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BREAKING! ACHTUNG! Republicans are utterly lacking in human decency and will exploit any tragedy to rile up the pitchfork mob! STOP THE PRESSES!


Okay, maybe this isn't actually news, particularly the morning after those bastards just stole healthcare from 13 million Americans to buy every billionaire a shiny, new yacht. But the ugliness generated by anti-immigrant wingnuts after Kate Steinle's death was something to behold.

The facts were complicated: Steinle was killed on July 1, 2015 while walking with her father on a San Francisco pier. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was a homeless, undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times and convicted of several low-level drug offenses. Garcia Zarate fired a gun toward the ground, and the bullet ricocheted 78 feet striking Steinle in the back. During a lengthy police interview, Garcia Zarate seemed confused, was not permitted to "remain silent," and gave several conflicting explanations as to how he got the gun and why he fired it. Nonetheless, he signed a confession that was admitted at trial. Like we said, the facts were complicated.

Luckily, the Fox News mob wasn't concerned with facts. A pretty white girl was dead, and they weren't about to let that opportunity go to waste! Rapey O'Reilly led the charge.

Now, there is some good news today as Kate may not have died vain. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told The Factor he is meeting with the senate leadership to discuss Kate's law. As we suggested last night Congress should pass legislation that would impose a mandatory minimum five-year sentence on any illegal alien that's deported and then comes back. The word "mandatory" is crucial.

There are laws on the books now that are being ignored. Congress must write Kate's law so if officials do not enforce the mandatory sentence, they themselves, can be prosecuted.

And candidate Trump promised that he would make it all better if Americans would just send him to the White House.

This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately. This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won't happen if I become President.

With this political circus as a backdrop, prosecutors charged Garcia Zarate with premeditated murder. When the case came to trial this November, they tried to convince a jury that Garcia Zarate brought the gun to the pier with a plan to kill someone and intentionally shot Steinle. They asked the jurors to disregard Garcia Zarate's claim that he found the stolen weapon on the pier, disregard the ease of accidentally firing the SIG Sauer model that killed Steinle, and most importantly, disregard the fact that the bullet hit the ground near Garcia Zarate before ricocheting 78 feet towards Steinle. No sharpshooter on earth could have reproduced that shot, of course, much less a confused homeless guy who had never fired that gun. So the jury acquitted Garcia Zarate of murder and manslaughter, but convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Which kind of shreds the CRAZED MEXICAN VICIOUSLY MURDERS PRETTY BLOND LADY!!!!1!! narrative, although the wingnut-o-sphere was undeterred.

Really, only Tucker Carlson can provide an adequate reaction to such a moronic opinion.

Whatcha got, President Tee Time?

What's that sound? Oh, it's every lawyer in America sighing heavily. Well, except for this asshole.

Fox News "legal analyst" and "Trump surrogate" David Wohl is making some pretty big lie words about the rules of evidence here. Prior convictions for unrelated crimes are absolutely inadmissible in court because they tend to make the jury dislike the defendant without contributing any evidence of guilt or innocence of the crime being tried. Garcia Zarate had recently been released from custody for possession of marijuana, but that's not evidence of his likelihood to commit murder. Ditto the border crossings, which no judge in America would have allowed into evidence. Here, take it from Wonkette's secret lawcrush Renato Mariotti.

We note that Mariotti spent ten years as a federal prosecutor, while David Wohl's claim to fame is having sired the most annoying Trump-fluffing fraudster on Twitter. In fact, Wohl spent decades doing criminal defense work, so he knows damn well that immigration status and prior drug convictions are inadmissible. Could it be that Wohl is lying to please his Murdoch masters???? WHOA IF TRUE!

There is a rational argument that the prosecutor should have aimed to convict Garcia Zarate of involuntary manslaughter, rather than insisting that he'd killed Steinle on purpose. Weirdly enough, RedState has two really good pieces on this.

But let's take it from criminal defense attorney Ken White, aka @Popehat.

Naturally, the wingnuts gave serious consideration to the evidence and legal theories put forth by White and RedState's @Patterico.

Hmmmm. Maybe not.

In closing, let's remember the victim, Kate Steinle. We cannot imagine the tragedy of losing a child, and our hearts go out to her parents Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan. Hard cases make bad law, and this case is very, very hard.

[ Fox News / RedState / RedState, again / WaPo / Patch / CNN]

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Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. George State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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Conservatives want to be oppressed. Or, rather, for everyone to think they are being oppressed and to then give them what they see as the impunity and moral upper hand that comes along with being an oppressed group of people. They want it very, very badly and think it is very unfair that all the people they have oppressed have this privilege and they do not. This morning, Trump took to Twitter to vow to protect them from the worst kind of oppression of all -- imaginary social media censorship!

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