That Spitzer guy.

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zahlman
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That Spitzer guy.

Postby zahlman » Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:57 pm UTC

So. Another Democrat sex scandal. \o/ Anyone else more than a little amused by how incredibly much media attention this kind of thing seems to get?

ISTR we used to have sex scandals in Canadian politics, back when I was a kid. Maybe we stopped caring at some point. Maybe we took Trudeau's line - "the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation" - to heart, and figured it ought to apply the other way around as well. Or maybe there's just one I'm forgetting. But we certainly don't get things like CNN billing the accused as "King of all Pimps" up here. Or the - er, conspirator? - being offered centrefolds.

One thing confuses me. Is prostitution in fact illegal in New York? If not, why are the feds involved? If so, why isn't there a word about shutting down the escort agency in question?
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Belial » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:03 pm UTC

Yes, Prostitution is illegal in all states of the US except Nevada.

Normally, I would agree with you. A politician's bedroom is none of our business.

But Spitzer was known for prosecuting prostitution rings, then turns out to be a customer? That's some serious damn hypocrisy. Just like if you found out the drug czar does 6 lines of coke a day and shoots heroin between his toes on weekends. I'm pro-legalization on both prostitution and drugs, and I'd still want the politicians in both examples out of office just for the hypocrisy.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Mo0man » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:35 pm UTC

Also, he paid for it using taxpayer money, $4300 of it
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby xndrew » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:43 pm UTC

You know, it's funny, but I think I'd rather my money be spent on sex then war. (That was mostly a joke.)

People here (here is upstate New York) don't really seem to mind so much. Mostly jokes, mostly people looking at what happened and shaking their heads a little, but making a joke the next second. I was surprised, a bit disappointed, and a little upset, but by this point I don't put stock in any politician, so when they do shit like this I just laugh it off, thankful I wasn't more invested in them. Still, he was a good guy, sorta upset to lose him.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Garm » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

zahlman wrote:So. Another Democrat sex scandal. \o/ Anyone else more than a little amused by how incredibly much media attention this kind of thing seems to get?


Yeah, the media attention is kinda crazy. Personally I'm wondering why David Vitter and Larry Craig still have jobs and why we're not investigating Rudy Guliani's use of tax payer money for his adultery with such fervor.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Infornographer » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

Garm wrote:Yeah, the media attention is kinda crazy. Personally I'm wondering why David Vitter and Larry Craig still have jobs and why we're not investigating Rudy Guliani's use of tax payer money for his adultery with such fervor.


Giuliani's circumstances have become old news. Really, people just don't seem to care about Republican sex scandals anymore. They happen with such frequency. We haven't had a good Democratic sex scandal in some time, so naturally it makes all the news. :p
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Herman » Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:09 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Yes, Prostitution is illegal in all states of the US except Nevada.

Normally, I would agree with you. A politician's bedroom is none of our business.

But Spitzer was known for prosecuting prostitution rings, then turns out to be a customer? That's some serious damn hypocrisy. Just like if you found out the drug czar does 6 lines of coke a day and shoots heroin between his toes on weekends. I'm pro-legalization on both prostitution and drugs, and I'd still want the politicians in both examples out of office just for the hypocrisy.


No, the worst part isn't the hypocrisy. It's the actual hiring of the prostitute. I'm a good sexual libertarian, but I don't think prostitution is victimless or consensual. From what I read, being a prostitute is Bad Times for a bunch of reasons, including constant danger, disease, and, you know, having to have sex with whoever can pay. From where I sit, guys who hire prostitutes are basically rapists -- the woman doesn't have a lot of choice in the matter. Comparing with drugs, a john isn't like a user, he's like a dealer. I know that there are arguments that legalization will help matters, but I'm skeptical.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby slaxor » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:47 am UTC

well, as long is as doing the governor job properly, the way the Democrats want, it isn't that big a deal. Might want to have someone keep an eye on him or something, though.

And to the previous poster, I think it's very rare for prostitution to be the only option.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby ++$_ » Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:26 am UTC

The media gave a lot of attention to this because Spitzer was governor of New York, one of the three important places in the country (the others being Washington, DC and Los Angeles). If this happened in North Dakota, it wouldn't even make the news.

As for Spitzer, I am just stunned. Not because I thought he was a good guy or anything (I don't actually know much about him), but just because of the incredible stupidity of jeopardizing his career like that. David Brooks had a pretty good article about this. Couldn't Spitzer have turned down his libido while in office? Or had sex with his wife*? Or even just masturbated? No. He had to hire a high-priced prostitute because his sexual needs were so massively important that he was willing to sacrifice his whole political agenda for them.

Sorry, Mr. Spitzer. I don't have any respect for you. You said that you wanted to fight corruption, but you proved that you care less about that than about keeping your penis well-fed. Now go back to your private life, have as much sex as you want, and let the real men and women sort out the big issues.

Sexist Side Note: *Especially considering that Mrs. Spitzer is pretty hot for a politician's wife.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby H.E.L.e.N. » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:12 am UTC

zahlman wrote:One thing confuses me. Is prostitution in fact illegal in New York? If not, why are the feds involved? If so, why isn't there a word about shutting down the escort agency in question?


The feds are involved because the prostitute was transported across state lines. She was based in Manhattan, and he paid her travel fare to DC.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Lucrece » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:22 am UTC

He lost his job not only due to prostitution; that's the most insignificant part. He seems to also be involved in money laundering issues.

Hypocrisy at its finest, although it still irritates me that people are so selective in denouncing officials.

The Democrat needed to resign, the closeted GAY Republican senator was cited by the ethics committee and thrown under the bus by his own party, but the straight Republican received a standing ovation after the typical "I found God" apology from his peers and no citation from the ethics committee. It's pretty hard not to become bitter over the inequality of all this.

It's good that Spitzer resigned, though. The NY Dem party will need to distance itself from him rapidly if they want to achieve a Senate majority.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby btilly » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:06 am UTC

Mo0man wrote:Also, he paid for it using taxpayer money, $4300 of it

Citation, please.

What I've read was that the $4300 was his own money. However he used taxpayer money to transport the prostitutes.

He shouldn't have done that but personally I don't see that as a bigger deal than, say, Giuliani taking taxpayer-provided bodyguards along with him to see his mistress. (While he was married to someone else, no less.)
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby SteelDraco » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:53 am UTC

Herman wrote:No, the worst part isn't the hypocrisy. It's the actual hiring of the prostitute. I'm a good sexual libertarian, but I don't think prostitution is victimless or consensual. From what I read, being a prostitute is Bad Times for a bunch of reasons, including constant danger, disease, and, you know, having to have sex with whoever can pay. From where I sit, guys who hire prostitutes are basically rapists -- the woman doesn't have a lot of choice in the matter. Comparing with drugs, a john isn't like a user, he's like a dealer. I know that there are arguments that legalization will help matters, but I'm skeptical.

This is all the case because it's illegal. If it was legal, they could act like a real business, with responsible methods and more safety controls. Hell, from what I've heard, that's how they do it in Nevada. The women there have freedom to reject clients, on-site security, regular disease screenings, all that kind of thing. If you can actually have a place of business, and don't have to work out of a back alley in a crappy part of town, the problems you're describing go away. It's perfectly legal to have sex with a stranger you meet in a bar, and that would be a hell of a lot riskier for everyone involved than a well-run and regulated brothel.

As to Spitzer... in my mind, the problems are the hypocrisy, cheating on his wife, and using state money for his own purposes. All of them are immoral; only one of them is illegal. He certainly couldn't maintain his governorship, particularly since he's supposed to be a hard-nosed, tough-on-crime kind of guy.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Quixotess » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:06 am UTC

I realize that this is getting off-topic, but did you know that Sweden, which has similar views on prostitution as you do, Herman, has outlawed buying sex but NOT selling it? So the johns and the owners of the brothel can be arrested, but the prostitute can't. Whereas it's the opposite in some countries (Britain?), the prostitute is arrested and the john goes free.

Anyway, I'm pretty mad at Spitzer. It was selfish of him, especially in light of the coming election, to put himself in a position that will hurt not only him but the entire Democratic party. If he didn't care about his own career, did he not care about his political allies and the possible damage to their careers?

Also, I'm a little sick of people talking about his wife at the press conference. Whether they're saying that she should have been there for him, or should not, it's completely beside the point and actually quite annoying. She wasn't the one who fucked up her career. She is innocent, and it is not our place to judge what she does under such a time of extreme pressure and stress.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby tetromino » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:54 am UTC

Unless I am mistaken, the reason the feds got involved was that Spitzer was paying for his hos by wiring money from his bank to the brothel's shell company, and he was structuring his wires so as to avoid alerting the IRS. Except he went about it in the stupid way, and so the bank reported on him to the IRS anyway - and since they saw a prominent politician trying to hide very large money transfers (Spitzer paid something like $80,000 total), the feds obviously decided to investigate further.

The moral of the story is: if you are a criminal, be absolutely sure to pay your federal taxes. Nothing gets the Man riled up like a hint of tax evasion.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby btilly » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:29 am UTC

tetromino wrote:Unless I am mistaken, the reason the feds got involved was that Spitzer was paying for his hos by wiring money from his bank to the brothel's shell company, and he was structuring his wires so as to avoid alerting the IRS. Except he went about it in the stupid way, and so the bank reported on him to the IRS anyway - and since they saw a prominent politician trying to hide very large money transfers (Spitzer paid something like $80,000 total), the feds obviously decided to investigate further.

The moral of the story is: if you are a criminal, be absolutely sure to pay your federal taxes. Nothing gets the Man riled up like a hint of tax evasion.

To the best of my knowledge there is no evidence that Spitzer evaded any taxes. He just made money transfers that looked like he was trying to hide how much he was giving to someone. Which he was, of course, trying to do, just not for the reasons that they initially might have guessed.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby tetromino » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:09 am UTC


Well, if Spitzer was opposing the bail-out, then I'd say it's a good thing that he was forced to resign. For the past 7 months, the world's banking industry has been suffering from a lack of liquidity. Under such conditions, any government's choices are to
1. provide occasional injections of liquidity to keep the banking system going for the next few months; or
2. let the banks sink or swim on their own.

Last year, Britain picked choice 2, Northern Rock immediately went bankrupt, and look where that got them. US, wisely, has followed strategy 1. It's teetering on the edge of recession - but thanks to Bernanke's course, it hasn't imploded, despite the pain of two expensive wars and a mortgage crisis. And if Spitzer was opposing the liquidity injections, that means he was risking bankrupting a major bank and sinking the US economy just to score a temporary political advantage by bashing Wall Street financiers.

If the Bush administration really did order Spitzer's case leaked to the media, then even if they had done so purely for political reasons, it was one of the very, very few good things that they did for the economy in the past 7 years.

[edit: less bad wording]

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby edge walker » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:50 am UTC

tetromino wrote:Under such conditions, any government's choices are to
1. provide occasional injections of liquidity to keep the banking system going for the next few months; or
2. let the banks sink or swim on their own.

That is actually new economic theory invented in the dot-com boom because events at the time seemed to contradict conventional economic theory; they have since been understood and the new theory shown wrong. The dot-bust artificial boost is ultimately responsible for the housing bubble that just burst; with the theory disproved, there’s no good reason now to repeat that mistake.

I read a very good article about this a few days ago, but damned if I can find it now.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Okita » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:53 pm UTC

If anything, I feel more sorry for his wife and kids. I might be biased of me because I actually know one of his daughter's, am a New Yorker, and have heard Spitzer speak in person.

The hypocrisy is pretty bad... But the guy seemed happily married with 3 kids and a wife and the family seemed happy so all I can wonder is "what happened to make you want to risk blowing up your career like this?"

I don't get people.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby PhantomReality » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:08 pm UTC

I think in this particular case, the dude was cheating on his wife and this shows little moral fiber so he's gunna have to face the facts. But at the same time, how can you truly make legislation about something without having tried it? This applies to drugs very specifically. How can a politician make a law about "evil marijuana" if they've never tried it? grah pisses me off.

By the same token I don't think you can call a politician incorrect for being a hypocrite. Just because they're a hypocrite doesn't mean they're wrong. Al Gore can drive SUV's and still be right about global warming.

But that's not what this is about. It's about a man who took an oath and broke it. He's gotta go.
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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Mastam53 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:42 pm UTC

I just hope he has a REALLY comfortable couch in his apartment.

That was stupid of him to do, though. At least if you're going to do that, don't do it when a lot of people know who you are, or when you may be followed for other suspected crimes.

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Re: That Spitzer guy.

Postby Ari » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:54 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:Also, I'm a little sick of people talking about his wife at the press conference. Whether they're saying that she should have been there for him, or should not, it's completely beside the point and actually quite annoying. She wasn't the one who fucked up her career. She is innocent, and it is not our place to judge what she does under such a time of extreme pressure and stress.


Well, I agree with you that we shouldn't drag people's partners down with them, but I do think we can judge, for example, the fact that she feels considerable pressure to be there to save her philandering husband's career. It's as there's if some weird perception by the public that cheating on your wife isn't quite so bad so long as she's willing to swallow her pride over it. I would've thought that the situations in which having sex with someone who's not your spouse pretty much necessitate an open relationship, and thus cheating is wrong by definition, regardless of how much of it you put up with. It says something rather misogynistic about the system to me that he's upset with himself about cheating, but still feels it's okay to parade around his wife's tolerance of his indiscretion for the media. If a female politician did this sort of thing to her husband, well, I doubt we'd be applying the same sort of logic about her partner, even if we'd still feel the same contempt for her.


Personally, I think what I draw from this politically is that it shows how little is different between politicians who distract us with a charade of "busting privilege and corruption!" and other sleazy politicians. All that corruption-busting really is just a distraction from policy. The only safe ones to vote for are the ones who really believe they're doing a public service and want to eliminate the source of problems, not just alleviate the symptoms.
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