What's All This Then?

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Maybe this will be my last word on the Michael Jackson trial and maybe not. It seems that Nancy Grace has plenty of company in believing that his "celebrity" was the reason for his acquittal. I can’t imagine a bigger insult to the twelve people on his jury. I don’t necessarily buy the idea that the jury system is the best possible system - that twelve ordinary folk listening to all of the evidence and discussing it among themselves until they all agree are going to get it right every time. But it’s the system that we have - and if we don’t have enough faith in it, or if we have only selective faith, we’re no better off than totalitarian regimes where justice is administered by whim.

It’s true that people with deep pockets have a better chance of being acquitted when charged with a criminal offense than someone with limited resources. That was evident in the Jackson trial when investigators hired by his lawyers were able to dredge up the unsavory history of the accuser’s mother. But Martha Stewart had deep pockets that didn’t help her because her financial resources couldn’t alter the facts in her case and there was no dirt to dig up on people testifying for the prosecution.

The people who so casually assert that of course Jackson got off because he’s a celebrity, seem to be hung up on the stories of his weirdness and in particular on his admitted nutty preference to hang out with kids rather than adults - and his even nuttier idea that it’s perfectly O.K. to let young boys hop into his bed or for him to hop into theirs!! The implication is that the guy’s a raging pedophile and that he induces parents of young boys to whom he’s attracted to become pimps and deliver their offspring to his homosexual desires in return for a few pecuniary goodies.

If that is true, then Jackson is the world’s first self proclaimed celebrity pedophile, advertising and practicing his pedophelia in public and praising it as a loving and desirable way of life. Which of course is nuts.

Those of us who are not personally acquainted with Michael Jackson - who have not spent blocks of time staying at his Neverland Ranch or traveling with him on tour, don’t know the man or what really goes on in his life. We get a tabloid view of him which is probably about as real as the Maltese Falcon. And talking head psychiatrists and psychologists who make solemn pronouncements on television programs about who he is and what he does - and why - based on their observation of the same tabloid images available to the rest of us, need to go back and take some refresher courses at the Bill Frist School of Instant Medical Diagnosis via Video Viewing.

Nor do we know or can we assume that any of the offenses alleged in his case were true or had any merit whatsoever. I don’t know whether or not Tom Sneddon was out to "get" Jackson. Interviewed by Larry King last night, Jackson’s attorney Tom Mesereau didn’t rule out the possibility of filing a malicious prosecution case against Sneddon and the DA’s Office of Santa Barbara. That’s how strongly he feels that there was no merit to the case to begin with. That it was only filed because Sneddon thought he could use it to bring Jackson down.

It does happen folks, Despite everything we think we know about Michael Jackson - and that includes me - and despite all of the allegations in the lengthy indictment and witnesses who "testified" that crimes were committed by Michael, it is possible that none of it was true and that the case had no merit.

That may sound like a way out thing to suggest and something that I probably would never think of suggesting, had not something of this nature - as regular readers of this blog nay recall - happened to me many years ago. I mentioned it in December 2003 while writing about the indictment of Illinois ex- Governor George Ryan. As with the Ryan case and the Jackson case, there were pages of allegations against me that sounded ominous. There were "witnesses" ready to testify. If you read about it in your newspaper, it sounded like the Feds had caught a crook. But it was all smoke and mirrors. Not one scintilla of truth in any of the allegations. It was a trumped up bunch of garbage. But though the case never made it to trial, it cost me a piece of my life that I’ve never been able to get back.

I have a feeling that we haven’t heard the last word about the Jackson trial or about what goes on inside the world of the pop music icon - whether there’s anything illegal going on or just plain wackiness. Michael probably wouldn’t want to go through another trial within a trial, which would probably be what would happen if he agrees with Mesereau and decides to file a malicious prosecution case. But it would be worth it to let people get an unshielded look at the power of their government to inflict great harm on citizens who, for whatever reason, they wish to destroy. And I guarantee you - that would be one eye opener.

NOT the last word on Howard Dean - but a word nonetheless on how silly the flap over his loose lips has become.

Can anyone remember the last time a chairman of either the Democratic or Republican party had a substantial influence on the outcome of a national election because of what he or she said in a couple of speeches? Can anyone remember when the press considered the content of speeches by national party chairpersons front page news?

Maybe the three "P’s" - the press, some politicians and way too many pundits - are having fun playing "Denouncing Dean" - but when the dust settles, will it have had any influence on how anyone votes in the next election? When you consider the candidates vying to be your next Congressman or Senator, will anything Dean said influence your choice? Or anything Ken Mehlman said? I can’t imagine any way that it would.

So while I may from time to time join with others in reacting to a current "Deanism" - I’d have fun analyzing the symbolism of "Most Republican Mudders Wear Army Boots" - I’ll do it because it’s an amusing distraction, not because it has any real place in the discussion of important national and international issues. Any more than are the nutty things that Republicans say from time to time

But if it turns out that anyone is influenced to change their political bias because of anything they heard Governor Dean say, I’d be first in line to advocate enacting IQ test legislation, requiring all citizens to prove their sanity before being allowed to vote.