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Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sad scandals

The willingness of high-profile elected officials to engage in scandalous sexual behavior still baffles many observers.

March 12, 2008

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Elected officials are human, but it nonetheless is disappointing and somewhat shocking when they make choices and engage in behavior that dishonor themselves and their families and raise questions about their fitness to serve the public.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is only the latest government official to break faith with the people he represents by engaging in behavior that he said Monday violated even his own "sense of right and wrong." According to law enforcement officials, Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet a high-priced prostitute. On Tuesday, the governor was being pressured to resign from office in the face of the sex scandal.

Unfortunately, the picture of Spitzer admitting shameful behavior, with his pained wife standing at his side, is not unique. Similar scandals rocked the White House under President Bill Clinton and ended the presidential campaign of Democrat Gary Hart. Allegations of homosexual relationships struck Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho and led to the resignation of New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey. We in Kansas watched the demise of our attorney general, Paul Morrison, only a year after he was elected because of allegations of an extramarital affair with a member of his Johnson County district attorney staff.

A number of questions continue to haunt spectators of these debacles. How can people who know they are under intense public scrutiny be so reckless in their behavior? How can it be so important for them to engage in improper sexual activity that they are willing to risk the reputations of themselves and their families - not to mention their political careers? And, perhaps most importantly, how can they think they won't be caught?

Perhaps there is no connection between the personality traits that lead to a political career and those that, when not kept under control, also can lead to personal scandal, but it's hard not to notice the common relationship between power and arrogance.

There obviously are thousands of honest, conscientious elected officials in America who serve their constituents well and at least appear to conduct their personal lives in a respectable manner. It's unfortunate that a few rogues exhibiting monumental lapses of judgment have such an eroding effect on the public's trust for everyone in elected office.

Comments

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers

By Eliot Spitzer Thursday, February 14, 2008; Page A25

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.

Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.

Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.

In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

On February 14 2008 Spitzer comes down hard on the Bush admin in the Washington Post. March 11 feds bust him for being with another woman. During election years repubs like snooping into the sex lives of others which is none of their business and questions the motivation big time. There is some history which raises issues of ethics as well.

Lawmakers on all sides of the aisle and their special interest pals seem to frequent the use of prostitutes for the purpose of persuasion. The Abramoff republican scandal was quite busy in this arena. I say decriminalize prostitution and tax the lucrative industry. For decades upon decades our military personnel also are thankful for ladies of the night when leaving boot camp or far far away from home.

However no party can be as irresponsible as the new neocon republican party has been... Iran-Contra,Savings and Loan Scandal(Neil Bush&McCain),Spying on Americans,Lying about WMD'S,Lying about social security http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html republican Iraq war profiteers, sub prime lending scandal, the Senator Frist family billion dollar rip off of medicare, NOT to mention the Bush Oil Cartel War for Oil Control!

Perhaps it's time to replace 95% of incumbents?

akt2 6 years, 11 months ago

Why can't they just keep their pants zipped? Instead of embarrassing their families and ruining their lives. Oral sex in the Oval Office, high priced prostitutes, soliciting sex in airport bathrooms. It just never ceases to amaze me how horny men are. And stupid. They always think they are going to get away with it.

nverlost 6 years, 11 months ago

merrill is about as delusional as any poster I have seen. The guy is a scum bag plain and simple and should be held to a higher standard given the post he sought.

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 11 months ago

men will be men and that is human, lack of judgement has nothing to do with job, race, religion, power, or political affliliation,there is no such thing as perfection when talking about people.

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

i find it very amazing how these people think with their winkies....well he will get plenty of time to think about it if they put him in a federal pen....then the whole prison community will have a new boytoy....

Marcy McGuffie 6 years, 11 months ago

Defender (Anonymous) says: "It just never ceases to amaze me how horny men are. And stupid."

What an ignorant, sexist, stupid, moronic, fool you are. It takes two to tango, yet you blame it all on men? You're an idiot.


Of course, it takes two to tango and the women involved are idiots, too. BUT - that was a rather harsh comment to the original poster of that comment given the context.

This article is discussing MEN in positions of power (all of whom have families), making idiotic decisions. In these particular instances...it is the MEN'S fault for embarassing their families and making fools of themselves in the public eyes...

That being said, there are plenty of homewrecking hussies out there too. And women also cheat on men. But, that's not what this article is about...

akt2 6 years, 11 months ago

Men are the ignorant, sexist, stupid, moronic fools that engage in sex for money. The male human is so predictable. You can bet that the high priced call girls (or street walkers), could care less about the sex. But they will be happy to take the horny man's money. They lose nothing of value. He loses everything, and ends up paying thru the nose when he is caught. Who is the stupid one in this scenerio?

Godot 6 years, 11 months ago

Good post, Logrithmic. This is payback time for Spitzer. It is doubtful there will be any AG who will be brave enough to go after the Wallstreet cheats, now.

Why haven't we learned the names of Clients 1-8?

Godot 6 years, 11 months ago

I truly doubt this was a case of the GOP targeting Spitzer; he made enemies of some of the most powerful people in the world: the Wallstreet bankers and brokers. These people will do anything to win, and get even.

Godot 6 years, 11 months ago

Very detailed account of the investigation in the NYT. HSBC seems to have been very active in reporting Mr. Spitzers' transactions.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/nyregion/12legal.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin

otto 6 years, 11 months ago

My wife standing next to me hitting me over the head with a club would be my only photo opp. if I were involved in something like this.

Kat Christian 6 years, 11 months ago

What's so mysterious about it? He is most likely a sex addict, coupled with arrogance and money plus opportunty. He deserves the shame!

Kathy Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree sunshine. One gets what they "pay" for, no?

Godot 6 years, 11 months ago

Imagine the thrill he got from cheating on everyone, his wife, the public, his supporters, even the security detail. No doubt he thought he was smarter and more powerful than everyone else. Superman complex.

nettieb 6 years, 11 months ago

In this day and age, I have a hard time believing that anyone in their positions, which does require a certain level of common sense and intelligence, thinks they can do these things and get away with them.

It's really too bad. Spitzer and Morrison both had so much they could have offered their posts. Morrison, moreso than Spitzer, in my opinion, didn't remember the golden rule: Hell hath no fury...

What they hell are they thinking? Spitzer would have been better off getting a bj from a $20 crack whore who would have kept it to herself for the fix.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 11 months ago

"merrill is about as delusional as any poster I have seen. The guy is a scum bag plain and simple and should be held to a higher standard given the post he sought."

Please describe, in detail, how Merrill's post is delusional. He lays out some interesting facts and juxtapositions. Calling him names doesn't negate the validity of his argument. It would be nice if you'd attempt to explain how he got it wrong.

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