Four years was the right Manafort sentence and other commentary

Four years was the right Manafort sentence and other commentary

Attorney: Four Years Is Right Sentence for Manafort

There’s outrage aplenty over what many on the left are calling the “lenient” and “perverted” four-year prison sentence handed down Thursday on Paul Manafort. But David Oscar Markus at The Hill says federal Judge T.S. Ellis “should be commended for doing the right — and hard — thing, despite the enormous amount of pressure” from prosecutors, journalists and the public to impose a 20-year term. That, he says, “would have been absurd for a 69-year-old, first-time, nonviolent offender.” Indeed, those demanding a draconian sentence “can’t articulate any good reason” for it, especially when no one else in Robert Mueller’s investigation “has received anything even remotely close.” Judges, he notes, “are meant to be a check on the executive,” not just “a rubber stamp for oppressive government requests.”

From the right: Why Some Republicans Voted ‘No’

To a large segment of the news media, the controversy surrounding Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments has become “an embarrassing scandal for Republicans,” notes John McCormack at National Review. Under pressure from their own ranks, Democrats turned the “anti-hate” resolution passed Thursday “into a broad condemnation of almost all forms of bigotry rather than a resolution solely focused on anti-Semitism.” Still, all Democrats voted in favor, while 23 Republicans voted no. And to some, “that was the real story.” But the dissenters made a serious point that was mostly ignored: The resolution, as Rep. Liz Cheney said, “was a sham put forward by Democrats to avoid condemning one of their own.” Fact is, the many Democratic defenses of Omar, and not GOP opposition to the resolution, “is the real scandal here.”

Social critic: Klobuchar’s Anger Is No Feminist Victory

Sen. Amy Klobuchar “has a problem” that, as Caitlin Flanagan reports at The Atlantic, has been “an open secret in Washington and Minnesota,” her home state. Now that she’s running for president, it’s been exposed: “Her problem is rage, easily uncorked, and directed not at the various forces that might thwart the needs of her constituents, but at the people — many of them young — who work for her.” Klobuchar, for the most part, has “not disputed the specifics.” Not surprisingly, some have tried to characterize her behavior “as some kind of female badassery.” But “it’s unacceptable to be so unable to control your emotions that you throw things toward co-workers, and despicable to do it to subordinates who are afraid of you.” What it certainly is not is “a feminist victory.”

Foreign desk: Why Won’t China Stop the Flow of Fentanyl?

Last December, recalls The Washington Post’s John Pomfret, President Trump disclosed that China had promised to stem the flow of the powerful opioid fentanyl to the US and predicted “the results will be incredible.” Well, he says, “so far the results have been far from incredible. In fact, all indications are that there have been no results.” Fact is, China generally “doesn’t do a good job of regulating its chemical and pharmaceutical industries.” Moreover, China’s police “are not crime fighters but rather protectors” of the Communist Party. And there’s historical baggage dating back 150 years, to when China dealt with an opioid crisis from the West. Many argue that if the US would only “cut its dependence on drugs,” the problem would be solved — the same thing many here said about China during the 19th century.

Policy Wonk: Wealth Taxes Won’t Create Equality

The Democratic Party’s leftward lurch “has yielded tax plans designed less for raising revenue than for combating the corrosive force progressives believe wealth inequality exerts on democracy,” argues Will Wilkinson at The Bulwark. But “we shouldn’t expect a wealth tax” to “thwart oligarchy.” They’re “difficult and expensive to administer” and “hard to enforce.” One reason is “the inherent difficulty of valuing assets which are not highly liquid.” Moreover, “they create enormous incentives for the rich to avoid them, both legally and illegally, through family foundations, complex multilevel joint ownership structures, the manipulation of deductible debt, tax havens and other instruments at or beyond the limits of the law.”

— Compiled by Eric Fettmann

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