Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dennis Hastert, Don Blakenship and the coddling of Conservative Criminals

Always note that Privilege means "Private Law". If you are rich, white, and conservative you can expect to get away with the most heinous of crimes, usually followed by a vigorous defense by the right-wing media. Additionally, you can always expect Republicans to rattle their sabres about how they are "tough on crime". But, it's as hollow and false as their so-called patriotism.

Republicans are weak on crime when said crime is committed by a member of the Right-Wing Club. Obviously, if the alleged criminal is poor, liberal, or a minority then expect conservatives to gleefully support violence, torture, and extra-judicial murder.

Dennis Hastert, abused at least 5 youths, during his tenure as a High School Coach. When "Coach" Hastert took over the Speakership of the Republican Party he gladly oversaw the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for a consensual adult sexual relationship. Hypocrite is too generous and kind of a word. Child Molesting Sexual Predator is more fitting. To which should be added convicted criminal.

The need for hush money to pay off his victims explains Hastert's Prairie Parkway real estate shenanigans, which netted "Coach" several million dollars from the $207 million federal grant he secured from President George W. Bush. Hastert apparently has been engaging in various criminal financial schemes to fund his hush money.

But, conservatives loved Hastert cause he undermined Democracy, with his "Hastert Rule". Even after the allegations began to surface and the heinous details emerged, conservatives took to the ramparts to denounce the extortion, because that's the "crime" they really cared about, and to rail about Big Bad Obama and his LIEbral Government "illegally" intruding on the private financial affairs of Dennis Hastert.

Don Blakenship, the Chief Executive Officer of Massey Energy, has spent decades buying Republicans. Because as a rich man he needed the ability to flout the law with impudence and be assured he would never be held accountable. Blakenship's purchase paid off when in 2004, a West Virginia Judge whom Blakenship owned ruled in his favor in vacating a 2002, $50 million dollar verdict against Massey Energy. So, egregious was this invocation of Privilege that the case went to the Supreme Court in 2009.
In the West Virginia case, Justice Kennedy wrote, there was “a serious, objective risk of actual bias.” Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin, the beneficiary of the coal executive’s spending, twice joined the majority in 3-to-2 decisions throwing out the $50 million jury verdict against the company, Massey Energy. 
In a series of decisions rejecting disqualification motions, Justice Benjamin said there was no objective reason to suggest he could not rule fairly in the case. 
Justice Kennedy said he did not doubt Justice Benjamin’s sincerity. “We do not question his subjective findings of impartiality and propriety,” Justice Kennedy wrote of the state court’s chief justice in Monday’s decision, Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Company, No. 08-22. “Nor do we determine whether there was actual bias.” 
The plaintiffs in the fraud case, several small mining companies, won the $50 million verdict in 2002, persuading a jury that they had been driven out of business by fraud committed by Massey. That company’s chief executive, Don L. Blankenship, spent about $3 million in 2004 to defeat an incumbent justice, Warren R. McGraw, a Democrat, and to elect his opponent, Mr. Benjamin, a Republican who is now the court’s chief justice.
On April 5, 2010 an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine owned by Massey Energy Resulted in a disaster which killed 29 coal miners. During Blakenship's 10 year reign as CEO of Massey Energy safety regulations were systematically ignored and undone in the pursuit of profits (Mine owner ran up serious violations, 495 violations last year alone.) Blakenship was just found guilty of one count of conspiring to violate mine safety regulations. Of course, deregulation is a core plank of the Republican Party. And predictably this gets zero coverage on Faux News while the only chatter in the epistemically closed right-wing internet is to decry the travesty of justice of convicting Blakenship.

Josh Marshall at TPM points out that when child molesting Dennis Hastert ascended to be Republican Speaker of the House during the right-wing Impeachment of Bill Clinton, the entire Republican leadership involved in those proceeding were all deep into sordid, tawdry, or criminal sex scandals. But, IOKIYAR.


Patricia said...

The amount of corruption is mind blowing in this land of the free to molest, kill and maim. These people literally get away with murder. What is it with these clowns that they need to molest children? It's disgusting. While the rest of us live in some parallel universe of surveillance and militarized police scrutinizing innocent people and these criminals can go undetected and undeterred for years.

Grung_e_Gene said...

To Patricia,

Not only get away with it Conservatives celebrate their Child Molesters. Matt Drudge defended Mark Foley for years that those 15/16 year old pages in the Senate were dressing provactively and asking for it. Sean Hannity, Faux News, and the entire right-wing internet lauds and loves admitted child molester Ted Nugent.

And why? Tribalism. Because they espouse the right politics. IOKIYAR, as long as you claim to be a conservative the wingnuts will defend you forever.

Interesting I watched the documentary Weiner at the True/False Film fest. Did you know he never had sex with any of the women he sexted. He was never in the same room with any of them. It was all digital and via cell phone videoes. Yet, conservatives acted OUTRAGED!!! while their ranks are filled with debauched perverts. Who as long as they proclaim I have sinned and ask forgiveness from Gawd they are allowed and encouraged to remain in office.