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The W - Current Events & Politics - Holy Cow - Spitzer is dirty? (Page 2)
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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#21 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.79
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    Do you really think this high class, high price prostitute was a victim here? Even without knowing her life story, can't you concede there is a possibility that being a prostitue has been a great move for her, and that she's living a better life than she might have had with many different career options?


Yes, it is possible. However, until prostitution a legal and regulated industry, you can't really assume anything about her situation. Even if it happens to be true for her, it may not be for other women with a comparable status in that profession.

In other words, I don't think price alone should be the determining factor in whether or not she's a victim.

(FWIW, I also think prostitution should be a legal and regulated industry - but I guess that's why we have Nevada.)





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Since: 9.12.01
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#22 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
    Originally posted by CRZ
    I just want to make sure I understand your position. You seem to be saying it's okay to only obey the laws YOU feel are worth obeying and ignore the rest of them. Is that pretty much it?

    Or are you saying that it's okay for a rich dude to pay thousands of dollars for a "date" but you probably would rather not have any old skank in front of your house trolling passersby for half an hour for a twenty?

    Maybe he's a sicko pervert who likes to (insert your favourite "demoralization of women" action) while he screws around. Is it so okay then, or is it okay until the woman has a psychological breakdown decades later?

    Believe me, I'm the first guy to stand up for legalizing everything (what a poor choice of words!) but the fact remains that there are laws on the books in 2008 and it sucks to be you if you're the dumbass that gets caught, and yes there SHOULD be repercussions. (That pretty much applies to everybody on your list - poor Gary) (Condit, not Hart)

    Spitzer's salary is paid by the citizens of New York - do they not have a right to expect some accountability for his actions?

    Thus endeth my rhetorical questions which you are free to answer, or completely ignore. (for now.)


No, no... people should obey the law. I just don't agree that breaking the law is an automatic resignation.

I guess you have to ask yourself how serious is this transgression, and does it merit him stepping down. To me, I'm not greatly bothered by it. I'd feel a lot worse about it if he was abusing his position of power to put someone in a compromising position (You'll do it or I have your kid sent up the river, etc.)

This is probably at the level of indignation I would have for a governor if he a) Illegally dumped his old couch into a wetland b) Took over his limit while hunting c) Was caught smoking a joint at a Grateful Dead show - the "Why the hell did you do that, you idiot" level.

I'd be more upset if he pardoned a political ally who didn't deserve it, honestly. I think lying to congress gets me more upset than this does.

Bringing the nature of the sex into it is really a red herring. They didn't stop him to stop the chances of his hurting an innocent woman. Besides, single people date and do kinky stuff. Should they sue each other over it decades later? Eh.

Spitzer's salary is his to spend once he gets it. I don't care if he sends it all to Farm-Aid or if he collects Transformers. Should the citizens of NY have a say in that too?

If I was his wife (besides the obvious gender confusion I'd be experiencing) I'd be pissed that he spent $80k on hookers.

Oh, and don't put words in my mouth I never said it was OK to break the law.




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Since: 10.1.08
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#23 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.95
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
      Originally posted by CRZ
      I just want to make sure I understand your position. You seem to be saying it's okay to only obey the laws YOU feel are worth obeying and ignore the rest of them. Is that pretty much it?

      Or are you saying that it's okay for a rich dude to pay thousands of dollars for a "date" but you probably would rather not have any old skank in front of your house trolling passersby for half an hour for a twenty?

      Maybe he's a sicko pervert who likes to (insert your favourite "demoralization of women" action) while he screws around. Is it so okay then, or is it okay until the woman has a psychological breakdown decades later?

      Believe me, I'm the first guy to stand up for legalizing everything (what a poor choice of words!) but the fact remains that there are laws on the books in 2008 and it sucks to be you if you're the dumbass that gets caught, and yes there SHOULD be repercussions. (That pretty much applies to everybody on your list - poor Gary) (Condit, not Hart)

      Spitzer's salary is paid by the citizens of New York - do they not have a right to expect some accountability for his actions?

      Thus endeth my rhetorical questions which you are free to answer, or completely ignore. (for now.)


    No, no... people should obey the law. I just don't agree that breaking the law is an automatic resignation.

    I guess you have to ask yourself how serious is this transgression, and does it merit him stepping down. To me, I'm not greatly bothered by it. I'd feel a lot worse about it if he was abusing his position of power to put someone in a compromising position (You'll do it or I have your kid sent up the river, etc.)

    This is probably at the level of indignation I would have for a governor if he a) Illegally dumped his old couch into a wetland b) Took over his limit while hunting c) Was caught smoking a joint at a Grateful Dead show - the "Why the hell did you do that, you idiot" level.

    I'd be more upset if he pardoned a political ally who didn't deserve it, honestly. I think lying to congress gets me more upset than this does.

    Bringing the nature of the sex into it is really a red herring. They didn't stop him to stop the chances of his hurting an innocent woman. Besides, single people date and do kinky stuff. Should they sue each other over it decades later? Eh.

    Spitzer's salary is his to spend once he gets it. I don't care if he sends it all to Farm-Aid or if he collects Transformers. Should the citizens of NY have a say in that too?

    If I was his wife (besides the obvious gender confusion I'd be experiencing) I'd be pissed that he spent $80k on hookers.

    Oh, and don't put words in my mouth I never said it was OK to break the law.


Well, as a citizen of new york myself, I say he HAS to resign and face charges. It's simple, he broke the law. Prositution may not be a big deal to you (and honestly for me, I don't see it as a big deal, either), but as CRZ said, it is still illegal. And you can't say it's not a vitcimless crime in his case because it does harm to his family (wife and three daughters), who have to deal with this betrayal of trust and love in the public eye. What makes it worse is that he was such a self- righteous law and order guy as attorney general that would hunt down businessmen for the smallest infractions. That is why the people in wall street were happy to see his career shattered. And to add to the fact that he went out of his way to shut down two other prositution rings, methinks soley for the publicity of saying he reduced crime. It's beyond hypocristy and stupidity that he was caught the exact same way he caught the other two rings.

He comes off as a total hypocrite, a man who now falls under the classic tag line "Do as I say, not as I do". The fact that he's holding the NY political scene hostage so he resigns *only* if he gets no charges levied against him makes me sick to my stomach even more. Forget him using his salary on whatever he wants. In stalling his resignation, he is forcing the state to hold off on several important issues like completing the budget on time, which is especially important for us here on Long Island. If we don't get the budget settled soon, many programs needed by the lower and middle class (of which I am one) will be limited and/or closed alltogether. He, by refusing to resign, is possibly holding back OUR budget, OUR money that we need to fund for many programs throughout the state, just so that he can skate under the law he so strictly enforced on others. To me, that is a crime, a bigger crime than the one he commited in the first place. But long story short, they are crimes no matter how you word it, so he must resign before he does anymore damage to his career and to the state. And he must face the music that he himself forced others to face.
Corajudo
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Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

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#24 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.73
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    What I don't get is how the Feds would be investigating him for bribery because he was withdrawing amounts of money under the limit. I could buy a drug investigation, or if they suspected HIM of bribing people, or even if it was a prostitution sting. I can't see how they turn around from "Person A is withdrawing $5000 at a time. Person A is Spitzer. Let's make sure he isn't receiving money from people....

    I just hope for the bank's sake that this popped up on an automated audit and that there wasn't a breach of confidentiality somewhere. I can easily envision the scenario where an employee is dinking around looking at MVP accounts and they decide to take it upon themselves to report suspicious activity. The absolute first thing that Spitzer needs to do is to get that audit trail of who was in his account. I would bet you that the feds were "tipped off" by someone who shouldn't have been in the records. A tipster is much more likely to be politically motivated than an automatic audit process, and I have to think that a former AG would be smart enough to know how to avoid setting off an automated process.



I love a good conspiracy as much as anyone, but these assertions (as well as the ones in previous posts by Guru) are asinine. There is no way that the Feds finding out about it was any type of political payback or malfeasance or vendetta or anything like that. Basically, according to the Bank Secrecy Act (which was passed to fight money laundering), banks have to fill out Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and submit them to the Treasury. The SARs typically go first to the Fincen (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), which then analyzes them and decides if they need to investigate further and if they need to involve the IRS, the FBI or whomever in the investigation. Anytime there is suspicious activity (such as structuring) triggering a SAR, the banks have to also go through a Know Your Customer due diligence process to see if the suspicious activities may be related to criminal activity or if there is a logical explanation (such as your money movements). In this case, the money trail ultimately lead to expensive whores. Also, the fines are stiff for financial institutions that don't comply. That's a very broad overview of the process, but you can google Bank Secrecy Act, Know Your Customer and/or Suspicious Activity Report for more detail.

As far as the prostitution thing, he aggressively prosecuted prostitution rings plus has also been overwhelmingly self righteous, so he is getting his just desserts. And, although I agree prostitution should be legal and regulated, it's not. And, if you expect the ex-AG to understand the laws behind suspicious financial activities, then I don't think it's unreasonable for him to understand that soliciting a whore is illegal too.

Lastly, the difference between the examples you cited (bagging over the limit, dumping a sofa, smoking a joint at a concert) is that the Governor of NY hiring $4k hookers leaves a lot of room for blackmail or other issues. Which, IMHO, makes it a far more serious transgression.
Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#25 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.79
    Originally posted by Corajudo
    The SARs typically go first to the Fincen (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), which then analyzes them and decides if they need to investigate further and if they need to involve the IRS, the FBI or whomever in the investigation.


According to an anonymous source cited in the NYT (nytimes.com), that's pretty much what happened.

    Originally posted by NYT
    The investigators working out of the three-story office building, which faces Veterans Highway, typically review such reports, the officials said. But this was not typical: transactions by a governor who appeared to be trying to conceal the source, destination or purpose of the movement of thousands of dollars in cash, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The money ended up in the bank accounts of what appeared to be shell companies, corporations that essentially had no real business.

    The transactions, officials said, suggested possible financial crimes maybe bribery, political corruption, or something inappropriate involving campaign finance. Prostitution, they said, was the furthest thing from the minds of the investigators.







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Since: 9.12.01
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#26 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
Eh. To hell with it.

Burn the witch!

//edit: Obviously I'm not a financial maven or skilled in evading fraud or catching corrupt officials. I bow to your superior knowledge.

I'm still not convinced this is the worst thing in the world, but as it unfolds, there is enough here that I'm willing to go along with the crowd and grab a torch and a pitchfork.

To the castle!

(edited by Guru Zim on 12.3.08 1007)



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Since: 28.1.02
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#27 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.50
as it happens, The Feds just caught him, among other reasons, because he was using the same services as the Mob was using.

and, I don't know if this has been posted. Fascinating reading.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/20080310spitzer-complaint.pdf





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It's False
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Since: 20.6.02
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#28 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.88
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    I guess you have to ask yourself how serious is this transgression, and does it merit him stepping down. To me, I'm not greatly bothered by it. I'd feel a lot worse about it if he was abusing his position of power to put someone in a compromising position (You'll do it or I have your kid sent up the river, etc.)


It should be noted that not all of the case facts are out just yet. It's feasible that Spitzer could have pulled a Giuliani and had his hookers brought in with taxpayer money, which would more than constitute an abuse of power on his part.

(edited by It's False on 12.3.08 1345)



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Since: 2.1.02
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#29 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.42
Just as a quick question:

What exactly are the US laws regarding prostitution?

And what federal laws could Spritzer have violated?

(I vaguely know that some porn companies have fallen afoul of the feds when they either transported actresses across state lines or sent films/videos across state lines. I know for instance that the basis of the case against Rob Black is built around the fact that his DVDs were transported across state lines.)

In Canada, prostitution is legal...

But Solicitation for the purpose of prostitution are illegal
As are Living off the avails of prostitution
At one time running a bawdy house was also a crime, but that may have been squelched by the Supreme Court.

Basically, accepting money for sex is legal, but talking about it is illegal and using the money to support yourself, your family or someone else are illegal.

(In practice, living off the avails is intended for pimps and madams not individual prostitutes.)



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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#30 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.79
    Originally posted by Llakor
    Just as a quick question:

    What exactly are the US laws regarding prostitution?

    And what federal laws could Spritzer have violated?

    (I vaguely know that some porn companies have fallen afoul of the feds when they either transported actresses across state lines or sent films/videos across state lines. I know for instance that the basis of the case against Rob Black is built around the fact that his DVDs were transported across state lines.)


As I understand it (and according to a commentator on NPR this morning), the most serious potential charge against Spitzer is that he violated the Mann Act - which is a federal offense.

NPR has a decent history of the Mann Act up at their website.





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Since: 5.9.02
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#31 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.00
In any event, Act I of this mess is finished, Spitzer announced his resignation today (timesunion.com). David Paterson takes over effective Monday, March 17. So, politically, New York moves on to the annual "will the budget be on time?" game (and, in my life, on-time budgets are something like 5-22.)
MoeGates
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Since: 6.1.02
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#32 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.15
Oh man - I just have to say that the mystery hooker was identified and holy cow is she hot. I can almost see why Spitzer did it.



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Llakor
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Since: 2.1.02
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#33 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.42
    Originally posted by Leroy
    As I understand it (and according to a commentator on NPR this morning), the most serious potential charge against Spitzer is that he violated the Mann Act - which is a federal offense.

    NPR has a decent history of the Mann Act up at their website.



I am not sure why, but I find this hilarious:

    Originally posted by The Supreme Court
    Bell v. United States (349 U.S. 81, 83) (1955). The Supreme Court decided that simultaneous transportation of two women across state lines constituted only one violation of the Mann Act, not two violations.




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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#34 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.79
There's more coming out about the details of how Spitzer was caught. Frankly, this is far more interesting than any other part of the story (save for the photos of the girl - she's PRETTY).

I guess I always assumed that my personal transactions from my own account were some how protected unless there was a subpoena. I didn't realize that simply making "suspicious" transactions alone could trigger an investigation.

According to NewsDay (newsday.com):


    Spitzer last year had wanted to wire transfer more than $10,000 from his branch to what turned out to be the front for the prostitution ring, QAT Consulting Group, which also uses a number of other names, in New Jersey, the sources said.

    But Spitzer had the money broken down into several smaller amounts of less than $10,000 each, apparently to avoid federal regulations requiring the reporting of the transfer of $10,000 or more, the sources said. The regulations are aim to help spot possible illegal business activities, such as fraud or drug deals.

    Apparently, having second thoughts about even sending the total amount in this manner, Spitzer then asked that the bank take his name off the wires, the sources said.

    Bank officials declined, however, saying that it was improper to do so and in any event, it was too late to do so, because the money already had been sent, the sources said.

    The bank, as is required by law, filed an SAR, or Suspicious Activity Report, with the Internal Revenue Service, reporting the transfer of the money that exceeded $10,000, but had been broken down into smaller amounts, the sources said.

    ...

    The assumption, the sources said, was that Spitzer was being victimized either by a blackmailer or an impostor. The agents also speculated that perhaps the governor was involved in some sort of political corruption, the sources said.


    Originally posted by MoeGates
    Oh man - I just have to say that the mystery hooker was identified and holy cow is she hot. I can almost see why Spitzer did it.


CNN also has photos of her (cnn.com) - and what gets me is that they are from her MySpace account, and MySpace is the one credited with the copyright.



(edited by Leroy on 13.3.08 0939)


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#35 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.89
    Originally posted by MoeGates
    Oh man - I just have to say that the mystery hooker was identified and holy cow is she hot. I can almost see why Spitzer did it.

Is she (or ANYONE) really $1,000-bucks-an-hour-flush-your-life-away hot, though? There has to be some sort of plateau where it stops being about how hot the girl is and starts being about how stupid the guy is.




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Since: 2.1.02
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#36 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.07
Read it and weap, fella

    Originally posted by SchippeWreck
    Is she (or ANYONE) really $1,000-bucks-an-hour-flush-your-life-away hot, though? There has to be some sort of plateau where it stops being about how hot the girl is and starts being about how stupid the guy is.

Couldnt have said it any better myself, thats why I let you say it first

She is crazy-smokin-hott, but DUDE.



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Llakor
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Since: 2.1.02
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#37 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.42
    Originally posted by DJ FrostyFreeze
      Originally posted by SchippeWreck
      Is she (or ANYONE) really $1,000-bucks-an-hour-flush-your-life-away hot, though? There has to be some sort of plateau where it stops being about how hot the girl is and starts being about how stupid the guy is.

    Couldnt have said it any better myself, thats why I let you say it first

    She is crazy-smokin-hott, but DUDE.


From today's Washington Post:

    Originally posted by Harold Myerson

    What $5,500 an Hour Buys

    By Harold Meyerson
    Wednesday, March 12, 2008; Page A19

    Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace (and very soon, it seems, from power) raises a host of serious concerns, not least our ongoing and often ludicrous conflation of the personal and the political in matters of morals. But flawed mortal that I am, I confess I keep coming back to one detail as this gloomy tale unfolds: $5,500.

    That's what Spitzer and his fellow numbered clients were shelling out per hour if they booked the Emperors Club VIP's top-of-the-line providers.

    I've given serious thought to this over the past day, and I'm not sure that I've even had a sexual fantasy that, if actualized, would be worth $5,500 an hour. Of course, fantasies can involve particular, unattainable persons, and an economist might say that if the client has an obsession that only a certain provider could satisfy, that could drive the price way up.

    But that doesn't seem to have been the case for Client 9. Of all the details in the transcript of the back-and-forth between Spitzer and the Emperors Club's traffic manager, the one I find most mind-boggling is when Spitzer, just before he hooks up with his hooker, asks to be reminded of what the lady looks like.

    He's paying $4,300 for this experience and he needs a refresher on her looks? Four grand and change and he can't remember whether he booked tall or short, blond or brunette? We're not talking obsession here. We're talking positional goods.

    Positional goods are those commodities that are more valuable than their run-of-the-mill counterparts because a special status attaches to them, since only a select few can have them. Since the Web sites on which prostitutes advertise indicate that the average hourly rate is around $300, the Emperors Club maximum rate, which is roughly 18 times higher, could be justified by the particular appeals and skills of its hookers. I haven't conducted empirical research on this one, but let me just say: I doubt it.

    I suspect that what makes a prostitute worth $5,500 an hour is that she costs $5,500 an hour. The value here doesn't dictate the price. The price, rather, dictates the value. These women are available only to the wealthy; the ability to hire them, like the ability to live on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, means that you've made it. And even if your hour turns out to be a bit disappointing, that's okay, because $5,500 doesn't really mean anything to you -- which just means you've really made it.

    And there, I suppose, is the thrill. The power of being able to command the world's priciest hooker, like the power of owning the world's priciest real estate, could be a turn-on in itself. The power of dropping thousands and not even remembering what type of woman you've booked: Boy, are you ever something! Whether or not you're getting one terrific woman, the transaction alone confirms that you're one terrific dude.

    In fairness, Spitzer clearly thought he was also buying one other valuable commodity: secrecy. At those rates, everyone could be trusted to keep quiet. Spitzer, however, clearly forgot what he'd learned in Prosecutions 101, which is that nothing intrigues a prosecutor more than unexplained silence. Federal investigators told the New York Times that they were looking into the governor's cash withdrawals on the suspicion that he might be paying off a blackmailer. (Of course, after the railroading that the Bush-Rove Justice Department gave to Don Siegelman, the Democratic former governor of Alabama, currently incarcerated for what look to be no more than misdemeanors, no such investigation is itself above suspicion.) Without Spitzer's "cover-up" -- which in this instance simply meant paying in cash -- the crime, such as it was, would have gone undetected.

    Clients 1 through 8 were surely in need of some secrecy, too, if not quite so patently as New York's governor. Men don't usually print their patronage of prostitutes on their business cards. But $5,500 buys a lot more than secrecy, and a lot more than sex. It buys a confirmation of status and power. It has all the positional upside of conspicuous consumption, though it remains -- or is supposed to remain -- inconspicuous.

    There are real tragedies in this case, of course. And, politically, I suppose, the whole affair is one more argument against continuing tax cuts to the rich, even if Spitzer did invest his money here rather than in China.

    But I keep coming back to price, even though I know it purchased a positional good. $5,500, huh? I need to work on my fantasies.

    meyersonh@washpost.com


What he MEANS by "Positional Goods" and what I immediately think of when he SAYS "Positional Goods" are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT things.



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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#38 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.52
    Originally posted by Llakor
    I am not sure why, but I find this hilarious:

      Originally posted by The Supreme Court
      Bell v. United States (349 U.S. 81, 83) (1955). The Supreme Court decided that simultaneous transportation of two women across state lines constituted only one violation of the Mann Act, not two violations.




if I was doing the Mann Act with two chicks, there'd be multiple violations

high five
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Since: 9.12.01
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#39 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
You know how I was saying that the SAR might have been the result of someone at a low level looking where they shouldn't have been?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/20/obama.passport/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

I bet this happens much more often than you would think.




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Since: 7.11.02
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#40 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.73

Let's compare/contrast the two situations:

Passport: Three employees, in 'a display of imprudent curiousity,' look at passport files of the three major candidates for President. The result is that two get fired and the third gets hit with disciplinary actions, plus the State Dept. has promised an investigation into what happened and why it happened. Once that investigation concludes, I don't think it's implausible that the third person loses their job, and maybe some others too.

Spitzer case: In complying with federal Anti-Money Laundering regulations as laid out in the Bank Secrecy Act which require banks to submit Suspicious Activity Reports, a serious of unusual money transfers is reported to federal financial crime authorities. The transactions resemble structuring and are consistent with a pattern suggesting bribery or blackmail and involve the Governor of NY. In the resulting investigation, they find that the no-nonsense, anti-corruption, crime fighting Governor/ex-AG was spending big bucks on whores. Moreover, the suspicious activity was reported by his bank, and I don't think the bank is in the habit of pissing off multi-millionare clients, especially given the potential ramifications.

So, I don't see the relationship between the two cases, other than it fits Guru's original conjecture about the Spitzer case, which has not a shred of evidence to support it. Look, anyone who does these types of investigations will obviously notice when a famous person is involved. However, they don't notice this until after the investigation has started. And, the relative fame of the subject of the investigation in no way impacts the outcome of the investigation itself, unless the person or people doing the investigating are looking to lose their job.
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- StaggerLee, Holy Crap, the Cos is FUMING! (2004)
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