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The FBI is not a truck
July 29, 2008 10:50 AM   Subscribe

NewsFilter: The Internet is a series of tubes indictments. Sen. Ted Stevens has been indicted for corruption.

More here, from the hometown paper.
posted by bicyclefish (62 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Check out paragraphs 38 and 43, where the feds cite incriminating e-mails that he sent. Apparently the tubes weren't all clogged up in the year 2000.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:52 AM on July 29, 2008


A prison isn't a truck.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2008


tubes indictments.

Well played sir, well played. For how long the investigation was running, I'm pretty impressed by the scope of their findings. Whew. Dirty hands.
posted by cavalier at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2008


Novak with a brain tumor ... Stevens indicted ... somebody please call Richard Dawkins and tell him that he may be incorrect after all.
posted by scblackman at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2008 [11 favorites]


I dunno...what's Dawkins' view on karma?
posted by DU at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


If he's convicted, maybe he can just be put on an island without a bridge.
posted by brain_drain at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


If he's convicted, maybe he can just be put on an island without a bridge.

Might I suggest Bouvet Island?
posted by scblackman at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2008


From a broader political perspective, Alaska is tacking hard blue this cycle. Stevens was already losing to Anchorage mayor Mark Begich by 9 points in his re-election campaign. The once-unstoppable Governor Sarah Palin, who was a leading candidate for McCain's veep, fired the state police commissioner for refusing to fire her sister's ex-husband. Rep. Don Young (AK-At large) belongs in the same jail cell as Stevens, the dude is as dirty as they come. He'll be ousted by House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz (D) if he doesn't get primaried first.

And Obama is within 5 points of McCain in this typically deep-red state. Add Barr's name to the ballot and it's a tied ballgame.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2008


1 indictment down....hundreds and hundreds to go...
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course, if he's seen Shawshank Redemption, he already knows that particular series of tubes...
posted by Navelgazer at 11:02 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]



Of course, if he's seen Shawshank Redemption, he already knows that particular series of tubes...



RED:
I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that, but prison is no fairy-tale world.
posted by logicpunk at 11:06 AM on July 29, 2008


Wow, this guy has some nerve. $250,000 of work done to his house and he didn't pay a cent? How can you honestly expect to get away with that?
posted by PhillC at 11:07 AM on July 29, 2008


Yes ... but let us still take a moment to imagine Ted's face superimposed over Tim's ...

Ahh. That's nice.
posted by scblackman at 11:08 AM on July 29, 2008


Sen. Ted Stevens has been indicted for corruption.

Good. It's a start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 AM on July 29, 2008


Stevens' metaphor is now infamous: "And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

Everyone laughs at him for this, but actually, it's not that bad. The internet is much more like a series of tubes than it is like a truck. I think it was the way he delivered his speech that had more to do with him being ridiculed than the content did. If you listen to the clip of the speech, I think his style would turn anyone off, no matter what he was saying.

Of course, all this is tangential to the corruption charges, which I hope are fully investigated and reported on. Corruption of a US Senator is a very serious charge and should be treated as such.
posted by demiurge at 11:18 AM on July 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


If you read the story what's really depressing is how cheaply legislators can be bought. One guy caved in for less than $5k in donations plus a $3k summer job for one of his relatives. Really? I thought that was what legislators spent each week for hookers and crack.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:22 AM on July 29, 2008


Yeah, the tubes mockery is a little unfair. Although having his staff deliver "an internet" to his desk also reveals that the parts that were right weren't penned by him.
posted by DU at 11:23 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


For more than two decades, Allen was a major political fundraiser for Alaska politicians, both state and federal, and a strong presence in Juneau. Long a presense in the North Slope oil fields, his company was the prime contractor in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and Veco published the Anchorage Times newspaper. In 2000, he chaired George W. Bush's Alaska presidential campaign. He resigned from Veco after his guilty plea and awaits sentencing, and sold his interest in the company.

And THIS guy gets to cop a plea in order to take down Stevens.

Stevens ain't the problem friends - it's guys like this Allen assswipe who's got his dirty money all over the Republican party. It's these money men who should be sent to the scaffolds.

But power and money protect power and money so they offer up Stevens to protect Allen. Everyone's singed, no one gets burned.
posted by three blind mice at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, this guy has some nerve. $250,000 of work done to his house and he didn't pay a cent? How can you honestly expect to get away with that?
posted by PhillC at 2:07 PM on July 29


You're looking at it wrong. This guy was one of the most powerful Senators in the country, having been there for 40 years and longer than anyone else, and he throws it all away for $250,000 worth of junk--an SUV for his son, a Viking grill, and renovations to his house in Alaska.

I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg, but the point is that he's so cheap he sells out for nothing.

The thing to understand about guys like this, and nearly every Senator is like this, is that he's happiest being some wealthy interest's go-to guy in Washington. He's not a creator, not a visionary, he's nothing. He can't make any contribution, he knows this, but he still wants money. He wants to own shiny new things. He thinks because Allen and VECO, who clearly can effect change in the world, and do have a vision, call on him, that he's on par with them, and that makes him feel important. Like he's a "doer," like he is making things happen. Approrpiating the money for the bridge is the same as actually building it, right?

He has no idea the contempt with which they view him. We need Stupid to push for a bridge. Okay, send him a car, and then let me know when he gets it so I can call him and tell him what to do. And he bows his head and says "Yes, sir, thank you for the car it drives great."

Nickel and dime bullshit. The country is leaking trillions of dollars to corporate interest because our elected leaders can be bought off for pennies. The other Republican this reminds me of is Richard Perle. The things he did for Global Crossing would amaze you, and the amount of money he actually got is practically nothing. Of course, like Ted Stevens, if you are Richard Perle and you can't actually do anything, then any amount of money you get is worth whatever zero-cost principles and ethics you have to sacrifice.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:29 AM on July 29, 2008 [53 favorites]


Free Stevens...he will be vindicated. Liberal vindictiveness.
posted by Postroad at 11:30 AM on July 29, 2008


The internet is much more like a series of tubes than it is like a truck.

No, its like a truck. A bunch of them. That can hold, say 1500 bytes. Some are just 40 bytes long.

There can be SO many trucks that keep on trucking that the internet highway gets full up. Other times Al Ki-da blows up a bridging route, and the trucks need to go a different way to dump their payload.

(I'll let others expand on trucks. Extra points if the truck lacks gender ambiguity via truck-nutz.)
posted by rough ashlar at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


three blind mice: But power and money protect power and money so they offer up Stevens to protect Allen. Everyone's singed, no one gets burned.

Uh... wouldn't it be nice if both of them went to jail.

Oh, looks like they will?

That is nice!
posted by Kattullus at 11:32 AM on July 29, 2008


Stevens ain't the problem friends - it's guys like this Allen assswipe who's got his dirty money all over the Republican party.

I'm not really clear on why the briber, but not the bribee, is "the problem". But your deeper implication, that the Republican party would be pure and working for the Will of the People if not for the corrupting influence of money, is almost exactly wrong. The entire purpose of the Republican party is to protect dirty money. Of corporations and of rich people (if that isn't redundant). Everything else, culture wars and foreign policy and gay marriage, is trappings to get the numbnutz to vote for them.
posted by DU at 11:36 AM on July 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Bush's pardon pen will get a workout this fall. Tis the season. Although give the level of popularity right now I don't know why he just doesn't get a head start on all the work, not like anyone left who likes him will change their mind at this point.
posted by edgeways at 11:37 AM on July 29, 2008


Bush's pardon pen will get a workout this fall. Tis the season. Although give the level of popularity right now I don't know why he just doesn't get a head start on all the work, not like anyone left who likes him will change their mind at this point.

/me laughs a bit at the snark, then weeps quietly because he knows it's true.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:41 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Everyone laughs at him for this, but actually, it's not that bad. The internet is much more like a series of tubes than it is like a truck.

I often thought that if he had only replaced "tubes" with the familiar Internet-y analogous term "pipes," not only would no one have noticed, the ones that did would've thought Stevens was quite the hip techy Senator.

That said, the full quote is even worse than the tubes bit...

I just the other day got... an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

Which is both technically wrong and comically wrong. "Your staff sent you the Internet? Really? The whole thing? Did you read it all? What did you think of the exploding whale video? Funny stuff, huh?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:47 AM on July 29, 2008


Yeah, the tubes mockery is a little unfair.

No!

NO!

The metaphor was bad and he should feel bad!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


the internet is
a truck for my skateboard wheels
you don't understand
posted by jimmythefish at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2008


But your deeper implication, that the Republican party would be pure and working for the Will of the People if not for the corrupting influence of money, is almost exactly wrong.

Pure and working for the Will of the People? I might have been born at night, but it wasn't last night.

Clean enough and working for the people who vote for them would be good enough for me. Republican voters - as stupid as they are - deserve to be represented in government just like those who vote for Democrats - as stupid as those people are.

The corrupting influence of corporate money, DU, on both parties means that no voters are being represented at all.

Knocking down Ted Stevens achieves nothing. The supply of corrupt politicians is endless.
posted by three blind mice at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2008


What? The guy who happily and proudly tried to get money for a bridge to nowhere is CORRUPT?
posted by Legomancer at 11:59 AM on July 29, 2008


DU: "Yeah, the tubes mockery is a little unfair. Although having his staff deliver "an internet" to his desk also reveals that the parts that were right weren't penned by him."

But it was pretty obvious that he had zero idea what he was talking about and was just being fed lines by telecom lobbyists.
posted by octothorpe at 12:01 PM on July 29, 2008


I'm not so sure about the pardons. It's not like I've got reason to have confidence in Bush, but I think even he realizes that a few bastards are going to have to go down hard after these eight years, and Stevens is a better choice than many--he doesn't have any dirt on the administration that might come out in a plea deal.

And the important thing to remember about the pardons: they don't really come free. Bush defied gravity for a couple of years through 9/11 goodwill and sheer Republican arrogance, but there's a reason why presidents don't generally do things that are massively unpopular, unconscionable, transparently crooked, etc. It's because they want to be remembered well and want their parties to remain strong without them. A Stevens pardon would give the GOP a black eye and benefit no one but Stevens, and I can't imagine that even Republicans like him enough to do that.

Every pardon's going to need to be weighed. Monica Goodling will no doubt get off (though I'd bet the farm on her being disbarred), but Bush knows that he's going to look like a bigger and bigger crook--and that his party will pay a price--each time he goes to that well.
posted by Epenthesis at 12:01 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


You will never convince me that "It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes." isn't funny.
posted by diogenes at 12:03 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Knocking down Ted Stevens achieves nothing. The supply of corrupt politicians is endless.

But the supply of monied interests ends with this Allen character? I really don't get the point you are making. If we are going to stop only one side of the transaction (and I don't see why we are limited in the first place), it should be the side that has to at least pretend to be beholden to voters. Also, the side that has fewer members (538 or so, IIRC).
posted by DU at 12:05 PM on July 29, 2008


After further reflection, what makes the quote so funny isn't the tubes. It's the big truck. He sounds like he's in an argument with people who keep insisting that the internet is a big truck. Where did the big truck come from? Who said it was a big truck?
posted by diogenes at 12:08 PM on July 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


The point Stevens was trying to make was a good one, although it's hard to find it through his ignorance and poor speaking skills.

The idea is this: I can receive information in two ways. One way is a big truck: My information is placed in the truck and driven to me. I have to pay for the truck and driver's time.

The other way is a series of tubes. Using existing infrastructure, the information just floats on over to me and I don't have to pay anything.

As Stevens notes, the Internet is more like the latter than the former. HOWEVER, as he goes on to point out, when the information is floating through the tubes, OTHER information is prevented from getting through. So it isn't really free after all. There's an opportunity cost or as someone else would call it a bandwidth charge.
posted by DU at 12:13 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe The Incredible Hulk will be his roomie in prison?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2008


This is shocking in the exact same way a rock musician getting caught with some cocaine at an airport is shocking.
posted by signal at 12:22 PM on July 29, 2008


Yes, Stevens' actual point was not a stupid one. But it's also extremely clear that Stevens actual point was not penned by Stevens. One could almost see the lobbyists right off camera mouthing the words like a nervous mother at a Christmas pageant. If he'd not been paid for that speech, he certainly wouldn't have tried so hard.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:28 PM on July 29, 2008


Another wonderful Stevens moment was when he refused to swear in the CEOs of the oil companies at their senate hearing. And thus, when the execs were subsequently found to be fibbing, there was no recourse other than to ask them back... which of course Stevens didn't stand for.
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:46 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The other Republican this reminds me of is Richard Perle.

War Architect Richard Perle Looking To Enter Oil Business In Iraq
"In March 2003, weeks after the invasion of Iraq, war architect Richard Perle resigned from his position on the Defense Policy Board in an attempt to 'defuse a controversy over charges he stood to profit from the war in Iraq.'

But that hasn’t stopped Perle from continuing to seek profit from the war. Citing documents and people close to the negotiations, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Perle 'has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan. One of the oil tracts, near the Kurdish city of Erbil, is estimated to hold 150 million or more barrels of oil, would potentially be operated by Houston-based Endeavour International.'

...Perle’s shady business dealings related to the war are long-standing. The New Yorker’s Sy Hersh reported in 2003 on Perle’s role as a managing partner on the defense firm Trireme Partners LLP, whose 'business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place.' In response, Perle said Hersh was a 'terrorist.'

The New York Times revealed recently that the Bush administration 'played an integral part' in negotiating no-bid contracts for Western oil companies in Iraq. Despite its devastating security, human, and financial costs on the United States, the Iraq war continues to pay off for the architects and their friends."
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sen. Ted Stevens (D)
posted by fleetmouse at 12:49 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Another wonderful Stevens moment was when he refused to swear in the CEOs of the oil companies at their senate hearing.

Somehow, after everything that's happened, I still haven't lost my ability to be stunned.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Knocking down Ted Stevens achieves nothing. The supply of corrupt politicians is endless.

Yes, but the supply of corrupt politicians with experience and seniority is not. It takes time to shave an ape and train him to hoot properly.
posted by benzenedream at 12:54 PM on July 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Monica Goodling will no doubt get off...

Interesting twist ... Monica Goodling was granted immunity when she testified before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2007.
"[Chairman John] Conyers [Jr. (D-Mich.)] said, he has asked the committee staff to look into perjury charges against Goodling, former Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales and Kyle Sampson, his chief of staff. Even though Goodling had immunity to testify, committee staffers say, she still had an obligation to tell the truth."*
posted by ericb at 12:54 PM on July 29, 2008


how cheaply legislators can be bought. One guy caved in for less than $5k in donations plus a $3k summer job for one of his relatives. Really?

Having known a few slimy politicians (redundant, sorry), I can speculate that this often happens with decisions that the legislator was going to support anyway.

So in their head, it's not "for $5K I will change my vote".

It's "Sure, $5K for free. I was gonna vote that way anyway. I love this job."
posted by rokusan at 1:06 PM on July 29, 2008


My brother and I have always called him "The Final Boss of the Intertubez".

My bro is taking a nap right now, but when he wakes up, I'm running in there and screaming THE FINAL BOSS HAS BEEN DEFEATED!!!!!11111one111one

/I'll even pronounce the "1111one111one" part
posted by Avenger at 1:12 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


All the charges are felonies. Justice Department officials declined to discuss how long a prison term a conviction on the charges might bring, noting that the maximum sentences allowed by law are rarely imposed.

By all means, impose the maximum. I think the time has come where we should show the public officials who engage in this kind of criminal enterprise that they are not immune from spending some time in an honest-to-god federal prision.

Because appealing to their sense of decency and honor hasn't worked, so maybe some deterrent-based-sentencing might get their attention.
posted by quin at 1:17 PM on July 29, 2008


The guy in charge of regulating what is arguably the country's most important, well functioning piece of infrastructure should not be a doddering old man (accused of bribery, no less!) talking about dumptrucks and tubes and internets being delivered to his desk. No, the analogy isn't far off, but I would just like to have a little more faith in the competence of my government than this man gives off. If I didn't laugh at him, I would cry.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:24 PM on July 29, 2008


Fun video.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:35 PM on July 29, 2008


For fuck's sake, the problem with the Series of Tubes speech is not that it's a bad metaphor, even though it is. The problem is that he's a shit-for-brains manipulator trying to pass laws affecting your rights. Imperfect metaphors are fine when the author actually knows what he's talking about. Read any TCP IP protocol discussion and it will be full of such metaphors that could be taken to comical extremes, but we know the author is explaining something they Actually Understand. This is not the case with Stevens, he knows he doesn't have any idea what he's talking about - but that's what's insulting about his speech: it's not designed to inform, it's designed to mislead.
posted by odinsdream at 1:55 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, but can the trucks drive through tubes? On high speed connections can they do a loop?

......

It's about time. This guys smelled dirty from the get-go.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:04 PM on July 29, 2008


The problem with Stevens' speech is that he was reading in phonetically.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2008


The truck vs tubes analogy only gets funnier in context:

"I just the other day got... an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially."

He actually thinks that all the kids with their YouTube videos managed to delay an email by four days. As if it was trickling a few bytes per minute that whole time, but the important data just couldn't squeeze past all the piano-playing cat videos!

So it's hilarious that someone his staff couldn't configure a mail client, managed to give him a ridiculously self-inconsistent excuse that he nevertheless believed (wouldn't everything on the internet be unusable if even a single email couldn't get through?), and nobody managed to correct his impressions before he went to speak to the Senate and the country about the subject.

The only thing ruining my amusement was the knowledge that he was trying to make policy based on this ridiculous failure of understanding, anti-Net Neutrality policy. It was unbelievable that cable companies might be allowed to cripple independent internet video or that phone companies might be allowed to cripple third party VoIP, all based on the misconceptions of a too-powerful old man who couldn't get his email to work.
posted by roystgnr at 3:00 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


The problem with Stevens' speech is...christ, what an asshole.
posted by Brak at 3:35 PM on July 29, 2008


It's not that these guys are selling themselves so cheaply, it's just that they get careless with the small change. When the money is big enough, they take care to ensure that there's no trail back to them. After a while, they lose their sense of perspective: "$10k? Shoot, that's petty cash. Just put it in an envelope with my name on it and leave it at FBI headquarters -- I'll pick it up Tuesday."
posted by joaquim at 4:08 PM on July 29, 2008


"Just put it in an envelope with my name on it and leave it at FBI headquarters -- I'll pick it up Tuesday."

Nah, it's too far to walk to pick it up. Just stick it in my freezer when you drop off the pizza next time...
posted by gemmy at 4:41 PM on July 29, 2008


He actually thinks that all the kids with their YouTube videos managed to delay an email by four days. As if it was trickling a few bytes per minute that whole time, but the important data just couldn't squeeze past all the piano-playing cat videos!

That's a crock! Republicans don't open emails! Feh!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:45 PM on July 29, 2008


Wow, Saucy Intruder ain't kidding:
1990 : Stevens wins by 66.2%
1996 : Stevens wins by 76.7%
2002 : Stevens wins by 78.2%

2008? Leans Democrat
posted by swell at 5:55 PM on July 29, 2008


One thing that has helped keep Alaska's congressional dinosaurs in office is the argument that they've got seniority and anybody new (from any party) would diminish Alaska's power in Congress.
posted by D.C. at 7:32 PM on July 29, 2008


I know the FBI isn't a truck.

But I hear they got a helluva partyvan.
posted by codswallop at 8:23 PM on July 29, 2008


20 Amazing Facts about Voting in America.

Ol' Stevens (or Steven's kid) could easily be re-elected, given the way the system is broken.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 PM on July 29, 2008


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