Felons and Voting

In general, felons have no voting rights—it’s part of their punishment for having committed their crimes.  There also are growing movements to restore voting rights to felons—they are, after all, US citizens.  (I’m eliding here felons who aren’t citizens; they have no voting rights to restore.)

It’s a debate worth having, but a couple of misunderstandings need to be cleared up first.  These misunderstandings are illustrated in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

As the midterm elections draw closer, Dameon Stackhouse is eager to cast a ballot, but he can’t under New Jersey law because he remains on parole after more than a decade behind bars for second-degree robbery.

The Special Counsel Authorizing Letter

House investigating committees have demanded that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over his letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Rosenstein has refused to do so.  Now, in a case Mueller brought against ex- and brief-Trump Campaign Manager Paul Rosenstein, the presiding Federal judge TS Ellis has demanded that Mueller turn over to him an unredacted copy of that letter, and he’s given Mueller two weeks to comply, which works out to 18 May.

We’ll see. Two weeks is much too long to give Mueller to produce his copy of Rosenstein’s authorizing letter; 36-48 hours is plenty—especially since Mueller’s team plainly has that copy always ready to hand; they are, after all, responsible persons.

Slippery Stairs

In a Miami speech to peddle his book, ex-FBI Director James Comey had some remarks about gun control, insisting those who object to changing existing law as starting down a slippery slope are simply wrong.

It’s not a slippery slope, it’s a concrete set of stairs….  Let’s have these conversations standing there, holding the rails.

Slippery slope or concrete stairs, it’s still a downward trip away from individual liberty.  It’s instructive, too, that he continues to decline to identify his limiting principle on gun “control.”  Where would control efforts stop, does he think?  What natural limit exists?  So far, all he—and other gun control supporters—are willing to do is have us rely on the good offices of a government that would limit our access to weapons.

Selling Weapons to the Republic of China

Especially in the face of an aggressively acquisitive People’s Republic of China that’s busily trying to cow the Republic of China, The Wall Street Journal favors our selling the RoC updated F-16s.

Such a sale would be a good start, but it’s only that.

There’s no need to wait on international consensus regarding an F-35B sale to the Republic of China (a concern of the WSJ); we should consider moving unilaterally. Or selling an F-35C that isn’t part of any consortium. The People’s Republic of China already has the F-35 secrets, anyway, courtesy of the Obama administration’s decision to eschew IT security. ‘Course, I think the F-35 is a wasteful pig, and uprated F-15s, F-16s, and A-10s would be better buys.

Encryption/Decryption Race

The political one I mean, not the technological one.  Recall, for instance the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the FBI’s capture of one of the terrorists’ encrypted iPhones, Apple’s refusal to decrypt it (they couldn’t, by their design of the iPhone’s OS), then-FBI Director James Comey’s (yes, that Comey) cynically tear-jerking demand for future such personal device encryption back doors to decrypt at Government convenience, and Apple’s refusal to support development of that.

An expert on the subject—a technological expert I mean, not a political one—thinks he’s solved the problem.  His solution is described in a Wired article.  This expert thinks he has a way of providing Government “exceptional access” to a private person’s (or private enterprise’s) encrypted cell phone (for instance).  His solution, Clear, works this way:

The “Muslim Travel” Moratorium Case

The Supreme Court is hearing this case as it pertains to the current Executive Order that imposes a moratorium on entry into the US by persons coming from certain specified nations.  (In aside, I emphasize that calling the EO a “Muslim ban” is dishonest. It presents an impermanent moratorium on entry from nations representing a bare 10% of the world’s Muslims, and it presents the same impermanent moratorium on non-Muslim countries, like northern Korea.)

Foolishness of Zero Tolerance

…or of intolerance; the two are interchangeable terms in this context.  This context is the overreaction of school management and local police departments to remarks concerning “threats” to schools.

Gina Gobert’s 12-year-old daughter was detained overnight at a police station in Oakdale, LA, after allegedly talking to schoolmates about a social-media post she said she received that threatened violence against the school.

School management, it seems, decided the girl had received no such threat and turned her over to the police, who decided to charge the child with “terrorizing.”

And this:

Irony Meter

Mine has been getting a workout lately.  It’s pegged again.

Russian lawmakers visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the aftermath of the US-UK-French strikes on the center of al-Assad’s chemical weapons production facilities and before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “inspects” the site of al-Assad’s chemical attack on women and children that prompted the allied response.  Among other things,

[t]he Syrian president also reportedly accepted an invitation to visit Siberia….

I recall an earlier time of invitations to visit Siberia.

Equal Protection Under Law

Harmeet Dhillon, a trial lawyer and California Republican National Committeewoman, has a tweet up regarding equal protection, San Jose, CA, style:

From the 9th Circuit argument Monday morning in Hernandez v. San Jose—City attorney says SJPD should not be held responsible for forcing Trump supporters to walk through a violent mob, because attending a Trump rally is an inherently dangerous act! Did they ask for it?

Play the video, and listen especially to the exchange between the San Jose lawyer and the judge (you may have to crank up the volume to hear the judge).  San Jose is utterly disingenuous in this case.  Equal protection applies, in SJ, only to SJ-approved groups of people.

Independent Monitor

Recall Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s raid on President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s offices and seizure of Cohen’s records, especially targeting communications between Cohen, the lawyer, and Trump, the client.

Cohen went in to Federal court Friday to try to get the subpoena under which the raid was conducted revoked and the confiscated materials returned.  Some discussion surrounding the events centers on the alleged ability of special monitors—a “taint team”—doing the sorting so as to isolate the privileged communications from the rest of the material sought under the warrant.  Furthermore, this team would, supposedly, conduct its sort before Mueller’s team has gone into the material they seized.