Waiting for the Suckers: “Drop Arms! Drop Arms! The Americans Are Coming!”

Gardner - RembrandtNot so long time ago the biggest and baddest Army in the world came from Britain. It had colonies all over the world. The people in one of them were not happy being ruled by Britain so they took up arms against this mighty force and forced the British to give them their freedom. Their war began with the cry: “to arms, to arms, the Redcoats are coming.”   

Today in far off Iraq you hear the opposite type of call because the people in that country do not want to fight for their liberty. They want someone else to do it. I wonder if the American revolutionaries had some bigger nation to fight for them would they have fought for themselves. Would the liberty and freedom and rights we have today exist had we been established as a country by some foreign force? Would they have known how expensive freedom is and what laws were necessary to institute to protect it?

A recent newspaper reported after the fall of Ramadi in Iraq that: “The White House said Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday to reaffirm U.S. support in light of the attacks on Ramadi. It said Biden promised expedited security help, including delivery of shoulder-fired rockets and other heavy weaponry to counter IS car bombs.”

Was there some reason to think Abadi did not know that with our 3,000 plus boots on the ground and our daily air support that we were not supporting him? Why is it we are always groveling to these foreign leaders who would not be in office without out support? Should not the White House have reported that Biden called Abadi and told him to put a little fight into his army of 270,000 men and 500,000 reserves or we are pulling out our support and letting him make a go of it on his own. Seriously, isn’t it time Iraq start saving itself.

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Memorial Day: 2015 – A 5:30 pm Toast of Thanks

lincoln-memorial-8This day was originally established to honor those who died while wearing the uniform of our country. It slowly seems to be changing into a day to honor not only those but all who wore the uniform of our country and who are no longer among the living. A couple of years back all 55,000 graves at Otis Air Base had flags put on them for Memorial Day even though most buried there did not die in the service. I see the same is happening in other places in the country. That is supposed to be done on Veteran’s Day.

The way it is going it will soon become a day to remember all who have died whether they served in our nation’s armed forces or not. I went to my parents grave the other day and saw someone had put a flag on it. Neither of them served in uniform.

I suppose that will be the natural progress of a day in a country where those who wear the uniform are from around only 1% of our nation and I am not talking about the upper 1%. This means that unless the meaning of the day is changed 99% of the people will have nothing to remember.

How few of us are affected by military deaths since the draft was abolished in 1973? It is not that we have entered into an era of peace; for truth be told we are constantly warring. We have had more than a decade of war in two countries that has claimed the lives of some 6,861 Americans. How many of us know one of them?

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Memories for Memorial Day Weekend: Halifax and Good Cops

DSC_0162I was at Market Basket the other day and I met a guy from Halifax. He was not Canadian. He was from our own little Halifax in Massachusetts.

Halifax, MA is one of six places in the United States with that name. Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia also have towns or boroughs so named. This suggests they were settle by people from England. No one had sufficient emotional attachment to the name to carry it westward beyond the Appalachians.

Our Halifax has the largest population of those others in the United States with 7,500 people. It was named after the town of Halifax in West Yorkshire, England, unlike the more famous Halifax in Nova Scotia that was named after the Earl of Halifax who founded it.

The Earl achieved fame by authorizing a general warrant in 1763 (our Bill of Rights outlawed these type warrants even though under the Patriot Act they have come back into favor) which resulted in the arrest of John Wilkes and many others. Wilkes, a radical Member of Parliament, was a distant relative of noted British Shakespearean actor Junius Brutus Booth (who happens to share the same birth day as me). He left England (and his wife and child) at the age 25 with Mary Ann Holmes (no relation to Carmel) who was described as a “flower girl.” They settled in Bel Air, Maryland. Their ninth child would be named after John Wilkes.

Our Halifax early on was proposed as a place where a canal connecting Massachusetts Bay with Buzzards Bay should run through. Those plans amounted to very little. That canal would be located further to the south of Plymouth and called the Cape Cod Canal. Had it gone through Halifax it may have been named the Halifax Canal.

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A Sick System of Justice: Where’s Stevie?

justice weepsStephen J. Flemmi was sentenced on January 27, 2004. He had been charged with several murders among them the murder of two young women with whom he had sexual relations; one was his step daughter and the other a young, attractive woman who was his girlfriend from the time she was 17 years old. He murdered his step daughter because as a result of his abuse of her as a young girl she could not confront life other than blotting out the memory of it through the use of drugs and becoming a sexual victim who was embarrassing him; he murdered his girlfriend because she wanted to have a better life than being abused by a criminal having found another man who she fell in love with and was leaving to join him. The girlfriend’s sister probably also became a victim on him.

According to the Clerk’s Notes here is his sentence:

Counts 1sss and 2sss: LIFE.  Counts 3sss, 5sss, 27sss and 28sss: 240 months to be served.  Counts 29sss, 31sss, 32sss, 33sss, 41sss and 44sss: 120 months to be served.  Counts 30sss and 47sss: 60 months to be served, all to be served concurrently. (As you know when a sentence is served concurrently it doesn’t amount to anything.)

Count 36sss: 60 months to be served; Count 37sss: 120 months to be served; Count 38sss: 360 months to be served, concurrently to each other and consecutively to terms imposed on Counts 1-3, 5, 27-33, 41, 44 and 47.

Supervised Release for 5 years on Counts 1 and 2, and 3 years on Counts 3, 5, 27-33, 41, 44 and 47, all such terms to run concurrently.  Special Conditions of Supervised Release: 1. deft. shall not purchase or possess a firearm or any other dangerous weapon; 2. deft. shall pay a Special Assessment of $1550. Court enters Order of Forfeiture previously entered by the Court as part of the criminal judgment. AUSA’s Wyshak, Kelly and Owyang were present for the Government (my emphasis)

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Realistic Republicans Rue Romney’s Reluctance:

(`)romneyMitt Romney stepped into the ring in a boxing match for charity last week against former heavy weight champion Evander Holyfield. The faux fight was enjoyed by all. Later a small group gathered in a motel room down the street and sat around having a few beers in the normally dry Salt Lake City. As the night closed in on day the assembled started signing to the Nina Simone’s tune of “Come on back, Jack” :
Come on back Mitt
Hey Mitt, come on, come on back
Come on back Mitt
Hey Mitt, come on, come on back
When you told us you were through
We decided we’d move on
Now we’ve seen the new crew
We know that we were wrong
Come on back Mitt
Hey Mitt, come on, come on back
Come on back Mitt
Hey Mitt, come on, come on back
The group broke up later that night but the song sung in fun told of an anguish facing many in the Republican party. They recognize that the only person in their party with the gravitas and experience to beat Hillary Clinton is Mitt. The vast field of contenders are no more than pretenders. Mitt is the only heavy weight contender. Look for the pressure to grow on Mitt to get back into the race.
I and many others did not vote for Romney last time. The reason is he was too close to Netanyahu and Adelson who want to hire American troops to attack Iran. We are tired of wars in the Middle East. We hoped Obama would keep us out of that trap. We were right.
Obama has put Iran on track to doing away with its nuclear weapon program; if he succeeds, then the reason for the U.S. to attack Iran is gone with the wind no matter what other reasons are conjured up to urge us to do so. I don’t expect any president will want to enter another war like we did in Iraq because we disliked the leadership of a country.
Taking that factor off the table makes Romney a more desirable candidate for us. I say that because I’m anxious not to have the White House taken over by scoundrels which I suggest will be the case if Mitt does not run. We know the Hill-Billy team. I’m tired of their ethically challenged approach to politics with destroyed emails and huge contributions to their projects that just happen to coincide with government favors being advanced to the contributors. It is very hard to think of four more years of the Clintons in control of the cookie jar. We need a scandal free candidate untainted by past associations who can be trusted to run a clean business as Romney has proven he can do. We do not need a president who will hand out assortment of goodies to contributors in the form of pardons as she leaves office; or one that will take all the furniture with them when they leave.
Here’s  one thing I can guarantee you, the American people are not going to buy another Bush. Especially one who is mired in the same group of foreign policy types who brought us the Iraq war. Can you imagine anyone of sound mind saying that he will be relying on Wolfowitz for foreign policy advice? Well that’s what Jeb has told us so even those who abhor the thought of the Hill-Billy duet will find it less problematic to vote for them rather than bringing back the ghosts of Iraq past.
Here’s the rest of the Republican field. Tell me if you would feel comfortable voting for any one of them: Ted Cruz and Rand  Paul; Marco Rubio and Ben Carson; Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee; Scott Walker and Chris Christie; the two Ricks, Santorum and Perry; Lindsey Graham and Bobby Jinndal. Seriously, the reason there are so many is that none is a serious candidate. Pick one, nominate him or her, and send the person to the slaughter. Not one of them can measure up to Mitt.
I know Mitt has lost twice but didn’t Lincoln take a few beatings before he won. Here’s the big reason Mitt is needed. The Supreme Court will have two or more seats opening up over the next few years. Put Hillary in and she’ll fill those seats with the same type of progressives that Bill Clinton put in. He put in Ruth Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer both deeply mired in the liberal ideology along with two other judges (Obama’s Sotomayor and Kagan).
These are dangerous times for America. Hillary will change America for the worse; Mitt will keep it from losing its greatness. “Come on back, Mitt!”
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South End: Being Cheated Out of a Public Park

(`) Carter PlaygroundThere are not many public parks on Columbus Avenue in the South End for the working folk in that neighborhood to use. As far as I can tell there is one. It is the William E. Carter Playground, pictured here.

I stand corrected. The people used to have this park. Unfortunately for them, it is being turned over to Northeastern University. As far as the city is concerned the people in the neighborhood can be damned.

In Boston’s Open Space Plan 2002 – 2006 Carter was described as one of the four facilities in the South End that: “are experiencing heavy use and maintenance demands. The dramatic rise in the popularity of soccer and the continued keen interest in baseball puts additional pressure on these facilities. Carter experiences added pressure from the Northeastern University student population.”  

The reason why the public loses the park is that it is described as being “rundown” and “it often fills with puddles when the weather is rainy.” That’s seems to perfectly describe the city parks that I played ball on which never seemed to bother me or my friends. In my book it is not much of a reason to deprive a neighborhood of a park.

Northeastern is going to shut the park down for a year, renovate it and when it opens it is allegedly going to share the park with the neighborhood people. Kathy Spiegelman, a Northeastern vice president according to the article: “explained there was little overlap between the times Northeastern groups typically need the facilities and when outside leagues want access.”

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South Boston: A Source of Pride

(1) South BostonI am not aware of any other section of the city that has a song dedicated to it other than South Boston with its “Southie is My Hometown.” That in itself should tell you the people from there are proud of having the connection with it.  Perhaps that is the reason so many others seem to have  disdain for it; an inveterate and ineradicable jealousy.

I talk about South Boston because of two items I read in the last week or so.

President Obama just named the new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the one person who holds the highest position in America’s military. He is Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. I read this about him:

“Dunford, 59, joined the Marine Corps in 1977, following in the footsteps of his father, a Marine who served in Korea and later became a Boston police officer. Raised in South Boston and later Quincy, Massachusetts,  . . . He’s Irish Catholic, the same as the current chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey. . . . He earned the nickname “Fighting Joe” . . . . His selection as the nominee for chairman was hailed on the Marine Corps’ Facebook page with the customary Marine salute: “Ooh-Rah, Sir!” . . . He was #7 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2014. The magazine quoted Dunford as saying that his first battalion commander told him the three rules to success. The first? Surround yourself with good people. “Over the years,” said Dunford, “I’ve forgotten the other two.”  (my emphasis)

The Dunfords are a typical South Boston family. His mother’s four brothers served in WWII. His grandfather fought in WWI probably with the Yankee Division “and those boys from South Boston [who] mopped up Germany.” His father served with the Marines in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Korea. His father is quoted as saying: “You graduated from South Boston High, and you went into the Marine Corps” 

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Leaving the Patriots Behind and Moving On:

2013 08 14_3682I have to leave the subject of Tom Brady and Bob Kraft behind because I am so involved in the NHL and NBA playoffs. (Just kidding.)

The truth is that no matter the outcome of this or any other Patriot scandal Tom, net worth 120 million  and Giselle, net worth 320 million, and Bob Kraft, net worth 4.3 billion, will end up fine as will their children and grandchildren if all that matters is having enough money for a comfortable living.

As for the Patriots they will continue on winning some or losing some with or without the present people. As I have said before I like to watch the team play but keep it in the context that it really is of little matter whether they win or lose. It does not affect my life one way or the other especially since I am not a gambler. There are many more important things in our city, state, country and the world to be concerned about.

I do have a few final thoughts on the Patriots and Brady before I go on to other things.

There is no doubt Brady would have to know the football he used during a game was under inflated. Any quarterback of Brady’s skill and ability would know that as Bret Favre noted.

Punishing Brady, or the Patriots, or any other team for rules infractions is nonsense especially when it is done to protect the NFL’s good name. What kind of good name is it when eighty-five percent of the people recently polled said the type of cheating the Patriots engaged in happens on every other team in the league. In other words, the vast majority of the people believe the NFL is a confederacy of cheaters.

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Update: Is Aaron Hernandez To Get a New Trial?

AAron smilingTwo days ago I posted on this subject. I went in the background to a brother lawyer I’ll call Sam whose opinion I highly respect who has vast experience trying criminal cases representing defendants in the superior and district courts of Massachusetts. He made this reply to the matters I set out in my post in which I said the Taveres case decision may give Hernandez a new trial:

“Don’t know if it has any impact on Hernandez. The trial judge wrongly instructed the jury regarding a co defendant. There was no co defendant in the Hernandez trial. The possibility that a co defendant could be found guilty of a lesser charge wouldn’t apply because AH was tried alone. No decision today has any impact on another case because the judges just make it up as they go. Precedent doesn’t exist. It’s possible AH could get a 2nd degree on appeal but that would be the best he could do. Remember Anderson Cooper of CNN interviewed the jury on his show and had much praise for them. What judge in this state would contest CNN’s view of things? None.”

I totally agree with him when he says: “No decision today has any impact on another case because the judges just make it up as they go. Precedent doesn’t exist.” I would just add the caveat that has always been the case: as the person who taught me more about being a lawyer than anyone else, Frank DiMento, told me: “the law is what the judges say it is.” I do agree with Sam that it has become so much worse today. If Rose Bird were still alive and sitting she would be part of the mainstream.     

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Memo to Bob Kraft: When You’re In A Big Hole Stop Digging

IMG_3938There is something wrong with the Patriot management under Bob Kraft. This is shown in the Deflategate matter. Perhaps it is something that happens to a man who has all the money in the world who surrounds himself with obsequious “yes” people and legal advisors who scurry to curry favor with him by telling him what he wants to believe. Add to that a fawning press and adoring fan base then a person like Kraft cannot but help believe his every step leaves a perfumed trace and he not only can do no wrong but is beyond criticism.

Kraft propagated the idea that he ran his team a special way: “the Patriot way.” No “bad boys” were to play for it. (Hernandez was going to see the light.) It was to be the all-American team populated with altar boys led by a tight-lipped Jesuit-type disciplinarian who would show the world that you could win by doing things with the right people. It was to be a team which did the right stuff.

Many in the area fell for the line. Many still believe it. The rest of the sane world knows the Patriots are not particularly special except in one way: they have been involved in a couple of big scandals that show they have not played by the rules.

When I read: “New England Patriots release 20,000-word rebuttal to Deflategate findings” I knew the big con was continuing. The usual manner of describing rebuttal is in pages. Seeing the Patriots describe their counter-report in the amount of words it contained signaled to me that it had little to offer.

Looking at the web I found that amount of words single spaced with an Arial font at an 11 typeface could easily be put on 40 or 41 pages. Not much of a response I’d have to say. But certainly it was put out with much fanfare as if it were lengthy and significant.

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