Racial Injustice

I'm probably going to draw a lot of venom from my liberal friends, but I find myself in full agreement with one -- just one -- of the US Supreme Court's rulings this week.  In the majority decision on racial quotas for schools issued this morning, Chief Justice Roberts said:

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

I couldn't agree more.  By this decision, the Court has forbidden school boards from trying to integrate schools by force of law.  Even Justice Kennedy (who voted with the majority but with significant reservations) was obliged to acknowledge that quota systems and similar schemes:

"... threaten to reduce children to racial chits valued and traded according to one school's supply and another's demand."

And, unlike the over-reactions that have been published in the immediate aftermath of this decision (such as this, for example) I don't believe this comes close to overthrowing Brown v Board of Education.  Brown did not require quotas, busing and all the other paraphernalia that was erected in an attempt to remedy the historical wrongs of racism. What Brown says is that school districts cannot discriminate on the basis of race, but for the last 40 plus years liberal society did exactly that, excusing itself because they were on the "good" side of the debate. Poppycock. 

Discrimination on the basis of race is wrong, no matter who does it, and I am glad to see the Court end the bullshit.

June 28, 2007 in Bush Administration, Current Affairs, Government Intrusion, Justice System, US Justice System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gapology

Tapedeck Those of us of a certain age may still tingle at the memory of the 18 1/2 minute gap -- supposedly caused by secretary Rose Mary Wood's carelessness -- in a crucial White House tape.  For many, it was the discovery of this erasure that irreversibly damaged Richard Nixon's credibility and led inevitably to his resignation over the Watergate cover-up.   

Perhaps "18" is a significant number in Presidential scandals because today, amid the sound and flurry of thousands of emails concerning the US Attorneys' scandal, a gap of 18 days has been noted in the stream.  And a crucial 18 days too, immediately before the time the attorneys were fired.  What happened?  Tony Snow and the White House denied all responsibility:

Q    Okay.  You keep saying the Justice Department, the response -- that these emails, the 3,000 pages is unprecedented, is very responsive.  Why, then, is there this gap from mid-November to about December 4th, right before the actual firings?  Why is there a gap in the emails?

MR. SNOW:  I don't know.  Why don't you ask them?

Q    Well, you're the White House, the Justice Department serves under --

MR. SNOW:  I know, but I'm not going to be the fact witness on Justice.

Q    But you're the one representing that this has been very responsive. Now when there's a gap you say go to them.

MR. SNOW:  Yes, and I've been led to believe that there's a good response for it, but I'm going to let you ask them because they're going to have the answer ...

Q    Tony, just for the record, this gap between mid-November and early December, is there a gap because there are no emails pertaining to this situation between then, or are there more emails to come out?

MR. SNOW:  That I don't know.  Like I said, that's why I think you need to go back and ask the Department of Justice.  They've done the document production; we have not been in charge of it.  I would refer questions to them ...

Q    And then there's a gap in emails. Was there any -- perhaps any emails about the President in there?  And did the President have to sign off on this?  Because the question was raised --

MR. SNOW:  The President has no recollection of this ever being raised with him."

I suspect this gap will prove of some importance.  I'll keep watch.

Update:

The New York Times quotes the Justice Department spokesman:

"Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said, “The department has provided or made available to Congress all the documents responsive to Congress’s requests over the time period in question.” He added, “To the extent there was a lull in communications concerning the U.S. attorney issues, it reflects the fact that we have found no responsive documents from that time period, which included the Thanksgiving holiday.”

March 21, 2007 in America Inc, Bush Administration, Current Affairs, History, Justice System, US Justice System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not Considered Newsworthy

The basic truths of Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky's Propaganda Model have rarely been displayed so decisively as in the case of Demetrius Crocker.  This white liberterian-racist extremist from Tennessee has been sentenced to thirty years in prison for attempting to buy a chemical weapon and for planning explosive murder.   

"The 40-year-old farmhand and father of two was convicted of accepting what he thought were ingredients to make Sarin nerve gas and a block of C-4 explosive from undercover agents in October 2004 ... In all, Crocker was convicted on five charges: one count of attempted possession of a chemical weapon, one count of inducing another person to acquire a chemical weapon, one count of possession of stolen explosives, one count of possession of explosive material with intent to harm an individual or damage or destroy a building, and one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device. During the trial, prosecutors introduced video- and audio-taped conversations that Crocker had with undercover agents, laced with profanity, racial slurs and Crocker's open hatred of all things to do with the government."

Have you heard of this case?  No?  Can you imagine the splash coverage this would have received if Crocker's name had been Abdullah Mohammed, his skin was olive, and he wore a fierce black beard?  CNN, Fox, all the main stream whinos would have grabbed this case as another excuse for sensationalist coverage of the Islamic threat.  But the guy's white and he only seems to want to blow up black people, so we  don't need to hear about it, I guess.

It is just another of those Zero-Some games I've written about before: -- like zero tolerance in the War on Some Drugs, this is a War on Some Terror.  And as the  Propaganda Model  correctly predicts, the media is used to keep us on focus.  Shame on them.

December 3, 2006 in America Inc, Justice System, Right wing, US Justice System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Intelligence Chronology

UPDATE The file here is no longer the most recent. Please see the file listed at the top of the left hand panel

As promised a few days ago, I am now posting my first draft Intelligence Chronology.  It is as detailed as I can make it today, with more than 110 pages of data.  As the days move on, I will be re-writing and updating the information.   But here it is as it stands...

Download plamegate_chronology.pdf

I'll also find a place on the site to put this permanently.

Any and all comments, corrections, additions, etc are, of course, welcomed.

November 7, 2005 in America Inc, Bush Administration, Cheney, Dick, Current Affairs, History, Iraq, Justice System, Media, Right wing, US Justice System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No, not Mike Myers!

It has only been an hour and a half since Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court but, of course, the blogosphere is already all over it.  Left and right seek to place Miers on the continuum of fundamentalism.  However, I think the best commenmt so far comes from the Comments section at Daily Kos:

You know, I think this is a nominee beyond politics or policy. It's Bush's cronyism distilled to its most pure form, the essence of cronyism, the Platonic Ideal of cronyism. She's a Bush loyalist and a friend, so he appointed her. I'm not even sure there's anything beyond that at all. The right-wing seem bat-shit crazy mad about this pick (check out Redstate.org), she has no qualifications whatsoever, it makes him look like a doofus ... hell, I'm not even sure she's gonna be confirmed. It's a very, very strange pick. It seems to lay bare the essential truth of the GOP leadership: they don't give a rat's ass about anything beyond rewarding their inner circle.

Well said.  It will be interesting to see how the right wing takes this abuse from the White House.  Will they suck it up, or start to show George how much of a lame duck he is already.

October 3, 2005 in Bush Administration, Justice System, Right wing, US Justice System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Do We Need "Christian" Priorities?

As Law.com reported it:

When FBI supervisors in Miami met with new interim U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta last month, they wondered what the top enforcement priority for Acosta and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would be. Would it be terrorism? Organized crime? Narcotics trafficking? Immigration? Or maybe public corruption? The agents were stunned to learn that a top prosecutorial priority of Acosta and the Department of Justice was none of the above. Instead, Acosta told them, it's obscenity. Not pornography involving children, but pornographic material featuring consenting adults.

Acosta's stated goal of prosecuting distributors of adult porn has angered federal and local law enforcement officials, as well as prosecutors in his own office. They say there are far more important issues in a high-crime area like South Florida, which is an international hub at risk for terrorism, money laundering and other dangerous activities. His own prosecutors have warned Acosta that prioritizing adult porn would reduce resources for prosecuting other crimes, including porn involving children. According to high-level sources who did not want to be identified, Acosta has assigned prosecutors porn cases over their objections.

This is just nuts, of course.

"Compared to terrorism, public corruption and narcotics, [pornography] is no worse than dropping gum on the sidewalk," said Stephen Bronis, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder in Miami and chair of the white-collar crime division of the American Bar Association. "With so many other problems in this area, this is absolutely ridiculous."

However, there is an "intelligent design" behind this madness. With the rapid growth of Internet pornography, stamping out obscene material has become a major concern for the Bush administration's powerful Christian conservative supporters. The Mississippi-based American Family Association and other Christian conservative groups have pressured the Justice Department to take action against pornography. The family association has sent weekly letters to U.S. attorneys around the country to pressure them to pursue the makers and distributors of pornography.

"While there are crimes like drugs and public corruption in Miami, this is also a form of corruption and should be a priority," said Anthony Verdugo, director of the Christian Family Coalition in Miami. "Pornography is a poison and it's addictive. It's not a victimless crime. Women are the victims."

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a Christian conservative who stepped down last December, disappointed social conservatives by not prosecuting porn during his tenure. In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ashcroft placed his focus on anti-terrorism efforts. But the social conservatives have gained traction with new Attorney General Gonzales, a close associate of President Bush who is considered a strong contender for a U.S. Supreme Court nomination.

Acosta, a Miami native who formerly held a high-level position in the Justice Department, is having a hard time persuading other law enforcement officials in South Florida, including his own assistant U.S. attorneys, to join the anti-porn crusade. Sources say Acosta was told by the FBI officials during last month's meeting that obscenity prosecution would have to be handled by the crimes against children unit. But that unit is already overworked and would have to take agents off cases of child endangerment to work on adult porn cases. Acosta replied that this was Attorney General Gonzales' mandate.

Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union and a partner at Duane Morris in Miami, said,

"It's amazing that we're wasting our resources on the morality police instead of battling organized crime, illegal drugs, corruption and undocumented immigration. I can't even believe this."

But not Bob Sharp of the Family Association. He said any prosecutors who object to prosecuting obscenity don't understand the law.

"Most attorneys have been led to believe that what is illegal is not illegal in terms of obscenity," Sharp said. "They have a misconception of what should be prosecuted. They think because it's consenting adults, it's not illegal."

Sharp said the initiative is necessary because local law enforcement and city attorneys get "crushed" by high-powered lawyers hired by adult book stores or video stores when there are efforts to shut those establishments down. "You need the federal government to assist," said Sharp, who takes credit for closing six adult bookstores in his hometown in Mississippi.

Maybe we can get the FBI to gather together all the porn magazines in the nation and use them to block up the New Orleans levees.

 

 

September 6, 2005 in Bush Administration, Government Intrusion, Justice System, Right wing, US Justice System | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bringing Equality and Value To the Justice System

First, let us admit that sending people to prison is an astonishingly expensive proposition -- more than $20,000 a year, and up to $70,000 a year if the inmate is over 55 years of age.   Tens of billions of dollars each year to lock people up.  It is a wasteful and inhumane manner of dealing with non-violent offenders.  Incarceration for non-violent offences should be stopped immediately.   But what should replace it?

Second, let us agree that fining people should actually mean something;  that fines should be the cause of a painful financial experience, otherwise they will have no deterent effect.  Moreover, fines for the same offence should have the same effect on each and every offender: That's called equality under the law.  A $1,000 fine for a rich man means nothing, whereas a $1,000 fine for a poor man may mean the loss of his house.  Nothing equal about that.

Now, let's join those two thoughts.  Instead of locking people up for non-violent offences, we should fine them in a meaningful way.  Literally make them pay for their crimes. How do we do that?

We do it by making fines a good percentage of an offender's net worth for serious offences, and a good percentage of their last 5-year average incomes for less serious offences.  The level of percentage in each case will be determined by the nature of the offence.  No judicial discretion.

This solves a great many problems.  It ends the inhumanity of incarceration for non-violent offences.  It stops the vicious and unnecessary separation of families.  It saves society billions upon billions of dollars in prison and jail costs, thus helping to reduce taxes.  It will bring in billions and billions of dollars in fines, thus helping to reduce taxes even further.  Most importantly, it will help make equality before the law actually mean something. 

This is a damn good idea.

June 7, 2005 in Justice System | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack