Krugman gives us a nice summary of one of the more rancid D.C. scandals currently scheduled for page A-10 in your local paper:
“Mr. Abramoff was indicted last month on charges of fraud relating to his purchase of SunCruz, a casino boat operation. Mr. Ney inserted comments in the Congressional Record attacking SunCruz's original owner, Konstantinos ''Gus'' Boulis, placing pressure on him to sell to Mr. Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, and praised Mr. Kidan's character.
“Last week three men were arrested in connection with the gangland-style murder of Mr. Boulis. SunCruz, after it was controlled by Mr. Kidan and Mr. Abramoff, paid a company controlled by one of the men arrested, Anthony ''Big Tony'' Moscatiello, and his daughter $145,000 for catering and other work. In court documents, questions are raised about whether food and drink were ever provided. SunCruz paid $95,000 to a company in which one of the other men arrested, Anthony ''Little Tony'' Ferrari, is a principal.”
But Krugman’s facts need to be put into a certain atmosphere that has one abiding characteristic: the assumption of immunity. The violence perpetrated by any mafia type group must be exemplary. It must not only happen, but give the appearance that there are no constraints on its happening. This is why we recommend the MSNBC column about Tom Delay’s upcoming trial, written by one of Delay’s friends, Rick Scarborough, for its title: Guilty or not, DeLay will walk. Scarborough writes a column that he calls “Regular Joe.” He means the regular guy who gives his wife a bruiser if she gets out of line, whacks off at the local strip joint and rails against pornography, tosses a brick through the window of the gay couple down the street and ponders the mysteries of that merciful deity who triumphed over the grave through his mastery of the seven habits of highly successful people. Delay’s putative ability to bull his way out of a money laundering charge is celebrated by regular Joe Scarborough, who should surely have begun his article with that key Good Fellas phrase, “ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a gangster.”
Or, as Scarborough puts it, admiration seeping through his acids and cancers:
“Why could DeLay survive a prosecution that would destroy most other politicians? Because above all else, he is a political fighter.”
Shades of Nixon. The Bush culture gravitates to the protection racket as its natural form of governance, the wet dream of big government conservatism. We are, after all, headed by a man whose signal accomplishment, as a businessman, was to fatten on the creamy situations into which he was shoehorned by Daddy's friends. When the parasites get to the top of the food chain, the wonders that ensue delights the hearts of Scarborough's regular Joes everywhere, especially if they have had the good business sense to put a little in the Republican kitty.
PS – since we are commenting on the headlines today, we should note that the supposed “freedom of the press” issues involved in Judy Miller’s jailing are more and more absurd to invoke since Miller has mysteriously decided to knuckle under. This was not about freedom of the press, this was all about obscure maneuvers under the surface of the D.C. Court society that brought us the disastrous war. Meanwhile, neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times has bothered to headline, investigate, or even wink at a more deadly violation of freedom of the press, the U.S. decision to deny Independent’s reporter Robert Fisk entry into the country. Ah, but at least one powerhouse U.S. newspaper noticed this violation of our liberties: the New Mexican, in Santa Fe.
The delicate sensibilities at the NYT who could swallow a camel and strain at a gnat – or to be less Biblical, who could fire a reporter for filing a description of a news conference he didn’t attend but feel no compulsion to fire a woman whose stories about WMD in Iraq make Laurie Mylroie's fantasies seem serious by comparison -- haven’t yet felt that Fisk’s banning requires the kind of heated indignation that Judy’s plight inspired. Why am I not surprised?