Of course I’m skeptical about Barr’s report

“But Attorney General Barr has released a summary of the report and it says Trump is innocent.”

Well, no, it doesn’t. It says he will not be indicted, which is something Mueller said years ago — that he believes you cannot indict a sitting president. (I clearly disagree with that. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution to support that idea.)

williambarr

Barr said that the report does not show “collusion.” Now, keep in mind that, as many conservative scream, there is no law against “collusion.” It’s called “conspiracy.” Saying someone is innocent of “collusion” is like saying someone is innocent of “beating someone up” since the actual law is called “assault.”

But here’s the real thing to keep in mind until the actual report is released:

Barr spent the last year calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. He is fiercely loyal to Trump, who was appointed because he was fiercely loyal in order to replace a previous Attorney General who tried to remain neutral and not say anything about an on-going investigation (you know, like lawyers are supposed to do).

A person who clearly sees their job as being a partisan supporter of Trump may indeed not be presenting us with an unbiased summary of the report.

So don’t buy into the Republican spin on this, where they try to diminish the report that has already led to Trump’s closest advisers either indicted or already in jail, including his campaign chairman, campaign aide, campaign adviser, chief of staff, national security adviser, and personal lawyer — not to mention dozens others here and in Russia.

That is hardly the “nothing burger” they are claiming.

Manfort’s sentence is not too lenient

The fact that other people who commit less serious crimes get harsher sentences doesn’t necessarily mean Manafort’s sentence was not harsh enough.

Manafort, only one of the many criminals in Trump’s circle, was sentenced to only 47 months in jail by a conservative judge who went way below the sentencing guidelines. manafort-mug-verticalManafort still has another sentencing hearing coming up with another judge who can slap more time onto the end of that sentence, so he’s probably going to die in jail one way or another.

But let’s use this time to talk about sentences in America. I don’t think Manafort’s sentence is too lenient. I think most other sentences are too harsh.

We put too many people in jail for too long in America, and especially for nonviolent crimes. America has more people in jail than any other country, including countries that are run by dictators. It costs us a huge amount of money (that the for-profit jails love) and doesn’t prevent recidivism.

There are other options. Home monitoring, community service, long periods of supervised probation.

Somehow the rest of the world seems to understand this.

Sentences for nonviolent crimes should have less prison time. Manafort’s sentence should be the norm instead of the aberration.

Why Cohen is telling the truth (this time)

GOP: Cohen is a convicted liar! You can’t believe a word he says!

Us: And what was the lie he told in the past that got him convicted?

GOP: Well, um, the lie that said Trump was completely innocent.

Us: Thank you.

cohen-11-ap-er-190226_hpMain_16x9_992

I’ve represented some pretty sleazy clients who realized life would be better for them if they came clean and spoke truthfully.

It didn’t mean they were no longer sleazy.

Cohen has no reason to lie and every reason to tell the truth, but that doesn’t make him a good guy.

When Cohen first testified and lied under oath, the GOP praised him and supported him. Now that he’s been convicted of doing so and has no reason to lie any more and lots of reasons to tell the truth, the GOP is attacking him as a terrible liar

Proving once more that these people stand for nothing except whatever is in their own personal interest.

Your children are not your slaves

Stop treating your children like property. Stop treating them like slaves.

Sure, you need to discipline them and sure they don’t have the freedom of an adult, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t people who suffer and feel pain.

It is wrong to hit your wife;  it is wrong to hit your husband;  it is wrong to hit your friends;  it is wrong to hit strangers;  it is wrong to hit your pets;  it is wrong to hit anyone — yet some parents think it is perfectly fine to beat their children. (And no, the argument that “I was beaten and I turned out okay” doesn’t work. You’re not okay, because you think it is fine to hit children.)istockphoto-471647376-612x612

Some parents have complained that there are now laws prohibiting them from smoking in the same car when children are present, despite the clear and obvious danger this poses to young lungs. These same parents don’t whine when they can’t smoke in an airplane or bus, but the car is their property and they apparently think their children are, too.

Other parents refuse to vaccinate their children because of their own ridiculous beliefs, not taking into consideration that the children who are affected might choose way differently if they were adults and had the scientific information available to them. Why this isn’t seen as dangerous as telling them to play in the traffic is beyond me.

Often, religion is used to justify child abuse (and no, I’m not just talking about obvious illegal sex abuse we’ve seen in the Catholic church). Parents use religion to justify beating their children because the Bible says it is okay. (It also says slavery is okay.) Some religions refuse medical treatment for children because they think Jeebus will heal them or something. (Fortunately, this is illegal.) And don’t get me started on circumcision.

If you’re getting upset at what I am writing, please stop and consider why that is. Think about how angry you get when you read about someone abusing their pets and ask if you’re being a hypocrite for not treating your children with the same respect as a dog. Start seeing children as people — small, helpless people who need us to make the kinds of good decisions for them that they are not yet capable of making. People who deserve not to be beaten and physically attacked, no matter how much you think they need it.

The real threat

This week, radical right-wing white males killed or tried to kill Democrats, innocent black people, and Jews in their place of worship.

Republicans: “Look over there! A bunch of poor brown people coming this way! Be very very scared!”

44819330_1012786075567285_8320100252266790912_n

cartoon by Rob Rogers

Another isolated “loner”

Wait, what? The bomber is a right-wing white male Trump-loving conservative and this isn’t a false flag after all? Who would have guessed (besides everyone who has a brain)?

“But he’s just a person with a mental problem who doesn’t represent Trump supporters as a whole!”

Right, right — On his own, without any encouragement from all the people whose posts he plastered all over his van, he decided completely and with no reason whatsoever to target the exact people President Trump has been vilifying constantly. Pure absolute coincidence.

Look, the internal terrorist violence these days always comes from the right. There have been hundreds of attacks on abortion clinics and doctors killed. A nazi drove through a crowd and killed someone. Someone flew a plane into an IRS building, killing many, and someone else blew up a government building in Kansas city. Someone tried to murder a Democratic Congresswoman and shot her in the head. The other day a white man went into a Krogers and targeted and killed black people. The President has praised violence against his enemies.

“Yeah, but one time, years ago, a crazy liberal guy shot at Congresspeople at a baseball game.”

Ah, one example! And that person based his actions on the Democrat’s call for violence — wait, hold on. I can’t find any examples of prominent Democratic politicians or media people calling for violence.

closeup-stickers2345

The bomber’s van, covered in pro-Trump stickers along with pictures of liberal politicians in gun crosshairs. “That van looks like what Steve Bannon would change into if he was a Transformer.” – Hugh Casey

The fact that this was so predictable is the point, isn’t it? These crazy lunatics with easy access to guns listen to the conspiracy-minded Republicans calling for violence and do what they’re told, because they think they’re doing good — that they’re doing what their leaders want them to. And perhaps they are.

There is no equivalence on the left.

“It’s mental illness, I tell ya!”

Yep, mental illness can affect anyone. That explains why these things are always equally distributed between men and women, black and white, liberal and conservative — oh wait. My bad. It’s always the conservative white men, isn’t it?

I long for the days when disagreement with those on the other side of the political divide was based on facts, realism, and the joined desire to make our country a better place with the disagreements being over how to accomplish that. These days, it’s a divide between good and evil.

 

A perfectly treasonable explanation

It’s amazing how real, solid evidence (including indictments, arrests, convictions and guilty pleas) will not convince these people but the wildest conspiracy theories are swallowed whole without a thought.

Trump supporters are still chanting about Hillary while Trump stands with Putin and, despite the findings of the FBI, CIA, and every intelligence organization in his own country, claims that there was no Russian interference in our election.

Amazing, isn’t it?

(Mind you, I’m a criminal defense attorney, so I’m used to guilty people doing their best to discredit the police. I’m just not used to the President of the United States doing it.)

Trump meets with Putin in Helsinki, Finland

Putin’s look is one of a man thinking “I’ve got Trump’s balls right here in my pocket.”  (Photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS)

Here’s the thing (as I’ve said before):

It’s one thing to be ignorant. That’s not the same thing as being stupid. Everyone is ignorant of something. I’m ignorant of sports teams, fashion, and nuclear science.

But ignorance can be cured with education, and knowing you are ignorant of something is good.

The sin is in being willfully ignorant — in refusing to seek out facts or refusing to acknowledge them because it might change your already held opinion.

But the Trump people refuse to believe, despite the indictments and guilty pleas already handed down.  Instead of believing Mueller, who helped to bring Enron, Gotti and many mafia gangsters to justice and whose reputation is untarnished, they rely on Fox News or Trump, whose reputation for truth and facts is undeniably absent.

Sometimes I think this isn’t really a fight between right and left or right and wrong but informed and ignorant.