Scoop

Behind the White House Face-Lift

The campaign to switch the spotlight from Bill to Hillary Clinton ground on last week as the scandal machine continued to churn out embarrassing scoops about the first family, including Chelsea— a development that is bound to enrage both parents.

Dorothy Rabinowitz's op-ed piece in Friday's Wall Street Journal, recounting Juanita Broaddrick's ancient charge that she was sexually assaulted by Clinton when he was attorney general of Arkansas in 1978, sent the rumor mills into overdrive.

Newsmax.Com, a breaking-news Web site with a conservative bent, which has been pushing the Broaddrick story for weeks, hit the Net with a story that Chelsea had undergone plastic surgery for a recessive chin, following in the footsteps of Tipper Gore, who got a "minor tuck and eyelift" at "a posh New York hotel as Secret Service agents stood guard." (Sources close to the Clintons said the report was false.)

Over the weekend, there was an eye-opener about the real Asa Hutchinson by Sam Smith in the Web version of Progressive Review. Earlier last week, the St. Petersburg Times had revealed that the House manager was a wuss who'd tried to beat back attempts by Lindsay Graham and James Rogan to expand the investigation into charges of intimidation against women who'd come forward with stories about Clinton. Smith noted that Hutchinson's life has intersected with the Clintons. He was the prosecutor who let Roger Clinton cop a plea on drug charges.

Footnote: This Wednesday, Canadian hemophiliacs and their lawyers will travel to Washington to hold their long-awaited press conference demanding justice for thousands of people allegedly poisoned by diseased blood from Arkansas prisons while Bill Clinton was governor in the early 1980s.


Tax Breaks for the Rich, Cont
Phony Plan Spells Trouble for GOP

The Clintons need not worry too much about retribution for the failed campaign to drive the president from office. The Republicans are digging their own grave with their tax-cut proposal. Despite Virginia chief executive James S. Gilmore III's ringing pronouncement at the Governors' Conference in Washington last weekend that "we are the party of tax cuts," recent studies indicate that slashing taxes is becoming more of a nonissue every day, in part because taxes have been steadily decreasing since 1979, and also because the cuts always benefit the rich.

Rhetorically, the Republicans are unified behind an "across the board" 10 percent tax cut as their main plank for the 2000 election. In reality, they are split, with moderates like Connecticut's Nancy Johnson pleading with the conservative leadership to go easy lest everyone be forced to take a dive on the bill.

An analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, a usually reliable nonprofit, shows that more than 60 percent of the benefits of the tax cut would go to the 10 percent of taxpayers with the highest incomes. According to the study, the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers would share about 9 percent of the total benefits.

Openly pushing this scheme could, of course, be sudden death for Republican moderates. Thus, this is one more example of how far hard-line conservatives are willing to go in dragging down their colleagues. Key problem: Republicans control the House by only a half-dozen votes, and the conservative leadership is in disarray after the impeachment defeat.


Battle of Britain
Prince Charles vs. Frankenstein Foods

Monsanto's attempt to spew genetically engineered foodstuffs around the world is running into a snag in the form of England's Prince Charles, who, in addition to his other duties, is Europe's preeminent organic farmer.

Ranged behind the Prince of Wales is the immense agricultural apparatus of the British royal family— an awesome collection of herds, organic gardens, farmlands, and fields stretching from Balmoral estate in Scotland to the Duchy of Cornwall in southwestern England.

Charles's love of the countryside is well known, as is his habit of finding relaxation by talking to plants. And the vegetation-friendly prince is not just opposed to genetically engineered foodstuffs— he has taken the lead in crusading to stop them.

"Mixing genetic material from species that cannot breed naturally," Charles writes on his Web site (www.princeo/wales.gov.uk), "takes us into areas that should be left to God. We should not be meddling with the building blocks of life in this way."

Although less than 1 percent of British land is organically farmed, organic food is wildly popular, with supermarkets predicting a 100 percent hike in sales this year. And the popularity of such food goes hand in hand with opposition to genetic foods— on which more than 130 British food writers recently called for a ban. In response, Monsanto argues that "we of all people should have faith in the regulatory process which ensures that all food that comes into the market goes through a rigorous safety-approval process." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture is proposing to investigate health records to determine if there are any connections between genetic foods and birth defects, cancer, or allergies.

Nominally, most countries in Europe have tried to discourage the spread of genetic foods with product-labeling laws. However, this has proved to be essentially meaningless since food supplies are saturated with DNA-manufactured processed foods made with maize and soybeans. Such products are not mentioned on labels.

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