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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.
July 19, 2015 Trump
v. McCain Trump's
comments about McCain may have been slightly off the mark in relation to the
viability of his candidacy, but, as is usually true, his intentions and
instincts were not too far offline. His
statement, that being a POW disqualifies McCain from being a war hero, is not
quite correct. Heroism in time of war
is usually reserved for those who demonstrate courage and bravery under fire and success in forwarding the wartime objectives, but some of those elements
can be found in the experiences of POW's.
Apart from whether McCain is a war hero, however, that status does not,
necessarily qualify one for high office.
In fact any value it may have for a candidate for political office
should be trumped (pun intended) by lack of intelligence and/or political
aptitude. McCain has certainly shown a
significant lack of both. However
Trump's statement also negatively reflects on his own qualifications in that regard, and
that is true in some degree despite the fact that lack of political aptitude
can sometimes contribute to a candidates appeal. It can even demonstrate, as it has in this
case, the presence of good instincts.
All in all, I don't think Trump has damages his candidacy very much by
what he said about McCain. I would still
give him a B+ and the only A's among that crowded field are Cruz and
November 23, 2015 #232 Republican Moderates - Who Are They?
A statement was made on Fox News recently, I think it was by Britt Hume but I am not sure, to the effect that the divide between the conservative Republican base and the moderates, who seem to control the Party, is largely because the base has an anti-business attitude which is not shared by the moderates. Or, perhaps, it was stated the other way around as being based upon the moderates' pro-business attitude which is not shared by the base. I'm not sure which way it was stated, but the clear implication seemed to be that the base does not share the moderates' commitment to our capitalist system. In fact, Republican moderates frequently do equate the present business structure in the U.S. with capitalism. To emphasize that they represent the disagreement between themselves and the Democratic left as being one between capitalism and socialism. There are a lot of over-simplifications in all of the foregoing rhetorical positions, but a strong argument can be made to the exact opposite of Britt Hume's, if indeed it was he who made the statement first referred to above. The truth is that the base is more committed to capitalism than are the Republican moderates, and the divide between the two groups is can be better characterized as one between elitists and ordinary people.
Capitalism is nothing more than economic democracy. Nobody created it by writing a treatise presenting capitalism as an ideal economic system, as was true with respect to Marxist Socialism. Capitalism simply existed because there were no laws restricting the right of inventive people to freely offer their services, and the goods created by their labor, to others. Similarly, political democracy existed in any group or community in which the group collectively selected a leader satisfactory to the members of the group. As Western economic systems evolved, economic entities (i.e. corporations or other business forms) became larger and larger, and governments became bigger and asserted more control over the lives of their constituents. Both the public and private institutions reached a point where they bear little resemblance to the leader of the clan and owner/entrepreneur who specialized in providing the amenities and luxuries people need or desire. The entrepreneurial spirit and the free market which characterize what we call capitalism have been much modified, and the lines between government and private enterprise are not as distinct as they once were. In fact, in the largest enterprises, the ownership element, which is the 'private' aspect of 'private enterprise,' has almost completely disappeared. The most important components of ownership are the right of control and the right to enjoy the economic benefits produced by the enterprise. The stockholders of today's large corporations are supposedly the owners of them, but there is very little trace of the right of control left in the stockholders of any of the large corporations. Control is firmly lodged in the people who are hired to manage them. Theoretically, management is selected by a Board of Directors whose members are elected by the shareholders, but that is almost completely fictional. Actually, management sends out proxy solicitations to shareholders, and the proxies give management the power to elect candidates who have been nominated by management. Thus, the power of control is lodged almost entirely in the managers who are nothing more than the bureaucracy of the private sector.
The right to enjoy the economic benefits of ownership has also, pretty much as a result of the foregoing, lost any resemblance to the profits an owner realizes from the business activities of an enterprise owned by him. The owner of a share of stock in General Mills rarely thinks of himself as a breakfast cereal maker. In fact, in corporations that pay dividends, a share of stock differs little from a corporate bond. The latter, theoretically, represents money loaned to the corporation, and, at its maturity, the corporation returns the principle amount to the holder, but the bondholder relies more on the annual interest paid on the bond. The capital returned, a decade or more later, has eroded in value due to inflation, thus, greatly reducing even that difference between a bond and a share of stock. The holders of stock in corporations that do not pay dividends rely on their stock increasing in value as a result of the profits being plowed back into the company, thereby increasing the market value of the stock and allowing the owner to realize a return on his investment by selling the stock at a higher price than he paid for it. The people who make money on such stocks are people who trade in stocks, and they are do not have much resemblance of owners of business enterprises. Their income, on such stocks, is a result of being in the business of trading in a commodity, and not from what one would think of as being a result of ownership.
If there is a group that gets a disproportionate share of the profit of the business operations of large corporations, it is the management of those corporations; the top tier of the private bureaucracy. With no one to control the amount they are paid, they give themselves salaries and bonuses of hundreds of millions of dollars each, and collectively billions and billions of dollars. Furthermore, they give themselves stock options which enable them to acquire large chunks of the ownership, such as it is, of such corporations. In doing so they are, quite clearly, violating the fiduciary duties they owe to the actual, or at least the theoretical, owners of the business. It is this group which looks a helluva lot more like owners than do the shareholders. However, if neither the stockholders nor the managers are owners of the enterprise, then, there is no owner. In fact, in many business enterprises even the theoretical concept of ownership has disappeared either as a result of the organization having converted to a cooperative business form, or the ownership having been transferred to the employees. In the latter case there is often little difference between the resulting business structure and that of a cooperative.
Property which is owned by no one really belongs to the government. The truth of the foregoing becomes even more apparent as the government, through its regulatory power, assumes more and more control over the 90% or so of the business that is conducted by large corporations, and it was made brutally clear during the last recession when Obama fired the President of General Motors and replaced him with a political crony. About the only thing that remains of the capitalist system that controls 90% our business activity is the free market concept, and even that is rapidly disappearing as the leftists exert increasing control of the day-to-day activities of organizations that constitute almost our entire commercial system.
So, who does the moderate wing of the Republican Party represent? It represents the big money that is concentrated in the private bureaucracy who control the large economic institutions, and some of the money manipulators, such as Buffet, Romney, Soros, et. al., who have managed to suck up much of the wealth that is being retained by businesses rather than being paid out to shareholders. The fact that some of the latter swing left and some swing right only accentuates the confusion that exists in the mind of our people about way our economic system is characterized. The moderates are the elitists of the productive sector every bit as much as the hedonistic leftists are the elitists of the nonproductive sector. The Republican moderates may cry crocodile tears for the small businesses that control, perhaps, five to ten percent of the economy, but their actions make clear the disingenuousness of that position. The small business owners are, for the most part, the people who form the Tea Party, and the Republican moderates spew the venom of their contempt on the Tea Party at every opportunity. The Moderates undoubtedly fake a compassion for small business owners because they realize the extent to which these are the last of the capitalists, the only remaining repository of the idealism of the capitalist system, and, thereby, the only source of rationalism of the elitists of the right. Without them the moderates have only their own greed to guide them and that wouldn't sell very well to the voters. Beyond the small business owners, the balance of the conservative Republican base is composed of blue collar workers, the Reagan Republicans, who, instinctively, realize that the freedoms they have are based upon the system of laws created by our Constitution. If that is destroyed, and that now appears to be inevitable, they have nothing to protect them from the greed, and power lusting, of the elitists of both the left and the right all of whom would readily enslave them. This, then, is the real divide between the Republican Establishment and the Republican base.