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Author Topic: Stevens not corrupt?
scifibum
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Looks like Ted Stevens's conviction is being overturned.

Supporters say he is completely exonerated, and call the idea that he was corrupt "crazed."

I kind of doubt the case against him was trumped up. Looks like the prosecution screwed up, but that doesn't mean they were wrong about what Stevens did.

What do you think? Wrongly accused and prosecuted? Or just lucky to get off on a technicality?

I wonder if the people of Alaska could bring a civil suit against Stevens of some kind.

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Clark
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Probably guilty. No longer worth the effort of prosecuting. If he's no longer in the Senate, all that effort is just to get some old guy into jail.
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scifibum
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I wonder if some further backlash is warranted, though. Maybe the citizens should confiscate the ill gotten gains, if they haven't already.
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TommySama
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I don't know about the case, but if he's guilty he's guilty. I think it's a problem that we don't prosecute and imprison the wealthy and influential. Their crimes aren't directly violent, but they do much more damage indirectly.
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NSCutler
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I thought his whole defense was that his ill gotten gains weren't actually gotten. That he was just storing them in his house [Roll Eyes]
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flydye45
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Bleah! Hope and Change.
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kenmeer livermaile
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KLish put green wood on smokefire pile. Heap big noise from Winnemucca make giant high pillar of smoke in media sky.

Why don't talking heads have bull's-eyes on their forehead?

Yes, that's a joke but I don't know the dang punchline.

Anyway, Keith oLBERMANN adds new meaning to the expression 'butting heads', as he and every you-name-em TV pundit basically go beyond blather.

I wanna see Limbaugh in a sumo diaper and Olbermann in fuscia and taupe spandex go at it cage match.

Limbaugh can have a pirate patch and Olbermann can shave his head bald.

Oh, yeah, Ted Stevens. Semi-vindicated just in time to boost his My Story biography.

[ April 01, 2009, 10:24 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Clark:
Probably guilty. No longer worth the effort of prosecuting. If he's no longer in the Senate, all that effort is just to get some old guy into jail.

More than that, the prosecution handled the case so poorly that there's no way to go forward with any dignity. (I'm sure some will speculate that they intentionally muffed it, but given how much general house cleaning Holder seems to be doing, it seems more likely that the entire Justice Department was just that incompetent after all the upheaval toward the end of Bush's second term)

They've got a lot more pressing issues to work on than wasting more money on lost causes, so while I think it's a shame that he's getting off the hook, I think it much better that they're preserving the overall integrity of the department and not trying to get around the legal protections that are in place against just such abuses.

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DaveS
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It was a long investigation that unraveled once it got to trial. It's pretty surprising that the JD put on such a poor show. It's to their credit that they are fessing up, but it's that's pretty unusual, too. I don't know Holder, but it's possible that he is going to do some housecleaning. He really should, if nothing else he should do a competence check of the Christian Lawyer brigade recruited from Regents Law School:
quote:
The title of the course was Constitutional Law, but the subject was sin. Before any casebooks were opened, a student led his classmates in a 10-minute devotional talk, completed with "amens," about the need to preserve their Christian values.
And he should reverse the morality-in-law mindset of the past 8 years:
quote:
In October 2006, Leslie Hagen, who was working as the liaison between the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys’ committee on Native American issues, was informed that despite her “outstanding” job performance reviews, her contract would not be renewed. In April 2008, NPR reported that the Justice Department was investigating whether Hagen was fired after a rumor reached former Justice Department official Monica Goodling that she was a lesbian.
There wasn't a tendency under Bush to hire under-qualified in law but devout in Christianity staff, but a concerted effort to recruit JD lawyers from small, underfunded, Christian law schools to transform the way the laws are administered in this country. I doubt that Holder agrees with their values in that regard.
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Mariner
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Hey, if DaveS can change the subject and go all out on Bush bashing, can I do the same for Holder?

OK, so I won't. And while I'm personally glad that Stevens is out of the Senate(now he just needs to be followed by 90 or so more of them...) and have no questions as to his morality or lack thereof, this screwed up prosecution is enough to cause worry. The biggest concern to me is that the case was conveniently timed for right before the election. If the prosecution screwed up so badly, why didn't they wait until they straightened everything out? Or was the actual conviction not the goal, but rather to influence the election?

While I can understand the reasons for wanting to drop everything now, the possibility of acting in malice in order to influence an election is very troubling. And we ought to know whether or not that's the case. If it was, it needs to be brought to light, and those responsible need to be fired. So I disagree with Holder that the matter's settled. Yes, Stevens is gone, and that's fine. But if there's corruption in the Justice Dept as well, we should weed that out too. By ignoring that, we now have the possibility that Holder just wants to drop the matter to cover up a politically-motivated witch hunt. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. So let's see some transparancy and find out what really happened.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"The biggest concern to me is that the case was conveniently timed for right before the election. If the prosecution screwed up so badly, why didn't they wait until they straightened everything out? Or was the actual conviction not the goal, but rather to influence the election?"

Th3e poor standards that are political hygiene refuse to see this as an either/or question.

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DaveS
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quote:
Hey, if DaveS can change the subject and go all out on Bush bashing
Changing the subject to Bush when talking about how events went down or were managed in the Executive over the past 8 years is never actually changing the subject.
quote:
But if there's corruption in the Justice Dept as well, we should weed that out too
That was my point. Corruption isn't only self-interest. Religious types around here are very alert to possible corruption of the soul. What about the "soul" of the Constitution?
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flydye45
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Just as a heads up, could you float a guess when things will stop being Bush's fault?

Additionally, are we now attributing a spiritual aspect to the Constitution?

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DaveS
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Hard to say. I remember Bob Dole saying everything Clinton claimed credit for was the result of Bush pere's forethought and farsight. I remember Bush enfant claiming that everything bad during the 8 Clinton years and the disasters in NYC that followed where all Clinton's.

The Constitution is a holy relic, more useful to guide life in this world than the bible, at least as far as the understanding and enforcement of the law goes. Count 'em up, it provides in a mere 7 Articles and a handful of Amendments, drafted and enacted in less than 200 years, far more useful stuff than what the bible gives us as rules, laws and admonitions in 100's of books hacked together over about 1500 years. The Bush JD thought that was backwards.

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LetterRip
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Regarding Stevens,

I think he was likely guilty of some of the charges (many of them were BS - such as the sled dog, the audio tape of him sounds pretty damning though and seems a pretty clear admission of guilt), but the trial was a farce.

LetterRip

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Wayward Son
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So was Stevens convicted because of the trial or in spite of the trial? [Smile]
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Redskullvw
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A little of both. The telephone recording is largely dependent on your personal bias context. I have not been a fan of Stevens for years. I think that when a person gets as much power as Stevens or even Byrd has without attempting to blow it all on a Presidential run, it is more than likely that the man is in office for the sake of personal power. Therefore, when I listened to the audio/ read the transcript, I was predisposed to think he was caught in an admission of corruption.

I think I even said as much at the time. Thing is, while I think it is a good thing he lost his re-election, the more I read about the charges and the more that became public in the prosecution's case, the less I thought Stevens really was guilty of the charges presented against him. As someone else pointed out, many of the charges were based upon things that on consideration are pretty petty. It was more a situation where he was seemingly being prosecuted on the technical limits of the laws behind the charges instead of the spirit and intents of the laws behind the charges.

Someone here once commented that once a person achieves a political office beyond dog catcher, they become increasingly corrupt to the point that many choices they make may not be technical legal violations, but they certainly cross over into the realm of being violations in spirit. Stevens is undoubtably a text-book example of this process. The man was in power for so long that he rose up the Senate seating charts to the point that Alaska wielded far more senatorial clout than just about any other state in relation to its population. There is a reason Alaska got so many "Bridge to Nowhere" projects.

So while I think the charges that were actually prosecuted are in hindsight pretty trumped up, the reality is that Stevens has had so much influence for so long that undoubtably he has concealed far greater violations of the laws. The best the Department of Justice could come up with was technical violations. They certainly did a poor job of arguing their case. And their procedural choices were so bad that their argument has no basis on appeal.

When Capone was convicted of tax fraud, he was in technical violation of the law. And compared with the extent of his criminal actions, being convicted of failing to pay a federal tax seems almost amazingly petty considering that we routinely have famous and infamous people not paying far greater taxes. Capone got 11 years for not paying $215,000.00 in taxes. In today's money that doesn't even come close to sums owed by people like Nicholas Gage or Wesley Snipes even if you adjust for inflation. Capone was also so corrupt that he could almost flaunt his criminal status. Everyone knew he was a criminal, but no one attempted to prosecute him on the real activities of his enterprise because it would have been impossible. He was instead convicted of a concealed weapons charge, contempt of court charge for failure to appear in a timely manner, and tax underpayment.

Of course he never was charged with the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.

So too I guess it goes with Stevens. I still think he is a crook, but even though his prosecution was realistically a accumulation of trumped up technical violations, the existence of "The Bridge to Nowhere" style pork projects to Alaska represents Stevens own personal Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.

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TommySama
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Prison isn't just a big dumptruck you can just dump a bunch of politicians into. Its - its a - its a series of cells!
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DaveS
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Red's point (well said) is basically that power corrupts when you marinate in it long enough. Stevens isn't a "bad person", just permanently stewed well beyond the legal limit.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Mariner:
OK, so I won't. And while I'm personally glad that Stevens is out of the Senate(now he just needs to be followed by 90 or so more of them...) and have no questions as to his morality or lack thereof, this screwed up prosecution is enough to cause worry. The biggest concern to me is that the case was conveniently timed for right before the election. If the prosecution screwed up so badly, why didn't they wait until they straightened everything out? Or was the actual conviction not the goal, but rather to influence the election?

Stevens is the one who requested the trial be finished before the election. Do you think that the Bush administration had a reason to try to sink him? The best you can do for conspiracy there is that they intentionally bungled the prosecution so that the case would be thrown out.

This and a the other Justice Department related news that I've heard so far really seem to indicate that Holder is doing just the kind of housecleaning that you suggest. (I also imagine that since he was burned for carelessness at the end of his last term in office, he's going to be much more careful about being thorough.)

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Just as a heads up, could you float a guess when things will stop being Bush's fault?


There is a reasonably easy way to do this if the bad thing is a discrete action like the prosecution of Sen. Stevens rather than the consequence of an accumulation of actions like the economic crisis.

If it is a discrete action, you look at a calendar. If it happened after January 2000 and before 2009, it was President Bush's responsibility. The Stevens trial happened last fall. If it has happened this February, you could blame Obama.

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