Why I didn’t vote for Joe Biden (and Don’t Regret It)

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There are a truckload of reasons that Joe Biden was a terrible candidate: he has a history of lying and fabricating, and was even forced to withdraw his candidacy in a previous presidential campaign for being caught plagiarizing speeches and lying about his record. He voted for the Iraq War and actively and enthusiastically cheered on the war machine, even after it was made public that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and it should have been obvious that it was an unjustified, preemptive war of aggression. …


Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat?

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If anyone is paying attention to American politics at this time, it would be difficult to miss the fact that we are in a presidential election year. Donald Trump, currently serving as the 45th President of the United States, is running for his second term against a winnowing field of Democratic hopefuls. Trump, despite the deep loathing of approximately 50% of the electorate, is still a powerful adversary, carrying with him not only the sycophantic support of his own party members (with some notable exceptions), but he is also brandishing one of the most effective weapons available — incumbency in what may become a disaster-recovery year, depending on how he weathers the COVID-19 response. This obviously makes a lot of people uneasy, and makes the Democratic nomination process ever more important. …


Why The Left Attacks the Left

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In November, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. This event was viewed as a cataclysm of biblical proportions to people around the world, most notably by Americans who identify as rational human beings. In fact, absent the approximately 65 million voters who voted for Trump, virtually everyone in the developed world considered the election of Donald Trump a grave tragedy, at worst, to a comedic farce, at best. Rising out of the toxic fallout of the 2016 election, was an emboldened faction of belligerent bigotry on the American right, and an equally aggressive faction of defiant “resistance” on the left. And while the right-wing zealots are celebrating their newfound sense of superiority, the resistance-wing of the Democratic Party has been scrabbling to undo the 2016 election — and they have been losing. Russiagate, the Mueller Report, Ukrainegate and impeachment, the establishment left has thrown scandal after scandal at Trump and his administration. …


A White Privilege?

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I actually wrote an article about this a few years ago, on a now-defunct website that I can no longer access. But I recently read about the police shooting of Terry Tillman in St. Louis in September, and it reminded me that this issue still persists in America. St. Louis is an “open carry” jurisdiction, and Mr. Tillman was carrying a pistol in a holster when he entered the Galleria Mall in Richmond Heights. Apparently, according to officers, the Galleria mall had recently changed its firearm policy, and when officers approached Tillman to kindly remind him of the new ‘no-guns policy,’ Tillman fled — out of the ‘no gun policy’ mall. Despite the fact that he left the premises, officers chased him into the parking lot, where he was then shot several times before dying. Police claim that Tillman raised his gun at officers, however people in the community, including Tillman’s family, aren’t convinced. They have demanded evidence, including video footage of the encounter. They want to know, “Did Terry Tillman get shot because he was a black man with a gun?” …


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The date is June 16, 2019, and it is officially Father’s Day here in the United States. The first known Father’s Day celebration in America occurred in 1910, in Spokane, Washington, though it didn’t really catch on. In fact, there were numerous failed attempts to revive the holiday for several decades, including attempts by national leaders like Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson. However, while Mother’s Day has been celebrated since the 1870’s, and has been a declared national holiday since 1913, Father’s Day did not gain that distinction until 1972, when President Nixon signed it into law.

Its not hard to understand why Father’s Day has been so slow on the uptake. For much of the past 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution began to reshape the American family, moving us from a largely agrarian society to an urban work-a-day society, fathers occupied the role of breadwinner and disciplinarian, but they otherwise had limited involvement in the nurturing of their children. Almost all of the daily child-rearing responsibilities were undertaken by the mother. Dads would work all day, and maybe see the kids for a few minutes at night before moms corralled them into bed. …


On Inequity Built Into Habitual Offender Laws

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ImageSource:https://lifethroughtheiris.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/criminal-justice-system.jpg?w=1100&h=9999

I have noticed over the course of my legal career that criminal defendants with money (or who have supportive families with money), fare better than those who are poor. We see it play out in several distinct ways within the criminal justice system. It has been pointed out how poor people pay astronomically higher fines and fees in traffic and misdemeanor courts, such as Municipal Courts. People with money get a traffic ticket, or some other minor municipal offense, like Disturbing the Peace, or Public Intoxication, and they simply pay the fine with a single check. These monied offenders are then off the hook, living footloose and fancy free. However, people without money — poor people — often cannot afford to pay the fine, and they have to be placed on some type of payment plan, almost always with an additional fee on top of the fine. If these people cannot make the payment, they may incur late fee penalties, of even contempt of court fines. …


The Paradox of the Plea Bargain: Indispensable, Yet Treacherous

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In the United States, every year tens of millions of people are charged with traffic offenses, misdemeanors and/or felonies. Approximately 95% of those cases resolve either through guilty pleas or other pre-trial devices. In other words, only about 5% of criminal cases actually go to trial. So prevalent is the guilty plea — almost always by means of a plea bargain — that a rather large body of caselaw and precedent has developed around just this concept. …


The Overton Window and the Populist Left

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Image source: https://www.socialistalternative.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Bernie-OurRevolution-Logo-600x.jpg

Bernie Sanders was cheated in 2016. I don’t mean to suggest that I know he would have won the nomination if not for cheating, but there is no doubt that he was cheated. The DNC has practically admitted that it purposely shut Sanders out. Superdelegates — unelected party insiders — flat out ignored voters in supporting Clinton, even in states that overwhelmingly supported Sanders. For example, in Washington and Colorado, where Sanders won the primary by a substantial margin, he received the support of ZERO superdelegates. In fact Sanders won at least 45% of the popular vote in the primaries, but only received about 7% of the superdelegates. Then there was the resignation of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who was forced to resign amid allegations of bias in the primary. And her successor, Donna Brazile, actually leaked debate questions to Clinton. …


Why American Prisons Stay Filled

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Image source: https://texashillcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/baitcars-660x400.jpg

It is no secret that America is the Incarceration Capital of the world. Not only does the U.S. have the highest percentage of prison inmates, we also have the highest absolute number of citizens behind bars. In fact, while the U.S. population makes up only 5% of the world’s population, we boast nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners. There are more than two million people in state and federal prisons, and another half-million in local jails. Additionally, there are another 5 million or so people on probation or parole, bringing the total number of Americans under correctional supervision to more than 7 million people. That is approximately 3% of all adults in the country. …


Just Build the Stupid Wall

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President Donald Trump has been promising his supporters that he was going to build a wall on our southern border since at least he announced his candidacy for president in 2015. It was arguably one of his most cheered proposals at his raucous rallies during the campaign. He previously stated that he wanted a concrete wall, beautiful, tall and strong, like the Great Wall of China, and he stated bluntly that Mexico was going to pay for it.

Not surprisingly, he has wavered on BOTH of these conditions. He is now insisting that we — the American taxpayers — pay for the wall, but promises that the costs will somehow be indirectly borne by Mexico. He has also scaled back his plans, stating that he would settle for a steel slat barrier instead of a concrete wall, due in part to the expense, and part to the feasibility of a 1,000 mile long concrete wall. …

About

Jesse Beasley

Public interest advocate. Guitar guru. Devoted father. Political dissident.

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