Friday, June 30, 2006

Where are the "Marielitos" when we need them?

I didn’t research the question I’m asking here, because: (a) I want to approach it from the perspective of someone who might wonder about this casually, in light of recent events; and (b) I’m extremely lazy about doing research.

We do remember the Marielitos, don’t we? They were a gift from Fidel Castro to his warm, close personal friend, Jimmy Carter, when Mr. Peanut was President of the United States. Seeing a good opportunity to rid himself of a financial burden, Castro indiscriminately emptied his prisons, on the condition that the inmates depart immediately for America. Those released included the dregs of humanity—murderers, rapists, bandits, etc.—as well as political prisoners and the mentally ill. (Actually, any Cuban who opposes Castro’s regime is adjudged “mentally ill” for rejecting the communist utopia, so the line gets a bit blurred.) A mixed fleet of humanitarians and fishermen starved by Carter’s economic policies immediately set sail for Cuba. Since the majority of Castro’s castaways departed from the port of Mariel, they were given the appellation “Marielitos”.

It was a nightmare for our Coast Guard and the Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS]. The Coasties worked heroically to rescue overloaded boats, alleviate the horrible conditions aboard those boats, and generally bring some order to the chaotic rush to our shores. The overwhelmed INS tried feverishly to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, in the influx. Of course, anyone who has seen Brian DePalma’s “Scarface” knows it was relatively easy for a common murderer to declare himself “a political prisoner” and hit the streets after a cursory interview.

Two items to note: Not all the “immigrants” were released. By whatever means, their records and the truth of their imprisonment had followed them across the Florida Strait. Some of the arrivers were obviously mentally ill, and required institutional care. Some were a combination of both: mentally ill criminals. These guys were bundled off to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, while the government pondered what to do with them.

The rest of the castaways were placed on INS parole. If they had sponsors—family, friends, or churches for the most part—and no obvious criminal record, they were released to pursue the American dream. Most of the Marielitos did this, and have flourished into solid citizens. They are an asset to America, and a testimony to the Cuban people and man’s inherent desire to be free.

Some Marielitos, however, wandered astray. Whether they were career criminals who prefer stealing and dealing to working for a living, or simply lacked the skill sets to get along in American society, they ran afoul of the law. The terms of the INS parole were pretty straightforward: if you get busted, you’ll do the respective state time to which you’re sentenced, and then you’ll be returned to federal custody pending an INS hearing to determine your future viability as a potential citizen. The transfer of state prisoners to federal custody is accomplished via documentation generalized as “a detainer”. Thus, those Marielitos who found themselves back in federal custody were “detainees”.

We’ve heard that word a lot lately: “detainees”. It’s been applied almost exclusively in regard to the terror suspects imprisoned at our military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. [“Gitmo” for short.] “Detainee” is a kinder, gentler word than “suspect”, “terrorist”, or “prisoner”. It suggests someone taking your elbow on the street and saying “Sorry to detain you, but could we talk for a minute?” It lacks the precision of “enemy combatants” as opposed to “prisoners of war”. “POW” suggests a uniformed soldier in the established army of an antagonistic nation-state. An “enemy combatant” is any squirrel with an AK-47 and a serious grudge. If an enemy combatant ignores Robert’s Rule of Order—“Don’t wave at the cops and don’t shoot at the Army”—and falls into our hands, he becomes “a detainee”. Why don’t we talk about this over a cup of coffee and a cigarette, Abu? It’ll only take a few minutes.

Enough about semantics, and we’ll return to Gitmo in a moment.

By 1987, the population of Cuban “detainees” being held in the antiquated Atlanta federal penitentiary had swelled to over 1000. USP-Atlanta, as it’s called, was built at the turn of the 20th century, and was scheduled for demolition prior to the Mariel boatlift. Most of the American inmates had been transferred to more modern facilities, so for the beleaguered INS, it seemed like a perfect place to hold the “detainees” until further arrangements could be made. The prison’s aging infrastructure was intact, and there was a large industrial facility that could continue to operate in the interim. (UNICOR, a.k.a. Federal Prison Industries, is a cash cow for the government, especially the Bureau of Prisons. It manufactures a variety of products for the military and for sale by the General Services Administration [GSA]. It will require a separate post here to adequately explain the history and corruption of UNICOR. Suffice it now to say that there were compelling political and financial reasons that the UNICOR facility in USP-Atlanta continue to operate using Cuban labor.)

Conditions in USP-Atlanta were brutal. There was a major fight every day, a stabbing every week, and a murder every month. Staff members were not immune to this violence, and they responded in kind. To give an idea of the housing conditions, I refer my readers to Alcatraz. I’ll bet anyone who is using a computer has seen some glimpse of the interior of Alcatraz prison, whether in Clint Eastwood movies or various documentaries. Bear in mind that when Alcatraz was built, it was modeled after the older Atlanta penitentiary.

The INS set up shop in USP-Atlanta, and a three-man panel began conducting parole reviews. They would average maybe four per day, between paperwork and coffee breaks. They were not conducting their hearings five days a week, 52 weeks a year, either. A Cuban “detainee” could literally wait years for an interview, and even then be told that his outside sponsorship and support was not sufficient to warrant a release into the community. Sorry, Jose, not a good enough release plan. Better luck next time… and his file goes back to the bottom of the stack for another year or two or three. The families of the “detainees” routinely gathered on the sidewalk outside the prison on weekends, along with church groups and members of Amnesty International, to protest the procedures, incarceration conditions, and ongoing imprisonments. They were routinely ignored, or given bureaucratic snow jobs.

In November of 1987, the United States finally reached an accord with Castro about a partial return of some of the Marielitos. Those who had been deemed unfit for release since their arrival, and only those, were to be returned to Cuba. These were regarded as “special cases”, and were being held in isolation from the general population of “detainees”.

Enter the liberal media at this point. WSB is a television station owned and operated by Cox Enterprises, the same conglomerate that publishes the execrable Atlanta Journal-Constitution. WSB immediately began reportage of the agreement between Cuba and the US on the Friday afternoon when it was signed. They neglected to mention that deportation would only apply to a handful of “special cases”. They merely blathered words to the effect that “the Cuban detainees being held in the Atlanta penitentiary will be deported.” The rumors started to spread inside the penitentiary, or “detention center” as it was now called. Over the long weekend that followed, the “detainees” convinced themselves that they were all going to be deported. WSB aired a series of emotionally inflammatory interviews with the families of the “detainees”. One that stands out in memory, even 19 years later, was a “detainee’s” wife asserting to the camera that her husband would rather die than return to Cuba. The “detainees” in USP-Atlanta had access to TV and newspapers; from the comfort of my living room, I wondered what effect these interviews were having on them. Along with the rest of the world, I would soon find out.

Whatever their shortcomings as productive members of society, whatever their sins might have been, there are two things to remember here about the Marielitos. Number one: the United States was not in a state of war, or quasi-war, with anyone at the time. The undeclared World War III against communism sputtered along in increments, but no gang of Cuban fanatics had slaughtered innocent Americans en masse, nor had the Marielitos fired at the Coast Guard when the cutters arrived to assist them. The offenses of the “detainees” ran the gamut from petty theft to murder, but they all had one thing in common: none of them wanted to return to Castro’s communist dictatorship. As brutal and frustrating as imprisonment in USP-Atlanta was, it was infinitely better than the indefinite hell of a Cuban prison, where release for many was contingent upon the whims of the dictator. They might have been hairball criminals in some cases, but none of the Marielitos could be classified as “enemy combatants”.

Number two, in America, all but the most despicable sociopaths are eventually released from prison and given a shot at redemption. What they make of it is up to them. Although the recidivism rate hovers around 66%, that still means one out of three convicts change their lives for the better. Despite their resentments and frustrations, prior to November 1987 the Marielito “detainees” knew that if they remained in America, they stood a good chance of eventually breathing free air again. To this point, they had controlled their seething emotions. Now, fueled by misleading reports and inflammatory rhetoric from the local liberal media, they decided they had nothing to lose. That Cuban wife was right; better to die than to return to Castro’s Cuba.

By noon on Monday, 23 November 1987, the Marielitos were in control of USP-Atlanta. The UNICOR factory, a warehouse, and the recreation building were blazing unchecked. At least one Cuban was dead. Fleeing staff members, debriefed at the gates, estimated there were 79 hostages being held inside the chapel and a separate dormitory building for “the American cadre”—a handful of homegrown inmates who worked at specialized skills within the prison. Every federal employee authorized to carry a firearm, along with the Georgia National Guard, was called out to take stations on the perimeter of the penitentiary. It was, to say the least, a tragic mess.

To quote one of my favorite people, Bill Cosby: “I told you all that so I can tell you this.”

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on our handling of “enemy combatants” in World War IV, I think we should close Gitmo immediately. Not because it’s brutal or inhumane; it compares well with all of our federal and most of our state prison facilities on the mainland. The terrorist “detainees” are catered to in ways that would make our indigenous criminals envious. Many in Gitmo have vowed that if released, they will return to the jihad and continue killing infidels… an infidel being anyone who doesn’t convert to Islam or agree to the slavery of dhimmitude. No, I have other reasons for advocating the dismantling of the prison at Gitmo.

The first thing that comes to mind is the climate. It’s too environmentally friendly. This falls in with my second reason for closing Gitmo. Since the Supreme Court now says the terrorists are entitled to civilian lawyers, and trials in civilian courts, let’s turn these “detainees” over to a civilian custodial agency: the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There are federal prisons in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and upstate New York that are much less climate-friendly than the pseudo-Club Med of Gitmo. With a little reshuffling of American inmates, one of these facilities could be made available. Better still, we could transport the “detainees” to Alaska. That state has no federal prison facility of its own; they must send their federal offenders to facilities in the lower 48. But, hey! It’s summer! Let’s take the Gitmo “detainees” somewhere above the permafrost line, put them in tents, give them tools and materials, and tell them they’d better get to work if they want decent shelter by the time winter arrives. The INS has been absorbed by the ICE bureaucracy, but they can be placed in charge of determining who’s going to go to civilian court first. That will guarantee a sizeable work force available for next summer, so the Alaska facility can be improved and expanded. By the time all the detainees have been processed through the civilian courts, and released by liberal civilian judges—like the 9th Circus Court of Appeals—to continue killing us, Alaska will have a nice federal penal facility of its own. Our military in Gitmo can continue their missions without the burden of caring for whining, belligerent thugs. Instead of being demolished, Camp Delta could be reduced to a minimum-security federal prison, staffed by the BOP. Volunteer American inmates in the federal system can go there to work on maintenance details for the military. The model for this is already in place, at Eglin Air Force base and other locations around the country. I’ll bet a lot of our homegrown convicts, especially those housed in Minnesota and Wisconsin, would like to serve their time in a milder climate, and be grateful for the chance. Security could truly be minimal; where could the inmates escape to? Cuba? Wouldn’t that be an ironic turnabout on Castro!

Which brings us back to the Marielitos. Where are they now? How many remain in the federal prison system under “detention”? Is it a revolving-door thing, where new “detainees” are still coming in as old ones finally go out? I confess to researching portions of this post, but not the answers to those questions. If any of my readers have made it this far, and care about the initial question, perhaps they will go and discover the facts for themselves. Please let us know what you find out.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the riot. A peaceful end to that situation was negotiated, and the hostages were released, none the worse for wear. (However, many resigned or retired from the BOP, and a few sued for emotional distress.) The Cubans were taken back into custody, and promptly dispersed into smaller, segregated groups throughout the nationwide federal prison system. USP-Atlanta was totally gutted and rebuilt into a modern, more humane facility; just as the city of Atlanta used to call itself “the Phoenix city”, so has the Atlanta federal prison risen from the ashes.

Hearing all of the rhetoric about terrorist “detainees” being held “indefinitely” pending military tribunals brought my questions to mind. Are any of the original Marielitos still in the federal system, being held without trial, or waiting years for their appearance before an INS “tribunal”? Their “rights” were blithely ignored for a decade or more, and they are at least benign towards the United States. Given a chance, most would like to become citizens. How many members of Al Qaeda—which, by edict must now be recognized under the Geneva Convention—would say that?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Good stuff from the movie critic

There is an absoultely seamless, perfect movie wandering around my satellite rotation. Clive Owen stars as "King Arthur." It has horses, archery, and armor. There is also a heroic stand that symbolizes the Brits. I love it; I can't stop watching it. The Saxons are some bad motorscooters, too. Talk about bikers gone bad!

I don't know how historically accurate it might be; it's just a great take on the Arthurian legend. We never lived history, so we don't know.

Guinivere is a baad girl. Check it out on Encore, or rent it. This one's a keeper; the movie critic gaurantees it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Will you still need me...

…will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

It’s Father’s Day, North Korea is polishing up an ICBM that may or may not work, and Dan Rather’s looking for a job, or at least seeking Kenneth’s frequency in Manhattan.

So what’s important? Paul McCartney is 64! He made it!

Sir Paul shades me by about ten years, which suggests what a pup he was when my grade-school teachers were expressing alarm about the new cultural phenomenon that was creeping into America via BOAC. Every generational couple has their song; the mother of my children and I will dance to Lynrd Skynrd’s “Simple Man.” That song would not have come to fruition without the Beatles. Thank you, Sir Paul.

Coincidentally, Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones drove through a rehab center prior to bombing out onto the latest tour. He’s nearly 60, and was there when Keith Richards fell out of a tree a few weeks ago.

I am endlessly amused by the aging process. I love rock ‘n roll, and will doubtless continue irresponsibility until the day I fall out of a tree and crack my noggin. [I see a bad horse jump, like Scarlett O’Hara’s daddy, in my future.]

As a child, I was regaled with reminiscences of ladies pulling their skirts up to clear walking over horse manure in the streets. My ancestors stood in the streets with shotguns and wiped passenger pigeons into extinction. My great aunt made 104; my grandmother made 100. What marvels they saw! My own small life will never compare. To go from stepping over horseshit to walking on the moon! The blessings keep on rolling; and I would not trade my occasionally dissatisfying life for anything. I, too, have seen marvels.

Sir Paul reaches 64, and I'm a couple of years behind him. On this Father's Day, my daughter would call this "cool beans." She has a rock 'n roll dad, and can also thank Sir Paul.

How did I ever live without a computer that lets me express this emotion to the world at the press of a button?

Mick, Ron, c’mon. We all love rock ‘n roll; I still get the head moving when the beat’s right. I have a horribly expensive set of Ludwig drums and Zildjian cymbals stashed in the basement. I still love ya, still need ya, and will still feed ya, even though you’re 64.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lawrence of Iraq?

Anyone who is familiar with Sir David Lean’s 1963 masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia” must have experienced a moment of what Yogi Berra called “déjà vu all over again” when they watched the brawl in the so-called Hamas parliament last week.

Lean’s epic biography of T.E. Lawrence coincidentally explains Winston Churchill’s remark to FDR at Yalta, [paraphrased here] that “Arabs can’t fight…ignore them.” The internecine brawling at the end of the movie was eerily replayed in real life on last week's news.

We can’t ignore jihadists these days, but we can consider their viability as a conventional fighting force. They aren’t worth the $20 million smuggled in the suitcase. Hamas isn’t worthy of the title of “People’s Army.” Exactly what people do they represent? Displaced Arabs? A little friendship goes a long way. The Jews are not going to go to away. Y’all started off in the 1940s with a decent coalition. Everybody was going to get along, and Israel would be as multi-cultural as America. What happened?

I am fond of bitching and playing my disability card. I am a step behind, so sniveling works. Wheelchairs get boarded first. This apparently works with a whole race of people; American blacks or Arabs.

Lawrence had a grand vision of unified Arabs, who could conduct a civil government as well as wage war on the Ottoman Empire. That vision died with him on the motorcycle. He was as marginalized as Ted Kennedy by then, and knew it. All he had left was life’s small pleasures, and he drank deeply of them. There are few things as gratifying as running a vehicle up to 110; car or motorcycle. I had my Corvette, people have their Harleys. Lawrence published The Seven Pillars of Wisdom privately, because it contained the details of his torture at the hands of the Turks. It only became a public property when great parts of the factual material were incorporated into the movie.

It ain’t about how fast you can go. Moving fast is one thing. Building a stable society is a whole ‘nother six-pack of possums. The Brits knew what they were about when they let the Arab tribes dissolve into their fussing and fighting. The war on terrorists moves fast, so should we. Nation building in places like Iraq is fine; we should do so after the fact. There are people who need killing, and while I don’t agree with the Murtha/Kerry "Usual Suspects" bunch, “terrorism” isn’t a nation-state like Iraq that can be invaded, and I say “Charlie Mike” for “continue mission”; we jumped, now clean it up. Eat what you killed. Then go out and kill some more. It’s easy for a wheelie to be bloodthirsty, and lefties throw bombs at chairborne commandos; get me within 1000 meters with my Remington, and hide somewhere. I have the solution for terror, and it’s pretty darn simple. A chair makes for a very stable aiming platform.

Israel will always remain. They bend over backwards to accommodate the Arabs. Then they launch air strikes. I used to say “a pox on both your houses”, because they had become the thing they abhorred; Nazis bulldozing houses. Then comes the intifada and the rock-throwing. Oh, yeah, and the missiles and the roadside IEDs so publicity was seen against "da Joos" every time they launch a retaliatory strike. Hamas starts wiring up mentally-retarded 14-year-old kids with belt bombs. Okay. Nobody has the moral high ground. Be nice, but always know how many rounds are in the magazine of your pistol. Ted Roosevelt called it “The Big Stick”. Cigar-chomping Curtis LeMay called it “common sense.” I don't think Israel will ever find peace with its Arab neighbors, no matter what concessions they make. However, I expect Israel to survive. When those folks say "Never again!", they mean it.

Israel’s “fence” is working, and I am on record calling for harsher measures, like automated machine gun nests, along our southern border in the US.

The world will devolve into nuclear holocaust. Please remember that you read it first here. Iraq, an invention of the Brits, is now free. They will make of it what they want. The dream of Lawrence is fulfilled; the tribes are still squabbling. May he rest in peace along that road from Bovington to Cloud Hill.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A promise

For the first time almost a year's existance, I deleted a post on this blog. It wasn't obscene, or anything. It just didn't belong.

It was a whining, childish complaint that nobody reads this blog, so I'm shutting it down.

I lied. I'll outlive my critics. I don't deny suicidal ideation, but the realization that it would give too many people too much satisfaction made me abandon that notion years ago.

United Possums, and the Chief Executive Opossum, is here for a while. I had a moment of clarity a few years ago, holding a pistol to my head and screaming out a bedroom window. I don't behave so badly any more, and the neighborhood sleeps better for it. I made a promise to a treacherous woman, but I keep my promises.

Suicide is off the table. So is shutting down this blog. Blogging is all about ego. If anyone denies that they have one, they are lying to me.

I will continue to say what I feel needs to be said until I am dragged offstage kicking and screaming. I had a momentary whine about quitting this morning, but I finally stirred someone up, and they re-lit the fire in my stove.

That post is deleted. I thank my constant readers, even those who don't comment. I won't take you for granted again. UPI is here for a while.

Two words

Two words. I got challenged about yesterday's post. Not dead.

This blog ain't dead. I love a fight. Someone put the fire back in my stove.

I was challenged for a citation. Pete Stark, a congressman from California, claimed that the sudden demise of Abu al-Zarqawi is "a political stunt" deviously thought up to somehow boost president Bush's rating in the polls that the Clintons attached so much importance to.

Thanks to my buddy "camojack' for prompting me. I really am bad with names. I knew someone lit the fuse this morning, but I was at a loss. Thanks also to constant reader Nylecoj...I can't spell that, no matter how many times I try! She lives on the Left Coast and keeps up with these creeps.

I love a challenge. I was ready to quit this blog today. Power and computer failures had me calling it quits. Thanks for reminding me what America's all about, Kurt. A power failure is nothing but a momentary setback.

You called me, and you have been called in turn. How can you support vermin who say this stuff? Tell me he didn't, and get up to speed beyond March on his website! My congressman is Charlie Norwood; one of the good guys. Can you even name yours?

And then the Usual Suspects show up.

Following the sudden demise of Abu al-Zarqwai yesterday, a number of people I commomly refer to as "The Usual Suspects" have poked their pin-heads out of the woodwork. Okay, I was a bit premature. It was a pair of U.S. fighters that gave him a C.O.D. delivery of a JDAM, not a Predator.

The result is the same; a monster is dead. Aside from his immediate family, no one mourns the death of this critter. Aside from being fat, ugly, and dumber than a sack of hair, this was one person who tempted God too often. Islamic or Christian, if you don't understand the concept of smack-downs, you'll get educated PDQ.

Ollie North, pardon me, Col. North, nailed a salient point last night. A month from now, no one will remember the event at Baquba. Instead, they'll remember Haditha. That one will be shoved down the public's throat. Marines are accused of killing civilians. That one will play with the liberal media.

Today's rage is reserved for those who claim the killing of al-Zarqawi is "a ploitical stunt" to somehow enforce the president's poll ratings. One question for the Usual Suspects: where have you been hiding since 9/11? Did you never see the video of this headhunter at work? It was on the Internet; any 14-year-old could access it.

I confessed some moral uncertainty that I should celebrate the death of another person. Flipping that coin, I can't think of another person who more needs to be off the planet. I hear that he lived just long enough to recognize who had killed him, and tried to jump off the stretcher.

The details may never be known, but I hope some intrepid trooper put a pistol to his head and shot him like a crippled horse.

A successor is already being named. Like the Murthas, Kerrys, Kennedys, and Pelosis, these people will be with us always. We can always count on them to make the most outrageous comments, and whine like brats that they know a better pathway, if only we'll relinquish governmental power to them again.

They are The Usual Suspects. Despite the "We support the troops" lies that spout from their pie-holes, they dishonor Iraqi and American troops by the score when they open their mouths. They will be lining up to crucify U.S. troops in the coming months.

A simple fact of the field is: if you kill a friend of mine, I'll lock and load on you faster than you can say "click". I'll wait for the jury to re-enter the room. I dread the politicization of this issue. Considering the comments of today's vermin, I see a pack of drooling dogs outside the cabin.

Aww, it's a free country. Go ahead and spew your poison, Democritters. It's worn thin with time; does anybody still believe that jive?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Payback! The news moves fast!

Nothing else I might have to say can stand up to the news that Abu al-Zarqawi ended up on the wrong end of a Predator drone.

I am not morally sure if it's a Christianly decent thing to celebrate the death of another human being, but the demise of this half-witted thug who can't even fire an automatic weapon without help does not disturb me. In fact, I have the gut feeling that the planet is a slightly cleaner place today.

The mess in Iraq is not over, but there's an element of comfort in the reassurance that the karmic principle of "payback" is still in effect. To paraphrase Edward R. Murrow, "Good night, and good luck, Abu!"

We gotta get some action! We gotta get some action soon!

I am a big fan of headbanger music. This might seem a bit odd for a middle-aged guy, but there is something compelling about loud music with a strong beat and a danceable rhythm. My normal preference is classical music, with a taste for Russian composers, because they bring such sorrow and passion to their music.

There are times, however, when the neighborhood needs shaking up. “If the house is a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin!”

Since the illegal aliens took to the street on May Day, I’ve had a “power rock” song running inside what’s left of my brain. It seemed like this puppy would never come around on my satellite rotation again, because I hungered for the name of the artist.

It’s a simple song. I couldn’t recite half the lyrics. What grabs me is the hook: “We gotta get some action! We gotta get some action soon!”

The composer of this masterpiece is an aggregation known as Powerman 5000. I am not familiar with these paragons of head-busting. This song may have been their one shot. I can’t tell you the name of the lead singer for Megadeth, but I know him when I hear him.

The reason I keep hearing this song recycle in my memory is that the hook has an ineffable power. We gotta get some action, and soon! I’m referring to the border, and the arrogant dare that we [the American people] can’t deport 11,000,000 wetbacks.

You can be on the first thing smokin’ for Ciudad Mexico. America loves a dare. The Japanese, bless their dark little hearts, knew this about five minutes after the smoke cleared over Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nagumo feared that the attack had “wakened a sleeping giant.”

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, America has been attacked. World War IV is underway, and the stakes are mortal.

We gotta get some action, and soon! Close the border!

Monday, June 05, 2006

The taxman cometh!

I was going to withhold my annual rave about taxes until the next April 15th, or thereabouts, However, today I had to cough up an uncomfortably large sum of money, or face life under a bridge with my two dogs for company.

Since I didn’t desire a Waco outcome, I grudgingly paid up.

Ironically, at 0600 this morning, I am treated to the 1949 production of Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in “The Fountainhead”. Although it’s a stilted and flawed version of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, it’s a good lead-in to my humble opinion...

Your taxes are collected at gunpoint. I get a lot of heat for saying this…”Gee; you’re being a little melodramatic here, aren’t you?”

Not at all.

If you want drama in your life, write a letter to the IRS, and tell them forthright that you decline to pay this years’ taxes because you feel the money is misspent; or make up your own reason. Just tell them you ain’t paying.

You will initially receive a visit from a couple of well-dressed, polite men who will “suggest” that you comply with the social norm of paying up the cash. These men carry firearms, but they do not display them.

If you tell these individuals to go to hell, and slam the door in their faces, they will be back. Their weapons will be unholstered, and an entire SWAT team will be on your front lawn; all to collect your taxes. Negotiation is out the window; pay up or die, proletarian scumbag!

The government comes down on tax protesters like they used to come down on draft dodgers. If even 10% of the general population suddenly got spine, stood up, and said “I ain’t paying”, America and the congressional vermin representing us might have to do a serious rethinking. Where you gonna lock ‘em up? That’s more than your wetbacks demanding a “right.” A serious tax resistance would be a disaster. Thus, the penalties are harsh unto death for complaints. I have the American right to bitch, but if I don’t pay up in the end, I’ll sleep on the street.

I am a "Fair Tax" advocate. That Libertaran point of view doesn't earn me a penny in collected tax dollars. People with guns will still show up at the front door if I don't pay up.

I paid my taxes. I suppose I have bought good citizenship until next year.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Size does matter!

Richard Thompson is five feet, one inch tall, and weighs about 120 pounds. I am six feet, three inches tall, and weigh 185 pounds at fighting weight. Even though I joke about being four feet tall in my wheelchair—a line I shamelessly steal from Jude Law in “Gattica”—I’m ready for a fight.

Richie Thompson is a sexual predator; a pedophile. I have two daughters; both are thankfully grown up in this age of the ACLU sticking up for baby rapers. Things were a lot simpler in Ye Olde Days; “He needed killin’” is sometimes a legal defense where I come from.

A Nebraska judge refuses to sentence Mr. Thompson to the prison term he has earned. In addition to being vertically challenged, Thompson is apparently not the sharpest knife in the drawer. The judge is on record as remarking “I think you’d have a hard time in prison.” For this all-encompassing reason, the judge has sentenced Richard Thompson to probation, with the explicit threat that a violation of said probation will earn him 60 days in the slammer. In other words, if he molests another child, he’ll spend less time behind bars than your average DUI offender.

Driving while stupid [intoxicated] is one thing. Molesting children is a whole ‘nother six-pack of possums. I have some acquaintance with lock-ups, thanks to my youthful predilection for mixing alcohol and fast automobiles. No one has an “easy” time behind bars, as opposed to the “hard” time the judge used as an excuse to shuffle Thompson out of the system.

Judges are loath to sentence child molesters to serious time. There’s a simple reason for this: even bank robbers have families. Unless they are genuine sociopaths, most convicts have wives, children, or some variation thereof wandering around out there. While socially challenged about how to provide for their children, many convicts, the majority, have kidlets, and love them in their own ways as parents. Judges understand that the life span for pedophiles, if released into general population, is measured in days, if not hours. If they are not killed outright, the best a “short eyes” can hope for is a serious smack-down from another convict whenever the staff isn’t looking.

Sometimes the staff will make an effort to not be looking. They, too, have children. Because this reality fits the free-floating criterion of “cruel and unusual punishment”, judges have made a semi-tradition of giving baby rapers a slap on the wrist and a stern admonition to “don’t do that again!"

Bank robbers, and even murderers can be reformed. In the case of the former, many were acting out of need. In the case of the latter, many were acting out of momentary passion. Given proper direction, both are decent parole risks, and unlikely to become part of the 66% recidivism rate. There are exceptions, of course. That’s where your tax dollars come in, to pay the salaries of prison counselors, et. al. to make the differentiation … and I’ve been hearing some creepy stuff today about a jailhouse counselor keeping her grandchild locked in a dog kennel.

Statistically, sexual predators cannot be as easily reformed. They are having too much fun. Whatever demons grip them, they cannot acknowledge the humanity of children, and control their impulses. They need to be set apart from the rest of humanity, to put it kindly. Pavlov was right about his dogs; if you reward behavior, it will be repeated.

I suspect the lenient sentences imposed for so long has fed into a syndrome. For a long time, if I had a couple of beers and drove home with the smell on my breath, I might get a nod and a wink from the good ol’ boy deputies if I wasn’t crashing into the landscaping. That doesn't play today. Looking back, I cannot justify my behavior, and I thank God I didn’t hurt anyone. I’m not a Kennedy; if I had killed someone in 1969 because I was drunk, horny, and too cowardly to dive in and save another person’s life, I’d still be in prison. JFK did better, despite the intial mistake of shutting his speedboat down in enemy territory.

Because pedophiles are apt to get their butts killed in prison, judges give them a pass. Numerous passes. Granted, 25 to life isn’t a death sentence. A desert island will suffice for pedophiles. “He/she will be all right with counseling.” “”Diversion will do the trick.” Let's try the liberal solutions, but let's do it in an isolated environment.

At one point, a pill was suggested. “Chemical castration.” The pill was supposed to make sexual predators impotent, as though their problem is related to an overabundance of testosterone.

While waiting for the bail bondsman, and in my capacity during a day job, I had some interesting conversations with cellmates. One particularly battered individual, when asked “What happened?” replied “They found out.”

Somebody had beaten the s--- out of him.

“Found out” what?

The person I am using as an example peddled child pornography from a Costa Nostra fronted porn outlet. He was not a producer; he may have only featured underage peep shows in his yellow-front bookstore. He may not have ever touched a child in his life. He sold product; the porn industry, like the legitimate parts of the movie industry I dabbled in, needs product, no matter how shabby. I won’t make an excuse for this sorry specimen; he had a market share of a fringe industry. Although I am a Libertarian, acknowledging most human foibles, there is plenty that doesn’t pass my loose standards. What I saw was a guy beaten senseless and bloody.

It didn’t matter then; it doesn’t matter now. Although I yell that the concept of “perception is reality” is nonsense, if you live and die by the law of the jungle, that doesn’t matter much. A conviction for child molestation will get you a de facto death sentence.

On this same day, I hear that an Ohio judge has overturned the death sentence of a Terry What’s-' is-name. The malefactor in question was given a death sentence for stomping and strangling the life out of a 76-year-old woman. The judge says an "abusive childhood" trumps blood thirst, and mitigates a scumbag into $50,000+ per year government [taxpayer!] care.

My father was 79 when he was shot to death by an as-yet-uncaught serial killer who specializes in victimizing “rich” older white guys. My consideration for murderers goes a few inches shorter than the height of any given killer. The death penalty is a viable option. I ain't a mob-joiner, but I have been heard to chant "Get a rope!"

The standard song and dance by defense attorneys pimping everything from substance abuse to an abusive childhood is a cliché; it’s almost an American courtroom tradition. I am truly amazed that the ploy worked for yet another murderer.

The Nebraska pedophile is “too short” for prison. The Ohio killer is deemed excusable from the death penalty, ostensibly because he had an abusive childhood that trumps the horror of a vicious murder.

A dwarf could have pulled the trigger on my father. Anyone who has seen the movie “Time Bandits”, or known the grit of real “little people”, can tell you volumes about this. Despite a non-abusive, middle-class upbringing, my childhood was no picnic. The proliferation of liberal myths I hear about dysfunctional families only seems to increase that conviction that there are no criminals; only misguided individuals.

My ban on obscenity kicks in here. It’s bullshit. Hell, that’s a PG-13 standard; whatever excuses are being deployed today to relinquish child molesters or give murderers a pass because they had a tough childhood; it’s bullshit. Lawyers say what you or I pay them to say. The gangland moniker of “mouthpiece” is a fact. “The Outlaw Josey Wales” has a classic line among many: “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining’” My blog; I make the rules, and break them. Sometimes there isn’t a suitable adjective.

I am four feet tall now, and spend what’s left of my life in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, if I committed an offense against children, I would find myself paddling my wheelchair around in the august company of bank robbers and murderers. At least, that’s the “kinder solution.” I always used my height as a psychological factor, moving inside the “comfort zones” of others and looking down upon them. Short people, like Avis car rental, have to try harder. Despite the judge’s perception, short people are quite vicious, and can do quite well in prison. Randy Newman’s song “Short People” was a hoot, but totally fallacious when it comes to the serious business of judicial penalties for child molesters. The ex-Mrs. Trot is wearing her Val Plame disguise. She is four feet, eleven inches tall. This is the one time in life when size doesn’t matter.