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El Chapo Gets Life, Rebukes U.S. for Torture

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced today to life in prison plus 30 years. When given his chance for allocution, he rebuked the U.S.

“Since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say: There was no justice here,” El Chapo told Cogan, according to the New York Daily News.

“I drink unsanitary water, no air or sunlight, and the air pumped in makes my ears and throat hurt. In order to sleep, I put toilet paper in my ears. My wife had not been allowed to visit, and I can’t hug my daughters,” he said, according to NBC News. “This has been psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.”

“My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the world was watching. What happened here is the U.S. is not better than any other corrupt country,” Guzman added.

I agree with him. This trial was a showboat, run by his former associates who were given license to claim whatever they wanted in exchange for a reduction in sentence for their own misdeeds. Freedom is a commodity far more precious than money.[More....]

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Jeffrey Epstein Bail Hearing

The Judge in Jeffrey Epstein's case in the SDNY said he likely won't rule today on whether Jeffrey Epstein will be granted release on bail.

Bail is not intended to be punitive. Even though there is a presumption that he is a flight risk and danger to the community based solely on the nature of his charges, the statute allows him to present evidence to rebut the presumption. If he does, the government must prove flight risk by a preponderance of the evidence and danger to the community by the higher standard of clear and convincing evidence. The Court can still consider the presumption in making its final decision.

Epstein successfully completed his community supervision after jail and has incurred no new charges until now, and these charges relate to activity before his Florida case. Photographs in a safe is all the prosecutor has to show he's still a danger. 14 years of compliance in my view is enough to rebut the presumption. [More...]

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ICE Raids: Exercise Your Rights

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Immigration Raids: Cities Prepare, People Protest

Protesters against Donald Trump's immigration raids were out in force across the country today as cities implemented policies to assist the immigrant community.

The raids are expected in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, LA, Miami, NYC, Newark, San Francisco and Washington, DC. New Orleans got a delay due to the storm.

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Thursday Open Thread

I'm sorry for my lack of posting. Work and trying to get ready to move has consumed almost all my time.

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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El Chapo: Gov't. Asks for Life Plus 30 Years

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17. Yesterday, the Government filed its sentencing position via a written letter (available here)to the Judge. The Government says the Court must sentence him to life on the continuing criminal enterprise count and a consecutive 30 year term for his conviction on using a firearm (a "machine gun") in connection with a drug offense. The Probation Department apparently agrees. The Government also says a life plus 30 year sentence is appropriate.

Why not just ask for life plus cancer? Maybe they are saving that request for Jeffrey Epstein.

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Trump: Miss Fourth of July Brings Nothing But Thorns

I just waved goodbye to Miss Fourth of July
The queen of the roses has left us with nothing but thorns
Don't say we never tried, Miss Fourth of July

From Reuters: Trump casts himself, military, Republican VIPs as stars of July 4th pageant

So Donald Trump, in a blaze of inimitable narcissistic infamy, robs us of the meaning of the Fourth of July holiday by bringing tanks and the military to the streets of Washington, D.C., for no reason other than to pretend his crown has not fallen off his head.

He is no King, he is no President and he certainly is not a leader. I wish everyone would just ignore this latest equivalent of a temper tantrum by Little Miss Fourth of July. He's not even worth a protest. He should go back to his desk in the Oval Office and sulk as he ponders why no one came out to applaud him and who to blame. But, he won't. He'll go play golf.

This is a Fourth of July I won't be watching the news and I certainly won't listen to a word he says.

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Donald Trump's Photo Op at the DMZ

It's midnight in New York, and CNN just cut to Seoul where Donald Trump and the South Korean President Moon are about to hold a news conference. But the big news apparently is that Trump is hoping the North Korean leader Kim Jong will meet him a few miles away at DMZ. Trump says he will walk across the line of demarcation into North Korea to meet him if necessary.

CNN analysts call it a photo op. No serious policy change will result.

During the presser, Moon says he will go to the DMZ with Trump. Trump then talks and says he'll make a short statement because he's going to the DMZ to meet Kim. He rambles for a bit and says he made the offer to Kim yesterday and Kim agreed.

He is ad-libbing. He says Obama begged for a meeting and Kim wouldn't meet. But Kim is looking forward to meeting with him.

He said he's had the idea to meet Kim for a long time but he just thought of it yesterday and extended the offer to Kim.[More...]

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Kamala Harris' Non-Progressive Past

Don't be taken in by the accolades Kamala Harris is getting for her torching of Joe Biden at the debate. Her record as a prosecutor was not progressive. She was on the wrong side of several issues.

Here's my post from January summing it up. Here's an oped in the New York Times this January by Laura Bazeleon, a law professor and former director Innocence Project at Loyala Univ. in L.A. And here is The Two Faces of Kamala Harris in Jacobin Magazine from 2017.

I'll leave the last word for now to my good friend, colleague and exceptional criminal defense attorney Lisa Wayne, who wrote on her Facebook page after the debate:

When you are drinking the kool-Aid this morning remember. Yes, many prosecutors run for office and can be good. Just remember when you are a prosecutor, no matter who the hell you are, you are aligning yourself with a biased and unjust system. She did for many many years. She had the opportunity to fix it and did nothing as the AG. You be the judge.

This is not to say I wouldn't vote for her if she got the nomination. The only Democrat right now I would not vote for is Joe Biden -- not for his stance on busing, but for his horrible 25 year record on criminal justice. He was a one-man crime band.

His plans have long roots. He should never be forgiven for the 1994 Crime Bill and AEDPA. [More...]

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Democrats Debate: Night Two Live Thread

Night One of the Democrats' first debate drew in 15.3 million viewers on NBC, MSBNC and Telemundo. Another 9 million watched on the internet.

What will tonight bring? I don't have high expectations, but I'm hoping former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper makes a positive impression. These are the candidates debating tonight.

I don't think either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders should be President. They are just too old and Joe Biden has a horrible record on criminal justice. He also talks too much about himself and his family. Too bad there's no live band for the debate. I'd have them play the first few lines of "You're So Vain" every time someone asks Biden or Bernie a question.

Please share your thoughts as you watch or afterwards. I'll update later with my impressions. [More...]

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Democratic Debate: Live Thread

Elizabeth Warren got the first question on the economy. Her answer sounded like she's given it a million times.

Amy Klobuchar on student debt. Good speaking voice. Mentions Donald Trump.
Beto O'Rourke: Economy question, shows off his Spanish. Won't commit to a 70% tax rate.

Booker: Role of corporations like Amazon and the economy. Introduces race in his answer.

Back to Warren on the monopolisitic corporations

Julian Castro: women and wages. His mother was single and raised him and his brother. He would pass the Equal Rights Amendment and an equal pay law. [More...]

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Pre-Democrat Debate Thread

Night one of the two night debate among the numerous candidates vying for the Democrats' Presidential nomination and chance to beat Donald Trump is tonight.

Have any of you picked a candidate yet? I have not. Out of those debating tonight, I think Elizabeth Warren has the best overall policies and provides the strongest contrast to Donald Trump.
Does that mean she can beat him? If the election were held today, maybe not. But I think it depends on the disgust factor with Trump next November. If it is as high as I expect it to be, and he doesn't appreciably increase his under-informed base, I think any Democrat will beat him, even in the swing states. [More...]

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RIP Beth Chapman

Bump and Update: (6/26/19, 10:52 a.m. M.T)

RIP Beth Chapman, and our deepest condolences to Duane ("Dog the Bounty Hunter") and their family. There really aren't enough positive adjectives in the dictionary to describe this incredibly unique, forceful, talented, loyal, generous, beautiful, protective and socially committed woman. This is a huge loss. To her family: I hope the memories of your good times together get you through this difficult time.

From Dog's twitter feed an hour ago:

Itís 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain. Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven. We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side.

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Monday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tough Town Hall Rattles Pete Buttigieg

In the wake of a police shooting of a citizen last week, and then a bar shooting last night, South Bend IN Mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg faced a really emotional and angry crowd at a town hall today.

Buttigieg answered questions at a frequently raucous and angry meeting with South Bend residents in which he was heckled, booed and screamed at by a minority of audience members. He admitted efforts to make the city’s police force more diverse had failed, “and I take responsibility for that.”

.... Buttigieg, 37, remained calm throughout the town hall meeting even as he struggled to make himself heard, shouted down by mainly black protesters, some of whom shouted “liar!” as he sought to explain how he will deal with the shooting investigation, and as he promised transparency.

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