Saturday, December 1, 2012

Poor Wand'ring Major General Diplomat

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.
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.
(sung to the tune "Modern Major General" by Gilbert and Sullivan)

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.


Zee said...


Great, revealing post about Susan Rice! And I really love your rewrite of "Modern Major General."

I couldn't get the links to Muckety or the Roots Action petition to work however, although I easily tracked them down with Google.

Stev-o said...

yes, that was one of the first things that popped out when I did a little thinking. I think it had to do with an canny resemblance to Condi RICE. National Cathedral School, Standford, Oxford on a Rhodes. Oh my. Is she not the poster child of one interested in maintaining the status quo. Continuing sad days of decline in AmeriKa, Clusterfuck Nation.
And thanks for the Muckety link.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Zee, both links have now been fixed.

Pearl said...

Tonight I watched It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart made in 1945, 67 years ago. I usually don't watch it having tired of it over the years but a recent article connecting our current banking scoundrels with Lionel
Barrymore as the owner of the local bank during the depression, made me tune in. The movie now seems more in sync with our times than ever before proving the more things change the more they remain the same, and a good movie with a good message never goes out of style (and neither does that same old corruption) .

I remember Jimmy in Mr. Smith goes to Washington made in l946, over 73 years ago, and boy is that message ever alive and well except that as an honest protester he made some progress in exposing Senator Claude Rains as the corrupt Senator. A wonderful movie directed by Frank Capra. Where are you
Jimmy when we need you?

And so it is with Gilbert and Sullivan who exposed the same problems of political and social life of their time's and today's with gloriously hilarious music and song. Thanks Karen for this great column and reminders that art is often the revealer of truth in a delicious package. Are those verses yours?

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Pearl, and yes that is my version of a G&S song, with apologies for writing only a few stanzas before running out of steam (and breath!)

Denis Neville said...

Obama’s nomination of his next Secretary of State - whether it is Susan Rice or someone else - offers the opportunity to ask questions about Obama’s increasing proclivity for proxy warfare. Did the United States arm, fund, train, and support - either directly or through our so-called ‘allies’ - the very people who killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and the other Americans who did with him?

"Hot dog, let’s play games. You catch me and I catch you; no love can cut our knife in two. For I’m Little Buttercup, sweet Little Buttercup. Whoops!" – Isaac Asimov’s Robot SPD-13 (aka "Speedy") quoting Gilbert and Sullivan:

“I'm called Little Buttercup — dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup — poor little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup I!

“Then buy of your Buttercup — dear Little Buttercup;
Sailors should never be shy;
So, buy of your Buttercup — poor Little Buttercup;
Come, of your Buttercup buy!

“Hail, men-o'-war's men — safeguards of your nation
Here is an end, at last, of all privation;
You've got your pay — spare all you can afford
To welcome Little Buttercup on board.”

View the facts of the everyday practices of our country. For shameless hypocrisy, we reign without a rival.

“It is not so much the sight of immorality of the great that is to be feared as that of immorality leading to greatness.” – Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

James F Traynor said...

Denis, Alexis had it right on that one. As I understand it, the Junkers were not crazy about Adolph, until he pulled off the Sudetenland bit.

Karen, you're an absolute pisser! Years ago, as teenager, I had friend who loved G&S. He drove me nuts putting everything to it's timing and lyrics.

Anonymous said...

That was a hell of a post, Karen. The best thing I've read on Rice so far. Unsurprisingly, nothing like what I've found in the MSM on Rice.

Did you do a post-election piece on the lack of coverage on third-party turnout? Some of us have been wondering why there wasn't more coverage of those results - even if they were meager, we would have liked to have known.

Valerie said...

I read your excellent post, Karen, with great disgust for Obama and the type of unprincipled, conflict of interest types he feels are appropriate nominees for cabinet positions and his closest advisors. Once again proving that the Lesser of Two Evils is still damn evil.

At least there is the blogosphere to get the word out about what is REALLY going on with Susan Rice - but are the apathetics really interested? Will the party faithful go against anyone with the label "Democrat?" What is ironic is the Republicans could be doing us a favour by working against her. Seems to me we've got that enemy of my enemy is my friend thing going on with this one.