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Blame Where It Belongs


A couple of thoughts to take a break from 14-hour work day stuff...

The Michael Jackson trial is over. Exhibit A: a grown man who sleeps with other people's kids and has porn in his bedroom. Some of the jurors felt he may have been guilty of lewd acts in the past, but there was no "smoking gun." Yet, for his stupidity, Jackson went from being the King of Pop to being the King of Popping-His-Weasel, and he lost millions in potential revenue and lost all his credibility. No prison, but for him, that's a decent sentence for being so inappropriate with kids. I can live with that, and I think that, as a juror, when the stories of the accusers don't jibe, how can you convict? The best outcome of this is that Michael Jackson's secret life is now exposed to everyone. Hopefully, the poor kid's gravy train mom is the last mother who will allow her children near Jackson.

And then a lot of people are getting on Microsoft for working with the Chinese government to have their software help censor blogs. It's not Microsoft that needs the push here, but China. Microsoft's Spaces site allow for many to communicate and post thoughts... and just as capitalism crept into China and opened the country to many more freedoms than they once had, free speech is making its way in and will incrementally expand until the words "freedom" and "human rights" can be uttered and written without fear.

Patience is a virtue. The right thing eventually wins out. Hitler was defeated. The Russians didn't win the space race. And Pizza Hut no longer dominates their industry. I have hope here...

ETC: I wasn't very clear in my initial comments on Mr. Jackson, which is what happens when I try to squeeze in some comment on a controversial issue in five minutes.

As friends of mine will tell you, my ideal punishment for pedophiles is to throw them all into an open-air pit and occasionally throw food in there. But no parole. They can't be re-wired to stop desiring kids. A good buddy of mine from the Army later became a correctional officer in a federal prison in Washington and said that the pedophiles were incontrovertibly corrupted. There is no rehabilitating them. Fair enough - into the pit you go.

Even when his music was quite popular, I was never a Michael Jackson fan, so I harbor no love for him. That said, I say in the comments that our system of justice can't apply a horseshoes standard of "close enough." The prosecution had the opportunity to put enough evidence forward in a clear and compelling way to at least convict Jackson of child endangerment. I think all of us feel that we could have convinced the jury of at least that. But the spaghetti of the prosecution's case and the conflicting testimony of the prosecution's witnesses didn't lead the jury to a guilty verdict. It was the ineptitude of Tom Sneddon's office that brought that about. I don't think it had anything to do with Jackson's defence team or his celebrity. It seems to me to be more sheer incompetence.

I don't think Jackson comes out of this vindicated in any way. I do think that he's been hurt by this and I think that he will forever be a pariah in the music industry - too many parents in that crowd to embrace him again. For now, that will have to do and it may serve as a preventative to his future nearness to kids.


by Brett Rogers, 6/14/2005 1:13:33 PM


It looked like there were smoking guns and evidence for the lesser charges, like serving alcohol to a minor, yet he was aquitted on ALL 10 charges. I'm a little surprised to hear a parent say that losing millions in revenue is enough punishment for sleeping with little boys. I've listened to the theory on Michael Jackson's reputation being shot to hell and how that is punishment in itself, etc., but y'know, when a bazillion people outside the courthouse burst into cheering and dance when the guy is aquitted, I don't buy it. As a theory, it seems to me to be society's rationalization for it's pandering to celebrity. Michael got the best justice money can buy, like OJ Simpson and Robert Blake before him, and the only thing these trials solved is that the offenders might (emphasis on might) have to be a little bit more careful when they kill people or sleep with little boys.

And BOTH Microsoft and China need the push. You can't support democracy then help a government surpress it just to make a buck.



Posted by Bella, 6/14/2005 3:24:56 PM

Let me be really really clear about something: I don't think it's okay that he slept with those kids. I think I made that clear in what I wrote, but if I didn't, I hope that makes it clear.

The question was: did he molest this particular kid? In this case, I can understand how the jury reached its verdict. If I serve on a jury, I don't want a horseshoes approach to justice. The mother and the son were quite suspect and shown to be liars. You gotta have credible witnesses. Tom Sneddon, the prosecutor, is an idiot who doesn't know how to prosecute a case.

Al Capone wasn't busted for murdering lots of people. He was busted for tax evasion. In the absence of the ability to convict Michael Jackson for being a creep, rubbing his name in the deep mud and his bankruptcy are better than nothing.

And regarding Microsoft, someone will cater to China's wishes and deliver that software. Red China won't allow a company to tell them how to run their country. Someone will make that buck. Sanctions seldom work because they're not universally applied.

But as I think about it, would I support an American company selling arms to Iran under the same premise - that someone else will?

Okay - you've convinced me - to hell with Microsoft.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 6/14/2005 3:51:48 PM

Well, wait a minute. I don't think I can compare the sale of arms to the sale of a communication tool that comes with censorship. It's not equivalent. Hmm...



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 6/14/2005 4:00:20 PM

You CAN compare a communication "tool" to actual weapons. They can achieve the same is just bloodier, immediate and more direct. Arms actually kill, censorship leads to killing. The pen is mightier than the sword and all that... And I'm glad i convinced you on the "someone else will just do it" thing, because, in the immortal words of Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility" :-) and in my opinion, Microsoft has a certain amount of moral obligation not to help anybody surpress freedom of speech.

Also, I know you don't think it's okay that he slept with the kid, honey. I just find the fact that he was aquitted on ALL TEN CHARGES really, really suspicious and wrong, and I believe that the testimony of various people working in the house was credible enough to convict him on the lesser charges---kind of like Capone's tax evasion. And maybe bankruptcy is better than nothing, but, as I said, given the reaction of fans outside the courtroom....well, I'm not too worried about Michael having to live under a bridge anytime soon. It just won't matter. People are sheep, easily led by glittery costuming.

Fight the power and hugs from the hippie. :-)



Posted by Bella, 6/14/2005 4:19:46 PM

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