Archives September 2014

TAKE POLITICS AWAY FROM SELECTING LOCAL JUDGES

This column appears in Florida Today, a Brevard County paper. But the topic can apply as a national subject as well.

 

Marshall Frank: Local judges should not be elected

Has anyone ever thought about the system of electing local judges?

Unless a person has been before a judge in a courtroom, or they know the candidate personally, voters usually have no idea for whom or what they are voting. It’s no wonder less than 22 percent of Brevard County’s registered voters turned out to vote in the August primary election.

In that election, several names appeared on the ballot for circuit and county judgeships, most of whom were completely unknown to the general public. Yet, people go to the voting booth and mark their ballots for the names they most often saw on roadside signage, or for the person they declare best qualified because they were an incumbent. No doubt, some unknowing voters will cast ballots based on ethnicity, race, sex or other nonsensible designations.

Few voters even know what qualifications are required for a person to reach the bench in Florida. Amazingly, a judge can be appointed or elected who has virtually no experience as a practicing attorney.

According to state law, anyone can be a circuit or county court judge as long as he or she is a dues-paying member of the bar association for at least five years. That’s it, folks. The man or woman who is weighing evidence and deciding your guilt or innocence in Florida may have been working as a landscaper or computer engineer, and may have never set foot in a courtroom other than moot court in law school. Yet, all we know when we vote is the sound of their name and the images imbedded in our heads from the array of signs and banners.

Theoretically, a vacant judgeship can be filled by a sitting governor based on friendships or quid pro quo, depending on an appointee’s generosity during the election year.

During my 30 years in the Miami-Dade Police Department, I knew judges who were snorting cocaine in their chambers minutes after they sentenced a defendant to prison for possessing the same substance. Others were caught in stings, taking bribes behind chambers to be more liberal with bond setting or sentencing for friends of friends. Yes, they went to prison.

Judges also appoint defense attorneys to indigent defendants in major crimes. I’ve known cases in which the appointed lawyers were so over-the-hill, lazy, drunk or inept, they virtually guaranteed the prosecution a guilty verdict. In one of those cases, the defendant was innocent, but went to prison anyway. The appointed attorney had impressive credentials on paper, but was otherwise incompetent. The lawyer got his money. The state attorney was happy. There were no legal grounds for successful appeals.

There is a way to fix the problem.

Eliminate elections for judges and institute a system for appointing them. Governors can appoint a bipartisan council, which receives recommendations for judges whose backgrounds are reviewed and evaluated, then sent back to the governor for approval. An active list is certified from which appointments provide four or six years of service. When vacancies occur, the governor’s office conducts a blind drawing from the list.

No corruption, no quid pro quo. And a fully qualified, nonpartisan jurist is appointed.

Regardless, we must set higher standards for men and women to serve as judges. Such standards should specify a significant term of practice in the judicial field for which they aspire, such as 10 years working in criminal and/or civil law with extensive trial experience.

This is not to suggest our current servants on the bench are not qualified. I’m sure they are. But for the electorate, for government and for the judiciary, we can do better if we think outside the box.

The days of Judge Roy Bean, when judges were known by everyone in the community, are long over. Let’s modernize.

 

OBAMA SPEECH: ISLAM IS PEACE?

Millions of Americans are sick and tired of fork-tongued politicians telling us that Islam is a religion of peace. With over 22,000 deadly acts of terror to their credit around the world in the thirteen years since 9/11 – nearly all in the name of Allah – that’s getting a little hard to swallow.   

     President G.W. Bush regurgitated that propaganda within days after the 9/11 attack, flanked by Imams inside the National Cathedral while corpses and ruins smoldered, telling us that Islam is a religion of peace. I don’t think the wives, husbands, fathers and mothers of terror victims were impressed.

     In 2014, Islamic terrorism is still the scourge of planet earth. Radical Islamists are ravaging  the middle-east, Africa and Asia, and even Europe and the United States. They may be called al Qaeda, Boco Haram, Hamas, Anwar al-Sharia, Hezbollah, ISIS, ISIL, whatever, but they are all the same species with the same ideology. They are ubiquitous. We kill a few roaches now and then, but the nest is thriving. Politicians lied when they tried to convince us that al Qaeda had been decimated.

     In President Obama’s UN speech this week, we heard some tough talk about killing off the new terror group ISIL.(or ISIS) Then, he couched the entire speech with a couple of PC counter statements, i.e., “The United States will never be at war with Islam. Islam preaches peace.”    

    Oh really? Is that why multi-millions of Muslims around the globe not only engage in terrorism against the “infidels,” millions more provide aid, comfort and financial support to keep these barbarians in business? Clerics, ex-college professors and intellectuals occupy our prisons today, convicted of funneling money to Hamas and other terror groups. Terrorists are not just wearing bombs and face masks, they also wear suits and ties in western countries.

     Is that why every airport and airline in the entire globe collectively spends trillions of dollars , providing security for fear of radical Islamic terror attacks?  

     Is that why so many Muslim nations are engaging in torture, beheadings, hangings, public executions of children and women, genital mutilation, kidnappings for ransom, and more, where young boys are indoctrinated in madrassas and inside mosques to hate and kill Jews and Christians, or non-Muslims in general? Is that why millions of people, including Muslims, live in utter fear of violence and intimidation to their family members?

     Peaceful?  Puhlease.

     Then, the president imparted another gem, similar to his Cairo speech five years ago. “Millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.” In 2009, his words were, “…Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”

     Oh really? Does that include the many decades of terror attacks by Muslims against American vessels in the Mediterranean until President Jefferson finally said enough and went to war, driving the Jihadists back to the “shores of Tripoli.”

     Part of the fabric of this country?  Is that why there are two dozen Islamic enclaves in America where non-Muslims are unwelcome? Is that why Islamists in Minnesota, Michigan and other parts of the country do not assimilate and are fertile recruiting grounds for future terrorists? Is that why identified terrorists have been associated with specific mosques and Imams in the U.S.? Is that why Islamic demonstrators took to the streets of Miami, New York and other cities with hate slogans in support of Hamas, and the denigration of Jews?

     Yes, there are peaceful Muslims throughout the world. But with rare exception, they live under a tacit gag order, afraid to speak out against other Muslims lest some family member goes missing.

     Peaceful? 

     With praise, the president cited a quotation from Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.” The president tells us the sheikh is a moderate Muslim who can help combat the Islamic State (ISIS).

     Oh really?  Bayyah is the Vice President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, founded by Muslim Brotherhood leader, Yusuf Qaradawi. Now banned from the United States, Qaradawi called for the death of all Jews and Americans. Bayyah, himself, called for the killing of all American troops in Iraq and issued a fatwa in 2009 barring all forms of normalization with Israel. He remains a strong supporter of Hamas. 

     Americans in general, are not aware that Islamics with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood have been frequent invitees at the White House, some employed within our State, Justice and Homeland Security Departments.

     We need an unwavering president whose both feet are planted in the USA. We need a president who does not apologize for America. We need a president who will go all-the-way, at all costs, to destroy a vicious enemy hell bent on destroying us, even if it means all out war with combat troops. That’s why they exist. And we need a president who does not forecast our intent to the enemy.

     There is no halfway. If we don’t kill this dangerous cancer at the root, it will metastasize – throughout the world. Then, it will be too late.

     Where is Harry Truman when you need him?

     It’s time the world of Islam to stop talking and start proving they are a religion of peace. I’d be very happy to know that. Talk is cheap.

 Click here: General: Muslim Brotherhood inside Obama administration

Click here: History of the Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the U.S. Government

 Click here: Center for Security Policy | The Muslim Brotherhood in America

 Click here: Obama Praises Muslim Cleric Who Backed Fatwa on Killing of U.S. Soldiers | Washington Free Beacon

 Click here: Permit Muslim-only Enclaves? :: Daniel Pipes

 Click here: Muslim Enclaves U.S.A. | FrontPage Magazine

THE BRAVERY OF SUDANESE PRISONER MERIAM IBRAHIM

meriamIbrahim

In 1955, Rosa Parks became a national icon figure for the civil rights movement when she refused to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. In that single moment, she galvanized the plight of black people into a cause for abolishing segregation.  A statue of Ms. Parks is now installed in the halls of the nation’s capitol. A woman to be admired, indeed.

Fast forward nearly 60 years. As we define bravery, we should turn to Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who married an American and refused to renounce her Christian faith to a repressive government. Because her father had been a Muslim, the government determined she was a Muslim, and for marrying a Christian man, she was guilty of adultery, sentenced to be lashed one-hundred times and then hung by the neck until dead for her “crimes.” This is the Islam we hear little about, because it’s not called “terror.”

While Rosa Parks displayed courage for her actions of 1955 in Montgomery, Ms. Ibrahim’s actions should qualify her for sainthood in 2014.

That’s not the whole story. Ms. Ibrahim was jailed and chained to the floor for six months awaiting her fate while tending to her 20 month-old child who remained in the cell with her. There’s more.  Ms. Ibrahim was pregnant during this period and had to give birth to her new baby while her legs were manacled. All along, she refused to renounce her Christian faith despite the fate that awaited her.

The story went viral, driven to national awareness thanks to Megyn Kelly of Fox News. It brought the dastardly Islamic  government into international disgrace thereby forcing their hand to release the woman to be reunited with her husband. While she suffered in jail, her husband pleaded with our government to intercede. No help came. He had to go it alone, with his own battery of lawyers. She is now living in Vermont.

The woman’s husband, Daniel Wani, was recently quoted, “As an American citizen, I am disappointed at the American Embassy’s position from the beginning.”  The lengthy public silence by both the president and the secretary of state has drawn criticism.

African Muslim nations are a monstrous source of widespread abuse and subjugation of women. In Sudan, 88 percent of young girls are subjected to genital mutilation. Forced marriages are commonplace, likening the plight of young girls to that of slavery.  No one knows the true numbers of beatings, torture and murders within these countries, particularly of women who fail to obey their husbands or violate the tenets of Islam as prescribed by the Quran or the Hadith.

Ms. Ibrahim’s life was saved by public outcry. Now it’s time to save millions more by keeping this kind of barbarism in the public eye.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is an escapee from Somalia, who also underwent early mutilation and later fled to the Netherlands to avoid a forced marriage under Islamic law. She is now an outspoken intellectual and author, writing books and speaking at any venue that will host her in order to inform the world what horrors are experienced by women within the confines of radical Islamic life.  But it’s a tough sell, because many schools refuse to have her on campus for fear of Muslim Student uprisings. In April of this year, Ms. Ali was cancelled from a scheduled talk at Brandeis after the Muslims successfully put an end to her freedom of speech.  Brandeis officials backed down like cowards and allowed the Islamic radicals a victory.

Ms. Ali recently deivered an address at Yale, which – to their credit – stood up against Muslim protests.

Bear in mind that several major universities of this country have received endowments in the millions of dollars by Islamic governments in the middle-east, including Harvard which accepted $26 million in 2005. Such generosity buys a lot of influence.

I would hope that American media and the people of the world – particularly women – who do not understand the horrors of living a life bound by Islamic dogma, will rise up with all their power to demand respect, love and protection to the gentler sex. If Islam is truly a religion of peace, as recently stated by the British Prime Minister, and often lauded by our president, then it should start proving it with actions, not threats, intimidation and murder.

Rosa Parks is a famous lady, a great symbol of her time. She will be remembered forever.

Meriam Ibrahim suffered six months in a prison cell, to bear a child in shackles, awaiting one hundred lashes and then a lynching, all because she believed in Christianity instead of Islam. But she held her beliefs and stood her ground in the face of a grotesque and painful death.

I doubt anyone will remember her name by the end of this year. I doubt there will be any statues in her honor. I doubt it will make any difference to the many millions of women suffering inside the oppressive walls of radical Islamic slavery.

MiriamIbrahim2

 Click here: Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Click here: Saudi Prince Donates $40 Million to Harvard, Georgetown Universities – ABC News

Click here: Islam Buys Out Western Academia – Op-Eds – Arutz Sheva

Click here: Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Critic of Islam – NYTimes.com

 Click here: Meriam Ibrahim says she ‘trusted God from the first instant’ | Mail Online

 Click here: Female genital mutilation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

AMNESTY PAVES WAY FOR VOTERS LATER

This appeared in today’s issue of TCPalm, a Scripps newspaper serving four counties from Vero Beach to Palm Beach.

 

Amnesty now paves way for voters later

Marshall Frank
3:02 AM, Sep 16, 2014

For every action, there is a reaction.

The recent flow of young immigrants from Central America is reminiscent of bygone days in Miami when Fidel Castro opened all his jails and mental institutions and dispatched children, the disabled and other unwanted citizens from the Mariel port so thousands could come to the United States.

While the softhearted press primarily focuses on the many thousands of youths who have been trekking through Mexico and over the Rio Grande, a significant number of these “children” are actually male gangster kids ages 13 to 17 whose contributions to American life will undoubtedly include a bloated crime rate wherever they land. That translates to many American victims.

Much like the coverage of bleeding little kids in Gaza, camera shots of small kids always touch the heartstrings, but it does not present the whole picture.

In 1980, while many good and decent people did arrive on the shores of South Florida during the infamous Mariel boat lift, the fact remains that the community was suddenly overwhelmed with a 120,000 new residents who had nowhere to go other than living under expressway bridges, parks and jails. The crime rate in Dade County tripled overnight. I know, because I was the captain of Homicide in those months and years. We all felt like Lucille Ball trying to keep up with the conveyor belt.

Bodies were turning up everywhere and could not be identified because we had no records of the victims. Rapes and other assaults doubled. Thefts, burglaries, vandalism and murder spiraled beyond the capacity of local resources to handle. The Medical Examiner’s Office had to rent a giant refrigerated trailer to store the accumulation of bodies. Fingerprints were not on file because all the victims and criminals came from another country.

President Jimmy Carter welcomed the refugees with open arms, but he had nothing to say to the victims of rape, assaults, thefts and murders left in the wake.

Many of the new immigrants were shipped to other states for “resettlement,” but that didn’t last long because most of the Cubans remigrated back to Miami, where they felt at home among their cultural peers.

The impact extended beyond criminal issues, as the infrastructure of state and local government was stressed beyond capacity. Schools, medical facilities, traffic, housing, personal necessities, courts, cops, jails and local budgets were unable to cope.

From all reports, the southwest United States, particularly Texas, can expect about 90,000 illegal immigrants this year, costing taxpayers $900 million. Reuters predicts the wave of youth immigration will reach above 130,000 in 2015, costing Americans $2 billion and more. Certainly, there are sad stories among the child immigrants. But rest assured, they are creating a wave of equally sad stories among American citizens and their families as well.

A quarter-million more people invading the United States is like a city larger than the population of Richmond, Virginia, being dumped in your backyard. It is naïve to think it won’t negatively impact the lives of American citizens, the people we are supposed to represent first and foremost.

And while our current administration has basically announced an amnesty pass to any immigrants under 18 who can find their way across our borders, what’s to stop the millions of Africans, Asians, middle-easterners and South Americans who are desperate for a better way of life? Where will this end?

Pardon my cynicism, but I seriously doubt the administration is supporting this influx of mass numbers because of bleeding hearts. They know that, 10 years from now, illegal immigrants who received entitlements will be most appreciative to those who paved the amnesty road to America. They are the future voters of our country. In essence, the political spectrum of America is being carved out for the 21st century. There’s the rub.

It is a clever ruse, indeed.

 

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: "THE DROP" = 8

THE DROP  =  8
This is not a movie for everyone. But if you are a drama junkie, who appreciates a deep story with powerful acting, you will find this a captivating film that draws the viewer in closer and closer as the plotline moves along.
     Set in the darker jungles of urban New York City, the main character, who we only know as Bob, tends bar at a local pub where underworld activity visits now and then, where loan sharking and payoffs and robberies are commonplace, where the status quo is a daily exercise in keeping cool amidst all the darkness. Bob is played by a journeyman actor named Tom Hardy, who I predict will rise to greater name recognition after this film, particularly if he gets tagged with a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
     The bar owner Bob’s older cousin, Marv, a miserable sleazy shark who owes more money to gangsters than he can pay. This role was James Gandolfini’s swan song, giving us a commanding performance also worthy of a best supporting actor nomination.
     Bob is a quiet, tough guy who minds his own business but gets sucked into dangerous situations not of his choosing. In the meantime, his tender side emerges when he adopts a battered puppy which he protects with fervor, and which ultimately plays an important character in its own right.
     Bob also meets Nadia, an attractive, loner neighbor who befriends Bob, though there is not one scene in the picture where anyone locks lips, nor even implies sex. Nadia is pretty but not glamrous or sexy, though there’s something pure and genuine behind those troubled eyes. She is played by another relatively unknown, Noomi Rapace, who might also earn a supporting nomination.
      A couple of climactic scenes startles the audience as the deep dark characters come alive to the viewers. It’s life in the real world. Though the picture starts in slow motion, the dramatic twists and turns eventually nails you to the seat until the next scene and the next. 
     If you crave fast-paced action, or lots of drugs, sex, violence, machine guns, martial arts and car chases, don’t see this movie. But if you like talking about it among yourselves when you stop for pizza after, don’t miss “The Drop.”
     I give it a solid 8.
Click here: The Drop (2014) – IMDb