Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Never means never

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There was a glowing, arrogant consensus among smug Trump supporters yesterday, after RNC delegates officially nominated him to be president. #NeverTrump, the movement among conservatives and libertarians who vowed to never support the candidate, for many, varied, and sundry reasons, was through.

Wow wrong. Someone needs to be reminded what the word “never” means.

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Never. Not ever. Not even once.

#NeverTrump began in the Republican primary as an effort to deny Trump the nomination, once it became apparent that the polls were right and he was cruising toward it. It was by definition not designed to end there.

Many Trump opponents during primary season have since surrendered and endorsed or vowed to at least vote for him reluctantly. These people weren’t really #NeverTrump. The rest of us still are. And never means never.

Things aren’t getting worse, they’re getting more obvious

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On nearly every statistical measure, human society has improved dramatically over the last few decades. War, famine, disease, poverty, infant mortality are all down globally. Violent crime, cancer, teen pregnancy, abortion, drug use are all down nationally. Some of these truths come as a shock to people for one reason: media.

We have 24-hour news networks and social media that act like megaphones for tragedy. Every time someone gets shot, especially when multiple people do, it’s a breaking news event. And every time it’s tragic. But it’s not more common.

Gun deaths have been declining since the early 1990s. Mass shootings, depending on how they’re defined, are even more rare, though by definition prone to spikes.

Unfortunately this year might prove to break the trend on one unfortunate statistic: police gun deaths. Due mostly to the recent massacres in Dallas and Baton Rouge, on-duty police deaths are up nearly to their full-year level last year. Overall, cop assassinations have been on the decline for some time, so hopefully this horrific year will prove to be just an outlier and not the start of a reversing trend.

TX senators propose dueling bills that move justice reform backward

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Texas, the land of liberty, proud former republic, happy to be left alone to grill meat and eat tacos until the end of the earth, is supposed to take care of its own and not demand federal government interference, even when times get tough. But that’s exactly what two bills just introduced by the Lone Star State’s senators do. Neither is necessary or advisable, especially in light of justice reform efforts that do the opposite.

After the horrific police massacre in Dallas last weekend, John Cornyn has introduced a bill to make killing law enforcement officers and other public officials a federal crime with a new mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and option for the death penalty. While a reaction of this magnitude is understandable after Dallas and other recent attacks on police, in reality it’s much more of an overreaction.

Killing a police officer is already a capital offense in almost every state that has the death penalty, including Texas. The country is currently debating whether the states and federal government should have the death penalty at all; adding new qualifications for it should be out of the question, especially when states are handling it just fine on their own.

#Dallas, #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile: No sides now

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Yesterday afternoon I drove two hours to Baton Rouge to attend a prayer vigil for Alton Sterling, the man killed by police the day before. Governor John Bel Edwards was in attendance and made some remarks in support of the victim, his family, law enforcement, and the community as a whole.

When I arrived home after the two hour drive back, the massacre in Dallas was just beginning. The world turned upside down…

Since last night, the motive of the Dallas killers, or at least one of them, have become clear. The only suspect killed by police told them during the prior negotiations that he “wanted to kill white people.” But he also told them that he was working alone, which almost certainly was not true. So we still don’t know everything.

The frustrating thing for me is that the stated target of “white people” in a police shooting protest necessarily becomes cops, because those are usually the only white people there in significant numbers. Even at the Baton Rouge prayer vigil, which was held in a large black church to be sure, there were almost no other white people in attendance who weren’t part of a media crew or security detail.

FBI: No charges for Hillary. But everything else they said disqualifies her from office.

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FBI Director James Comey held a surprise press conference Tuesday morning. It was announced about an hour before it was scheduled to begin, but with no subject specified, so speculation on Twitter was swift and relentless.

The obvious topic was the correct one: Hillary Clinton’s private email controversy. For 15 minutes, Comey rattled off all the negligence and irresponsibility the FBI had uncovered in their year-long investigation. Since he sees no criminal malfeasance, though, he will not recommend that the Department of Justice pursue charges.

Everything Comey did say, however, should completely disqualify Secretary Clinton from ever holding public office or receiving a security clearance. He basically went over a checklist of everything she said in her first press conference on the issue in March 2015 and proved each one wrong.

10 years of #JusticeReform success: Tough on crime, not on criminals

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When you hear “tough on crime”, you think of convicting criminals with long, harsh sentences and no parole. For decades, that was the standard operating procedure for states and cities across the country. One minor problem - it made crime worse, not better.

After nearly 10 years of trying new ideas in some of those states, the evidence is clear. Being tough on crime requires treating criminals like people, since, well, they are.

In 2007 Texas was faced with a problem - build new prisons it couldn’t afford, or find another way. It found another way. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative increased rehabilitation services in several areas: drug abuse, mental health, occupational training, and education. The results are undeniable. Texas saved between $3 and 5 billion in costs and has lowered both crime rates and the state prison population by double digits.

Since Texas pioneered the approach, 32 states have made significant reforms to their criminal justice systems and subsequently seen decreases in both incarceration and crime rates, according to Jenna Moll of the US Justice Action Network at FreedomWorks’ #JusticeForAll summit over the weekend. It’s simply a provable fact now that there is no public safety benefit from incarceration-only policies.

The problem with the old “tough on criminals” approach is that 95% of convicts get out of jail. What shape do we want them in when they do? Do we want them ready to reintegrate into society, healthier, smarter, more well adjusted? Or do we want them locked away for years with their own kind to hone their anti-social behaviors into superpowers?

SHOCK Poll: “Other” beating Trump and Hillary in Utah

Mitt Romney won the state of Utah in 2012 with 72% of the vote, over President Obama’s 24%, a 48-point landslide margin. It was then surprising when Donald Trump’s campaign trumpeted a poll Tuesday showing him beating Hillary Clinton in the state by…9 points.

Even more shocking than Trump’s 39-point deficit below Romney’s threshold is where the rest of the field stands.

Hillary Clinton has a slight edge over Obama’s 2012 total in the state, 27% to 24%. Combined with Trump’s 36%, that’s only 63% of poll respondents. Where did everyone else go?

There are only two other candidates named in the poll. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson pulls 10% (1.2% in 2012), and Green Party candidate Jill Stein pulls 2% (0.3% in 2012). A whopping 18% prefer another unnamed candidate, and 8% just don’t know.

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In case you’re not familiar with arithmetic, Johnson’s 10, Stein’s 2, Other’s 18, and Shruggie’s 8 all add up to 38%. That’s 2% more than Trump. More accurately, the poll’s top line should read #NeverTrump 38, Trump 36, Clinton 27.

Mitt Romney vindicates Gary Johnson’s choice of Bill Weld as running mate

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When presidential nominee Gary Johnson begged Libertarian delegates to choose his preferred running mate as the party’s vice president, his argument hinged on fundraising and media attention. Mitt Romney added a third plank to that argument on Friday - endorsements.

In an interview with CNN, the 2012 Republican nominee said that as an opponent of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, he’s now open to supporting Gary Johnson for president in November, and Bill Weld is the reason.

“If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president,” Romney said. “So I’ll get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he’s someone who I could end up voting for.”

 

Hillary Clinton’s “historic” nomination demonstrates what’s wrong with the two-party system

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Although they were all but over two weeks ago, the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries officially ended on Tuesday when the final states cast their votes. Hillary Clinton’s victory was cheered from sea to shining sea as a historic first. It was only a first if you limit the criteria and historical record to a very specific window. That’s the problem with our party system in the first place.

While she is the first female presidential nominee from the Democratic or Republican parties, those aren’t the only parties in our system. They’re not even the only parties who have won the presidency.

Jill Stein was the Green Party presidential nominee in 2012 and likely will be this year too. Last time, with two largely popular major party candidates, she received 469,501 votes nationwide but no electoral votes. Not even Stein was the first female nominee, though.

In 1872, feminist activist Victoria Woodhull was the nominee for president from the Equal Rights Party. Her vice presidential nominee was famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, though he never acknowledged the party’s choice of him. Woodhull received a negligible number of votes, if any. She was kept from voting even for herself after being arrested a few days before the election.

New Hillary email controversy perfectly describes the federal government

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No, not that email controversy. No, not that one either. This one:

In case you have a less than 3-minute attention span, I’ll summarize.

In July 2015, David Sirota of the IB Times submitted a FOIA request for Hillary Clinton’s emails from the State Dept about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. As the trade deal is a public policy and Hillary a public official partly responsible for arranging it, State agreed. He received a response that those emails would be ready for him in April 2016.

April came and went, of course, without the emails being released. One week ago, Charlotte Duckett at State followed up, saying the relevant emails had been located and are now being “prepared for review” and would be ready for release by…wait for it…November 31, 2016. Three weeks after the election.

In case you’re not familiar with the Gregorian calendar, November 31st does not exist. There are only 30 days in November.

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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