Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for March 10th, 2008

Scott Horton On The DoJ’s Odd Involvement Versus Spitzer

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 10, 2008

Scott Horton has some interesting facts regarding the Bush Junta’s targeting of Eliot Spitzer:

Note that this prosecution was managed with staffers from the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice. This section is now at the center of a major scandal concerning politically directed prosecutions. During the Bush Administration, his Justice Department has opened 5.6 cases against Democrats for every one involving a Republican. Beyond this, a number of the cases seem to have been tied closely to election cycles. Indeed, a study of the cases out of Alabama shows clearly that even cases opened against Republicans are in fact only part of a broader pattern of going after Democrats. So here are the rather amazing facts that surface in the Spitzer case:

(1) The prosecutors handling the case came from the Public Integrity Section.

(2) The prosecution is opened under the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910. You read that correctly. The statute itself is highly disreputable, and most of the high-profile cases brought under it were politically motivated and grossly abusive. Here are a few:

* Heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson was the first man prosecuted under the act — for having an affair with Lucille Cameron, whom he later married. The prosecution was manifestly an effort “to get” Johnson, who at the time was the most famous African-American. (All of this is developed well in Ken Burns’s film “Unforgiveable Blackness”).

* University of Chicago sociologist William I. Thomas was prosecuted for having an affair with an officer’s wife in France. Thomas was targeted because of his Bohemian social and his radical political views.

* In 1944 Charles Chaplin was prosecuted for having an affair with actress Joan Barry. The prosecution again provided cover for a politically motivated effort to drive Chaplin out of the country.

* Canadian author Elizabeth Smart was arrested and charged in 1940 while crossing the border with the British poet George Barker.

(3) The resources dedicated to the case in terms of prosecutors and investigators are extraordinary.

(4) How the investigation got started. The Justice Department has yet to give a full account of why they were looking into Spitzer’s payments, and indeed the suggestion in the ABC account is that it didn’t have anything to do with a prostitution ring. The suggestion that this was driven by an IRS inquiry and involved a bank might heighten, rather than allay, concerns of a politically motivated prosecution.

All of these facts are consistent with a process which is not the investigation of a crime, but rather an attempt to target and build a case against an individual.

The answer of the Justice Department to all this is likely to be: Trust us. But in the current environment, the reservoir of trust is tapped. The Justice Department needs to submit to some questions about how this probe got launched, who launched it, and to what extent political appointees were involved in its direction. This has nothing to do with Spitzer’s guilt or innocence. But it has everything to do with the fading integrity of the Public Integrity Section.

Posted in abuse of power, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Democrats, Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman | Comments Off on Scott Horton On The DoJ’s Odd Involvement Versus Spitzer

Have Either Senators Craig Or Vitter Resigned Yet?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 10, 2008

No? Didn’t think so.

Then neither should Governor Spitzer. That’s my take.

Oh, and guess how Spitzer was brought down? The bankers he’d pissed off were watching his money really closely. Normally they wouldn’t be flagging $5,000 transactions from a man of his wealth (his father is a real estate mogul), but in his case they sure did:

It Wasn’t the Sex; Suspicious $$ Transfers Led to Spitzer
Officials Say Spitzer Is ‘Client 9’ in a Federal Complaint
Against the Prostitution Ring

March 10, 2008-

The federal investigation of a New York prostitution ring was
triggered by Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s suspicious money transfers,
initially leading agents to believe Spitzer was hiding bribes,
according to federal officials.

It was only months later that the IRS and the FBI determined
that Spitzer wasn’t hiding bribes but payments to a company
called QAT, what prosecutors say is a prostitution operation
operating under the name of the Emperors Club.


The suspicious financial activity was initially reported by a
bank to the IRS which, under direction from the Justice
Department, brought in the FBI’s Public Corruption Squad.

“We had no interest at all in the prostitution ring until the
thing with Spitzer led us to learn about it,” said one Justice
Department official.

Jane Hamsher has more questions over at FDL.

Posted in abuse of power, just wondering | 7 Comments »

The Haitian Leap

Posted by Charles II on March 10, 2008

The Haiti Information Project reports that 10,000 people marched in Port au Prince on February 29th, the anniversary of Aristide’s ouster four years ago.  The UN troops continue to flaunt flaunt their contempt for basic civil rights:

Brazilian troops detained former political prisoner and grassroots activist Yvon Antoine. Known as by his nickname ‘Zap Zap’, Antoine had been previously arrested on March 2, 2004 without a warrant and held for two and a half years. When he finally got his day in court, there was not a single witness or a single piece of evidence against him, and he was acquitted of all charges. According to witnesses, UN forces detained him again on Feb. 21, 2008 in Bel Air because he flashed a photo of Aristide as their troops passed by on a routine patrol. He was held for questioning for seven hours without charge and eventually released.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Haiti, our tax dollars at work, speaking truth to power | 2 Comments »

Five’ll Get You Ten Nothing Bad Happens To Rendell Over This

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 10, 2008

What am I talking about? Oh, just calling for killing the head of the Democratic National Committee:

… Rendell was asked recently what the Democratic National Committee should do about the valuable Michigan and Florida delegates it rejected as a penalty for those states’ moving up their primaries.

“Shoot Howard Dean,” Rendell, who once occupied Dean’s seat as committee chairman, was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times.

Let’s see here:

Hillary surrogate Howard Wolfson can compare Obama to Ken Starr and keep his job. Rendell can call for offing Howard Dean and not pay a price. But if Samantha Power, in what she thought was an off-the-record conversation with a reporter from a Scottish newspaper that would be obscure to most Americans and even most reporters, calls Hillary a “monster”, the hue and cry in the US press is such that she is forced to resign soon thereafter.

Oh, and as for Rendell whining because Howard Dean won’t just let Rendell’s friend Senator Clinton have all those lovely delegates as a mulligan: It’s not Dean’s decision to make, but the DNC’s — and they already decided this months ago. Rendell, being a former DNC Chair, knows this full well. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, media | 3 Comments »

The Story They Won’t Tell You

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 10, 2008

Really, for all the US press’ focus on FARC — and the corresponding pretense that Colombian president and right-wing Bush buddy Alvaro Uribe is some sort of saint even as he goes out of his way to try to destablize to the government of neighboring Ecuador, which is what he says the FARC is trying to do to him — it’s rather interesting that in fact Uribe and his crowd make FARC look like choir boys:

I mean, sure, back in the day Senator Uribe was considered to be one of the world’s top drug dealers, working for the Medellin cartel and being—how did U.S. intelligence put it?— “a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar.” But that was 1991, this is now, and surely we couldn’t hold a grudge going back to the early 90s (sorry just a little laptop humor!)


For the record, Colombian paramilitaries are also listed as a terrorist group in the US and Europe. With that in mind, Uribe’s political allies alone make the FARC look like boy scouts. Por ejemplo:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Chavez, Colombia, conservativism, corruption, cronies, GOP/Media Complex, Latin America, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, projection, propaganda, rightwing moral cripples, totalitarianism, Venezuela | 1 Comment »

Dude, Where’s My “Bush Boom”?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 10, 2008

As the US officially enters a recession, we’re reminded yet again (h/t Res Ipsa Loquitur at Rising Hegemon) that for most Americans, the “Bush Boom” didn’t do diddly:

The dismal jobs report released Friday showed overall employment to be lower than it was three months ago. Every time such a slump has occurred since the early 1970s, a recession has followed — or already been under way.

And if the good times have really ended, they were never that good to begin with. Most American households are still not earning as much annually as they did in 1999, once inflation is taken into account. Since the Census Bureau began keeping records in the 1960s, a prolonged expansion has never ended without household income having set a new record.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, capitalism as cancer, economy | 1 Comment »