A chance to blame Bush, that is - for anything and everything imaginable. Wednesday's front-page headline heralded:
Federal Cases of Stock Fraud Drop Sharply
And why, pray tell, might that be? According to one of the Gray Lady's chief Bush-bashing "reporters," Eric Lichtblau, this positive news is really negative:
WASHINGTON - Federal officials are bringing far fewer prosecutions as a result of fraudulent stock schemes than they did eight years ago, according to new data, raising further questions about whether the Bush administration has been too lax in policing Wall Street.
Legal and financial experts say that a loosening of enforcement measures, cutbacks in staffing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a shift in resources toward terrorism at the F.B.I. have combined to make the federal government something of a paper tiger in investigating securities crimes.
Perhaps the drop in prosecutions reflects a drop in criminal behavior? Perhaps the harsh treatment accorded the wrongdoers in the Enron and other high profile cases has deterred others from similar shenanigans? Nah. Must be because Bush and his administration are asleep at the switch - but is this a rational conclusion from Lichtblau's report that:
There were 133 prosecutions for securities fraud in the first 11 months of this fiscal year. That is down from 437 cases in 2000 and from a high of 513 cases in 2002.
So, who was president in 2002, and why was the prosecution level so much higher then than now? The Times's inferences, unsurprisingly, have a certain partisan odor about them that is not borne out by any hard facts.
If the general insinuations aren't bad enough, why not lay a little blame on Dubya for the 48-year long alleged financial scamming of Bernard Madoff? Why not, indeed:
The Madoff scandal, now under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, has ratcheted up criticism even further.
Or, could Madoff's ability to go undetected have something to do with what the directorblue blog pointed out yesterday:
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Monday led a long list of officeholders and groups expected to give up more than $430,000 in political contributions from Bernie Madoff and his family...
Nah again. Not in the NY Times's world. Aren't they among the folks who insist that we don't need to have so many inmates in our prisons because the crime rate has dropped so much?