By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Even before Vice President Al Gore formally announced he was running for president, the conservative Washington Times launched a mighty effort to demonize the boring veep by hinting that his running mate in 2000 may be the man right-wingers love to hate: Jesse L. Jackson Jr., the Chicago congressman and son of the former presidential candidate, who has become Clinton's confessor in chief. Gore told Jackson Sr. in a Christmas broadcast, "President Clinton and I have been trying to bridge the historic divide that has come about because of race and ethnicity," adding that such bridging causes many in this country to "feel a little unsettled as old patterns begin to give way."
Casting his vote against impeachment, Jackson Jr. declared, "Underlying the Clinton impeachment is neither sex, nor lying, nor perjury, but American history itself. Essentially, the same Southern-based elitist economic and political forces that drove the presidential impeachment process against Andrew Johnson in 1868 are driving the impeachment process 130 years later. . . . The underlying issue is essentially the same: Reconstruction."
This is the sort of stuff that drives conservatives up the wall. But tarring Tennessee's Gore with an anti-Reb image for the benefit of the new young Southern males who provide a key base for the GOP is walking a pretty tricky tightrope. Surely some people will remember that Democratic bigwigs sent Gore into New York in 1988 as a presidential contender to help break the Jackson populist bandwagon. In New York, mainline Dems smeared Jackson, claiming he was anti-Semitic, a charge that dogged the reverend to the end and ruined his promising campaign. That year the party went for a real loser, Michael Dukakis, and the country got George Bush as president.
The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control wants to fine a small, Chicago-based, non-violent civil-disobedience group called Voices in the Wilderness for violating the embargo on Iraq through "exportation of donated goods, including medical supplies and toys." The proposed penalty is $120,000. Each of four individuals who made trips faces fines between $10,000 and $12,000.
Voices, which has a mailing list of about 3500 members, has dispatched 19 delegations carrying children's antibiotics, cough syrup, and aspirin to Iraq since 1996, according to Kathy Kelly, a spokeswoman. The group freely acknowledges it is breaking the embargo and, Ms. Kelly said, it will continue to do so to help Iraqi children.
Treasury, which previously has threatened criminal prosecutions against Voices, lists 10 counts against the group, mostly concerned with unlicensed export of "medical supplies." Count No. 7 reads as follows: "On December 3, 1997 Mr. Handelman imported goods and/or services, into the United States at Detroit, Michigan. Upon entry of the goods, the United States Customs Service ("USCS") seized them (District case Nos 98-3801-000235). The goods included an Iraq water bottle label, an Iraqi stamp, photographic film, video and audio tapes and/or cassettes, postcards, and assorted papers."
'Inquiring Minds' Gorge on Clinton Tabloid Trash
The holiday season has been just too much for Clinton scandal buffs, who have found themselves overwhelmed by one juicy revelation after another. There was the National Enquirer's shocking exclusive about Hillary hitting Bill upside the head so hard he had to use makeup to cover up the bruise for days. There were fresh stories that Bill's alleged half-black bastard son, Danny, has once again surfaced in Little Rock, and wants his dad to recognize him. Danny, now 13, first outed by the Globe during the 1992 campaign in New Hampshire, supposedly was conceived during one of Bill's 13-odd encounters with a prostitute the governor used to consort with during his morning "jogs" in Little Rock or would take out to his mother's cabin for afternoon threesomes.
Fearing that Clinton would not recognize the boy as his biological son, his mother took him to the Governor's Mansion in the early '90s but was turned away by state troopers. On one occasion, she even appealed unsuccessfully for help from Hillary.
Capitol Hill Republicans reportedly were sickened when they went into the House's locked evidence room in the Ford Building "guarded more tightly than our nuclear missile technology," according to one report and read the things that Ken Starr had left out of his formal report. After reviewing Starr's "rejected" material, Representative Matt Salmon told the Arizona Republic, "I came away nauseated. There are things that go far beyond what we've heard." There was much talk of a "Jane Doe #5," who allegedly was raped by Clinton when he was the attorney general of Arkansas. The woman is passingly referred to in the appendix to The Starr Report: "On Friday, January 2, 1998, . . . Jane Doe #5 signed an affidavit in which she denied that the President made 'unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies.' (On April 8, 1998, however, Jane Doe #5 stated to OIC [Office of Independent Counsel] investigators that this affidavit was false.)" Reporters now claim this woman talks openly of being raped.
All of this sent scandal nuts back to Roger Morris's unflattering profile of the Clintons, Partners in Power, searching for clues to explain the president's behavior. Among other passages they were pondering: "A young woman lawyer in Little Rock claimed that she was accosted by Clinton while he was attorney general and that when she recoiled he forced himself on her, biting and bruising her. Deeply affected by the assault, the woman decided to keep it all quiet for the sake of her own hard-won career and that of her husband. When the husband later saw Clinton at the 1980 Democratic Convention, he delivered a warning. 'If you ever approach her,' he told the governor, 'I'll kill you.' Not even seeing fit to deny the incident, Bill Clinton sheepishly apologized and duly promised never to bother her again."
IMF Billions for Brazil . . .
As everyone knows, keeping Boris Yeltsin alive and nominally in charge of Russia has been a cornerstone of Clinton's wobbly foreign policy. Key to accomplishing this have been been the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, two institutions that generally do Washington's bidding. To that end, the World Bank lost $500 million in a deal to prop up the Russian coal industry.
The problem was simple enough. The money never got to the coal miners it was intended to help, disappearing instead somewhere in Moscow. Now the London Times reports that the Russian Federal Security Service is investigating the disappearance of billions of dollars over a three-week period in August when the nation's banking system virtually collapsed. This investigation comes three months after Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov accused the Central Bank and its former chairman, Sergei Dubinin, of misusing $4.8 billion of an IMF stabilization loan.
"It was scandalous," a Western economist based in Moscow told the Times. "After the banks had effectively collapsed they were refusing to make payments to depositors, but the ruble was kept stable at seven rubles to the dollar while bankers closed their own accounts and shipped their money abroad, probably to Switzerland."
No wonder House members, left and right, objected to the U.S. making an $18 billion contribution to the IMF. Clinton, busy currying support from Wall Street in the midst of his sexgate scandals, finally tucked the IMF appropriation into his omnibus budget bill.
The IMF is now preparing to dump some $40 billion into Brazil, where in all probability it also will be lost. Increasingly, both the World Bank and IMF look like easy prey for international bankers, who can count on them for payoffs in the name of currency stabilization. When will the rest of Congress wake up to this racket?
Monsanto Sleuths Nip 'Piracy' in Bud
Time was when farmers let certain crops "go to seed" i.e., they let a crop go unharvested and then saved the seeds for next year's planting. Not anymore. It's become a crime to save seeds.
Monsanto, the multinational chemical company, actually employs Pinkerton detectives to crack down on farmers who use "patented technology" to "illegally" save and replant seeds. More than 45 million acres of U.S. farmland are currently planted with genetically engineered seeds.
Monsanto, a leader in genetically engineered food, has hired five full-time investigators and a battery of part-time sleuths and law firms to nip seed piracy in the bud. The company has pursued more than 475 seed piracy cases in the U.S., of which more than 100 have been settled.
According to a report in the Multinational Monitor, one farmer admitted to storing and then trading RoundUp Ready soybeans for other seeds. He was forced to make a $35,000 royalty payment and make his soybean production records for the next five years available.
Monsanto also reportedly forced other farmers to destroy crops and confiscated seed. "When growers save and replant patented seed, there is less incentive for companies to invest in future technologies that will ultimately benefit farmers," said Scott Baucum, chief of Monsanto's seed piracy enforcement group.
Research assistance: Ioanna Veleanu