Justice, American Style

It was striking seeing a blurb by a spokesperson in the Iowa Republican Party responding to the prospect of former-President Bill Clinton lobbying for his wife Hillary’s presidential campaign: “After Bill Clinton tarnished the name of the president of the United States, the Republican Party restored hope, respect and morality within the Oval Office by bringing positive ideas and conservative values back to the White House.”

Reading this caused me to respond with one of those GEICO© caveman moments: “Yeah, I’d like to respond to that. Uh … WHAT?!?”

As if that reality-disconnected soundbite weren’t enough of a head spinner in the era of the three-man destruction crew of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, we get more reinforcement of Republican morals a couple weeks ago. Credence, increasingly a rare commodity among the R-suffixed folk, was suspended fully when our President the Decider decided to commute the sentence of Irving Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, former chief of staff of Dick Cheney.

Basically, there will be no sentence, no punishment, no fallout from the outing of a CIA agent. An outing during war, no less! And who was CIA agent, Valerie Plame’s body of work specializing in? Iran. Bush/Cheney’s wet dream of a new conquest: Iran. But hey, America went into Iraq fairly blindly, and look how well that turned out, eh?

After news of the commutation of Libby’s sentence, Bill and Hillary Clinton did themselves no favors by criticizing the decision. Pres. Clinton pardoned some 140 odd folks at the final hour of his presidency, something no Republican would ever forget. Just pointing that out only appeared as cynical hypocrisy on the Dems side. But, not to be outdone, the hypocrisy was quickly by the GOPpers in criticizing the Clintons’ criticism. Why I can hear the Straw-man singing now … “If I Only Had a Brain”.

The message of all this? Outing CIA agents apparently isn’t treason any more. Hey, why not just write treason out of the constitution entirely with one of the President’s signing statements? In fact, who needs that? Just have the Vice President in his unitary executive powers call it unconstitutional and have it excised. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales will sign off on it, loyal man that he is. Treason is AOK … until a Democrat, or any other non-conservative commits the act.

The last scene in this episode shows the President this past week finally admitting that someone in his Administration may have outed Valerie Plame, but that this whole affair has “run its course” and he doesn’t expect any further investigation or charges. In fact, he hasn’t ruled out a full pardon for Libby. All that money spent, all that time investigating, and absolutely nothing was accomplished.

Yep, you’ve gotta love the justice system in the U.S. of A.

Meanwhile in West Palm Beach, Florida, a trial was taking place to prosecute a 17-year old who severely beat a transwoman he’d picked up outside of a bar. Later that evening, he discovered she still had male anatomy, he “beat the transsexual until his hand was sore,” according to an officer who took the statement. After the assailant went back to his car, he returned and, according to a witness who was seated atop a lifeguard stand, “forced her to kneel in the sand while he punched her and slammed her head into [the] lifeguard stand. The impact of the head-slam shook the lifeguard stand.

Once the case came to the judge’s decision, Judge Peter Blanc said Monday that he does not believe the boy was guilty of a first-degree felony hate crime. The judge opined in court “Your anger, from your perspective and from many other people’s perspective, may be justifiable anger.”

“In many ways it appears from the testimony that was presented here that there are two victims in the case,” the judge added. Unique concept: if you’re trans in America, and someone attacks you, the attackers are the victims. But this is typical of justice in America. We’ve seen it play out more times than we care to recount when the victim was transgender. If you commit treason, you’re much better off than being a trans person who is attacked for “victimizing” someone by … being out in public!

To the attackers’ credit, he said the victim threatened his life. The witness testified that the trans victim did not fight back, but as he described during the initial investigation, he had a “couple of sissy scratches” to show for his “attack.” Certainly sissy scratches are serious – considered life threatening in Florida’s justice system.

The judge added that teen did not seem to beat the victim “because of sexual orientation,” Blanc said, but because of his anger and desire for retribution. Retribution for what?!? Realizing he was making out with someone who was anatomically male??? Certainly nothing about sexual orientation, and the hate derived from that, eh?

At the least, I suppose the trans community can take solace in that their arguments made and dismissed over the years by gay and lesbian leadership, and legislators as well, have specifically been proven as inadequate. So much for gender or sexual orientation covering transgenders.

Small consolation that is.

But such is justice in America. If you want to avoid punishment most severe, don’t be transsexual. Even if you’re attacked or victimized, you’re culpable for making your attacker the victim. If you do want to avoid punishment, even treason, simply be a connected Republican, like Libby.

Knowing what kind of Democracy and system of justice our President is exporting to the rest of the world really gives you a warm spot in your heart, doesn’t it? Kinda like … heartburn.

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee. Abernathey currently hosts the Youtube Channel "The T-Party with Marti Abernathey."


  1. Tim, what exactly is a petafile? Is that a very large file? If you’re looking for the word “pedophile,” I’d disagree. There was no proven sexual contact between the two people.

    Secondly, if sexual contact did occur, the minor has already admitted he was IN FRONT OF A BAR “cruising for chicks.” Would you say there were two victims that night if he had went to the beach and “scored” with a natal born woman? Obviously the prosecutor disagrees with you on some level, as they did not prosecute the victim for statutory rape.

    Lastly, whether or not it was a hate crime isn’t dependent on your opinion, but on the definition of a hate crime by state or local jurisdictions.

  2. Lose his bar? Are you on crack? The kid was 17 years old, a minor. For one, this person was some sort of petafile. What were they doing with a 17 year old. There are two victims here. And the judge should not be blamed for the ruling. The kid obviously shouldnt have come back for more, but that doesnt make it a hate crime. You’ve been watching too much law and order samantha

  3. As far as I’m concerned that judge should loose his bar and the perp shouldn’t ever see the light of day again.

  4. As far as I’m concerned that judge should loose his bar and the perp shouldn’t ever see the light of day again.

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