I am the very model of a modern major Villager,
I own much stock in banks and biz and filthy tar sands minerals,
I schmooze with kings of Africa and many a great potentate,
And very much would like to be new Secretary of the State.
(sung to the tune "Modern Major General" by Gilbert and Sullivan)I'm the product of Elite Class Washington Metropolis,
My hubby ran the Sunday show for Georgie Stephanopoulos,
I'm eminently qualified, and therefore shouldn't be denied
My place at the Tip-Top of This.
I hadn't been weighing in on Susan Rice-gate, because at first glance it seemed like just more of the same inside-the-Beltway grandstanding and backbiting. The Three New Republican Amigos (Ayotte, McCain and Graham) were belaboring her misguided Benghazi talking points because of some convoluted plan to get John Kerry in as Secretary of State so that Scott Brown can come back to the Senate. Pseudoliberals were all in a tizzy because of perceived Republican racism and misogyny directed against Rice and by extension, against Barack Obama. It was the usual tempest in a teapot, one more enervating episode in Culture Wars Theater to distract a divided populace from the real war: the class war of the Plutocracy against the rest of us.
But new developments have elevated RiceGate way beyond its status as a latter-day Gilbert and Sullivan boffo operetta. First, is the revelation of her sizeable and possibly interest-conflicted investments. Then came her thinly-disguised tirade against Palestine at the U.N. General Assembly this week. And further reading (h/t Black Agenda Report, linked below) reveals Susan Rice's troubling history with certain thuggish African dictators.
Plus, it turns out that she is married to the former producer of ABC's "This Week" in the triumvirate of Sunday propaganda fests manufactured by the insiders, for the insiders. ABC/Disney Star Stephanopoulos is the poster-boy for Revolving Door Washington: from Clinton Cabinet member to influence peddler to pundit. ( Hubby Ian Cameron, incidentally, recently left his producing job for the usual reason: to spend more time with the family)
Actually, Susan Rice would be a fairly typical Secretary of State. An overachieving, independently wealthy, pragmatic, super-connected salesperson for American corporate interests in far-flung outposts of the globe, where human rights are not exactly top priorities.
Muckety has quite the eye-opening graphic on Susan Rice's family and corporate tree. The elaborate relationships are a veritable parody of Beltway nepotism and interconnectedness. The private schools, the think tanks, the corporate boards... it's all there. It is the very model of a modern major power clan. Check it out.
The Roots Action public interest group is circulating a petition demanding that Rice either divest herself of her holdings in companies directly connected to the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline, or pre-emptively withdraw her expected nomination as Secretary of State. In that position, she would be the ultimate judge of whether final approval for the controversial pipeline is granted, and would stand to gain financially if she gave it the thumbs up. "Did they think we wouldn't find out?" asks Roots Action.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, "Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel -- including companies with poor environmental and safety records on both U.S. and Canadian soil. Rice and her husband own at least $1.25 million worth of stock in four of Canada’s eight leading oil producers, as ranked by Forbes magazine. That includes Enbridge, which spilled more than a million gallons of toxic bitumen into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 -- the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history."
(Rice's journalist-TV executive husband is a native of Canada.)
Meanwhile, over at Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford continues his investigative reporting on Susan Rice's alleged complicity in African human rights abuses perpetrated by a panoply of dictators. (She has long expressed regret for not urging intervention in the Rwandan genocide during her stint in the Clinton Administration.) Ford's wording is strong, to say the least:
Susan Rice, as an energetic protector and facilitator of genocide, should be imprisoned for life (given that the death penalty is no longer internationally sanctioned). But of course, the same applies to her superiors, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. One would think that the Congressional Black Caucus would be concerned with the threat of a second wave of mass killings in Congo. Not so.
Instead, incoming Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia Fudge, of Cleveland, held a press conference with female Caucus members to defend Rice, “a person who has served this country with distinction,” from Republican criticism of her handling of the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. “We will not allow a brilliant public servant’s record to be mugged to cut off her consideration to be secretary of state,” said Fudge.
In the Congressional Black Caucus’ estimation, Rice’s “record” as chief warmonger in Africa and principal suppressor of the facts on genocide in Congo makes her a role model for African Americans, especially young Black women.Not so poor wand'ring maligned diplomatic one, indeed, wand'ring through the hallowed halls of Congress to plead her case. As usual, the politicians and corporate media are concentrating on the mundane, (parsing meaningless TV talking points) and ignoring the glaringly obvious. Hidden finances, influence peddling, international intrigue, questionable human rights bona fides? That's just business as usual.
"Though thou hast surely strayed/Take heart of grace/Thy steps retrace," as G&S advised one globe-trotter more than a century ago. Maybe she can check out the Muckety Map for inspiration. She'll always have Paris... or Brookings... or Stanford... or Oxford.