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Posts Tagged ‘Crooks!

Fickle Politics Aside (Part 2)

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Another example of setting aside differences in the favor of championing liberty comes from Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell. He points out the difference between western democracy-based governments and the very nasty authoritarian-capitalism running China. At times people here may claim the moguls of industry are in bed with politicians through heavily funded lobbyists, special interests, etc.

This Olympics will be remembered as a worldwide multi-week debate on the historic experiment that evolved by accident here over the past 25 years.


The largest nation on earth has unexpectedly evolved to the point where it is capitalist in every practical sense, including an entrenched elite every bit as ruthless as America’s robber barons. Yet China has kept its strict, one-party, often-thuggish Communist rule.

Used under a Creative Commons License. "Guarding" by tinou bao (via Flickr).

Used under a Creative Commons License. "Guarding" by tinou bao (via Flickr).

This form of capitalism is, as Boswell alludes, reminiscent of times in our country’s history where capitalism has shown its ugly, social-Darwinist side. He continues:

“The West has assumed that capitalism must lead to democracy, that free markets inevitably result in free societies,” Philip P. Pan wrote in “Out of Mao’s Shadow.” “But by embracing market reforms while continuing to restrict political freedom, China’s Communist leaders have presided over an economic revolution without surrendering power.”

Boswell continues to discuss two contrasting ideas in his article–between the authoritarian human rights abuses and the showcase of economic progress. Both make for a very interesting read.

My recent “Crooks!” category showcases how bad it can be here with politicians. As Americans, we should have extremely high standards for ourselves and our representatives. We are Reagan’s shining city on the hill. But we should also focus our free media on countries like China at times when they invite the lens of the world upon them.

In the same vein, we should balance comparisons like those Boswell draws equating times from our history with what others are going through today. It is an easy argument to make, but not very intelligent. Countries will find plenty of knowledge, technology and science that can allow their growing pains (politically, economically, environmentally, etc.) to be measurably less than what the Anglo-Saxon west (read Charles Dickens and Upton Sinclair for great examples) endured. Through that lense, it is unconscionable for modernizing countries such as China to have the same (or worse) situations compared to what we did one hundred years ago.


Written by walonline

August 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

More Crooks

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Jake Tapper at ABC News’ Political Punch looks at a number of potentially crooked Republicans who have been associated with Sen. Steven’s gravy train.

Names included in his post are Senators Collins (R-Maine), Dole (R-NC), Smith (R-Ore), Sununu (R-NH), and Minnesota’s own Norm Coleman.

A lot of these donations are party of normal practice in politics, but this doesn’t make them right by any means. ALSO: just because we’re knocking Republican Senators here, let’s just remember that this happens to all politicians. The question is whether its easily visible or cloaked with smoke and mirrors. There is a reason why politics is the “second oldest profession.” (The first being prostitution.)

Depending on your level of cynicism, you might find very little difference between the two.

Written by walonline

August 1, 2008 at 8:07 am

Open Thoughts

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I’m not normally the one to dream up conspiracies. For example, I’ll call you delusional if you’re one of the folks that believes the Bush Administration set up the attacks on 9/11. On the other hand, people would probably call me crazy for saying “Wag the Dog” and Bill Clinton’s interesting tendency to make military strikes when the heat was on him for, er, domestic issues, are strikingly similar–more so than Oliver Stone‘s movie could ever be.

My thoughts:

Used under a Creative Commons License. Crooked Door by Skinnyde (Flickr)

What chance is it that there are politician motivations for the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens to take the heat off Justice Department employees embroiled in the politically-motivated hiring policies of the Gonzalez Justice Department?

Politics is far reaching, and a connection here–although it wouldn’t really matter or be significant–would not surprise me one bit. I probably am going crazy, though. If some of these stories surrounding Stevens are true, he needs to go:

On Tuesday a federal grand jury charged Stevens with failing to report gifts from Veco, including cars and free labor for a home in Girdwood, Alaska the senator called “the chalet.”

Maybe it will serve as an example for other Politicians and they’ll at least be a little more careful to conceal their dealings. In fact, the article I linked to above speculates on the involvement of other officials:

[Stevens] isn’t the only U.S. lawmaker whose fortunes are likely threatened by his ties to an obscure oil services company […].

Am I going crazy, or just being a little too cynical? Any thoughts of your own on this?

Also, I’m adding a new category for just this sort of discussion (because it makes me all sorts of angry): “Crooks!”

UPDATE 7/31 @ 8:50a: It appears that I’m not the only one that thinks this. White Collar Crime Prof Blog has been considering whether this indictment was used to take the head off the Department of Justice also.

Written by walonline

July 30, 2008 at 7:08 pm