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Weiner’s Indecency – OpEd

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What is considered indecent behavior for an American politician? The continued coverage of the sad Congressman Anthony Weiner scandal would have one believe that the only indecency in America is caused by impulsive photography of body parts and smutty language in social media. While the press can’t get enough of the hapless politician, it ignores great immorality elsewhere in the body politic.

It is indeed very telling that no one is ever asked to resign because they incited military aggression, or destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people through free market chicanery. That treatment is reserved for sexual malfeasance, or in the case of Weiner, photographic malfeasance alone.

Anthony Weiner told a foolish and easily discovered lie about an alleged hacking of his Twitter account. He has told far worse lies but those falsehoods gave him the opportunity to race bait his way into the New York City Council and eventually bring him to Congress where his lies on Israel’s behalf know no bounds.

In 1991 Weiner was first elected to office in a very tight race by attacking his opponents as supporters of then mayor David Dinkins and Jesse Jackson. He distributed leaflets, anonymously, attacking an opponent for being in favor of the “Dinkins-Jackson agenda.“ He didn’t admit that the leaflets were his until after the votes were counted. This story was ignored until the twitter scandal erupted and even then received far less attention.

Weiner is also one of the most aggressive and outspoken advocates for the Israeli government in the United States Congress. He claimed that the West Bank is not occupied, that the massacre in Gaza which killed 2,000 people was proportionate and called the killings on the Mari Marvara appropriate and within the bounds of international law. In 2006 he introduced legislation to throw the delegation of the Palestinian Authority out of the United Nations and out of the United States altogether. For good measure he added that they should start “… packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags.”

Weiner’s congressional colleagues wasted little time in telling him to step down after he admitted posting the pictures of himself on social media. Even President Obama gave a nudge when he said that he would resign if he found himself in Weiner’s shoes. The standards for having to step down have certainly fallen. There is no accusation of theft, conflicts of interest or any illegality. There is much finger wagging and sneering, but none of the elements ordinarily present which should trigger a resignation.

On the same day that Barack Obama gave Weiner the not so subtle cue to disappear, the New York Times reported that the FBI will make it easier for its agents to investigate American citizens. The Obama administration will allow the FBI to go through trash, infiltrate targeted organizations, attend worship services as part of investigations and conduct database searches without providing any evidence of illegal activity.

While the Obama surveillance state strengthens itself, more attention is paid to foolish photos of a congressman who should never have picked up a smart phone. None of the pundits seen on national television made mention of the FBI and the Obama administration continuing to make legal what used to be illegal. None of them spoke of the United States and NATO killing people in Tripoli, Libya. None of them pointed out that our government is not a member of the International Criminal Court while simultaneously pressuring it to make up lies about Libya using rape as a weapon of war.

Powerful people can get away with terrible acts of violence without ever being called to account. They can, like Weiner, vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq, support any and all Israeli aggressions, and claim that they are helping people by killing them and destroying their countries.

The corporate media bear the blame for this endless telling and retelling of nonsense. They are not interested in reporting real news and they are certainly not interested in challenging a politician like Weiner when he claims that the New York Times, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all biased against Israel. Yet they will print “Weinergate timelines” and badger politicians into jumping on the Weiner must resign or else bandwagon. Weiner’s lies did not prevent him from raising more money than any other probable contender for the 2013 New York City mayoral race. Only foolish personal behavior will now keep him out of City Hall.

The attention loving Weiner became a fixture on cable news programs in order to make himself the mayoral front runner. Because there is very little real journalism in this country, Weiner was never questioned because of his dubious actions and statements over the years. If he does resign, democracy will be no better off. The media will continue to ignore truly newsworthy information, and we can sit and wait for the next peccadillo scandal to bring a politician down.

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR (http://www.blackagendareport.com), and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.

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