Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Missing-Thread in Coverage of the Spitzer Scandal

New York City
--Soon-to-be former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, has a lot to be proud of and ashamed of. When he was New York State's Attorney General, he was busting many of the same shady lending and mortgage firms who were bailed-out by the fed and J.P. Morgan today. $200 billion was given in-loans to Bank of America (current owner of Countrywide, now under investigation), Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and all the other sub-prime lenders--namely Bear-Stearns--who have run amok in a regulation-free environment thanks to the Bush administration looking the other way. But then along came state Attorney Generals like Spitzer.

Was the federal bust of Spitzer selective--was it payback for all the busts the former "Sheriff of Wall Street" made? We don't know this yet, but it's a possibility. The timing is very curious: just a few days before the bailout, we get the break in the Spitzer story and his name is thrust into-the-foreground.

What about the other clients identified in the investigation? If they're Republicans, we're not going to find-out anytime soon. Recall that Senator Vitter's presence on wiretaps of a 2001 investigation in New Orleans were suppressed for years by the Bush Justice Department. Then there were all the "mysterious" break-ins during 2007 at the campaign headquarters of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and the offices of Senator Christopher Dodd.

It's a real twilight time. But all that aside, one has to wonder if the newly-appointed Governor Paterson will be initiating any new investigations on Wall Street. Taking-down Spitzer surely had the aim of limiting them, underscoring the stupidity of his actions.

Historians are likely to be stunned at how selective most of the Justice Department investigations were under the Bush administration, and how Congress looked-aside when it was obvious for all to see. Funny how Americans are the last to know their own history. This aspect of the whole story is likely to be neglected into oblivion, down the memory hole, but the questions and suspicions are going to be there, forever. They'll just be classified until all the primary players are dead.

"National Security" will be the tired refrain, which in some respects is accurate: if Americans knew half of what's going-on under the color of authority, they might revolt. With all of the economic-woes created by this unprecedented era of corruption, it's unsurprising that both parties are alright about domestic surveillance--they might need it to survive our wrath when things have gotten so bad from their actions.

But if you look at how the exposure of Republican Senator David Vitter was handled and look at Spitzer's case, the Democratic governor's treatment certainly appears to be selective and blatantly partisan. This is not coming from a fan of the Democratic Party. Not only that, but it should be noted that the Spitzer case has a strange parallel with the blank inaction to impeach the vice president and president for far more heinous crimes. Calls for impeachment from the Republicans was resounding, while we can readily recall the sound of crickets on-their-part when it comes to their own.

Centrally, these would be war crimes, but the scope and depth of the Bush administration's overarching crimes are going to be marveled at for generations. Remember reading about slavery, or the Holocaust? Remember saying to yourself, "Were they stupid? Why did they put-up with that?!" Welcome to why not, your wondering is over. Have fun looking in the mirror tomorrow morning, then write, call, e-mail, and contact your representative and ask them what the hell they actually do there in Washington D.C. Better yet, if you have no ties to the establishment, why not run for office? Do what you do best.