Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jack Johnson's Revenge.....


There is considerable buzz coming out of left Bloggistan regarding the whys and wherefores of the investigation aimed at 'outing' Elliot Spitzer's extracurricular 'activities' and all that could be sinister about it.

But here's the thing.

What might really bring him Spitzer down is not the actual 'consorting' itself but instead the transportation of the consort across state lines, which allows for the invocation of something called the 'Mann Act':

“Client 9” (reportedly Mr Spitzer) arranged to transport “Kristen…a petite, very pretty brunette” from New York to Washington, DC. In doing so, the governor apparently would have violated the Mann Act, which makes it a federal crime to transport a person across state lines to pay them.......(to consumate the consorting)

Which is exactly the piece of legislation they used to send Mr. Jack Johnson to Leavenworth at a time when he too was on top of his game.

After fighting a number of bouts in Mexico , Johnson returned to the U.S. on 20 July 1920 and surrendered to Federal agents for allegedly violating the Mann Act against "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes" by sending his white girlfriend, Belle Schreiber, a railroad ticket to travel from Pittsburgh to Chicago. This prosecution is generally considered an intentional misuse of the Act, which was intended to stop interstate traffic in prostitutes. He was sent to the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth to serve his sentence of one year, and was released on 9 July 1921.

There was at least one very big difference between Johnson and Spitzer, however.

Which is that Johnson was no hypocrite.

Compare this......
Johnson flouted conventions regarding the social and economic "place" of African Americans in American society. As a black man, he broke a powerful taboo in consorting with white women, and would verbally taunt men (both white and black) inside and outside the ring. Johnson was not shy about his affection for white women, nor modest about his physical prowess, both in and out of the ring. Asked the secret of his staying power by a reporter who had watched a succession of women parade into, and out of, the champion's hotel room, Johnson supposedly said, "Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts.

With this.....
What makes the allegations so extraordinary is that Mr Spitzer had forged a reputation as the epitome of the incorruptible lawman. He made his name nationally for his dogged targeting of Wall Street in search of legal and ethical wrong-doing.
Time even anointed him “Crusader of the Year” in 2002, after his landmark settlement with securities firms accused of misleading investors.

It was this image that convinced voters to elect Mr Spitzer as governor of New York in 2006 with a sweeping mandate to clean up state affairs. He promised to battle corruption and to usher in a new era of ethical standards. The exposure of his hypocrisy is all the more poignant given that he busted at least two prostitution rings during his time as attorney-general.



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