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In Soviet Russia, Drugs Go to War on You


The guy responsible for wasting in excess of $50 million prosecuting Barry Bonds is so Serious I’m surprised that Fred Hiatt hasn’t already given him a sinecure. If you’re the kind of guy who thinks that this prosecution was an intelligent use of taxpayer money, you probably also think that the use of the familiar quote from the 18th Brumaire to accurately describe the farcical nature of convicting someone for giving a rambling-but-accurate answer should be met with some red-baiting:

Prosecutor Matt Parrella, already spoiling for a venomous closing, derided Riordan’s argument. “As for the quotation from Marx,” Parrella scoffed, “it’s lucky we don’t live in communist Russia.”

Hopefully the appellate courts will be on the end of Parrella’s biting wit after they throw out the one conviction from this remarkably silly and wasteful prosecution.

Of course, any money that would be saved by telling prosecutors to find some actual criminals might go to things like going after online poker sites. Let’s just say that I continue to find the idea that holding prosecutors accountable for violating people’s civil rights is a luxury that taxpayers can’t afford…unconvincing.


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  • DrDick

    Rather than going after online poker sites, might I suggest the ongoing criminal enterprise known as Wall Street?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Right. Christ, paying brokers who can’t do better than throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal huge commissions is actually more irrational than playing poker…

      • R. Johnston

        It’s worse than that. A certain percentage of them can and do do better than throwing darts, but the only possible ways to do so are 1) random, nonrepeatable chance, 2) going Madoff and 3) insider trading. “Past results do not guarantee future performance” is a grossly insufficient disclaimer on the first to avoid fraud and is the most disclosure that most people ever get, if they get any at all; the second is an inherent fraud; and the third amounts to theft from stockholders. The latter two are clearly illegal and the former really should be illegal as well.

        Lots of people rationally pay for brokers, but every single one of them is expecting their brokers to engage in insider trading and steal from other stockholders.

        • Malaclypse

          Lots of people rationally pay for brokers, but every single one of them is expecting their brokers to engage in insider trading and steal from other stockholders.

          I don’t have stats, but I’d be willing to bet that the bulk of broker fees are being paid by people who are not even aware that all those funds in their 401(k)s have fees buried way deep in the statements.

          • Rob

            And even if they do, its not like they have a great amount of choice in the matter

          • R. Johnston

            Sure enough. But just because most people pay broker fees irrationally or unknowingly doesn’t mean they can’t be paid rationally. They just can’t be paid rationally at anything above the fees for a low-churn index fund in the expectation of legal behavior by the broker.

          • chris

            It is not from the benevolence of the broker that we expect to pay hidden fees, but from his regard for his own interest.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I should have said, can’t legally do better than throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal…

  • c u n d gulag

    I’d prefer we started with Little Boots, Cheney, and the rest of the Bush Crime Family.

    Then, we can go after the Wall Street bankers, insurance companies, and the ratings agencies.

  • pv

    Perhaps it was a clever non-sequitur? To be fair, it is lucky we don’t live in communist Russia, right? Right? I bow before the complexity of Parrella’s Absurdist wit.

    • bh

      Surely he meant that we’re lucky not to live somewhere with arbitrary and pointless persecutions… er, maybe not that, exactly.

      BTW, Tommy Craggs, who wrote the linked piece, is One Of The Good Ones, I think. I enjoy Deadspin, but it would be interesting to see him write something longer-form.

    • JMS

      It is lucky we don’t live in “Communist Russia,” because I for one don’t want to live in 1917 or in an alternate universe.

  • norbizness

    The Yakov warning sign was modified to accurately include the term “diarrhea” instead of “laughter” after pressure from the Justice Department, so I’ll give them that.

  • JB2

    There are, in fact, some actual criminals out there – I mean, in addition to the on-line poker site operators and steroid-denying ballplayers

    For example, I’m a state prosecutor with a current docket of 500 cases; my section used to have 4 full-time attorneys, and now we have two. I took a 10% pay cut a year ago and more cuts are likely to come.

    • mpowell

      Apparently what you need to do is find a couple of high profile cases that might advance your career and focus all your resources there. That’s what is rewarded after all.

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