Will Brady/Kraft Dispute Impact Super Bowl Chances

Brady-Bunch-new-england-patriots-32121646-500-502You won’t read about this in the mainstream media. The reason is access. Those who cover the team know it isn’t in their best interest to be on the wrong side of either Tom Brady or Bob Kraft. If that happens you get cut, not in the way that causes actual bleeding, in the way they used to do in high society which was to not invite you to anything, shun you by crossing the street or jumping in a doorway if they see you coming, putting out the word that anyone who associates with you is to be treated like you as a persona non grata, and basically ignoring your existence. A sports writer on the wrong side of Bob Kraft or Tom Brady might as well restrict his writing to things like the Iditarod sled dog race.

Not being caught up in the sports writers rat race and beyond the wide reach of the Kraft and Brady power I can bring this to the attention of those fans who want to see the Kraft- Brady team in the Super Bowl in the hope the dispute can be resolved and things return to normal.

You’ve heard the expression “A rose is a rose by any other name.” You may have noticed up until this point I have not mentioned the name Patriots. That is for good reason. That is what is behind the dispute.

A little history. The NFL has lately undergone several scandals. As you know the Commissioner Roger Goodell has caused specific studies to be undertaken by various groups both inside and outside the NFL to get a better perspective on what I’ll call the inside story. There has been a lot of publicity about the new rules of conduct he is proposing. Less has been said about the secret study of the attitude of players toward other teams in the league.

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Heaven’s Diminished Allure

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-close-up-mixed-breed-dog-14-years-old-image20377708As a former runner I’ve looked forward to getting past the Pearly Gates so that I could once again enjoy a long leisurely run through the countryside which here on earth I can no longer do because the parts of my body that are needed for such an endeavor no longer can take the constant stress. Just like I won’t take my old car on a long trip over the highway so I don’t take my old body over long distances. Well, to be truthful I’m unable to do any running now without ending up as temporary cripple so just the idea of being able to do it again without the pains, heaven is supposed to be without pain, makes me look forward to the bliss.

Then the authority on heaven tells me it’s not going to be a pleasurable as I had hoped. It seems now that dogs will be lurking in the lanes and hiding in the hedges of heaven ready to jump out at me like they have done here on earth disturbing my tranquility. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs but especially like them when they are on leashes not when they are charging at me seemingly hell-bent (I wonder if I can use that expression there) on taking a chunk out of my ankle, or if the dog is of a somewhat larger size, my thigh.

The only thing that lessens my concern a bit is that if dogs go to heaven then other dogs must go to hell. Maybe, just maybe, the thing that separates them is those that chase after runners will go down there. They would seem to be good companions for all the little devils who run that place. They could be sicced on people to further their torment.

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A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 5 of 7

ConfederacyKeep in mind Connolly was never convicted of taking any money nor was any other FBI agent. One agent, John Morris, admitted taking $7,000 from Whitey and $5,000 from another TEI. There were allegations that another agent nicknamed “Agent Orange” took $1000 and that others received expensive clocks or knick=knacks from Whitey according to Kevin Weeks but those allegations were met with denials. As it stands only one agent admitted taking money. And even if those others did, there was no evidence that they did anything in return for the gifts other than what they were obligated to do under the TEI program.

Having been in the business for many years as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer I suggest it is a stretch to say if a cop or agent receives a gift at Christmas from a gangster he is corrupt. I don’t condone such things because doing it leads to precisely the situation some law enforcement officers find themselves in where they feel an obligation to the giver. There’s lots of freebies that are given to cops such as passes to sporting events or late night meals or the proverbial apple from the fruit stand but to suggest that means widespread corruption and that it only happened in Boston is to ignore reality.

After Kelly said there was no doubt Whitey was an informant suggesting he was one as far back as in the Fifties when he was arrested for armed robbery (which under Kelly’s theory he talked to the FBI agents who arrested him would make him one but as I’ve suggested he did so because he was trying to get his girlfriend out of trouble) Carney struck back.

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Thinking of the Torture Report

FBI MaskTorture is evil. Whether it brings about the results that it intends is a matter of debate. I can only know how I would react to it. To stop it I’d tell anything that the interrogators wanted to hear even the truth. I’m no hero like John McCain who apparently was able to keep his head high while undergoing torture in North Vietnam prisons.

The Democratic majority and Republican minority differ over its effectiveness. We’ll truly never know whether it provided actionable intelligence but it would seem to me that it had to have produced some gems or at least hints of things that could be corroborative of other things learned.

Aside from whether it produces results, we still have a great disagreement over whether the measures used constituted torture or “highly enhanced interrogation techniques” or even whether those are synonymous. I like to look at it from an old perspective which dates to WWII. We accused our enemy Japan of torturing American soldiers who were held prisoners. One particular heinous act we were told was the Bataan death march; and there were others like the beatings and imprisonment in small cages. If we thought things like that were torture then I’d suggest they remain torture now.

The idea behind issuing the Torture Report by the Senate Democrats seems misplaced. One big reason is that it sets out instance after instance of horrible acts and then ends. It has no recommendations as to what should be done to see that those things don’t happen again. It has no suggestions of what we should have done differently as a nation that had just come under attack by Muslim terrorists.

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A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 4 of 7

ConfederacyYears later before a Congressional committee for some reason O’Sullivan did not want to admit that he gave them a pass at the request of the FBI. He had suffered several strokes and a heart attack prior to the hearing and was still not in the best of health. By that time it was well know they had engaged in many murders but back at the time Morris made that request it was not clear Whitey or Stevie were murderers. O’Sullivan passed off as his reason for not indicting them that he did not have corroborating evidence of their involvement in the race fixing. But it was shown by the Committee that he indicted another, Jimmy Sims another big shot in the gang, without that information. It was also shown that he did have corroboration.

I had to write about O’Sullivan to let you have an insight into Carney’s comments. Carney presses the case that because O’Sullivan took Whitey out of the indictment that proves the agreement between them. Carney wants to move from that to suggesting O’Sullivan must have told other attorneys in Boston DOJ office about that agreement and they have corruptly agreed not to ever reveal it. As a former prosecutor I suggest it is all nonsense.

To accept Carney’s position you have to believe O’Sullivan went to Bill Weld who was the U.S. attorney and told him, “Bill, I made a deal with Whitey. He’d protect me if I’d agree not to prosecute him for any crimes he was involved in.” Weld replied: “OK Jerry, I’ll tell all the lawyers on my staff to lay off Whitey.”  O’Sullivan then thanked him. As O’Sullivan was leaving Weld said: “Say, Jerry, does that include all his murders in the past and the future?”  O’Sullivan said it did. Weld said, “OK, I just want to be clear on it.” If it all sounds a little preposterous then you’re right on the ball.

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A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 3 of 7

ConfederacyThis has not been grasped by many and certainly not by the panelists. Each one spoke of corruption in the Boston office of the FBI but the TEI program did not exist in that office alone, it existed in every office in the country. Ignoring that they fell into the trap of believing what happened in Boston was unique to Boston. Without the TEI program there is no Whitey saga.

Attorney Carney not a stranger to hyperbole suggests that one proof of the corruption in the Department of Justice (DOJ) is that Whitey was the top gangster in Boston for 25 years and he never even got a parking ticket.  Those familiar with the matter know Whitey became an informant in 1975 but did not rise to the top of his group until about 1980. He was protected by John Connolly for a period of ten or eleven years until Connolly retired in 1990. He fled from the city in December 1994. The reason why Whitey was not prosecuted had nothing to do with the DOJ or O’Sullivan, (except in one instance by the latter before he had gained the leadership position). It was because he was in the TEI program that gave him protection from prosecution.

It is a simple matter. There was no corruption in the DOJ’s office in Boston or Washington.  Carney said there were only four reasons why Whitey was not prosecuted: the DOJ lawyers were incompetent; the DOJ lawyers were on the take; the DOJ lawyers were unaware of Whitey’s existence; or Whitey had an agreement with O’Sullivan he wouldn’t be prosecuted and the DOJ lawyers were honoring that agreement. He dismissed the first three as well he should but having done that he says all that is left is the last. But if the DOJ lawyers were competent, as Carney concedes, they surely would not have gone along with a top criminal being given carte blanche to commit crimes.

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The Torture Report, Agent Connolly, Courageous CIA, Cowardly FBI

(1) walking awayTorture became our policy. It was authorized from the highest levels of our Government. Members of our legal establishment justified it. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had no problem with it. A DOJ member John Durham would investigate the torture done by the CIA and others. He would find nothing that was done wrong to justify bringing criminal charges even though his investigation did not include interviewing any of the people who were tortured.

Wait a minute, John Durham, isn’t he the one who prosecuted John Connolly. Yes, it is the same man. So what’s going on you might ask?

The reason why you would ask that is obvious if you have been following my writings on the Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program set up by the FBI. John Connolly was prosecuted and demonized for things he did pursuant to the mandates of that program; the CIA agents who did much worse things were let go scot-free because they were acting pursuant to the mandates of their torture program. How can it be that the DOJ went after Connolly, the only agent ever prosecuted and convicted for having worked with TEI under that program, and let the CIA agents walk. You can’t say that one part of the DOJ didn’t know what the other part was doing for the same man was involved in both instances.

The Senate Report on the torture program has just come out but from the headlines it appears that our CIA were nothing more than a group of agents gone wild. It is clear many crimes were committed over many years which were sanctioned by the highest levels of our government. Yet nothing will be done about it.

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A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 2 of 7

ConfederacyI like to think of the FBI agent entering into this battle as a Marine sniper. In a foreign battlefield against an enemy of the United States he is given an assignment to take up his position and fire at those fighting against us on the other side. In doing that he may take down several people and among them some may not have been combatants but persons he mistook for that. Suppose from his distance of 500 yards he wrongfully kills a young pregnant mother. How would it be that years later after the war had been won for him to be brought back and prosecuted for killing that woman?

Had he been a civilian off on a frolic of his own then perhaps that would be justifiable. But as a person in combat acting under orders to prosecute him for doing his job would be outrageous. We would expect our government to protect that sniper and shut down any prosecution.

Now consider an FBI agent going into combat against the Mafia. He is told to line up informants who had access to the highest level of criminal activity by the Mafia. The FBI agent operating under that mandate goes about and accomplishes that. When it is discovered what he has done, the Government washed its hands of them. That’s part of the big picture ignored by everyone here. To its everlasting disgrace the FBI sent its agents into the field but then abandoned them. It did this because it knew that these agents were operating under the FBI TEI program which was corrupt. The FBI wanted to shield and hide that program. It pretended the agent was a rogue agent and let him be treated like a criminal.

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There Are Major Things Wrong With Our Criminal Justice System

justice weepsI was asked why the criminal justice system had not changed in any substantial way in 200 years. I answered that the problem with it is that all involved are government employees. I’m not one of those people who calls them hacks because many perform important services. But the government offers no incentive for people to do things differently. Change is perceived as something of a threat to the everyday usual which has made everyone comfortable.

Added to that is the pay check that comes in every agreed upon period whether you do your job or not and everyone in the same position gets the same pay. Good judges at the same level get the same pay as the bad judges; good probation officers get the same as the bad. The system is a great leveler.

As I young lawyer I clerked for a judge who told he how when he first started out he worked extra hard trying to get things done. After a while he said he felt like the sorcerer’s apprentice in Goethe’s poem watching the broom dump more and more work on his desk. He recognized whether he broke his back working or just put in a good day’s work it was all the same. As an individual he could make no difference. So when I met him he was doing enough to get along.

So while every other profession keeps up with the modern technology, the law limps along mired in the mud of the 19th Century.  As I’ve written the grand jury no longer meets the needs of today’s society nor do the manner in which crimes are handled. There are many too many crimes; we need another way to handle minor matters that are considered crimes. I’m reminded of that when I recall how my niece had two cops show up at her house with a warrant for her arrest because she didn’t answer a speeding citation. Or, just recently when we saw the NY city cops were wrestling the guy to the ground over him allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes and killing him.

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A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 1 of 7

ConfederacyJohn Kennedy Toole would have loved to have sat in the B.C law school audience at the recent gathering of the so-called experts’ panel consisting of those who were supposed to know about what Dave Boeri, one of the panelists, called the Whitey saga. He would have marveled at how these men knew so little about the subject in which they were supposed to know so much.

The panel consisted of good men all, from left to right, J.W. Carney, one of Boston’s most skilled defense attorney; Brian Kelly a federal prosecutor for a quarter century and the architect of the dismantling and prosecution of Whitey’s gang of bandits; Dave Boeri a reporter who has the best insight into the saga of all media denizens who did best not to get swallowed up by the many biases of most Boston reporters; Bob Bloom, a B.C. law professor who has a thorough well-grounded insight into criminal matters having even once done a little prosecution; and the director of the movie Whitey, Joe Berlinger, who dipped his foot into this area, empathized with the families of the victims, and tried to figure out what was happening which he is still trying to do. His fellow panelists blinded by biases did little to help him out. The moderator of the group was CNN big wig John King a product of the streets of Dorchester.

How then are these men who have achieved brilliance and fame in their professions when gathered together to speak about the Whitey saga rightly deemed dunces. It is because they avoided talking about the big picture that envelopes all of it. It is like telling the history of the universe without starting with the big bang. I’m not sure why they all avoid this. For some it seemed to run up against their main thesis, others perhaps just don’t understand its impact, or perhaps one or two have no knowledge of it. Whatever the reason the presentation did a disservice to those students, the aspiring lawyers, in their audience who sought to learn something about it.

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