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.
Speaking at a conference in Ethiopia, United Nations investment analyst stated the obvious — investors don’t want to put their money into Africa when they see genocide in Sudan, civil war in Ivory Coast, and the sort of endemic corruption in countries like Zimbabwe.
According to the BBC, Africa as a whole only sees about $15 billion total each year. That’s just pathetic.
Moreover, even in countries where there are not ongoing wars or endemic corruption, there is plenty to trouble investors. South African president Thabo Mbeki’s close relationship and support of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, for example, must surely give some investors pause.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight to such problems, as Africa seems unable to get itself off a vicious cycle of war and corruption.
Africa conflicts ‘scare investors’. The BBC, November 22, 2004.
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.
In May of this year, Zimbabwe’s corrupt president Robert Mugabe made a grand show of refusing food aid. He told Sky News TV,
Why foist this food [aid] upon us? We don’t want to be choked, we have enough.
But in early July, Zimbabwe was making backdoor appeals tot he World Bank for millions in aid, especially to its agricultural sector. Zimbabwe’s agricultural output all but collapsed after Mugabe forcefully displaced the nation’s white farm owners.
The World Bank refused Zimbabwe’s request, saying that it would only consider aiding Zimbabwe when that country takes care of servicing its outstanding $280 million World Bank debt.
Government secretly pleads with World Bank. Savious Kwinika, Zimbabwe Standard (Harare), July 4, 2004.
About 2,000 protesters turned out to highlight the lack of democracy in Swaziland in August. Swaziland was being visited at the time by heads of state as part of an international conference on sustainable development.
Swaziland made the protesters’ point for them by using what the BBC described as “heavily armed paramilitary police and soldiers [who] fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets to disperse” the crowd.
Of course the sustainable development conference included such stalwart supporters of democracy as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe — perhaps Mugabe was taking notes on Swaziland’s technique for later application back home.
Swazi protesters and police clash. The BBC, August 13, 2003.