Jury Shopping

Sammy Brownback instigated a metric ton of crap in Kansas before his nomination to suck up to the Pope sidelined him, but this blatant instance of political jury shopping has to be one of his most striking byblows of his reign.

Three men accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees asked a federal judge [last] Friday to include prospective jurors from rural western Kansas because they are twice as likely to have voted for President Donald Trump.

A defense motion argues that plans to only summon citizens in the more urban counties closest to the federal courthouse in Wichita is a discriminatory practice that excludes rural and conservative jurors. The trial begins March 19.

Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights for allegedly planning to detonate truck bombs in the meatpacking town of Garden City the day after the November 2016 election. Wright also faces a charge of lying to the FBI.

The three men, who were indicted in October 2016, have pleaded not guilty.

“This case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will center around, and was in reaction to, the 2016 Presidential election,” defense attorneys wrote.

They also argued the case will require jurors to weigh whether the alleged conduct constitutes a crime or whether it is constitutionally protected speech and assembly and the right to bear arms. 1 2

The U.S. attorney’s office said in an email that it was “evaluating the motion.” 3

Kansas is fucked for another generation.

Jury Shopping

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Since when is plotting to bomb a mosque considered “political speech”?
  2.   While we’re at it…since when are “bombs” protected by the Second Amendment?
  3. Where, we trust, evaluating the motion equals “laughing their asses off hysterically.”

Tillerson and DPRK

Lost in the past week’s tar and feathering of Roy Moore was (soon-to-be-erstwhile) Secretary of StateTillerson’s wholly sensible attempt to lure DPRK to the negotiating table:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a key U.S. demand that Pyongyang must first accept that giving up its nuclear arsenal would be part of any negotiations.

Tillerson’s new diplomatic overture comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

“Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said in a speech to Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank on Tuesday.

The White House later issued an ambiguous statement that left unclear whether President Donald Trump – who has said Tillerson was wasting his time pursuing dialogue with North Korea – had given his approval for the speech.

“The president’s views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House said. “North Korea is acting in an unsafe way … North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”

This was a hugely surprising statement from the oil baron, especially as he nominally fits right in with the Dolt of Idiots within the Administration. It is also the sanest approach to DPRK proffered by anyone in that same Administration, 1 given DPRK is already a nuclear state with no more intentions of relinquishing those capabilities than, say, Israel.

Lest you think us insane it’s useful to remember that since Shrub & The Dark Lord, no one, we mean no one, from the State Department has been allowed to speak directly to their  DPNK cohorts.  2

And look how well that has worked out, n’est-ce pas?

Tillerson and DPRK

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Safe to say we’re suffering a touch of whiplash from the cognitive dissonance of it all.
  2. You’ll remember one of Shrub’s Greatest Hits from 2002, when he named the country part of the “axis of evil”?

Roy Moore: Lawless Theocratic Lunatic

Any report about Roy Moore that doesn’t specifically refer to him as a right-wing extremist is not worth your time. No more “firebrand.” No more impotent yap about his “controversial views.” Roy Moore is an extremist or the word no longer has meaning. If, as appears likely, he gets elected to the Senate from Alabama, then a majority of Alabama voters are extremists, too. If he gets elected, then the Republican Party ever more should be referred to as an extremist party. That, of course, is if we’re being honest about what’s really going on in this country in 2017.

And, no, when it comes to the people who voted for Moore, I don’t have to “respect their beliefs.” I don’t have to “understand where they’re coming from.” I don’t have to “see it from their side.” These people are preparing to make a lawless theocratic lunatic one of 100 United States Senators, and that means these people are about to inflict him and his medievalism on me, too. If you think that Roy Moore belongs in the Senate, then you are a half-bright goober whose understanding of American government and basic civics probably stops at the left side of your AM radio dial. You have no concept of the national interest and very little concept of your own, unless, as I suspect, you’ve made your own fears, and hating people and hawking loogies in all directions, the sum total of your involvement in self-government. You are killing democracy and you don’t know it or care. If you had any real Christian charity in your hearts, you’d keep Roy Moore in the locked ward of your local politics and not loose him on a nation that deserves so much better than him.

Why do I not have to “respect their beliefs,” besides the fact that most of those beliefs belong in a cage? I don’t have to “respect their beliefs” because the U.S. Senate to which they are preparing to send him is in the process of screwing them with their pants on and they could care less.

Roy Moore: Lawless Theocratic Lunatic

How To Win a War on Drugs

Decades ago, the United States and Portugal both struggled with illicit drugs and took decisive action — in diametrically opposite directions. The U.S. cracked down vigorously, spending billions of dollars incarcerating drug users. In contrast, Portugal undertook a monumental experiment: It decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, even heroin and cocaine, and unleashed a major public health campaign to tackle addiction. Ever since in Portugal, drug addiction has been treated more as a medical challenge than as a criminal justice issue.

After more than 15 years, it’s clear which approach worked better. The United States drug policy failed spectacularly, with about as many Americans dying last year of overdoses — around 64,000 — as were killed in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars combined.

In contrast, Portugal may be winning the war on drugs — by ending it. Today, the Health Ministry estimates that only about 25,000 Portuguese use heroin, down from 100,000 when the policy began.

The number of Portuguese dying from overdoses plunged more than 85 percent before rising a bit in the aftermath of the European economic crisis of recent years. Even so, Portugal’s drug mortality rate is the lowest in Western Europe — one-tenth the rate of Britain or Denmark — and about one-fiftieth the latest number for the U.S.

For the last 50-someodd years the reactionaries in our government have abandoned common sense, not to mention compassion and empathy for their fellow citizens, when it has come to drug policy, instead preferring to have their ignorance praised and prejudices stroked by the mouth-breathers, deplorables and multinational corporations.

But hot damn if that isn’t changing by sheer attrition: Moronic regressives like Lil’ Jeffy Sessions are slowly dying out. And they’re being replaced by a more knowledgeable electorate, people who know they have been lied to, by whom and for what reasons.

This will eventually spell the doom of prohibition; inch by inch, sloooooowly we will turn..

Even the U.S. government will have to come around: One can deny the obvious only for so long.

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” Thomas Paine

How To Win a War on Drugs