CONTENTS: Accidental Candidate, Burning Bush- integrity + character AWOL, Dirty Dealin -BCCI + Bin Laden, If You Can’t Beat em, Kill em, War on War on Drugs p2, RI Races, Hell in a Small Place, Aussie Olympics p2
Oct 15, 2000 Previous Newsletters see MENU
THE ACCIDENTAL CANDIDATE: Trying to emulate his VEEP’s debate and reacting to advisor pressure and focus group tyranny, Al tossed away his strongest suit Wednesday: his relentless intellect, and stroked GB2 as if he were an armed nuke. Who says everyone thought Gores was arrogant and superior in debate #1- why else SHOULD he be president, unless he’s superior? He was that in the debate, but so deferentially, so wimpily that again and again he wilted from delivering the coup de grace to Bush’s fuzzy and inaccurate responses. I understand the attempt- to seem respectful as he spun the web of world and governmental complexity around GB2 until he lurched and fell flat on his smirking face- or until the public understood the vacuity of the vessel, but it was too subtle + sophisticated for Joe Public, who despite protestations of supposed offense.. wants to see someone’s face held in the mud of their own illogic and inconsistencies. Al knows this better than anyone – he’s the master debater- why did he let twit advisors turn him into an apologetic Columbo- (“I’m shorry, maybe I’m wrong here, but I sheem to remember”). Lieberman + Cheney were admirable in their conduct, but it was based on a mutual respect, and both’s relatively low key demeanor. [Cheney did tell one whopper: that Halliburton hadn’t benefited from government intervention. In reality, they got over twice as much government contracts in the five years after Dick became rainmaker as in the 5 years before. http://politics.slate.msn.com/Readme/00-10-09/Readme.asp] Georgie Boy, who has accomplished absolutely nothing without the active intervention of his Pa’s pals, hasn’t earned + doesn’t deserve such deference and respect. One commentator thinks Gore did better: http://politics.slate.msn.com/framegame/entries/00-10-12_91280.asp [We watched the last of the 4? Kennedy/Nixon debates on foreign policy on C-Span and was stunned: Nixon was very very good, the dove on Cuba + the Commies and seemingly more persuasive and knowledgeable. The damage of the 5 o’clock shadow, sweating upper lip, lack of make-up, and smashed knee had presumably already been done.]
Bushwatch (20 articles a day!): http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3750/headlines.htm
Gore’s greatest mistake was apologizing for his alleged errors of fact- in reality virtually every “exaggeration” didn’t really happen: He WAS instrumental in passing legislation that created the Internet, he DID meet and travel with the FEMA head 46? previous times (just not that one in TX), the girl in class and dozens of others DID have to stand or sit on the floor for weeks because their was no space in their Sarasota school. After the rabid WSJ printed a denial by the embarrassed lying principle, Gore felt he had to appease the media gods with a mea culpa to something that he hadn’t done (as any reading of the Sarasota paper would prove- it has dozens of stories about school overcrowding). http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/10/11/gore/index.html I think the media tendency to get some major flaw or attribute wrong and then hammer it again and again unfairly until it is universally accepted conventional wisdom, is incredibly cynical and corrupt (+ corrupting to future reporters who do what works). Joe Conason’s book on “The Hunting of the President: The 8 year effort to destroy Clinton” details how the NYT and Wash Post simply ignored facts and evidence contradicting their Clinton scandal stories, unwilling to kill the goose that was laying golden eggs.
BURNING BUSH: GB2 did make several mistakes that AG didn’t expose: Former Russian PM Vick Chernomyrdin, whom I’ve questioned in Moscow, didn’t fill his pockets with IMF money, he filled his pockets with Russian Oil + Gas Co. money, which he ran for a decade or so. Huge amounts of IMF money were diverted, but to whom and how, and what constituted illegal or unfair diversion in a country that had almost no private enterprise- is still uncertain. We accepted that 50% of that money would probably be ripped off- though supposedly some of it was gobbled by the Mafiya. Bush whined about American troops now engaged in foolish nation-building in Haiti, which has only 100-odd American soldiers left now. He said he supported instant background checks for purchases at gun shows- in fact; he had let such a bill die in committee in TX on the day of COLUMBINE. While he gave back $3 billion to taxpayers in 97-8, he only signed up 4800 out of 68,000 kids referred for Medicaid health coverage, which in TX is an intentionally difficult and complex process. His debate mistakes: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56169-2000Oct12.html His misstatements (better): http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/10/13/day_two/index.html . Much was made of his being able to rattle off a few world leaders- but he did get through Yale + Harvard Business School (though I suspect also with his pa’s pal’s intervention)- he’s not stupid, but probably a good cram artist.
The more I see of Bush, the more unpleasant I think he is, he wears the perennial smirk of a 7th grader who’s just stuck gum in the hair of the girl in front of him, and wants everyone to snicker with him. His snorts and sniffs are right off the turnip truck, and he often shows the fidgeting desperation of ‘deer in the headlights’ panic, held just below the surface (esp. when he’s out of his depth, which is half the time). He’s spoiled, lazy, arrogant, shallow, dishonest, hypocritical, and vicious (“Please… don’t kill me”, he whimpered, mocking executed killer Karla Tucker’s plea on LarryKing in an interview).
INTEGRITY + CHARACTER AWOL: 15 year drunk GB2 has made a fatal mistake in harping about Gore’s character, since his wilts by comparison. Every single thing GB2 has allegedly accomplished has been due to his fathers connections and arm twisting, from his entry into the National Guard with an atrocious 25% test, to his honorable discharge after being AWOL for 2 years and refusing 3 orders to appear, to the survival of his failing Arbusto oil company (2 investors were later appointed to head the Import-Export Bank), to it’s support by Pakistan’s criminal BCCI (Bank of Credit + Commerce Intern.), to his “purchase” (2%!) of the Texas Rangers (sell it “out of respect for the President”), to his escape from insider trading charges with only a censure when he sold his Harken (which Arbusto became) stock 8 days before it crashed (SEC director was Bush loyalist), to the massive financial support for his TX governor and President races.
Apparently he disappeared from the National Guard in April 72 just when they started random drug tests – he was suspended from flying for not taking or not passing his annual medical, went off to Alabama, ignored 2 orders to appear, and never flew again, discharged 1 ½ years later. Look for this to appear in this birthday debate if Lehrer develops any cajones. So far the only one he’s been tough on is the audience. The tabloid Globe published this but said it was because he was drunk- but alcohol isn’t why one would duck a medical. An extremely detailed story with his military records: AWOL: http://www.democrats.com/display.cfm?id=154
DIRTY DEALIN: A devastating article in High Times (perhaps an appropriate mag for a Bush retrospective) details this and more. Most amazing are the investments of a Swiss bank that was in a joint venture with the BCCI (which was the bank for Noriega, Columbian Cartels, Sadaam, terrorists) in Bush’s Harken Co.. Saudi financier Abdullah Baksh, who attended Middle East meetings in the White House, bought 17% of Harken; his coinvestor Ghaith Pharaon was the Saudi frontman for BCCI- he paid a $37 mil fine and was banned from American banking industry. Baksh personal Saudi banker: Khalid bin Makoush (who still has a palatial property in Houston) was fined $225 mil for his criminal involvement in BCCI and was a friend and partner of James Bath, another early investor in Arbusto.
Bath was also TX rep for Saudi tycoon Salim Bin Laden, who was killed in a 1988 Texas plane crash. Given the conspiratorial obsessions of Moslems (witness Dodi al-Fayed’s father’s quixotic quest to prove a bizarre British conspiracy when his own employee driver was plastered), it’s conceivable that Salim’s brother- Osama Bin Laden thought that he was murdered by the US (Veep GB1 was former CIA director) and the reverse of Bush daddy’s mano-a-mano war with Noriega and Hussein, could be fueling his maniacal war on America. This is total speculation, but considering Bush’s sense of betrayal by his former assets- Noriega + Hussein, partly led to 2 invasions + wars, Bin Laden could be doing the same thing. There are great dangers to this dynasty thing.
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT EM, KILL EM: In an amazing story contradicting Bush’s astonishing blanket claim that “no innocent person has ever been executed in Texas”, a robbery convict, Achim Marino, sent Bush a letter claiming that he had raped and killed an Austin Pizza Hut clerk in ‘88, a crime for which 2 others: Ochoa + Danziger were convicted and given life sentences. The letter contained details only the killer would know; since then a DNA test has confirmed it was Marino + not the other 2, who had been apparently threatened with execution and relentlessly bullied by Austin police till they confessed (in 3 stages) to something they didn’t do! Bush or his staff in 2 ½ years never turned the letter over to the Austin DA or police (or the innocent men’s lawyers). EXECUTION CONFESSION: http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/10/13/texas/index.html
There is little dispute that Texas has one of the most rotten justice systems in the country: ¼ of the lawyers in capital cases have been disciplined, there are almost no public defenders’ offices to balance the enormous power of the police + DA’s- (often hack) lawyers are appointed by the judge in the case; 40% of death row inmates are black, 22% Latino- 7 have supposedly been found to be innocent + 57% of Texans think they’ve executed an innocent man. Bush has no such doubts: not only has he done everything to avoid reviewing clemency application, he’s speeded up the death process by severely limiting appeals. They’ve built 87 new prisons in the last decade, although the Feds have been administering them for 19 years for overcrowding and abuses.
SALON: “the Chicago Tribune reported that among the 131 men and women who had been executed under Bush up until that time, 40 were condemned in trials where the defense attorneys presented no mitigating evidence or only one witness during the sentencing phase of the trial. Another 29 went to their deaths based in part on testimony by a notorious psychiatrist -- Dr. James Grigson, aka "Dr. Death" -- whom the American Psychiatric Association found unethical and untrustworthy. And 23 were executed on the basis of testimony provided by jailhouse informants” http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/10/03/bush/index.html
Hillary squared up against punk pugilist Rick Lazio again, and reportedly did much better than their Sept 12th meeting: http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry101000.shtml
WAR ON WAR ON DRUGS 2: TV has been awash with documentaries on the origins and conduct of the War on Drugs, with a 4 hr Frontline 2-parter and a 4 show History Channel exposition, drug by drug. Apparently pure racism was at the heart of the initial banning, first against the opium-fiend Chinese, then against the killing raping marijuana-crazed Mexicans (forced down the Feds throat by Texas). Nixon reacting to the visceral horror of hundreds of thousands returning addicted Vietnam vets, started the WOD and created the DEAA; Reagan vastly increased it and destroyed almost all treatment programs (every dollar of which would save $5-7 in enforcement); but it was the 1986 scourge of crack, Len Bias’s death, and Congress’s panicky overreaction that would create the Constitutional nightmare of mandatory draconian sentences, 3 strikes laws, insane disparities in sentencing, and the new American Gulag- 2 million people in jail, the highest # of any country- 40-50% for drug offenses. That was rammed through by Tip O’Neal, so Repubs don’t have a corner on idiocy.
To wit, Mr. Bill has forced through a huge $1.3 billion drug-fighting grant to Columbia, despite them not achieving 6 of the 7 human rights conditions necessary to receive it. In a country (most murders by far) of paramilitary death squads (who commit 70-80% of murders), 10 year old sicarros (assassins), a 40 year civil war, and spectacular corruption; this is like throwing 1000 lb bombs in the fire. One analyst calls it an apocalypse. First, it’s probable much of the money will simply be stolen or will end up in the drug kingpins pockets, the government will use it to mostly fight the guerillas, the peasants, caught in the middle, will be slaughtered by all 3 sides, the growing + refining operations will get pushed into neighboring countries with their attendant violence; or government elements themselves will get into the drug business. Is that to be Clinton’s legacy: an explosion of death unseen in the Western hemisphere since the Civil War?
CA. Proposition 36, which mandates giving nonviolent drug offenders treatment rather than jail time, is also on the ballot in Mass, Nebraska. One Repub has been promoting it: http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/09/18/campbell/index.html
Financier George Soros has funded the referendums against the drug war with this org: http://www.lindesmith.org/
RI RACES: The Repub Nat committee (I presume, since some don’t mention Chafee) has been running ads attacking Congsmn Robert Weygand’s supposed exaggerations in his Senate quest. Hey, if it works for the Shrub. One is an amazingly petty one: how Weygand claimed his dog’s prescriptions went up, when his dog didn’t even take that drug. I’m not making it up, though it sounds like a Sat. Night Live skit. The liberal iconoclastic Repub Lincoln Chafee, who was appointed to his father’s Senate seat last Nov, has inherited a lot of the respect his Gov/Senator father received, though it’s not clear he’s earned it. He worked as a horse shoe-er in Canada, among other things, before being Warwick mayor, and after the savage Dem primary, is way ahead in the polls. In the Congressional race, former Sec State Jim Langevin is projected to win. We went to a Dem state debate party (1st) though no luminaries made it (leut gov?), where we were dutifully snapped opening our second beer- Dems presumably drinking off their man’s crushing defeat. Al did OK in that one – I think the “more to top 1% more than all the health care, SS assistance, military budget, medicare.. put together” is a devastating statistic that stuck. Unfortunately, the day before Frontline had done an in-depth look at the candidates, stunningly showing some ex-pal saying that Gore smoked grass every day in college; though there was no such things go better revelations about GB2- which only means they didn’t look.
HELL IN A SMALL PLACE: We aren’t glad that our Aug predictions of a violent blowup in Israel came to pass. With the massive level of armament of the Palestinian Police, the Israeli’s simply couldn’t afford to let the talks fail- though for months they were the stumbling block in settlements. In the end Arafat resisted coming to terms in the Clinton talks, perhaps thinking a resumption of violence would restore his waning power. Then the thug Ariel Sharon (the butcher of Beirut) took a mini army onto the Temple Mount Plaza, almost calculated to cause violence, which would restore his authority against a challenge from Netanyahu, just cleared of corruption charges. In the Middle East, politics is directly related to body count- like most places violence and outside threats provokes the populace to turn to hard liners, which sickeningly happened- a weakened Barak offered Sharon a place in the government. With dueling videos of hideous atrocities, the filthy madness of war was laid bare.
While the Arabs prepare a regional anti-Israeli summit to include Iraq, the fact remains that Israel has some 200 nukes; but now so does Pakistan, the Russian Mafia (maybe), and ultimately Islamic terrorists. The Russians seem to have lost about 50 of their suitcase nukes: Russia is so corrupt Colonels sell bazookas + Stingers to the Chechens in the middle of their war, and some 2000 tons of plutonium + U-235 is floating around the old Soviet Union. A Hiroshima bomb requires ~20 lbs, a piece the size of a baseball. Since the Israeli’s would likely retaliate against the vaporization of Tel Aviv with a nuclear missile strike on Tehran, Baghdad, and Damascus; the most plausible target for terrorists determined to crush Israel would be Washington or New York (like shooting the President to stop Bobby Kennedy’s war on the Mafia). And of course we’ve been breeding anti-American terrorists for 9 years in our lunatic embargo of Iraq, punishing a victim people for not removing a monster that we wouldn’t with ½ million troops. So we have a tremendous stake in seeing a peaceful resolution. Essentially there is little security the Israeli’s gain by their control of the West Bank- on the contrary- it’s a source of continual instability (but if one looks at the 7 mile wide strip of 1966 Israel, one can understand why they never want to return to those boundaries).
AUSSIE OLYMPICS REDUX: In an effort to punish America for their holier-than-thou doping obsession, the Olympic committee stripped poor Romanian Andreea Raducan of her gold medal in the all round gymnastic because she took a cold decongestant. Antihistamines always knocked me out like a light- I can’t think of a less performance-enhancing drug. With little fanfare, the silver + bronze medal winners, also Romanian, returned their medals in protest. Poor tiny dancers. The timing of the release about Marion Jones’s husband’s cornucopia of pharmaceuticals in the middle of the Olympics frankly stank, when the actual tests had come ½ year before.
Still, we have always loved the Olympics; our first President letter came from Jimmy Carter (need some more address labels JC) in response to our protest of the canceling of 1980 Mockba Olympics. We will retain the incredible image of a tiny 123 lb Turk lifting 369lbs- 3 times his body weight, over his head; or the long and difficult odyssey of Lennie Krayzelberg, who had to work from the age of 12 as a new immigrant + will make millions modeling clothes; or the heartbreak of regal Svetlana, who was lucky not to break anything when slacker Olympic officials set the horse 2” too low (I told you Aussies like to lie around the beach too much); or the guitar playing Aussie swimmers + their spirited 2-week feud with the Americans; or the shock of the invincible giant Alexander Karelin, losing after 2 decades of almost perfection on an almost miniscule technicality (somehow that doesn’t seem right- shouldn’t one have to do a Buster Douglas to win against such a champion- especially when he was obviously sick); or the unearthly grace of synchronized swimming; or the soaring childlike joy at the trampolinists almost touching the rafters at finally being let in the Olympics; or Kathy Freeman’s collapsing to the ground against the overwhelming 120,000 people roar of acclimation for a member of the oldest civilization of earth, decimated worse than native Americans; or Megan Quann’s bubbling teen joy. NBC was roundly chastised for their overly emotional profiles, but I think they were great- these are ordinary people who have dedicated years of sweat + pain + sacrifice to the dream of being the best in the world, in something. They get a few days, like a hummingbird, to become heroes or bums, to become rich and famous or unknown footnotes. The profiles weren’t just excellent; they were essential- without them why should give a whit. Now if they only get rock-running as an event, I might have a chance.
20-20 just did an expose on the East German women’s (sort of) 1976-82 swimming team, who were fed 30 tablets + 2 injections a day of male steroids, till they walked, talked, and swam like men. One got a sex change and made it official: all are suffering with chronic life-threatening maladies (as are their children) from the poisonous stew they were forced to take at age 10-17. They swept the ’76 Montreal Olympics (I swam + dove in that pool recently) winning almost every gold , but at a horrendous cost. In repeated trials of the Ossie bastard officials responsible, all they got was probation + fine- well, what do you expect from Germany- it was after all, for the Fatherland.
Andrei Codrescu’s acerbic vicious genius commentaries. http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnvs03fm.cfm
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