Music

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

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Sure, we've all moved on from Eliot Spitzer and the whore-diamond gal, but former Talking Head David Byrne has been you-may-ask-yourselfing himself about the untold true story:

I ask myself: why haven't we been provided the names of clients one through eight? It goes without saying that all are wealthy men, and there are probably a few other politicians among them. The prostitution ring—the Emperor's Club V.I.P.—was under federal wiretap, so they MUST know the identities of the others. There are probably a lot more than nine clients too, eh, so why have their identities not been released? Though they vigorously deny it, it sure smells like a Republican setup.

Alberto Gonzales was Attorney General at the time this investigation was begun—he who fired a whole slew of high level federal prosecutors because they wouldn't kiss Bush's ass. It's just the sort of thing he would do, with the quiet urging of Karl Rove or Dick Cheney.

Later in the same post, Byrne sticks up for street vendors against excessive regulation. Whole thing here.

Paul Karl Lukacs on Spitzer's worse-than-you-think hypocrisy here. Terrific Boston Globe analysis by reason contributor Harvey Silverglate here.

NEXT: No Emparedado de Bistec con Queso al Estilo Philadelphia

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  1. Hmmm…..David Byrne believes that Eliot Spitzer’s downfall may have been the work of one of his (too numerous to list) politcal enemies…..Duh-h-h-!!!!!!

  2. ‘false pretenses on the high seas’?

  3. Breaking News: Reason comes out against Talking Heads because “they’re not prog enough.”

  4. Breaking News: Reason wins contest for worst title for a blog entry ever.

  5. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, and you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

    And you may ask yourself
    How do I work this?

    And you may tell yourself
    This is not my beautiful house!
    And you may tell yourself
    This is not my beautiful wife!

  6. Zach – Matt could have easily avoided such a judgment by making it “Psycho Blogger… Qu’est-ce que c’est?”

  7. I think David’s most appropriate lyric may have been girlfriend is better?

  8. OT, but could someone please be so kind as to click o the banner that says “don’t click here if you’re easily scared” and tell me what it says cuz I’m as bitchen easily scared as I am bitchen curious.

  9. seriously, though, do you all think it’s okay for an attorney general to spend some extra time and money snooping around the dealings of a political figure he or she doesn’t like? I’m inclined to say that I expect extra scrutiny of the governor of a state, but the idea that that scrutiny only comes if said governor pisses off the wrong folks makes me uncomfortable.

  10. Hmm, puzzling evidence.

  11. Byrne is a great musician, but an excrutiating boor as a political commentator. Same as it ever was…

  12. OT, but could someone please be so kind as to click o the banner that says “don’t click here if you’re easily scared” and tell me what it says cuz I’m as bitchen easily scared as I am bitchen curious.

    Nothing scary at all. Something about Barton …eviscerate…opening day…payback…

    I didn’t read the whole thing though.

  13. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Spitzer affair.

    I do think that there were political considerations involved. But it doens’t really bother me.

    Spitzer is a guy who spent his whole life being a tough SOB and holding people to account for their transgressions — including busting up prostitution rings — while advancing his personal ambitions.

    As far as I am concerned, someone with Spitzers profile should have kept his nose clean and lived up to the standards he demanded others live up to.

    Politics or not, he got what was coming to him.

  14. Am I the only one who sort of feels sorry for the prostitute?

    How was she suppose to know client 9 was a hypocritical politican.

  15. I hear you, ChicagoTom, but it’s like the death penalty; feeling bad for Ted Bundy is the LAST thing I worry about.

  16. Why would clients 1-8, or 10-1000 necessarily be someone important? Look at the chick.If I was rich and powerful-and paid for pussy…lol-I would expect to do a whole lot better than that.
    I don’t care if she could single-mouthedly keep the entire trailer hitch rechroming business busy for the next 20 years. She ain’t no “high class” ‘ho.

  17. Am I the only one who sort of feels sorry for the prostitute?

    No. I will, on the other hand, be very amused if Spitzer ends up in jail, even though I don’t think he should. I love seeing a sanctimonious politician crash-and-burn.

    But I’ll second what joe said too. Don Siegelman is the reason why we should worry about these investigations.

  18. Don Siegelman is the reason why we should worry about these investigations.

    Siegelman was a corrupt politician who had the benefit of the best possible legal defense.He beat most of the charges.Are you gonna cry over Scrushy too?

  19. I believe “Nearly headless Nick” (by Tim Cavanaugh, IIRC) still holds the honors for Worst Reason Blog Post Title ever. They’re all tied for Worst Reason Blog Post Content.

    I didn’t know DavidByrne has a blog; it truly provides a wonderful peek into his life and almost humanizes him, bringing him down to a level even I can relate to. Too bad he doesn’t have comments.

  20. In light of the recent news about the McGreevys, I’m hoping it comes out that Spitzer and his wife were also regular swingers.

    Maybe that’s why she’s kept her mouth shut, hmmm?

  21. In The Secret Lair

    AG: “Have you found a way to stop that annoying progressive superhero Spitzer?”

    Minion: “Yes, boss! Our illegal wiretaps found that he’s ‘Client #9’ of a call-girl operation.”

    AG: “‘Client #9,’ excellent! I can see the headlines now! Release the hounds!”

    Minion: “But, sir, some of the other clients are….”

    AG: “Silence! No one, not even my enemies among the aging rockers, will be perceptive enough to wonder about the other clients! My plan is perfect, bwahahahaha!”

  22. Why, I’ll tell you, the only reason Spitzer was paying all that money for a prostitute is because I wouldn’t sleep with him.

    Shoot, he told me he could get me elected mayor of Buffalo if I’d have a three-way with him and Bill Clinton!

    If my boyfriend Donald Trump found about this, heads would roll, believe you me.

  23. In light of the recent news about the McGreevys, I’m hoping it comes out that Spitzer and his wife were also regular swingers.

    Maybe that’s why she’s kept her mouth shut, hmmm?

    I wouldn’t say she was keeping her mouth shut, but I’ll be she was tight-lipped…

  24. …but I’ll bet she was tight-lipped…

  25. Now that you mention it, I DO want to know who clients 1-8 are.

    I have a similar reaction to this whole thing as Chicago Tom. I don’t think prostitution should be illegal, but I would like to know if there are more politicians who frequent prostitutes.

  26. Sure seems like Byrne is off of his meds if he’s drawing the conclusions he is. SIV is right; in these sorts of cases they aren’t so much numbered by prominence but by when they come under the attention of the investigators. For all we know, 1-8 are just some terminally bored (and terminally boring) business executives at places we’ve never heard of. There’s millions of possibilities, although I will agree on the point that we probably heard about Spitzer in the timeframe we did at least partially due to a sense of schadenfreude by investigators. Whether or not it means 1-8 are of any importance, though, it says nothing about.

  27. There’s also a chance that they don’t have enough evidence to release the names of other clients.

    The one (and perhaps only) good thing about politicians is that they don’t always require being proven guilty in court to be run out of town…

  28. Siegelman was a corrupt politician Well, that’s the government’s position. Some of us don’t reflexively accept the government’s position o thing.

    who had the benefit of the best possible legal defense. So he couldn’t possibly have been railroaded.

    He beat most of the charges. So a great deal of the government’s case was disproven, and that’s how we know we don’t have to worry about the rest of it. Sure, nothing to see here folks.

  29. Byrne is a fucking moron. Everyone knows that Republican politicians fuck male prostitutes. Spitzer’s VIP Club was exclusively female whores. Byrne should stick to music and big suits.

  30. Anyone who has any sympathy for Spitzer is a fool. The guy was a vicious thug, and certainly got what was coming to him. I assure you that if you were ever on the receiving end of Spitzer’s “standards”, you would never, ever have pity for him.

    This country is a hell of a lot better off than it was two weeks ago. If you think Bush is bad (and he is), try Eliot in the White House. Now that’s fucking scary.

  31. As I understand it, the investigation started because of suspicious activity reports filed by Spitzer’s bank[s].

    Spitzer was the initial target of the investigation, and was the target of the wiretaps. Not the prostitutes.

    So releasing the rest of the client list may actually not be appropriate, since they may not have had those clients named in the wiretapping warrant. Someone clarify this for me, but if you are not the target of a wiretap warrant and the wiretap reveals incidental information about a crime you have committed, that evidence is no good, right?

    No usable evidence = clients 1 to 8 walk.

  32. I’m pretty sure street vendors love the excessive regulation they are “subjected” to. It keeps out competition. How else would one company have a monopoly on DC street vendors?

    Byrne isn’t sticking up for them. He’s sticking it to them.

  33. Anyone who thinks concern about this case is based on sympathy for Spitzer is a fool.

    Anybody who thinks David Byrne was expressing sympathy for Spitzer is a fool.

    But some people get a vision about “evil-doers,” and their skepticism about the government goes right out the window.

  34. But some people get a vision about “evil-doers,” and their skepticism about the government goes right out the window.

    So the FBI is lying, and Spitzer admitted to fucking whores because they framed him? I didn’t realize the FBI was that competent.

  35. brian:

    Byrne is sticking up for those street vendors who were put out of business or are preventing from going into business by the government-enforced monopoly.

  36. Joe, I think this case is different from the Siegelman case.

    In the Siegelman case, I think the DoJ went looking for trouble and had political motivations from the outset.

    In the Spitzer case, there is a vast net of surveillance thrown over personal financial transactions in the US that is designed precisely to empower the state to fuck with people in Spitzer’s situation. There was no need to single Spitzer out; when the systems threw up his name, they just had to be willing to pull on the string. Spitzer was part of that “net” and employed it joyously, and he doesn’t get to complain now. Even if some Republican hack treated his “suspicious currency activities” more diligently than they would have treated an average person’s, and even if they were happy [for purely political reasons] to pursue Spitzer over chump change.

  37. So the FBI is lying, and Spitzer admitted to fucking whores because they framed him? I didn’t realize the FBI was that competent.

    No kidding. If true, I have a newfound respect for the FBI, but that’s too Machiavellian to credit them with.

  38. Let’s not forget, Spitzer got targeted by a federal investigation for money laundering and got strung up by the feds for transporting his call girl across state lines. That may or may not be true of Clients 1 – 8.

    While I, too, am curious as to who they are (what, the Gov. of NY only ranks number 9?), I’m also not too excited about federal prosecutors releasing the names of people they don’t have grounds to charge with federal crimes.

  39. Shorter RC: what fluffy said.

    (Note to self: don’t skip to the bottom of the thread.)

  40. Episiarch throws on his “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about” cloak and writes,

    So the FBI is lying, and Spitzer admitted to fucking whores because they framed him? I didn’t realize the FBI was that competent.

    The problem with this case isn’t that they caught an innocent man, but about how they targeted and investigated him. I need to explain this to a libertarian?

  41. Fuffy,

    I don’t think the “politicized investigators” problem and the “panopticon problem” are quite so distinct.

    The surveillance state makes the politicized police problem much more serious, and vice-versa.

  42. joe, you mistake my glee over Spitzer’s fall with an approval of the methods used to catch him.

    I hate the federal spiderwebs over financial transactions. But Spitzer loved them, and used them to fuck people, so it is divinely appropriate that he got snagged by them, and fucked himself.

    Besides, if anybody should be watched, it is politicians.

    Give me the power tomorrow to get rid of the spiderwebs, and I will. Even if a shit like Spitzer goes free.

  43. I don’t think the “politicized investigators” problem and the “panopticon problem” are quite so distinct.

    The surveillance state makes the politicized police problem much more serious, and vice-versa.

    This is a very good point, and a good shorthand way of referring to the two issues. But here’s what I think:

    If you have a society where privacy is respected, and government investigators step outside of that to single out and pursue a politician from another party, that’s clearly a political prosecution.

    But if you have a society where privacy is not respected, and the Panopticon is throwing up evidence of potential “crimes” for thousands of people at any moment in time, and government investigators troll through the generated lists of names to find political enemies to prosecute, that’s more a corrupt system devouring its own than it is a political crime. JMO.

    There’s a short story I read when I was about eleven and have never been able to find again [never could remember the title or author] where in a future totalitarian society a lowly file clerk brings down the Party by manipulating files to create opportunities for party members to purge one another. When the people who collaborate to eliminate everyone else’s privacy start using the system to purge one another, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

  44. “I believe “Nearly headless Nick” (by Tim Cavanaugh, IIRC) still holds the honors for Worst Reason Blog Post Title ever.”

    I would contend that Cavanaugh’s entire body of work deserves that honor.

  45. Fired eight prosecutors because they wouldn’t kiss Bush’s ass? Yeah this is the kind of highly insightful, non-conspiratorial commentary I want to read. Give me a fucking break.
    This clown and his politics are no different than that of the rest of the morons in the entertainment industry.

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