Thursday, July 31, 2008
Indictment of the Day: The longest-serving Senator
Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted today on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate and maintain his home. —Lara Jakes Jordan reporting in "Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP senator"
What is remarkable in this case is not the indictment but the longevity that corruption enjoys in the American political system. Ted Stevens, now 84, has been at it so long that he has managed to instill his values in his son Ben, who just finished serving a term as President of the Alaska State Senate.
Bill Allen, owner of the oil-field services firm Veco that apparently maintains a sideline in home remodeling, pled guilty to bribery and corruption in May 2007. In one of the videotapes that helped him see the light, he says to Pete Kott, former Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, "About the only ones that I can trust is you and ol' Ben Stevens." Ben Stevens remains unindicted.
So just how do they do it and get away with it for so long when everybody knows what's going on except, it would seem, the FBI? For one, the American public remains credulous and indifferent—complicit but in denial.
This attitude of course extends to the representatives of the media, recalling what was (or was not) written of the first Allied entry into a Nazi concentration camp during
The first liberation came in July 1944 when Soviet troops entered Maidanek, a death camp located in Poland two miles from the city of Lublin. Alexander Werth, a correspondent for the London Sunday Times and the BBC, accompanied the Soviet troops and described the camp shortly after its capture.
The BBC refused to air his report of the camp as his description was so unbelievable they considered it a Soviet propaganda ploy.
I remember an old black-and-white film of the residents of a town located near a Nazi death camp who were marched through the camp in an effort to force them to look at what the government they had supported had wrought. I was struck by how many simply walked past the bodies, refusing to look.1
Then there's the economic religion preached to us daily with more fervor than Jimmy Swaggart could muster while repenting a tryst with a prostitute. Some religions cloud the mind. In truth some religions depend upon it. Free-market capitalism in all its deceptive simplicity appears to be one of them.
A remark quoted from an Alaska state representative, Jay Ramras, went deeper than he thinks: "I don't know if this is immoral behavior, illegal behavior, unethical behavior or just raw capitalism."
It is confusing, isn't it?
The Corrupt Bastards Club (9/01/06)