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September 25, 2013 Appellate Court Acquits Tom Delay in Texas
A Texas appeal court has reversed the guilty verdict against Tom DeLay for money laundering entered a couple of years ago by an Austin, Texas, trial court. However, instead of sending it back to the lower court for a new trial, the appellate court entered a judgment acquitting DeLay of the commission of a crime. There is a significant difference between an acquittal and the usual remedy in such a situation which is simply sending the case back for a new trial. The appellate court’s action was a complete repudiation of the trial court, thus confirming that the prosecution of DeLay was an example of the politicization of the criminal process.
It will be recalled that DeLay, a very powerful Republican who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress, was targeted by a Democratic Houston prosecutor named Earle, for purely political reasons. Earle was well known for indicting his political enemies and that included some who were Democrats. When Earle was unable to get a Houston Grand Jury to indict DeLay, the case was taken to Austin, the hot bed of leftists in Texas, where a left wing Grand Jury entered the indictment against DeLay for money laundering. The alleged crime consisted of DeLay’s sending some of the money in his campaign war chest to Republican legislative candidates in Texas. Some of the money in Delay’s campaign account consisted of entirely legal contributions from corporations. The Texas statute relating to campaign contributions prohibits corporations from contributing to political campaigns but does not apply to federal candidates such as DeLay. The practice DeLay was following was widely recognized as being beyond the reach of the Texas statute relating to political contributions.
The Texas money laundering statute makes it illegal for persons such as drug dealers to run their ill-gotten gains though legal bank accounts to sanitize them. The theory of Earle and his fellow leftists in Austin was that DeLay’s corporate contributors had run their contributions through DeLay’s campaign account to put them beyond the reach of the Texas political contributions act. Their theory was total nonsense. There was no evidence that any part of the money in DeLay’s war chest was intended for Texas political candidates at the time it was contributed to DeLay. Once in DeLay’s war chest it was, of course, mixed with the rest of the money already there. The money sent to Texas by DeLay was not ill-gotten in any sense, and not, therefore, covered by the Texas campaign contributions statute. No illegally obtained money had been laundered
The Texas appellate court recognized the Earle tactic for what it was, a contrived effort to politicize the criminal process by using a law to cover a situation it was never intended to cover. Nothing could be more destructive of our bedrock principle of the rule of law than the prosecution of DeLay in those circumstances. In fact our bill of rights was included in the Constitution as a reaction to the same kind of tactics used in England in the notorious Star Chamber proceedings. There can be no justice, indeed there can be no democracy, when those in power can corruptly use the criminal process to send their political opponents to jail.
The DeLay conviction was covered in a previous posting on this website. The action of the Texas Democrats in this case is just one of many examples of the fact that leftists are guided by only one principle and that is power. When one attempts to make this argument it is usually met with the response known as ‘a pox on both of their houses,’ in which it is asserted that there is no difference between the political tactics of Republicans and Democrats. While extensive research may find an instance where Republicans have been guilty of conduct similar to that of the Democrats in this case, it has to be contrasted with the ‘business as usual’ approach of the Democrats in similar circumstances. Another case that differs but little from the DeLay case, and was going through the courts at about the same time, was that of Scooter Libby who was convicted by DC jury of a crime that was never even committed. Libby’s prison sentence was commuted by President Bush, but that does not erase the conviction in the same way that a pardon would.
August 28, 2014
September 24, 2014 #182 The Great Unwashed Masses
Unfortunately, in the last Post on this website the discussion of ISIS, and the reactions to it, were contained in a digression from the discussion of the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown. The basic contention was that the violence of ISIS is not much different in nature than black violence in the U.S. It went on to contend that ISIS is essentially a Sunni nationalist movement, and that the rhetoric and brutal tactics, beyond those implicit in the above statement, are nothing more than an effort to get that nationalist movement off the ground by tapping into the strong strands of emotionalism sweeping through the Middle East; that of radical Islam’s Jihadist movement, and the lure of violent blood-letting that characterizes Middle Eastern conflict. All of that is true, but the situation is more complex and requires a more in-depth, methodical and rational examination than was possible in that Post.
All revolutions and civil wars begin with an emotional build-up of the sort that is being employed by ISIS. Once the movement is successful in splitting Sunni Iraq, and perhaps Sunni Syria, off from the existing nation-states, such tactics will likely give way to one in which the emphasis is on the problems of governing the new state, and, a more pragmatic rationalism will undoubtedly set in. The likelihood of the occurrence of that natural sequence of events is increased by the fact that the Sunnis seem to be more rational, intelligent, less primitive, and possessed of more superior organizational skills than most of the other groups in the Middle East. Witness the way in which they quickly organized a conventional type army and swept through Northwestern Iraq and Northern Syria, and the way they immediately organized a government in the conquered territory. They didn’t just send out suicide bombers and engage in the kind of chaotic senseless violence that is characteristic of most Middle East conflicts. They are a more advanced people that would appear to be capable of putting together a prosperous modern industrialized nation.
Not only is their movement a nationalistic one, it is bringing into being a reality that has long been realized as inevitable; the partition of Iraq. The idea of Iraq as a nation-state composed of three groups that hate each other was recognized by most as a mistake at the time it was forced upon the region following World War I. That situation could never, and did not, succeed. The situation was aggravated by the American invasion of Iraq with the naïve intention of imposing a democratic political system on a nation that could only be held together by the type of repressive authoritarianism of Sadam Hussien and his Baath Party. The absurdity of the democratic evangelism by the Bush Administration, with its removal of the repressive government and all the repressive tactics which had been necessary to hold the nation together, was made apparent when the newly created democracy was turned over to a Shiite government which, of course, immediately began to use its power to wreak vengeance upon the previously dominant Sunnis.
The reaction in the United States, and the rest of the Western World that is following our lead, to the Sunni nationalist movement, is one that can only be understood if the above history, and the agendas of those reacting to it, are understood. Amazingly, the ISIS movement is almost unanimously condemned among all the diverse political groups despite the fact that any rational examination of the interests of this country would clearly reveal that position to be contrary to our welfare.
As was pointed out in the previous Post, the unsoundness of the reactions of most political groups is illustrated by the fact that the most often used justification for those reactions consists of a couple of outright lies. The first of those lies is that ISIS is far more brutal than anything that has occurred heretofore in Middle Eastern conflicts. The second lie is that the first lie is proven by the fact that even Core Al Qaida condemns it. Anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave for the past 50 years has to be aware of the extent to which the senseless, and ruthless, slaughter of innocent people in the Middle East, which includes 9/11, the slitting of the throat of David Pearl, the thousands of suicide bombing for the purpose of killing innocent civilians, and other such acts of random senseless brutality, has become common place. To find a quality difference between that and anything done by ISIS is to deal in pure fiction. Then, to justify the making of that distinction by claiming that even core Al Qaida is horrified by the actions of ISIS, is to blatantly lie. Most of the people telling the second lie are well aware of the fact that the disagreement between ISIS and core Al Qaida was a simple matter of a power struggle between the two groups.
Subsequent to the last Post, Jimmy Carter came out with a statement in which he urged an instant and massive attack on ISIS. Jimmy Carter is a knee-jerk leftist/pacifist, and has probably never urged us to attack any other nation or group, or at least not any third world or Middle Eastern nation or group. (Come to think of it, that last statement may need to be qualified. He has come pretty close to urging us to attack Israel.) Bill O’Reilly seized upon Carter’s statement as additional proof that we must immediately attack ISIS. His basis was, as noted, that Carter has never urged us to attack anyone, and therefore ISIS must be really bad. Actually the Carter statement should have the exact opposite implication for anyone rationally reacting to the ISIS offensive. Carter was willing enough to tolerate the violence of Al Qaida and, if he objects to the same kind of thing from ISIS, it has to be because he sees ISIS as a threat to his leftist agenda. He sees ISIS as having the ability to create a prosperous industrial nation, and as a potentially stabilizing influence, in the Middle East which might become friendly to the United States. Such a prospect is anathema for the leftist/internationalists. They see any movement that emphasizes nationalism or is the least bit friendly to the capitalist/industrial system upon which the greatness of this nation is built, as being the work of the devil. They equate such movements to Nazism. It is easy enough for anyone to understand why Carter and the left instinctively oppose ISIS, but not so easy to see why O’Reilly, the military, and moderate Republicans take such a strong anti-ISIS position. The only possible explanation is that moderate Republicans blow with the political winds, and as the left moves the nation further to the left, the moderates accept the new center as the norm. We have seen that happen with respect to Watergate, the welfare state, the greenhouse gas fraud, and numerous other left wing causes. The moderates represent the unthinking arm of the Conservative Movement. Bill O’Reilly revealed the extent to which he has bought into this ‘blow with the wind’ tendency of the moderate wing of the Republican Party, when his initial reaction to the ISIS movement was to call them Nazis.
It is in the interest of the United States to support and assist nations that are sympathetic to our value system. If that is not true then the Marshall Plan, which rescued Europe from the collectivist movement of International Communism which was being urged upon them by The Soviet Union, was a mistake. Our value system includes a preference for a political system based upon representative democracy, but the essence of it is freedom and the rule of law. Capitalism is an essential part of the freedom we treasure. It is freedom in the economic area, and it is an essential part of our value system to the same extents as is freedom in the social and political arenas. There are many peoples of the world that seem incapable of operating under a representative democratic form of government and, while we should encourage them to adopt the most essential values of our system, it is folly to expect them to govern themselves in a manner they are incapable of handling. While we should encourage them to adopt freedom and the rule of law to the extent possible, we must accept the reality that they may only be capable of operating under an authoritarian government. There is no absolute relationship between representative democracy and freedom. It is a mistake to assume that representative democracy is essential to a system that places a premium on freedom and the rule of law. There is such thing as a benevolent monarch who respects the rights of his subjects. On the other hand, there is an absolute incompatibility between collectivism and freedom. We can see that incompatibility in the measures that our collectivist left is now imposing on us. It is evident in the political correctness which prevents us from discussing issues in any manner that is inconsistent with leftist dogma, and in the politicization of the legal system as they have in cases such as the IRS targeting of those who disagree with them politically, or criminally prosecuting political opponents.
It may be folly to expect that ISIS is capable, at least at this point, of setting up a system of representative democracy, and certainly folly to expect any government they form to accept our core values of freedom and the rule of law, but they have demonstrated a pragmatism, organizational ability and objectivity that are indicative of a more advanced civilization than is usual in the Middle East. There is room for hope that these traits represent a rationality that may one day result in the evolution of a nation with which we can have friendly relations. We hope that will become a reality. Carter and the eilitist left fear that it will. There is certainly nowhere else for a Sunni state to go. They are a natural enemy of Shiite Iran and could be a counterforce to the influence of Russia and China in the region. With a balance of power in the Middle East, such as that which could come from a partition of Iraq into its natural parts, a more peaceful and stable situation might result.
Admittedly, my reactions to ISIS are as instinctive as those of Jimmy Carter. However, it is not as though we see different things, it is just that we have different instincts. Jimmy Carter and his elitist colleagues look at the great unwashed masses as composed of beings that don’t know how best to think and act. Their direction must be controlled in the way that Carter et al know the essential human being should think and act. The motivation of the elitists may be, in their minds, to shepherd these ignorant people for their own good, but in the end their systems always fail because those in charge do not have the knowledge they purport to have. No one does. Real conservatives do not claim to know how human kind will ultimately evolve, but however it is, it must be as a result of individuals having the freedom to interact with each other, inhibited only by those minimal rules which are essential for people to live in an organized orderly society. The Ten Commandments are an example of such a minimal set of rules and they basically prohibit dishonesty, arbitrarily inflicting physical harm on others, and stealing of the property of others, and require that children be reared in a secure family environment.
The position of Carter and his elitist colleagues do not differ that much from the British of a couple of hundred years ago who regarded non-British as ‘the white man’s burden,’ and they are also similar to the philosophers of prior eras who thought they could define the essential human being. Existentialism changed all of that when it brought us the truth that the essence of man is yet to be determined and will only be determined by evolution.
Now, who is really liberal, and who is really conservative?