Scandal Season

Scandal Season

Scandal Season

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Nov. 29 2005 4:57 PM

Scandal Season

Canada's Parliament collapsed after a scandal besmirched Prime Minister Paul Martin's party, while here in the States, California Rep. Duke Cunningham has resigned after admitting he accepted bribes. Bloggers are discussing both of the corruption stories, as well as reports that Scientologists tried to squash a news story about a secret vault and land markings in New Mexico.

Scandal season: Canadians are gearing up for a holiday election campaign after a no-confidence vote on Monday toppled Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority government. The vote followed allegations about improper campaign financing involving Martin's Liberal Party. Bloggers are anticipating a vicious campaign season.

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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At Captain's Quarters, conservative Captain Ed has been following the developing "Adscam" controversy since April. He thinks that the Liberals will try to argue the corruption—allegedly, funds meant to support government advertisements went to partisan advertising firms that failed to produce anything for the government—was not widespread, and he expects them to adopt "a scolding tone about all of the great work that the Commons could be doing instead of holding another election seventeen months after the last one."

One Parliament member promises not to let that happen. Monte Solberg, a Conservative MP from Medicine Hat,  blogged frequently on the proceedings. "Bring it on," he encourages his political opponents. Right Ho, the blog of a conservative Canadian journalist, predicts that the campaign will be an "ugly, nasty affair" and predicts that conservatives could make inroads in parts of Ontario and Alberta, though he basically writes off Quebec.

But Maritime Liberal, a liberal Canadian blogger, thinks that the new election is a waste of time. "Overall, I don't think much will change. We will have more Bloc and NDP and a weaker Liberal government. One has to wonder, was this really that necessary?"he asks. American bloggers are having their say, too. "[O]ur northern neighbor might just have signed a new lease on life," celebrates Stephen Green of VodkaPundit.

Read more about the Canadian government's holiday elections. If you are interested moving to Canada, read this Explainer, and brush up on your Canada knowledge here.

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Scandal season's greetings, part II: U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R.-Calif., has resigned after admitting that he evaded taxes and took bribes in exchange for securing government favors for defense contractors.

Conservative and liberal bloggers alike have condemned Cunningham's behavior. Some agree with columnist Bruce Bartlett's assertion that Republicans are too comfortable in their position of power. "[T]he root of the current wave of scandal involving Republicans is that the party's governing element in Washington has completely lost sight of the reason they were elected in the first place," Bartlett says. "It may take another stint in exile to reawaken a commitment to fiscal sobriety and moral rectitude amongst the DC GOP," writesStephen Bainbridge.

Jonah B. Gelbach, a liberal professor and blogger at Card Carrying Member, praises Cunningham for coming clean. "[A]t least he's man enough to admit his transgressions," he says.

Other bloggers are still entrenched behind party lines. At The Corner, the group blog of the conservative National Review Online, Kathryn Jean Lopez is angry at what she sees as a spate of Republican-bashing. She scoffs at the notion that Republicans have a corner on the scandal market, pointing out that a Democrat has been involved with the scandal surrounding übercontroversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "I wouldn't invest too much time pointing fingers at the other party's "culture of corruption" if I were, say, Howard Dean," she says.

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On the flip side, "Republicans must be contained in a manner similar to the Soviet Union," Kevin S., a Brooklyn liberal, says at Dropout/Postgrad. He lists Republican-linked scandals and agrees with a Talking Points Memo reader who says media coverage of the scandal is too Republican-friendly.

Read more about Cunningham's resignation.

Aerial view: According to the Washington Post, Scientologists tried to squash a New Mexico TV station from airing a report about hidden vaults of Scientology texts and odd markings on the ground visible only from the air. Boing Boing's coverage of the tale points readers to this aerial image of the ground markings. Still juiced up on Scientology jokes from Tom Cruise's proselytizing over the summer, bloggers are speculating about the vault's contents and the circle-and-diamond markings.

ForcedPerspective's Sarah asks the truly probing question: "[W]hy the effort to keep giant space-visible markings a secret?" Defamer, the entertainment arm of the Gawker Media empire, suggests that the markings might be a "Venn diagram illustrating the intersection of out-of-work actors desperate to make industry connections and highly suggestible people with nothing better to do than take personality tests."

Mark Maynard thinks that all religious groups should follow Scientology's move by encasing their teachings in titanium. "I think it would probably be a bad thing for the universe if we entered into a spiritual arms race like the one I'm suggesting, but… it should be part of any religion's long-term strategy," he suggests.

Read more about the markings. Michael Crowley assessed Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for Slate in July.