In my Hastert La Vista, Baby! column, I mentioned that Bill Clinton has belatedly cleaned up his Monica problem: The 42nd President was impeached for lying about not having sexual relations with a 21-year-old female by a House led by a guy who'd had sexual relations with an underage boy. Orin Kerr notes that it's worse than that:
If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.
I owe the Democrats an apology. In the impeachment era, their defense of Clinton was - all together now - "Everybody does it." At the time, I mocked them for this. But they knew our political culture better than I. When it comes to Republican House Speakers, 100 per cent did, indeed, do it. This would seem to be statistically improbable, but as Robert Stacy McCain says:
Our nation's ruling elite is decadent and depraved
François Mitterand died in 1996, and you might recall that at his funeral his wife and children and his mistress and their daughter all stood together, all very French, all very civilized. (His French mistress, I should say. If memory serves, his Swedish mistress and their eight-year-old son did not attend.) And, bemoaning their fellow Americans' tediously parochial obsession with "distinguishing characteristics" and "Touch it!" and "You might want to put some ice on that", Democrat Europhiles used to sigh, "Oh, why can't we be more like the French?" Which somewhat overlooks the fact that if Clinton's funeral operated to the same protocols as Mitterand's it'd be the biggest windfall for DC charter-bus operators since the Million Man March.
That aside, I used to object back then that a culture of sexual corruption never stops with sex. It's because the French press never report any of the trouser-dropping that they never report any of the bribes and kickbacks, either. (In his book The History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, Andrew Roberts remarked en passant that the two most corrupt jurisdictions in North America were Quebec and Louisiana.)
So I think R S McCain is right: "decadent and depraved." And, if you can have any girl or boy you want, why not just have anything you want? The repulsive Hastert was an entirely typical member of the bipartisan kleptocracy: When he arrived in Washington in 1987, his net worth was a couple hundred grand. After two decades on a salary varying from $77,000 as a freshman Congressman to 200K as Speaker and simultaneously putting his kids through college, he left Congress in 2007 with a net worth of $6 million.
How'd that happen? Well, he bought some cheap swamp land in the middle of nowhere, and by happy coincidence a $207 million earmark for a brand new highway got tacked on to a federal transportation bill at the last minute and the worthless swamp was suddenly worth a gazillion dollars.
A life in American "public service" is not yet as lucrative as it was in the upper echelons of Saddam's Iraq or is today in Putin's Russia, but it is still disgusting - and that's before the American people return to the White House a couple who demand a genuine charity ponies up to their fake charity before they'll agree to pick up a lifetime achievement award, and who managed to get the Nigerians to pay $700,000 for a leaden yawneroo of a speech nobody remembered ten minutes after it ended in return for ...well, something, presumably. But we're told not to worry, there's no quid pro quo, which would make Bill and Hillary the first guys on the planet who've figured out how to scam the Nigerians.
~All that said, Hastert, while undoubtedly a repellent and loathsome creature, does not appear to have committed what we used quaintly to call a "crime". If he was indeed rogering his way through Yorkville, that's the State of Illinois' jurisdiction, and as far as they're concerned it's beyond the statute of limitations. You can disagree about whether we ought to have those: In paedo-crazed Britain, if a BBC disc-jockey groped some schoolgirl in 1969, he'll be dragged into court and jailed. But, as a point of - what's the word? - law, in Illinois he can't be.
Is it illegal to pay money to an extortionist? No.
Is it illegal to withdraw sums of $10,000 or more from your bank? No - not even under America's insanely repressive banking regime. You can do it perfectly legally as long as the bank reports it.
Is it illegal to withdraw sums of $9,999 or less from your bank? Ah, well, now you're on to something. The laws on "structuring" were supposedly introduced in order to catch ne'er-do-wells withdrawing funds in discreetly small amounts to fund terrorism or drug deals. But, as is the way, the law is now used to torment law-abiding citizens - storekeepers guilty of nothing other than depositing the maximum amount of cash their insurer will cover ...or sleazebag congressmen lawfully paying off a blackmailer.
The criminal here is the extortionist. But one gathers from the way he is referred to in the indictment as "Individual A" that the feds won't be leaking his name and he won't be charged because he's agreed to cooperate. As Alan Dershowitz said, the government has essentially joined forces with the blackmailer and become part of the blackmail. A guy extorting $3.5 million goes scot-free in order to convict a guy for withdrawing too many sums of nine grand from his bank account.
Nobody who values the integrity of the justice system ought to be comfortable with that. Federal laws are poorly drafted (by idiots like Hastert) and metastasize with every passing year: The thug senator from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse, now wants to use RICO organized-crime laws to prosecute and jail climate-change "deniers". (I won't even bother to note that the only organized-crime racket here is on the other side: it was their fellow climate-change alarmist Professor Mohib Latif who memorably referred to the Climategate mob as "a kind of Mafia".)
This is not to say that Hastert is not an utterly repulsive creature and, if the allegations are true, someone who deserves every torment with which he can be afflicted. But this is the equivalent of nailing Al Capone because he forgot to put his W2 in with his tax return. It's all very clever getting somebody on technicalities, but it turns a land of law into a land of legalisms. It's entirely appropriate for public outrage to hound Hastert into obscurity, but to charge him with a pseudo-crime simply for the satisfaction of the attendant public humiliation is a use of state power I would be reluctant to encourage.
And to go back to Mr McCain's point: legal technicalities are no substitute for morality, and ultimately a subversion thereof.
~My column on British Columbia's litigious transgender middle-schooler brought in a ton of mail, some of which we'll try to run in the days ahead. D C Alan writes, appropriately, from DC:
The fascinating thing about "sexual orientation" and "gender-identity" is that NO ONE ACTUALLY BELIEVES ANY OF IT. Morgane Oger doesn't really believe it; barbara findlay doesn't believe it; Dan Savage, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and GLADD don't actually believe any of it...and, yet, everyone has to play along with it (or else!). Why???
You have hit the nail on the head: "[A]fter the abolition of biology, what can't be redefined?" The anti-rational, relativistic, totalitarian Left knows that if you can get people to believe this stuff, then there is nothing that you cannot get them to accept. If such outlandish premises and assumptions about biological nature become a part of the conventional wisdom, then there is little about human nature that will appear so outrageous. By manipulating the citizenry into screaming at each other about "gender" (and "race"), then they are distracted and diverted from the genuine tyranny taking shape in the economic spheres - none of which will be recognized for the danger that it is by the confused collective mindset.
What is truly malevolent is how many people the Left is willing to exploit - including 12-year-olds - in order to foist all of this on us.
Oh, by the way: You quote Morgane Oger: "[I]f you want to find out somebody's gender, you ask them and you can ask them to declare it." How universal is the right to "declare"? For example, if someone declares in reply to a particular declaration, "That's horsespit" - will this be equally acceptable to the vast state apparatus?
Oh, and also by the way: Will next year's Summer Olympics still be operating under such discriminatory distinctions as "men's" and "women's" sports?
Oh, and further by the way: It ain't just B.C. - the federal Trudeaupians have this on the front burner, too.
Anyway, this is not the type of story that gets much coverage in the "mainstream media", so for bringing it to our attention, thanks...I guess.
D C Alan
I pay attention to these stories because ultimately they're far more important than whether Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush is ahead in Iowa. As to whether or not the proponents believe a word of it, it's certainly true that they believe whatever suits their needs at the time: To the progressive totalitarians, "gender" is a social construct, so feel free to change your sex, but "sexual orientation" is immutable, so don't even think of changing your orientation, because we've passed a law telling you to cut out all that pray-away-the-gay stuff. The Vagina Monologues is so last millennium because of its transphobic exclusion of women with penises so it's now déclassé author is frantically writing in scenes featuring non-ciswomen ...but, if a WASP sings "La Cucaracha" on American Idol, that's cultural appropriation.