Saturday, December 25, 2021

Plea Bargaining: Punishing people for exercising their constitutional rights is entirely incompatible with the very idea of a constitutional right

Good evidence suggests that the people who founded this country thought that plea bargaining should be prohibited

writes Carissa Byrne Hessick, the author of Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining Is a Bad Deal (which is reminiscent of Instapundit law professor Glenn Reynolds's The Judiciary's Class War and Ham Sandwich Nation [Due Process When Everything is a Crime]), in The Atlantic. 

"Nearly every aspect of our criminal justice system encourages defendants—whether they're innocent or guilty—to take a plea deal." Punishment Without Trial "showcases how plea bargaining has undermined justice at every turn[, forcing] the hand of lawyers, judges, and defendants, turning our legal system into a ruthlessly efficient mass incarceration machine that is dogging our jails and pun­ishing citizens because it's the path of least resistance."

Instead of protecting defendants’ right to have their guilt or innocence decided by their peers, judges routinely punish defendants for exercising that right. Specifically, judges regularly impose longer sentences on those defendants who insist on going to trial than on those defendants who plead guilty. A 2018 report shows that, on average, defendants who insist on a trial receive sentences three times longer than those of defendants who plead guilty.

 … The reason that the Supreme Court gives for carving out the jury-trial right from its ordinary constitutional rules is simple: resources. The Court doesn’t think that the criminal-justice system could handle granting every criminal defendant a trial. Without plea bargaining, the Court said, “the States and the Federal Government would need to multiply by many times the number of judges and court facilities.”

 … On some level, the resources argument is convincing. It is certainly true that our courts could not possibly hold trials for all of the criminal cases that come through the justice system. But this lack of capacity does not explain how few trials we have now. In 1990, more than 7,800 criminal trials were held in federal court. By 2016, that number fell to fewer than 1,900. In other words, we have made it so easy for prosecutors to pressure defendants into pleading guilty that we have less than a quarter of the criminal trials that we had 30 years ago, even though we have more judges and more prosecutors now than we did then. So resources can’t explain the policies that we have adopted to pressure nearly every defendant to plead guilty. Even if we accept the resources-argument logic, we could still protect the constitutional rights of thousands more Americans each year.

But is the resources argument right to begin with? Of course, many Americans want government to be efficient and keep costs down. But efficiency in the criminal-justice system has a serious downside: The more easily and cheaply it can be run, the more people end up in it. Unfortunately, the United States has been incredibly efficient at locking people up. As a result, we are the world’s leader in imprisoning our citizens. … So maybe we should be thinking about how we can make our system less efficient.

It isn’t too late for the country to change its course. The rise of originalism—the theory that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was understood when it was first written—could hold the solution to plea bargaining and mass incarceration. Good evidence suggests that the people who founded this country thought that plea bargaining should be prohibited.

 … But adopting an originalist view of the Constitution isn’t necessary to reject the constitutionality of plea bargaining and the trial penalty. No matter what your constitutional theory of interpretation, punishing people for exercising their constitutional rights is entirely incompatible with the very idea of a constitutional right.

America's Kulak Class: Horrific Prison Conditions for January 6 Republicans "Treated as Subhuman" Predicted by Abe Lincoln in 1860

After you read the inhumane treatment that the January 6 political prisoners have been undergoing for nearly a year "as subhuman", see if Abraham Lincoln did not predict the opposition's condescending (and, frankly, hateful) attitude as far back as 1860.

Some two weeks before Christmas, writes PJ Media's Kevin Downey Jr (thanks to Stephen Green + (update) to Ed Driscoll for the instalink), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene 

released “Unusually Cruel — An Eyewitness Report From Inside The DC Jail,” her report about what she saw when she was finally allowed to meet the January 6 political prisoners.

Reps. Greene, Gohmert, Gaetz, and Gosar tried, unsuccessfully, to visit the January 6 political prisoners twice earlier this year. … Greene and Gohmert (and their respective staffs) finally got to tour the D.C. jail where the J6 inmates are held, though the jail staff DID try to end the tour of the jail before the reps got to meet the political prisoners.

“What is there to hide?” Gohmert pressed. “The complaint has been that they’ve been treated
differently than the other detainees. I thought tonight we were going to find out.”

At that point, the tour had already lasted two hours and Greene and Gohmert hadn’t yet met a single J6 inmate. After an 11-minute discussion, the tour went forward.

Greene and Gohmert met with roughly 40 J6 inmates, in what Greene described as a noticeably older part of the prison, which appeared to have not been updated recently, unlike the rest of the prison.

 … Greene’s report is disturbing and damning. It highlights the brutal and unconstitutional treatment of J6 prisoners at the hands of Biden’s legal system. J6 inmates have been beaten. The prisoners complain of chemicals and pubic hair in their food.

The conclusion to her report starts with the following,

The congressional visit to the D.C. jail on November 4 unquestionably proved that there is a twotrack justice system in the United States. This two-tiered system is not based on race, violence, or conviction of crime, but politics.

It would be too much of a stretch to compare Andersonville (to use another Civil War-era image) to "the DC Gulag", but still, when you hear how rights are being violated by Democrats or leftists, check out if the portrait of one of the wardens isn't at least partly reminiscent of the CSA's Commandant Henry Wirz… 

Especially while reading Kathleen Landerkin's tweets calling Trump and/or his supporters — i.e., the warden's current prisoners — "morons," "people who conspired with the traitors," and persons who are worse than "foreign terrorists." 

No wonder the demands for Maoist self-denunciations. No wonder the abusive treatment of January 6 protestors and the unrighteous sentences handed down on the heads of such political prisoners as Jacob Chansley (a non-violent, harmless eccentric and U.S. veteran). No wonder that, during the Terror in the Capitol Tunnel on January 6, the usual Drama Queens went berserk with batons on the protesters. :

Future court filings, interviews, and security footage will slowly reveal to the public how law enforcement, beginning at around 1 p.m. that day and continuing for hours, attacked and beat American citizens who dared to protest the election of Joe Biden.

As The Hill's Brad Dress reports,

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and 13 other Republicans are calling for the immediate termination of the deputy warden in charge of inmates connected to the Jan. 6 riot, who are being held inside a Washington, D.C. jail.

In a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser shared on Twitter, Greene accused D.C. Central Detention Facility (CDF) Deputy Warden Kathleen Landerkin of "displaying animus toward anyone who supports Donald J. Trump" and of a perceived bias against Trump supporters.

"While most of these inmates have no prior criminal history and have yet to be convicted of any crime, Landerkin is allowing them to be treated as subhuman," Greene wrote in the letter Thursday signed by fellow Republican Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Andy Harris (Md.) and Lauren Boebert (Colo.).

… The letter criticized Landerkin for tweets it said she had sent calling Trump a "pig," and "equating Christians to the Ku Klux Klan," as well as saying Ashli Babbit, a rioter who was killed on Jan. 6, "was responsible for being shot.

So where does Abraham Lincoln and his 1860 speech fit into all this?

Only a dozen years ago, James Carville referred to (modern-day) Republicans as "reptiles".

And 160 years ago, when an Illinois Republican felt the necessity to address himself to Southerners and Democrats (during his Cooper Union speech in February 1860), guess which term Abe Lincoln reached for:

when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles [!], or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to [Republicans]. In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of [Republicanism] as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.

"Reptiles, outlaws, pirates, murderers"… How often have Republicans been called (domestic) terrorists in the past seven years?  (And in the years, in the decades, before that?)

Who would want to be patient long enough to hear such heinous beings deny or justify? (Ain't that true, MainStream Media?) Who wouldn't want to punish such monsters?

Related: What Caused Secession and Ergo the Civil War? Was It Slavery and/or States' Rights? Or Wasn't It Rather Something Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House?

Let's let Tucker Carlson have the final word. Although the Fox anchor is talking about a different subject — Biden’s COVID policies — he points out that we are witnessing the muscle spasms of a dying political party

 … the people in charge of diverting your attention are working overtime right now

 … political parties, like markets, often seem the strongest right before they collapsed. The problem is, at this moment, the Democratic Party is still in power, and that's a very bad combination for the rest of us. Regimes in decline tend to become dangerous. As they weaken, they get increasingly desperate and ruthless. They've been rejected by voters. Democracy doesn't work for them anymore. That means they can no longer operate within democratic boundaries and hope to stay in power. So inevitably, they swerve outside those boundaries. Instead of trying to convince the public to support them, that's a democracy, they invent domestic enemies and national panics to keep themselves in charge. And that's exactly what we're watching happen right now

 … CNN and its masters in the Democratic Party have identified the real villain to blame for [the latest COVID outbreak]. And you'll know, even before we tell you that it's not Pfizer, it's not the government of China. It's America's working class, a group now known as "The Unvaccinated." On Thursday, Joe Biden informed us that these people will die for what they've done. 

 … Biden's advisers want you looking elsewhere. And to get you looking elsewhere, they are working to create a kulak class — a group of reviled subhumans at the rest of us are free to hate and mock and whose deaths were allowed to root for. That's the unvaccinated. 

When David Frum tells you we should let the unvaccinated just die, he's not alone. That is not the official position of the Democratic Party. If you get COVID in you’re unvaccinated, it is immoral for you to go to the hospital, you're overcrowding it. And we need that space for the many people who've taken the COVID vaccine and are now sick from COVID. That's what the president United States just said on Thursday. 

 … whatever personal decisions about the vaccine or COVID or how many masks you wear, if any, know what you're watching here. This is not a public health campaign designed to save you from a variant that has not killed a single confirmed American. Sorry, it has not. No. So, what is this? These are the muscle spasms of a dying political party. The people in charge are on their way out. Unfortunately, they can still hurt you.

America has no enemies, we are told. All of humanity could easily live as brethren. With one exception. America's conservatives and, on a larger scale, the American people. 

They hate you.

And they want you dead.

“We’re in a war, and it’s a war to the death. Now they [the Left] actually admit it. They used to pretend. Not anymore.”
Norman Podhoretz in The New Criterion

Related History Posts:
• What Caused Secession and Ergo the Civil War? Was It Slavery and/or States' Rights? Or Wasn't It Rather Something Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House?
• During the Winter of 1860-1861, Did the South's Democrats Obtain Their Aim — the Secession of 7 Slave States — Thanks to Elections Filled with Stealth, Lies, Voter Fraud, Intimidation, Violence, and Murder? (Wait 'til You Hear About… Georgia's Dark Secret)
• Abraham Lincoln and the Founding Fathers' Supposed Embrace of Slavery Along with Their Alleged Rejection of Women's Rights • Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"
The Greatest Myth in U.S. History: Yes, the Civil War Era Did Feature Champions of States' Rights, But No, They Were Not in the South (Au Contraire)
• Harry Jaffa on the Civil War Era: For Democrats of the 21st Century as of the 19th, "the emancipation from morality was/is itself seen as moral progress"
• Why Does Nobody Ever Fret About Scandinavia's — Dreadful — 19th-C Slavery Conditions?
• A Century and Half of Apartheid Policies: From Its 1828 Foundation, the Democrat Party Has Never Shed Its Racist Past
• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History
How to Prevent America from Becoming a Totalitarian State
• Inside of a month, Democrats have redefined riots and election challenges from the highest form of patriotism to an attack on democracy — And by “democracy”, they mean the Democrat Party
• Why They Don't Tell You the Whole Truth: The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence

From my and Dan Greenberg's upcoming graphic novel on The Life & Times of Abraham Lincoln:

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"All the well-worn tactics of rising totalitarianism": From the beginning of Covid-19 the Democrat-Media Complex has gone all-in on apocalyptic hysteria

From the beginning the Democrat-Media Complex has gone all-in on apocalyptic hysteria

writes Michael Walsh in the Epoch Times (thanks to Ed Driscoll). Of course it has. That is why I say that we live in The Era of the Drama Queens in which Every Crisis Is a Triumph.

Here we are, coming up on the second anniversary of “two weeks to slow the spread” of a flu-like virus most likely hatched in a Chinese Communist laboratory in Wuhan, with a little help from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the American taxpayer, and the dreaded COVID-19 chest cold has conquered the planet, instilling fear and loathing in weak minds whenever and wherever it appears in any of its Transformers-like, constantly mutating configurations.

 … The irony is, had the novel coronavirus been treated the same way as its immediate predecessors, including SARS, the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, and the Hong Kong flu of 1968, no one would be talking about it, there would have been no lockdowns, no masks, no ruination of the economy, no destruction of the travel industry, no stealth takeover of private medicine and, most important, no unconstitutional loss of personal liberty.

But the very act of neurotically obsessing over it has triggered and weaponized the critter and, a la Heisenberg, transformed it from a bug that preyed on old people into the Thing that Devoured the Planet.

Ever since the politically conveniently timed appearance of the CCP virus early in 2020, Fauci and his coevals at various government “health” agencies have whipsawed the American public with their erratic, contradictory, and wholly unscientific pronouncements, all in the interest of aggrandizing more power.

These [Transformers-like] Decepticons managed to take down the gullible Trump administration, institutionalize their priorities for controlling the population by nullifying the Bill of Rights, helping to install Joe Biden, and giving a big fat Christmas present to the pharmaceutical companies—which have profited handsomely from the pandemic.

 … A “disease” that is in many cases strikingly asymptomatic, whose lethality (such as it was and depending on who’s counting and how) is counted by “cases” (a meaningless statistic), whose survival rate has always been near 99 percent for the vast majority of the world’s population doesn’t seem like much of a threat in the cosmic scheme of things.

Nor does a “vaccine” that not only doesn’t prevent you from getting the bug but permits “breakthrough” infections and also has significant side effects seem like much of a vaccine.

But from the beginning the Democrat-Media Complex has gone all-in on apocalyptic hysteria as governments around the globe have vowed to “defeat” the virus, and some—like the newly formed police states of Australia and New Zealand—even articulating an impossible “zero COVID” policy.

 … As it happens, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has addressed these issues and more in a new book, “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,” a no-holds barred, full-frontal attack on Fauci & Co. It’s a bracing read.

Suddenly, trusted institutions seemed to be acting in concert to generate fear, promote obedience, discourage critical thinking, and herd seven billion people to march to a single tune, culminating in mass public health experiments with a novel, shoddily tested and improperly licensed technology so risky that manufacturers refused to produce it unless every government on Earth shielded them from liability.

“Across Western nations, shell-shocked citizens experienced all the well-worn tactics of rising totalitarianism—mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent, and use of force to prevent protest. Conscientious objectors who resisted these unwanted, experimental, zero-liability medical interventions faced orchestrated gaslighting, marginalization, and scapegoating.

 … Enough is enough. After two years of poisonous squid ink regarding the origins of the disease and its dangers, it’s time to put away the electron microscope, back away from the Petri dish, and just ignore Omicron

Related: Here Is the Key Question Regarding the Coronavirus
• And here are the 7 Basic Points about Covid-19 that You Need to Know
• Is the Yellow Star Really an Inappropriate Reference for the Vaccine Passport?
And from the March 2020 and April 2020 archives:
Is There 100% Irrefutable Proof that the Covid19 Pandemic Is Overstated?
Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Racial Obsession at the NYT: The 1619 Project’s historical illiteracy is not innocent ignorance, writes George Will; rather, it is maliciousness

The New York Times has the history completely backwards

Fury erupted among the Left's Drama Queens, notes Legal Insurrection's (obrigado to Sarah Hoyt), when the Washington Post, which is supposed to be one of the "leftists' safe space[s]", allowed George Will to pen a column on "Nikole Hannah-Jones’ flagrant rewriting of history", i.e., The malicious, historically illiterate 1619 Project.

This December's column is even stronger than the one that George Will penned a year and a half ago, The ‘1619 Project’ is filled with slovenliness and ideological ax-grinding. Excerpts from May 2020:

  … trust evaporates when journalistic entities embrace political projects

 … Because the [New York] Times ignored today’s most eminent relevant scholars — e.g., Brown University’s Gordon Wood, Princeton’s James McPherson and Sean Wilentz and Allen Guelzo, City University of New York’s James Oakes, Columbia’s Barbara Fields — the project’s hectoring tone and ideological ax-grinding are unsurprising.

 … The project’s purpose is to displace the nation’s actual 1776 founding, thereby draining from America’s story the moral majesty of the first modern nation’s Enlightenment precepts proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and implemented by the Constitution. Although monomaniacally focused on slavery, the Times’s project completely misses the most salient point:

The phenomenon of slavery was millennia old in 1776, but as Gordon Wood says, “It’s the American Revolution that makes [slavery] a problem for the world.” Sean Wilentz (see his 2018 book “No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding”) correctly insists that what “originated in America” was “organized anti-slavery politics,” and it did so because of those Enlightenment precepts in the Declaration’s first two paragraphs.

 …  Has … the slogan of the party governing Oceania in George Orwell’s “1984” [“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past”] supplanted “All the news that’s fit to print” as the Times’s credo?

What is stunning is that George Will can see through the 1619 Project, and that so clearly, while he is still blind-sided regarding Donald Trump, the January 6 "riots", and the like.

Still, on this, the shortest day in the year, let George and his December 2021 column have his/their time in the sunshine:

The [New York] Times’s original splashy assertion – slightly fudged after the splash garnered a Pulitzer Prize – was that the American Revolution, the most important event in our history, was shameful because a primary reason it was fought was to preserve slavery. The war was supposedly ignited by a November 1775 British offer of freedom to Blacks who fled slavery and joined British forces. Well.

That offer came after increasingly volcanic American reactions to various British provocations: After the 1765 Stamp Act. After the 1770 Boston Massacre. After the 1773 Boston Tea Party. After the 1774 Coercive Acts (including closure of Boston’s port) and other events of “The Long Year of Revolution” (the subtitle of Mary Beth Norton’s “1774”). And after, in 1775, the April 19 battles of Lexington and Concord, the June 17 battle of Bunker Hill and George Washington on July 3 assuming command of the Continental Army.

 … Addressing the American Council of Trustees and Alumni last month, Gordon S. Wood, today’s foremost scholar of America’s Founding, dissected the 1619 Project’s contentions. When the Revolution erupted, Britain “was not threatening to abolish slavery in its empire,” which included lucrative, slavery-dependent sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean. Wood added:

“If the Virginian slaveholders had been frightened of British abolitionism, why only eight years after the war ended would the board of visitors or the trustees of the College of William & Mary, wealthy slaveholders all, award an honorary degree to Granville Sharp, the leading British abolitionist at the time? Had they changed their minds so quickly? ... The New York Times has no accurate knowledge of Virginia’s Revolutionary culture and cannot begin to answer these questions.” The Times’s political agenda requires ignoring what Wood knows:

“It was the American colonists who were interested in abolitionism in 1776. ... Not only were the northern states the first slaveholding governments in the world to abolish slavery, but the United States became the first nation in the world to begin actively suppressing the despicable international slave trade. The New York Times has the history completely backwards.”

Wood’s doctoral dissertation adviser in 1960 to 1964 was Bernard Bailyn, the title of whose best-known book, “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution,” conveys a refutation of the 1619 Project’s premise that the Revolution originated from base economic motives.

 … The 1619 Project, which might already be embedded in school curricula near you, reinforces the racial monomania of those progressives who argue that the nation was founded on, and remains saturated by, “systemic racism.” This racial obsession is instrumental; it serves a radical agenda that sweeps beyond racial matters. It is the agenda of clearing away all impediments, intellectual and institutional, to — in progressivism’s vocabulary — the “transformation” of the nation. The United States will be built back better when it has been instructed to be ashamed of itself and is eager to discard its disreputable heritage.

The 1619 Project aims to erase (in Wood’s words) “the Revolution and the principles that it articulated – liberty, equality and the well-being of ordinary people.” These ideas are, as Wood says, the adhesives that bind our exceptional nation whose people have shared principles, not a shared ancestry.

The Times says “nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional” flows from “slavery and the anti-black racism it required.” So, the 1619 Project’s historical illiteracy is not innocent ignorance. Rather, it is maliciousness in the service of progressivism’s agenda, which is to construct a thoroughly different nation on the deconstructed rubble of what progressives hope will be the nation’s thoroughly discredited past.

As Glenn Reynolds reminds us, regularly (with good reason),

The 1619 Project is the kind of false history that a conqueror would impose on a defeated people to break its will.