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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ted Stevens Can Take His Corrupt Swag and Choke on It

Good Morning Papamoka Readers! In what could only be bad news to those of us who care about ethics in government, the Obama Administration's Justice Department today asked a federal judge to drop all charges against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. As usual, politicians who break the rules go free. I find it so depressing.

A jury convicted Stevens last fall of seven counts of lying on his Senate disclosure form in order to conceal $250,000 in gifts from an oil industry executive and other friends. That is a VERY BIG DEAL whether you want to try to belittle it or not. I worked in the Senate, and lying about major gifts is a major no-no. It effects everything, especially the integrity of your votes.

I also met him. He is a very nasty piece of work. Stevens is a creepy little man who is directly responsible for tearing the Alaskan wilderness to pieces. The man never saw a piece of wilderness he wasn't willing to lease to a mining, oil or logging company. He spent his entire career trying to turn government protected land, owned by all Americans, into Alaskan corporate fodder.

He always claimed it was about jobs. Funny thing, like most Republicans, he never fought hard to use the billions in federal dollars - or oil/mining/logging dollars - for education or the creation of new industries. He was mediocre when it came to fighting for quality higher education. He never fought for anything much except those depressing blue collar jobs.

What does that tell you? It tells me that he promoted blue collar values and passions for one reason, so that he [and his political career] could benefit from the industries that need such workers. It was nothing more, nothing less.

Btw, I looked into it. Except for being a major supporter of natural resource industries, he paid little attention to Alaska's potential for other industries. Overall, Stevens did very little to promote a better future. Feel free to let me know if I'm wrong, but I can't find anything - and he had a LONG career. Explain to me what he did to help Alaskans move beyond just a few, crude, environmentally destructive industries?

The way I see it, he was a bought-and-paid-for, one trick pony. Interesting, how many other Republicans would fall into that same category? I'll bet more than a few. I think it's time we learn from the Ted Stevens of this world, and outgrow them.

His environmental legacy, comprised mostly of golf course and vacation home vista preservation, will go down as one of the worst in American history. Despite his personal love of hunting and fishing, his loyalty and passion for logging, mines and oil will anger preservationists for years to come.

Like the Long family of Louisiana, who helped destroy the wetlands and most of the "Sportsman's Paradise" in favor of the oil and gas industry, Steven's will be remembered for low wage jobs, dirty industries, carcinogenic waste, and poor overall economic development. He delivered millions each year to Alaska, but the state has very little to show for it. Where did that money go? You tell me.

Oh well, one more corrupt politician will be allowed to live his golden years out in peace and quiet, enjoying his spoils. When will this nation learn that unless we do a better job of prosecuting those who break our laws, we will continue to be victims of the treachery and manipulations of very bad people? I only hope Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Barack Obama, know what they're doing when they let people like Stevens go without a good fight.

Enjoy your retirement Ted, because if the universe does ask for payback, then you have a lot to account for after it's all over. Your nastiness alone should be enough to score you a hot seat. Who knows, maybe you'll be forced to mine or log for the rest of eternity - without gloves! At least you lost the election, and you're very old, so hopefully your bile - and ability to destroy - will grow less toxic very soon.

Michael Boh
Papamoka's Left Coast Contributor
from Our Rants & Raves Blog

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Blogger B.J. said...

Ted Stevens’ deplorable record as a senator was not on trial. It is my understanding that the charges were dropped because critical evidence, which would have been vital to his defense in discovery, was withheld by the prosecution.

Love him or hate him, prosecutors cannot get away with that.


3:35 AM  
Anonymous Thurgood Frodo said...

The Hobbit expresses his complete agreement with the distinguished representative from South Carolina. Despite his complete and total abhorrence for anything associated with one of the WORST PERSONS IN THE WORLD, we are, indeed, a Nation of Laws. Without that, Richard Nixon might still be President.

7:59 AM  
Blogger by Michael Boh said...

Okay, I'll admit that his record wasn't on trial, but I was talking about that more as an example of how another SLEAZY politician got away. I'm not for political or party-motivated witchhunts (kind of like the GOP with Gov. Siegelman), but I am for catching the bad guys. I think if Eric Holder is so honorable, than he should have considered a mistrial, admitted the prosecutorial mistakes, and asked for another, proper trial. That's what I should have said in the piece. Btw, I also believe, if he's so motivated, that he now has an obligation to go after Rove (Siegelman) and the Bush crowd (torture, wiretapping). Fair is fair. MB

10:42 AM  
Blogger B.J. said...

Michael: Your post was fine and very thoroughly pointed out what a crappy elected official Stevens was.

Consider this: Holder had access to the evidence which would have benefited Stevens’ defense on the specific charges against him. Having that access, he dropped the charges. We don’t know what the evidence was, but apparently Holder made his judgment based on it.

I had a lot of law courses getting a political science degree (as well as journalism), and the law can be enigmatic and thrilling.


11:24 AM  
Blogger by Michael Boh said...

Thanks BJ - I stand corrected. I'll admit that I do not have a law background, so if a new trial is not possible, I guess I'll have to live with it. I still think Holder needs to apply those same principles to the Bush crimes, and I still think Stevens is a cockroach! :) MB

9:37 AM  
Blogger B.J. said...


I just finished a book about the cholera outbreak in London (1853-54). In his conclusion, the author mentions some recent cholera outbreaks, including one is Basra, Iraq, in the summer of 2003. Throghout Iraq, there were many cases of children with diarrheal diseases due to damage to water purification plants after the invasion. We wll never know the agonies of innocent Iraqis at the hands these neocns.

We might one day see the Bush-Cheney duo brought to justice. The International Red Cross has charged the U.S. with torture and the “rendering” of prisoners to countries where there are no laws against torture. A court in Spain is considering war crimes charges against five members of the Bush administration, including former Attoney General Gonzales..

In the meantime, I have a link on my blog sidebar to Gallup, which has found that 69 percent of Americans STILL view Bush and Cheney “unfavorably.”

To better times! BJ

10:06 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Michael, someone sent me this link because I've been watching the Alaska corruption trials fairly closely. A person like Stevens is more complex than you portray him. But he clearly has a bad temper and has been in the Senate so long that he believes himself to be totally right.

But Alaskans of all flavors were the beneficiaries of his bundles of money from Washington. The oil companies also employ a lot of professionals, by the way. Lots of engineers, chemists, attorneys, etc.

Alaska Natives were also major beneficiaries of Stevens' largesse. We may not agree with how they were rewarded, but he paid close attention to doing things he felt would benefit them.

My attorney friends tell me the prosecutions' withholding of evidence from the defense was an egregious error and the trial should have been thrown out. But whether there shouldn't have been a retrial is another story. Who knows what the Obama administration got in return for that?

There were a number of other issues that the Justice Department was looking into regarding Stevens - including his son Ben's dealings. Your basic point about power winning over justice and law (just not in this specific trial) are on point.

4:08 PM  

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