March 10, 2008

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap...But Oh! The Outrage!

The comedy of a significant portion of the progressive blogosphere's reaction to the Eliot Spitzer revelations is...oh, hell, it's transcendent! Just too much fun. And since it's free, I guess it's legal.

No sooner do I write about certain progressives' stunning and totally unexpected realization that, gosh, golly and jumpin' gadzooks, whoever knew that Hillary was so ambitious?!?!?, than the identical dynamics are displayed to the world still one more time. If it weren't for the comedic value, the predictability of it all would be fatally boring.

As we all know, the Democrats are only and always in favor of peace and liberty. Stop laughing. C'mon, we have some serious points to cover here. It couldn't be -- I mean, it just couldn't be -- that Eliot Spitzer supports authoritarianism, the vast expansion of the police state, and the elimination of constitutional rights!

Oh, baby, yes, it could. Joshua Frank, in an article from January 2007:
Spitzer, like young Barack Obama, is often seen as the face of a new, invigorated Democratic Party--one that isn't afraid to shine its progressive credentials. Eliot Spitzer, unfortunately, is anything but progressive. In many ways he is not even a reformer.

Sure he's stood up for abortion rights and against tax cuts for the rich, but that's right about where Spitzer's political ideology plummets into Bushland. He unashamedly supports the neocons' war on terror, salutes the racist death penalty as a just punishment, and perhaps most telling of all, Spitzer was one of the chief architects of the New York version of the fear provoked PATRIOT Act.

Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Gov. Pataki along with Attorney General Spitzer wrote the grossly overreaching Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001. Much like the federal PATRIOT Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act attempted to curtail our civil liberties in the name of national defense.

The Act sanctions "roving" wiretaps of US citizens, expands the definition of terrorist activity to include money laundering [TRIPLE IRONY ALERT!!], and eliminates the statute of limitations for all "terrorist" offenses. The Act also permits the prosecution of suspects despite a pending or prior federal prosecution, and among further offensives, Spitzer and Pataki's bill prevents suspects from being freed due to a "technicality," i.e. an unlawful action made by investigators and law enforcement officials in complying with federal search and seizure regulations.

Apparently a "technicality" to Spitzer is synonymous with "Constitutional hang-up." And that's a dangerous path for any state to travel down, especially when a savvy prosecutor is at the helm. By eliminating Constitutional rights, terror suspects will not be presented with fair, impartial trials. Indeed their guaranteed rights will not assured at all -- their rights will be restricted in the name of terror prevention.
And read this article, and consider the following precious nugget:
Wall Street executives who ran afoul of Eliot Spitzer earlier this decade found they were in deep trouble because of a peculiar wrinkle in the law. They found their options were limited because they happened to conduct their business in New York. Spitzer had at his disposal the Martin Act, a 1921 piece of legislation that gives extraordinary powers and discretion to an attorney general fighting financial fraud. As Nicholas Thompson noted in Legal Affairs, "people called in for questioning during Martin Act investigations do not have a right to counsel or a right against self-incrimination. Combined, the act's powers exceed those given any regulator in any other state." In Spitzer's case, he may have landed in water that was hotter than it might have otherwise been because he decided to do some of his business in Washington, D.C. (on the night before Valentine's Day, no less). By allegedly arranging for a prostitute to travel across state lines from New York to Washington, D.C., Spitzer may have bumped up his indiscretions from a violation of state to a violation of federal law—a much more serious matter.
The Mann Act is a particularly vile piece of legislation, one that should have been repealed decades ago (when they decriminalized prostitution would have been the ideal time...oh, right, that didn't happen). But I'm sure the Democrats will repeal it, right after they repeal the Military Commissions Act, defund the Iraq genocide, repeal the Patriot Act, and roll back all the other excesses of the last seven years.

Oh, that's right. The Democrats won't do any of those things. Never mind. But you go on, Digby, write your posts about the awful Mann Act. You at least have a colorable right to complain. Spitzer doesn't; he knows all about using old and abstruse laws to get the "bad guys." It's his tough luck to be caught on the wrong side of that equation. That, and stupidity of world-class proportions. But, Digby, I would suggest you avoid future references to "a little partisan prosecutorial hanky panky." That's one of Spitzer's favoritest things. Give the man a break. He rather needs one at the moment.

Add these further details, which also fall in the category of Spitzer's favoritest things, unless of course he's the target:
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.


Spitzer, who made his name by bringing high-profile cases against many of New York's financial giants, is likely to be prosecuted under a relatively obscure statute called "structuring," according to a Justice Department official.

Structuring involves creating a series of financial movements designed to obscure the true purpose of the payments.
Prostitution involving consenting adults cannot defensibly be regarded as a crime. In that sense, Spitzer should never have been targeted at all for that alleged offense. But it is currently illegal, as all basically functioning adults are fully aware. [And whatever else might be said about him, Spitzer appears to be basically functioning. I'll be here all week.] Given Spitzer's unfathomable stupidity -- and in light of the fact that he is now the victim of the kinds of overreaching police state tactics that he himself has endlessly championed and utilized -- this can only be regarded as an instance of an especially objectionable, arrogant, overweening, power-mad, vicious son of a bitch himself getting exactly what he has been delightedly happy to dish out to others.

But, Arthur, the progressives bleat: Democrats are on the side of individual liberty and peace!

Before I lay my head upon the pillow tonight, I am going to pray extra hard that the Easter Bunny brings me specially pretty eggs and scrumptiously delicious candy this year.

One of these days, more than 0.000324% of Americans will decide to grow up. I'm not holding my breath.