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Bill noted earlier today the poll by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  Let's look a little more at these data.

Four years ago, we defeated a death penalty repeal initiative, but the opponents got closer than they should have.  I believed at the time that the reason was not opposition to the death penalty as such but rather the success of the opponents in blocking enforcement of the death penalty and the absence of a reform alternative on the same ballot.

The topline results of the new poll tend to confirm this hypothesis.  For the repeal initiative, the poll found 45.1% in favor and 54.9% opposed.  For the reform initiative, the poll found 75.7% in favor and 24.3% opposed.  At a minimum, then, one fifth of the people of California intend to vote for both initiatives.  That is, if all of the 24.3% who intend to vote no on reform vote in favor of repeal, then 20.8% who intend to vote for reform also intend to vote for repeal.  If anyone intends to vote no on both, though I'm not sure why anyone would, then the "yes on both" vote is that much larger.  A large segment of the population of California is so fed up with the status quo that, although they would like to see the system fixed, they would rather scrap it than go on as we are.

The "crosstabs" are also interesting.  What would happen if California Democrats decided this issue by themselves?

Trump Speech on Law and Order

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A script of Donald Trump's speech on law and order is available on his site.  There are many good points there.  He is clearly listening to Rudy Giuliani, which is good.

Can he stay on message, and, if so, can he regain the 10% he has foolishly handed to Hillary Clinton on a silver platter since the convention?  We shall see. 
Amy Wang reports in the WaPo:

Kathleen Kane, once a rising star in Pennsylvania politics, said Tuesday that she will resign as the state's attorney general after she was found guilty of nine criminal charges, including two felony perjury counts.

"I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days," the first-term Democrat said in a statement the afternoon after her conviction.

Kane, who was elected in 2012, was accused of leaking information to the media about a 2009 grand jury probe as a way to get back at Frank Fina, a political rival and former state prosecutor.

Prosecutors said Kane masterminded the leak and a subsequent coverup -- and then lied to a grand jury about it.
Politicians never seem to learn that the cover-up gets you in more trouble than the original transgression.
Shane Newell has this article with the above title in the LA Times.

Top Los Angeles County officials including Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey have joined a November election battle, announcing support for preserving California's death penalty and reforming the state's appeals process.

The death penalty should be "for the worst of the worst," McDonnell said Monday night at an event dubbed, "Mend, Don't End California's Death Penalty."

"We want to be in a position to be able to say that there is a disincentive for the most horrific of murders," McDonnell said.

Also speaking out at the event was Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. The goal: opposing Proposition 62, which would abolish executions and replace them with life without parole, and supporting Proposition 66, which aims to speed up executions in California.

NeverJohnson

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Some libertarian-leaning and independent voters have been taking a look at Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, as an alternative to the vulgar, reckless Trump and the mendacious, hard-Left Clinton.  I understand their angst, but Johnson disqualified himself in my view by recently embracing Black Lives Matter.

The conservative journal RedState understands what's wrong with BLM, but, oddly, says it's "not worried" about Johnson's warmth toward it.  The magazine correctly describes BLM thusly:

Black Lives Matter is more concerned with retaliation for any wrongdoing, than it is solving the problem. It continuously uses intimidation, lawlessness, violence, and story fabrication to push its brand of racism as the result of being a victim. Like any other social justice group, the solution to the problem isn't as important as maintaining that victimhood. Any elements that are seeking peaceful solutions, or even achieve them, are soon disavowed by BLM.

Why then is RedState unconcerned with Johnson's alliance with BLM?

Black Lives Matter Comes Clean

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Black Lives Matter got traction from a concocted account of the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri  --  that a white policeman, Darren Wilson, shot a black teenager, Michael Brown, even though Brown had his hands up in surrender.

This was shown to be false.  Wilson's hands weren't up, and he was not trying to surrender.  Instead, the credible evidence showed that, shortly after he robbed a convenience store of practically worthless items, Brown, 6'4" and 292 pounds, had scuffled with Wilson, had tried to wrestle away Wilson's service revolver, and was coming back for more.  Wilson fired in self defense.

As one might expect of a movement whose signature grievance is fabricated, Black Lives Matter has had more than its share of toxicity, particularly as respects its view of law enforcement.

Now, however, BLM has made clear its true political roots:  It's a Communist front with a racial makeover.

Yes, I know that sounds so Fifties.  But the list of demands BLM just released leaves no doubt.  Paul Mirengoff has the story.  The first name that came to my mind was Herbert Aptheker.


Pick Your Spin

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I often find amusing the various spins those favoring the interests of criminals will put on the same event.  Hence, you can take your pick between these assessments of the Democratic National Convention:  (A) From Sentencing Law and Policy, "Is it lack of conviction, lack of courage, or just lack of cleverness that leads Dems to be so weak on criminal justice reform advocacy?" or (B), From the Huffington Post, "The Criminal Justice System Was a Huge Focus at the DNC. But It Can't Stop There."

Since I didn't watch either Convention except for snippets, I am in no position to say who's right. I have my own assessment, however, based on years of following politics.

Treason?

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James Taranto at the WSJ has this column listing some of the reaction to Donald Trump's email comments yesterday.  "Reaction was swift and, we will argue, overwrought."  My take is in this post.  Part of the disagreement is on how you interpret what he said, and there is some room for reasonable disagreement there.  What is most certainly out-of-bounds, though, is the hysterical claim that his comment is treason.

Treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution.  The Framers put the definition there and made it exceedingly narrow to preclude the kind of creative definitions of treason that were instruments of tyranny in England at least as far back as the notorious King Henry VIII.  Here is the American definition:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.
Are we at war with Russia?  Nope.  The treason talk can stop right there.  QED.
Ed O'Keefe, Jose A. DelReal and John Wagner have this article in the WaPo, with a lead paragraph that is typical of what is all over the net:

Democrats prepared to use their convention Wednesday night to raise fresh doubts about Donald Trump's fitness to serve as commander in chief, as the Republican presidential candidate called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton's email server to find "missing" messages and release them to the public.
But did he really say that?  His actual statement is in the next two paragraphs:

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press," Trump said during a news conference at his South Florida resort on Wednesday.

"They probably have them. I'd like to have them released. It gives me no pause, if they have them, they have them," Trump added later when asked if his comments were inappropriate. "If Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean, to be honest with you, I'd love to see them."
As I read that, he is expressing a belief that they already have the emails, having hacked Mrs. Clinton's home-brewed server a long time ago, and he is saying he hopes they release them.  That is a very different thing.

How could he possibly call on Russia to hack into a server that was taken off line and wiped a long time ago?  That doesn't make any sense.
Following up on my post yesterday, here is how not to do it.
Wow.  You can't make this stuff up.

The DNC chair got the ax when hacked emails definitively proved what just about everyone paying attention pretty much knew -- that she was using the party apparatus to favor one primary candidate over the other.  We didn't think it warranted mention on this blog.

But who is the substitute convention opener?  It is none other than the notorious Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the one who said as her city was burning:

It's a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.
She quickly blamed others for supposedly mischaracterizing her words, saying she did not mean what she plainly said.

One foolish statement would not have been so bad if she had followed up by doing everything right after that, but the City of Baltimore has not.  Closer to the opposite, and it has the crime to prove it.

If the Democratic Party wanted to make this election all about who is on the criminals' side and who is on the law-abiding people's side, with themselves being the wrong side, it could hardly have chosen a more effective face to put forward to open its convention.

And just to be very, very clear, there is no balance to be struck with free speech when a full-blown riot is in progress.   Government can constitutionally put "time, place, and manner" limits on speech to serve important interests, and peaceful protests can be postponed until peace is restored.

Hillary Falls Behind

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Donald Trump got significant help from the Convention.  This has not happened in the CNN poll since the 2000 elections.  The lead of CNN's story follows the break.


The Law and Order Candidate

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When was the last time a presidential candidate made law and order the lead theme of his acceptance speech?  I can't remember.  The reason it has been so long is that we were so successful in bringing down crime rates that the issue dropped off of voters' radar screens.  It's back.

The Trump campaign has released a helpfully annotated text of the speech.  The facts on crime are substantially correct, regardless of what the WaPo fact checkers say.  I may have more to say on that later.  Here are some key lines.

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.
Yup, I've been saying that for some time.
Station WOIO reports from Cleveland:

Hundreds of protesters and police took over Public Square in downtown Tuesday afternoon.
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Activists from Black Lives Matter, Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK were in the square and, at one time, were said to be throwing urine at each other.
We probably shouldn't laugh, but I will anyway.  And I will take the Mercutio position on that dispute.

Other interesting nuggets:

Actor Billy Baldwin marched down Euclid Avenue with some protesters. He said he supports police and Black Lives Matter.
Huh?  How do you support one group of people and at the same time support a second group that openly calls for the murder of the first?

The Stand Together Against Trump group was expected to parade Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. A total of 0 protesters showed up. There were 15 media members, 17 preachers and several police instead. The group had a parade permit for up to 5,000 people.

Selective Mourning

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We're often admonished by the Left not to draw conclusions until all the facts are in. That's sound advice, in the abstract.  The problem is how it gets applied.  When a Jihadist engages in mass murder shouting "Allahu Akbar," we are told not to "jump to conclusions" about his motives.  But when a white policeman shoots an African American, it is assumed on the spot that the motive is racism.  This itchy eagerness to smear the cops was nowhere better illustrated  --  and its injustice nowhere more evident  -- than with Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO.  It is being repeated full bore with the shooting episodes in Baton Rouge and in Minneapolis, even though in each of those cities, as was the case early on in Ferguson, the full facts are not yet known.

The Washington Times reports that Hillary Clinton has nonetheless met with the family of the man shot in Minnesota, Philando Castile, as part of a campaign swing.

Question:  Has Ms. Clinton met with the families of any of the eight policemen assassinated in Baton Rouge and Dallas?

Answer:  Not that I've heard about.  I will stand to be corrected if I'm wrong.

Question:  Why not?

Answer:  Partly because, facts or no facts, she's goosing the BLM vote, but has (understandably) given up on the police vote.  Mostly  --  and let's just say  it out loud  -- because she could care less.

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