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?


Paul craddick said…

I note that the splenetics over at Axis of Logic are qualified thus and so: "If Fisk has been barred from entry, it's very hard not to believe it has something to do with dispaches of his like this one from September 15."[emphasis added]

I realize that it's more romantic to imagine the dashing Fisk being denied entry by the malign authorities in "Bush's America," but it may simply be that - to use, in context, a delightfully ambiguous locution - his "papers weren't in order."

I've found that a good cure for insomnia is to puzzle over which member of the Anglo-Axis-of-Idiots - sc., Fisk, Pilger, and Monbiot - is most in need of remedial instruction in Ars Logica. Before I nod off, I always narrow it down to two - of which Fisk is always one.

If indeed Fisk has been "barred" from entering the big, bad US, de Talleyrand's famous quip would be in order: Fisk should never be denied rope with which to hang himself.
Patrick J. Mullins said…
roger-testing for comment to see if it had to do with my browser.
roger said…
Paul! mon semblable, —mon frère! haven't heard from you in a while.
Well, naturally, the whole purpose of freedom of speech is to let people hang themselves or not. But I delayed writing about Fisk because, like you said, I couldn't find any info that was decisive. Unfortunately, it has been five days and there's no story in the NYT or Washington Post. Although you are right, I should have linked to Direland, the Doug Ireland site. I don't know what I didn't, man. Here's the link:
The reason I take this to be utterly plausible is that the Immigration service has become, over the last four years, a menace to the future prosperity of the U.S. That prosperity depends on the U.S. sucking up talent from the whole world -- hence the names attached to articles in the IEEE. That the U.S. puts up ridiculous barriers to computer engineering students from, say, India, makes it much more plausible, to me, that they would ban Fisk. Part of our liberties gnawed away, Paul. I tell you, next they are going to gather up our guns, little black helicoptered sapsuckers.