Why aren't more conservatives concerned about felon voting rights?

I've been a huge fan of Elizabeth Warren since I saw her yelling at a cop during the 2012 Boston Pride Parade. I generally think that her past history as a Republican should actually be a selling point, as it demonstrates her capacity to examine the available evidence and change her mind. But one place where Bernie still stands out in front is his willingness to extend voting rights to people who are incarcerated.

I'm not surprised that Warren is hesitant to go all the way in allowing people to vote while still incarcerated — after all, unexamined biases against incarcerated people are extremely common — but I am disappointed.

The more I thought about it, however, I began to consider how strange it is that felon voting rights (during or after incarceration) tend to be such a partisan issue. As a progressive, I've come around to understand why it matters, as all human rights matter, particularly in an unjust legal system. As much as I hate it, I can at least understand the true authoritarian racist argument in favor of retaining free labor through a loophole-by-design of the 13th Amendment.

But when I think about the conservatives I know, and the philosophies they claim to adhere to, that's where the contradictions arise. For example, let's ignore the contrived veneer respectability that shines on every deceptive video from PragerU, and take their argumentative claims at face value and in good faith. PragerU pumps out plenty of content defending the Electoral College by rationalizing it around a fear of mob rule, or the "tyranny of the majority." Read the rest

Martin Shkreli's appeal denied

Martin Shkreli, trollish ex-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who became infamous in 2015 when he jacked up the price of an HIV medication 5,000%, received some unpleasant news today, reports CNBC. The Supreme Court rejected his request for an appeal of his securities fraud conviction. That means he's going to have to serve the rest of his 7-year sentence and forfeit his $6.4 million fine.

While his fraud case was pending, Shkreli won the hearts of Trumpsters when he put a bounty on a strand of hair from Hillary Clinton's head. His tweet did not get his desired result, though. Instead, the judge revoked his bail and locked him behind bars for the remainder of the trial.

Image: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform - https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/developments-in-the-prescription-drug-market-oversight/, Public Domain, Link Read the rest

Trump advisor Roger Stone convicted for obstruction of justice

Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to a Congressional House committee about his involvement with Wikileaks and for witness tampering. The jury deliberated for eight hours before convicting him of all seven counts. The 67-year-old felon could serve up to 50 years in prison.

NPR:

In the indictment, Stone was accused of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts to discover what WikiLeaks planned to do with thousands of hacked Democratic emails it had in its possession. The House committee was conducting its own investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. WikiLeaks ultimately did release the emails during the campaign, which became a major talking point of the election that Donald Trump went on to win.

Washington Post:

In arguments and testimony over the past two weeks, prosecutors revealed a series of phone calls at critical times in 2016 between Stone, Trump and some of the highest-ranking officials on the Trump campaign — Stephen K. Bannon, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

Gates and Bannon took the witness stand, describing how the campaign viewed Stone as a sort-of conduit to WikiLeaks who claimed — even before the Russian hacking was known — to have insider information. Gates testified to overhearing a phone call in which Trump seemed to discuss WikiLeaks with Stone, calling into question the president’s assertion to Mueller’s office that he did not recall discussing the organization with his longtime friend.

New York Times:

Mr. Stone, 67, joins a notable list of former Trump aides convicted of lying to federal authorities.

Read the rest

D.C. Court of Appeals disbars Paul Manafort

Sucks to be Paul Manafort.