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Whenever I read an article by James Carroll it reminds me of this man I knew who was a friend of the family. Growing up the man seemed to be in a perpetual state of intoxication. As a kid interacting with him it never bothered me because he was kind to me and seemed like a nice man. But I’d hear my folks and others talking about him and they’d suggest they wished he didn’t drink as much as he did.
As I got older I could see what they meant when I’d see him staggering around, slurring his words, embarrassing himself and others around him. I felt bad for him because I liked him but had to agree that he wasn’t helping himself with his drinking. This went on for many years. I was in my late teens when I heard that he had gone to the doctor who told him that if he continued his drinking he’d last but a few more months. Miracles of miracles he stopped cold and turned a new leaf.
Unfortunately, for some strange reason, after being such a friend of booze and boozers over the years he turned viciously against them. He’d complain continually about some co-workers having had a beer or two for lunch or point to someone else saying she drank too much. He as much as suggested, like the early 20th Century temperance types, that alcohol should be outlawed. His close friend had become his ardent enemy.
James Carroll has two bêtes noires: the military and the Catholic Church. He comes at them in the same way that my family friend came at his antagonism to booze, he fell out of love with them. His father was a general in the Air Force; Carroll himself became a priest in the Catholic Church in 1969 where he stayed until 1974.
I don’t expect much to change listening to the testimony of Aaron Hernandez’s lawyered- up, attractive, girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins later today. Judge Garsh who is sitting on the trial and also sitting on the prosecutor also will probably hear nothing new from her. Watching her testify on Friday she had the most amazing relationship with Hernandez. They rarely spoke to each other more than one sentence at a time.
Shayanna testified Friday how she went to the “junk drawer” where she keeps all the nick knacks and “what have yous.” We all have them. They are places where we put the small things we gather up during our lives that we don’t have another place to put them in. She opened the draw and saw a black firearm shaped like an “L”. She was shown a .45 caliber pistol by the prosecutor and said the color and shape was the same as that she saw in the junk drawer but she was not sure it was the same size. She said it had a handle and the other part which she didn’t know what it was called.
This is important to the prosecutor’s case because Odin Llyod who Hernandez is alleged to have murdered was killed with .45 caliber slugs and no .45 caliber pistol has been found tying him into the crime.
Shayanna said she was a little upset at seeing this. She went to confront Hernandez about it. She said nothing. She only shrugged. They never talked about it again.
My sister sent me an email telling me: “A tour guide in Ireland said Northern Ireland 45% catholic and increasing- Kinsale was 50%. Catholic and all of Southern Ireland 95% Catholic- so you have a shot at still getting gold coins in your shoes on future st pat’s days.”
I replied to her that the statistics I’d seen showed a different picture in the Irish Republic with about 86% calling themselves Catholic but only about 18% attending church on a regular basis. It wasn’t like that a generation ago. In 1984 it was estimated 90% of the Irish attended church regularly.
The major reason for the great drop in attendance in Ireland is the sins of the fathers. Those many priests who were involved in sexual abusive situation and allowed the abuse by the nuns of the unwanted children and women in trouble who ended up slaving in the places like the Magdalene Laundries.
The sins of the priests though overlooked or justified by the older members of the Catholic Church had a resounding effect on their children. They fled from the Church as though it had contacted Ebola. Adding to the flight because of the sins was the increasing affluence of the Irish which goes along with the idea “there are no atheists in foxholes.”
People deprived of earthly treasures find comfort in the idea they will receive them in after life; those who find earthly riches forget don’t want to be reminded that they can’t take them with them.
The Irish experience is also being felt here in America. My son on a trip to New York City last sat next to a 93-year-old Irish-American woman with all her wits about her who lived in Cambridge. He had a delightful conversation with her. He told me how she said with sadness: “I’m a daily communicant and not one of my 12 grandchildren goes to the Catholic Church.
As a young defense lawyer I had a case where my young client was arrested and indicted for possession of gaming apparatus. He was 18 years old and worked at a bowling alley. The bookie at the alley got tipped off that a raid was about to happen so he asked my client to watch his action while he went out to get something to eat. My client was behind the desk with all the gaming slips when the cops arrived. He really had no defense to the charges. He pled guilty and the ADA and I had agreed he would be put on probation for six months and the case dismissed.
The superior court judge rejected our recommendation and was determined to sentence my guy to jail for six months. All I can figure looking back over all these years is that he must have had a bad weekend betting and was mad at his bookie. But then, when he said that my guy was going to jail I was flabbergasted. Over and over I stood protesting his decision repeating myself trying to get him to change his mind. I refused to sit down or stop. I thought to myself the longer I can talk then the longer my client will not be put in handcuffs. I hated to see the kid’s face when that happened. I talked just to buy the kid some more time as a free person. I eventually so frustrated the judge he agreed to put him on probation.
I think of that when I think of the Hernandez trial. It seems to me that like me with the kid the prosecutor is doing everything in his power to delay the case going to the jury. Much of the evidence over the past days does nothing to advance his case but merely makes Hernandez look like a low life but not a murderer.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had a lead editorial today called “Obama’s Mideast Vacuum.” The vacuum is Obama’s reluctance to keep American ground troops fighting the Arabs in the Middle East. It states: “has a policy ever been so thoroughly repudiated in so short a time?”
It’s like what is happening over there is Obama’s fault rather than the culmination of 35 years of a failed American policy that began in 1979. Obama did not create the hostilities that exist between the two Arab factions the Shia and Sunni. They’ve existed for hundreds of years. As NC who comments here points out it was the U.S. policy to please Saudi Arabia to keep the Sunni Arabs in control of the countries of that region. Outside of Iran, the Shia, even where they were a majority, were controlled by the Sunni.
This policy worked well until some of those Sunni who were enamored with Saudi Arabia’s dominant Sunni faith, Wahhabism, an austere form of Islam, decided to war against the U. S. That brought about the creation of al Qaeda, which by the way Obama had nothing to do with. It also resulted in attacks against American embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, and the one on our territory by Sunni terrorist on 9/11.
The pro-Sunni apple cart was upset when George Bush II decided to invade Iraq which was then under the control of a Sunni, Saddam Hussein. We threw him out and put the majority Shia in charge. This resulted in great resentment among the Sunni from which came the IS (ISIS) Islamic terrorists.
Every day without cessation the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) hammers away at Obama. His big, big crime or failure is that he thinks enough American blood has been shed in trying to bring peace to the Middle East. A WSJ op-ed chastises him for “refusing to commit any ground forces” to Iraq (haven’t we already done that before?); complains he “refused to send a peacekeeping force” to Libya (more troops) and for us not to get down and dirty in a war with Iran. The WSJ drum beat for war is is shocking.
An article in the WSJ on Thursday, March 26, 2015, by Max Boot a senior fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations is an example of this. It’s behind a pay wall. I’ll put some of the complaints he makes in quotes.
He starts with 3 points: first Obama’s withdrawal of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan (omitting to mention it was Bush’s plan to get them out of Iraq); next Obama is silent about Iran’s “power grab” in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (failing to mention IS); and finally, Obama’s dislike of Netanyahu (Boot will explain Netanyahu didn’t mean it when he said there would be no Palestinian state).
Boot writes that Obama’s actions show a realignment in American policy, “The president is pulling America back from the leading military role it has played in the Middle East since 1979 . . . . He is trying to transform Iran from an enemy to a friend.”
According to Boot this is something bad. I’d suggest we look back over that period of time. It would seem more appropriate to say, “it’s about time someone had enough sense to see our policy since 1979 has been not working and perhaps it is time to change it.” Or to use the often heard political expression: “are we better off in the Middle East now than we were in 1979.”
Sadly the horrors committed by the Department of Justice’s prosecutors in Boston continue. Grand jury leaks to the Boston Globe continue unabated. Despite such actions being criminal no investigation occurs. When the law enforcers become the law breakers cloaked in the cape of impunity our liberties are at risk.
The leaks as we know are nothing new. The failure to stem or investigate them has persisted over a long period of time. No one is held accountable.
The prosecutors purpose is to wrongly aid one particular newspaper over others in exchange for that paper closing its eyes to sordid actions by the prosecutors as when they tried to steal the Caswell Motel from its owner; and, to set out adverse publicity against the target of the probe unfairly prejudicing him or her in the eyes of the public.
One only has to go back to the time when Billy Bulger was being investigated. There members of that paper were in continuing contact with federal agents urging them not to close out their investigation after no crimes were found. Later the prosecutor’s office leaked his grand jury minutes solely to cause him embarrassment.
It’s bad enough the U S Attorney’s office disregards the rules for the grand jury, they also disregard our Constitution. Our Founders wrote into our Constitution a basic right that no person be put in jeopardy twice for the same crime. In the case against the much beleaguered FBI Agent John Connolly the same case which these prosecutors failed to prove in Boston was again tried by the same prosecutors in Florida.
Now we see the prosecution of John O’Brien is recommending. He was convicted of patronage which I expect to be reversed. He is now being forced to testify before a grand jury. The same prosecutors who tried to send him to prison for many years will force him to testify. If he doesn’t he’ll be sent to prison.
For most of Modern History we’ve explicitly labeled our dates to the birth of Christ. We had two letters to designate years: if we talked about Homer we would say he was born around “8th – 9th century B.C.” or about the Abyssinian Heresy we might read the date as “about A.D. 316.”
B.C. stood for “before Christ” and A.D. stood for “anno domini,” Latin for the “year of the Lord.”
Then at some time over the past ½ century some people became offended with what was represented by those symbols. They changed the designation to BCE and CE. According to Wikipedia this has become popularize in the West by “publishers wishing to emphasize secularism and/or sensitivity to non-Christians.” Strange, no one seems to want to be sensitive to the Christians.
BCE stands for before common era and CE for common era.
As best I can tell the term common era means nothing. I can’t figure out what was not common about the time before the birth of Christ which His birth changed and turned things into a common time. His birth was the landmark date that changed the way people in the West believed in God. It was the Christians who began to mark their calendar from that date. To suggest it had something to do with commonness is to pretend otherwise.
At the Worcester Museum a few years back there was an exhibit using the CE and BCE dates. I asked a man who was responsible for the exhibit what the letters stood for. He said “Christian Era” and “before the Christian Era.” His answer to why BC and AD were not used was that it just wasn’t done anymore.
Hat tip to Dave: You think keeping Whitey Bulger as an informant was evil; how about having Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight as one. That’s what Lloyd “Ta-Ta” Lake is suggesting.
Suge Knight was before a Los Angeles judge on Friday. He was held on 25 million dollars bail. He allegedly fainted after hearing that amount. It’s hard to figure what he was expecting being charged with murder. But maybe like Stevie Flemmi who after being arrested wanted to speak to some FBI agents who he thought would help him out; so we have to wonder if Suge Knight was expecting the FBI to operate in the back ground as it likes to do and come into court like his white knight to put him back on the street. It was not so much the high amount of the bail that knocked him for a loop; it seems perhaps it was the shock that the FBI didn’t come through as it always had in the past if Llyod is right.
As you know much of what Whitey did especially in his line of murder was done in secret. It was not until John “You Can’t Rat-on-a-Rat” Martorano started spilling his guts that we learned of Whitey’s predilection for murder; but with Suge Knight the situation is totally different. He was out front and about in all of his criminal activities. If Lloyd is right then his handler was a mighty powerful figure and all the FBI on the West Coast must have been covering for him.
The prosecutor told the judge about preparing the 300 page document on sentencing: “when I wrote this, I was appalled . . . he basically is above the law.” Sound familiar.
When times are tough people are forced to tell the truth. The little game Netanyahu has been playing over the years has come a cropper. The other day when he faced an election that seemed to destroy his Putin-like desire of leading his country for the rest of his life the true Netanyahu surfaced. It was an ugly display; yet even in its ugliness many want to say it isn’t the true Netanyahu. They want us to believe beneath the bulbous body is something different.
Netanyahu is 65, Putin is 62, both have lived during the same historical period. Each has dealt with American presidents and their State Departments that are delusional when it comes to understanding their countries. President Bush saw good in Putin and Netanyahu; President Obama sought a reset in relations with both as if we were wrong. They were unable to accept the duplicity of these men and pretended that though they were doing opposite of their words, their words and not their actions mattered. They’ve seen both men use their armed forces to invade neighboring countries. They experienced both are versed in the art of deny the naked and apparent truth and expecting others to if not believe them, at least not to call them out on their lies.
Netanyahu who has lusted for war with Iran came to America at the request of the Republican Party to speak to Congress urging such. His appearance prompted 47 U.S. Senators to write a letter contrary to our American custom to a foreign leader seeking to undermine our president. Netanyahu all along has been playing a duplicitous game saying one thing and doing another without paying any consequences for his treachery. Rather than that he’s feted and lionized by the Republicans and others in America’s Congress.