Category Archives: crime

Are Tiger and Gate Crashers the Only News?

Forgive me, I was out of town the past few days, so I don’t know if there was a breakthrough on healthcare reform, or whether the House, Senate, or White House has come up with a magic bullet for the unacceptably high unemployment rate.

I do know retailers were cautiously optimistic about “Black Friday”. I went to a shopping mall out of town not to buy anything, but to see a movie with my daughter. There were plenty of people there, but checkout lines didn’t seem long, and lots of folks were leaving without being weighted down with packages.

What I did hear and see a lot about were two stories. Tiger Woods, Emperor of  All Golf , crached his SUV early Friday morning just outside his house. Apparently, it was early enough to cause all manner of speculation about the state of his marriage, the state of his mind (he was reportedly unconscious), and whether a tabloid report about his fooling around is true. Yawn!

Tiger’s right. He’s boring, and so is the frenzy that’s surrounding this incident. He ought to know better than to turn away state troopers trying to investigate the crash more than once. All that does is feed the media speculation. You and the missus ought to talk to them, release a statement, and be done with it already.

The other story that won’t go away is the one about the couple that crashed the White House state dinner Tuesday night. If  Michaele and  Tareq Salahi werre looking for 15 minutes of fame, they got five days. This one is amazing on several levels. Why would two people think they had the smarts and the guts to get past what most folks think is tough security at the White House?

What would they have done if they’d been turned away, just head to a fancy Georgetown restaurant? Of course, just like that “Balloon Boy” family, reports say the wife wanted to be on a reality television show. Was this supposed to be her audition?

The Salahis are reportedly talking to the Secret Service, maybe trying to avoid a possible criminal rap for their night on the town. Government security in general ought to be hanging their heads in shame, because it means security checkpoints literally mean nothing. All that stuff they make you do at the airport? Theater! Building security, where they make you show a couple of forms of ID? Meaningless!

And Sunday, here were two US Senators discussing the incident, and saying (with appropriate seriousness), that criminal charges are in order. Do I smell an investigation in the Upper House?

But hey, you tell me. Did anything else go on over this past weekend? (I do know about the awful murders of four cops in Washington state. Here’s hoping they nail the guy).

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911 attack Civilian Trials vs. Military Tribunals – What’s the Fuss?

So now we’ve got all manner of partisan hatchetmen coming after President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for deciding to try Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and the men charged in connection with the 9/11 attacks in a New York civilian courtroom.

Khalid Shiekh Mohammad
Khalid Shiekh Mohammad

Holder says he’s going after the death penalty, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough for the likes of Rudy Giuliani.

The so-called “hero of 9/11” took time out of his busy schedule this weekend to Fox News that the President “just doesn’t get it” when it comes to the war on terror. Rudy, of course, does get it.

He’s the guy whose recommendation for chief of homeland security will instead be going to jail after the holidays. But, no matter. He’s an expert at these things after all.

Am I the only person who gets the irony of a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York saying the current US Attorney for the Southern District of New York can’t handle this trial? That Rudy Giuliani spews this crap on national TV is offensive.

Then there are those who whine about Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and his cronies having a platform to spout anti American rhetoric.

Whether their cases are held in civilian courts or military tribunals, they’ll do that. People may forget, but that’s just what they did at their arraignment, and virtually every appearance before a military tribunal to date. By the way, in case anyone’s forgotten, they have confessed, and say they want to be put to death. Just what else do the tribunal advocates want?

Fact is, none of these GITMO detainees have actually faced justice up to now. Trying them in New York does pose some legal obstacles, but the benefits of showing American justice in the light of day far exceeds them. I remain opposed to the death penalty for anyone, but if the nation’s bloodlust over 9/11 is to be sated, what difference does it make what type of court reaches that conclusion?

And then there is the record, which Rudy Giuliani and his ilk  avoid talking about at all costs. From a Huffington Post piece by Brian Levin from Cal State University.

“After 9/11 the government prevailed in civilian criminal courts in some high profile extremist cases like that of the “Lackawanna Six” (participation in al Qaeda terror training), attempted airline “shoebomber” Richard Reid, al Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui, attempted terror camp organizer James Ujaama, New York City bridge bomb plotter Iyman Faris, Al Qaeda supporter Jose Padilla, and lesser figures like Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin, and white supremacist Matt Hale.”

However, justice isn’t on the agenda for Rudy and his fellow travelers, partisan attacks are. He tries to tie together President Obama’s deliberations on Afghanistan (“He has delayed inordinately in making this decision about the war strategy in Afghanistan,”), the Ft. Hood massacre (“He doesn’t get the fact that there is an Islamic war against us.”) along with the civilian trial decision to make Barack Obama look soft on national security.

What a joke, coming from this man.

Rudolph Giuliani
Rudolph Giuliani

In Rudy’s world, taking the five defendants and Major Hasan together and shooting them without trial, followed by nuking Afghanistan would solve all our problems.

Maybe keeping him off TV would work better. What do you think?

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Are Black Lawmakers Targeted by the House Ethics Committee?

Okay, here are the numbers. Seven black members of the House of Representatives are the subjects of full blown probes by the House Ethics Committee. No white lawmakers have active probes underway at this time.

Zoe Lofgren, Chair House Ethics Committee
Zoe Lofgren, Chair House Ethics Committee

There would be eight, but the Justice Dept. asked the committee not to go forward with its investigation of Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr. That translates to 15% of the Congressional Black Caucus. Which leads to some loaded questions a lot of people won’t want to confront.

Maybe this breaks out in three possible scenarios. One, black lawmakers are the targets of ethics investigations based on race. Trust me, no one, not even the lawmakers caught up in this, will say so publicly for fear of being accused of using the dreaded “race card”.

Scenario number two, a higher percentage of black elected officials, at least the ones in Congress, are more corrupt than their white counterparts. No one in their right mind buys this (though few who aren’t might). And finally, some may argue its just the luck of the draw, that black lawmakers are the targets now, but white lawmakers will level the playing field down the road.

The committee itself muddied the waters by moving forward with two of the three cases referred to it by the newly minted Office of Congressional Ethics. This raised a few eyebrows because the cases turned into investigations were those of California Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson, both of whom are black. It may come as no surprise that the case that was dismissed was against Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, who is white.

Cong. Laura Richardson
Cong. Laura Richardson

Five other black members of Congress are facing scrutiny. Cong. Charles Rangel is the most publicized of the five, given his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. Reps. Donald Payne, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Bennie Thompson, and Delegate Donna Christensen from the Virgin Islands are the others. All are being probed about whether corporate funds were improperly used to pay for their trips to the Caribbean to attend a trade conference.

Some of you may have read about a document leaked to the Washington Post that showed nearly three dozen House members are being looked at either by the Ethics Committee or the Office of Congressional Ethics. That list had a number of white lawmakers on it, but none have faced full blown investigations but the black members mentioned above.

So what does all this mean? The House Ethics Committee isn’t talking, but one thing needs to be said. There is nothing wrong with asking whether a series of actions has a tinge of racial motivation. The answer may well be no, but for a lot of folks, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…….

What do you think? Are black lawmakers being unfairly targeted for ethics investigations?

BTW, as for Tuesday’s voting, I’ll write about that tomorrow.

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