Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanks, But I'll Take My Advice From The Womanizing Jackass With A Talk Show.*

On those rare occasions where I've gotten serious here, I've apologized in advance. Other people do a lot better job of it. They do research. They have credentials. They write better than I do. So usually, I've admiringly read someone else's well crafted rant and contented myself with a hearty, "What he said!"

This morning, I ran across two oddly contrasting bits of video and they've got me in something of a lather. First, from Deus Ex Malcontent, here's a bunch of people protesting Eric Holder's decision to hold Khalid Shaikh Mohamed's and five other accused terrorist's trials in Federal Court here in NYC. I'll cheerfully admit that I only watched about half of it. I have no intention of refuting each individual point (many of them pointless in themselves and others displaying jaw-dropping cluelessness about...well...everything). Go ahead and watch as much as you can stand. (Maybe a contest is in order? But I'm not sure if winning should be defined as turning it off the quickest or actually making it through the whole thing.)

A little while earlier, I was playing with Stumble and one of the random clicks brought me to this video. What you'll see here is David Letterman returning to the air on September 17th, 2001. Forgive him his few errors in facts; nobody knew the real numbers at the time. And there's no need to forgive him his praise of Rudy Giuliani -- it's what we all felt at the time and it's utterly accurate with regard to Giuliani's actions and statements in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

This is the little piece of advice I'd like to take from Letterman:

"There is only one requirement for any of us and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing."

At the risk of offending any of the 9/11 families (who are well-represented in the first video), and at the risk of offending Rudy Giuliani who was so impressive in September of 2001, but now seems to think that some illusive sense of safety trumps everything else, I'd like to say, "Man up, you pansy-ass twits!"

The crimes took place here. The victims of the crimes were here. The trials belong here.

Traditionally, jurisdictions fight tooth and nail against a change of venue. Because we want and deserve our pound of flesh. If you're concerned about being a target for further terrorism, I've got news for already are! If you're so scared, maybe you should consider living in Iowa...or Wyoming. (No slur on Iowa or Wyoming is intended, but face it, they're not terribly attractive high-impact targets, now are they.)

And I will respond to one of the idiots in the first video. I'm not going to search for the exact quote, but early on, there's a guy babbling about giving rights to people who aren't even citizens. OK, fine, the Declaration of Independence isn't part of the law of the land; it isn't codified like the Constitution is, but it is the document that announced why we intended to sever our ties with England and the impetus for everything that followed. The first sentence of the second paragraph is: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It makes reference to all men. It doesn't quibble about where you were born or where you live now; it makes a blanket statement about how we view the rights and station of all men. I'll acknowledge that we have no power to extend basic human rights to citizens of other countries (something we actually strive toward all the time - uh, China anyone?), but we do have the power to live up to our ideals here.

Don't you dare mistake any of what I'm saying as advocating going easy on any of these people. They murdered more than three-thousand people here in New York, and I'm confident they'll be convicted and receive an entirely appropriate sentence for it. And I don't give a rat's ass how their friends back home view us; I don't have any illusions that they'll say, "Oh, look how fair and impartial the Americans are. Maybe they're not so bad after all." But I do care about how we collectively view ourselves in the mirror.

Man up and pretend to be courageous. It's just as good as the real thing.

* In spite of the title of this post and Mr. Letterman's recent, uh...difficulties(?), I really do admire the guy quite a bit. I just couldn't resist.


Janiece said...


Bravo, my friend.

WendyB_09 said...

Here, here.

My solution has always been to take any terrorists that had even a miniscule part in 9/11, imprison them in a speeding plane, crash it into a 104-story building, set it on fire and let it collapse on them. But then we're fresh OUT of 104-story buildings, aren't we now?

On being courageous...
I've mentioned before I spent several summers working for a national concession company at a summer arena. The summer of 2001 was one of those summers.

There were no large public gatherings allowed in the country that week, and 2 weekend shows got canceled. Plus we already knew we'd lost a NYC co-worker in Tower 2.

Thursday night I got a call from my manager. Would I work Monday night's show if they could open, and I was told before I answered that saying no was ok. My anwser was a very loud HELL YES, I'm in!! As was everyone else, we were not letting those SOB's win.

The band? Aerosmith. They'd detoured to LA for an awards show and been stuck out there by the air travel ban. When called by their manager to see if they would do the Atlanta show, Steve Tyler said if we'd open the arena, they'd all drive their personal cars to be here. OK, we had a show.

So on Monday, 9/17/01, we had the rather dubious honor of being the first arena show allowed in the country after 9/11. And we were an outdoor venue to boot. Extra police, SWAT, riot squads, only air traffic that night were the police & military copters circling overhead.

Were we scared? Yes, shitless. Were we aware of the danger this enterprise posed to every one of us? Oh HELL yes. But the crowd was fabulous, more red, white & blue than at most country shows, and the ATMs were out of cash before the show began...huh? Everyone wanted to contribute to the firemen collecting for the FDNY families. Aerosmith's Star Spangled Banner brought the house down.

We were courageous. Nearly 20,000 of us. We were courageous. What a night.

So, try the accused terrorists in NYC? Hell YES.

BE courageous.

Excuse me now while I go get this dust out of my eyes.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

Compare the actions of Rudy that day and the next few to those of George and Dick.

I did not vote for him in 93 and by 97 I no longer lived in NYC, but would not have voted for him anyway. However if he could have run (turns out he could have) and I could have voted, I would have voted for him. Up against a wall of unknown he did the right thing.

My son was with him from early in the events for the rest of the day (his emergency job was a meaningless job at the Emergency Command Center (read Gopher)) until he was sent to help set up the emergency replacement for the Emergency Command Center and spoke highly of his actions and courage that morning. This includes being with him at the point they thought they were trapped in rubble.

I'm with Janiece.

Wendy, we could build a 104 story building before the trial is over. Only reason I don't think this should be handled by the NY Supreme court is NY has no death penalty if they are guilty.

However do remember that the only evidence we have really heard of is they wear beards, don't look clean and confessed under torture. I need something more than that.

Thanks to George and Dick any trial against these people will always be tainted.

Nathan said...


It's being tried in Federal Court, not State Court. The death penalty is definitely on the table. (I'm still ambivalent about the death penalty, but this is certainly a case where it would be an appropriate sentence.)

As imperfect as it may be, trying it in federal court puts it before a jury, not some unknown panel. I'd hope they'll consider the evidence and the way it was obtained. Hopefully, the prosecution has more than evidence tainted by its origins.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...


It was a multiple homicide taking place in Manhattan, two other multiple homicides took place elsewhere.

I am aware that Federal law trumps local, but I think these should be tried in local courts. The next New York (Manhattan) DA is not a known quantity, but the outgoing one was excellent. I'm not ambivaliant about the death penalty, in some cases it is appropriate but is not NY constitutional. I think the US Constitutional right to a jury trial in criminal cases is binding on the states as well, but in any case ciminal trials in NY have juries, unless the defendant waives the right.

The US is not at war, something it has not been for some time (exactly when the peace treaties in WWII were signed seems to be of some question, in the 50s I think). A military tribunal is not called for.

I don't think this is/was a rightwing conspirancy, but the constitutional safeguards this trial is going to throw out are frightening. Speedy trial, right to a lawyer, no torture, kidnapping from other countries and I'm certain there are more.

We basically agree, other than I would rather see it tried at a local level, where the crime took place, not at the Federal level, and again certainly not by a Military Tribunal.

Steve Buchheit said...

The whole right-wing, "Oh noes, but theys scary peoples" thing is wearing thin with me. No, they're no more than common thugs. Try them.

Quite frankly all those who are going on the line of "but we can't because they're scary and we're afraid of what they might say" are the ones giving comfort and aid to the enemy.

They aren't scary, they don't frighten me with their ideology (which won't be allowed in court anyway, it's not like we haven't had to duct tape defendant's mouths before), and I refuse to allow my country to be re-terrorized by people already in our custody.

For Brid-sake conservative blowhards, grow a pair.

Eric said...

Reading this again after my post earlier today and your comment: I should have pointed out in December that the stupid thing about the "rights to non-citizens" thing is that you don't even need to refer to the Declaration--the traditional interpretation of the Constitution is that the Framers used the word "citizen" when they meant "citizen" and "person" when they meant "person." And the big trial rights--like the Fifth and Sixth Amendment--refer to persons being tried and persons being entitled to Due Process.

And the funniest part of the above paragraph: it's not a liberal interpretation that extends these rights to persons regardless of citizenship, it's the conservative interpretation. It's the way Scalia (and to a lesser extent, Thomas) read the Constitution. It's strict constructionalism, which is what conservatives claim to love so much. (Believe it or not, the most criminal-defense-friendly SCOTUS opinions of the past two decades on issues like Search-And-Seizure and the Confrontation Clause didn't come from the criminal-coddling left side of the Court--they're all authored by Scalia, except for the ones that were, hold on to your pants, authored by Rehnquist when he was alive.)