Bunch a wienies

Ok, we’re including a couple pages on “Wienergate,” even though everyone is probably very tired of the story by now. Due to the timing of our monthly issue, we’re kind of late on this one. But what can you do? It’s one of those stories that just begs for a satirical re-hashing, and we’re happy to oblige.

I hope people can put this story in perspective, however. The media, unfortunately, is not very good at doing that, even though you’d think that would be one of their main jobs. Perhaps in the past, but not so much anymore.

Nowadays, the media is all about the very latest thing, no context provided. Apparently, they’ve decided that the average American has too short an attention span. Maybe they’re right, but isn’t the media itself at least partially to blame for this sad state of affairs?

At any rate, I would hope that people would realize that what Weiner did, as compared to politicians’ escapades in the past (even very recently), was pretty low on the infidelity scale. As an excerpted piece on page 10 by Brad Friedman explains, his actions were so easily made visible to the public, needing no further explanation or investigation, that they seem magnified.

As opposed to other politicians’ perverse follies, where there were no pictures, only stories – with their attendant accusations and defenses. Who’s right and who’s wrong? We can pick and choose who to believe, depending, I suppose, on our ideological and political leanings.

For example, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) didn’t resign for two years after an extramarital affair with a married staffer in 2009. That same year, Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, disappeared during Father’s Day weekend, and after his lies about going hiking didn’t work, had to confess to an extra- marital affair in Argentina. The state legislature eventually censured him over the affair and for misuse of state travel funds. However, he stayed in office. Because of term limits, he did not run in 2010.

In 2010, the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) used a strip club named Forty Deuce in Las Vegas for fundraiser gatherings, with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and others in attendance. He’s still representing his district.

What about state Sen. Randy Hopper (R-WI), who just this year was caught living a with 25 year old mistress, while claiming to be living with his wife? Yup, still proudly serving in that dignified body. He’s facing a recall, but only as a result of the Wisconsin backlash against Republicans over the anti-union bills they’ve recently passed.

The case could easily be made that these guys did things that were far more damaging to their marriages and to their office than what Anthony Weiner did. After all, their infidelities were in person, with real people, as opposed to just sexting or sending pictures to internet profiles, as was the case with Weiner. (Some of those were fake profiles, set up to entice him – see the NY Times, 6/17/2011.)

I’m not making excuses for him. Mr. Weiner is definitely responsible for sabotaging his own career, and has no one else to blame. But let’s keep his actions in perspective, and ask: Why is this type of “justice” so selective?

P.S. Wondering what the real skinny is on the Fukushima reactors, now that the lamestream media has forgotten all about it? Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer who was a nuclear industry executive for many years, has posted updates that are very interesting on his Fairewinds Associates site.

James Israel
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