Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Never say never

With all due respect to the other side who are melting down in cyberspace right now. You guys sound exactly like we guys did in the last two elections, only in reverse. And I am sure you hurt inside just as badly. But the problem is larger then you or us. It's the mechanics of politics, plain and simple. If you remember correctly the left was claiming the Republicans and conservatives were dead. Lesson learned here for all of us? Never say never!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can a country commit suicide?

“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia...could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
                                         Abraham Lincoln

The United States was a group of individual states acting on behalf of, and in the best interests of the whole to restore the Union to what the founding fathers had cobbled together 90 years before. It succeeded at great cost of human lives and continued to build upon its successes in the face of tremendous difficulties not the least of which were depressions, and at least 4 or 5 wars. It repelled Nazi tyranny from Europe and put a man on the moon in less than 10 years. It fed the world and created a cure for polio. And then it lost its way when it mistakenly decided it could end poverty by giving away the store without receiving equal value in return, which led it to think it could  do many other outrageous things like implementing fairness and equity by legislative fiat. That led to many other mistaken ideas like controlling the climate through the use of the executive pen, or acknowledgment by governmental bodies that people are not intelligent enough to know what gender they were assigned at birth to the extent that men can call themselves women and avail themselves of the lady's room free from protest of . . . ladies; and that ladies may do the same in opposite.  The United States was once unsinkable. It could never be attacked from foreign powers because it was protected by two oceans and it was too vast to be attacked from the air.  At least that’s what I was told growing up. But that myth was dispelled on 9/11/2001. The United States is now like a box of pick up sticks (remember those?) scattered all over the table. Everyone is saying that this agency or that institution is broken. Nobody has solutions. The only answers are obfuscations or self-serving chest thumping. The unthinkable has happened to American. America has been the author and finisher of its own destruction.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

President Obama Creates Job

3a.m.: Phone rings, man answers. "Uh, hello?"
“Ron, Ron Klain?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
“This is the president, are you sleeping?”
“No sir, not anymore.”
“I’m calling because I saw your on-line Career Builders job application for Ebola Czar.”
“Oh, yeah. I forgot.”
“You didn’t mention anything about having experience with Ebola in your application.”
“Oh, that. I usually just blanket the Internet with my resumes to see if anything sticks to the wall. It’s really about getting your foot in the door for an interview. You know what I mean?”
“So, you have no experience with Ebola?”
“Just what I read in the papers.”

“Great, can you start immediately?”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Film Noir Saturday . . . Mobsters, Monsters & Nazis

My love for all things Film Noir and my fervent desire to not let the art die compels me to share this latest offering from author Dan O'Brien and artist Steve Ferchaud. I encourage you to have a look. Then go to their link at Amazon.

Author Dan O'Brien has teamed up with artist Steve Ferchaud for a one-of-a-kind reading experience that will span six short books. Blending noir, hardboiled detective stories, and pulp comics, "Mobsters, Monsters & Nazis" follows private investigator Derrick Diamond as he searches for an elusisve object: a strange device that the Nazis need for their nefarious experiments. Aided by Ava Harpy, a lounge singer at the Yellow Monarch, they dive deep into the underbelly of the city, uncovering a sordid plot that is much larger than they could have possibly imagined. 

If you love illustrated works, pulp comics, and a little bit of Lovecraft in your stories, then what are you waiting for?

Friday, October 3, 2014


The term Boots on the ground has become an ominous euphemism for combat troops in harm’s way. No longer do we hear our leaders express sending soldiers off to die in human terms.  It wasn’t so long ago that President Lyndon Johnson complained of the difficulties for him having to send American boys, most of whom were draftees, half-way around the world to fight the battles of "Asian boys." Perhaps the ever increasing use of the sanitized term Boots on the ground is the result of having a seemingly endless number of people willing to serve in an all voluntary military force.  Even so, that does not diminish their contribution or the value of their spilled blood.

When men and women are willing to enlist in the military en masse knowing the inherent dangers of fighting other peoples’ battles do they somehow exempt our leaders from expending the emotional capital in the decision making process to go to war?  Does the term Boots on the ground realistically address the nature of the dangers the persons wearing those boots face?

Thursday, October 2, 2014


At one time the Public Defender provided legal defense for indigent people accused of capital crimes. Over time the role of the public defender evolved into providing legal defense for people charged with any type of felony.

That trend spawned a television show called The Public Defender. The show presented the roll of the public defender in the most unrealistic and loftiest of terms. It starred the ubiquitous Reed Had­­­­­ley playing the part of the sharply tailored and relentless public defender. At the start of every week’s episode Reed informed viewers the office of public defender was charged with the responsibility of providing legal defense to anyone who cannot afford it but, who seeks it.  Well the world has changed quite a bit since 1955 and that utopian concept no longer applies to today’s big city public defenders. Today’s public defenders are anything but relentless. They are usually bottom feeding lawyers in private practice contracted by the state to provide dubiously competent legal services to anyone accused of a crime who cannot afford an attorney.

Even though you may be under the impression that you are not paying your public defender because he is appointed by the court, don’t let that appearance of benevolence fool you.  You will likely be ordered to provide financial information to the court and you will then be charged an attorney fee tailored to your income and budget.

The vast majority of chargeable offenses do not rise to the level of capital crimes. But first time offenders charged with crimes of assault or DUI and many other crimes can find themselves facing many years in jail without competent representation to either mitigate their circumstances through either plea bargaining with the prosecutor, or waging an aggressive defense at trial. There are many examples of peoples’ right being trampled on at the point of arrest because they were not properly informed of their rights by arresting officers. Many times even doing what one thinks is the right thing to do by telling a police officer everything he wants to know, can serve only to expose one to even stiffer penalties than he may have suffered had he kept his mouth shut until he could obtain competent legal counsel.

But don’t confuse competent legal counsel with the counsel you will receive from the public defender.  You will likely not even meet your public defender until your first appearance in court, and she will likely not even recognize you, in addition to being burdened down with numerous other cases that day. What a comforting feeling, right. And then she will likely read you a litany of possible penalties and encourage you to plead guilty in hopes of negotiating a minimal sentence. In some cases even a minimal sentence can still mean years of prison time. There will be little talk of innocence. The public defender is not your friend. The old adage you get what you pay for definitely will apply when you place your faith in the public defender. And it doesn’t end after your first appearance in court.

Besides having limited or no contact with your public defender prior to your arraignment hearing, you will most likely have no contact in the months intervening months prior to trial. If you are the kind of person who likes to know the score it is unlikely you will get it from anyone other than a disinterested receptionist sitting behind bullet proof glass in a seedy low rent law office furnished by pieces from the Goodwill. 

Anyone who has ever been represented by a public defender may tell you they were left with the impression that their lawyer seemed to be working for the prosecution. And that is not too far from the truth, at least indirectly. Public defenders are great at working out plea agreements that work to the prosecution’s advantage, and which also work to the public defender’s advantage by quickly disposing of cases without the time expended for trial preparation . . . next case, as they say. Plea agreements are not unique and are almost standard operating procedure. Put another way, the public defender in most cases whether they are defensible or not already knows what he can get the prosecution to agree to under state law, and pretty much already knows what he can get the prosecution to agree to under the circumstances of the individual case.

If this article sounds way too cynical than it has achieved its purpose. When you hire a public defender you are not hiring a Reed Hadley public defender. You are hiring an overworked, under paid and under qualified lawyer who does not even care to know you.

Before you place your freedom in the hands of a public defender, schedule a free consultation with a lawyer knowledgeable in the crime you are charged, and who can demonstrate track record of success.  Know your rights and your options and how each will impact your life down the road.

Even if you still decide to go with the public defender at least you will have made an informed decision.


Martin Bormann

                Johann Breyer is an 89-year-old Pennsylvania man, allegedly complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. His recent arrest and request for extradition by German authorities brings to mind perhaps the most evil Nazi of them all, and one who got away.

Martin Bormann was truly a Nazi’s Nazi. Having managed to claw his way to the top of Hitler’s Third Reich, Bormann became Hitler’s closest and most trusted collaborator and confidant, and was held in even higher esteem than Hitler’s other better known henchmen, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, Albert Speer and Heinrich Himmler. In fact, Bormann was so trusted and cared for by Hitler, he was ordered out of the Fuhrerbunker in order to save himself just prior to Hitler committing suicide.

            During the war Bormann was responsible for directing a German U-boat operation to Argentina that transported six boat loads of spoils from Hitler’s persecution against the Jews. Among the treasure were extremely large quantities of gold, platinum, diamonds, currency and artwork confiscated from Jews on their way to Hitler death camps. As Bormann was never heard from again after his escape from the Fuhrerbunker, Allied authorities and others interested in such things were plagued by the nagging question of whatever happened to him. Some alleged eyewitness accounts claimed he had been blown up by the Russians troops during their advance on Berlin. Others claim he had committed suicide. In any event he was sentenced to death in absentia during the Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1946. As might have been expected, there were numerous Bormann sightings for years after the war. It was commonly believed that Bormann had likely escaped to Argentina where it was believed he was living secretly as a millionaire.

            The end of the cold war brought with it a renewed interest in the fate of the missing Bormann after many Eastern European nations acknowledged their duty to review their own complicity in collaborating with the Nazis during the war. But even with this new desire of Eastern Europe to repent and come clean, Argentina refused to be so contrite. While at the time, Argentina’s government archives undoubtedly contain evidence of its own collaboration with the Nazis, including, a very large file marked “Bormann, Martin,” believed to be located in Buenos Aires,” and at least one other dossier, the then Argentine president Carlos Menem ironically refused to permit the release of any such files. His refusal was reportedly based on a 1958 confidentiality law designed to protect individuals from release of information about them in government files.

            Many have argued that 89 year old alleged concentration camp worker, Johann Breyer should just be left alone die on his own, because prosecuting him at this late date serves no good purpose. Although Martin Bormann may be the exception to the old you can run, but you cannot hide rule, what if he were to be suddenly found enjoying life in retirement at some old folks assisted living facility?  Should he be left alone? Would prosecuting serve no good purpose?

Unlike Johann Breyer, and other recently discovered former alleged Nazis butchers; one even having lived in Cleveland, Ohio as a retired auto worker, we will probably never know what ever became of Martin Bormann. A West German court pronounced him officially dead in 1973. He is undoubtedly dead by now and therefore personally free from recrimination.  But still, one cannot help wondering how many more Johann Breyers are still living among us.