March 30, 2008

Shred Everything


fire_blog_span When the Bush administration finally passes the torch, how much evidence will they need to destroy? Granted, their brand of hubris has been marked by a willingness to perpetrate crimes in the light of day, but still, there will likely be troves of documents in need of rapid destruction. Look for smoke coming out of the White House. Cheney, I suppose, has already had to get a jump on things.

That's why I wish I lived in a society where Elliot Spitzer could have only been caught by his wife. Because, in the aftermath of the purge of federal prosecutors by that disaster of a man, Alberto Gonzales, the investigation of the ex-governor bears all the hallmarks of a well-oiled political vendetta. I'm not saying it is, although the fact that he was ratted on by a Republican operative does appear unseemly. At least Boyd R. Johnson III, the prosecutor from the office of public corruption, looks like he's a sincere crime-fighter. Unfortunately, so did Spitzer, for a while at least.

610xSo I'm wondering, where is the dividing line between police state and free society? Elliot Spitzer was taken down by the existence of detailed financial reports provided by banks where he held accounts used to fund his adventures. Prior to 9/11, the Bank Secrecy Act, dating back to the 70s and designed to identify money laundering, generated 205,000 bank reports a year, and now, after the various Executive Omnipotence Acts have been shoved through Congress by the Bush administration, that number has swollen to over a million. Presumably someone somewhere has the job to look at them and stamp them with the FBI inkpad. Maybe they just sit on a shelf and collect dust, waiting for their moment in the sun.

brando_shredder_1 Throw in a little complicity from the telecommunications companies and the portrait is nearly complete. It reminds me of the Stasi, and their obsessively effective information-collection network of spies and collaborators. When the jig was up, they shredded, by shredding machine where available, by hand if necessary. Where is the dividing line between police state and free society? Well, the Stasi used intimidation and tortured prisoners...  Oops!