– Bella Abzug has lost yet another government job . After being frustrated by her latest firing'"this termination at the bloody hands of Jimmy Carter, whom she had just attempted to "lecture" at the White House'"Ms. Abzug declared: "The policy of government has not really caught up with the reality of women yet." It has, however, caught up with Ms. Abzug. In what must come close to a 20th-century record, the popular feminist has been bumped from the public dole in two House races, one Senate primary (a loss the polls blame on her one-time "scabbing" to break a public teachers' strike), and a mayoral race'"all just since 1976. Her White House "86" brings the total to five setbacks in less than two and a half years. Little wonder Bella's outrage over "cutbacks in social programs" and "increased unemployment."
– Speaking of records, the hyperactive name-plate changers at the Phnom Penh city hall may be onto one themselves. When Cambodian "rebels" (a.k.a. North Vietnamese Army units heavily armed with U.S. Army leftovers) rolled into town earlier this year, it marked the second Communist liberation of the Southeast Asian paradise in only four years. This fact should please all the Marxist angels in heaven who are currently enjoying eyewitness accounts from some of the two million late Cambodians who formed such an integral part of the last consciousness-raising movement in the nation, which can now lay claim to title as the world's most heavily liberated Marxist mecca.
– The intraparty squabble in Cambodia has confused many sympathetic Americans who were really trying very hard to support the People's Revolution. Such dismay was surely confounded by the high-level United Nations debate between Cambodia's Prince Sihanouk and the Soviet Bloc. The People's Prince boasted that Chairman Mao had wasted five years of recruiting efforts on him without ever obtaining his party membership dues (or, insiders rumored, getting him to cancel his subscription to American Opinion). Sihanouk then humiliated the congregation by bellowing, as UPI reported: "'Fidel Castro has sold out to the Russians, but I have not sold out to the Chinese,' the rotund little prince told Cuban Ambassador Raoul Roa Kouri.
"'Cuban revolutionaries have not feared thermonuclear bombs,' the enraged Roa retorted. 'Why should they fear an upstart, pipsqueak prince?'"
And so goes the legacy of Marx and Engels.
– Once the world peace-keeping body got around to discussing the invasion of Cambodia, the government that had been attacked was scattered around various prison camps and graveyards and the new Soviet-North Vietnamese puppets showed up to represent the beleaguered bureaucrats. They claimed that the Pol Pot regime no longer existed (fast work, boys!) and that they therefore couldn't be much helped by the good ol' UN. This prompted the able Andrew Young, always on the alert for even the barest hint of Soviet expansionism, to declare, "I would be reluctant, if I were the Russians or the Vietnamese, to admit that a government no longer exists. It seems they know too much about it to be innocent about it."
– The House Ethics Committee has tried very, very hard and thought of everything it could, but the Koreagate investigation has closed up without gaining evidence of influence buying by South Korean operative Tongsun Park. It did find, of course, that Park gave $850,000 to House members in unreported cash payments while he was the purchasing agent for US rice shipments to Korea. And it was ascertained that, when Park was temporarily laid off in the recession of 1971, a $221,000 gift went from Mr. Park to Rep. Cornelius Gallagher (D-NJ). And it was finally determined that former Representative Gallagher, then chairman of a House subcommittee on Asian and Pacific affairs, at just this time personally requested of South Korean president Park Chung Hee that Tongsun Park be reinstated, which he was. Yet the committee just couldn't decide whether the $221,000 had influenced Gallagher's performance as a representative of the citizens or whether it was just a thoughtful gesture from a nice guy. The committee's report blamed "insufficient evidence." At least the public will have no similar problem in judging the ethics of the Ethics Committee.
– Long-time libertarian activist Jerry Brown, governor of California, has moved to endanger the public welfare by abolishing 15 essential "consumer affairs" agencies that license some 78,000 "professionals." The most imaginative regulatory hoax scheduled for decomposition would be the board that "licenses" tax preparers by means of a certification procedure that considers payment of a fee as the only "qualification." This scam was so transparent that even State Consumer Affairs Director John Meade could understand: "We haven't been certifying any level of competence in a lot of cases. In a sense you're misleading people by having a license on the wall." If Governor Brown, whose wall is covered with such certificates, gets his way, California consumers will be laid bare to assault by unscrupulous practitioners of shorthand reporting, landscape architecture, dry cleaning, social work (the poor always suffer in these things), cosmetology (so its about time the rich did as well), and professional wrestling. And don't tell your grandmother, but the cemetaries will also be set free to fleece.
– Brother Billy, often hailed as the brains of the Carter flock, has endeavored to straighten out troubled US foreign relations. Touring the USA with "some of the best friends I have," the Honorable First Brother escorted a high-level delegation from the Libya government, best known to American audiences as part-owners of the international terrorist syndicate. Billy's public statement, oft-quoted, was that the Libyans were worthy allies because "there's a hell of a lot more Arabians than there is Jews." In private, however, Billy went even further to make his ill-tempered guests feel at home, by hopping out of their chauffeured limo to empty his bladder against a "secluded" building wall. And even as the ground was wet, a Penthouse interview gave Brother Billy still more room to express himself. Most amusing was his psychohistorical assessment of the contributions of Charles Kirbo, claimed by President Carter as his most trusted advisor: "The dumbest bastard I've ever met in my life," analyzed the brightest Carter.
– The Internal Revenue Service has made it easier for you to converse with its auditing agents, or so it has attempted. It now forbids the use of tape recorders and stenographers during audit meetings, claiming that any actual record of the proceedings would hinder a "free exchange of information and opinions." That was "information" and "opinions."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".