'Series of tubes' senator indicted for false statements
Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate, was indicted today for making false statements to federal prosecutors.
These statements do not include his claim that the internet is "a series of tubes."
As the Associated Press reports, Stevens is accused of falsifying his annual Senate financial disclosure reports. Prosecutors say (PDF) that between May 1999 and August 2007, the senator from Alaska hid "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."
That would be oil services contractor VECO Corp., which was lobbying Stevens at the time. According to prosecutors, VECO did extensive renovations on Stevens' Alaskan home, gave him a gas grill, some furniture, and some tools, and swapped his aging Ford for a brand new Land Rover.
Stevens says he's innocent. But not even a guilty verdict could overshadow his 2006 anti-net neutrality speech. "The internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes," he said - over and over again on web pages everywhere.
Hardly a technicality
Since it's notoriously difficult to prove in a court of law that a gift is a bribe most jurisdictions simply require taht public officials declare gifts over a certain value and leave it to the court of public opinion. The corollary, of course, is that if you don't declare a gift the presumption is that it is a bribe and you've got a lot of explaining to do.
PS, if you think that "the internet is a series of tubes" makes sense, read the transcript. This guy make Dubya look like JFK.
Hey, lighten up !!
He said a few months ago that he "paid every bill that was sent to me".
I kid you knot.
ET cos he's from the same planet.
What I don't get
Is why they HAVEN'T indicted him on bribery charges. If you listen to the press release, the prosecutors were very specific on that point. It's more as if they've got him on a few technicalities. Now the technicalities may add up to vast sums of money, and thus be worthy of criminal investigation, but it seems a bit weak imo to indict someone for filling out his forms wrongly.
Seems to me his immediate get out of jail card will be to say he has so much in the way of bribes and backhanders going his way, he simply forgot to send the receipts for this lot to his accountants. In other words he included the millions, but forgot the pocket change.
As for the pork, well yes, I live in Alaska and it is difficult for people outside to understand the harsh conditions and the cost of building in an area of the world that is a bit less than forgiving if you make a mistake. Communities that literally depend on billion dollar bridges for their survival are quite big supporters of this guy.
But the time for taking money from the cash-strapped continental US to build our infrastructure is long gone. We are the richest state in the union. We actually turn a profit, and a very nice one at that. So we can afford to build our own bridges to nowhere. Actually it wasn't nowhere, it was a small town of only a few hundred, who's access to civilisation meant driving hundreds of miles along the coast line in a big loop - hence the bridge to give them a bit of a shortcut should they need to do things like buy food and clothes. The truth is that most pork actually has significant benefit to the state that receives it. Allowing a small community to drive 10-20 miles to go grocery shopping as opposed to hundreds seemed like a good idea, but we are quite capable of funding that shortcut ourselves.
To give you some idea of how well Alaska is doing right now, we haven't had the need for income taxes or sales tax (the US equivalent of VAT) for over 20 years.
Not only that but we give everyone who lives here a dividend check based on the profits the taxes we get from oil makes on the stock market over a 5 year period. That means a family of four can receive between $2000 and $8000 a year (the usual dividend being somewhere between $500 and $2000). In other words our local government pays taxes to the people. A better way of doing things don't you think? Wouldn't you rather the government added taxes to your paycheck rather than took them from it? Perhaps people living in California, Florida and Texas ought to ask their state governments why they don't get the same deal from their oil revenues... particularly as oil seems to be doing quite well at the moment.