2004, Stupid

Starr's Strikes Forever

Ken Starr just won't quit. The weekly Nashville Scene is reporting that his office is questioning three Arkansas businessmen who played golf several summers ago with then White House aide David Watkins. Watkins supposedly told them that Hillary— contrary to what she said under oath— ordered the White House travel office firings. According to the report, one man's wife recalls Watkins saying that Hillary told him to "fire their asses."

Meanwhile, L.D. Brown, the indefatigable former Arkansas state trooper who was a bodyguard for both Clintons while Bill was governor in the early '80s, and who raised eyebrows recently with claims in a self-published book that Hillary kissed him in the front seat of a limo, now is offering his services as a guide to Rudy Giuliani if the sharp-tongued mayor travels to Little Rock.

Finally, some Democratic insiders reportedly are already talking about passing on this presidential election, predicting an inevitable Gore loss and a Hillary win. Amid reports that Hillary is getting ready to leave the White House a year early to move to New York, they are eyeing the next presidential election. The scenario goes like this: stock market blows up on Dubya, who gets creamed like pop in 2004 by HRC, who becomes the first female president— and everyone wants to get in on that act.

House of Ill Repute
Dingell Boosts Christer Brigade

Some of the scorn dumped on puppet Speaker Dennis Hastert for going AWOL again during last week's big House gunfight, as well as on Bob "Take 10 Tablets and Call Me in the Morning" Barr and the would-be exterminator of the teaching of evolution, Tom DeLay, should be heaped on Democratic minority leaders, most prominently the Neanderthal John Dingell.

Everyone knows that former pesticide salesman and GOP whip DeLay is Hastert's puppetmaster, but few Democrats care to acknowledge the lingering stench in their own leadership cloakroom, which for years was stuffed with egomaniacal old farts, most of them thankfully gone. Still remaining, however, is Dingell, "the congressman from GM," who last week sold out on gun control.

Dingell, who took office in 1955, initially won a reputation as hard-driving independent chair of the government operations subcommittee under Democratic rule. But over the years he has become increasingly reactionary, having tied up reform of the air-pollution laws for more than a decade while carrying the torch for the NRA. Dingell's wife, GM heir Debbie Fisher Dingell, bluntly calls the group "a bunch of nuts." Dingell's explanation for the crippling amendment he slipped in on Friday was that he didn't want "to harass legitimate businesses" and "prevent law-abiding citizens from the enjoyment of going to gun shows."

It goes without saying that the slippery Clinton, whose aides have been slithering around town searching for a gun law that doesn't offend the sensibilities of Second Amendment geeks, has little credibility on the issue. But you'd think he'd at least have stopped the government from selling high-powered military surplus to the civilian market, with the result that any kid can buy armor-piercing ammo that can blast through bulletproof windows and penetrate armored limousines.

Under a program to help the military get rid of surplus or obsolete ammo, the Pentagon last year sold l00,000 rounds of 50-caliber armor-piercing ammunition to the civilian market, according to a study commissioned by Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee. The shells, used in long-range sniper weapons, were sold at $1 a ton to a West Virginia company, which then sold thousands of rounds to the Colombian and Bolivian governments. In addition, it refurbished thousands more and sold them back to the U.S. military.

The GAO, which prepared the report, sent undercover investigators into the field who said they easily arranged to purchase thousands of armor-piercing shells from arms dealers with no questions asked, even when one investigator said he wanted the ammunition to target an armored limo and for "taking down" a helicopter.

Slobo Grinds On
Down But Not Out

Far from dropping dead as NATO overran Kosovo, Milosevic plans to retool himself as a sandlot Stalin. Predictions among democratic opposition leaders are that he will leave the formal power of a puppet presidency to a stooge while retaining economic control of Serbia, which he wouldn't mind seeing reduced to a citystate as long as he can retain his vast wealth.

To tighten the screws at home, however, he now needs to focus the machinery of the state against new threats to Serb nationalism. So the next Kosovo may be the region known as Sandzak, a stretch of territory that straddles Serbia and Montenegro. According to the 1991 census, which is the last reliable data, about 54 percent of Sandzak's 420,000 people are Muslim. One possible link between Sandzak and Kosovo is Sulejman Ugljanin, who heads the Party for Democratic Action. In the past, Milosevic has lashed out at Ugljanin, arguing that his advocacy of "special status for Sandzak" and "cultural autonomy" are thinly veiled calls for separatism.

In addition, the multi-ethnic and once autonomous northern province of Vojvodina may provide Milosevic with a pretext for aggression. Recent events suggest that here Milosevic may find Ugljanin's counterpart in Nenad Canak, leader of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina. Recently, Canak demanded that "a republic of Vojvodina [be formed] with its own police and finances," exclaiming, "I hope that our demands are not just a poke in the eye of the Serbian regime, but also a stab in the back, because the current regime in Serbia is the worst human sausage machine that Europe has seen in the second half of this century."

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