Monday, December 13, 2004

Kausfiles on the case of Marc Rich, and his benefactor

February 8, 2001

Why It's OK To Be Shocked by Mr. Clinton's Recent Misbehavior

The Rich pardon wasn't just seemingly corrupt and shameless--it was
also incompetent. That's something we're not used to from Bill Clinton.
It's fair to say that the main reason people willingly suspended their judgment
about him--his saving grace--was that he seemed to be on the ball as far as
his job was concerned. When the time for a decision came, he found out
all the necessary facts, stayed up all night, and eventually made the right call
(on the economy, on taxes, on welfare, on trade). Yet here he reviewed the file,
stayed up all night, and made a terrible decision--a decision he surely now
realizes was terrible, a decision that he'd unmake today, were it possible, if
only to escape the indelibly bad PR it's brought him.

Did he make this mistake because, as some news reports have implied,
his staff wasn't there to talk him out of it? If so, how many other boneheaded
decisions were prevented only because Clinton was surrounded, until the last few
moments, by competent aides--surrounded the way we're supposed to now be wishing that Bush is surrounded? Far from telling us nothing, the Rich pardon casts a whole new, retrospective light on Clinton's presidency. What if Robert Rubin,
Bruce Reed, and the others hadn't been there? ...

December 13, 2004

Even if the latest allegations about Marc Rich--that he helped broker Saddam's oil-for-food deals--prove accurate, that won't be the main reason Clinton's pardon of the fugitive financier was scandalous. Saddam could presumably always get someone to broker his lucrative schemes--if not Rich, then another high-level operater. The Marc Rich pardon was scandalous mainly because it taught a generation of young Americans that you could buy your way out of punishment. ... But buy with what? ... Here's an instance where the convenient case for public figure privacy in matters of sex--made most conveniently by Clinton himself, but also by Jeffrey Toobin,*** Andrew Sullivan, etc.--completely breaks down. It turns out to be fairly important whether Clinton was or wasn't not having sexual relations with Denise Rich, Marc's glamorous ex-wife, who lobbied for the pardon. It's hard to explain Clinton's gross error any other way. (Lord knows I've tried!) ... Someday some historian will focus on this interpersonal causal chain and win a National Book Award for his provocative thesis--as Philip Weiss memorably put it, "Follow the nookie." But if reporters had been more irresponsible in reporting on Clinton's personal life--and less cowed by the Stephanopouloses and Carvilles--actual voters would have had this highly relevant information in real time when they made their decision in 1992. ... P.S.: Do Democrats really want to elect the woman who let all this happen under her nose? Just asking! ...

This is such an important story on so many levels. The corruption at the UN goes right to the top and has major implications for the United States. With each revelation, the reasons for the lack of support at the UN become clear. Half of the vaunted security council was on the take to the tune of multi-billion of dollars (or Francs if you prefer).

It also tells us so much about Bill Clinton. His critics were right. He lacked the character and integrity that the office requires. Sure he was a natural politician who could connect with people, but his weaknesses were far more consequencial than his strengths. From his feckless war on terror, to his lost second term, the story of Bill Clinton is a story of selfishness and waste. He wasted all of that charisma and potential because he had no integrity or moral boundries.

Marc Rich is a free man because Bill Clinton can be bought. Clinton did learn one thing from the Marc Rich pardon, there are a lot of people who come knocking once you let it be known that you have a price.

December 7, 2004, Bill Clinton Helps Launch Chinese Seach Engine
NEW YORK (AP)—Former president Bill Clinton on Monday helped launch a new
Internet search company backed by the Chinese government which says its technology uses artificial intelligence to produce better results than Google

"I hope you all make lots of money," Clinton told executives at the launch of Accoona Corp., which donated an undisclosed amount to the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Saudis, Arabs Funneled Millions to President Clinton's Library
BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the New York Sun
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. - President Clinton's new $165 million library here was
funded in part by gifts of $1 million or more each from the Saudi royal family and three Saudi businessmen.The governments of Dubai, Kuwait, and Qatar and the
deputy prime minister of Lebanon all also appear to have donated $1 million or
more for the archive and museum that opened last week.

Democrats spent much of the presidential campaign this year accusing President Bush of improperly close ties to Saudi Arabia. The case was made in Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," in a bestselling book by Craig Unger titled "House of Bush, House of Saud," and by the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kerry."This administration delayed pressuring the Saudis," Mr. Kerry said on October 20. "I will insist that the Saudis crack down on charities that funnel funds to terrorists... and on anti-American and anti-Israel hate speech."The Media Fund, a Democratic group whose president is a former Clinton White House aide, Harold Ickes, spent millions airing television commercials in swing states with scripts such as, "The Saudi royal family...wealthy...powerful...corrupt. And close Bush family friends."Perhaps as a result, the Saudi donations to the Clinton library are raising some eyebrows.