September 29, 2014

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

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JIM TRAFICANT: 1941-2014
Former drug counselor, college-football quarterback, sheriff, nine-term US Congressman, and convicted felon Jim Traficant died on Saturday after a tractor accident on his farm that proved fatal.

Traficant became a local hero in his hometown of Youngstown, OH after willingly serving three nights in jail rather than foreclosing on the homes of local residents who”€™d been impoverished by the area’s dying steel industry. Eulogized as “€œcolorful”€ and “€œflamboyant,”€ Traficant established a reputation over the years on C-SPAN as one of the most outspoken and charismatic members of an otherwise bland and stodgy Congress. A Democrat, he showed loyalty to neither party. He doggedly opposed the offshoring of American manufacturing and was intensely critical of the IRS.

He also gained infamy (along with Patrick Buchanan) for opposing the deportation to Israel of John Demjanjuk, whom Traficant insisted had been misidentified as notorious concentration-camp guard “€œIvan the Terrible.”€

On the House floor, he once accused his colleagues of being “€œpolitical prostitutes.”€ When later asked about the statement, he said:

I want to apologize to all the hookers in America for having associated them with the United States House of Representatives. Yeah, I think it is a big whorehouse and they better start taking care of America and stop worrying about the Middle East and worry about the Midwest.

Traficant was expelled from Congress in 2002 after a conviction for taking bribes and racketeering, even though one witness who had testified against him later recanted and claimed he”€™d been pressured by US Attorney General Janet Reno to lie.

After serving seven years, Traficant emerged impenitent and gained further infamy for insisting that both political parties were sold out to Israeli interests.

He told Fox News”€™ Greta Van Susteren:

Israel has a stranglehold on America. Their lobby AIPAC has pushed and manipulated America into wars of little or no interest to our national security….Our sons and daughters are being shipped home in bags. These wars have now bankrupted America and no one”€”no one”€”has even whispered a warning from our nation’s capital.

Whatever one may think of his opinions, it appears that Traficant sincerely believed them. In the end, he was a man whose toupee seemed the only thing fake about him.

On Wednesday in Bucharest, Romanian officials began the trial of 88-year-old Alexandru Visinescu, who is being charged with crimes against humanity for running an “€œextermination regime”€ as the head of the Ramnicu Sarat prison from 1956 to 1963. Ramnicu Sarat was known as the “€œprison of silence”€ because detainees were forbidden to have visitors and were kept in solitary confinement.

According to the indictment:

In his role as commandant, the accused … submitted the political detainees to conditions designed to destroy them physically, by depriving them of medical care, food and heating and inflicting abuse on them.

“Three elements were severe there: loneliness, which can drive you nuts, extreme cold during winter, and food scarcity,” 84-four-year-old Valentin Cristea, the prison’s only known survivor, told a reporter. He claims he lost 44 pounds during his six years at Ramnicu Sarat.

Nicolete Eremia, widow of another detainee at the prison, says that her now-deceased husband, who had gone into prison “€œburly,”€ emerged years later weighing only 70 pounds and could “€œbarely walk.”€ She claims that “€œOne day in winter, he was forced to stand for several hours with bare feet in a bucket of ice water.”€

Starting in the late 1940s until its overthrow in 1989, Romania’s communist regime is thought to have imprisoned roughly 600,000 dissidents, of whom at least 100,000 are thought to have perished while in custody.


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