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Archive for the ‘Bill Clinton’ Category

Amazing what $100K can buy you

Posted by Charles II on August 4, 2014

If you hadn’t heard, Richard Mellon Scaife is dead. Scaife bankrolled The Arkansas Project.

Democrats lost the Congress in 1994 not so much because of gun control legislation pushed by the Clinton White House, nor because of union disaffection with NAFTA, nor because of Hillary Clinton’s incompetence in putting together healthcare reform, although all of these contributed, but because of right-wing money used to corrupt elections and the media. The most effective of those efforts was right-wing talk radio, demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, who could never have remained on the airwaves had the FCC continued to enforce the laws that required that the airwaves must be of benefit to the community. Indeed, Limbaugh was in part a creation of Republican operative and Fox Noise chief Roger Ailes:

…Ailes’ most important contribution to the covert campaign involved his new specialty: right-wing media. The tobacco giants hired Ailes, in part, because he had just brought Rush Limbaugh to the small screen, serving as executive producer of Rush’s syndicated, late-night TV show. Now they wanted Ailes to get Limbaugh onboard to crush health care reform. “RJR has trained 200 people to call in to shows,” a March 1993 memo revealed. “A packet has gone to Limbaugh. We need to brief Ailes.”

But demagogues are of little use unless they are fed talking points. Joe Coors bankrolled the Heritage Foundation to produce laughably false talking points precisely so that these lies could be spread through conservative propaganda outlets like the Limbaugh show. Heritage became a Scaife property, along with countless other institutions devoted to undermining the ability of the American people to govern themselves.

The American Spectator was funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. The American Spectator used pseudo-investigative reporting to unearth gossip and rumors about Bill Clinton. His alumni and/or funding is behind such credits to the journalistic profession as WorldNet Daily and Newsmax.

Scaife left a small fraction of his fortune to the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art. His inherited assets go to the conservative Sarah Mellon Scaife and Allegheny Foundations to carry on his work of scarring America. And the rest to the Scaife Revocable Trust.

Scaife donated $100K to The Clinton Foundation. And Bill Clinton, ever desperate for approval, not only forgave his old enemy, but gave a eulogy at his funeral.

As someone who spent countless hours defending Bill Clinton, I am sorry I wasted the time. Richard Mellon Scaife tried to destroy democracy in this country. He largely succeeded. It is not enough to fight fiercely for what you believe, as Clinton eulogized. Every vulture, every jackal, every shark does the same. What matters is a commitment to truth and to justice. Bill Clinton has eulogized savagery, and spit on truth and justice. I cannot but wonder whether Clinto would have reconciled with Scaife if Scaife had not donated to the Clinton Foundation.

One need not hate Richard Mellon Scaife–I do not–to recognize that he was the enemy to everything good and decent about America. One need not hate Bill Clinton–I do not–to recognize that he is indeed amoral, though not in the ways his enemies said.

“The evil that men do lives after them, while the good is oft interred with their bones.” —Marc Antony in Julius Caesar
Update. Christopher Reed, The Guardian:

Then came his [Scaife’s] curious London adventure. His father had become an officer in the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, in second world war London, and Scaife maintained an interest in clandestine activities. In 1973 he bought Kern House Enterprises, a US firm that ran Forum World Features, a London-based supplier of articles to dozens of newspapers around the world.

However, in 1975 a CIA memo from seven years earlier came to light. It described Forum as a propaganda unit sponsored by the CIA to combat communism and to further conservative politics. Scaife quickly withdrew his money amid widespread unfavourable publicity about the syndicate.

Posted in Bill Clinton, phony scandals, Richard Mellon Scaife, rightwing moral cripples | 8 Comments »

Clinton to campaign for Barrett starting June 1

Posted by Charles II on May 31, 2012

I’m glad that the last American president of the First Republic has seen fit to try to defend fundamental rights against the depredations of the vulture class.

Posted in Bill Clinton | 3 Comments »

The unutterable shallowness of William Jefferson Clinton

Posted by Charles II on November 20, 2011

I’ve always liked Bill Clinton more than I liked his policies. But as time wears on, either I am getting grumpier, or the rather obvious deficiencies to his policies are glowering more fiercely. One of the more painful is his performance in Haiti. As Jeremy Scahill put it, he was”Named New UN Envoy to ‘Stabilize’ Haiti, a Country He Helped Destabilize;” if you want to read the full depths of bitterness some Haitians feel toward Clinton, I recommend Ezili Dantò. Wear asbestos.

Clinton’s recent appearance on BookTV brought home to me just how weak Clinton’s vision is. He was interviewed by his daughter, one of those ridiculous violations of common-sense conflict-of-interest bans that is only possible in Imperial-Going-on-Comical America. One of his big new ideas is Infrastructure Development bonds. The basic sales pitch is that other countries do not fund their infrastructure purely through government, so we should follow their lead. We should seed an Infrastructure Development Bank with government funds, then let private industry issue bonds to actually build projects.

Now, here’s the fundamental difference: either government issues the bonds at the low interest rates that the government enjoys, or private industry issues the bonds at higher interest rates and collecting a fee for issuing them. By issuing the bonds, private industry can impose things like tolls or user fees, or otherwise multiply their profits. And best of all, poor districts, with their poor credit ratings, would enjoy the highest of interest rates. Either way, private companies build the infrastructure. So, if you want to load the burdens onto the poor and make the rich even richer, an Infrastructure Development Bank is the way to go. Now really: except for 1) cases of obvious corruption, like the Bridge to Nowhere, and 2) Army Corps of Engineers projects, is there anything that the federal government has built that is really a bad deal? Contrast that with state/local Industrial Development Bonds, one of the most corrupt, pernicious and wasteful forms of corporate socialism. Think of re-locating BMW production to South Carolina at taxpayer expense. This is one of those problems that is solved by cleaning up corruption and incompetence, both of which are worse in the private sector.

Now, I’m sure Bill Clinton has the best of intentions. Washington is gridlocked, the Congress isn’t even funding infrastructure that’s essential to the national defense (or whatever one calls what the military does), so how to keep things moving? But the idea he is pushing, especially in conservative hands, is pure poison.

If that were the only place where one can see flaws in his thinking, I wouldn’t be writing this post. But I heard 50 minutes of wooly blather. Another example: in his critique of schools, he did not mention the considerable problems with charter schools (one of the ideas he pushed on the nation) or the fact that a major reason that public schools fail is because they receive on average worse funding than private schools, considering that they are not able to skim off children with no disabilities or use near-slave labor (like the parochial schools). He continues to talk about public schools as if they have some kind of fundamental problem (other than parents who care more about football than scholastics, fundamentalists screwing with textbooks, and expensive administrators imposed by corrupt local political apparatus).

Understanding Bill Clinton’s success at rhetoric (one might, if grumpy enough, even say “demagoguery”) is that 1) he is self-effacing, 2) he starts from the position that all sides in a debate have something valuable to say, 3) he uses examples of successes as razzle-dazzle to distract from the failures, 4) he has a seemingly comprehensive grasp of the facts which he rattles off very quickly so you won’t notice which ones are missing, and 5) he projects an earnest desire for everyone to come out of it feeling happy and virtuous. If he would let go of the razzle-dazzle and frankly confess the failures and shortcomings, he’d have a far more difficult time convincing people to follow him. He also would be a much better leader.

Needless to say, I won’t be buying his book.

Posted in Bill Clinton, wrong way to go about it | 4 Comments »

Best health care system in the world (for insurers)

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2010

Via Barry Ritholtz.

JA Meyer has two charts that should put the STFU on right-wingers on health care issues.

First, under which presidents have health care costs spiraled out of control? And how do our costs compare with other nations?

Second, what do we get for our insurance premiums?

Some of the lowest life expectancies in the developed world. With a little work, we could catch up with Korea.

Posted in Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush, capitalism as cancer, health care | 1 Comment »

Thank God for Monica Lewinsky, Part II

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 18, 2010

Sorry I didn’t do an earlier heads-up on this, as I’d promised earlier:

By 1997, Bill Clinton felt he had the upper hand with Congress and it was time for him to make historic moves. He had replaced Leon Panetta as Chief of Staff with investment banker Erskine Bowles late in his first term, and as author Steven Gillon tells the tale, Bowles brought a sense of order to the White House. Bowles planned to return to the private sector as Clinton’s second term began, but Bill and Hillary implored him to stay on for one final task: “fixing” Social Security.

President Obama has likewise entrusted Erskine Bowles with the task of chairing his own Deficit Commission, which is currently meeting in secret to address Social Security and other entitlement issues. Since little is known about the deliberations of that commission, I thought it would be instructive to have Dr. Gillon on to talk about Bowles’s history of shuttle diplomacy in 1997 to negotiate a deal between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton to cut Social Security. He based his book The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation on interviews he conducted with Clinton, Gingrich, Bowles and others involved in the negotiations. And according to Bowles, the deal would have gone through save for one factor: the Monica Lewinsky episode.

The Book Salon will likely be over by the time you see this, but stop by and read the comments anyway.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, big money, Bill Clinton, fearmongering, Social Security | 5 Comments »

In Case It Wasn’t Clear To You That The GOP Is The Party Of Racism

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 20, 2009

Piggybacking on Charles’ discussion of the intellectual and moral death spiral of the modern conservative movement, I would like to pass on this recent example of racist-directed dogwhistling, courtesy of nepotism beneficiary Jonah Goldberg, an example which is tucked into the body of a column ostensibly about Those Filthy Modern Celebrities And Athletes (emphases added):

It’s not all bad news, to be sure. The elite minority’s general acceptance of racial and sexual equality as important values has been a moral triumph. But not without costs. As part of this transformation, society has embraced what social scientist Charles Murray calls “ecumenical niceness.” A core tenet of ecumenical niceness is that harsh judgments of the underclass — or people with underclass values — are forbidden. An added corollary: People with old-fashioned notions of decency are fair game.

Long before the rise of reality shows, ecumenical niceness created a moral vacuum. Out-of-wedlock birth was once a great shame; now it’s something of a happy lifestyle choice. The cavalier use of profanity was once crude; now it’s increasingly conversational. Self-discipline was once a virtue; now self-expression is king.

And just in case you didn’t get the point, he throws in a zinger at Tiger Woods at the end (as if the sport of golf didn’t have any white sinners before Tiger came along — John Daly, anyone?).

Setting aside the irony that the only reason Jonah Goldberg has a paying gig is because of his mother’s celebrity among the get-Clinton wing of the conservative movement, or that most of the states with the highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates happen to be in the “old-fashioned notions of decency” Bible Belt and Confederacy areas, let’s look at the guy Goldberg cites as an expert in cultural values, Charles Murray.

Y’all remember who Charles Murray is, right?

The guy who gave us The Bell Curve?

The guy whose racism and academic quackery has kept him largely ostracized even by the mainstream of the GOP/Media Complex, yet is still worshiped in conservative circles like Jonah’s? (And especially so at openly-racist sites like VDARE’s? )

The guy who burned a cross in front of his hometown police station in Newton, Iowa?

Yeah, that guy.

That should tell you something about Jonah Goldberg and his conservative readership, that he could cite someone as vile as Murray despite Murray’s being debunked to hell and back.

Posted in Bill Clinton, conservativism, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | 1 Comment »

Huckabee’s Hypocritical Pardon Patterns

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 1, 2009

One thing that the right-wingers and their media allies lining up to take potshots at Mike Huckabee’s pardoning the guy who would go on to kill four cops in a coffee shop somehow neglect to discuss is the full story behind Wayne Dumond’s pardon — and the role of conservatives in making it happen. It’s certainly not mentioned in this piece by the Republican-owned Politico, for example.

If you’re wondering why the Cons keep talking more about Willie Horton (who has nothing to do with Mike Huckabee) instead of Wayne Dumond (who Huck actually pardoned, here’s the scoop. The short version: Wayne Dumond was pardoned because a bunch of right-wing lunatics, led by Huck’s good buddy and fellow Baptist preacher Jay Cole, started ranting without any proof whatsoever that Dumond was innocent of the crime for which he was imprisoned — namely, the violent rape of a distant relative of Bill Clinton’s.

Ah, but it gets better. You see, while then-governor Huckabee would release without question anybody who was vouched for by one of his preacher friends, especially if they’d allegedly turned to God while incarcerated, the Huckster had a very different standard for other religious converts. Barbara O’Brien of the Mahablog explains:

I wrote about Dumond and another Arkansas convict, Frankie Parker, almost two years ago in “A Tale of Two Prisoners.” For reasons explained in the earlier post, Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, was pressured by the Christian Right into pardoning Dumond.

But the Christian Right kept silence on Frankie Parker, who was executed in 1996 over the objections of Mother Theresa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In fact, Governor Huckabee was so keen to execute Frankie Parker that he intervened to move the execution date up by six weeks so that Parker could be executed sooner. He was so keen to execute Parker that moving up the execution date was Huckabee’s first official proclamation as Governor of Arkansas. Clearly, this was an itch that Huckabee was rarin’ to scratch.

It is true that Parker was convicted of committing two murders while under the influence of drugs. He admitted he had done this. He wasn’t asking for a pardon; just life.

What made Frankie Parker’s life so untenable? In prison, he had acquired a copy of the Dhammapada, which inspired him to convert to Buddhism. He corresponded with a Zen priest and also worked with a Little Rock Buddhist group to learn the practice. He became a spiritual leader within the prison. A Buddhist spiritual leader. Can’t have that.

As Ms. O’Brien comments in a later post:

I think it is important to call the public’s attention to Frankie Parker’s story. One might assume Gov. Huckabee was just gullible, or soft. But the way he handled Frankie Parker’s request for commutation reveals something much more sinister about the governor — that he had no compunction about exercising the worst kind of religious favoritism.

If Huckabee had simply not intervened in Parker’s sentence and allowed the execution to go ahead as scheduled, it wouldn’t have been so blatant. But Huckabee took the trouble to make the execution date to six weeks sooner. And he did this even as Mother Teresa and many Buddhist monks and priests, including the Dalai Lama, wrote requesting that Parker’s sentence be commuted. I think that says something really ugly about Mike Huckabee.

I do, too.

(Crossposted at The Seminal.)

Posted in 2012, Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee | Comments Off on Huckabee’s Hypocritical Pardon Patterns

Stick A Fork In Mike Huckabee

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 29, 2009

He’s done:

Washington authorities are seeking Maurice Clemmons, 37, for questioning in the slaying of four Washington police officers. Clemmons is wanted in Arkansas, where he has an extensive criminal record…

My source says the man wanted for questioning is believed to be the same Maurice Clemmons as an Arkansas ex-con with an extensive record of armed robbery who became a subject of some controversy for political reasons. That Maurice Clemmons was among those who became controversial for having received a commuted sentence from then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000 (of a 35-year armed robbery sentence), then went on to commit other crimes. This has the potential of making Wayne Dumond look like a small-timer…

To refresh your memory, Wayne Dumond is the guy who savagely raped a cousin of then-President Bill Clinton’s. The far-right get-Clinton crowd, just because they wanted to make Clinton suffer (and didn’t give a rat’s ass about Dumond’s victims), started pretending he was innocent and Huckabee, playing along, paroled Dumond — who then went out and murdered a woman.

The Fundies had no problem with Huckabee’s pardoning a violent rapist as a way to tick off Bill Clinton. But they will have a problem with another of the Huckster’s clemency recipients going out and killing four cops. Sarah Palin must already be dancing for joy here — Huckabee was the main obstacle to her Hoovering up the Fundie contingent for 2012.

Posted in Bill Clinton, Fundies, Mike Huckabee, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Sarah Palin | 2 Comments »

MoDo: She Wants Bill Clinton. Badly.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 12, 2009

Why else would she ruin a perfectly good date with a perfectly good man by doing nothing but gossiping about Bill Clinton?

This also helps explain her intense hatred of Hillary. Here’s a woman who can’t keep any relationships going, and the man who she can’t stop thinking about, even when she’s allegedly discussing health care reform, is never ever ever going to divorce Hillary for her. The contrast must be galling.

Posted in Bill Clinton, Clenis, health care, Hillary Clinton, marriage, media | 1 Comment »

Fred Hiatt, Still A Jerk

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 5, 2009

Mr. Hiatt saw fit to give the WaPo megaphone to John Bolton so Bolton could use it to bash former President Bill Clinton for going to North Korea (calling the trip “unwise”) to free the two journalists who were being held there.

Of course, the fact that President Clinton succeeded brilliantly will not cause Bolton to eat his words, or Hiatt to apologize for publishing them.

Posted in Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, GOP/Media Complex | 2 Comments »

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