A breath of “fresh” Alaskan air
October 21, 2008 1 Comment
It appears that Sarah Palin isn’t the only double-talker in the Alaskan delegation. Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who is currently defending his ethics in court, has had some practice himself, as this exchange from his trial so beautifully explains:
But Ms. Morris did highlight two other issues aimed at damaging Mr. Stevens’s credibility. She challenged Mr. Stevens about his possession for seven years of an expensive massage chair bought for him in 2001 by another friend, Bob Persons.
Mr. Stevens did not list the chair on his disclosure forms as a gift, he said, because it was a loan.
“That chair, it’s still at your house?” Ms. Morris asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Stevens replied. “How is that not a gift?” she then asked.
Mr. Stevens said Mr. Persons “bought the chair as a gift but I refused it as a gift.” He said he agreed to have the chair stored in his home for Mr. Persons.
“So, if you say it’s not a gift, it’s not a gift?” the prosecutor asked. She then confronted Mr. Stevens with a note he wrote to Mr. Persons thanking him for the chair, saying how much he loved using the chair and even sometimes fell asleep in it.
Wow, that’s ballsy.
Especially for a guy facing seven felony counts of ethics violations.
The main crux of the trial focuses on Stevens’ home and the more than $250,000 worth of renovations and work that an “oil tycoon” and hefty campaign contributor made to the house, all apparently, without Stevens realizing it.
Ms. Morris confronted Mr. Stevens with several e-mail messages and notes he had written or received that praised Mr. Allen’s contributions to the renovation of the Stevens home in Alaska. She concluded each reading with a variation of the question: “So, is it still your testimony to this jury that you did not know” that Mr. Allen and his company were showering you with gifts?
Mr. Stevens, 84, insisted each time that although he had known many of the workers at his home were employees of Mr. Allen’s company, Veco, he did not know Veco played any role in the renovation. “Veco was not involved in renovating my house,” he said angrily. He thought the workers were employed by a different contractor who had been paid by his wife, he said…
Mr. Stevens and his wife, Catherine, have testified that they paid $160,000 to contractors other than Veco for the renovation and thought that covered the entire cost.
So he knew the workers were Veco workers, but Veco played no role in the renovations? Huh? Also, by the way, Mr. Allen and Veco furnished the entire house, but that stuff was apparently “damaged” so it was of ‘little value.’
But at least it was obviously a gift and not just being stored at the house, since the Stevens offered it to their son to furnish his new home.
Seriously, this guy must have giant balls of solid granite to try and play off this steaming pile of horseshit as something believable.
And according to the Times, the prosecutor went easy on him:
Prosecutors had apparently decided not to play a tape of a telephone conversation recorded by the F.B.I. in which Mr. Stevens tells Mr. Allen that all the money Mr. Allen put into the house could land them in legal trouble.
Considering Stevens was a big proponent of the warrantless wiretapping program, I can’t imagine why this piece of tape was not played, because it sounds to me like an admission of guilt (if it is as the reporter says it is).
No wonder Sarah Palin rose so quickly in Alaska. Along with being a bigtime supporter of Ted Stevens (since an 84-year-old white guy who has been in office for 40 years is apparently not part of the good-ol’-boy network Palin is so proud to tell us she took on), Palin herself is an expert of this sort of slight-of-hand politics.
Palin’s playbook thus far has been the Stevens defense to the T: deny, deny, deny. Even when presented with facts, deny.
Like, oh, saying “And thankfully the truth was revealed there in that report that showed there was no unlawful or unethical activity on my part” when the actual report says very clearly that she did, in fact, violate ethics laws.
Or saying she said “no thank you” to the Bridge to Nowhere, while keeping the money and only actually being against it after Congress killed the project (though still going forth with the other Bridge to Nowhere, because there were two…).
Or, for that matter, spending all your time lambasting the Liberal Media Elite and ragging on the NY Times (one of the finest newspapers in the world) and then saying the two periodicals you read (after flubbing it the first time, of course) are the Economist and the New York Times.
But then again, in the context of Alaskan politics, it’s all starting to make more sense…