Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 

Three Cheers for Salon Magazine! (this is the printer friendly version)

This on-line zine is doing the major investigative reporting on the DC "sex scandal" that the print media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times should be doing.

If you're a newcomer, don't despair. They have an archive on The Clinton Crisis. Some of the major articles:

Mollie Dickenson's Starr Chamber---- wherein she gives the skinny on the reason Starr was chosen and some dirty dealings in the 1992 election by guess which side. (This is in three parts; be sure to get it all.)

The Road to Hale---- wherein Jonathan Broder and Murray Waas drop the bomb that Starr's prize witness, David Hale (whose testimony was needed to indict the McDougals and Jim Guy Tucker), had received numerous secret cash payments from billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.

Broder and Waas give the details on how this was accomplished in Portrait of a Bag Man. (Two parts.)

All about Scaife--- Karen Rothmyer's The Man Behind the Mask. (Two parts.)

Mollie Dickenson details how the major print media have erroneously and selectively "reported" the story in A Massive Journalistic Breakdown. (Two parts.)

Do not miss Gene Lyons' See Some Evil, Hear Some Evil.... about the blind eye that Kenneth Starr has turned to the probable perjuries and other felonies of four of his witnesses. (Four parts.)

Bruce Shapiro in Case Closing gives his analysis of how "Starr's long, expensive inquiry is running out of oxygen." (Two parts.)

How the anti-Clinton Arkansas Project mounted a smear campaign against the respected judge who had been chosen to preside over the criminal trial of Jim Guy Tucker and how Kenneth Starr used these articles of questionable origin to have the judge removed after he had quashed Starr's indictment of Tucker ----- The Smearing of Judge Woods by Lyons, Conason and Waas.

Men in Black (Robes)---- Bruce Shapiro points up Chief Justice William Rehnquist's part in the whole scenario; he further suggests we shouldn't be too hasty to get rid of the office of independent counsel----- we may need one to investigate Kenneth Starr.
And now my own observations starting from about the second week of February, 1998: My Ruminations on the Starr-Tripp and Lewinsky-Clinton Imbroglio (hereinafter referred to as STALC)

1. The leaks and media spins achieved by the Starr Chamber are very reminiscent of the newspaper propaganda and destabilization engineered by the CIA in countries such as Chile and Guatemala before their coups d’etat.

2. The high approval ratings that are being maintained by President Clinton tell me that

a) the people in the US are more sophisticated than the Guatemalans of 1954 or the Chileans of 1973 and

b) the public (except for the members of the religious right, of course) doesn’t give a pig’s eye whether Monica won her “presidential kneepads” or not. It seems that we really DID have a sexual revolution in this country.

3. The office of independent counsel has become a fourth branch of government never intended by the authors of the Constitution. It’s got to go. Or else be radically reformed to prevent the flagrant and partisan abuse of power so far demonstrated by Kenneth Starr.

4. We had an independent counsel a few years ago who very fairly and conscientiously investigated a truly serious governmental abuse of power--- of the kind that the law was written to correct after Watergate. I’m referring, of course, to Lawrence E. Walsh whose investigation of the Iran-Contra conspiracy and cover-up was sabotaged. The felony convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter were overturned on appeal beause of the “tainted” testimony given to the competing congressional committee. Lame-duck George Bush then pardoned indicted Caspar Weinberger and the already-convicted four: Elliott Abrams, Alan Fiers, Clair George, and Robert McFarlane. Read Walsh’s book, Firewall (1997), for the sorry details, especially the part played by Bob Dole.

5. I’m not an advocate of cover-ups. Not at all. However, there are distinctions. I find it hard to include a president’s covering up an order to the CIA to get the FBI to call off the Watergate investigation, illegal contributions, payoff of “hush money” to potentially damaging witnesses, orders to the “Plumbers” for illegal break-ins,--- with that of a president attempting to cover up a (possible) extra-marital affair. See Stanley I. Kutler’s Abuse of Power (1997), which contains the latest release of Nixon tapes and reveals him as even more corrupt than we knew at the time.

Enough for now, but probably more to come later!

March 7, 1998

1. Someone please give Kenneth Starr a copy of the Constitution before he has trampled the Bill of Rights beyond recognition! So far he has:

tried to turn the clock back to 1798 by compelling Sidney Blumenthal to testify about his contacts with the press. Criticism of a federal official's conduct, by the press or by private citizen, is not a crime, Mr. Starr. There is such a thing as the right to free speech. The Jeffersonian Democrats threw out the Sedition Act in 1800. That attempt to overturn the First Amendment did not prevail.
sent a wired Linda Tripp to interview her "friend" Monica Lewinsky.
allowed his assistants to harass Monica for nine hours without counsel, threatening her with a long jail term for "perjury" if she did not accede to their request to perform a sting operation on Clinton.
sent another woman, Susan McDougal, to jail for nearly two years for her refusal to give false testimony that would be damaging to Clinton.
forced Marcia Lewis, Monica's mother, to testify before the grand jury and reveal her daughter's confidences.
2. If Kenneth Starr is truly interested in indicting someone for perjury, he need look no further than Paula Jones who has added an interesting bit to her sworn deposition in the civil case. Where, in her original statement, she had immediately fled from the hotel room after Governor Clinton allegedly dropped his pants and underpants and made his shocking request,--- now she has added that he rushed up behind her and put his hand on the door to stop her from leaving--- "He confined me for a moment," saying, "You're a smart girl, let's keep this between ourselves." Clinton must be remarkably agile to have gotten his pants up in time to beat her to the door, or else he's had a lot of practice in potato-sack racing. His legal team must be salivating over the possibilities in this testimony.

3. As The Nation detailed two years ago--- March 18, 1996, Kenneth Starr has a major conflict of interest that should have prevented him from accepting the position as independent counsel or compelled a more honorable man to resign. In 1993 the Resolution Trust Corporation filed suit against his firm, Kirkland and Ellis, accusing them of "aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary responsibility" in the legal work the firm did for a federally insured Colorado thrift that went bankrupt in 1990. (Substitute the Rose Law Firm and Madison Guaranty for an eerie parallel!) In the Whitewater investigation Starr gained the subpoena power to investigate the very RTC officials who were involved in the lawsuit against Kirkland and Ellis. Read the whole series of articles in Starr Watch, the Nation's Digital Extra. Since then more improprieties about Starr have surfaced. A Reuters dispatch of March 3rd described the sworn statement of South Carolina attorney Kendall Few in which he alleged that Starr concealed false testimony in product liability lawsuits against General Motors.

4. And in a more serious vein: What is Bill Clinton likely to do if it looks as if the Starr Chamber should prevail? A worst-case scenario: He could declare a national emergency and invoke FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that dreadful piece of legislation enacted under Nixon and strengthened by all of his successors, most especially Reagan.

 

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.This site was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2006

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