In its first 72 hours, the Denny Hastert scandal has galloped along at breakneck speed:
~First, it was announced that the former Speaker of the House was being charged with "structuring" - one of those convenient catch-all pseudo-crimes that ensures when the feds can't get you for anything else there's always three checks for $9,750 they can nail you on. In this case, Hastert had been withdrawing small sums of cash in order to pay an unidentified person $3.5 million.
~It shouldn't be a crime to withdraw $3.5 million from your bank account in whatever increments you like. But how does a guy who's been in "public service" his entire life - first as a low-paid teacher, then as a low-paid legislator - have $3.5 million sitting in his bank in the first place? The crime isn't how Hastert got it out of his bank account, it's how it got in there in the first place.
~Be that as it may, what would a guy pay $3.5 mil in hush money for? Well, "Individual A" is said to have known Hastert all his life and grew up in Yorkville, Illinois, where Hastert taught as a high school teacher from 1965 to 1981. Hmm...
~In its first 24 hours, coverage focused mostly on the "structuring" ("Dennis Hastert's Withdrawals Drew Federal Attention. Will Yours?") And then, as they always do, members of the federal prosecutocracy began talking off the record:
Tribune newspapers reported earlier in the day that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.
These "unnamed federal officials" are prohibited from speaking to the press on such matters - and yet they always do, with impunity. They release the story they want you to know, on their timeline. In this case, getting the extortionist's cooperation and then leaking the reasons for the blackmail makes the government, as Alan Dershowitz says, "part of the blackmail".
~So, in the second 24 hours, The New York Times reported: "Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse."
Ah. So the Republican Speaker is guilty of "inappropriate touching", back in 1979 or 1973 or 1968. But, in that case, would you really pay $3.5 million to hush it up? Wouldn't it just be he-said-he-said from ancient history and you'd ride it out and do a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger thing about how much you regret that Jimmy's life hasn't worked out for him..? Wouldn't "Individual A" have to have something a lot worse than 40-year-old "inappropriate touching" for you to cough up $3.5 mil?
Oh, well, at least it was long ago, before he became Speaker or anything...
Most people now forget that, in 2006, the Mark Foley scandal engendered much talk about outing other secretly gay Republican congressfolk... Lawrence O'Donnell [on MSNBC] also strongly indicated that Hastert was homosexual. In fact, O'Donnell came that close to making the claim directly.
At the time, Hastert lived with his Chief of Staff, Scott Palmer. The two were inseparable. When Dennis Hastert's wife Jean made one of her rare visits to Washington DC, she stayed in a hotel -- on Valentine's Day.
The rumors of homosexuality swirled around Hastert throughout 2006. The next year, he announced that he would not serve out his time in office.
Yeah, but the Chief of Staff's not underage or anything...
WMR's State Department sources have also reported that the visits of Hastert and other congressional leaders and staff members to certain Southeast Asian nations and the Northern Marianas should come under the scrutiny of the House Ethics Committee, now officially investigating 'Pagegate.' The Northern Marianas became infamous in the scandals involving Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff because of the presence in the US slave labor territory of Asian children being used as prostitutes.
Gotcha. So he was carrying on with underage rent-boys while he was Speaker on fact-finding sex tours of the Northern Marianas.
But in that case why does the indictment only have a single "Individual A"?
~Oh, wait. Here come those convenient federal prosecutorial leakers again:
A source familiar with the investigation told BuzzFeed News that U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon considered but did not pursue additional charges against former Speaker Dennis Hastert, which would have included a reference to an Individual B, one of potentially several alleged victims of "prior misdeeds."
The feds don't actually have jurisdiction over Hastert's high-school sex life and, in the state that does, the statute of limitations has kicked in. But that's no reason for them not to dispatch another couple of dozen investigators to go crawling over Illinois. I mean, it's not like they've got anything else to do, like investigating Lois Lerner or Hillary's server...
~Speaking of "several alleged victims", was this one of them?
The call came in while Hastert appeared on CSPAN's "Washington Journal" on Nov. 13 , a week after last year's midterm elections. The caller identified himself only as "Bruce" from Illinois.
"Hello, Denny," the caller said.
"Do you remember me from Yorkville?" he added, before laughing and hanging up.
"Individual A"? Or "Individual B"? Or C, D, E or F?
So we're maybe a news cycle or two away from him being unveiled as a serial paedo, as we say in Fleet Street: the Jimmy Savile of the Republican establishment, the Jerry Sandusky of Republican power-brokers.
As the story unfolds, only one thing can be said for certain: We're never gonna hear another word about Hillary's Clinton Foundation scandals ever again, not even if ISIS paid $2 million for Bill to deliver a 20-minute speech on climate change at the Sword of the Beheader Elementary School in Ramadi and they decapitated ten Christians as the warm-up act.
So far, The New York Times has five reporters on the Hastert story, The Washington Post nine ...so there's no one left in the newsroom to look into Hillary - even though Bill's been flying around with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein on a plane called the Lolita Express. Couldn't that just sort of get mentioned in paragraph 37 of the Hastert stories, maybe with Josh Duggar, as part of a general pedophile trend among the powerful?
Yeah, good luck with that. The GOP put a paedo Speaker two heartbeats from the Oval Office! Can they ever again be trusted with power? Why, if al-Qaeda had gotten a little luckier on 9/11, Hastert could have wound up as the first pedophile president...
And then the story will become: How could those around Hastert for eight years not have known? What 2016 Republican candidate hasn't got an embarrassing photo of himself with Denny? Yeah, they're stiff and awkward in Congressional offices, not like Bill and Jeffrey Epstein on the Lolita Express, in Bermuda shorts with a couple of margaritas and nymphettes on their knees. But still... Rick Santorum was in the Senate when Hastert was Speaker of the House: What did he know and when did he know it? Rand Paul's father served with Hastert in the House: Did Ron get Rand in on the cover-up? Ben Carson separated Siamese twins: Siam is in South-East Asia, where Hastert went on all those "fact-finding" visits...
1998 was, for Clinton, the Year of Monica. For the GOP, it was the Year of Three Speakers. After the blue dress and "I did not have sexual relations" and all the rest, Bill managed, in defiance of tradition, to gain seats in the 1998 midterms - and humiliated Newt, who quit immediately after. He was replaced by Bob Livingston, who self-detonated 20 minutes later and confessed live on the House floor to his own extra-marital affair before falling on his sword. Eschewing more provocative figures such as Tom DeLay or Dick Armey, Republicans turned to Denny Hastert for a quiet life.
So now all three Republican House Speakers from the Impeachment Era have been destroyed. And Slick Willie will be able to say that he was impeached for having consensual relations with a 21-year-old woman by a House led by a guy who had non-consensual relations with underage boys. That would be Impeachment Redemption at a most convenient time. When's the trial scheduled for? September 2016?
If that's where we're headed, it would be too much to expect the Democrat-media complex to forgo the pleasure of making the third most powerful Republican of the century the poster boy for his party.
I've been wondering what it would take to get Bill and Hillary over this awkward little bump on the road to her coronation. They've always been lucky like that...