McKinney Follows Suit

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) found herself in a lot hot water for assaulting a Capitol police officer who didn’t recognize her when she blew threw a security checkpoint without her Congressional pin.

For most people that would be enough absurdity, but this is Cynthia McKinney, so you had to know that was just the beginning of the trainwreck.

At first, McKinney tried to portray herself as the victim of racism (at some point you just know her father is going to blame Jews for his daughter’s latest mess). When it was clear that wasn’t work, McKinney decided to apologize, but that didn’t go very well either. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution,

But even as McKinney appeared to be trying to put the issue to rest, a bodyguard she hired — reportedly a former George state trooper — was raising another furor when he threatened a television report trying to interview McKinney outside the Capitol just minutes before she appeared on the House floor [to issue her apology].

When the reporter from Cox Broadcasting tried to ask McKinney about the grand jury, the bodyguard told him, “I’m going to put your ass in jail. I’m a police officer,” a videotape of the incident shows.

Asked if he worked for Capitol police, the man said, “I work for Miss McKinney.”

This is hardly surprising behavior for the only national political figure on record as supporting Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe. Mugabe, of course, regularly intimidates journalists and occasionally has them tortured. It should hardly be surprising that a supporter of a dictator who doesn’t respect the freedom of the press would surround herself with like-mind people.

What is surprising is that McKinney keeps being returned to the House of Representatives.


McKinney apologizes on House floor. Bob Kemper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 6, 2006.

Greg Palast is Lying about Cynthia McKinney

Alternet.Org is featuring an article by Greg Palast, The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney, which engages in outright lies and distortions about what McKinney did or did not say about the Bush administration’s prior knowledge about the 9/11 attacks.

Palast cites several media accounts in which McKinney is described as having implied that the Bush administration knew about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time. But Palast says that such claims were simply fabricated. For example, Palast writes of NPR,

Have you heard about Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman?

According to those quoted on National Public Radio, McKinney’s “a loose cannon” (media expert) who “the people of Atlanta are embarrassed and disgusted” (politician) by, and she is also “loony” and “dangerous” (senator from her own party).

Yow! And why is McKinney dangerous/loony/disgusting? According to NPR, “McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.”

. . .

Problem is, McKinney never said it.

That’s right. The “quote” from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin’ made up.

The first bizarre thing about this is that Palast never actually cites any direct quotes attributed to McKinney, but then turns around and says that this quote that was not attributed to her is fabricated. Huh? If someone fabricated a quote and put it into McKinney’s mouth, it’s odd that Palast doesn’t once describe exactly what that fabricated quote was.

Second, that’s because Palast is a liar who is really the one playing games with quotes here. Notice that the only direct quote from the NPR broadcast about McKinney’s views on 9/11 is the paraphrase, “McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.” But here’s the transcript of the start of that June 16, 2002 broadcast,

JOSHUA LEVS reporting:

A couple of months ago, Congresswoman McKinney was on radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California. She said people close to President Bush, such as his father, could profit from the new war on terrorism. The senior George Bush sits on the board of The Carlyle Group, an investment firm that does hundreds of millions of dollars in defense-related business with the government.

(Soundbite of KPFA broadcast)

Representative CYNTHIA McKINNEY (Democrat, Georgia): And so we get this presidency of questionable legitimacy requesting a nearly unprecedented amount of money to go into a defense budget for defense spending that will directly benefit his father. Where are the brakes on transparency and corruption?

LEVS: McKinney implied that the administration knew in advance about September 11th and deliberately held back information.

(Soundbite of KPFA broadcast)

Rep. McKINNEY: What did this administration know and when did it know it about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?

NPR did not fabricate anything — they included two soundbites that let McKinney speak for herself. Of course, those quotes from McKinney are nowhere to be found in Palast’s article. Why let the facts get in the way of a smear campaign?

Palast does a similarly deceitful hack job on the New York Times coverage of McKinney,

The New York Times’ Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments went even further over the edge: “Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”

That’s loony, all right.

Palast then includes a transcript of an interview he did with Clemetson in which Clemetson is unable to cite a direct quote of McKinney back up her reporting. Palast then claims that this quote doesn’t exist “. . . in the Congressional Record, nor in any recorded talk, nor on her Website, nor in any of her radio talks.” In fact, here’s what McKinney said in a press release put out by her office and posted to her House web site shortly after her KPFA interview (emphasis added),

I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case. For example, it is known that President Bush’s father, through the Carlyle Group had – at the time of the attacks – joint business interests with the bin Laden construction company and many defense industry holdings, the stocks of which, have soared since September 11.

On the other hand, what is undeniable is that corporations close to the Administration, have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11. The Carlyle Group, DynCorp, and Halliburton certainly stand out as companies close to this Administration. Secretary Rumsfeld maintained in a hearing before Congress that we can afford the new spending, even though the request for more defense spending is the highest increase in twenty years and the Pentagon has lost $2.3 trillion.

It is Clemetson who is correct and Palast who is doing a lousy job of reporting here. Doesn’t Alternet have anyone doing any fact checking or do they simply run any Left wing conspiracy theory that comes along?

Update: Palast apparently repeats this bogus claim in his book See No Evil. TomPaine.Com ran an excerpt from the book which included this,

She [McKinney] was labeled a traitor, a freak, a conspiracy nut and “a looney” — the latter by her state’s Democratic Senator, who led the mob in the political lynching of the uppity Black woman. The New York Times wrote, “She angered some Black voters by suggesting that President Bush might have known in advance about the September 11 attacks but had done nothing so his supporters could make money in war.” The fact that she said no such thing doesn’t matter; the Times is always more influential than the truth. Dan Rather had warned her, shut up, don’t ask questions, and you can avoid the neck-lacing. She didn’t and it cost her her seat in Congress.

Is Palast using Michael Moore as a ghostwriter by any chance?

Update #2: In his extensive research for his book, Palast also apparently missed this article by McKinney published in Counterpunch,

We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, delivered one such warning. Those engaged in unusual stock trades immediately before September 11 knew enough to make millions of dollars from United and American airlines, certain insurance and brokerage firms’ stocks. What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?


Weekend All Things Considered. NPR, June 16, 2002.

The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney. Greg Palast, AlterNet, June 18, 2003.

Statement of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. April 12, 2002.

McKinney-Inspired Lawsuit

Henry Hanks offers a link to a Fox News story about Democrats in Georgia suing to have the results of the 4th district Democratic primary overturned. That’s the seat that used to be held by Cynthia McKinney who was defeated by challenger Denise Majette in the primary.

According to Fox,

The suit claims that black Democratic voters in the 4th District had their voting rights violated and interfered with by the crossover votes. It asks that those crossover votes be declared unconstitutional and invalid and that McKinney be declared the winner of the Democratic primary.

The odds of McKinney being declared the winner are zero to none — even if they prevailed, the obvious remedy would be a new primary, but Majette will be elected to the House long before this ever winds its way through the courts.

But that being said, the voters here might have a case that is relatively strong.

Just two years ago the Supreme Court invalidated California’s blanket primary system as unconstitutional in California Democratic Party vs. Jones. In a blanket primary system, voters are allowed to vote in the primaries of multiple parties. So a California voter could select his or her choice in the Democratic, Republican, Green and Libertarian parties.

Now Georgia has something a bit different with its open primary system. Voters can vote in the Democratic, Republican, Green or Libertarian primary, but they have to choose one and only one party. In Georgia, for example, a person could have voted in the Republican primary or the Democratic primary, but not both.

The problem for open primaries is that the Supreme Court invalidated blanket primaries on First Amendment grounds, and their ruling doesn’t hold out a lot of hope that open primaries will pass muster.

In the majority opinion, Antonin Scalia wrote that the problem with blanket primaries was that they,

forc[e] political parties to associate with those who do not share their beliefs. And it has done this at the crucial juncture at which party members traditionally find their collective voice and select their spokesman. . . . The burden [CaliforniaÂ’s voting system] places on [the political partiesÂ’] rights of political association is both severe and unnecessary.

In fact, in questioning the lawyers before the court in this case, Scalia asked why someone with almost no attachment to a political party should be allowed to select that party’s candidate for political office.

In the dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens assailed the majority decision for what it would do to open primaries. Stevens wrote, “There is surely a danger that open primaries will fare no better against a First Amendment challenge than blanket primaries have.”


Court Rejects ‘Blanket Primary’. ABCNews.Com, June 26, 2000.

Voters File Suit to Invalidate McKinney Election. FoxNews.Com, October 4, 2002.

Congressional Black Caucus Lied about Zimbabwe Vote

Speaking of honesty, I was doing some research about Zimbabwe when I came across this press release from the Congressional Black Caucus about last year’s vote on a sanctions bill against Zimbabwe. The first paragraph didn’t make any sense to me,

Yesterday, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus unanimosly voted in favor of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 in an attempt to formulate a US policy initiative to support a resolution to the current political instability and on-going land conflict that has long plagued the country.

Huh? Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and she is on record as opposing that bill. What gives?

So I checked the roll call on the bill (technically, the House voted on a resolution to suspend its rules and pass the bill, which is common when there is overwhelming support for a bill)– McKinney is listed as not voting on the resolution.

Apparently McKinney’s defense of Mugabe was even too embarassing for the CBC, but why lie?

McKinney Madness Runs in the Family

During her re-election campaign, Cynthia McKinney got caught using recycled endorsements from Andrew Young. Young endorsed her last time, but stayed out of the current contest probably due to McKinney’s controversial post-9/11 comments.

It turns out that McKinney’s father, Bill, has a theory about that whole imbroglio — the Jews did it!!

Again, as reported by the web site of WXIA-TV,

The comments followed 11Alive asking Billy McKinney about his daughter using an old endorsement from former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.

“That ain’t nothing. That’s nothing,” he said. “Jews have bought everybody. Jews… J-E-W-S.”

Hey, at least he can spell. Can you imagine those family get-togethers? Probably devoted to discussing how the Jews are plotting against Robert Mugabe.

Now We Know Why Cynthia McKinney Liked Mugabe So Much

Last week I noted that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga) was the only (to my knowledge) national politician to stand up and defend Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe. In her statement opposing sanctions against Zimbabwe, McKinney defended Zimbabwe’s corrupt and rigged elections as commendable as compared to what she sees as the wholesale sellout of democracy over what happened in Florida in 2000.

But McKinney’s supporters have a very odd idea of what counts as fair electioneering practices. Somebody has been making tape recorded calls in Georgia targeted at Republican voters telling them that they could be arrested if they vote in the Democratic primary.

The web site for WXIA-TV reports that the message says,

This is an official notice for Republican voters. It is a violation of state and federal law to attempt to vote in a Democratic primary without proper documentation. State and federal enforcement officials will be monitoring the polling places closely tomorrow for violations of the law. Do not risk violating the law by trying to vote in a Democratic primary without the proper documents.

Georgia, like many states, has an open primary system so any registered voter can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. The only thing any voter needs to vote in either primary is just some sort of legal identification such as a driver’s license. In McKinney’s case since there’s no way the Republicans are going to win the seat in her district, Republicans have been urging their voters to vote for McKinney’s opponent in the Democratic primary. Apparently somebody’s afraid that strategy might work.

The phone messages themselves are likely a violation of federal and state laws against voter intimidation.

Just the sort of thing that Robert Mugabe would try to discourage opposition voters.