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Traficant: Star of the sideshow



Published: Sun, July 11, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


When ex-con (con, as in convict and congressman) James A. Traficant Jr. was told that his name would not appear on the general election ballot for the 17th Congressional District race, this writer felt a deep sense of … satisfaction.

The rejection of Traficant’s petitions because they lacked the required number of signatures of qualified voters confirmed what was written about the ex-con on May 5, a day after the primary:

“Traficant filed petitions at the Trumbull County Board of Elections to run as an independent for the 17th District congressional seat in the November general election. He also indicated to reporters that he was going to file petitions at the Columbiana County Board of Elections to run in the 6th congressional district. He said he would hold a news conference.

“Members of the press rushed to Lisbon, but Traficant was a no-show.

“He and the hapless members of his inner circle may have been in stitches over the way Jimbo pulled a fast one on the press. But, all that Monday’s event proved is that Traficant is not a serious man.”

To repeat: The former 17th District congressman who was expelled from the House after being convicted of 10 federal criminal charges is not a serious man.

A joke

Indeed, since coming out of federal prison last August after serving seven-plus years for racketeering, bribery, tax evasion and seven other charges, he has been nothing but a joke.

His attention-grabbing antics have, unfortunately, resulted in the local, state and national press giving him undeserved attention.

His announcement that he intended to run for Congress as an agent of change (as opposed to an agent of crime?) got him on national television.

Note to out-of-town reporters: The next time you come to the Mahoning Valley to do a piece on this criminal, talk to someone who has known him for three decades and can recite the many instances of his egocentric, mercurial behavior.

On May 2, this writer, commenting on Traficant’s decision to run for Congress, wrote in this space:

“On the other hand, Traficant would be doing the Mahoning Valley a big favor by not running this year. His candidacy will dredge up the region’s putrid political history and will turn the state and national spotlight on us — and not in a good way.

“As has been noted in this space, there are a lot of positive things going on in the Valley that are overshadowed by this man who knows no shame.

“Do the good people of this region really want him around when the French owners of V&M Star come to town to cut the ribbon on the $650 million expansion project?

“Of course not.”

But now, with his political comeback in tatters, what should Traficant do?

Here are some suggestions:

He could become a circus carny. After all, he has proved to be the king of the sideshow. Kudos to Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, who dismissed Traficant’s possible challenge of him in these words: “We’ve done a good job staying focused regardless of the sideshows going on.”

He could star in a television show called “Black Helicopters” in which the ex-con and his almost brain dead disciples don helmets made of aluminum foil (with eyeball antenna) and then go from rooftop to rooftop looking up at the sky waiting for the attack.

Become an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. He learned to play the guitar in prison and was drawn to Elvis Presley’s song book. His “Jailhouse Rock” would be an instant hit in Sin City.

Or, there’s always his radio show, which he hosts each Saturday on a Clear Channel station in Cleveland. There is an audience for just about every kook with a microphone in this great land. Traficant has a great shtick: The federal government is your enemy.

He could start a political consulting company and hire other crooked politicians to give advice on such topics as: How to take a bribe and when caught insist it was a loan; how to take money from mobsters and then insist that you did so keep it out of the hands of your opponents; if an officeholder, how to require your staff to work on your farm and then claim it was a weight-loss program.

Or, Traficant could become a magician and ... make himself disappear.


Comments

1author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

You're still writing about him and that is all he cares about.

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2Attis(908 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

This is, of course, outright libel and slander, not only against this prophetic public servant, but against his "brain-dead disciples" which just happen to be the real Mahoning Valley not the pompous elites full of themselves and hatred for We, The People. The Traficant story is far from over. That unfortunately also guarantees the career of intellectual prostitutes posing as journalists.

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3revel(12 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, Bertrand, for having the courage to write this piece. Your constant reminder - at least to those in this community who are still grounded in reality - that we should be forever vigilant of the venomous snakes twisting in our midst, is greatly appreciated.
~Rev. El Mundo

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41970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

No doubt Traficant looks bad because he didn't get the several thousand signatures he needed because he ran as an Independent instead of as a Dem or GOP candidate. (If he'd have run in the Dem or GOP primary, he'd have only needed 50 sigs to make the ballot). And to Bertram, Traficant is now a confirmed joke because he fell 107 short with the coupe thousand valid sigs he submitted and that means Jimbo is a joke.

Charlie Wilson had to spend a million $$$ in the primary because he and his son Jason couldn't get 50 signatures to make the ballot. And what does that make Charlie Wilson and his son Jason? Endorsed Vindy officeholders, of course.

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5Silence_Dogood(1373 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

"Or, Traficant could become a magician and ... make himself disappear."

And last but not least Traficant could become an Editorial Writter for a local paper and write about ad nauseam, week after week, about public workers and ex-congressmen.

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6Silence_Dogood(1373 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Sorry for the double tap on the t and the extra about for all those grammar police out there

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

“As has been noted in this space, there are a lot of positive things going on in the Valley that are overshadowed by this man who knows no shame."

What has Jimbo overshadowed ? Barney Frank's coming to town ? This will be a positive and put The Valley in a better light ? What a bunch of buffoons that oganized this event .

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8walter_sobchak(1949 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

1970mach1,
You are correct. I have never voted for Chucky Wilson and I never will for that reason alone.

Bart deSalsa,
If you despise Jim so much, why do you insist on writing about him? Is it so you can reprint large amounts of previous columns so you don't have to think up anything new? It is quite boring.

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9buffalo03(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Bertram, maybe you should put a word in to your bosses at Vindy, to change the home page. Let me show you what the Vindy's home page displays as links:
News, Local News, & Regional

Traficant | InFocus | Births | Bridal | Tributes | Events | rss

Does Traficant really need his OWN PAGE on Vindy.com?!?!

This only fuels the fire.

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The libs are lining up the entertainment for Barney . This will be the social event of the year for The Valley . Utopia 2010 will be here in full swing with Barney showing the way . If you can't feel the excitement then let's all remember who not to support at election time .

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11Ben(7 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Traficant is more of a man than Bartram DeSouza could ever hope to be.

Bart is just another small town columnist with a poison pen for Traficant. Y-town quit being relevant about 35 yrs ago when big steel left in the middle of the night. Traficant does one thing that the Vindicator staff could never do, get the national media into the Mahoning Valley.

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12sknirak(120 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The national media coming to our valley because of Trafficant? Don't the two irrelevancies cancel each other out?

National media? Over the last 6 months, Fox News has reported a number of papers (including the NY Times) have lost circulation. Likewise, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN are losing market share.

If Fox News is not to be trusted, why is Clear Channel using them as their news supplier? No, it isn't because Roger Ayles who is a co-founder of Fox is from Warren,OH nor is it because Rupert Murdoch owns them. It's because they give you both the Left and the Right side of the story. Problem is that partisans from both sides don't want to hear the other side...they're afraid they will weaken and join the "enemy" Alan Colmes, Maura Liason (PBS), and Juan Williams (PBS) give the left interpretation on various panels; Charles Krauthammer and Willam Krystal (sic) do the right side on panels. One guy in the middle (sort of) is Bill O'Reilly, a 1940's Democrat who wants Obama to succeed but has issues with him about the Prez's legislative agenda.

The Vindy is a decent paper that provides some right wing stuff; but, in this valley, Democrat dominated as it is, it would be financial suicide to ignore THE party. I give the Vindy credit for what right wing stuff it does put in-at least we, the few, are not totally shut out. The national media has NO CLUE how we people in Y-town (fly over country to them) live what WE are about.

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