My government and me

My government tried to destroy me, and they almost did. You’re having lunch with a friend, a former law partner, and he is recording your conversation and you don’t have a clue what’s going on. Days before, he calls my landline and I wasn’t home but my 13-year-old son Robert answers and he tells Robert to have me call him. I thought about that a lot after the sting was revealed. He talked to my son whom he knew, knowing that if the sting succeeded my son’s life, and my two other children’s lives would be adversely affected. How can someone do that without feeling you are not only destroying the target’s life, you are also destroying his children’s lives. But he didn’t care. He was trapped; cooperate or go to jail. The strange thing is, I got the feeling he enjoyed his new job. He had to do what they told him. He wanted to succeed so he could justify his actions. That’s what happens when you are an informant, the government makes you believe you need to redeem yourself from the corrupt life you have been leading. At trial, he admitted he was a degenerate gambler but found God and his brother who is a priest helped him mend his errant ways. We had witnesses, racetrack tellers ready to testify they sold him tickets the same day he said he found redemption but F.B.I agents showed up at their homes and intimidated them from testifying, and then the lying? At the first meeting in the restaurant, he said he had a client and he wanted to do something in Springfield, Illinois, the site of the state capital and I was a State Senator at the time, but he wasn’t sure what it was. He wanted me to be co-counsel, and he said he got a $10,000 retainer and he would split it with me. At this meeting, he didn’t give me any money. At trial, he testified the language about being co-counsel and the offer of money was code for a bribe. We objected and the judge ruled it inadmissible but the damage was done, the jury already heard it. We moved for a mistrial but the judge denied our motion. There were two schemes he was totting: one involved selling baggage claim insurance, the other was to talk to a judge I knew he represented a client in front of. The government indicted me on the first and introduced evidence on the second to prove my criminal intent. I was convicted and sentenced to three years in federal prison. While serving my sentence and just about to get out the government indicted me again. This time it was on the evidence they used to prove my criminal intent, the second scheme. A pound of flesh wasn’t enough; they wanted the whole body. I still remember my wife coming to the prison camp and telling me the government indicted me again. My lawyers asked permission for me to fly back to face the charges in Chicago on a commercial jet, but the government denied the request. My hands and legs shackled I was shipped out on a government plane to a prison in Oklahoma called El Reno. I remember sleeping on the floor because there weren’t enough beds. Eventually, I got back to Chicago to stand trial. The government wanted to make a deal: if I didn’t appeal my sentence, they would allow me to plead guilty and let the judge decide the new sentence. I agreed, they told the judge I should serve another 36 months because I was a really bad person. The judge questioned why I was indicted a second time since they already used the evidence in the first trial. She sentenced me to 6 months. The federal persecutors were so pissed they slammed the doors on the way out of the courtroom. At that moment I felt we beat the bastards. Their attempt to destroy me failed; an additional 6 months was no big deal. We beat the bastards. I served the additional 6 months at the federal corrections center (FCC) in Chicago and was released on June 24, 1995. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. I spent most of my sentence at a federal prison camp in Florida. The funny thing about serving time in a federal prison camp is, there are no walls, just a yellow line. Inmates would leave the camp all the time, mostly at Christmas, they get lonely for their families. Federal Marshalls would pick them up at home and bring them back to the camp. I realized the real reason to incarcerate nonviolent criminals wasn’t punishment but to employ people from the adjacent town where the prison camp is located. The town next to the camp was called Niceville, and half the town’s population worked at the prison camp. Their congressman would visit the camp now and then and assure the authorities that their appropriation was secure. The argument for eliminating these types of prisons goes: When you sentence a nonviolent criminal to prison you disrupt the family causing irreparable harm to the family unit. Why not put the criminal on house arrest and let him work to support his family? The argument against goes: society needs to set an example so it has a deterrent effect on other people. The other reason not talked about is the economic one. It’s good for the community, it employs people. What this argument doesn’t take into consideration is the deleterious effect these prisons camps have on the federal budget. It cost a lot to house and feed a federal prisoner.All that money is saved if he or she is on house arrest.  I lost my law license, therefore my ability to make a living. I had three children who were adversely affected. I spent three years in federal prison. No person was injured by my conduct. I didn’t cheat anyone out of their money.  I didn’t physically harm anyone. This was a government sting operation. The funny part is, the informant was supposed to give me five thousand dollars, half the retainer he got from the client, but he kept twenty-five hundred for himself. One of the charges in the indictment said I didn’t pay income tax on five thousand dollars. I had to pay the I.R.S taxes and penalties on five thousand dollars even though he only gave me twenty-five hundred. I think at trial the government realized he kept the money for himself when we pointed out the inconsistency on the tape where he was supposed to give me the money. On the tape, he says, “I have another twenty-five hundred for you”, but he never pulled it out of his pocket. I guess that’s the funny part. The sad part is the informant never went to jail. They put him in the witness protection program never to be heard from again. But he did write a book, and he did do TV interviews, and he was a featured player in a National Geographic docudrama about the Chicago crime syndicate but he never went to jail. My defense team subpoenaed his income tax records. He didn’t pay income taxes for five years before becoming an informant. Can you imagine what would happen to you or me if we didn’t pay income taxes for five consecutive years? We’ll be in jail before the sun went down. “Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.”[i] End of story.

[i] [i] https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/889.Phaedrus (c. 15 BC – c. 50 AD), Roman fabulist

 

Republican Defense

The President can do whatever he wants under Article 2 of the United States Constitution. He can’t be impeached for ‘abuse of power’. No matter how grievous his actions as long as 1% of his motives are in the public interest, he can’t be impeached. If we call witnesses the trial will take too long. It is not necessary to know all the facts before we decide to find the President not guilty of an impeachable offense. The House of Representatives is acting like it is above the law by bringing Articles of Impeachment.
The Truth
Republicans are cowards. So who is a coward? A coward is a person who refuses to accept reality. And what reality are the Republicans refusing to accept? That Donald J.Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses. The only question remaining is: do we live in a Republic or a Dictatorship?

Jonathan Turley, what have you done?

On the opinion page of the Washington Post, January 6, 2020, Jonathan Turley wrote a piece about the pending impeachment trial. Turley said that Minority Leader Chuck Schumer should think twice about calling for witnesses because “Hunter Biden could be a disaster” and “If the Biden contract was an ongoing corrupt effort to secure influence and money from the United States, Trump’s reference to it in a discussion of corruption has a possible public purpose.”
But Jonathan Turley ignores the other thing president Trump wanted Zelensky to investigate, Cloud-Strike, a debunked conspirator theory with no basis in reality. A theory with no basis in reality, in other words, there is no empirical evidence such a thing exists. So Mr. Turley, where is the possible public purpose in asking Zelensky to investigate Cloud-Strike? If that’s all President Trump did, one could say he’s eccentric, but 90 minutes after the conversation with Zelensky he ordered the funds legally appropriated by Congress to Ukraine to be frozen. That’s the point when the abuse of power began. In my view, I would like all the witnesses to testify including Hunter Biden so we can know the truth. And if all the witnesses testify I think it will be a disaster for Trump, not Biden.

Impeachment

President Trump on July 25, 2019, telephoned President Zelensky of Ukraine and asked him to investigate Joe Biden, Trump’s political opponent, and Cloud-Strike a theory about a Democratic Party server hacked by the Russians in 2016 being located somewhere in Ukraine. Newly revealed emails reveal that ninety minutes after the call ended Trump started the process to withhold foreign aid funds to Ukraine previously appropriated by Congress. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on December 18, 2019, voted to impeach the President of the United States for abuse of his presidential powers. The Republican-controlled Senate will conduct a trial based on the record sent over from the House but will not subpoena new witnesses with knowledge of the events. That’s how the American political system works. This is a political trial. There are no rules of evidence that dictate procedures like in a regular trial. A simple majority of Senators can do whatever they want and the Republican-controlled Senate will conduct what amounts to a “sham trial” and find the president not guilty. That’s simple logic. That’s how the system works. No matter how hard the democrats try to change the outcome it will not happen. Republicans don’t want additional witnesses to testify because they know their testimony will be damaging to Trump. And the assertion that Trump wants VP Biden and his son Hunter to testify is a ruse ─ a trick intended to deceive someone. If Biden and his son testify then the president’s men would also have too and their testimony would more likely than not implicate Trump in a corrupt scheme and prove he abused his presidential powers. The president and the Republican-controlled Senate don’t want to know the truth because they know the truth will hurt trump; anyone with common sense knows that. President Trump will be found not guilty by the Senate but he will not be exonerated. To exonerate is to clear of blame or fault, a “sham trial” for appearance sake only will not exonerate the president.
Nixon, who appeared “tense” to a New York Times reporter, was questioned about his role in the Watergate burglary scandal and efforts to cover up the fact that members of his re-election committee had funded the break-in. Nixon replied, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook….”
The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump will be found not guilty by the Senate but the American people will not know if their president is a crook.

You choose to elect an amateur

You choose to elect an amateur president of the United States; a self-proclaimed genius, who knew more about foreign affairs than all the generals in the world; maybe except for Julius Caesar. For a while, it seemed to work out, a simplistic view of history that only a genius could figure out. After all, part of being a genius is showing people how simple it all is. And then on October 6, the genius tells Erdogan, the strong-arm man of Turkey, it’s ok to invade Syria to destroy the Kurds, our ally and we, the Americans won’t interfere. Then all hell breaks loose and the genius tries to walk it back but the reality speaks for itself. Then on October 17, Mick Mulvaney his chief of staff gives a press conference without getting input from White House lawyers as to what he should or should not say: And inevitably when a guilty party tries to exonerate himself in public he always says something that makes him look guilty. Any good criminal lawyer worth his salt knows that. So Mulvaney without realizing it admits that foreign aid to Ukraine was withheld in exchange for a quid pro quo. “The corruption related to the DNC server, that’s it, that’s why we held up the money,” he said. Those of you who voted for Trump know one thing: you voted for an amateur to run the country. But as long as the stock market is up and the economy is good, you’re willing to overlook his deficiencies even though he is wreaking havoc in the Mideast, abandoning our allies, and committing impeachable offenses.

Trump has a new slogan
The old slogan is done
‘Make America Great Again’! Is reality
‘America is Great Again’!
So logically if something is great you want to ‘keep’ it that way
So the genesis of the new slogan: ‘Keep America Great’!
This all happened in a couple of weeks
We went from ‘Make America great again’! To ‘Keep America Great’!
You might have missed it if you didn’t pay attention
All the infrastructure, global warming, 2 jobs to make ends meet, mass murders, healthcare, institutional racism, abortion, fighting foreign wars, immigration, the national debt, all solved
Now, all we got to do is ‘Keep America Great’!
And that should be easy because ‘America is Great Again’!
They missed that one
They went from ‘Make America Great Again’! To ‘Keep America Great’!
But they, and when I say they I mean the geniuses that run the Trump Campaign
Missed the slogan in between: ‘America is Great Again’!
You can’t go from ‘make’ to ‘keep’ and not ‘is’
Logic won’t have it

Rooting for a recession

I know sounds strange. Why would anyone with common sense root for a recession? Doesn’t make sense; a recession hurts my pocketbook; less money to spend; more debt to pay. But some intellectuals on the left like Bill Maher are rooting for a recession because they believe that’s the only way to beat Donald Trump. A recession is on the minds of a lot of people these days. Personalities at some of the mainstream news outlets, i.e. CNN & MSNBC talk about it endlessly. This isn’t simply a fantasy on their part. Donald Trump is worried too. Some economic indicators are pointing that way. Of course, it’s one thing to envision the possibility of a recession and another to actually root for one. Some families are struggling as it is even in a good economy; it’s those families that will get hit the hardest in a recession. Is beating Donald Trump a ‘greater good’ then the economic welfare of the American people? My emotional reaction is no! It’s not worth it and rooting for a recession is going to hurt a lot of people. If a recession is the only way to beat him, then let him win. If a recession does come, he will own it. He started a trade war with China and now he can’t figure out how to extricate himself without looking like an idiot. My father who was the smartest man I knew used to say, “Just do the best you can and use your common sense.” Trump doesn’t believe in common sense. He believes by forcing people and countries to accept what he wants because the US is the most powerful and important country in the world he can change things for his purposes. It brings to mind the time at a 2017 NATO meeting in Brussels Trump pushed aside Dusko Markovic the prime minister of Montenegro to get to the head of the line for a photo op; like saying ‘move over I am the top dog.’ That kind of arrogance will eventually be the Achilles Heel that takes him down. The only question is: will he take us down with him?

Thinking Americans?

So the idea was and still is: we will elect a businessman president instead of the same old political type like Hillary Clinton and he will straighten out our finances and make America great again. Yes, that was the idea. So the American people elected Donald Trump president of the United States. So, what did he do? The businessman president gave the American people and corporations a huge tax cut-December 17, 2017; and that did stimulate the economy, creating low unemployment and gains in the stock market. The other things he did, mostly negative, I’m not even going to talk about. So what happened to the national debt as these huge tax cuts took effect? Well, the treasury got less money and the national debt increased by 2 trillion dollars since this president took office. And yesterday, July 2, 2019, the administration and Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling. Whoopee!! So let me ask you: How smart a businessman do you have to be to do what this president has done?

Came home from Rome Quintessential

Don’t kowtow to a person
Bow to a King
Be a yes man in another man’s dream
Part of me wants the other part to knell
Authoritarian, another word for Dictator
Happens in the blink of an eye
One day you’re free, next day you die
My grandfather came here with ten dollars in his pocket
The American Dream turned inside out
“Tear down this wall”, or build one to keep people out
You can’t prove God doesn’t exist
Walkin’ the river
Maidens and their dogs
Water taxi goin’ up and down
Homeless occupyin’ benches to keep their cool
Jasmin trees in full bloom
Came home from Rome fellin’ kinda’ empty
Like I left somethin’ behind

Dr. Ford

Dr. Ford, what’s goin’ on?
The ship is about to leave the ground
You told a story when you were young
Made you feel all alone
Some think you are insane
Dr. Ford, the ship is about to leave
Please board, it’s time to go
Someone is mocking your memory
The sky is about to fall
The sun and moon are moving slow
Dr. Ford, you need to go
Dr. Ford, the world is mean
You need to go to keep your dreams
The moon and sun are moving slow
Dr. Ford, it’s time to go
You did your duty as you saw fit
Please board Dr. Ford
It’s time to go