Hobbs’ Friday Flash points: French leader may be cleared of New York Rape/America’s Government fetish/Minnesota’s Deficit MeltdownChuck Hobbs, Commentary
“There’s a lot of real G’s doing time, because a groupie bit the truth and told a lie.” The late rap artist Tupac Shakur on his classic hit “I Get Around”
One of the oldest axioms in the legal profession, one that borders on cliche, is the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.”
That is unless you are a high profile defendant subjected to intense media scrutiny like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French politician and potential presidential candidate who was charged in May with the rape of a 32-year old Guinean hotel maid in New York City.
Prosecutors have since uncovered a web of lies and distortions by the alleged victim that places them in the compromised position of having to consider dismissing felony charges.
Strauss-Kahn’s arrest was all too reminiscent of a modern reality, which is that the mere allegation of wrongdoing often leads the public to draw conclusions prior to knowing all of the facts.
Not to mention the seething outrage that certain cases, particularly rape, cause—whether it was Tawanna Brawley’s fake rape accusations in 1987 or Crystal Mangum, who falsely accused several Duke Lacrosse players of rape back in 2005.
During jury selection in a murder case I handled recently, I was confronted with this very issue as several potential jurors, having read newspaper account of my client’s alleged crime, concluded that my client “must be guilty” before they heard one word of testimony.
It is unimaginably worse when the case has international media coverage like Strauss-Khan’s, who now is charged with the task of putting his reputation—if not his life—back together if he is formally cleared of wrongdoing.
THE ROOTS OF BIG GOVERNMENT
*The first real federal income tax began in 1862 to help fund the Civil War. Income taxation as we know it did not become permanent until passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913. Question: If America thrived before the Income Tax Amendment, could America still thrive with either a flat tax or no income taxes at all—say a national sales tax on goods and services?
*Social Security, passed during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, was designed as a means to provide a form of government secured pension for elderly Americans. Medicare and Medicaid, passed during Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, were designed to offset the high costs of health care for seniors and the poor. Questions: What did the elderly do for pensions and retirement planning prior to Social Security? How were the elderly and the poor medically treated prior to the enactment of these social programs?
*Following huge mobilizations during the Civil War and World War I, the United States military scaled down significantly during the years of ensuing peace. After World War II this trend reversed, as defense spending eventually escalated to unprecedented levels to stave off the threat of the Soviet Union. Question: Since the Soviet Union has been defunct for almost two decades, and since the likelihood of massive land, air and sea battles lessen each year, why are we still spending exorbitant amounts of money on the defense department and in support of “nation building” military exercises?
A HOUSE DIVIDED FISCALLY CANNOT STAND
As Minnesota’s state government shuts down this week over deficit disagreements, and with President Obama scolding Congressional Republicans to lift the federal debt ceiling, the question that vexes me is this: why can’t our political leaders run government in the same way most responsible Americans run their households and small businesses?
When families can’t afford something, they don’t buy it. When businesses are not turning profits, they scale back on overhead.
Our leaders? Well it seems that both parties over the past 40 years have been guilty of expanding government while borrowing more in the present with hopes of figuring things out in the future. As Marvin Gaye once sang, it “makes me wanna holler” to see so many highly educated, highly intelligent leaders making basic, stupid mistakes with respect to fiscal responsibility.
Heaven/Sent-Hell Bound Awards week of July 1, 2011
Heaven Sent: My daughter, who turned 2 this week, who pretends to read the newspaper with me every morning—just as I did with my own father decades ago. And whose vocabulary increases by the day—the budding conservative in the making, while listening to a tape about the birth of Jesus and how Caesar (Augustus) “decreed that all the world is to be taxed” loudly declared “taxes, mommy, no!” Then again, one of her first words was “Obama”, so the jury is still out concerning her political future.
Hell Bound: Mark Halperin, the MSNBC correspondent who referred to President Obama as “kind of a “d”— slang for male private parts, when analyzing the president’s rebuke of Congress this week. A nationally renowned pundit, Halperin not only knew better, but for the life of me I can’t figure why he, like so many Americans, is having a hard time disagreeing on policy issues without being vulgar. Now Halperin is kind of out of a job. Good riddance…
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