The perfect villain

Poor Dennis Hastert.  He picked the wrong country to get born into.

1.  He picked a Puritan state in a Puritan country with a higher age of consent than any European country, save Ireland, Cyprus and Turkey.

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2.  He picked a country where (according to Politico) the GOP cares so little for the lives of blacks and gays that it won’t lift a finger to stop a needle/HIV epidemic until it starts hitting Red State voters.

3.  He picked a country where the Dems think it’s a crime to frequently withdraw $5000 in cash from your own bank account, and use the cash for perfectly legal activities.

4.  He picked a country where voters have so much faith in law enforcement that they make it a crime to lie to police, even to cover up an embarrassing personal scandal.

5.  He picked a country where people are obsessed over any sex where there is a “power imbalance.”

PS.  Attention commenters; I’m offering no editorial comment, just describing things as they are.  If you don’t like the post, don’t blame me, change America.



16 Responses to “The perfect villain”

  1. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    31. May 2015 at 15:31

    Hastert was a teacher, who seemed to have had a sexual relationship with one of his students. Under the Lanzarote Convention such behaviour is illegal in any country of the EU. The age of consent is not relevant in this case because the Lanzarote Convention protects everyone under the age of 18. The abuse seems to have happend long time ago so limitation of time would run in Hastert’s favor. But nevertheless his political career would be over, too. And rightly so.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. May 2015 at 15:54

    Christian, Good point, and this apparently was a high school student. But most college students are over the age of 18–does the Lanzarote Convention not protect them?

  3. Gravatar of Chuck Chuck
    31. May 2015 at 16:17

    Spain! (I wonder if I’m on a watch list now)

    Eliot Spitzer got caught for the same reason. Moving money around in a manner deemed unacceptable by our overlords.

    Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to the Feds.

    America. Land of the slave. Home of the meek.

    Also, those FIFA people are super-duper evil. I’m glad the justice department is finally going after real criminals.

  4. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    31. May 2015 at 16:55

    Scott is right on this one. Gays exist in every extended family if you search the family tree (as anybody who has gone to a large family reunion knows). Here in the Philippines I’ve seen mothers and baby sitters lightly squeeze the genitals of a baby to placate them–in the USA the police would be called. The Puritan mania over the body in the USA is also expressed in the taboo (and sometime crime) of breast feeding in public, ridiculous. And this part of the NY Times article was right on point, tongue-in-cheek (also taboo in the States): “Mr. Dyche said Mr. Hastert “ruled his program with a calm but firm hand.” ‘ – a firm hand indeed! The USA will get what it deserves, as the French predicted: a rise, a plateau and a fall in economic growth but with no worthy culture to speak of. A modern Rome but without the left behind roads and aqueducts.

  5. Gravatar of James Hanley James Hanley
    31. May 2015 at 17:01

    Re: #3. As I understand it, it appears to be Patriot Act provisions under which he’s being charged, which passed the House overwhelmingly under his Speakership. So I’m not clear why you’re poking at just the Dems on that. That appears to be implicit editorializing, contra your PS.

  6. Gravatar of Steve Reilly Steve Reilly
    31. May 2015 at 17:31

    Hastert had a chance to help change America. Instead, he supported an impeachment because of “[t]he President’s inability to abide by the law.”

    I get the point you’re making. But it would be better made if you found people getting punished for this stuff who aren’t total hypocrites.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. May 2015 at 17:45

    Ray, You said:

    “The USA will get what it deserves, as the French predicted: a rise, a plateau and a fall in economic growth but with no worthy culture to speak of.”

    Jerry Lewis films?

    James, I just didn’t want the Dems to complain that they were left out. But I still feel I let them off pretty easily, after linking to a Politico story that basically called the GOP a bunch of Nazis.

    Steve, You said:

    “I get the point you’re making.”

    Based on your comment, I kind of doubt you do. But that’s probably my fault, sometimes I’m too obscure. And black humor is not my forte. The post certainly wasn’t about Hastert. It was more about what makes someone a perfect villain in America. Maybe Hastert is a villain, I’ve never met him.

  8. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    31. May 2015 at 18:25

    Didn’t Bill Clinton establish that everyone gets to lie about sex?

  9. Gravatar of Benny Lava Benny Lava
    31. May 2015 at 20:44

    “I’m offering no editorial comment”

    Trolling is a art

  10. Gravatar of collin collin
    1. June 2015 at 05:31

    Dennis Hashert picked a country that elected such a fool to a high office. I am not sure what is the weirdest part in the whole thing: A teacher and public servant somehow got $4M, Dennis withdrawl cash over 100 times (Can you imagine the tellers comments), Dennis thought this would work, he lied to the Feds who probably wanted to nail the blackmailer, or Dennis didn’t let the scandal out on something he could not be prosecuted with. Hopefully, Dennis hire himself a great lawyer that convince this fool to make a guilty plea with no jail time but with testimony against the blackmailer.

    Do remember the pre-Iraq glory days of the righteous Republican Party was going to lead to glorious victory?

  11. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    1. June 2015 at 05:41

    1) Is Hastert an idiot? If he had called a lawyer instead of talking to the investigator, he’d be a lot better off. If he’d called the lawyer even earlier and structured the payments as a civil settlement, I think he might be scot free.

    2) If I were being *very* generous to the GOP, I might argue that the shift towards needles has at least an element of Bayesian updating – I think the Clinton era GOP actually was concerned that needle exchanges would encourage drug abuse, so an optimist might think that the GOP is realizing that we lost the war on drugs and updating their policy positions. (Like most wars, you realize you lost when the other side’s troops start rampaging around your back yard).

    Scott’s explanation is a little more elegant, but even then, I’d quibble that it’s someone else’s consituents, far away, more than “blacks and gays.”

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. June 2015 at 07:53

    Collin, Yes, it’s kind of funny that the former Speaker of the House wasn’t smart enough to pay by check. Even I knew that the Feds were tracing cash withdrawals. I doubt the government prosecutes the blackmailer, but to be quite honest I’m not too clear on the formal definition of blackmail, so my opinion is probably worthless. If someone does something very bad (and illegal) to you, are you allowed to ask for money in compensation on condition you won’t go to the police? Perhaps some other commenters are better informed in this area.

    BTW, Just because Hastert is scum doesn’t mean the Feds were justified in prosecuting him for cash withdrawals.

    J Mann, I’m afraid I can’t agree with you there. I think what the GOP did on needles is just unconscionable. BTW, blacks are living in the “back yard” in Indiana–Gary, Indianapolis, etc. It’s just that they don’t figure in the utility function of lots of GOP politicians. This is as clear a case of racial bias as you are ever likely to see (at least in 21st century America), and one that probably killed more blacks in the past 20 years than police brutality. Just a shameful set of actions by the GOP. If Hastert was involved, I’d say this is the single worst thing he did, the thing that disgraces him the most.

  13. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    1. June 2015 at 09:23

    @ Ray Lopez:

    Your comment, “but without the left behind roads and aqueducts,” seems exactly wrong. The Interstate Highway System is probably America’s most enduring achievement (and the oil pipeline system is rather impressive); it, or at least its traces, will remain long after Jerry Lewis (or Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan, Stephen King, etc.) is forgotten.

  14. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    2. June 2015 at 10:36


    I agree that we should be more flexible with our laws concerning sexual relationships between adults and teenagers and that things like “structuring” shouldn’t be illegal, but I wouldn’t assume this was a victimless crime that Hastert may have committed. I acknowledge it may have been, but it’s also possible for such relationships between teens and adults to be very harmful, and it should be un acceptable for teachers our coaches to have sex with their own students, for obvious reasons. Things like this are case-by-case.

    Lying to police should also be taken case-by-case, but we surely don’t have a sophisticated enough justice system to deal with these issues.

    All that being said, Hastert is apparently yet another hypocrite within the RRepublican party who helps try to get anti-gay legislation passed, but with a gay history of his own. He deserves at least public ridicule

    Of course the person he was making payments to may have broken the law as well, but I’ve yet to see that question addressed.

  15. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    2. June 2015 at 11:48


    In fact, Hastert led the Patriot Act to passage in the House, so actually he can blame himself 100% for his predicament. Recalling this, I hope they put him under the jail just as has happened to many innocent people due to the law he helped pass.

    Yes, your post is not really about Hastert specifically, but point made.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. June 2015 at 13:24

    Scott, I think you misread the post. I wasn’t trying to defend Hastert, or offer an opinion on all of the various aspects of American culture that he got entangled in. I was just shining a light on this case, as a foreigner might see it. It seemed like a distinctively American scandal.

    I do wonder, however, how the prosecution will describe to the jury the “harm” to society from withdrawing cash from one’s own bank account. I presume the prosecution would not be allowed to mention the sex scandal, as that would be prejudicial. Most people would see the sex scandal as the crime, but he’s unlikely to be prosecuted for that.

    Maybe Rand Paul could restore to Americans the right to do business with cash, if you so choose.

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