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Friday, June 08, 2007


This is a post about Paris Hilton

Not. But it is prompted by media discussion about her jail/house arrest/jail, and even more so by a comment from the Republican debate that I let slide at the time. Discussing the possibility of a parole for "Scooter" Libby, sentenced to jail for 30 months, Rudy Giuliani had this to say:
"Well, this is a very important issue. This is a very, very important — a man’s life is at stake."
A man's life is at stake. Really? The Cuban Five have been in jail for nine years, with two of them serving life sentences and another one double life, for the "crime" of trying to prevent terrorism. Leonard Peltier, a man almost certainly framed for a murder he didn't commit, has been in prison for 31 years. Mumia Abu-Jamal, a man almost certainly innocent and certainly the recipient of an unfair trial, has been in prison for 26 years. Stanley Tookie Williams had his life taken from him literally, not figuratively. I could go on, but you get the point.

Has Rudy Giuliani, or any of the right-wingers pushing for a pardon for Libby, or any of the news people now spending time worrying about the justice (or lack thereof) of a 45-day sentence for Paris Hilton, ever uttered a sympathetic word about how "a man's life is at stake" when it comes to the cases of the Cuban Five, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Tookie Williams, or any of the countless other victims of the American "justice" system?

Giuliani, and all the other right-wing defenders of Libby, keep talking (incorrectly) about how "there was no underlying crime involved." Are they aware that the Cuban Five were convicted of "conspiracy to commit espionage" despite never having performed any act of espionage or even attempted espionage? Not a single classified document or piece of information was in their possession, yet they were convicted of "conspiracy to commit espionage." Talk about "no underlying crime!" Yet these men are in jail not for 30 months (not that I think Libby will serve anything like that, if anything at all), but for a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of double life!

Free the Cuban Five! Free Leonard Peltier! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! And, hell, free Paris Hilton too. Her sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment...to the American public who will be denied "news" of her partying for a full month and a half! Can't have that.

Update: Politics in the Zeros reminds us what happened when another famous woman, Martha Stewart, went to prison.

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