Rich Man Saved from Mob of 12

Rich Man Saved from Mob of 12 June 1, 2012

Justice prevails as another extremely wealthy politician is saved from having to face any consequences for his actions. The system works!

Meanwhile, other members of the victimized rich cry bitter tears of self-pity because somebody questions their ownership of pet politicians, parties, and the bodies and souls of men (Rev. 18:13). Is there anything more heart-wringing than the spectacle of jowly men, dripping with wealth and power, pleading for just a drop of kindness from Mean Weak People.

Update:  My readers persuade me that even a loathsome toad like Edwards deserves the benefit of law here. Fair enough.

On the other hand, one reader cracks me up with the hand-wringing plea in response to my second paragraph: “First, they came for the super-rich…” Yeah, criticism of the massive amount of control by the oligarchy is *just like* a prelude to the Holocaust.

It is astonishing to me how deeply solicitous we are for the super-rich and powerful. It has a curious quality to it, not of cynical sycophantic suckupery to a tyrannical boss we don’t like but must truckle to (that would be sane), but instead typically comes across as a genuine, tender, pitying, and sympathetic concern for their plight and their tender feelings–as though they really are the victims in our society. I think that is deeply, deeply deranged and signals something very strange about us. There appears to be a far greater fear of so much as the hint of “class envy” (even when the class being criticized is picking your pocket, committing incest with Caesar, and gaming the system to make you pay them billions for their world-historical failures), than there is of offending him who said, “Blessed are the poor”. We have no problem at all heaping our dudgeon on poor Mexicans who take crap jobs we don’t want anyway. We can’t bring ourselves to fault billionaires who send jobs we do want to to China to be done by virtual slaves for peanuts. It’s like Stockholm syndrome.

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  • Tim

    I wouldn’t blame the jury for this. Apparently, the government had a bad case to begin with and was just using the Edwards trial as a way to make up for botching the Senator Ted Stevens trial (which had to be dismissed because of prosecutor misconduct). And the makeup of the jury doesn’t strike me as “pro-rich” by any means:

    “The jury, chosen in part by the Edwards team, was predominantly male and disproportionately African-American. It was made up of eight men and four women; five blacks, six whites and one Latino. Many had blue-collar backgrounds, including two mechanics, a plumber and a retired firefighter. All were from the central part of the state, where Mr. Edwards grew up.”


    “The jury had to choose which admitted liar to trust—Mr. Edwards, who lied about the affair for four years and let an aide claim paternity of Ms. Hunter’s child; or that aide himself, Andrew Young.”

    Edwards is a despicable human being, but that in itself is not a reason to prosecute someone. The biggest thing going for the prosecution, according to a law professor in the article, was Edwards’ “odious character”. In a sense, I’m glad to see that the jury saw through the government’s weak case and didn’t send someone to jail for his character, rather than his actions.

    If anyone looks bad from this, it is the Justice Department and its “Public Integrity unit”.

    • Dale Price

      I agree heartily with Tim and disagree with you heartily on this one, Mark. Let’s bracket for a moment the fact that Edwards is a loathsome human being. Even loathsome human beings shouldn’t be prosecuted under a jerry-built law for which there is no similar violation anywhere. Campaign finance law is a repellent joke, and even though I cannot stand Edwards, this is a victory for justice. Even the devil Edwards should have benefit of law, if only for our own safety’s sake.

      • Mark Shea

        Fair enough.

  • Sean O

    I agree.

    Edwards is guilty of being an ass and then trying to hide it. This seems like bad not criminal behavior. I’m surprised they didn’t get him for lying to the investigation. That’s where many are caught. He’s a lawyer and must have been very slick with his responses; “depends on what the definition of is is” kind of stuff.

  • Sean O

    The Joe Ricketts rich guy story is rich.

    His trust fund kids bought the Chicago Cubs with a bit of trust fund money. (How precious.)
    Now they claim they aren’t making enough money and need to expand and upgrade the ballpark.
    THEY are looking for city Taxpayers to pony up $100 million or more in PUBLIC funds to help THEIR private business. Rich guys looking for huge govt subsidies, typical American Socialism.

    To cap it off, old Joe Ricketts was going to drops $10 million on anti-Obama ads decrying govt waste and handouts. That’s rich.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      THEY are looking for city Taxpayers to pony up $100 million or more in PUBLIC funds to help THEIR private business. Rich guys looking for huge govt subsidies, typical American Socialism.

      I’m not saying it’s right, but let’s not pretend like this is a new thing. Cities pony up millions of dollars for new sports arenas all the time.

      • Sean O

        Of course the practice is not new. But it should be ended. And in the Rickett family case, looking for gov’t handouts for themselves while condemning them for anybody else is pretty brazen.

        Cities should not pony up for sports arenas unless they have ownership stake. Big private businesses should not be receiving gov’t handouts to expand private profits.

  • Greg V.

    Mark, it is one thing to complain that the rich unduly are influencing the political process.
    But should they be subject to calumny? And even if some things said about them are true – I believe one donor has had a number of divorces – is Obama setting a good precedent here?
    We can paraphrase Bonhoeffer: ‘First they went after the super-rich donors, but I didn’t say anything because I was middle class . . . and when they came after me, the only ones left were the poor, who supported Obama anyway.’

    • Sean O

      You are kidding right? You sound like Grover Norquist. He compared taxing the rich to going after the Jews in Nazi Germany.

      Rich guys don’t have a right to buy or unduly influence a PUBLIC election in private.

      “Politics ain’t beanbag”. — Harold Washington

    • Dan C

      Doesn’t reading the Gospel of Luke at all make you re-think these insane comments? The rich, which in Roman Jerusalem were considered blessed and more worthy by God (not unlike today), get a hammering.

      “Woe to the rich.”

      It isn’t any clearer.

  • jcb

    I don’t claim a thorough knowledge of either the Edwards case or of federal election law. But the general opinion a,one those who do seems to be that justice did, in fact, prevail — one of the principles of justice being that we only prosecute people under laws that actually exist, rather than under laws that we wish existed.

    • jcb

      Wow, I hate autocorrect.

  • Peggy R

    I also heard/read that the govt case was pretty weak. A slime nonetheless. His bizarre statements expressing passionate love for the love child–so much for his other kids, eh–was too much, but so him…

    Now, let’s hope the ridiculous case against Clemens, using 5 DoJ attorneys (!), ends with his freedom. I didn’t know why congress ever spent any time on the MLB steroid business.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I didn’t know why congress ever spent any time on the MLB steroid business.

      I used to think the same thing, but then I realized the MLB is a national, not a state-based, organization, and if there is widespread corruption and drug peddling involved, it’s a federal crime.

  • j. blum

    Braco! Some years ago, there was a massive property tax hike on homes where I lived because US Steel decided it didn’t want to pay taxrs. Thousands of people lost their homes, including many old folks. The local papers mostly said little of this and nothing of the homeless sleeping in ditches, viaducts and abandoned buildings. But a wealthy family lost their third home in a hurricane, and the papers followed their woes almost daily. And the sympathy of the locals went with them as they ignored the vets and widoows begging outside the Wal-Mart for spare change.

  • j. blum

    Ugh. That was supposed to be “Bravo” and “widows.”

  • MK

    I would just like to quote my favorite musical, 1776, as I feel one one appropriately sums up our weird feeling of solicitousness for the mega-rich:

    “Don’t forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.”

    That always struck me as remarkably spot-on.

    • Mark Shea

      I think there is something to this.

    • Ted Seeber

      Sadly true. And because they deny their own poverty, they are equally wont to deny poverty in others.

  • caroline

    To love the poor without envying the rich challenges Christians.

    • Dan C

      The Gospels say “Woe to the rich.”

      The saints have noted the extra coat in your possession belongs to the poor.

      Its not “envy” to point this out and make note that material concupiscence is an enormous focus of denunciation by Christ. It is not “envy”, if one buys into natural law and the role of government as a positive force in society, to protect communities from the ravages of wealthy oligarchs. It is not “envy” to protect our elderly against routine degrading poverty by such a government, supported by those who have material goods. It is not “envy” for such a government to assist the human when afflicted by disease or trauma, which can have life-long requirements because such an event is both enormously expensive and often an impediment to future work.

      It is the rich who envy, who must have “more,” and cannot be satisfied. It is the rich who envy, desiring the pennies of those they unfairly label as “welfare mommas.” it is the rich who envy the humble and modest lives of the middle class, who have benefitted from government support. They envy their parks and libraries, and swim teams and communities.

      The rich are the ones who have the envy. I read what they write and what they desire. I live and work with folks who are poor. They don’t envy.

      It is a propaganda trick of a super-genius to be promoting anything else.

      • Merkn

        Don’t we have an obligation in charity to pray for the rich ? Isn’t it a sin against that charity to attribute all of the rich the sins of the “oligarchs” and to insinuate as this post does that all of the rich are envious? Woe to the rich does not mean despise the rich. Joseph of Arimethea was a rich man. The centurion that Our Lord praised was a rich man by the standards of the time.

        • Dan C

          Yes. But, we have no obligation to support them in their sinful concupiscence and should resist this culture which clearly does. From TV to the right wing demagagogues to evangelical US political action, wealth is glorified.

          Woe to the rich.

          • Merkn

            OK. When you say we, who are “we” do you include yourself ? What is it you are doing that supports the concupiescence of the rich. I did not pick that up from your post. If by “we” you mean everyone but you (in the NY Times/Anna Quindlen) sense of the word, I will accept that. What is it you feel the rest of us, the average person, is doing that we need to stop doing ? stop buying certain products, stop watching certain TV shows, stop reading magazines/ which ones ? Be specific.
            Many well meaning people supported the President’s health care reform out of an honest belief in the honest role of government to protect the weak. Look what happened: the culture of death compelled by the state. Were they wrong to do so. maybe not. In a sense they were betrayed. On the other hand many of us disagreed and opposed and still oppose Government programs that usurp the private role of charity. We don’t do so because we are greedy. We do so because we distrust the state among other reasons. In the end it is an issue by issue prudential judgment that shouldn’t be denounced as sinful in and of itself.

  • Now that you’ve pointed it out: what’s up with their jowls?

  • Merkn

    He did face the consequences of his actions. He was publicly tried by the full resources of the state. That is the “consequences” in a just society governed by laws. While you are certainly entitled to the same uninformed opinion on his guilt as anyone else, it is simply false to suggest that he was given a pass. The prosecution aggressively presented the best case that could be made. no one suggests otherwise. The judge properly charged the law according to all unbiased accounts. A jury of his peers acquitted him. By the way how is his wealth relevant to the case?

  • Richard Johnson

    So let me get this straight. When a poor person comes to take money from the government in the form of welfare, food stamps, WIC, or other support, they should be willing and able to have their spending habits, lifestyle, and beliefs analyzed and criticized by the taxpayer. But when the wealthy, who enjoy similar government support in the form of generous tax and finance laws, do likewise any critique is considered “envy”.

    I get it. Thank you.