A Freeway in Hell

My thoughts on the nature of our late capitalist society. The title should give some clue what I think of that! US 101 or I-80 as metaphor for our imperatives. Besides worrying about what sort of black hole we are speeding into, I like airships. One reason being the almost inescapble desire to have one to get out of a traffic jam!

Location: Sonoma County, California

Grew up a military brat, Californian-in-exile, reactionary libertarian-essentially spent the 70s on Mars, for I am hearing impaired and I did not know what the music was saying. Generally still don't unless I listen to it over and over or find the words captioned on a movie or somewhere on line. Came "back" to California to begin my adult life, have not lived elsewhere since. No regrets there despite our problems here. Have studied physics, more math than most human beings will ever need, worked on spaceship projects (well, one) at JPL. Lived with a wonderful disabled person who lives no more--L Natasha Littletree RIP October 2004. I have a life plan, just kind of vague on some of the short-term stuff.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fearless Fosdick on the case!

I'm starting to notice a pattern in dealing with Republicans. Yes, even here in Sonoma County one can strike up a conversation and even make friends with Republicans, and then there are the ones I am related to, like my parents. So I am asking them the reasons for their priorities, like getting Bill Clinton but giving a pass to all the tremendous (and illegal, unConstitutional, hypocritical, and policy-related) blunders (or are they more sinister than that?) of their President and his crowd,or saving Terri Schiavo (but not the thousands or perhaps millions of other severely disabled Americans their tax cut/benefit cut/give corporations carte blanche policies put into the same position of having their food cut off, etc, as in Texas's "Futile Care Law" enacted by G. W. Bush as Texas Governor.) How about then WMDs in Iraq (or actually, as it turns out, not...) Well, what do they have to say?

What I am hearing lately reminds me of something that shocked me about our criminal law system. The vast majority of felons entering our prisons never actually have a trial, properly speaking. The police arrest poor people, typically, who know they don't have the resources to fight the system--especially because they are typically also members of some out-group, which juries would tend to be prejudiced against--which might not mean they could not get a fair trial, but they had better be able to match the prosecution's lawyers. A public defender will not cut it, generally speaking. So they plea-bargain, the judge pounds the gavel, and that is the trial. In effect, this makes the police department the practical court. American police do generally have the attitude that they know who the crooks are, and if they arrest someone on flimsy evidence--probably their collar is guilty of other crimes they can't actually pin on him, so it is not just OK, it is practically mandatory, to try to make every little charge stick, and get as much punishment as you can out of whatever you can get a conviction on. These people are not citizens, they are "the enemy."

So much for Perry Mason. When Edwin Meese said that an "innocent suspect" was a contradiction in terms, that someone would not be a suspect unless he were guilty, he flew in the face of all the noble talk about rule of law, presumption of innocence, the necessity of trials, etc we were all trained to recognize is great about America, but he accurately reported the true attitude of American enforcers. They think they know, and in our legal system they often get to bury their mistakes--once a "suspect" has been tarred with the label of "felon" it becomes far more difficult for them to prove innocence as they are forced to do.

So, how about all those other Terri Schiavos? As a longtime parter of a disabled person I am uneasy with my fellow lefty bloggers who jump in with "she is effectively gone and has been for over a decade." Well, maybe and maybe not. Lots of very functional disabled people have aspersions cast on the worthwhileness of their lives, particulary when acknowlegding it might cost money. It is supposed to be the business of the courts and other elements of the system back there in Florida to decide these things, and I am in no position to go visit Terri Schavio and see for myself--is there an imparied but alert mind there, or not? None of my business is how it should be, but both sides are making it my business. Am I the only one reminded of _Citizen Ruth?_

Why single out Terri Schavio? Why not take her husband's word for things? Well, something I don't see on left-wing blogs is all the allegations rightists like to make against his character (and they imply the judges all are in on some deal too). I have no intention of perpetuating what I judge is probably slander, of felonous proportions, but I asked the reasonable question--oh, if that is the case, why not prosecute him on those grounds. And then there is a lot of shifty muttering about statutes of limitation, cold trails, etc. But some of the things they allege would have no statues of limitation. If they are true, then Mr. Schavio appears in a different light and so would anything he said about Terri's wishes. But if not true, he has a long list of people he can sue at this point, I would think. So in the Republican mindset, they can't bring Terri's abuser to justice--but they can _spite_ him by keeping her alive! And maybe she will get better and _talk!_ That is what they say.

Why by the way, I ask, did we spend 8 years with Republicans gumming up all the works of the Federal government in their attempts to get Bill Clinton? Well, Clinton was a sexual predator. Can't let one of those stay in office, can we? Predator? I asked--name me one non-consensual relationship! And he did, a name I don't remember but Lord knows they were coming of the woodwork. Again I ask--oh, if he raped or harassed someone, why didn't Starr make that the thrust of his prosecution? Why didn't Congress impeach him for that high crime/misdemenor, instead of about lying to them about a question they had no business asking? Again, not much of an answer. But they Got him lying! Such an unprecedented dishonor of the White House, a stain wiped away by the new President...

So it goes, they locked up Martha Stewart on similar charges it seems--perjury when the investigation itself had no merit. I am wondering what the hell Kevin Shelley, California's Secretary of State, allegedly did to cause him to be driven out of office, and how does it weigh versus tremendous conflicts of interest like Katherine Harris's simultaneous oversight of Florida's 2000 election and state campaign for Bush. Iraq--no WMDs, but Saddam was a bad man. And there are murky hints at yet unrevealed secret justifications, but no clue why would could not use true charges to drum up war fever instead of false ones. Because the only time you have to use false pretenses is, when your case has no merit at all, and no truthful charge can have the weight needed to bring around judges or publics.

Everywhere, the Fearless Fosdick is on the case, out to make a collar, and if the evidence of the heinous crime he is sent out to avenge is slim, nonexistent, or downright against the charges--no matter, there is some techicality or other the perp must be in violation of, or at least it can be rumored to be so. Or it that falls short, by golly rules are made to be broken! When dealing with some people and some cases anyway.


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