Domestic white-collar terrorists
By Udo Birnbaum
Now that we are between elections, I have been catching up a little around the garden. I have also been able to get back to writing my book, starting with me as a child in Germany in World War II, somehow untouched by the terror all around, only to be terrorized in my retirement years in our District Court by the old good-old-boy network, hopefully permanently run out of there at the last election.
It started with a suit, of all things, over beavers (long deceased), and went to the top, or the bottom, depending how one looks at it, from there. I have been searching for a title for my book that catches all the flavor, but have not come up with one, but here are some thoughts:
Journey into terror
Of beavers and lawyers
Don't feed the lawyers
Why lawyers should be barred from becoming judges
But more on this at another time.
So what a surprise to suddenly see the ex Attorney General, the highest lawyer in the State, Dan Morales, to be indicted by the federal boys for trying to funnel millions to one of his buddy lawyers. Not that anything has been proved yet, but we all know something is awfully wrong when five "tobacco" lawyers wind up getting 3.3 BILLION (not million) dollars in "legal fees", and Morales' buddy "earning" $500 MILLION in "legal fees" as the supposed special overseer of the other five lawyers (to be sure that they did not run off with more that $3.3 BILLION?)
But that is not the whole story. What makes it worse is that these guys fully expected to get by with this. A DAMMING INDICTMENT of high politicians, many of them lawyers, being above the law.
We have had Enron, Arthur Anderson, World Com, and the list goes on. And a lot of our politicians now in Austin promised to cure all sorts of ills by stopping "frivolous" lawsuits, but I wonder whether they know that "frivolous" is legalese for FRAUD. Why do we need new laws to stop FRAUD? The indictment, conviction, and jailing of a high public official, such as Dan Morales, and getting the 3.3 BILLION in "legal fees" back, will do more good than all the "frivolous lawsuit" rhetoric going on in Austin.
As we are about to embark upon Iraq, everybody is concerned about the effect of terrorism and the war on the economy. But we should be just as concerned about the effect of the economy on the war on terrorism, for it is the economy itself that produces the tools to fight terrorism, and rampant FRAUD hurts the economy, and hurts the war on terrorism, and tears the very fabric of a civilized society.
One last word on fraud by lawyers in the courts. I have come to recognize that honest lawyers are just as much the victims of the "good-old-boy" networks in the courts as the rest of us, and because they are forced to work under a "network" judge, are in fact much less able to "cure" the problem than those of us on the outside who can speak out via a SECRET BALLOT. The answer, the only answer, is for us to vote bad judges out, and not vote bad lawyers in, and we have voted those white collar terrorists out.
But we must constantly stay informed about what our public officials are doing. Speak out for those as they are doing their duty. Speak out against those as they are not. If we do not exercise our Right to speak out, we will lose it.
Wonders of the Internet
In selecting a title for my book, I am wrestling with the issue just what it was in me that rebelled upon the ridiculous "beaver suit" against me, on top of the thought of having to fork over thousands of dollars in legal fees to "defend" myself, and also why that lawyer (and judge) actually took it to trial, got a verdict (not what they expected), and the case is still hanging in the court four years after the verdict.
In any case, in writing my book, I keyed in the names of a few of the places of my childhood into that most wonderful search engine, google.com, and what all wonders appeared on the web pages of everything from volunteer fire departments, fishing clubs, and people trying to rent paddle boats, places for bed and breakfast, etc.
It was the internet that allowed me to find out why we saw nothing of the war, namely that the little nest of my childhood was probably the most out of the way place in all of Germany, in the middle of a huge peat moor that had been dug ever since about 1790, with no industry around. Now it appears to be all tourist, and to think of it, we had it all to ourselves.
Segments and pieces of my book will be found on my web page. I have started from both ends and hope to gradually fill in the middle.
Oh the wonders of the internet, even if Al Gore did not invent it.