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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Jury deliberations

 I feel like I am waiting for a jury in my own case.  I have waited for juries many time.  It is high anxiety time.  And when the jury announces it has a verdict, I nearly stroke out.
        Commentators have been filling the airways with theories about why the jury is taking so long.  They think it is good for the prosecutor.  No wait, it's good for the defendant.  Here is the truth.  First, the jury has not been out for an extraordinary long time.  The Oliver North jury was out 12 days.  The Scooter Libby jury was out ten days.  In both cases they were convicted.  Second, it is impossible to know what it means that the jury has been out for three days.
      The Manafort  case was very complicated.  The jury must decide on 18 separate charges.  Among other terrible things about this judge, he did not let the jury examine the exhibits until the entire pile was handed to them when they started their deliberations.  In the courtrooms where I tried cases, we were allowed to hand the exhibits to the  jurors during trial.   In this case the jurors evidently had to try to figure out which exhibit went with which criminal charge.
         I thought it was 50/50 that the jury would return a verdict today.  Now I think it's 75/25 they will return a verdict tomorrow.  I have absolutely no basis for making my prediction.  Maybe they will reach a verdict tomorrow.  Or maybe they won't reach a verdict for another week.  Regardless of when the jury reaches a verdict, I am sticking with my  prediction.  It is impossible that Manafort will be found not guilty on all of the counts.  The evidence against him is overwhelming.  The best he can hope for is one or two jurors holding out on all 18 counts.  Then it's a hung jury.    So relax.  Easy for me to say, I will be taking tranquilizers until the jury returns a verdict.  Take care all.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Abdul/Whitmer divide

At the heart of the Abdul/Whitmer divide is a fundamental disagreement about how policy is made and change happens.
Whitmer and her supporters have been saying for a year that single-payer healthcare is impossible to implement at a state level. California tried and failed, therefore we can never do it here. Don't you know that we would need to control the State Senate to pass that bill? Do you realize that we can't take the Senate this year?
In this line of thinking, if something is politically impossible in the short-term, it is not worth talking about.
Abdul and his campaign have a different philosophy. They believe that by talking about the impossible in the short-term, you make it possible in the long run. There's no other way. That's why Abdul has campaigned on this issue from Day 1. He wrote an original policy paper detailing about how single-payer would be implemented. He acknowledged the political barriers, and never promised to pass the thing overnight. All he has promised is to fight like hell.
And what do you know, the political winds are already shifting. Since Abdul launched his campaign, we have seen:
-A single-payer bill introduced in the state legislature
-The launch of a new statewide organization launch to advance this idea
-At least a dozen state legislative candidates campaign on single-payer
All of which is creating political will, building buzz, and paving the way for more allies to jump on board.
Call me young and naive, but I'd rather fight for the "impossible" than calmly explain to voters why a humane healthcare system, 100% renewable energy, and other life-saving policies are simply unachievable." ~ Will Lawrence, environmental organizer