Friday, April 20, 2007

ANOTHER SHOE FALLS: ARIZONA GOP REP. RICK RENZI

TUCSON, ARIZONA--As the Bush cronies lose their protection, the shoes begin falling again. In-fairness, the wires had this yesterday, but it appears that CNN and all the other outlets on tv are fixated on the Cho-rampage at Virginia Tech (thanks to lax gun-control laws), and Alec Baldwin's angry message to his spoiled-daughter and his insane (and stupid) ex-wife Kim Basinger. It doesn't change anything doing these news white-outs. It's about just buying a little time for the president and the GOP for the disintegration of security in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well downplaying the Gonzales hearings yesterday.

This was the other bad-news for the White House and GOP Thursday: Rep. Rick Renzi's "Patriot Insurance Agency" outside of Tucson was raided by the FBI in a corruption scandal over what could be a dirty land deal. Was this the reason for Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson's calls, and the firing of Paul K. Charlton as head of federal investigations for all of Arizona? The timing fits snugly.

In October, Justice Department officials confirmed that Renzi was the subject of an inquiry into a 2005 land swap that would benefit a business associate, according to The Associated Press.But Democrats raised new questions about whether the potential investigator was purged by the Bush administration after Paul K. Charlton, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, was fired.Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Thursday that Charlton was fired for "poor judgment," according to the AP. (Arizona Daily Star, 04.20.2007)

This would be bad for anybody, and Renzi has excused himself from his post on the House Intelligence Committee. With the potential of Washington D.C. having two-representatives in Congress soon, and the strong-possibility that Renzi is going to meet the fate of former-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a GOP majority in Congress appears to be unlikely for at least a decade. Further revelations of the Bush administration's criminality, the collapse of Iraq and Afghanistan and the inevitable fallout will likely cement this.

An economic-downturn could also take this even further, and fits the historical-cycle of the GOP going-back to the 1920s-30s, and even earlier. A downturn appears inevitable with the continued dependence of America on foreign oil, a collapsed housing market, corporate scandals, and a decreased presence in American power globally as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Add to this the issues of Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, the use of torture by American intelligence, military, and private contractors, secret CIA prisons, and numerous other violations of international law by the White House.

Renzi looks like the same kind of dumb jock as Cunningham (or Warren G. Harding--thanks ladies, maybe you shouldn't vote after all...), so I guess we know why he got caught. He's not very bright, which puts him in good-company with the president, another dumb beef-headed jocko. Perhaps he won't sink, but considering his father is a retired Major General, the whole "family business" has the appearance of cronyism and the pork-barrel. You can sure see the smoke. Considering his father was his single-largest contributor to his campaign in 2002, you could say he has no-qualms about acting unethically. From October, 26th, 2006, just three-weeks shy of the U.S. Attorney firings:

Latest accusations

Of course, it doesn't take a psychic to predict that a congressional campaign will heat up during the final weeks before a Nov. 7 general election. But the heat in Renzi's kitchen noticeably increased late Tuesday when ­ after anonymous accusations in an Democratic blog ­ the Associated Press wrote a story saying the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona is investigating an unspecified Renzi land deal. The story quoted an anonymous law enforcement official in Washington. (Prescott Daily Courier, 10.26.2006)

The New York Times and the Washington Post also did stories on the investigations, and then...silence on the investigations, until yesterday. Surely, the inquiry was interrupted by the firing of U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton, as he headed the investigations for the entire state of Arizona. What appears is a pattern of meddling into federal inquiries by state-GOP incumbents and the White House. It's likely that this has a national dimension to it, expressed in the U.S. Attorney scandal itself, and was repeated in some of the other firings.

Renzi is just a part of the puzzle, and one that this writer predicts will be leaving the halls of Congress shortly. In the 2006 elections, he said it was "gloves-off when you attack my father." This isn't merely about blood being thicker than water--it's about the possibility of a family-run criminal conspiracy regarding kickbacks, bribes, and more. Funny how the wires haven't picked-up on a lot of what the Arizona press has. All they had to do was a web search, just as this writer did. It only took minutes to uncover these stories. In the immortal words of Herman J. Manciewicz (co-writer of Citizen Kane): "An editor should have a pimp for a brother, so he'd have someone to look up to." It's still true. Their mortgages are more important than your freedom, or law-and-order.

The Arizona Daily Star: http://www.azstarnet.com/news/179348
Rick Renzi (say it like Scooby-Doo, baby, it turns-me-on):
http://www.house.gov/renzi/
http://www.rickrenzi.com/