Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thoughtcrime Conviction

George Orwell would be proud!

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has now been convicted in his impeachment trial and removed from office. And yet, as far as I have read, there was no actual wrongdoing even charged. Even for a conspiracy charge, there has to be some concrete act in furtherance of the conspiracy. Here, Blagojevich has been convicted of a thoughtcrime — or maybe of injudicious free speech. Or maybe it's just that he pissed of the legislators, and they don't like him. I don't like "Hot Rod", either, but this isn't right.

A few other thoughts:

  • This demonstrates that, as bad as New Mexico politics is, Illinois is worse. (Yes, I know — given the history of the Chicago political machine, this should not be a surprise.)
  • If dislike and piss-off are the criteria, as established by the Illinois legislature, it becomes likely that impeachment charges will be filed against each of the legislators — and lots of other elected officials and unelected bureaucrats.
  • It appears Illinois' senators violated their oaths as impeachment judges in convicting the governor of non-crimes. This is the inverse of the 1999 presidential impeachment trial where a large number of Senatorial Democrats demonstrated their violation of their oaths by openly stating their beliefs the president had committed the crimes charged before voting "not guilty". (And at least, in that case, actual crimes were charged, even if they were the most minor of the charges that could have been brought.)
  • While at the gym, I saw a writer from the Chicago Tribune being interviewed. He responded to Blagojevich's claim that President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, should be considered a co-conspirator. He said this claim was obviously baseless because (quoting from memory) "He's already said 'I did nothing illegal.'" Of course, Blagojevich has also said "I did nothing illegal." So why — other than his biases and those of his employer — does he automatically credit this statement from one politician and not another?

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