WASHINGTON STATE POT GROWERS FACE PRISON WHILE TRAITOROUS FORMER GENERAL WILL WALK
On March 3, 2015, there was brutal cold and the hangover from several major
snow storms to contend with in the Northeast and Midwest, unseasonably
chilly weather in Florida that had natives and tourists alike bundling
up, and intermittent rain and fog in the Pacific Northwest, but none of
this kept the American criminal justice system from grinding along --
from sea to shining sea -- as it does no matter the weather.
Spokane, Washington, a white family of three medical marijuana patients
-- father, mother and daughter -- faced several years in prison after
being convicted of growing more pot plants than the law allowed. In
Panama City, Florida, a 21-year-old black man was expected to be
sentenced to prison after being found guilty of selling a small quantity
of marijuana to an undercover agent, while in Washington, D.C., the
Justice Department announced that an investigation had concluded that
the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black
teenager was shot dead last summer by a white officer, regularly uses
force almost exclusively on blacks and stops them without probable
cause. In fact, although blacks make up 67 percent of Ferguson's
population, blacks account for 95 percent of all arrests. The city's court system, the report found, routinely jails blacks for even the most minor infractions.
the big criminal justice news on March 3 was that David H. Petraeus had
reached a plea
deal after admitting that he had provided his highly
classified personal journals to a mistress when he was CIA director, a
crime that in another day and age would have been considered treasonous
and in this day and age would have resulted in a court martial and hard
time in a brig -- if not an appointment with a firing squad -- for a
lesser ranking soldier.
The family in Spokane and the young man
in Panama City, neither affluent or socially connected, are facing
prison time, their lives effectively put on hold if not destroyed, while
Petraeus, the ultimate insider with many politician friends, including
the man in the White House, coped a misdemeanor plea and will pay a
$40,000 fine and serve two years of prison-free probation while keeping
his job as a lavishly compensated financial industry mover and shaker.
The contrast between the fates of these marijuana
malefactors and a highly decorated four-star general who is the
best-known military commander of his generation, speaks volumes about
how deeply dysfunctional American society is in a most fundamental
respect -- that courts and juries, aided and abetted by their police and
prosecutorial helpmates, as well as attorneys who get filthy rich off
of this cancer, dispense "justice" according to social rank, influence
and affluence, outdated mores and, of course, race.
student of American jurisprudence knows that the way the law is applied
in these United States has always been skewed, but that view is profoundly
short-sighted in a contemporary context. Of course it always has been
skewed, yet despite laws and policies of recent vintage prohibiting
favoritism toward certain defendants because of their standing and
wealth, your chances of being treated fairly is more of an abstraction
OBAMACARE: YOU READ IT HERE FIRST
conservative wing of the Roberts Supreme Court, too often joined by
Justice Kennedy, has jumped the shark as throwing the 2000 presidential
election to George W. Bush and the Citizens United decision have shown. So when the high court agreed against good sense to hear King vs. Burwell,
in which the right-wing litigants argue that four errant words in the
Affordable Care Act demand that this highly successful program be
gutted, those of us of the left-of-center persuasion started casing out
windows to jump from.
But oral arguments last week -- despite some
of the silliest legal posturing in modern court history and nary a
mention of the more the 8 million people who would lose access to health
insurance because of the "death spiral" that would result if the
absurdist architects of the King case get their way -- provided a glimmer of hope.
So here's my prediction: King
will be thrown out in a 6-3 ruling with Chief Justice Roberts and
Justice Kennedy joining the four justices who believe that access to
affordable health care trumps reverse-engineered legal flapdoodle.
Roberts and Kennedy are not cut from the altruistic cloth that Justices
Breyer, Ginsberg, Kagan and Sotomayor might be, perhaps they don't want
those 8 million-plus people, a goodly number with life-threatening
conditions, on their consciences. That Justices Alito, Scalia and
Thomas have no such scruples -- and perhaps have no scruples whatsoever
-- is what the King litigants counted on. They're just going to fall a couple of rifles short of a full firing squad.
WHY THE CIA REFORM INITIATIVE IS DOOMED
Director John O. Brennan's bold plan to reassign thousands of spies and
analysts into new departments to make it more successful against
modern threats and crises (the Cold War really is over, lads) is brilliant because it is
so bloody logical. Getting spooks and analysts on the same page, instead of being in their own compartmentalized worlds as they long have in the
agency's troubled 67-year-old history, is bound to get results.
is because the CIA, like Britain's MI5, is first and foremost an old
boy's club where the independence of the individual is more important
than fealty to president and country, or queen and country. And that law of nature is not about to be revoked.
the CIA been organized along the lines that Brennan envisions, the 9/11
attacks probably would have never happened. But CIA operatives were
hunkered down in their various compartments, vital information was not
shared within the agency, let alone with the FBI, and despite myriad warnings of an impending attack using commercial airliners as
weapons, Osama bin Laden's henchmen pretty much had clear sailing.
As will the next bunch of terrorists who still will have little to fear from the CIA.
There's a sort of arcanely constructed argument I've read -- a tad beyond my legal parsing capabilities, but I'll try -- that says Kennedy will shoot down the ACA challenge because to accept the plaintiffs' argument would see the court acquiescing that the law force states to set up exchanges at their own expense. In other words, denying federal subsidies would put an unreasonable demand on state governors & legislators to provide a state-run exchange that would offer subsidies.
The glass-half-empty part of this thesis is that Kennedy's federalism sensitivity wouldn't permit this sort of mandate, but that a ruling with that premise would open the door to challenges of other actual federal mandates -- such as linking highway dollars as a hammer for compliance with various benevolent laws the feds want to promulgate across the land.
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