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Bernie and the Fever

First, my best wishes to Bernie Sanders for a full and speedy recovery from his heart attack.

I don't think he will drop out of the race yet. He's got The Fever. He's a man on a mission. His life would lose meaning without his ability to take the stage and like John Reed (Warren Beatty) in Reds, spread his gospel to young voters.

Bernie, in my view, isn't really running for President, He knew that passed him by when Hillary got the nomination in 2016. This time around, he's trying to change the mindset of voters on the issues. He wants to be heard. He knows this will be his legacy -- the pied piper of a movement that won't succeed until way after he's gone, but when it does, he wants to be remembered as someone who was in the forefront, ahead of his time.

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Democrats Debate in Houston

Update: Here is the transcript.

The third Democratic debate will take place tonight in Houston. CNN says this is what to watch for.

CNN pints out the three leading Democratic candidates are over 70 years old? So is Donald Trump.

If the choices are really down to Biden, Sanders and Warren, I'd recommend Elizabeth Warren. I think she does have a chance of beating Trump because he is so offensive to so many women. I think only wealthy Republican women and underinformed rural women will vote for Trump.

I'd be okay with an Elizabeth Warren-Julian Castro ticket. I might even get excited about it.

Who would you like to see with the nomination at this point? Here's a place for your thoughts on tonight's debate and the 2020 election.

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Detroit Debates: Night One

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are both debating tonight in Detroit. Will they take on each other or go after Biden/Harris or tackle Donald Trump?

Also participating: former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Marianne Williamson, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, and a new face, Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Here are their podium positions, which is determined by polling status.

The debate will start at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. Politico has this guide to tonight's debate.

If you want the Cliff Notes version, CNN has this guide of where each of them stand on the issues. [More...]

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Castro Calls Trump's Electon Strategy "Racial Priming"

Former Housing Secretary and Democratic Presidential contender Julian Castro said today on Face the Nation (transcript with auto-play video):

There is a pattern here. This guy is the biggest identity politician that we have seen in the last 50 years and he engages in what's known as racial priming. Basically using this language and taking actions to try and get people to move into their camps by racial and ethnic identity. That's how he thinks he won in 2016 and that's how he thinks he's going to win in 2020.

On Trump's comments about Elijah Cumminhgs and Baltimore, Castro said:

I absolutely think it's important for us to call it out for what it is, which is racism.

He cited multiple instances of Trump's use of racially charged comments since he began his campaign in 2016 and said despite his hesitancy to use the word "racist", that is what Donald Trump is: [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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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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Kamala Harris Defends Her Prosecutorial Record

Kamala Harris will speak in South Carolina tonight, focusing on a defense of her prosecutorial record.

“She will bust myths that claim the black community doesn’t want any type of law enforcement or that say being a prosecutor and being progressive are mutually exclusive,” the aide said. “Just as she prosecuted cases against those trying to harm the people, she will lay out the case against Trump — what she will call 'the case for a new president.’”

Kamala Harris can't run from her record, which is anything but progressive.

Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.

You can't put toothpaste back in the tube. And Harris shouldn't be allowed to change the topic to Trump when her history comes up. It's apples and oranges.

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Democrat Debates: Making the Cut (and Primary News)

The first Democratic debates will be held over two days in June -- who's in and who's out? The NY Times has a graphic that's easy to read and informative.

The basic rules to qualify:

A candidate either has to receive donations from 65,000 people (including 200 donors apiece in 20 states) or has to register 1 percent support in three polls. Only polls from a preset list of organizations are accepted, and candidates cannot count two polls from the same pollster in the same place.

Right now, 17 of the 20 contenders would qualify. I have never heard of 8 of them. One seems to be buying his way in with a process that's not illegal: he's offering $1,000 a month for 12 months to an ordinary Iowan who agrees to media coverage. Is that why he has over 100,000 unique donors? Who would want a venture capitalist as President? (Answer: Not me).

Here's the point: [More...]

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Joe Biden Wants To Save Your Soul

Joe Biden has apparently pushed his announcement he's running for president until Thursday. The theme of his campaign is "the battle for the soul of America". Terrible. It's both ghoulish and religious. (A battle for the American Dream would be much better.)[More...]

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Joe Biden: Your Father's Oldsmobile is Honking at Us

Joe Biden has a new gimmick -- he may not only decide to run but he is considering Stacy Abrams as a VP candidate.

Memo to Dems: Stop funding Joe. He is not Obama. He's a crime warrior, especially on drugs. He's got a lousy record on criminal justice issues and has stuck us with some of the worst bills of the last generation. He once bragged in Congress he was tougher than George Bush I on crime. He is a police fan-boy. He's a one-man crime band.

Joe Biden is the self-admitted architect of the worst crime bills in history.

The 1994 crime bill provided tens of billions of dollars to put thousands of additional police on the streets, build new prisons, increase border protection, and fund crime prevention programs. It included several measures — including the Violence Against Women Act and a federal ban on certain assault weapons — that remain popular among many Democrats.

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Bernie Sanders Will Run for President Again

Bernie Sanders has announced he's in it to win it. He will run for President (no link due to autoplay video).

I prefer him to Biden, and I hope Biden pulls out or gets pushed aside early, so I don't have to spend my time writing about his abysmal record on criminal justice issues. Someone needs to tell him for real that his time has come and gone.

As to Sanders, I'll do a wait and see this time around. There are no present runners I find exciting, and his positions are better than most. Maybe America will want someone in 2020 who will walk in on day one and tear up every proclamation and executive order Trump and his underlings pushed through. As for Kamala Harris, her criminal justice record as attorney general of California may be too much for me to get past.

I'm not looking for a candidate who's overly focused on one issue: be it women, jobs for the middle class, taxes. etc. I want someone who promises to focus on protecting the constitutional rights of everyone who is present in this country, from immigrants and refugees to persons accused of crime and persons serving long sentences for crimes. And someone with the stature to repair the damage Donald Trump has done to our national image and standing in the world.

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Kamala Harris Was Not a Progressive Prosecutor

Kamela Harris was not a progressive prosecutor. She is reinventing herself as one for her planned presidential bid for the Democratic nomination for President.

Harris can run but she cannot hide from her record as a prosecutor. I listed several of my primary objections last week and will restate them below: [More...]

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