Skip to comments.In Seeking Pardon For Swindler, Bachmann Convicts Herself of Illiteracy
Posted on 06/24/2011 8:57:48 PM PDT by Brices Crossroads
Michele Bachmann's efforts in 2007-8 to have Drug Dealer and Money Launderer Frank Vennes pardoned for his 1987 convictions have begun to receive some light scrutiny in the media. Some embarrassing details have emerged, including the fact that, while Bachmann was lobbying hard to secure a pardon for him from President Bush, Vennes himself was engaged in a brand new, massive $3.65 billion ponzi scheme, for which he was recently indicted by a Federal Grand Jury. Worse yet, Vennes and his family had donated money to Bachmann--a lot of money--in the 2006 and 2008 campaign cycles, $27,400 to be exact, making Vennes her largest donor by far. The most charitable thing one can say about this affair is that it showed colossally poor judgment on Bachmann's part. The propinquity of the donations and her efforts to secure a pardon could suggest a darker, even improper, motive, if the pardon efforts were proven to be a quid pro quo for the campaign cash. See the link below if you are interested in any more of the sordid details.
What struck me about the Vennes matter was not that Bachmann exercised poor judgment (which she certainly did) or that her lobbying on behalf of Vennes so soon after his huge donations to her were unethical and created at least the appearance of impropriety (which they certainly have). It was none of those things that I found so egregious, because politicians typically engage in such shenanigans on a daily basis, and Michele Bachmann is nothing if not a typical politician. What really struck me about the whole affair, and has been heretofore overlooked, is the letter Bachmann penned on Congressional stationery to the Pardon Attorney at the United States Department of Justice. By all means, read it and draw your own conclusions:
The specter of the lamestream media baying at the moon and salivating over the prospect of a veritable treasure trove of malapropisms within Sarah Palin's 24,000 emails made me wonder about Bachmann's talents as a wordsmith. To pique my curiosity further, the same lamestream media that was so sure it would find multiple "silver bullets" of incoherence within Palin's emails has pronounced Bachmann not only "coherent" and "disciplined" but downright "articulate." (Meghan Daum, LA Times, 6/23/2011) To their chagrin, Palin's emails turned out to be written more competently than most CEOs, scoring an impressive 8.5 on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test on which Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech was an 8.8 and the Gettysburg Address was a 9.1. Indeed Palin's routine emails were more competently composed, according to this measure, than was Barack Obama's State of the Union Address, which came in at 7.7. And Bachmann? Well, I would love to have the Flesch-Kincaid test applied to her letter to the Pardon Attorney, a high ranking Justice Department official appointed by the President and subject to Senate confirmation. How, I wonder, would it score? Let's take a look at it, piece by piece.
Her third sentence is not only awkward, but also an unsupported non sequitur:
"As a U.S. Representative, I am confident of Mr Vennes' successful rehabilitation and that a pardon will be good for the neediest of society."
How, one might wonder, does her status as a U.S. Representative make her "confident" of Mr. Vennes' rehabilitation? Evidently she intended to remind the Pardon Attorney of her office, fearing that perhaps he had not noticed the letter head. After this bit of gratuitous horn blowing, Bachmann stumbles through the remainder of this awkward sentence in two parts, but without the same, parallel grammatical structure:
"I am confident of...and that"
This grammatical error, known as faulty parallelism, is rather more common among elementary school students than Congressmen, especially those who who constantly bray about their two law degrees and their experience as a "tax attorney for the IRS".
The next sentence, if you can call it that, is at once inane and downright painful to read:
"Granting a pardon to Mr. Vennes should be considered because pardons were intended to restore people to society like Mr. Vennes; people who have demonstrated true reformation and for whom mercy is due because the legal system cannot deliver a morally acceptable result."
The first part of it is an incomplete, circular thought, punctuated with a semicolon. The second part is an incomplete sentence. In between she opines that "mercy is due" when in fact mercy is never "due." If mercy were due, it would be justice, not mercy. And she inexplicably charges that the legal system in Vennes' case "cannot deliver a morally acceptable result." Is there some thought behind such a charge? How is it that the legal system failed to deliver a morally acceptable result? Vennes was convicted on his own guilty plea of crimes for which the government had overwhelming evidence. How was his conviction not a "morally acceptable result?" Anyone who would make such a statement does not understand the meaning of the phrase "morally acceptable result." Her use of the English language is as imprecise as her syntax is mangled.
The next sentence is no better:
"Mr Vennes' application shows he is a just recipient of a pardon"
Wrong again, Michele. He is not the just recipient of a pardon, since he had not yet received it (and, happily, he never did). What you meant to say was that he would be the just recipient of a pardon. Michele Bachmann, let me introduce you to the subjunctive mood. You should have met in the fifth grade, but I suppose it's better to meet late than never!
The letter meanders on, a string of words in search of a coherent thought. At points the Congresswoman waxes profound:
"So why does Mr. Vennes need a pardon if he is so successful? So he can help more people than he does."
She goes on to elaborate on the utility of a pardon for Mr Vennes and how a pardon will free him "to help so many more":
"Mr Vennes still encounters the barriers of his past and especially in the area of finance loan documents."
Indeed, those pesky prior money laundering convictions sure do get in the way of your ability to borrow money from banks for the needy (or for other worthy purposes like...ponzi schemes?). It raises the question, however: Does Bachmann believe it licit to go into debt in order to fund charitable activities? She notes in the third paragraph that, in just the previous three years, Vennes has directed over 10.7 million dollars to the "neediest in our society" (not to mention the $27,400 he steered into her campaign coffers). It does not appear that he was in dire need of loans for charitable activities or much of anything else.
The letter finally ends with this sentence:
"Knowing that pardons have been decreasingly granted , I am asking that courage be mustered to do justice for Mr. Vennes."
Decreasingly granted? This sounds like the syntax of a third grader. How about: "While I understand that pardons overall have declined of late..." There are any number of concise ways to express this thought. Bachmann chose none of them. I have seen many letters from Congressmen and Senators, and this one, which incidentally addresses a very important subject, is by far the least articulate of any of them.
If Sarah Palin penned such a ferociously illiterate missive, it would be on the front page of the New York Times as Exhibit A for her incompetence and incoherence. Yet Michele Bachmann, now the darling of CNN, the L.A. Times, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post and Chris Matthews of MSNBC, is called both "coherent" and "articulate," in spite of this stark evidence to the contrary. Ask yourselves why these two are treated differently.
After reading her mangled syntax, poor word usage and incoherent ramblings, I shudder at the thought of the Congresswoman from Minnesota turned loose upon an Inaugural Address. Fortunately, the chances of that are even slimmer than Mr. Vennes' current pardon possibilities.
We could do worse than Michelle Bachmann as President; we could have a half wit with a death wish for the country — oh, we do!
I wish the bastards in the liberal lamestream “media” would do this much digging on their boy Barry. His ass would probably be in prison.
I welcome frontrunner Michelle Bachman!
Bachmann is now out for me. At first I welcomed her candidacy and for a brief moment was my #1 choice, but some bad things have come out about her and she isn’t all she claims to be.
She needs to get out.
BUT.......why the hell doesn’t the media do thei to old Barry? They have plenty of dirt on him that they won’t report.
If I were a top Bachmann campaign strategist, I couldn’t imagine a better PR piece. The only logical reaction is: “Huh? Is this all they got?”
None of her errors should embarrass.
Only the twit who thinks they are important (and lives in his Mom’s basement) would think them relevant.
I’m a Palin supporter first, but this is total nothingness.
Well, let’s look at the writings of the current president while he was a member of the Illinois legislature and analyze the grammar.
I have no idea where anyone got the idea that a law degree conferred some form of superior literacy in the first place. Every lawsuit to which I’ve been a party has been rife with fairly basic errors. I guess the smattering of Latin and archaic usage impresses people. Me, I wanted to proofread it, mark it up in red and send it back to them with a bill for $175.00 an hour. It’s the least they could do for bleeding me dry.
I think you should keep you raging hatred for conservative candidates to yourself or go to some liberal website and spew your hatred toward them.
She’s not the “frontrunner” in any poll to date and it’s very early days.
So..Have you a comment, or are you content to just sit back and snicker as you collect hits to your blog, masquerading as news?
“Bachmann is now out for me”..
So i presume you will be voting for Obama again?
I highly doubt this was composed by Bachmann herself. I mean, the first half is almost unreadable, and she has an LL.M from William and Mary, and LL.M aren’t just handed out generally.
Of course, I’ve seen worse reading college classmates’ research papers. One wonders why they hand out degrees to some of the imbeciles they give them to these days.
Paralegals or legal assistants usually write the complaints. The attorneys are supposed to proof them, but often just sign whatever is put in front of them.
Whose tool are you? Because you're not from our (Palin) side.
If you are, I'm ashamed.
Indeed, those pesky prior money laundering convictions sure do get in the way of your ability to borrow money from banks
Banks should know about past money laundering convictions when they evaluate a loan applicant.
Bachmann's pardon would have prevented that. In fact that was the stated purpose of the pardon.
Screw the rights of the banks. They can afford a few bad loans. /
Do you actually think Michelle Bachmann herself wrote that letter?
Color me unimpressed, regardless. Reminds me of an old business partner of mine, several university degrees and from a prominent Tidewater family, couldn’t spell a lick and couldn’t string a coherent sentence together if his life depended upon it. Whenever I’d intervene and berate him for sending out sales proposals in such sad shape, he’d sniff “that’s what secretaries are for.”
“I highly doubt this was composed by Bachmann herself. I mean, the first half is almost unreadable, and she has an LL.M from William and Mary, and LL.M arent just handed out generally.”
Well, she signed it. And I rather doubt that brand new Congressman is likely to delegate such an important letter (which concerns her biggest donor) on a very sensitive topic (a pardon for serious felonies) to a staffer. If she did, it call into question her judgment.
BTW, the fact that she has an LLM means squat. LLMs are routinely handed out at many law schools, even good ones, to undistinguished students. at a very few schools, like NYU in Tax, the LLM means something. At most, it means nothing. Her law degree came from Oral Roberts University, which lost its accreditation the year after she graduated.
And I have read many briefs from students who graduate d from the Ivies and can’t string two sentences together. It should surprise no one that a grad of ORU is so challenged.
Tonight I sent Michele Bachmann $10.00. More to come if she continues to prove herself. She’s a notch ahead of Sarah Palin in my book. And I like Palin a lot. If only Allen West would jump in.
It’s substantial in the world of political campaign donations. One does so on that scale in the expectation of access and influence.
These sort of attacks are merely stirring up hatred of fans of other conservative candidates toward Palin.
It's amazing how some that call themselves conservatives will use the same sort of lies and smear tactics liberals use and that have been used against Palin.
He has a link to his blog hidden in there?
Where is it?
Where's his blog? (I looked, and all the hits come back here.)
I mean, I don’t know much about ORU (I go to Liberty Univ. myself), but she certainly speaks intelligently. There are many possibilities, but I highly doubt that this represents her writing capabilities. It’s quite possible she just didn’t care that much. Perhaps she isn’t as corrupt as you imagine and did not find the pardon very important. At the very worst, we all send off illiterate screeds occasionally, unless you just so happen to be Sarah Palin.
Like Ed Rollins? Yep, pretty amazing that he's still in Michele Bachmann's employ.
Michele Bachmann vs Michelle Obama This is a poem of two Michel(l)es one will replace the one with two Ls The White House was lowered along with our flag We lost our employment and the economy's lag But soon we'll be cheering and ringing the bell When the White House is housing the one with one L.
“I am a so-called “Palinista.” I have been fighting off crap from the anti-Palin crowd for years. But let me tell you...you are full of crap. If you think this post is positive, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whose tool are you? Because you’re not from our (Palin) side. If you are, I’m ashamed.”
Agreed 100%. The guy is a would be English professor. Most English professors I know are leftwing idiots. Even if they aren’t left wing, they’re still idiots (one sure applies here).
I address the literacy level of a letter Bachmann wrote to secure a pardon for convicted drug dealer who is under indictment again. You don’t address the post itself, which is merely an exegesis of Bachmann’s own words.
You attack me personally. Then you say you are ashamed because I support Palin. I didn’t trash Bachmann at all, merely used her own words. Yet that offends your lilly livered sensibilities. Where were you when Bachmann was sending Ed Rollins out to trash Palin? You’re right about one thing. You are a “so-called Palinsta.”
There is only one... it ain’t bachmann.
To 9 - So it’s “raging hatred” if one ceases to support an immoral politician? Bachmann made a choice, now she reaps the consequences.
When Bachmann hired Rollins to attack Palin, it was a blunder of huge, massive, proportions, she put herself at war with the core of the conservative movement, it was a terrible mistake for her to choose that strategy, and it revealed a dark side to her.
Conservatives were forced to try to figure out her motives, and that forced closer examination of who she really is, and what could have led to such an epic mistake.
She forced conservatives to scrutinize her and dig below the surface.
Notice how the Bachmann supporters and even some who call themselves Palinistas do not attack the substance of the post. They attack me using ad hominems, the very tool of the left.
Sooner or later they are going to have to answer the substance of the post. It ain’t going away.
Well put, Ansel12. I am scrutinizing her record, her written word. As I see it, whe she sent Rollins out to tear into Palin and didn’t even have the decency to fire him or even to apologize to Palin, who had been a huge benefactor of hers, Bachmann in effect drew first blood.
Now her fans, and some of the nebbishes on our side, are screaming bloody murder because I remark on some patent problems with her syntax and coherence, not to mention her judgment in lobbying for a very crooked, very prominent contributor of hers.
I’ve noticed a pro-Bachmann trend among the Marxists.
Well, I enjoyed your article. I find nothing to disagree with in it and I appreciate your effort.
Some have said that the letter couldn’t have been written by Bachmann, rather, it was likely written by a helper. I suspect she did in fact compose the thing, but it doesn’t matter, once she signed it.... she owned it, warts and all.
I enjoy your writing style, don’t you ever stop. Heck, if I had your talent, I’d be publishing my work from a 45’ sailing yacht, somewhere near a island in a faraway place.... and a warm sandy beach.
Now, I’m going to shut this computer down and watch a movie. ;>)
I’ll be voting for Sarah Palin, Liberty, our Constitution and American Exceptionalism.
Here are the articles that Brices Crossroads has written, and/or posted, see if he looks leftwing to you, he sure doesn’t to me.
“If she did, it call into question her judgment.”
It do? When you take it upon yourself to be the grammar nazi, you should be very, very careful yourself. Just sayin’
“Ive noticed a pro-Bachmann trend among the Marxists.”
It is hard to miss it when the likes of Dana Milbank, Chris Matthews and assorted other leftists are all singing Bachmann’s praises. The reason is plain as well. They hope she damages Sarah Palin (whom they really fear) and they are encouraged by her engagement with Ed Rollins and his early vicious attack on Palin. they know well that Bachmann is no threat to win the nomination. She is either a useful idiot or a willing accomplice (in practice, it matters little which one) to try to block Palin a la Phil Crane/ Ronald Reagan in 1980.
They may be making you angry but they are not accomplishing anything else.
LOL. Typo in post hardly equates with the aforementioned syntactical butchery in an official letter to Main Justice.
In any event, mea culpa.
It's hard to miss Donna Brazile and Howard Dean praising Palin if you want to use that idiotic argument.
Karma is a bitch and it is about ready to come back on those that use these sort of sleazebag tactics.
Only in your world do two wrongs make a right.
“They may be making you angry but they are not accomplishing anything else.”
Well, LLS...at least they aren’t attacking the substance of my observations. Just calling me a “left wing English professor”. Can you imagine that? I don’t know whether I should be more insulted about being called an English professor or left wing. I’ll have to sleep on that one. LOL
This letter reads like it was written by an attorney you might find working for the IRS. That, of course, is exactly Rep. Bachmann’s background.
Thanks for posting my bona fides, ansel12. Of course, some of them won’t believe it. They will go to their grave believing I am a Soviet agent. They are still looking for “my blog”. If you run across it would you freepmail me the link? LOL
“This letter reads like it was written by an attorney you might find working for the IRS. That, of course, is exactly Rep. Bachmanns background.”
That was exactly my thought. I have known quite a few IRS attorneys over the years and, with one exception (and this exception left the IRS to become an AUSA) the IRS attorneys I have encountered are not the brightest bulbs in the federal orbit. Neither, from what I can glean, is Bachmann.
By the way, here is one of my favorite cartoons. It's a little old, so remember to envision two more podiums: "Pro-Obomneycare" and "Anti-Obomneycare".
I’ve been pretty free about posting my doubts about Bachmann lately, but this post is not particularly helpful. I’m sorry to say it, but picking on her grammar just makes you look nit-picky and small. Your first point about the ethics and impropriety of writing a letter like this for a big campaign contributor are much more important in my book. You undercut the relevant point of this story with the grammar analysis.
What is the wrong?
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