Criminal Justice Reform is happening! Thanks Trump!

Trump is doing so much good lately I just can’t write the blog posts fast enough!  So I’m making this more of a shout out.  President Trump just signed into law the First Step Act, which aims to reform our overcrowded prison system by addressing recidivism, releasing many non-violent offenders into parole, and focusing more on education and rehabilitation.  It’s about redemption, rather than just punishment.

I wrote on this subject more extensively in 2016 during the campaign.  “Can We Finally Get Criminal Justice Reform In 2017?

(Update!  I made a crucial mistake in the next paragraph regarding the Congressional Black Caucus.  As it is my practice to correct my mistakes, rather than cover them up, I’ll leave my original words, but rectify my error in the notes at the end with the corresponding asterisk)

The “Congressional Black Caucus” initially opposed it in its early stages.  They insisted that the bill do something substantial.  Thanks, in part to this, the final version of the First Step Act takes significant steps to reduce recidivism and release non-violent offenders.

The NAACP has expressed their support for this final version, while also expressing some reservations.  Now I will agree that it doesn’t go far enough.  We need to address mandatory minimums and harsh sentencing also.  But as George Orwell would say, a half a loaf is better than no loaf.

I’ll also point out that the First Step Act being less than perfect did not stop the principled Van Jones from supporting it.  Van Jones has little nice to say about President Trump, and has called him racist and worst.  But Van Jones knows that a good idea is a good idea, regardless if it comes from the left wing, the right wing, or a chicken wing on a string at burger king.  That’s why I’ve always respected him.

So, in conclusion, this is a victory for criminal justice reform, but not THE victory.  Let’s keep the momentum!  This is great, but we need more.

But for now, thank you Mr. President for doing more to combat institutional racism than any president since LBJ.

Note(s):

*I previously made a terrible mistake when I quickly wrote this shout out.  I was misled into believe that the CBC did not support this, which I blamed on blind partisanship.  However, the CBC only opposed the early House version, which was a much weaker bill than the final version.  Kushner, Van Jones, and many in Congress carefully considered the CBC’s requests for improvements and implemented many of them, winning the CBC’s support.  This is their statement on the final version.   https://cbc.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=970

Trump is making peace, and “liberals” hate him for it!

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These are crazy times!

In 1972, Democrat George McGovern ran against then President Nixon on a peace platform.  McGovern (D) was the hippies’ candidate.  McGovern’s supporters were often chastised as “communists” and told to “go to Russia!”

In 2004, Kerry ran against Bush criticizing him for Iraq.  Around that same time, Betty Castor (D) ran against Mel Martinez (R) in Florida for a US Senate seat.  Martinez ridiculed her for calling the US the “global bully”.  Republicans loved putting their Bush/Cheney bumper stickers on their pickup trucks, right next to the “How do you like US now!” with images of bombs falling on the middle east.  Can anyone have imagined then a Republican President leading the charge towards peace, while Democrats chastised him and claimed he was doing it to help Russia?!

Yet here we are!  A few months ago, Trump made an important first step towards peace with N. Korea, and Rachel Maddow chastised him for it and claimed he was doing it to help Russia.  Now, Trump has announced that we will be withdrawing from Syria, as ISIS has been defeated, and surely enough, the “liberals” are chastising Trump for “helping Russia”?

How did we get here?

I have two theories.  1.  “Liberals” hate Trump so much, they will simply oppose anything and everything he is for.  2.  “Liberals” were never really advocates of peace, but of globalism.  It’s unilateral warmongering that they oppose, not warmongering in and of itself.

So, either the “liberals” are blinded by their hatred of Trump, or they are prepared to inflict mass suffering and death on people in the Middle East who did NOTHING to us, just to test out their far-fetched theories of globalism and “nation-building”.  I’m leaning toward #1, the hate theory.  The reason being that Trump is also trying to pass a rather substantial prison reform bill right now (The First Step Act).  Despite the fact that African Americans have for decades lamented racial injustice in the criminal justice system; the entire Congressional Black Caucus (all Democrats) opposes this bill that Trump supports.*

Just in case you think the entire American Left has gone insane, let me reassure you.  There’s a few principled ones left on the left.  Jimmy Dore never fails, and he has said that Trump’s recent announcement is good news, and has called out so-called “liberals” for their hypocrisy.  “Trump has so completely ruined Liberals brains that they now publicly cheer on war and military confrontations with Nuclear powers”

And no, Dore is not shilling for Trump.  He also criticized Trump for not also cutting military spending and re-investing it in America.  You see, Dore has these things called principles.  It’s something I vaguely remember liberals having many years ago, like, early Obama era (pre-Libya).

Another principled lefty, Cornel West, warned us about this two years ago.  He warned us of the Democrats’ hypocrisy.  “…when you actually look at the reinforcement of the new Jim Crow…that occurred under Democrats; it would persist under Hillary Clinton.”  Given that Clinton’s very loyal Congressional Black Caucas is unanimously opposing Trump’s efforts to roll back the new Jim Crow, it seems West was right.  On this matter of peace abroad:

“Can you imagine Russian troops in Mexico and Canada?  What would US response be?  Well that’s very much what NATO troops are vis a vis Russia…but that kind of provocation for Russia that has nuclear arms is the kind of thing that Hillary Clinton supported, and her connections to the Robert Kagans and Henry Kissingers are just frightening!”

I haven’t been able to find Cornel West’s take on Trump’s recent announcement, but I’d be eager to hear it.  West has described the Trump administration as “neo-fascist” on multiple occasions, but he is not afflicted with blind partisan hatred.

Despite a handful of principle, it looks like most of the American “left” would rather hate Trump than give peace a chance.

**TrumpObamaHaveInCommon

 

Note(s):

*Since posting this, the CBC supported the final version of the First Step Act, and I and so many others are grateful for their insistence on a truly substantial bill before passing, rather than just a symbolic gesture.

**I’m not sure where Mr. Chase’s politics are, so I’m not putting him in with West and Dore.  I just shared his post because it’s clever and adds some perspective to this lunacy.

Truth About the Caravan – CD Comics

CD Caravan

So many of my good-natured friends have bought into this.  At the beginning, I did too.  I still said from the beginning that we need to do this legally, but I was under the impression that they were “fleeing for their lives.”  I then saw the truth on DC Whispers, that a groups of these migrants went to our border authorities demanding either to be processed and admitted to the US quickly, or to be paid $50,000 each to return home.  Now, I haven’t know DC Whispers to publish any fake news in the time I’ve been following, (very opinionated, but not fake) but I realize it’s pretty independent.  So I traced it back to their source, FOX, and then FOX’s source, The San Diego Union Tribune (a pretty basic, established local newspaper)

*On my comics, feel free to screen cap them and share to your heart’s content.  Just leave them unaltered please.

Reflections On Bush – From A Perot Youth

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It’s a cosmic injustice when a man is a victim of his own success.  I think that pretty well describes George H.W. Bush in the photo above from 1992, as Bush debated Perot and Clinton in his failed attempt at re-election.

I was about 10-11 years old at the time, and had just developed my love for politics and debate.  I knew then what I know now – Bush was a good man, but he represented America’s past.  Perot was the future.  (Maybe not Perot himself, but the ideas he ran on.)

Bush always had a modesty about him, and that’s part of the reason he was underappreciated at the time.  But he was actually a very significant one-term President.  I recently heard his dear friend, and wise former Sec. of State James Baker say that Bush was the most substantial one-term President in our history.  (More than John Adams?!)  Well, I would maybe give him most significant one-term President of the 20th Century.

Bush represented the end of an era.  It was the bipolarity of the Cold War.  Bush saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the soaring economy from the second half of the Reagan era, prudently worked with Congress to manage the soaring debt from the Reagan era, and then led the charge to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  I know plenty of good, peace loving people who have labelled Bush a “warmonger” for Operation Desert Storm.  This is misguided.  A war monger looks for reasons to go to war.  A cautious realist goes to war when necessary.  When a dangerous dictator that controls some of the Arab oil supply, conquers a neighbor to control more of the Arab oil supply, war is necessary.  I think Bush used as much force as was necessary, and no more.  Truly, this is the kind of leadership you can expect from a humble man with the kind of character judgement to chose someone like James Baker to be his Sec. of State.

The problem for Mr. Bush was that by the end of his first term, he had finished solving all of yesterday’s problems.  America’s hard hats, and my 10-year old self, were all like “yes yes yes, thanks for winning the Cold War, and winning Operation Desert Storm and all, but now what?  What about our jobs?”

Ross Perot is a true patriot.  I noticed on stage that Perot seemed to have a certain respect for Mr. Bush.  That didn’t stop him from fiercely debating him on his naive trade philosophies.  Bush may have been prudent when it came to foreign policy, but he was idealistic and horribly misguided on trade.

The above photo says it all.  Bush was dignified, but passing.  Perot passionately argued for our country’s future.  But to the right, smugly, stands Bill Clinton.  Opportunistically he positioned himself to take the White House by taking cheap shots against Bush for having compromised on taxes.  Opportunistically did he position himself as a moderate on trade, only to sell out America’s working class at the first opportunity.  Perot’s ideas may be America’s future, but Bill Clinton was America’s present at the time.  It was a present where the greatness built by people like George H. W. Bush would be squandered by political opportunists playing “moderate” like Bill Clinton, and fiercely partisan demagogues like Newt Gingrich.*

Some said McCain’s death represented the end of an era?  No.  McCain was just another “moderate”.  Less sleazy than Clinton? Sure, but that’s a low bar!  Bush’s death does represent the end of an era.  An era where political leaders really were public servants who were self sacrificing, and would lose an election for the good of the country.

RIP Mr. Bush.  You lived a long, amazing life!

 

Note(s):

*Gingrich has his good points, but I meant what I said.  For the record, I actually don’t think “demagogues” are all that bad, but they do rouse passion and impede critical thinking, though they usually represent legitimate grievances.