Don't worry, you can trust me. I'm not like the others.

Banned In China

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Wish I Could Say I Was Surprised

I guess since I blog as a lawyer I really ought to make some comment on the Zimmerman trial.

First, I figured once the jury was chosen that was the end.  A jury of six all of whom were women, five of whom were white and one of whom was Hispanic were not going to find this guy guilty under almost any circumstances.

But let's cut through the B.S. anyway:

1.  The victim was unarmed.
2.  He was stalked by the defendant for a good while.
3.  He was shot dead by the defendant.

Everything. Else. Is. Flash.

I did not watch the trial, I did not really keep up on the trial mainly because if one isn't actually in the court room, or at least watching the entire thing on T.V. one really doesn't know what the dynamics of the trial are.

I once had an arson case that for some reason was front page news in the little paper in the berg one berg over.  The first days description of the trial was more or less close to what actually happened.  The second day's coverage was bizarre.  The second day was when I put on the defense case.  We won.  But if you read the second day's coverage you would think that the jury was either drunk, crazy, or I had paid them all off to get to a not guilty verdict.

So I will not watch a little of a trial or the evening wrap up (of course it is helped that we got rid of cable several years ago) because all that you see is what the reporters think is interesting and that may not at all be what the jury thinks is interesting.

The second case I am familiar with that applies is of a friend of mine (this was during my dirty hippy only phase well before the lawyer part kicked in) who was busted in the early to mid 70s for taking some serious drugs over the Ohio river.  Well it was a federal case.  The case went to trial and after all the evidence was in (and by the way he was guilty as sin, but none of us thought it should be a crime anyway, and all of us had warned him off dealing with the guy who set him up) the jury came back eleven to one for conviction.  Since in a criminal case the jury must be unanimous it was a mistrial.

He told me later that he had wondered whose "10 speed" bike was chained to a tree at the court house every day.  Well as he left the court on the final day he saw one of the jurors get on the bike and peddle away giving him the peace sign as he went.  That case was over the day that juror was chosen.  (They did try my friend again, but the next jury hung six to six and the feds just gave up after that.  The point is that they wouldn't have gotten to the six/six jury if there hadn't been the one juror on the bike at the first trial.)

I would say a couple of more things.  From the little I could see the prosecution's heart just wasn't in it.  Their main first witness, the couple of minutes of her I did see, was clearly not prepared at all.  For the prosecution in a high profile trial like to this to make that kind of mistake is unforgivable, if that is they want to win.

Another point, is that while I said those three points I mentioned earlier were all that was important everything else is flash, it is the defense attorney's job in this kind of case to throw out that kind of flash and to make the jury focus on the flash and to try to make them get blinded by the flash.

The guy killed an unarmed kid.  He went to where the kid was and he confronted him and shot him. That is the case.  This is not the kind of case where there is or could be another person out there who committed the crime it was just this guy and he did it.  So what you've got to do is attack the victim and create as much confusion about things as you possibly can.

One final thing.  I've heard people say that there was only the defendant's evidence about what happened that night so the jury couldn't convict.  Bullshit.  A good prosecutor (or one who wanted to win) would put on their evidence and walk the jury through what they thought really happened.  Then they would point out that there is no reason to believe the statements of the defendant's family all of whom want to get the defendant off.  Believe the circumstantial evidence which really can't lie.  A defendant who was armed, who stalked a 17 year old kid, and who shot him dead.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I made the mistake of going on a Tbogg thread about Snowden/Greenwald/etc.

Started when Tbogg pointed to some nasty comments on Twitter by Greenwald about and with Daniel Sewer who said nasty things about Snowden.

The comments are nearing 600 at this point and I should probably have stayed away, but every time I try to get away they pull me back in.  No it is just my own belief that I must be right and just one more comment or post will convince them.  Bawahahaha.

So I (well OK, it isn't only about me, there are many others in the thread that take more or less my position) am accused of being a purity troll and of defending a guy who is only a thief after all and violated his oath to prevent Americans from knowing what their government does I guess.  (Although to be honest, I really should have looked up the legal definition of embezzlement before that one comment.  But then I really can't spell it either, so there.)

The comments section and Tbogg was definitely part of this at first; then he just quit, although his point was, I think, that these people (Snowden/Greenwald) are dicks and everyone already knew everything anyway.  Although last I looked in the thread had deteriorated to discussing the oath one took. ( If I may Godwin, was the oath taken by the German army to Hitler worth upholding or was there a problem with it?  By the way I think Godwin is generally bullshit.)  There were others accusing Snowden of stealing stuff, which I guess is one definition of what he did and embezzling the stuff, which it turns out may be another. (That's where I got into my problem, by saying that embezzlement only involved money, which a moment's thought would have corrected.  But then when does [this] one put a moment's thought into an argument?)

Another point was that those who are supporting Snowden are just "purity trolls."  I'm not sure how this actually got going, it may be that we want Obama to do something that he has clearly shown he won't do and we are just demanding a perfection that isn't reasonable.  As I said I will match my willingness for most of my adult life to vote for what I knew was the lesser of two evils, with anybody's.  Hell I voted for Humphrey in '68 and for Carter twice.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Odds and Ends

Good god I don't know what it is about this blog, but it makes my Asus go crazy.  I can't even read my own blog on my own home computer.Although perhaps getting a computer run with Windows XP replacing it with Linux and then replacing that again with Windows 7 may have made it a bit schizophrenic.  So I'm writing this on the Galaxy that I just got along with the keyboard connected by Bluetooth.

Interesting interesting.  Soon I'll be like my grandparents talking about the flivvers I had as a youth and how these new finagled gadgets are the ruination of us all.

I keep the Asus because I put all the office stuff that I need, if I am going to work at home, on it.  And to be honest all of that stuff it does fine.  My problem is that I cannot "just" work, I also have to goof off and surf the web.  I'm not sure how I was able to work on a line or roofing because you can't really goof off on those jobs,  although you can smoke weed like an insane person (or at least you could).  You can definitely goof off working on the railroad and in the Air Force though (and smoke weed like and insane person, or at least you could).

So anyway I'm ADD or bi-polar or something, or not.  I mean I should be right, all my clients are.  I just like to put my feet up and day dream some times.

I've been thinking of Greenwald and Snowden and watching the kind of left wingers, like Tbogg and Lawyers Guns and Money point out that we all knew it any way a long time ago.  It really isn't that big a deal.  Snowden and Greenwald are drama queens.  And whatever.  The guy I'm most disappointed  in however is David Erheinstien.  There is always apparently a good reason for what Obama did.  Although, it does appear as though what he has been doing recently is just attacking the messenger.

The thing about Snowden's revelations are that they do appear to have freaked out the establishement and caused people to talk and to be for at least a little bit concerned, but I doubt it will last.

And I suspect we will be right back here:

Oh wait we already are.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Aw Fuck

Mr. Snowden has disappeared.  Even though nothing he has released is new and nothing is anything other then we really "knew" if we thought about it it.  Still the Powers That Be are bent out of shape and people are talking about “rights”. And as far as I’m concerned that is a good thing.

Manning was a traitor and besides what he revealed wasn’t important, we all knew it any way. Snowdon is a traitor and besides what he revealed isn't important and we all knew it any way.

So perhaps this can be a teaching and learning experience? Except of course for those who know that whatever happens while Obama is president is just well, you know swell. Add them to those who will use it until their guy is in power and you have a word I hate, but seems to be as accurate as any I’ve seen: tribalism.

There is no possibility that these people will collect it all and than if you get important enough and big enough will locate it and let you know that if you push against the neo-con agenda too much; it will all be released. Nope no problem there. No worries at all.
By the way how long should a violation of my rights continue before I should just say: “Oh well, its been there for many a year, so I guess its no problem at all any more.”

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Same As It Ever Was

I don't know about this political stuff any more.  It does seem like the people who are getting all the power may be just a bit, how shall we say, fascist oligarchs (or is that redundant?). In my defense I think that fascist is a broad enough term to encompass Dear Leader's policies (absent the night of the long knives, of course), if I may bow to the definition by one of the original fascists:  "You should call us corporatists, that is really what we are."  B. M.  As far as an oligarch, I point to the delightful Bill and Hill and their spawn who started her climb up the corporate ladder with a mere six figure annual income in her first job.

The scoops that Greenwald has engineered this last week are something that if one bothered to think about it at all one probably assumed that the government was doing without the explicit confirmation that is now out there.  But of course most people do not bother to think about it.  And apparently the Powers That Be are sufficiently upset that they are prepared to do something to he who leaked and he who published the leak.

Strange, why should they care.  People will forget or stop caring in a week or two, if they leave it alone.  Greenwald will be criticized for being too pure and too verbose.  Actually, the verbose complaint is kind of weird really.  I mean complaining that a guy writes too many words for you to read, is well kind of like admitting that the guy is too smart for you to understand.  Or maybe that reading isn't really something you do all that well, which since the people I've seen complaining about it are bloggers says something about the bloggers.

So the sophisticated among us are saying to those of us who are pissed, well you should have known why are you so surprised and so upset?  Kind of like the way they treated people who got angry with Obama for being a right wing ass hole.  "Well you knew it when you voted for him so what are you complaining about now?"  The usual suspects rush out to belittle those of us who are a tad concerned (and to be honest, who try to use these scoops as a teaching and organizing tool).  Fuck them.

I've been kind of down and sometimes I wonder if those who are depressed aren't the ones who really know the score, to coin a phrase.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Summer Vacation

Its been an interesting few months.  My wife has convinced me to try a coursera course.  My little bit to crash the traditional academic community, I guess.  My family are leaders in this sort of thing.  I remember my mother bringing home a couple of small tin toys when I was small and saying look at this isn't this exciting.  What was exciting was that they were marked "Made in Japan."  That very far away exotic land that at that had just recently been at war with us.  And we were now buying their toys (made out of recycled American beer cans by the way, on the inside was the beer logo unpainted over).  The next thing I know I'm driving a Honda and Detroit has closed.

A more interesting last couple of weeks.  Our youngest dog got sick and the second time we took him into the vets we were told that he had parvo.  We rushed him to OSU vet clinic (the same place we'd had our chow last year).  When we got there we were told not to take him out of the car and someone came out in a disposable hazmat suit and carried him into an isolation room.  We got him back the next day (they couldn't control him, or apparently keep him confined), but he was rehidrated and the virus was slowly going away.  A near thing.

In the meantime we took the other dogs in for a booster, but were told to keep them in the car they didn't want them in the vets for at least a couple of weeks.  So the vet came out and gave them their shots in the car.

The vaccine company will pay for the treatment.  A very dangerous disease which was only identified in 1978.  Only attacks puppies and mostly bully breads and rottweilers and dobermans.  However, our yard can stay viral [?] for up to a year and the dog will be contagious for at least two to three months.

The next weekend went well and I went into the office this last Monday.  Had a hearing across the street and came back to the office.  As I was coming back to the office I saw the guy I've been sharing the office with for nearly twenty years walking out the door.  I didn't say anything (we'd said hi to each other when I came in before my first hearing) and I figured he hadn't seen me.  However, the door was unlocked so I figured he had seen me, but hadn't wanted to talk.  I picked up my files for my next hearing and ran back out and across the street again.  It was a short hearing and I was back in the office in about fifteen minutes.

A couple of minutes after that my former secretary came in and said "Have you heard about Charlie?"  I said "No, whats he done now?"  "He's jumped off the bridge on 209."

I couldn't believe it and I walked out the door.  You could see the police cars from my front door, the bridge is only about a quarter to a half mile from the front door and in easy line of sight.  It had probably taken him less than five minutes to walk from where I saw him to where he jumped.

As I said later it was a shock, but not a surprise.  He's been seriously depressed for some time.  He has been trying to deal severe mental health issues for decades.  I do not remember when he first had a major psychotic break down that required his hospitalization, but it could easily have been nearly twenty years ago.   His most spectacular breakdown occurred on a Good Friday when he smashed through the glass door in the office and ran out screaming that he was Jesus Christ.  That was over ten years ago and he came back from that, but thinking back probably not completely.

He still did good legal work at times, but at other times he would just become overwhelmed.  He had apparently come to the conclusion that that he was a bad person (his words) even though he was a stand up guy and a very good family man.  I don't believe that he had ever consciously done a significantly evil or illegal act.

He had tried to kill himself a little more than a year ago by over dosing and had been rescued and brought back, but he was barely functional (as I now know when I look back) until he killed himself.

I don't know the name of his disease, but he clearly had psychotic episodes and was certainly very depressed and paranoid (he might have been bi-polar, but I don't remember him ever having the "highs" they speak about).  He had been convinced to apply to Social Security to attempt to get disability and had in fact been to the Social Security office that very morning, but he was convinced that he would not get it.  Once again he thought he didn't deserve it, he wasn't worthy.

Its a small town and the legal community is even smaller.  It has affected us all:  "If I had been kinder, more understanding, more sympathetic.  If I had stopped and talked to him that morning, or the day before, or the day before that.  If I had cared more. If I had done something else or more than I did.  If I had only been more observant.  If I had done something."

I am getting a great deal of sympathy and it embarrasses me.  He had a wife and three children, they deserve people's sympathy.  I cannot imagine right now what they are going through.  I was kind of on the periphery of his personal life and he on mine, my personal life was totally different and than his.  His was responsibilities and family, mine was drugs and parties and a single life until recently.

The problem with the disease he had was that it was one where the victim is made unlikable and irritating by the very thing that is killing him.  It was all I could do to come into the office some days and to be civil to him.  He chased away the last three secretaries we had by his unreasonable demands and his insistence on blaming them for all of his mistakes.  When I said no more secretaries did that eventually put him over the edge?   Who knows.

One of course looks back and remembers ones little cruelties (oft times unintentional other times not).  "Straighten up, get a grip, stop acting like a spoiled child."  One tends to forget that he was in fact more than irritating and difficult and now that he is dead remembers only that he was in pain.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Perhaps I should have been paying more attention to Mr. Vonnegut's instructions then I have been.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Full Press Godwin

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials.  

Who would have thought that this would be the political theorist most listened to by our rulers.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Now this is a blast from my past.  I remember being upstairs in a bedroom my uncle's and listening to this over and over (and over and over).  I suspect that the old place was so well built and insulated that they really couldn't hear the record down stairs.  There is also the fact that it was a farm and most everybody else was probably out working while I was inside goofing off.

I'd have probably been six, seven, or eight at the time and in that time and place the adults were out working and  the kids, even at those ages, were left on their own.  The only basic rule was that we not burn down the farm or cut off a major body part while the adults were out working.

Otherwise, we were pretty much on our own.  They did expect to see us during meals, and I would guess if one of us hadn't shown up they'd have begun to wonder.  But I suspect that we would have had to miss more than one for them to start worrying.  Closer to Huck then I could imagine when I was growing up.  I do feel sorry for kids now a days.