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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Coup-Coup Birds

The pious brethren in the Republican Congress were scratching their collective pointy heads this week, trying to figure out how on God's green earth Bill Clinton's approval ratings went up after they had lobbed the holy hand grenade of impeachment at him.

Yet there it was: Scant hours after the GOP's confessed adulterers and wanton tramplers of sacred marriage vows recommended the removal of the president of the United States for skating around questions about oral sex in a politically funded private lawsuit that was later dismissed as groundless, a battery of polls showed that Clinton's national approval rating had broken through the 70 percent barrier for the first time - unprecedented popularity for a president after six years in office. Meanwhile, the same surveys showed that public opinion of the Republican Party had plunged to an all-time low.

Undaunted by the disdain of the people they represent, however, the GOP juggernaut rolled on. Wife-deceiver and home-wrecker Henry Hyde was appointed chief House prosecutor for Clinton's upcoming trial in the Senate, where he will be joined on the inquisition team by one of his top lieutenants, sex-obsessed white supremacist Bob Barr. The trial will be presided over by Chief Justice William Rehnquist - who began his career by staunchly opposing racial integration ("It is time the court faced the fact that the white people of the South do not like colored people."), was appointed to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, and later handpicked the "Special Division" judicial panel that unleashed Kenneth Starr.

No doubt the trial will be every bit as lofty and nonpartisan as the impeachment process itself.

Unlike a Virgin

Of course, even Clinton's staunchest defenders have been wringing their hands over his scandalous personal behavior, publicly decrying the heavy hubba-hubba he got up to with Monica Lewinsky.

But there's at least one person out there completely undisturbed by Clinton's furtive fumblings. In fact, it turns her on. (And no, it isn't Hillary.) It's Sinead O'Connor, the controversial, close-cropped Irish singer and actress who once ripped the pope to pieces on TV (well, his picture, anyway) but who was later transubstantiated into the Virgin Mary herself in a recent film.

O'Connor told The Independent that she has considered Bill Clinton "the sexiest man in the universe" since she read the gynecological details of his affair in Ken Starr's torrid bestseller, "Presidential Porn-A-Rama" (House Judiciary Committee/Peekaboo Press, Washington, D.C., 1998).

"I would bring my own cigars, absolutely," O'Connor said. "My mouth is watering at the thought of it. I thought he was sexy anyway, but now ... my God!"

Sinead obviously doesn't realize the dangers of ingesting tobacco.

Which brings us to ...

Smoke Screen

All week long, the international punditry has offered up weighty explanations for the fever of unreason that has struck the government of the world's greatest power and erupted in the festering sore of impeachment. They say it's about sex. They say it's about politics. They say it's about ethics, morality and law. They say it's about cultural warfare, about Watergate, Woodstock and Vietnam.

Fascinating theories indeed. However, the truth - as usual - is a bit more grubby than that.

It's about money.

Tobacco money, to be exact - Big Tobacco's billion-dollar profit margins, which have been threatened by the first president ever to make anti-smoking legislation a centerpiece of his domestic policy. Nicotine stains are all over the Starr investigation and the impeachment process - providing clear evidence that oligarchic manipulation of national life is not limited to the much-reviled "Wild East," but also flourishes in the most "advanced" societies of the West.

It's quite simple, really. That secretive "Special Division" panel overseeing the Clinton investigation is headed by Judge David Sentelle of North Carolina. Sentelle was appointed at the behest of the two senators from his home state, Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth, both long bankrolled by Big Tobacco. To act as special prosecutor, Sentelle named Kenneth Starr, who for years has represented the tobacco companies, even while his Clinton probe was going on. Most recently, Starr zealously defended his corporate clients against a charge of - guess what? - committing perjury in testimony before the U.S. Congress. In this case, Starr said government prosecutors had no right to subpoena internal corporate documents pertaining to a 40-year practice of deliberate deceit about the harmful effects of smoking. This would be "an invasion of privacy," he declared.

Meanwhile, the tobacco lobby has been pouring millions of dollars into Republican pockets; in the last election, the largest beneficiary of their largess was Representative Tom DeLay, the GOP party whip. All sides agree that DeLay has been the driving force during the final push to impeachment, threatening moderates with political kneecapping if they bucked the radical line, and pushing the hapless Bob Livingston out of the speaker's chair when his past adulteries came to light. (The new speaker, by the way, will be DeLay's deputy whip, the cipherous and pliable Dennis Hastert).

So forget about that notorious Oval Office cigar. If you want to find the real source of the river of bile now flooding Washington, just hop on your horse and head for Marlboro Country.

Hood Winked

Finally, as the perfect cap to a highly ennobling sequence of events, David Duke - the unrepentant former leader of the Ku Klux Klan - announced this week that he will seek the Congressional seat opened by the shame-faced resignation of ex-future House Speaker Bob Livingston.

Do we need to tell you that Duke will be running as a Republican? The open admirer of Adolf Hitler has already won the party's nomination for past races for the U.S. Senate and the governorship of Louisiana; his "white rights" platform - heavily laced with anti-Semitism (and, of course, "family values") - plays well with the hard-core GOP faithful.

Duke will kick off his campaign with a keynote address to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a sex-mad white supremacist group that has also played host to impeachnik Bob Barr - and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

What next? "House Votes to Annex the Sudetenland"?