Bertolt Brecht, German poet, and Anacharsis the Scythian long before, said that (pardon my approximation) laws are like spider’s webs; they ensnare small, unwary things while larger things break through with ease. It is commentary on inequality of equal protection and application and seems a near, if imperfect, iron law of jurisprudence.
However, sometimes a larger thing, weakened by age or sin – even the old, fat spider himself – falls victim to his own weaving.
Last spring I devoted more than a few articles to the life and sordid times of former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. It seems that, like more than a few politicians, Hastert at one time favored the illicit company of young boys. Today I find the foul beswiker back in the news.
Rick McKee, Augusta Chronicle.
As you may recall Hastert was once a high school wrestling coach who engaged in “misconduct” with at least four of his underage male charges. Years later the coach and some of his victims reached an agreement whereby he would pay them restitution by way of hush money. Not wanting to draw attention to his affairs Hastert assembled the money via small withdrawals – thereby violating the Imperial criminal laws against “structuring”.
The former Speaker and lecherous leech now faces prison time. “Former speaker Dennis Hastert will learn on Wednesday [today] whether his stunning fall from grace will also include prison time for bank fraud that he committed as part of an effort to cover up an accusation of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.” USA Today, April 27, 2016.
Again, I must note that Hastert is in trouble not for abusing children but for abusing arbitrary banking laws imposed by a corrupt government. That government cares little to nothing for childhood innocence; it’s concentration is ever on protecting criminal bankers and on preserving its own power. Bank fraud, they’re calling it. The real fraud is in the banking system and the government that protects the banks. In other words, the state simply isn’t worth maintaining.
A great irony in this story is that Hastert himself once championed some of the very laws he is now accused of violating. The structuring laws were allegedly enacted to make life and operations more difficult for drug dealers and terrorists. As usual the original or stated intent was immediately expanded so as to probe the private actions of anyone and everyone.
Undoubtedly Hastert deserves prison time or worse but not for imagined banking irregularities. That he has been caught in his own web is fitting. He has suffered in other ways since his indictment.
After decades of silence, his real crimes have come to light. He has been unable to finish his payments under the hush agreements and has been sued by his victims for breach of contract. He supposedly suffered a stroke – and not the kind of stroke with which this filth was once accustomed. Perhaps worst of all, Denny has witnessed the changing times. Had he waited a few years or just been born later in time, his actions would have been permissable to a large segment of the population. Without fear of payments or prison he could have carried on his “lifestyle” in the comfort of a Target restroom.
Denny’s now adult victims, some of them, will have the opportunity long denied to testify today in federal court. The prosecution needs their statements to round out the details of the structured payment violations. One would hope the underlying details behind those payments will serve as aggravating circumstances and consideration for sentencing. Otherwise, the judge will be directed by sentencing guidelines concerning the relative harmlessness of the Speaker’s fraud and his status as a first offender with no other record. A wrist slap may be in order. Today will tell.
At any rate, there is still time for Hastert to repent if he hasn’t done so already. Thereby he may avoid real punishment worse than the millstone. As much as I ridicule him, I hope this is the case. By divine authority and Natural Law, individual sins may be forgiven; government malfeasance perhaps not.