Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted last Friday of premeditated murder in the 2009 shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. The attack killed 13 people and injured more than 30. Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, said his goal was to help Muslim insurgents overseas.
The conviction made Hasan eligible for the death penalty, and prosecutors pushed for it. On Wednesday, a military jury sentenced him to death. He could be the first American soldier to be executed since 1961. But, based on the beliefs of an attorney during the case, that sentence could give Hasan just what he wants.
During the trial, Hasan chose to represent himself, but he had three standby military lawyers on hand for advice if he requested it. One of those defense attorneys worried earlier this month that Hasan was “working in concert with the prosecution in achieving a death sentence.” That attorney, Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, told the judge in the case that it is “clear [Hasan’s] goal is to remove impediments or obstacles to the death penalty and is working towards a death penalty.”
Hasan took issue with the attorney’s interpretation of his defense, saying the attorney “made an assertion that is inaccurate.”
In his self-defense, Hassan did not try, even a little, to present himself as innocent. In his opening statement, he said, “Evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter, and the dead bodies will show the war is an ugly thing.” The government tried to make the case that Hasan “came to believe he possessed a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible.”
Whether the death penalty is Hasan’s goal likely didn’t matter in the sentencing, because that is the penalty the prosecution was looking for. But it raises real questions about how serious a punishment can be if it is what the criminal is looking for. In court, the government argued that the death penalty is the only way to give the military and families of Hasan’s victims justice and peace of mind. But if Hasan is looking to become a martyr for his cause, it’s hard to see how giving him that would help victims and their families.
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”