Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Various items

Spitzer Watch

While I continue to take pleasure in seeing an arrogant, moralizing bully like Spitzer get what he so richly deserves, I can't help but continue to question the amount of federal law enforcement resources that went into investigating this victimless crime. I mean, they have wiretaps, FBI surveillance teams, stake-outs at hotels and so forth, over a period of many weeks. Not to mention the idea of the "Justice" Department first identifying someone they wanted to take down, and then vigorously investigating that person in what appears to be a fishing expedition to find something, anything, that could be used to trip them up.

And furthermore, the way they first caught on to Spitzer's little hobby was through a "Suspicious Activity Report", which was filed because he was moving money around in his bank accounts. The reports I saw mention the amounts being around $40,000. Sure, no normal law-abiding person ever moves that much money around for legitimate purposes, only drug dealers, money launderers, and other criminals. Suspicious!! WTF?

This story goes to show that because there are so many byzantine laws on the books, if law enforcement is out to get you they will always find something to hang you for.

Lootocracy Watch

Speaking of moralizing bullies, our old buddy John Ashcroft was on Capitol Hill the other day. He was there to answer questions regarding a contract he received which is reportedly worth $28-$52 million dollars. Good for him, you say. Way to parlay that stint in public service into private sector gold, right?

Yeah, except that the contract was given to him only because U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie (who, just coincidentally, used to report to Ashcroft at the Justice Department), in a settlement of a criminal case brought by Christie against a drug company, forced said drug company to hire Ashcroft at $750,000 per month. In order to earn this reasonable monthly paycheck, Ashcroft is going to monitor the drug company's compliance with the other provisions of the settlement.

Ashcroft says there is no conflict of interest. And maybe there isn't, at least not on his part.

Hackocracy Watch

Sure, the executive branch has a lot of power these days. Congress has, over the last 7 years, essentially ceded to the executive a whole host of powers without any kind of oversight or accountability. But that's ok. Because we know that the Bush Administration will only use these powers for good. They never do things for improper reasons, and certainly would never allow petty personal grievances to interfere with their work on behalf of the citizens of this great nation.

Well, unless you count something like this. Where HUD officials, disgruntled with a a public housing official in Philadelphia, chuckled as they gleefully sent emails to each other discussing how to "make his life less happy".

You know, I've probably made comments like this. But when I say it, what I mean is doing something like signing someone up for a free trial subscription to CosmoGirl Magazine without their knowledge or consent. Take that, asshole. But for Orlando J. Cabrera and Kim Kendrick, when you want to fuck with somebody, then being a high ranking federal official provides a much larger array of avenues through which you might carry out your childish and illegitimate retributions.

Say, for example, "fabricating problems in the [Philadelphia Housing A]uthority's performance," "strip[ping] the Philadelphia Housing Authority of as much as $50 million in federal funds", and thereby "rais[ing] rents for... 84,000 low-income tenants and forc[ing] the layoffs of 250 people".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kim Kendrick at HUD should not be holding the office she does. Her solution and response in the Philadelphia scandal speaks volumes about her character. She continues her threats and resolution of these threats by "donation" (much like Gov. Blagojevich's donation requests). Pay-to-Play is alive and well in DC, not just Chicago.

US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Alphonso Jackson resigned in April 2008. Orlando Cabrera resigned next. Why is Kim Kendrick still at HUD?