By Hunter / Daily Kos
Recently convicted criminal and diehard conservative conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza has apparently written a book on his experience of being convicted for funneling $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions to a friend who was running for office. I say “apparently” because despite D’Souza’s personal belief that the liberal powers-that-be are so intimidated by his various maudlin theories that we monitor him at every turn, I have not personally heard anyone so much as mention D’Fellow for many months.
But the National Review, which a few moderate wags continue to insist was once a respectable publication with authors who would at least pretend at making sense from one sentence to the next, says he has written a book and I don’t suppose they would have reason to lie about such things.
The book, part memoir, part polemic, part prescription, and part Kafka, opens with an account — frightening because it is so verifiably true — of one of the grossest abuses of power by this lawless administration: the prosecution of D’Souza for a campaign-finance offense.
The case was not trumped up. D’Souza forthrightly concedes that he violated the law.
There you go. That’s about as terse a summary of the modern conservative id as it’s possible to craft in a non-Trump related setting: Sure, he forthrightly violated the law, and knew he was doing it. Law enforcement officials prosecuting him for it, however, amounts to a conspiracy from the highest levels of government. D’Souza will go to his grave thinking that President Barack Obama has commandeered the forces of government to make sure Dinesh D’Souza, personally, does not break the law.
That D’Souza is convinced there is an Obama-led conspiracy to get him is uninteresting. This is what he does. He produces movies and writes scribbles all predicated on the vast liberal conspiracies that knock around his head, and fellow conspiracy theorists eat it up because they, too, are pretty sure the forces of Obama and/or political correctness and/or the gubbermint in general are hiding in their sock drawers.
No, what’s interesting is the National Review—again, supposedly once a respectable publication somewhere between the open white supremacy years and the dregs of pompous nose-pickings that we all know and love today, is very keen on believing this stuff. Andrew McCarthy does his level best and then some to pretend that D’Souza has suffered greatly at the hands of evil administration overlords. And for what? Merely for breaking a law?
D’Souza’s ignorance of the byzantine campaign laws led him to do illegally what he could easily have done legally. The statute is clear, though: […]
Yet there were patent mitigating circumstances, starting with the fact that few people actually get prosecuted at all for this offense.
If you know there’s a legal limit to campaign contributions and thus try to launder further contributions to evade that limit, you by definition knew there’s a legal limit to campaign contributions. There’s no “ignorance” involved. And perhaps he was prosecuted not because he imagines himself a mighty wrench in the administration gears, but because prosecutors were impressed by his holier-than-thou brazenness.
Add to that the trifling amount involved and the fact that D’Souza had no criminal record (but a record of charitable good works), and it became obvious that this was no federal criminal case.
Except for the breaking the law part, of course. There was once a time when Republicans declared themselves to be the law and order party, and everyone fell over themselves to impose tougher and tougher sentences for crimes because America wasn’t going to put up with that sort of thing. Until a conservative gets caught up in a petty white-collar crime, at which point the chorus raises to ask why we have laws against those sort of things at all.
[T]o pressure D’Souza to plead guilty, prosecutors gratuitously charged a second felony count — a “false statements” offense that should not have been added since a campaign-finance violation necessarily involves a false statement;
No, if you lie to investigators investigating whether you previously broke the law, that’s a separate charge. And this is so obvious that it cannot possibly be an argument made in good faith.
Berman sentenced D’Souza to eight months of halfway-house confinement, a form of detention that requires the defendant to spend the nighttime hours in a spartan, dormitory-type facility but to work in the local community during the day.
Oh, the horrors of dodging federal prison. Oh, the trauma of a spartan, dormitory-type facility that lets you leave. Surely, no white-collar criminal has ever been subjected to such wounding behavior.
[H]ad D’Souza been given the 10-to-16-month sentence prosecutors urged, he’d have been sent to a minimum-security prison camp with other low-level offenders. A halfway house, by contrast, is a way station for serious criminals: murderers, rapists, gang-bangers, big-time drug traffickers, and the like.
He barely made it out alive, such was his “anxiety.”
D’Souza, it turns out, was relieved to find that his companions comported themselves with civility.
We’ve very close to McCarthy declaring D’Souza to be the next Jesus, at this point. Has a man ever suffered as D’Souza has suffered, being put in a halfway house in a “rundown” part of San Diego, all over a sum so petty ($20,000? We have laws for amounts that small?) that only a loathsome poor person would get excited over?
But it was all for a good cause. For from this, the person who never saw a cockroach fart without believing it part of the Grand Liberal Design came away with the best present his government could ever give him: A brand-new conspiracy theory.
D’Souza’s time spent with criminals has revealed for him a symmetry between the operations of gangs and those of progressives, particularly in proceeding through the stages of theft from plan, through recruitment and rationalization, and finally on to cover-up.
There ya go. We’re done here. There’s other words there. I don’t care.
Again, if there was ever a time when I paid even a little attention to the actual, bona-fide thoughts of Dinesh D’Souza, it was many theories ago. I’m going to assume he really did write a book and this isn’t all an elaborate put-on, because he seems the sort of person who would write about how his time served for a felony conviction taught him that the conspiracy against him is, if anything, even worse than he thought.
But can we talk for a moment about the steep and steepening decline of the supposedlegitimate conservative brain trust? Conspiracy theory hokum of the sort that D’Souza peddles used to be—at least, to my memory—the stuff of the marginalized fringe, not the stuff that people at political “Institutes” would furrow their brows over and point to as evidence that oh yes, there’s mischief afoot. There is a direct line between theNational Review becoming terrible—not the white-supremacy bits, but the wide-eyed spiteful gullibility and ludicrously argued nonsense bits—and Donald Trump. And Sarah Palin. And Ben Carson. And all the other lunatics wandering around with their asinine conspiracy theories about military exercises in Texas, or secret Muslim plans to trick us into sharia’ing ourselves, or “climate change isn’t happening because it’s cold out today,” or any of the rest of it.
People seem to be surprised that Donald Trump, for example, can say outrageous and provably false things and it only makes his poll numbers go up. Why is this the slightest bit surprising? This is the base, and the punditry. It would not exist without conspiracy theories to stoke omnipresent fantasies of persecution. Those theories would not be the stuff of the presidential campaign trail without a new phalanx of nonsense-gibbering pundits willing to be as dishonest as they need to be in order to sound the proper tunes at the proper times. The only known truths are that government is bad and that liberals and minorities are coming to get you, and anyone who can put their hand in and grab hold of that organ can lead the movement in whichever direction they want.