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.
A couple weeks ago, the African Union finally got around to releasing its report blasting Zimbabwe for human rights violation. So what are African nations going to do about the report? Nothing.
As the Johannesberg Sunday Times reports,
Southern African ministers are to recommend that no action be taken against Zimbabwe despite a recent African Union report detailing human rights abuses committed by President Robert Mugabe’s government.
It’s a bit sad to see African leaders hide behind the same arguments that people used to make against sancations on apartheid South Africa,
We remain opposed to sanctions as we believe that they impact negatively on the poor… We are committed to work within SADC organs to help the Zimbabweans find a solution to their situation.
Right, because the poor are much better off starving under Mugabe’s tyranny than facing economic sanctions which would also hit Mugabe supporters.
SADC Won’t Punish Zimbabwe. The Sunday Times (Johannesberg), August 15, 2004.
Henry Hanks points out that Cynthia McKinney is trying to make a political comeback after the woman who ouster her in the Democratc Primary last time around decided to run for the Senate this year.
On her web site, McKinney uses the slogan, “Cynthia McKinney: The Voices for the Voiceless” and includes claims like this,
Cynthia was tapped by the Congressional Black Caucus to lead its effort on the Durban World Conference Against Racism. With her leadership, the Congressional Black Caucus spoke on this United Nations effort and at this important event, never once compromising on the rights of all peoples to come together and express their pain and suffering and ways to end it. Cynthia was unwilling to be silenced in the face of injustice.
McKinney, of course, leaves out her support for Zimbabwean strong man Robert Mugabe (the same Mugabe who recently called Desmond Tutu “angry, evil and embittered little bishop.”)
In 2001, the United States approved sanctions against Zimbabwe after Mugabe began a number of illegal tactics inlcuding seizing the lands of white farm owners, arresting politicians and newspaper editors who disagreed with him, and even denying that Zimbabwe had any sort of AIDS crisis because homosexuality was only a problem in decadent countries like the United States and Great Britain.
McKinney was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to speak out against the sanctions bill, and as far as I can tell the only pro-Mugabe politician in the Congress period.
The fascinating thing is that almost no one is aware of this. I e-mailed several prominent Left defenders of McKinney back in 2002 about what they thought of her pro-Zimbabwe stance and the reply back is inevitably “I had no idea she’d ever said anything like that” but of course there was never any follow-up afterward. McKinney’s support of Mugabe was apparently just not that interesting.
Robert Mugabe was at it again in May focusing his rage on foreigners who dare criticize his dictatorial regime. This time around the target of Mugabe’s ire was Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Mugabe was apparently angry at an old comment of Tutu’s in which the archbishop noted that Mugabe was almost a caricature of an African dictator. Mugabe fired back that,
He [Mugabe] is an angry, evil and embittered little bishop.
Hmmm…let’s see — one man has a Nobel Peace Prize, the other has taken an African country that should be an economic powerhouse and driven it into the ground while shredding any sort of rule of law. It’s fascinating to see just how small most tyrants really are.
Meanwhile the BBC also reports that Zimbabwe is going to go the route usually taken by Stalinist societies — despite warnings of more food shortages and possible famine conditions, Zimbabwe told Sky News TV that his country will not accept any international food aid because it simply doesn’t need it. According to Mugabe,
Why foist this food [aid] upon us? We don’t want to be choked, we have enough.
Of course many Zimbabweans are probably thinking, “Why foist this fool upon us?”
Mugabe says Tutu is evil. BBC News, May 25, 2004.
The BBC is reporting that the African Union has named Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe as its ambassador to southern Africa. According to the BBC,
Correspondents say his job involves promoting the ideals of the AU and raising funds for AU projects.
Mr Mugabe says his nomination shows Africa’s “admiration for Zimbabwe”.
What it shows is that the rhetoric among the African Union about promoting democracy and stemming corruption on that continent is simply the latest round of hot air from political leaders in that region.
Speaking of the situation in Liberia when Bush was visiting Africa last week, Thabo Mbeki said that African nations needed to do more of the heavy lifting in that continent. Instead, he and his fellow AU leaders are simply maintaining the status quo of making Africa safe for dictators and tyrants.
Zimbabwe opposition spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi characterized Mugabe’s selection as a betrayal of Zimbabwe and rightly characterized the AU as a “union of dictatorships.” Conveniently, the BBC reports that in addition to giving this post to Mugabe,
The Zimbabwe crisis was removed from the agenda of the AU summit.
And Mbeki and other African leaders wonder why Western nations are increasingly turning a deaf ear to that continent’s demands for economic assistance.
Mugabe African post condemned. The BBC, July 14, 2003.
Henry Hanks links to a story in which it turns out Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe is capable of telling the truth. Here’s how Mugabe chose to describe himself at the recent state funeral of one of his cabinet ministers,
I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources.
If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.
For once, Mugabe is absolutely right. He’s even using Nazi-style tactics, deploying elite units of his army openly to assassinate and sexually assault key members of the opposition party according to the London Daily Telegraph.
One other thing Mugabe shares with Hitler — thanks to spineless multilateralism by the usual suspects, he and others in his government are free to move as they want across Europe. Ah, the fresh smell of appeasement.
‘Hitler’ Mugabe launches revenge terror attacks. Peta Thornycroft, Daily Telegraph, March 26, 2003.