. For nearly seventy-five years after their convictions, their grave markers only reveal one or two digit identification numbers and not the names of those so buried. Though they were convicted of capital crimes, do they deserve the dignity of a proper burial that all of us expect for ourselves?

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Red Scare: Love Is Never Having To Say You’re Socialist

On this Valentine’s Day, the Democratic establishment is sending out its equivalent of “forget me nots” saying “Love is never having to say you’re Socialist.” Alarm over the surge of Bernie Sanders has turned widespread alarm in Democratic and media circles (sometimes hard to differentiate on some channels) into full-blown panic. With now a double digit lead over Biden in national polls, there is a constant drumbeat in the media against Sanders — the same type of bias that actually pushed many voters toward Trump in 2016.

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“A Significant Escalation”: Justice Department Sues Sanctuary Cities

In what Attorney General Bill Barr has called a “significant escalation,” the Justice Department is filing actions against sanctuary cities over what is alleged as interference with federal enforcement of immigration laws and removals. As discussed yesterday, both parties seems to be going “all in” on immigration from sharply opposing positions.

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Trump And The Democrats Go All In On Immigration

Somebody is really, really wrong. The Democratic presidential candidates have doubled down on the party’s opposition to the Trump immigration policies while supporting sanctuary cities, noncooperation with ICE on detainers and other issues. In the meantime, the Trump Administration is prevailing in litigation over his travel ban orders and it is now expanding the nations subject to the executive order. Both parties seem to believe that they have the voters on their side, including a new showdown in New York where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed the “Green Light Law” allowing undocumented persons to get driver’s licenses. That has set off a major confrontation with Homeland Security which is vowing to suspend enrollment in the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP).

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Pelosi Shreds Decades Of Tradition In Demonstrating Against Trump

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This morning I have a column in the Hill newspaper on my reaction to the disgraceful conduct of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and various Democratic members at the State of the Union address last night. As I tweeted during the address, her conduct tore up more than a speech, but decades of tradition and left any semblance of civility in tatters on the House floor.

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Gallup: Trump Hits 49 Percent On Eve Of Senate Impeachment Vote

Gallup’s latest poll this week found that President Donald Trump has not only held his level of popularity but increased his popularity. Those approving his job performance are now at 49%. While 50% disapprove—1% expressed no opinion—the approval level is actually better than the polling numbers of President Barack Obama at this time in his term. Obama was polling at that time at 46%. We have been discussing how the polling shows no real change on the position of most voters on impeachment. Yet, despite a brutal two weeks of an impeachment trial, Trump has become more popular. It may reflect that most people did not watch the trial or follow its progression.

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When Will We Finally Treat Ancient Human Remains With Dignity?

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

While I maintain that the scientific community has for hundreds of years steadfastly failed to exercise a modern sense of decency and respect for human remains of the ancients, a recent article in Ars Technica prompted me to type my concern.

The objection I have is that most societies in the world currently place special value and reverence in the preserving and protection of interred human remains, often citing the desire to allow the departed the right to rest in peace. Yet, among governments, scientific organizations, academics, and museums we allow an abandonment of these values and permit the continual insult to the deceased–who’s remains serve as equivalents to rock samples and objects to be endlessly studied and displayed to the curious.

Would we allow such a spectacle to be exacted upon our own families?

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Washington State Senator Introduces Bill To Deregulate Lemonade Stands

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the lemonade of Andria & Zoey.

In a welcome departure from Washington State’s penchant to overbearingly tax, regulate, and control every aspect of human existence possible, a state senator recently introduced Senate Bill 6320 titled “AN ACT Relating to the ability of a minor to operate a lemonade business on an occasional basis” as a prophylaxis against the state shutting down another fledgling business and cultural icon: the childhood lemonade stand.

It is, however, a rather sad commentary that such a bill becomes necessary, but given the unholy alliance between the neighborhood busy-bodies who shake their canes at all things enjoyed by children and mindless automatons of local government who put rules above reason, it seems we now have to legislate discretion to protect young entrepreneurs from being thwarted by the ridiculousness sometimes displayed by adults having more power than sense.

Do we have to make laws to protect lemonade stands from government? Unfortunately it seems in today’s society we must.

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Turkey Moves Toward Passage Of Controversial “Marry Your Rapist” Law

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We have often discussed the struggle of women in Muslim countries in resisting religious-based requirements for coverings and limitations on their movements and interactions. Turkey was once the exception among these countries as a secular, modern nation. That was before the rise of Islamic parties under the authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey under Erdogan has already rolled back on protections for girls and women in abuse cases. Now the country is considering a horrific law aptly called the “marry-your-rapist” bill. Under this legislation, men accused of having sex with underaged girls could avoid punishment if they marry their victims.

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Biden Ordered To Appear In Paternity Action On Threat Of Contempt

We have been following the case of Hunter Biden in Arkansas as he continues to resist efforts to confirm his wealth and establish child support for his child with Lunden Alexis Roberts. Her lawyers have been trying unsuccessfully to get access to financial records and other information and now Independence County Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer has ordered him to appear on January 29th to “show cause, if any exists, as to why he should not be held in contempt for any of the alleged violations of this Court’s orders.”

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A Nation Divided: A New Poll Shows Deep And Widening Split Over Trump

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A new Gallup poll shows just how deeply and irreconcilably divided we remain over President Donald Trump.  Some 89 percent of Republicans approve of Trump. That is not just reaching the record levels of Dwight D. Eisenhower, but outpaces Jesus Christ who polls only a 68 percent share and he has two holidays.  However, among Democrats, the rate falls to 7% percent — a difference of 82 percent.

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MSNBC Host Lawrence O’Donnell Declares Trump Supporters “Liars” And Refuses To Have Them On Show

500px-MSNBC_2015_logo.svgSome of us have been highly critical of the trend in media toward “echo-journalism” where cable networks tailor their coverage to reinforce and repeat the expectations of their viewers.  Few hosts are willing to admit to the formula coverage, though there have been telling moments.  None have been open than Lawrence O’Donnell on  The Al Franken Podcast when he declared that MCNBC was completely over the need to present two sides of coverage on Trump because defenders of Trump are “liars” and “I don’t bring on a liar.” It is that simple.  The other side is just lies so only our side needs to be reported.

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Deaf Man Sues Pornhub and Other Sites For Lack Of Closed Captioning

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 7.43.32 AMA deaf man in New York, Yaroslav Suris,  has sued Pornhub and other pornographic websites over what he claims is a lack of closed captioning that prevents him from enjoying “video content” as a disabled person.  He claims that sites like Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn are in violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and its mandate that public accommodation’s goods, services, facilities and privileges must allow for “full and equal enjoyment” for disabled individuals. Continue reading “Deaf Man Sues Pornhub and Other Sites For Lack Of Closed Captioning”

Germany Moves To Expand Anti-Free Speech Laws With The Criminalization Of Flag Burning

Recently we discussed how decades of anti-free speech policies in Germany have reduced the expectations of citizens in that country to the level of an authoritarian regime. A survey, conducted by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach(and published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) found that only 18 percent of Germans feel free to express their views in public. Undeterred, leaders have called for greater limits on free speech during election periods — a concept that would normally be viewed as counterintuitive outside of the new European model. In addition, Germany just announced that it would expand anti-free speech laws even further to criminalize the burning of flags — an expression of free speech protected in this country.

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