Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Early Christmas

Tom DeLay’s lawyers all have some sort of scheduling conflict or another on December 20th so it seems that unlike the early Thanksgiving I received last week, there will be no early Christmas for me and the rest of us who have eagerly anticipated that date.

The day that Judge Pat Priest was scheduled to pronounce sentence on my former congressman and now convicted felon, Tom DeLay.

Really? All of them?

They all can’t make time to attend the sentencing of their most famous client?

Is this just an attempt to buy some time? I’m always a little suspicious about all things Tom DeLay.

But maybe I should cut Dick DeGuerin a little slack. When it was announced that sentencing would occur on December 20th, he probably didn’t know to take a look at his calendar then and there and mark it down. Then and there he would have noticed that he had a scheduling conflict and could have mentioned it to Judge Priest.

Then and there.

But then, we all now know that Dick DeGuerin is challenged by calendars. Like how he tripped himself up in court by not noticing what prosecutors did notice when they read his calendar. The calendar that revealed that Tom DeLay had a meeting scheduled with his staffer, Jim Ellis, just after Ellis received the FedEx package containing the check that Tom DeLay knew nothing, absolutely nothing about, for another 3 weeks.

Yep, that’s the ticket. DeGuerin is calendar-challenged.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Palin Hustles Houston

The Chron has the video but I have embedded it below. Incredibly, people waited in line for up to 18 hours for the opportunity to meet Sarah Palin – after shelling out some bucks to buy her latest book.

Watch the video and observe the glazed over look in the eyes of Palin’s patrons. These are the true loony birds who will make the 2012 elections the most fun since the last time Barack Obama won. Barack Obama won in 2008 because people were, among other things, scared fecesless over the prospect of Sarah Palin getting elected to any federal office, let alone to be the Vice President.

These are the people who vote for the lesser of us because they identify with them.

Small wonder.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tom DeLay on Crime and Getting Justice

I’ve been thinking (again) about what Judge Pat Priest should do in deciding how much, or how little time Tom DeLay needs to serve for his crimes against Texas and democracy in America. DeLay, you know, had a choice between letting the jury come up with a sentence should he be found guilty, and letting the judge do it. Clearly he figured the judge would be more lenient than the jury.

Priest, who is a visiting judge, and not subject to re-election, has a real opportunity here and cannot be retired by an irate conservative electorate. He can make the punishment fit the crime and suffer not a single second of political retribution.

So how should Judge Priest come to a decision? How much is too much or too little?

First, the judge should listen to DeLay’s take on his conviction. There is simply no remorse. He still denies that what he did was a crime. If Priest agrees with the jury, that DeLay went beyond what DeLay calls common practice in DC, then passing a sentence with some teeth in it may just jar the man back to reality.

And second, Judge Priest needs to know just what sort of person he is passing judgment on. And one way to do that is to listen to what he himself says about crime and getting justice in America. So I thought it might be instructive to search through the archives for quotable quotes uttered by Tom DeLay.

Hope it helps.

On a Florida Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore:

“Four justices of the Florida State Supreme Court have distorted the judicial process into nothing more than a mechanism for providing Mr. Gore with the victory he was unable to win November 7. This ruling not only contradicts, but assaults, the most basic principles of jurisprudence.”

ON CBS News decision to reveal documents alleging that Bush received special treatment during his time in the National Guard:

“I understand that people want to protect their sources, but we're dealing with the alleged forgery of government documents to influence a presidential race during war, ... This isn't politics as usual. It's dangerous and possibly criminal.”

On former District Attorney Ronnie Earle:

“Any partisan crackpot district attorney who might want to indict a member of our leadership.”

On being forgiven:

“Forgiveness does not absolve you from consequences.”

On criminal youth:

“The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills.”

“Our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who are evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup.”

On judges who make decisions he doesn’t like:

The judges need to be intimidated. They need to uphold the Constitution. (If they don't behave) we're going to go after them in a big way.

But perhaps the best Tom DeLay quote is not, in fact words from Tom DeLay at all, They are attributed to Mike Scanlan, Tom DeLay’s former aide. They more than anything should give Judge Priest an idea of what Tom DeLay thinks about crime and getting justice:

“This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS – not only do you kick him – you kick him until he passes out – then beat him over the head with a baseball bat – then roll him up in an old rug – and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below!!!!”

Words to live by.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

121 Months

I have revised upward my prediction for Tom DeLay’s sentence which will be pronounced by Judge Pat Priest on December 20th.

121 Months.

This is critical because as I found out today, if Judge Priest pronounces a sentence of less than 10 years (120 months) in prison DeLay will be entitled to stay free on bond while he appeals his sentence. An appeals process that has already begun at the 3rd Court of Criminal Appeals. A long drawn out process.

If it’s over 10 years in length off he goes to the slammer.

Off he goes to meet his cellmate, Tyrone.

So while Dick DeGuerin spends years and years in the appeals process, Tom DeLay can spend years and years teaching Tyrone how to tango.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not All Turkeys are Thanksgiving Turkeys

Not a Political Turkey. A real one.

I was very taken by the “Top Ten Political Turkeys” posting today at the Chron’s Texas on the Potomac blog. Taken because it summarized so well the races we all watched with wide-eyed incredulity as these turkeys made one blunder after another. I can't even say "Sharron Angle" without laughing.

However, I don’t agree with some of the picks because I think some of them are simply in a class of their own, and I am partisan by nature.

But I will concede that Martha Coakley, who lost her Senate race to Republican Scott Brown, a moderate conservative in an otherwise liberal state, did so with an unbelievably weak-kneed campaign against a guy who makes women’s hearts go pit-a-pat.

And Alan Grayson, who made those of us on the left grin with his bi-polar antics in Congress was just too polar for his Florida constituents, especially with his over-the-top “Taliban Dan” label that didn’t quite sit with them very well.

But that’s it. Russ Feingold was targeted by conservative PACs. His fate was sealed when Citizens United became the law of the land. And Bob Bennett can be as conservative as you want but when he did the right thing in voting for Bush’s TARP bill, he was done for in ultra-red Utah.

And putting Alvin Greene at the bottom of the list, behind Feingold, clearly shows a sense of misplaced priorities. Greene was a disaster. And while I doubt that Vic Rawls could have won in a race against Neoteabagger Jim DeMint, Greene’s candidacy clearly showed voter ignorance/apathy in that primary.

And I have to give a sigh of relief that one turkey never made the list, and never even captured national attention because this turkey was an embarrassment of cosmic proportions. The turkey to which I refer is none other than Kesha Rogers, the recent Democratic candidate seeking to oust Pete Olson from Tom DeLay’s old seat here in TX-22.

Kesha Rogers, with her cadre of LaRouchies mounted a laughable campaign against a well-funded DC Beltway insider. In this anti-Obama year, Rogers thought she had an edge on her opponent as she was the only one calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama, I guess for cutting back on the manned space program at NASA.

Or maybe because he is a puppet of the British monarchy. She believes that, too.

Kesha Rogers was such a nutcase that the SDEC, the executive committee that manages things between elections among other things, passed a special ruling that allowed Democratic Party members and party chairs to ignore her candidacy.

The fact that she garnered 28,783 votes in the General Election sickens me to no end. Admittedly these were ultimately straight ticket votes, but I also find it noteworthy that the under votes in that particular race were on the high side.

In Fort Bend County, 3,467 voters or nearly 4% of those who voted chose “none of the above” in the CD-22 race. This is even more significant if you look at the county-wide races where under votes for the down ballot races were on par with those in CD-22 which is but 1 of 3 congressional districts in Fort Bend. And the CD-22 race was at the very top of the ballot.

The inevitable conclusion is that there were more than just a few of us straight ticket voters who deselected the Democratic candidate on a ballot with the CD-22 race on it.

So while we can be thankful that this turkey never made it in the news in any significant way, not coming even close to how the media has covered the guilty verdict in the trial of our Tom Turkey, former congressman Tom DeLay, we can also be thankful in the small victory that so many voters were turned off by the LaRouchite. A “Democratic” candidate who was so far from being a Democrat that Ron Paul looks like a flaming liberal in comparison.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On This Thanksgiving . . .

Let us give thanks to former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle and his steadfast efforts to bring the criminal felon Tom DeLay to justice. I voted for Earle in the primary in his run to be the candidate for Lieutenant Governor mainly based on this righteous work.

And yes we “libruls” are crowing today as we did yesterday because victory is sweet. Nick Lampson, who tried his darnedest to run against DeLay in 2006, except ol’ Tom cut and run earlier that same year had some choice words in an email that he sent to all of his former supporters. Here is an excerpt:
“In the pursuit of power and with disregard for our democracy, Tom Delay damaged Texas and this country in a way that will be felt for years to come. This decision makes it clear that justice can still be delivered and we must do everything in our ability to assure abuses of our electoral system do not happen again.”
So then what about all of his supporters? What are they saying now? The Chronicle tried to get the reaction of Lampson’s successor, Republican Congressman Pete Olson, but all they could raise was the sound of crickets.

Republican Party Chair, Rick Miller, was a little more verbose:
“[I am] surprised and a little bit shocked. But the trial was in Austin and that's not necessarily good territory for Tom and this case.
Looking around for more pro-DeLay statements, however, is a fruitless task. People are curiously quiet and in that there is a message – Republicans are not willing to throw Tom DeLay under a bus - - - yet.

Just about the only other words of support for Tom DeLay came from DeLay himself when he said this to a reporter:
“I'm not going to blame anyone. This is an abuse of power. … and I still maintain that I am innocent. The criminalization of politics undermines our system.”

And yes, Tom is not alone in professing his innocence. Texas state prisons are full of men and women who all maintain that they are innocent. But in that last sentence DeLay almost gets it right. But here is what he should have said to get it completely and exactly correct: The criminals in politics undermine our system.

So in the appeals process, let’s just see if that is still true.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DeLay Gets Hammered: Guilty on Both Counts

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty
My former congressman Tom “The Hammer” DeLay now has a felony conviction on his criminal record. Just minutes ago the jury found Tom DeLay guilty of money laundering and guilty of conspiracy. For these crimes, Tom DeLay faces life in prison.

From the Austin American-Statesman:

“He faces a possible sentence of 5-99 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine on the money laundering charge, and 2-20 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine on the conspiracy charge.”

How the jury went from being dumber than a bag of hammers asking the judge for a definition of “money fraud” to brilliant rocket scientists for seeing the truth in DeLay’s crimes, I’ll never figure out but I now have something to be thankful for tomorrow.

Now I don’t know if the judge will actually sentence DeLay to some time inside, I think it would be totally appropriate though. But whatever he decides it won’t be bad enough unless he also sentences DeLay to write personal letters of apology to every retired teacher in America who has been denied some or all of their social security, money that they worked for, because he sat on the bill to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision year after year.

My prediction: 5 years, out in 2. I’ll take whatever I can.

“It is as expedient that a wicked man be punished as that a sick man be cured by a physician; for all chastisement is a kind of medicine.”


Money Fraud

In the money laundering trial of Tom DeLay a lot of stuff was presented to 12 people whose job it was to put it all together in some semblance of order and then come to a decision on whether a law has been broken.

That’s a tall order for 12 people who are probably unaware of how this case has raged on for 5 years now (or they would never have been allowed on the panel). But now we see that the jury, or maybe just one juror, one confused juror, one confused and brain-addled juror, one confused brain-addled but vocal juror, wants a term defined for them that defies definition because it really isn’t a term at all.

The jury wanted Judge Pat Priest to define for them the term “money fraud.”

Money fraud.

So I googled it. And no, there is no standalone term money fraud. 

There are all sorts of fraud. There’s mail fraud, there’s election fraud, but there is no such thing as money fraud.

The judge was a little put out by the question it seems. It appears that the jury has left the trail and has decided to try its own case, coming up with new terms like money fraud in the process. So it comes as no surprise that the judge sent back to them this rather tersely worded reply:
“I'm afraid you may be getting away from the decisions you must make.”

Gee, do ya think?

This may turn out to be the most anticlimactic trial whose pre-trial positioning I have been following for 5 years now. We finally get to trial and it finally goes to the jury only to find out that the jury is dysfunctional. Probably because of one lone juror.

I smell a rat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Confusion Reigns Supreme in the Jury Room

So the jurors who are now engaged in determining if Tom DeLay is guilty of money laundering and conspiracy seem to be confused. This is obvious to me in the nature of their questions sent out to Judge Pat Priest.

Question: “Can it constitute money laundering if the money wasn't procured by illegal means originally?”

That’s two negatives in the sentence so I will translate:

“Can it constitute money laundering if the money was procured by legal means originally?”


Does someone think that money laundering takes place only with illegally acquired money? Did someone completely miss the point? Is someone simply confused?

Dick DeGuerin hit the nail on the head in his evaluation of the question:
“It shows the confusion. ... There was no crime, It's a very good sign”
I’ll say. Confusion reigns supreme in the jury room.

They’re so confused that they even asked the judge the same question again worded in another way.

It seems that while we have 12 jurors deciding DeLay’s fate, they seem to have half a brain to share between them.

Well at least Tom DeLay is truly getting a trial judged by his peers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Jury Now Owns Tom DeLay

The defense rested last week and the prosecution and defense wrapped up with their final arguments in the money laundering trial of former Dancing With the Stars contestant Tom DeLay today.

And oh, yes, former congressman.

Hopefully soon-to-be former free man.

But I have my doubts. Judge Pat Priest, who appeared to be more of a help than a hurt to the prosecution gave the jury too little latitude in deciding whether a conspiracy existed with Tom DeLay one of the conspirators.

In his charge to the jury, Judge Priest said this:
“Likewise, participation in a conspiracy cannot be proven merely by the fact that a person knew of a conspiracy and was associated with or in the presence of persons involved in the conspiracy.”
Well that pretty much was the prosecution’s case. That Tom DeLay knew of the conspiracy beforehand. Knew about it and did nothing.

It’s just like saying that if you know that your best friend or co-worker is conspiring to kill his wife, then does it, and you do nothing to prevent it, that makes you maybe morally culpable, but not guilty of participation in the conspiracy.

It’s a fine line, and Judge Priest definitely crossed it.

It is also reported at the Chron that half the jury wore black today on the final day of the trial. While the hope is that the jury was dressing for Tom DeLay’s funeral, it could also be that they were dressing in mourning of the death of modern democracy.

I sure would if I were on the jury.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Teabaggers Oppose Food Safety Modernization Act

This was flying right under my radar until a friend alerted me to some viral email that is being circulated around the country. I don’t usually get to hear about these extremists.

Here is an excerpt from the email:
“THE FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act! Will be voted on soon! This bill is perhaps the most dangerous far reaching bill in our history! If S 510 becomes law it would preclude the right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat every food made by nature! Your right to grow and consume your own food...GONE! Home gardens, patio gardens, ability to store or own seeds, food supplements, farming as we know it....GONE! The Dept of Homeland Security, DOD, WTO, UN, WHO, FAO will have complete control over your food! And if caught growing your own food.....felony! Yep! Lock you up!”
Yep. Lock you up.

Nuttier than squirrel poop.

Here is what is true.

Apparently the Senate is poised to pass S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. This act will increase federal authority over food that is grown and raised, transported and then sold in markets and restaurants around the country. It will regulate food that is imported from other countries.

It will ensure, in short, that food is safe to eat.

This bill was a natural reaction to the increase in occurrences of food poisoning by Salmonella bacteria and other things that can make you sick. Here in Texas a local peanut butter processing plant spread Salmonella in its product, and people I know got sick from it. It was later found that the State of Texas not only had never inspected the plant, it was never licensed by state health authorities.

So when the state falls on its keester and fails to protect Texans from unsanitary food preparation practices, someone has to step up.

The trouble is this has rung the collective bells of Teabaggers and other Libertarians who oppose government regulation in general, and government regulation of the food supply in particular.

It stimulates their paranoia glands.

Now here is the curiosity. The Food Safety Modernization Act is fully supported by agri-business. They welcome the regulation. And as it turns out for a reason. Not only will it regulate agri-business, but apparently small-scale farms as well. And this is what has the Teabaggers so enraged. So enraged that they spread their own set of facts out on the internet.

Now, I am told, because I looked it up, that S 510 has been amended by the so-called Tester-Hagen Amendment that exempts “small potatoes” farmers from the regulatory aspects of the bill. Farmers that make less then 500 large per year selling their crops to grocers and restaurants would be exempt. The amendment is, for now, included in the bill.

But here’s the thing: agri-business is somewhat enraged over the Tester-Hagen Amendment specifically because the “small potatoes” farmer that they have been trying to push out of business since McCormick invented his reaper is protected, and exempted by this amendment.

And now we know why agri-business was so anxious for this new regulation to be heaped on them.

So that’s why I say that the amendment is part of the bill “for now.” Let’s see what side of the fence the Senate really is sitting on. The side of the fence of people who are sick and tired of getting sick by an unregulated industry, or the side of the fence of people who want to see the family farm become a thing for history books.

I am characteristically pessimistic.

SBOE Resolution to Nullify Federal Education Department

Cynthia Dunbar, who declined to run for re-election to her spot on the state school board, and who fancies herself a constitutional scholar, has decided that the legacy that she would like to leave behind at the SBOE should be nothing less than the nullification of the federal Department of Education.

“Outgoing State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar offered a “parting gift” to her fellow board members in the form of a resolution declaring the U.S. Department of Education an unconstitutional bureaucracy with no authority to impose restrictions upon Texas or its school districts.”

An unconstitutional bureaucracy.

Unconstitutional because it’s not in the constitution.

Now, there is a difference, I think, between being unconstitutional and being, for want of a better term, non-constitutional. Cynthia Dunbar, being an assistant professor of law at the Liberty University School of Law, a law school by and for Christians, should know this, too.

Unconstitutional means that the thing or the act runs counter to what we read in the constitution. Like how full body pat downs at airline terminals is unconstitutional in that it violates a 4th amendment guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure.

Non-constitutional means that it isn’t found in the constitution.

There are lots and lots of things that we don’t find in the constitution. You know, like banks. The word “bank” is not to be found in the constitution. But we don’t hear about Cynthia Dunbar’s opposition to banks because she can’t find the word, not once, in the constitution.

But probably the most glaring of all omissions, because the constitution does enumerate the branches of the military, is the fact that there is no mention of the Air Force in our United States Constitution. The framers clearly meant our country to have a standing Army as well as a Navy (and by their association, a Marine Corps) when they specified that the President was “commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states,” but never once is there mention of an Air Force.

According to Cynthia Dunbar then, because there is no mention of the term “Air Force” in the constitution that makes the Air Force unconstitutional.

Well, it seems that the school board won’t be meeting before the newly elected board members meet this January, so Dunbar will not be able to participate in the vote to adopt her resolution. That honor will go to her successor, Dr. Marsha Farney, and that is just fine with me. A vote for or against this idiotic resolution should be a bellwether for how the newly constituted school board, a board minus the presence of Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar, will function.

Or not.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Witnesses Who Didn’t Testify at Tom DeLay’s Trial

The defense rested last Thursday in the money laundering trial of Tom DeLay, my former congressman, without fanfare or farewell. I was somewhat startled at the paucity of witnesses who were offered up to rise to the defense of DeLay. But judging from the colossal blunder of Dick DeGuerin last week in offering up evidence that only served to cook Tom’s goose a little more thoroughly than the prosecution meant to, perhaps the less said the better.

But there were two witnesses that I was mightily expecting to see on the stand before the defense rested, and neither of them showed up.

Who are these promised witnesses? Tom DeLay and God.

Tom DeLay won’t speak in his own defense. Now I know DeLay (well, not really, but I know someone who does) and I know that this is not his idea at all. Tom DeLay is all about shooting his mouth off. It is at the very core of his being. Heck, they even put a reporter on the stand to give testimony to a 96 second interview outside the courtroom earlier. Testimony to verify that Tom DeLay was again shooting his mouth off about how he could have prevented the RNC from giving the funds to his seven named State House candidates.

And didn’t.

No, this was strategy. DeGuerin finally realized that the less said in this trial in the defense of DeLay, the better.

But why didn’t Tom get his good ol’ buddy God to testify? He said he would. He did. He said that when he gave his farewell speech in the House back in June of 2006. This, among other things were said in that vast rambling speech that can be read here:
“Here on this floor, I have caught and thrown spears of every sort. Over the course of 22 years, I've probably worked with and against almost everyone in this chamber at least once. I have scraped and clawed for every vote, every amendment, for every word of every bill that I believed in my heart would protect human freedom and defend human dignity. I have done so at all times honorably and honestly, Mr. Speaker, as God is my witness and history is my judge.”

See? Tom DeLay named God to be on his witness list. But no God. No Jesus, and not even one of His angels came to testify for Tom DeLay.

So not only did Tom DeLay not give testimony at his own trial, because Dick DeGuerin told him not to, but God was a no-show as well.

Maybe God figured that if He couldn’t help Tom in his defense, He probably shouldn’t take the stand on the off-chance that He might also hurt the case.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Making It

Did you see the short You Tube video of a squirrel trying to jump from a fence to the roof of a garage? It’s hilarious and instructive of how one should never attempt a line of sight leap through the air because gravity does have a say in your trajectory.

The You Tube clip’s sound track needed improvement however, which is what I did before reloading it at the website.

The symbology of the clip is appropriate to my coverage of all things Tom DeLay as he was being tried for money laundering this week in Austin. Like the squirrel, Tom DeLay disregarded a law that was put there for a reason. In his case, the law was put there to prevent people from buying elections. In the squirrel’s case, the law was put there to prevent people, the squirrel, and everything else, from flying off the face of the earth at over 600 meters per second.

Gravity. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Tom Didn’t Know

As promised, Tom DeLay’s hotshot big-dollar lawyer Dick DeGuerin produced Tom DeLay’s calendar so that he could prove unequivocally that Tom DeLay didn’t know about the democracy subverting dollar swap with the RNC on September 13, 2002. DeLay didn’t know about it because he wasn’t there.

Quod erat demonstratum.

One would think. Prosecutors pounced and turned the calendar back two pages and pointed at a September 11 appointment showing that Jim Ellis was in a meeting just after receiving a Fed Ex shipment that consisted of the blank check that would draw on TRMPACs corporate account. The check that he would hand over to the RNC two days later.

What was that meeting doing on Tom DeLay’s calendar?

DeGuerin missed that one.

Some hotshot lawyer.

Recovering, DeGuerin got two former aides to testify that DeLay wouldn’t have been sitting in on that meeting. “That would not necessarily have been a meeting for Tom,” one of them testified.

Maybe not. Maybe not.

So then why write it down in his calendar?

The aide replied that the meeting probably was on DeLay's schedule so he would know it was going on.

So here’s my question. Why would Tom DeLay need to know that a meeting was going on but not what was going on in the meeting? That makes no sense at all.

But getting back to Dick DeGuerin and a quote from one of my favorite films of all time, “My Cousin Vinny,” Dick DeGuerin, win some lose some.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When the Judge Argues for the Prosecution . . .

You might as well pack it in.

Today, as the prosecution was resting its case against Tom DeLay in his much anticipated money laundering trial, they got what I think might have been some unexpected help from an unanticipated corner of the room.

The judge.

Dick DeGuerin, Tom DeLay’s big dollar lawyer, in making his case for how the prosecution hadn’t made theirs, suggested that what Tom DeLay is being tried for is done all the time in Washington, and it’s OK. And it’s not only OK because it’s done all the time, it’s OK because it isn’t illegal.

Here is what he said:

“‘A person cannot become a conspirator unless he knows it is a conspiracy.’ DeGuerin said under the election laws of the time, both Democrats and Republicans made similar swaps of money all the time. ‘We're not saying it's O.K. because everybody did it. We're saying everybody did it because it was O.K.’”
Judge Pat Priest, who is a “visiting judge” in this case, a visiting judge with some actual background in the case as he made some rulings on pretrial motions as much as 5 years ago, I guess, couldn’t sit still and let that pass without comment. So he let DeGuerin have it with both barrels.

“Priest told him what made this case different was that Ellis gave then-RNC Political Director Terry Nelson a list of specific candidates who were supposed to receive non-corporate money in exchange for the deposit of corporate money with the RNC. ‘That agreement is what this lawsuit is about,’ Priest said.”

In short, what makes this case different was that there was a quid pro quo. Money changed hands and deal was made. The RNC was told what to do with the money that they got from TRMPAC as a donation to the conservative cause. When you do that, the intent of the donation – and therefore the conspiracy – is clear.

Clarity made crystal by Laylin Copelin, an Austin journalist who was one of the last to take the stand in the prosecution’s case. Copelin testified that DeLay told him in a 2005 interview that while he had learned of the money swap deal only after it was done, words that have been challenged by DeLay’s own voice on tape, even so, there was time after that alleged date to stop the RNC from issuing the checks to the seven Republican candidates per DeLay’s instructions. There was time, but he didn’t do it.

DeGuerin will say that he didn’t stop them from issuing the checks because they had done nothing wrong in the first place. Coming back full circle to Judge Priest’s observation: the difference here is that the RNC was given specific instructions about who to donate money to.

That is textbook conspiracy.

I can hear the jailer jingling his keys.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DeLays’s TRMPAC Spent Money It Didn’t Have

Well the prosecution in the Tom DeLay money laundering trial is about to rest its case, I hear. Today another nail was driven in the coffin that represents Tom DeLay’s future freedom of movement with the testimony of a “forensic accountant.”

That’s an interesting term, forensic accountant. Interesting because usually you see the term forensics used in a scientific investigation of evidence in a crime. This is the equivalent in the world of dollars and sense (or should I say nonsense?).

The forensic accountant, Marshall Vogt, pored over the accounting records of TRMPAC and asked some very important and pointed questions?

From the Austin American-Statesman:
“Why would a political committee that intended to function beyond the 2002 elections donate money it didn’t have to a larger, better-financed organization?”
Why indeed?

TRMPAC had two separate accounts, one containing contributions from individuals and one containing contributions from corporations. The check that Jim Ellis gave to the RNC was drawn on the corporate account. It was corporate money. But it gets even better than that.

According to the accountant, there weren’t enough funds in the account to cover the $190,000 check. It would have bounced had not John Colyandro made a personal loan of $40,000 to the PAC.

Why give a check for more money than the account contained to the RNC, an arguably better funded money raising organization than TRMPAC? Did it have to do with party building? Was TRMPAC just a flash in the pan temporary PAC meant to go out of business when it’s funds were all spent for the 2002 elections?

Did it have to do with the fact that 7 state rep seats needed to be picked up so Tom DeLay could have a second congressional redistricting party when his party won the majority in the mid-term elections?

Is this a trial about a crime committed or politics being committed? Frankly, yes, it’s about both. The irony is that in 2002 this was a felony punishable by up to a life sentence, now we live in a world where this is not only commonplace, but applauded as an exercise in freedom – that corporations have as much right to buy elections as anyone else.

I have the answer. It has been there all along. It’s still the law of the land that only US citizens may donate to campaigns, foreigners aren’t supposed to, at least not legally. It’s right there in the 14th Amendment that a citizen of the United States is born in this country or is naturalized.

Corporations are neither.

So, OK, let’s let corporations be people. They can be people. They just can’t be Americans.

No “Constitutional Republican” could hardly disagree.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Money Laundering for Drug Kingpins 101; And About That Bus . . .

If drug dealers want to find out how to make their dirty drug money clean drug money, they need not look further than today’s testimony at Tom DeLay’s money laundering trial.

Today, the defense had former GOP chief financial officer Jay Banning on the stand defending Tom DeLay’s methodology. Banning swore up and down that the $190,000 that went to seven Republican state house candidates in checks ranging between $20,000 and $40,000 did not come from the same account that they deposited a check for $190,000 from Tom DeLay’s TRMPAC fundraising organization.

It came from a different account altogether.

“‘The bottom line is the money that came to these Texas candidates was not the same $190,000 that’ DeLay's PAC sent to the Republican National Committee, asked Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's lead attorney. ‘That's correct,’ replied Banning, who testified before the prosecution has finished its case because of a scheduling conflict that would have prevented him from appearing later.”
This ridiculous assertion, that money in one hand taken in cannot be equated to money in another hand given out, was immediately challenged by prosecuting attorney Beverly Mathews, who got a little too cute in her analogies. Not that I mind at all.

“‘If a drug dealer gave the Republican National Committee $100,000 of drug money and asked the Republican National Committee to put it into a different account ... could the RNC put the money into a different account and turn around and send that money back to Texas candidates?’”
No word on what Banning’s answer was.

Now here’s the other thing I noticed. This scheduling conflict that prevents Banning from coming in to testify when the testimony is needed most, in rebuttal to the prosecution’s case, is suspicious. I wonder given that this testimony is clearly not given at its most optimal time, but is, rather, buried in the prosecution’s presentation, is a signal that the RNC is ready to throw ol’ Tom under the bus. That they manufactured this schedule conflict so they would testify at a very inconvenient time for DeLay’s defense.

There may be nothing to it, but I am suspicious by nature and tend not to believe in coincidences.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Texas to Opt Out of Medicaid?

The very notion of opting out of one of the largest government health services program seems crazy on the face of it. No way, I would have said before November 2nd. But now that we know the count, and what the numbers are in state house and senate, it seems this, too, is possible.

In so-doing, Texas would be turning up its nose at $16.6 billion in federal dollars.

Rick Perry thinks it’s a fabulous idea.

So does State Rep Warren Chisum (R - Wackoville) who has said this:

“Too much of taking money with strings attached is just not good for the people.”

This has precedence. Last year Rick Perry passed on collecting $555 million in federal dollars to help pay unemployment to thousands of out of work Texans because the funds came with strings attached. So turning down sixteen billion dollars in federal money with strings attached seems not so big a reach.

Chisum said that his good ol’ buddy John Zerwas agrees with him and actually got some legislation passed last year to study the idea. Zerwas, who is a gas passer (an anesthesiologist) is probably the last one in the capitol building who wants to see Medicaid go bye-bye. My guess is that he wanted the study to get done so that these yayhoos could see what a truly bad idea the whole notion is.

That’s my guess, anyway. This is what he actually said:

“Zerwas said that looking seriously at opting out would be ‘a good exercise for us to go through’ but that it wasn't his study that put the idea on the table. ‘Opting out really comes from national and statewide think tanks’ such as the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, he said.”
And Zerwas knows that opting out would be a disaster for the medical services industry in Texas, and not just for those who receive Medicaid benefits.

Because if you think the medical industry will just shrug its shoulders at the loss $16 billion and bring their collective belts in another notch or two, you have truly been drinking the kool-aid.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

DeLay: Texans are “Inarticulate and clumsy”

Tom DeLay explained to reporters how he “misspoke” when he revealed to an Assistant DA that he knew the “soft cash for hard cash” money exchange was about to happen, because Jim Ellis told him so, because of “Texas vernacular.”

You know, the Texas vernacular in the sentence answering the question “Did (Ellis) indicate why he was telling you about that?”

To which DeLay replied:

“I think because it was - it's such a large amount of money, he wanted to make sure that - that I knew it was - that it was happening.”
The Texas vernacular in that sentence.

But I have to say, that’s how we all talk in California, too. I don’t see a single “he’s all hat and no cattle” in that. There’s no “he’s fixin’ ta gittaholdayew” or anything even remotely like that.

In this article, Tom further explains what he means by “Texas vernacular:” “Inarticulate and clumsy.”

Is he kidding?

Did Tom DeLay just label the 20 million people in his home state of Texas as “inarticulate and clumsy?” That it’s not just him that is inarticulate and clumsy, but everyone else in his state as well.

This is wrong on just so many levels, but the level that I’d like to address here is to defend “the Texas vernacular” as anything else than inarticulate and clumsy. As a foreigner to these parts, I am often amused by the clever turn of a phrase that arises from the Texas vernacular. Phrases that say so much more than the words do.

Like these time-honored Texas sayings:

"Never ask a man if he's from Texas. If he is, he'll tell you on his own. If he ain't, no need to embarrass him."
"Evil thoughts are like chickens--they come home to roost."
"You can always tell a Texan, but you can't tell him much."
"Tend to your own rat killin'."
"That’s good enough to make a rabbit spit in a bulldog's face."
"If you've done it, it ain't braggin'."
"That's tellin' him how the cow ate the cabbage."

So having now disparaged every man, woman and child in Texas as being inarticulate and clumsy on top of everything else Tom DeLay has done to CD-22, Texas, and America, when Tom DeLay receives his life sentence for his crimes I’m going to be as happy as a gopher in soft dirt.