Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Astonishing Innocence of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens

The Elephant in the Parlor

How to extend the toxin of the Bush Justice Department beyond the collapse of the autocracy. BD86

The question arose some time ago. The longest serving Republican in the Senate was facing a serious corruption problem. One might consider such a problem, at least in the Republican sense, to present itself simply. That is, for them a corruption problem might imply, in one sense, “not enough looting,” and in the other sense, “to much looting” to either hide or ignore under investigation. Republicans worthy of the name are expected to graft and connive their way to a certain, minimum amount of ill gotten gains then successfully conceal it under the guise of “tax cuts,” “no bid contracts” or other similar criminal mechanisms.

Poor old Ted Stevens, however, wound up with a house. There were no bills, payments or ownership clouds for distraction or protection. His down to earth, folksy style of corruption delivered itself in this particular case as a a massive, material house renovation, contributed by his “friend,” Bill Allen, and constructed by Mr. Allen’s oil field services firm, VECO. Aside from the obvious question of why anyone would want anything built by this band of Sanford and Sons style hillbillies, the precise compensation provided to the thoroughly “for sale” Senator Stevens for this “pay to play” arrangement has little to do with this MeanMesa posting.

This posting deals, instead, with the startling exoneration of the old Senator previously convicted of no fewer than seven corruption charges and headed for jail. By the way, when we say “previously,” we, of course, are speaking of his conviction in September, 2008. Those were the dark days when Autocrat Bush Jr. was “hunkering” in his bunker waiting for the Russian troops to enter his Berlin on the Potomac.

The old Senator was always full of insipid bluster. (Research his explosive threats of retaliation against his Senatorial buddies when they humiliated him by exposing his $250,000,000 “bridge to no where” as a new, all time low in earmark quality. The bridge didn’t, of course, actually go to “no where,” at all. It went to some inaccessible real estate with an interesting possibility of profit for its equally interesting, eager and enthusiastic owners.) Stevens had delivered a veritable Philippic as to his inevitable innocence along with his demand for a “speedy trial.” By "speedy trial" we have to assume a trial so "speedy" that legal certain errors could be understandably committed by hurried prosecutors.

At this point the Bushies found themselves facing a quandary. The old bird from Alaska, having been a very visible ranking member during their years of tax extraction, had to be saved the humiliation of a prison cell. Yet, unlike the more collegiate forms of loot accumulated by the more sophisticated Republicans during that period, old Senator Stevens had wound up with a house -- a real “elephant in the living room.” Worse, his bourbon soaked, hillbilly coconspirator, Mr. Bill Allen, had confessed to every category and item on the Grand Jury’s list of indictments in an effort to mitigate some of his own consequences.

Judicially, Governor Palin had already, by this time, clumsily transformed Alaska into a “wet dream” of neo con principles of “free market” opportunities embarrassingly beyond even her “drill, baby, drill” fiasco. Now, the meat handed state judicial monster had staggered out of even her gaseous control.

The Alaska State Senate, equally contaminated by the numbing Senate Presidency of Ted Steven’s son and joyfully lubricated with vast oil money was running for its own cover under the humiliating embarrassment of Palin’s recent Vice Presidential campaign. The sole Alaskan Congressman, the well aged and well paid Don Young, was scampering for his own cover from the now free range indictments.

Alaska has had its own legacy of notable Senators. Ernest Gruening stood as one of the first voices against the war in Vietnam. Mike Gravel followed that brave stand and delivered the VSW (Village Safe Water) legislation to Alaskan Natives. Both solid, albeit moderately zany, Alaskan Democrats, offered the promise of a mature, forward thinking presence for the state before the greediest Alaskans assigned that promise to this sink hole thirty years ago.

The Brain of the Bushites, Mr. Karl Rove, issued his marching orders to the Justice Department. The trial could not be swayed with the same cheap tricks as, for example, the kangaroo court which had placed the duly elected Governor of Alabama in an isolation cell in a Federal Prison while the election results were purloined and delivered to a mindless Republican monkey who had just lost. No, the “Stevens-matter” had to be handled differently.

The rescue of this -- possibly talkative -- old crook had to be effected after his conviction. Rove correctly estimated that the details of the crimes were too sleazy for even a Bush pardon, and the Stevens conviction had already delivered the Alaska Senate seat to a Democrat, Mark Begich. So, the full investment by the administration became targeted on keeping the old man quiet. A book of memoirs scratched out over the years in the penitentiary by Stevens’ ghost writers could capsize the final stinky remnants of the Bush legacy more severely than the whispers of an affair with Secretary of State Rice.

The Federal prosecutors were instructed to blow it. Coasting below the surface of the media’s infatuation with the election of Obama, the case could be quietly dismissed as a mistrial based on mistakes made by the prosecutors of the most fundamental rules of evidence and discovery. By the way, mistakes which a new law school graduate would never make. By the way, mistakes so suspicious as to be described as “perplexing” by both Krauthammer and Toutenberg on the weekly PBS yelling match. "Outrageous" and "egregious" were not ever words which caused Carl Rove to lay awake at night. "Perplexing" elicited no more than one of his furtive, mischievous smiles.

A legitmate, sincere and duly elected President and his administration may eventually return the Justice Department to its traditional, internationally envied state of honor and respect, but the new Attorney General, Eric Holden, finds his formidable sworn allegiance to Constitutional rule compels him to dismiss the case -- regardless of the compelling facts of guilt and conviction -- based on the sabotage engineered into it by Rove and the Bush cronies.

Yes, the screwtape twists and insults of the Bush autocracy live on beyond the grave. Happily, once cleansed and rectified by our return to democracy, the odor will not last forever.

The author of MeanMesa enjoys the credentials of having lived in Alaska for thirty years and having been intermittently employed by VECO as an engineer and designer. For a more complete version of the VECO story,

for a more complete account of the Justice Department attack on Governor Siegelman,,8599,1627427,00.html

and for a more complete account of the Ted Stevens trial,0,1940960.story

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