Vengeance is Mine

by J.D. Tuccille

According to the last news report I saw, the latest church burning in Maryland has been attributed to accidental causes. I’m pleased that the St. John's Methodist Church congregation’s loss hasn’t been compounded by some genetic mistake with the bare wit to combine a can of gasoline and a pack of matches, but I wish the church was in better company. I’d hate to calculate the odds on several dozen decades-old and century-old black churches spontaneously combusting in the mid-’90s.

Some readers will find this odd, but I hope that the series of church burnings is an organized conspiracy by Nazi-wannabes and Klan rejects. The reasoning is simple: Once you bust the crackers and throw their worthless grease-and-beer-fed asses in conjugal cells with roommates who haven’t seen the opposite sex in a very long time, you stop the burnings cold. But if, as I fear, this is a case of redneck dominoes with one firebug inspired by the last, the burnings will be much more difficult to stop.

The best I can hope for right now is that the next brownshirt-in-training who picks up a bunch of oily rags and a bic lighter gets caught red-handed -- not by the cops, mind you, who’ll have to treat the perp with the constitutional niceties that normally spark my interest, but by the pissed-off parishioners of the church in question. “‘Vengeance is mine’, sayeth the Lord”? Well, maybe he doesn’t always work in mysterious ways.

He’s Back

Does somebody hear a dripping noise? Why, it couldn’t be an echo of ... Watergate? Ssshhh ... that’s a dirty word around the White House these days, ever since All the President’s Men got caught with their hands in the cookie jar -- or at least in the copier with a stack of illicit FBI files on Republican opponents.

To-date, Filegate shows all the signs of being both classier than Watergate (no tawdry amateur commando-like midnight burglaries) and much dumber and more arrogant than its GOP predecessor (no attempt at pretending to follow constitutional niceties with so much as a ... well ... tawdry amateur commando-like midnight burglary). And the affair is unraveling in a remarkably similar fashion.

Now, I’m not usually one to toot my own horn -- unless there’s money involved -- but in my last Full Automatic, I did write that the Bubba administration was looking for scapegoats, and that the usual suspects at that point were either insufficient for the purpose or else effectively covering their asses.

So in steps poor Craig Livingstone, more prominent than his buddy Anthony Marceca, yet much less powerful than the FBI’s Louis Freeh who has thrown up the barricades and joined the finger-wagging brigade (never mind that this all happened on his watch). Just as important, Livingstone is a known sleaze who boasts of dirty tricks past and claims to have infiltrated the Quayle campaign in '88 and fed Bentsen the info that led to the famous “You’re no (insert overrated Bay State pol)” put-down. A perfect sacrifice, eh? Well ... maybe, except that a former FBI liaison to the White House says that just about everybody -- interns included -- had access to the vault where the files were stored. Livingstone apparently felt sufficiently comfortable with his booty to leave it in plain sight. And then there’s the matter of Livingstone’s sponsor; can you say ... Hillary?

What is it with this woman? Is she really the revenge of E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy? Or is it simply an unnerving coincidence that her name appears more frequently than Waldo’s googly eyes?

Well, I suspect that we’re all going to find out real soon.

From the Notebook

With Filegate unfolding its increasingly unsavory secrets and Whitewater nibbling off Clintonistas like a peckish shark at a mid-ocean life raft (the latest is Clinton crony and now “unindicted co-conspirator” Bruce Lindsey), the biggest question of the moment is: How in God’s name is Clinton still ahead in the polls? Mind you, I’m not endorsing Bob “Don’t bury me I’m still breathing” Dole, but Jesus, people -- are we that stupid? Or that jaded?

Ummm. Don’t answer.

Ah well, and so much for the power of argument. So back you go to Full Automatic or to my home page.

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