Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Sudomo Strikes Again!"

Indonesia's Admiral Sudomo

Many years ago I lived as an American expat in Indonesia. At that time, the nation was ruled by President Suharto and his gang, running a theft-o-rama officially called The New Order. Articles in the state-controlled press could be unintentionally humorous, and never more so than when the government periodically thundered against corruption. I recall one headline from the Indonesia Times: Sudomo Strikes Again! This referred to Admiral Sudomo, head of the KOPKAMTIB security police. There was no telling how many billions this honcho had looted from his country and stashed in Swiss bank accounts. But at least the citizens could sleep better knowing that, according to the article, his fearless minions had busted some minor bureaucrat for embezzling a petty sum.

Rod Blagojevich

I'm reminded of the Sudomo farce by William L. Anderson's "Free the Blago Six!". The Rod Blagojevich corruption case stinks of the same elite hypocrisy, the feigned outrage of the big time capos at the comparatively small misdeeds of a minor crime boss. Was Blagojevich fishing for bribes? That is the very substance of the "legislative process" on Capitol Hill. As Anderson notes, congressional bribes are often just protection racket extortion by politicians who can pillage or shut down businesses that refuse to pay.

Given that Blago is cut from the same cloth as these hoods, and is playing by the system's rules, why was he targeted? The simplest explanation is that he lacked "protection" himself, being unable or unwilling to procure it. It's also possible he screwed with the wrong people, in which case the prosecution is an act of elite revenge. Then again, perhaps he was chosen as an easy target for a phony, Indonesia-style anti-corruption drive. The angrier Americans get over the gargantuan "bailout" ripoffs, the more motivated is Washington to find high profile scapegoats to divert their wrath.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, as well Eliot Spitzer, the Franklin Scandal, etc. Anying but honest government; can't have that now, can we?