France and The Huffington Post are quite unhappy that Switzerland has arrested Roman Polanski and will likely extradite him to the United State to face sentencing for the 1977 rape he pled guilty to. Theangryreaction is a virtual caricature of everything I can’t stand about the snobbish left. Let’s give Dick Cheney a show trial—but Roman the Rapist? He’s an artist. He must be misunderstood. Get real. No matter how artsy or edgy or misunderstood you are, rape is rape.
The facts are pretty simple. Roman Polanski drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13-year-old girl. He pled guilty to the rape portion but fled the country before sentencing. And this isn’t one of those Michael Jackson we-suspect-wandering-hands-even-though-the-jury-acquitted cases. Polanski was actually convicted of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor”.
But … we like Polanski’s films! He’s a great director. He had a hard life. (This is true.) But most people who end up in prison have had rough lives and have people who love them. So did many of their victims. I’m not generally a law-and-order guy—but the law needs to be applied to rich expatriate criminals (and “patriotic” CIA criminals) in the same way it is applied to impoverished, domestic criminals. The empathy and understanding so many HuffPo bloggers are able to extend to the sufficiently artistic and European Polanski should go to everybody convicted of a crime. Nobody gets special treatment because they have the resources and the connections to flee the country.
Jay-Z has gone from rapper to mogul, and he shares some of the books that helped him along the way with O magazine:
The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav: “There are two books that I absolutely live my life by. This is one of them. I believe in karma and doing the right thing even if it may not advance you as far as you want.”
The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield: “This is the other book I live by. The story is a metaphor for life: I could go left or right, I could be stuck, or I could keep advancing.”
The Odyssey, by Homer: “I got lost in reading about Odysseus’ struggle to get home and his longing for someone so strong, as his wife was, waiting for him. That’s like a dream—that kind of strength, love, loyalty.”
Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell: “This book is about the principles of timing and repetition—about preparing yourself for luck, really.”
Purple Cow, by Seth Godin: “This is straight marketing advice: Your product has to be a purple cow—it has to be distinct to have any success.”
Nigger, by Dick Gregory: “I don’t know who turned me on to this autobiography, but his sense of humor and the hardships he went through stayed with me.”
HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
"On 3 April 2009, the President of the Human Rights Council established the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict with the mandate “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.””
Media Summary: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
"UNOFFICIAL SUMMARY FOR MEDIA USE ONLY
The Mission found that, in the lead up to the Israeli military assault on Gaza, Israel imposed a blockade amounting to collective punishment and carried out a systematic policy of progressive isolation and deprivation of the Gaza Strip. During the military operation, houses, factories, wells, schools, hospitals, police stations and other public buildings were destroyed, with families, including the elderly and children, left living amid the rubble of their former dwellings long after the attacks ended, as no reconstruction has been possible due to the continuing blockade. Significant trauma, both immediate and long-term, has been suffered by the population of Gaza. More than 1400 people were killed. The Gaza military operations were directed by Israel at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population. The destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy to make the daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population. Israeli forces also humiliated, dehumanized and carried out an assault on the dignity of the people in Gaza, through the use of human shields, unlawful detentions, unacceptable conditions of detention, the vandalizing of houses, the treatment of people when their houses were entered, graffiti on the walls, obscenities and racist slogans. The Israeli operations were carefully planned in all their phases as a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability. Responsibility lies in the first place with those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations.”
The number of major U.S. invasions since World War II: 13
By conservative estimates, the U.S. led over a dozen invasions of sovereign countries in the last 65 years - including attacks on North Korea (1950 and 1951), Cuba (1961), South Vietnam (1962), The Dominican Republic (1965), Cambodia (1970), Lebanon (1982-1983), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991), Haiti (1994), Afghanistan (2001), and Iraq again (2003). U.S. covert operations designed to overthrow foreign governments are about three times more common than invasions. As William Blum explains in his classic book Rogue State, “From 1945 to the end of the century, the U.S. attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes.” To that list of attempted overthrows in the post-2000 period one could add: Venezuela, Iraq, Haiti, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iran - just to name the cases we know about.
Last March, Sally Harpold of Clinton, Indiana bought a one box of Zyrtec-D cold medicine for her husband. A few days later, she bought a single box of Mucinex-D for her adult daughter, who is the mother of triplets.
Four months later, Mrs. Harpold and her husband were awakened at daybreak by the always unwelcome sound of police banging on their front door. She was arrested and taken away in handcuffs for the purported crime of purchasing more than 3.0 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (PSE) within a seven-day period.
The grandmother saw her picture plastered on the front page of the local statist media organ (also known as the Terre Haute Tribune-Star newspaper) under the headline “17 Arrested in Drug Sweep.” Charged under Indiana “law” 35-48-4-14.7, Mrs. Harpold faced the prospect of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine — as punishment for buying legal over-the-counter cold preparations in quantities the state’s parasite class considers inappropriate.
Vermillion County Prosecutor Nina Alexander, of out the supposed goodness of what passes for her heart, allowed the innocent grandmother to go through a “deferral” program: In exchange for paying the court costs run up in prosecuting her for doing nothing, Mrs. Harpold (who had never been in trouble with the “law” before) would have her record expunged.
Alexander acknowledges that the grandmother is innocent of criminal intent, and that her actions were not criminal in se. However, she maintains, “I’m simply enforcing the law as it was written,” and that she will continue to monitor pharmacy records to “prosecute people who violate this law.”
“Sometimes mistakes happen,” comments Sheriff Jon Marvel of neighboring Vigo County. “But for the good of everyone, the law was put into effect. I feel for [Mrs. Harpold], but if she could go to one of the area hospitals and see a baby born to a meth-addicted mother….”