Glass Houses & Gary Johnson

This election is getting to the point of comedy.  A foul-mouthed, bumbling buffoon.  A hypocritical, underhanded war monger.  A psychopathic, misogynistic white supremacist.  And a Wall Street wolf wearing ill-fitting sheep’s clothing.  Or, Trump, Clinton, Pence and Kaine respectively.  This clown car of deplorables is engaged in a shock and awe campaign of open warfare against each other, and unfortunately the health, wealth and posterity of our entire nation may be unavoidable collateral damage.  How did we get here?

The simple answer is that the parties really dropped the ball on this one.  The Republicans are such a piebald and petty collection of narcissistic prima donnas that they couldn’t rally enough support around a single candidate to beat Trump in the primaries.  Remember that Republican primary field?  There were enough conservative white men on that stage to start a new NRA chapter – and Dr. Ben Carson was there, too.  But because of the fractured nature of the Republican party, they couldn’t beat the ridiculous spectacle that is Donald Trump.  Pox on you, Republicans.

And the Democrats weren’t much better.  Before the primary season even began, the Democratic National Committee already decided that Hillary Clinton would be the party’s nominee.  Hillary Clinton – who even then was known as one of the most unlikeable public figures in modern history – was selected by party elites to lead the party.  They were so blinded by loyalty to Hillary that they completely ignored the majority of probable voters – both Democrats and Independents – that made it very clear that Clinton was not acceptable.  With a much smaller field, and a handful of rather promising candidates, the DNC still chose (by essentially rigging the primaries) the absolute worst candidate of the bunch – well, not counting Jim Webb.  So, pox on you too, Democrats.

Because of severe dysfunction within the parties themselves, we ended up with the two most unfavorable major party candidates in history heading into the November election.  And its not just the Donald’s uncanny resemblance to an orange orangutan, or Hillary’s irritating penchant for designer pantsuits.  Both of these people are deeply flawed, and have decades of verifiable history which demonstrate – loudly – those flaws.

Of course the big news this week was the revelation of Trump’s “hot mic” moment with Billy Bush when he suggested that celebrities could sexually assault women without reprisal.  The candid moment was obviously horrifying to any modern sensibility and an assault to common decency.  The Trump camp has tried to assuage the impact of the interview by stating that it was “locker room talk” and that it occurred more than a decade ago – in 2005.  First, are they trying to say that Trump is not the same person he was when he was only 60 years old?  Has he honestly changed and “matured” that much between his 60th and 70th birthdays?  Not likely.  And while I will grant some degree of credence to the “locker room” nature of the comments – since, as a man I have heard some pretty tasteless and objectifying talk about women in locker rooms – I have to draw the line at literally condoning sexual battery.  But here is the question I have for all the former Trump supporters that have since jumped ship, as well as all the liberals who are foaming at the mouth at such a vulgar display of predatory misogyny – Is anyone actually surprised?  I mean, we have all known what a pig Trump is for years.

What I find most compelling about this backroom banter is the timing of its release – at almost the exact instant that Wikileaks released emails from the Clinton campaign.  And of course, the salacity of Trump’s toilet talk has practically buried the rather damning emails concerning Hillary and her henchmen.  If anyone was paying attention, we got to see some of the statements Hillary made to Wall Street executives in speeches for which she was paid millions of dollars, including some very telling insights into her actual political positions.  For instance she admitted that she has no idea what it’s like for the middle class – in other words, she is completely out of touch with common folk and is much more interested in helping the wealthy.  She also stated that she has “public positions” and “private positions,” essentially promising Wall Street  favors while publicly pretending to be tough on them.  In addition to the numerous nuggets of hypocrisy and underhandedness revealed by the email dump, it also became clearer that Clinton and the mainstream media are and have been actively conspiring to undermine this election.  I could ask the same question – Is anyone surprised – but the more pressing question is why isn’t everyone more concerned about these latest revelations?  Well, because Trump.  They always find a way to put the spotlight back on him.

This whole election cycle has been one big mud fight, with all the candidates focused more on showing how terrible the other candidates are than actually discussing the issues.  And as the field has narrowed, we have emerged with two major party candidates that both seem to be running with the slogan “I’m Better Than The Other Guy.”  The problem is that both of these candidates are throwing stones from their own glass houses.  Admittedly, Trump does seem to have worse aim, actually throwing a few stones at his own house along the way, but Hillary remains just as vulnerable to people who are actually paying attention.  And if we continue going down this road, we really will have a president that is elected because slightly more than half the population hates one candidate slightly less than the other one.  This is not how democracy is supposed to work.

And then there’s Gary Johnson.  I only bring this guy up for all you “conscientious” conservatives out there that can no longer vote for Trump because he has a potty mouth.  It is no secret that I cannot – will not – vote for Hillary Clinton, even though I think a Trump presidency could possibly lead to the end of modern civilization.  I believe it would be good for America – and the rest of the world – if neither of our major party candidates wins in November.  And while I will likely cast a protest vote for Jill Stein myself, I acknowledge that the Green Party is not quite ready to cause any significant upset to our current 2-party system.  Which is why I mention Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.  I’m no supporter of Johnson and his laissez-faire economic policy proposals, but I would much prefer a Johnson-Weld win over a Trump-Pence win.

Gary Johnson is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, to be sure.  But he espouses a position that most economic conservatives should be fawning over.  He also stands for many of the social policy positions that more liberal-minded voters would welcome, including pro-choice abortion policy, ending the war on drugs and mass incarceration, and marriage equality.  And while his foreign policy expertise is – lacking? – his non-interventionist position would save billions of dollars and thousands of American lives.  And while this guy is not so smart, he is at least as smart as Trump, who comes across as barely literate.  So, why don’t you Republicans vote for Gary Johnson?  He is already polling at well over 10%, meaning he has a real chance of causing an upset, especially if Trump supporters abandon Trump en masse and switch to the Libertarian ticket.

And while I would have many problems with a Johnson presidency, if we really are running a “lesser evil” campaign, then I gotta say that he would probably be less damaging – and less evil – than either Trump or Hillary, regardless of which side of the aisle you are currently seated.  So, let’s let the two big parties continue to tear each other’s houses down to the ground, and elect a third party candidate to office for the first time in history.  It will not only avert a catastrophe of biblical proportions, it will also pave the way for a ruling class that actually listens to its constituencies.  A Johnson-Weld win, while less than ideal, may just save our beloved democracy from utter collapse.

As always, I remain Your Lawscholar.

The Worst Witness is an Eyewitness

Recently, I had a minor incident with my memory.  As I was getting ready to leave my house for work, I gathered my things, made sure my briefcase was packed, and reached for my keys.  I kissed the missus, and jogged hurriedly out the door.  I got in the car, got situated, and then realized I had no keys.  I though I must have dropped them in the rear floorboard when I put my briefcase

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Pit Bull Milestone

“Another Tragic Notch In Their Belt” There goes the media again, blaming yet another fatal dog mauling on a cuddly, misunderstood pit bull.  Well, not exactly “the media,” since I had to search high and low to find a single mention of the horrific mauling death of Michelle Wilcox, 30, in Screven County, Georgia, on a single local news outlet for that small, rural area of my own home state.   Apparently the death of

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Black versus Blue: Brought to You by the War on Drugs

I know a lot of people are trying to cope with a lot of enmity and loss this week.  The police shootings of #Alton Sterling and #PhilandoCastile, followed by the shooting of police officers in Dallas at a Black Lives Matter protest, has left the nation reeling.  People are understandably shaken by the deaths of two more black victims of over-zealous law enforcement.  And people are equally justified in expressing outrage and antipathy toward the

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Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts: the Sneaky Remnants of Jim Crow

Greetings Citizens of Earth: I was recently asked a question by a concerned citizen about why some states still allow criminal convictions with a non-unanimous jury verdict.  I was immediately reminded of a scene in the 1929 Marx Brothers movie, Animal Crackers, when Groucho Marx’s character asks another character “what is your opinion of Art?” The other character, an art collector, says, very enthusiastically, “I am VERY glad you asked me that…” and Groucho immediately

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Obama’s Legacy: Most Disrespected President Ever.

Greetings Citizens of Earth. Here we go again.  It all started when a little Kenyan boy from Hawaii became President of the United States.  The same Kenyan boy who graduated from Columbia University, earned a law degree from Harvard Law School, practiced as a civil rights attorney and was a law professor at University of Chicago Law School.  He then served three terms in the Illinois Senate before being elected to the United States Senate

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Marvelous Night For A Moondance

#InternationalObserveTheMoonNight The date is October 8, 2016, which has been declared International Observe the Moon Night.  Around the world, people looked up at our closest celestial neighbor as it entered its First Quarter phase.  International Observe the Moon Night (“InOMN”) is an “annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration, as well as the cultural and personal connections we all have

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A Quick Word: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

As November 8, 2016 approaches, and the election season is accelerating toward that finish line, I find myself torn by indecision.  I mean, I have to vote this year.  I haven’t missed a national election in almost twenty (20) years.  But this year I just can’t make my mind up for some reason.  My friends, family and cherished acquaintances occasionally lambast me for not committing to one of the candidates.  But I don’t like either

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Kratom Kraze

“Not To Be Confused With Reefer Madness” Here we go again.  Coming on the heels of the DEA’s announcement that they would be completely disregarding scientists, doctors, lawmakers, and the general public who pays their bloated salaries in refusing to re-schedule marijuana, they now are placing another 100% natural, safe, and therapeutic plant on Schedule I.  Mitragyna Speciosa, known colloquially as Kratom in the U.S., is a tropical deciduous tree in the same family as

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Anatomy of a Case: Part VII

“Evidentiary Essentials” The next stage for our fictitious litigants, following arraignment and discovery, is a Preliminary Examination, or P.E., at which they will also most likely argue for suppression of any evidence obtained by the police.  However, before we get to that hearing, I decided it might be helpful to talk about evidence, in general, as well as some specific types of evidence that may come up in a criminal matter.  But mostly my goal

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We(ed) the People…

“DEA Says Screw the People” Another blow was dealt to reasonable and rational drug policy last week when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declined to re-schedule marijuana, choosing instead to keep the substance on the most restrictive schedule (Schedule I).  In so doing, they are claiming, once again, that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, and no known medical value.  Of course, both of these determinations are completely contrary to ALL the evidence we

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Deconstructing America:

Why Donald Trump’s Presidency Would Be Good For America Let me begin by saying that I will not – ever – vote for Donald Trump.  He is a thin-skinned, psychopathic, megalomaniacal ignoramus, and he will likely be the worst president in U.S. history.  His running mate, Mike Pence, is an educated, politically experienced theocratic horror show that will set back women’s rights at least 50 years.  I do not look forward to a Trump/Pence win

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Anatomy of a Case: Part VI

“Disclosing and Discovering Evidence” “My lawyer says they got to turn over all the evidence they have against me.  Something about Brady and all that.”  Sammie pauses, obviously listening to the person on the other end of his telephone conversation.  He had just met with his lawyer to go over the criminal case pending against him, and he called his mother to share what he learned.  She was concerned, as any mother should be, about

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Profiting From Injustice:

Addressing Mass Incarceration And Prison Reform As a criminal defense lawyer, I have seen the inside of the justice system up close, and am well versed in the lies, misconceptions, inefficiencies and abuses that plague that system.  And I have seen my share of young, non-violent offenders slapped with oppressive prison sentences for relatively minor crimes.  Thankfully, there seems to be a new movement emerging in many parts of the country to reform the criminal

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Thanks For All The Fish

To all my friends, family and faithful readers, it is with solemnity and reverence that I confess today is my birthday.  But not just any birthday.  This is a birthday of supreme cosmic consequence, as any casual reader of the late Douglas Adams will certainly already know.  For the un-initiated, it goes something like this… In a distant corner of the galaxy, a long time ago, a race of hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional beings designed and built

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Political Party Revolution

The Failure of a 2-Party System Happy 240th Independence Day, America (sorry I’m late). In the summer of 1776, at what was perhaps the height of the American Revolution, the Thirteen Colonies of America declared their independence from British rule.  It is interesting to note that the United States was officially born when the Second Continental Congress voted for a resolution of independence on July 2, 1776.  In fact, John Adams, who would later become

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Anatomy of a Case: Part V

“Don’t Kill All The Lawyers – You Might Need One” In Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, one of the characters, Dick the Butcher, a vile and treacherous killer, while discussing his plan to overthrow the government and create a utopian paradise, utters the well-known phrase “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”  Since that time, people have often used that quote to disparage lawyers and judges, suggesting that society would be better off

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