Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nature Of Addiction And Republican Party Politics


The music business has had a very long and storied history in terms of drug use-- and not just among artists. But by the end of the '80s, the drug lifestyle among music executives was being frowned on. I worked at a very humane company and addicts were given so many opportunities to recover and rehabilitate that it took years for anyone to actually get fired. I remember two on my team who were still using massive amounts of drugs long after everyone around them had cut it out-- or had at least cut back to mere recreational weekend use. One guy's drug abuse impaired his ability to function effectively and releases and even artists' careers were ruined because of his inability to do his (key) job. He was eventually fired-- although not before endless interventions. The other guy actually did great work on coke; it was like high octane fuel for him and his department functioned flawlessly. Every now and then-- though not often-- he'd end up at the bottom of a dark hole... and that was bad. He too was given an ultimatum: straighten up or look for a new job. So he kicked his drug use-- completely.

I was so proud of him. And he continued doing an amazing job and his department continued outperforming in terms of profitability. And then one day it all collapsed. He had traded in one addiction-- drugs-- for another. And the other caught up with him with devastating consequences for everyone around him. And no one suffered more than he did, of course... his career and his personal life shattered and ruined. I thought about both these guys I used to work with last night when I was reading the Tom DeLay chapters in Max Blumenthal's book, Republican Gomorrah.

DeLay's grimy political career had two overarching premises: on the one hand a rebel's crusade against regulations and on the other, a raw, naked lust for unprecedented authoritarian power. DeLay's father was an alcoholic who beat young Tom and his two brothers mercilessly when he was bingeing, leaving them "with physical and psychic scars." Like most right-wing politicians who are the product of that kind of abusive upbringing, he fell right into the same patterns himself, getting expelled from school and earning himself the nickname "Hot Tub Tommy for his bawdy, drunken behavior and his disrespect for women. He was easy prey for a charlatan snake oil salesman like Jim Dobson, whose poison is proselytized on Capitol Hill by Virginia reactionary and religionist kook Frank Wolf.
But DeLay's born-again experience had only transformed his alcoholism into another addiction. "The convert maintains the same addictive thinking as before," University of Kansas professor of religious studies Robert Minor wrote of alcoholics who trade liquor for evangelical religion. "There's a similar level of intensity in their dependence religion as [in] their dependence upon the previous addiction. And the substitution will remain successful as the religion continues to produce a more fulfilling high than the substance or process they abandoned."

With his conversion, DeLay gained loyalty of the evangelical grassroots. Writing in 2001, when DeLay's influence was at its zenith, Peter Perl, observed that "DeLay's faith has solidified his political base and fundraising with the Christian Coalition and other religious and socially conservative groups. They love him, because DeLay's America would stop gun control, outlaw abortion, limit the rights of homosexuals, curb contraception, end the constitutional separation of church and state, and adopt the Ten Commandments as guiding principles for public schools."
Instead, it led to one of the ugliest political scandals in contemporary politics with DeLay forced to resign from Congress and eventually sentenced to prison for a wide range of corruption. The way he and his sleazy cadre of allies played the religious right reinforced the stereotype that "evangelicals are easily manipulated and that evangelical leaders are using moral issues to line their own pockets." Some of the fake religionists DeLay had in his pocket-- particularly Ralph Reed, who was on the cover of Time ("The Right Hand of God"), like Marco Rubio was last week ("The Republican Savior")-- were disgraced and shunned by the movement. Reed went from being the Savior to losing a Republican primary in Georgia for Lt. Governor by 12 points and then having his ex-lover, Rafael "Ralph" Gonzalez murdered in a love triangle by Jason Drake, a staffer-- and lover-- of Patrick McHenry. Will Rubio fall as hard and fast? Probably. Here's something to ponder about Reed and his circle from a 2011 article in Salon, 4 years after my post (linked above at "lover"):
Ralph Gonzalez had served as the executive director of the Georgia Republican Party at a time when Ralph Reed was that Chair of that organization as well as the executive director of the Christian Coalition. In his role as executive director, Gonzalez helped orchestrate the smear campaign against Vietnam Veteran Max Cleland that contributed to his defeat at the hands of Saxby Chambliss. Gonzales worked as campaign chair for Tom Feeney, Jeb Bush’s running mate in his first, unsuccessful, run for Florida’s governorship, when Feeney was running for Speaker of the Florida House. Feeney was later accused of ordering a prototype of a system to hack electronic votes while working for a Chinese company whose Quality Control Manager, Hai Lin Nee, was let off with a suspiciously soft slap on the wrist for selling protected electronic components of a radio-frequency guidance system to the People’s Republic of China, a scandal connected to the purported suicide of an investigator linked to that case. Gonzalez, who reportedly did not hide his homosexuality from those who knew him, was also president of the Strategum Group, a political consulting firm that was paid $3,144.06 by the Alabama Republican Legislative Committee to produce a anti-gay pamphlet that depicted two men sitting on a porch swing holding hands with the caption, “God Created Adam and Eve; Not Adam and Steve.”

David Abrami kept a lower profile. An attorney, Mr. Abrami was described as a “long-term” friend of Gonzales’s. The two lived together and vacationed together, once taking a trip to Amsterdam, although Abrami was reported to have a girlfriend. Abrami was a former business partner of convicted criminal and Fox Radio host, Doug Guetzloe. Guetzloe also acted as attorney for Tom Feeney. Abrami did have one additional moment of infamy in 1992 when as the 22-year-old Vice President of the Central Florida Young Republican Club he garnered attention from the Secret service after holding a fundraiser at the University of Central Florida where participants were charged two-dollars to fire a shotgun at enlarged photographs of President Bill Clinton in what he dubbed a “Turkey Shoot.”

Patrick McHenry started his political career as a protégé of Karl Rove as the National Coalition Director for George W. Bush’s 2000 Presidential campaign and later briefly worked for Secretary of Labor Elaine Chou, wife of house minority whip Mitch McConnell. It is reported that Jason Drake worked as a campaign volunteer for Patrick McHenry while Drake was stationed in North Carolina. After initial denials, McHenry’s staff confirmed that they knew Drake though they would not comment of the nature of McHenry’s relationship with the man though it has been reported that it was both, “intimate and business/political.”

...The murders of Gonzalez and Abrami were first believed to be “a lover’s quarrel,” as reported by police at the scene. However, that term was later scrubbed from news reports and in a final disposition of the case police refused to release a timeline of events or speculate on a motive in the case.

“What prompted him to go in and commit that crime remains undetermined and may never be known,” stated a complacent Joe Picanzo, a Commander with the Orange County Sheriff’s department, “We have so many different and conflicting statements from people.”

At the time of the murders rumors swirled that there was a link to that crime and another murder in Virginia involving homosexual pornography and a male escort service employing ex-marines. Those rumors were never substantiated though with Karl Rove in the mix images of Jeff Gannon and his extraordinary, and still unexplained, access to the White House leap to mind.

“All three associated socially and professionally to some degree,” confirmed Officer Picanzo back in 2007, as he picked up a broom to sweep all of this back into the closet.
What's in Rubio's closet? Plenty.

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