Today a juvenile court Justice in Monroe, Georgia sent two young boys to a Juvenile Detention Center after they confessed to unintentional arson that destroyed four homes. News reports cite that the boys started a brush fire after exploring the site of an old welding company. When stomping out the fire failed to work the boys ran away in fear. Two of the boys' mother brought all three of them (one was a cousin) to the police station where they confessed to the incident.
Here's my contention: First, the mother didn't have to turn in her children. No one had linked them to the scene and no police offers had questioned them in the investigation. But the mother, out of her sense of what was wrong and right, turned in her own children. This shows some integrity of a mother-- a mother who probably isn't doing that poorly of a job raising her children. Second: They are children--- 7, 10, and 11 who will now be exposed to strip searches, being locked up, and other dire elements of our juvenile justice system. If they weren't delinquent before (and they have no prior record of misbehavior) they will be after they've been institutionalized. And then there's this man to my left. This man burnt down his family home as a child and his father simply said: "Don't ever do that again." He didn't. Richard Parsons is now the Chairman and CEO of Time Warner, Inc. My point? He didn't go to juvenile hall.
CNN reports that Craig Calloway, left, took $36,000 in bribes for himself but refuted saying it was really "for the people":
"I am very zealous, very passionate when it comes to representing the people who have been left out of the process. I didn't conform to the law," Callaway told the judge. "I tried to make my own rules to make things better for the people who have been left out."
Making things "better" apparently included blackmailing his opponents, throwing bricks at windows, and bringing bullhorns to the meetings of competitors so he could drown them out.
The story states "Callaway did not explain how pocketing $36,000 in bribes helped the people he represented. His lawyer, Jeremy Frey, told the judge that at least Callaway did not bother to try to disguise the bribes as campaign contributions, and asked for some credit for his client not being disingenuous."
Sooo...basically this guy is going to jail because he was 'stupider' than the average candidate.
After he entered the courthouse, what was his plea like?
"Well you see judge, I am a true and honest criminal. I am straightfoward when I take bribes. I don't go 'round makin' it look like I'm an upstanding politician. I will fly in the face of all reasoning and steal from the New Jersey public just as straight faced and fuck-you-like as I possibly can. Can you please take it easy on me for that? I'm genuinely a man who takes bribes. I aint' pretendin' to be nothing else. At least you gotta give me that."
"So are you saying that you intentionally did not hide these contributions because you wanted everyone to know that you took them like other politicians take them, just discretely?"
"Is this the same reason you threw a brick through an opposing candidates windshield?"
"Yes sir-- I wanted him to know who he was messin' with."
"And you did all of this why?"
"I want to help the people."
"Soooo...you going to help them in jail?"
"Absolutely. Do you know how many conduits for bribery you can have once you in jail? Absolutely. I will continue my zealous fight for the people."
"Even if it's against the law?"
"Even if it results in further jail time?"
"Even if people think you're bloody fucking crazy?"
"Why do you think I flipped them all off before I came in the courtroom? Hell YEAH."
A consumer group was recently reported as calling for "aid" to "victimized" individuals with subprime mortgages. The story, here, says that a housing "tsunami" is about to hit working class Americans. Here's why I'm confused:
Mortgage companies gave mortgages to individuals who had poor or risky credit ratings-- i.e. people who had less than a shining record of paying back loans or paying off credit card debt. This was definitely not the smartest move by mortgage companies, but I'm all about giving people a second chance.
HOWEVER-- the mortgage criss right now is due to the fact that these lucky homeowners aren't paying back their loans. In fact, many companies gave mortgages under what has become known as "liar loans"-- they allowed applicants to file their incomes as higher than they actually are. Heeelllloooo....those income background checks are there for a pretty darn good reason.
These subprime lenders gave loans to people they shouldn't have; those people are defaulting on their loans as the housing bubble pops and the economy grinds to a much slower pace---it's "cooling off" we could say-- and CONGRESS is supposed to AID them? Will the testimonies occur like this:
Lender - "We have become victimized by people who do not pay back their loans and are defaulting all over the place."
Lendee - "Well we are victimized by the people who loaned us the money-- they should have known we couldn't afford it."
Congress - "We are victimized by the Chinese."
Tax Payers - "What?"
Congress - "Well, tax payers, you aren't speaking up eloquently, so--- let's move some funds to the subprime consumers and a retirement package to the doofus CEO's who loaned you the money."
Here's my caveat though--- if homeowners, who aren't defaulting on their loans, are not on fixed interest rates and their rates go way UP because the mortgage companies gave out loans they shouldn't have-- we'll probably have an Enron-type issue with a whole bunch of angry desperate housewives and housemen. Then Congress can shake their heads, slam their fists around, and make sure the CEO's get off with a tidy benefit package while the "working class" gets hit by the Tsunami of "trickle down" unemployment.
Whenever I hear the word “perjury” uttered in reference to Washington I cringe and wonder who is going to get screwed by an “independent” investigation. For some reason images of a firing squad with one political party tied up in blindfolds facing the open fire of the opposite political party comes to mind. [Image: Plame (left) and Wilson (right)-- "I hate the f-ing day I married you." - Plame "Oh honey, you don't mean that. We're going to get serious money from this ya know, and my book? My book is great right?" - Wilson "Your book is a piece of crap. And you're getting fat. Did your tie honestly have to match my jacket? You know, I could still be undercover getting shot at in Libya while knowing if I got caught no one, absolutely no one, could rescue me-- and you know what? It'd be better than this." - Plame "Oh...you tease...just smile and think of the retirement money. You know you love me. I do." - Wilson]
Whoever is in the Whitehouse—be it Democrats (Clinton) or Republicans (Libby) someone on the opposite side will be gunning for an opportunity to nail individuals on “perjury” technicalities. It’s the easiest way to convince the less than scrutinous US public that whoever sits in the White House is a lying sack of sh….um…you know.
When I read that Libby could face 30 YEARS in prison for his conviction, I wanted to slam my head into a table. Or perhaps gouge my eyes out with paperclips. Not because I am an ardent proponent of either side of the table (I’m not) but because most analysts have been trained first and foremost to pursue EVIDENCE. Then we are taught to take that evidence and hold it up the scrutiny of the Constitution, rule of law, data, historical considerations, sometimes economic analysis, and (hopefully--for the love of goodness) common sense.
Do I think Clinton was a super duper moral guy? Ahh…not so much. Remarkably intelligent absolutely-- but not particularly moral when it comes to things like...you know...wedding vows. Do I agree with the investigations and attacks he had to endure? No. I don’t even think Ken Starr agrees with how that was handled—in fact, from a personal friend of his, I heard (yes, hearsay, it’s a blog) that he was given an ugly job he wasn’t always comfortable with. And he did that ugly job well. Very well.
Clinton's reputation was smeared across the United States and the entire satellite-reaching world. A brilliant man (whose wife probably secretly loathed his guts) was ruined by an investigation about something that (honestly) didn’t affect US security or interests all that much. Did the stock market crash or the US get invaded because Clinton couldn’t ‘fess up to what the word “sex” means? Not so much.
Now lets get back to Libby, simply because I’m confused. I’m confused because, though I’ve read his indictment here http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/libby_indictment_28102005.pdf and read various other things about him (including Joseph Wilson's momoir masqued as a political treatise with the obnoxious oxymoronic title, "The Politics of Truth") I still have questions about why Libby might go to prison for more than my current lifetime. And why, for the love of everything, a Yale-educated politician who graduated magna cum laude will be sued (for a million dollars) by a C-average, UCSB, "majored in surfing" attention-hungry man who ruined his wife's life vocation.
My first question in the line-up is: Why did he switch sides mid-stream? In 2003 Joseph Wilson went to work on the John Kerry campaign. Hello—he started batting for the other side of the current administration. Red flag. And I don't think it was a "this war is WRONG" -type move. It was a "this boat is sinking and I need to stay afloat in this town"-type move. Just my opinion.
But the list of strange occurances continues to emerge in reviewing this silly case.
In May 2002 Joseph went to Niger where he found no evidence to support the intelligence claim that Iraq was purchasing uranium yellowcake from that country. So allegedly he was pissed all of 2002 and into 2003 because he didn’t find what he was sent to find by…..drumroll please…..
Ok not just his wife but his wife (who worked on proliferation) and the CIA, though initially he made it sound very much like the office of the Vice President had sent him to Africa. Ok, so he goes to Africa, finds out Iraq isn't collecting yellowcake (the assumption is that Wilson was totally equipped and thorough and made no mistakes of his own in this endeavor) and comes home upset about the war. January 9th, 2003, Bush gives his infamous State of the Union Address wherein he asserts that Iraq has been purchasing equipment to blow most of the Middle East off of the face of the Earth. Actually his sentence was only 16 words. But anyway, in July of 2003 Wilson has gotten SO pissed about those 16 words that he publishes the notorious Op-Ed piece “What I didn’t Find in Iraq.”
Does anyone else ALREADY notice something sketchy here?
If he was THAT pissed about what he DIDN”T find in Niger, why did he wait almost 6 months to go public with it? If I had been that disgusted with lies of an administration and those 16 words of George W. Bush, my article would have gone out January 10th.
Why the wait? If it was as dire as he seems to make it-- his delay sounds like negligence.
Secondly--- in his book he apologizes to his wife for what her “government” has done to her.
Dude, there’s evidence all OVER the place that her identity was being unraveled the moment she met YOU, Wilson. If I were his wife, (I don’t care how much I despised the Administration) that pandering, pithy, irresponsible dedication would have made me want to cock my head, look at him, and say “shut the hell up you histrionic psycho! You ruined my life”
Here’s why I call him a histrionic psycho: Not because I like to throw around psychological words (even though I do) but because the guy showed up at a press conference WEARING A NOOSE, and told Saddam that if Saddam wanted to kill all the Americans Wilson was protecting, Wilson would “bring [his] own fucking rope”.
If that isn’t someone who is crying out for attention (umm…and attention from a dictator, which makes it even weirder) I don’t know what is. Couldn’t he have just walked up to the podium, uttered a mellow “bring it Saddam,” or “make my day” like our Cali Governor? Did he really need to bring the noose?
Thirdly---let’s get back to the real question at the base of all of this—what's with the forged documents about the uranium? And who the heck forged them? That doesn’t readily show up anywhere. We’re too busy prosecuting each other to think, hey, wait a minute, someone was screwing with us. Let’s blame THEM.
France is apparently the biggest proponent of the forged documents theory. I minored in French. I love the French. I love France. I am not a Francophobic conservative ‘merican as this may seem. But they sorta have a voting record against us. They’re not likely to be voted “most likely to agree with us on the floor of the UN ” because they basically hate our political guts even if we all see eye to eye on fashion and make-up (and do they have the corner market on skincare or WHAT?).
Now I don't want to start naysaying everyone involved in the administration except for poor Libby who is taking the fall for basically every Republican from the President on down, but let's talk about this alleged uranium purchase. I'm not going to name names here, but our intelligence isn't known for being like, the best in the world. We tend to topple dicators and then shake our heads and close our eyes when the country goes up in flames over sectarian violence we might have foreseen had anyone raised their hands and asked "What's the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?"
Niger is the poorest country in the WORLD. The shadow, (or illegal) economy in that country is more than likely booming. Shadow economies have an inverse relationship to poverty and political stability. And who is known for being the BEST brokers in that region of Africa? Indigenous women.
I'll lay money there were very few male dark-suits who stepped off of Airforce 2 and said to eachother "now, let's consult the poorest, most marginalized individuals of this society, shall we?"
Just a thought.
But back to my original problem-- is Libby's "crime" really worth 30 years in prison and worth Wilson getting a million dollars out of the deal? It's really too bad that his wife was "outed" by the press, but I really think she might have thought twice about rolling over in bed and saying "oh honey, could you go to Africa for this little thing we have going on there? And you can take that noose off, no one can see it at the moment. Oh, and don't forget to call Kerry."
Puleeze--Washington is a chess or a card game. Wilson got a very lucky hand. His wife made a very poor move (don't mix business husbands) and Libby got S-C-R-E-W-E-D by the Administration and a U.S. public who doesn't realize that the high-profile lawsuits in D.C. really aren't so much about serious crimes but about getting people convicted for not remembering every conversation they ever had.