Undernews For May 7, 2008
Undernews For May 7, 2008
THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
Washington's Most Unofficial Source
611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #381
Washington DC 20003
Editor: Sam Smith
7 MAY 2008
Moderation in temper is always a virtue. But moderation in principle is always a vice. -- Tom Paine
PAGE ONE MUST
PAPERS OF TOP WHITEWATER INVESTIGATION AIDE SUGGEST MAJOR HILLARY CLINTON LYING, POSSIBLE HUSH MONEY FOR WEBSTER HUBBELL
from Jerry Seper of the Washington Times, one of the best
reporters on the Clinton scandal stories. The papers confirm
a number of items reported by the Progressive Review
including the apparent hush money for Webster
JERRY SEPER, WASHINGTON TIMES A decade before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton admitted fudging the truth during the presidential campaign, federal prosecutors quietly assembled hundreds of pages of evidence suggesting she concealed information and misled a federal grand jury about her work for a failing Arkansas savings and loan at the heart of the Whitewater probe, according to once-secret documents that detail the internal debates over whether she should have faced criminal charges.
Ordinarily, such files containing grand jury evidence and prosecutors' deliberations are never made public. But the estate of Sam Dash, a lifelong Democrat who served as the ethics adviser to Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr, donated his documents from the infamous 1990s investigation to the Library of Congress after his 2004 death, unwittingly injecting into the public domain much of the testimony and evidence gathered against Mrs. Clinton from former law partners, White House aides and other witnesses.
The documents, reviewed by The Washington Times, identify numerous instances in which prosecutors questioned Mrs. Clinton's honesty. . .
For instance, the papers say prosecutors thought Mrs. Clinton first concealed her legal representation of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association - and the money she made doing it - during the 1992 presidential campaign when she and her husband, then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, came under fire in a questionable Arkansas real estate project known as Whitewater.
Beginning in March 1992 and continuing over the next several years, Mrs. Clinton steadfastly denied that she ever "earned a penny" in representing her Rose Law Firm clients, including the failing thrift's owners, James and Susan McDougal - the Clintons' partners in the Whitewater Development Corp. project.
But the newly discovered records, more than 1,100 pages in 30 separate documents, tell a different story.
A June 1998 draft indictment of Mrs. Clinton's Rose firm partner Webster L. Hubbell, who followed the Clintons to Washington in 1993 as associate attorney general, said Mrs. Clinton did legal work for Madison "continuously" from April 1985 to July 1986. It also said she represented the thrift before the Arkansas Securities Department for approval to issue preferred stock, helped Madison obtain a questionable broker-dealer license to sell the stock and was actively involved in a failed Madison project known as Castle Grande.
The draft indictment clearly asserts that Mrs. Clinton, despite her denials, represented Madison and its projects "in a series of real estate and financial transactions." A separate 183-page report included in the Dash documents said Mr. Hubbell and Mrs. Clinton "concealed from federal investigators the true nature of their work" with Madison and its various entities.
Clinton campaign spokesman Jay Carson disputed the allegations. "This is a baseless accusation which was looked into over a decade ago in an investigation that took $71.5 million and eight years to determine there was no case," he said. . .
In April 1998, Whitewater prosecutors, divided over Mrs. Clinton's truthfulness, argued over whether to indict her on charges of lying under oath about her legal work for Madison. Lawyers and others close to the probe said a draft indictment of the first lady became "a work in progress" after Mrs. Clinton's January 1996 grand jury appearance in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Prosecutors concluded at the time, the sources said, that she had testified falsely in denying doing legal work in the Castle Grande venture.
"There is concern among some about how successful they might be in bringing a criminal indictment against Mrs. Clinton for obvious reasons, but there is no lack of desire to do so," one lawyer familiar with the probe said at the time. The lawyer said the decision rested on two major points: whether there was sufficient evidence to contradict her sworn testimony and, more importantly, whether prosecutors could win the case in court.
No indictment was sought, but Whitewater prosecutors noted at the time, according to the Dash documents, that sworn statements by Mrs. Clinton were contradictory and misleading and that her involvement with Madison"s failed real estate project known as Castle Grande project was only fully detailed with the discovery of her Rose firm billing record summaries in the White House living quarters in January 1996 - two years after they had been subpoenaed.
A week before the summaries were found, the Resolution Trust Corp. said in a Dec. 28, 1995, report it had little information on Mrs. Clinton's ties to Madison or Castle Grande. After their discovery, the agency concluded Mrs. Clinton was more involved with the two entities than was previously known.
The summaries said Mrs. Clinton billed Madison for 60 hours of legal work, spoke with Madison officials about the Castle Grande project on 14 occasions, discussed legal matters with Madison's owners - the McDougals - 16 times, had 28 meetings with Rose firm lawyers on Madison, and met with state regulators about Madison at least twice.
At the time, Madison was seeking help from Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm in Little Rock to fend off state and federal regulators concerned that the thrift was insolvent. Madison also wanted to jump-start a questionable preferred stock deal to pump much-needed cash into the operation and was desperate to keep the government from shutting it down. .
In a report titled "Hubbell Hush Money Summary," Whitewater investigators said that a day before Mr. Hubbell quit, Mrs. Clinton and other top administration officials met privately at the White House to arrange for him to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees at a time his cooperation in the Whitewater probe could have resulted in charges against the then-first lady.
The records said Mrs. Clinton took an active role in White House efforts to "take care of" Mr. Hubbell financially, helping to locate campaign supporters who divvied up more than $450,000 over the next nine months mostly for consulting work he never did. . .
Mr. Hubbell pleaded guilty in December 1994 to mail fraud and income-tax evasion in the theft of $482,410 from his Rose firm clients and partners and failing to pay $143,747 in taxes. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, serving 16 before being released.
The Whitewater probe ended on March 21, 2002, when Independent Counsel Robert W. Ray, who succeeded Mr. Starr, concluded in a final report there was "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against the Clintons. But the report also said statements by the Clintons to investigators were "factually inaccurate" and that White House delays in the production of evidence and the "unmeritorious litigation" by its lawyers "severely impeded the investigation's progress."
URBAN FARMING GROWS INTO A BUSINESS
TRACIE MCMILLAN, NY TIMES For years, New Yorkers have grown basil, tomatoes and greens in window boxes, backyard plots and community gardens. But more and more New Yorkers are raising fruits and vegetables, and not just to feed their families but to sell to people on their block. This urban agriculture movement has grown even more vigorously elsewhere. Hundreds of farmers are at work in Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland and other areas that, like East New York, have low-income residents, high rates of obesity and diabetes, limited sources of fresh produce and available, undeveloped land.
Local officials and nonprofit groups have been providing land, training and financial encouragement. But the impetus, in almost every case, has come from the farmers, who often till when their day jobs are done, overcoming peculiarly urban obstacles. . .
The city's cultivators are a varied lot. The high school students at the Added Value community farm in Red Hook, Brooklyn, last year supplied Italian arugula, Asian greens and heirloom tomatoes to three restaurants, a community-supported agriculture buying club and two farmers' markets.
In the South Bronx a group of gardens called La Familia Verde started a farmers' market in 2003 to sell surpluses of herbs like papalo and the Caribbean green callaloo. . .
The city's success with urban farming will receive international attention on Saturday when, during an 11-day conference in New York, 60 delegates from the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development are scheduled to visit Hands and Hearts, the Bed-Stuy Farm and two traditional community gardens in Brooklyn.
There was not always so much enthusiasm for city farming, though.
John Ameroso, a Cornell Cooperative Extension agent who has worked with local farmers and gardeners for 32 years, said that when he first suggested urban farm stands in the early 1990s, city environmental officials dismissed the idea. " 'Oh, you could never grow enough stuff with the urban markets,' " he said he was told. ‘ "That can't be done. You have to have farmers.' "
But local officials have come around. . .
On a fringe of Philadelphia, a nonprofit demonstration project used densely planted rows in a half-acre plot and generated $67,000 from high-value crops like lettuces, carrots and radishes.
In Milwaukee, the nonprofit Growing Power operates a one-acre farm crammed with plastic greenhouses, compost piles, do-it-yourself contraptions, tilapia tanks and pens full of hens, ducks and goats - and grossed over $220,000 last year from the sale of lettuces, winter greens, sprouts and fish to local restaurants and consumers.
ENGINEERING THE ORDINARY AND THE NECESSARY
VIJAYSREE VENKATRAMAN, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR Amy Smith is not an easy person to track down. Even during the school year, this inventor and instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hops over to remote African towns and Latin American villages. When she is on campus, the best bet for finding Ms. Smith is in her basement laboratory ¬ a cluttered workshop with a long whiteboard, exotic souvenirs, and basic tools ¬ known as D-Lab. Unlike most of MIT, Smith's workshop is far from cutting-edge. There are no next-gen computers, no vials of polysyllabic chemicals, no fancy equipment. The space is decidedly low-tech ¬ and that's the point. D-Lab students pinpoint practical problems in the developing countries and then brainstorm and build solutions. Because the people they are trying to help are below the poverty line, the class's inventions must be simple, effective, and most important, inexpensive.
"What people need is usually completely different from what we imagine sitting here in America," says Jodie Wu, a mechanical engineering junior, whose group went on a school-sponsored trip to Tanzania over winter break. The idea for her current project ¬ a mobile, pedal-powered corn sheller ¬ came from a conversation with a Tanzannian bike mechanic. . . they planned and built a charcoal-briquette maker, a metal press that can make clean-burning fuel out of agricultural waste. "It could be corncobs in Tibet and sugar-cane waste in Haiti," says Derek Brine, a teaching assistant.
USA TODAY FINDS MORE THAN 43,000 MEDICALLY UNFIT TROOPS SENT TO WAR
GREGG ZOROYA, USA TODAY More than 43,000 U.S. troops listed as medically unfit for combat in the weeks before their scheduled deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003 were sent anyway, Pentagon records show. This reliance on troops found medically "non-deployable" is another sign of stress placed on a military that has sent 1.6 million service members to the war zones, soldier advocacy groups say.
The Pentagon records do not list what - or how serious - the health issues are, nor whether they were corrected before deployment, said Michael Kilpatrick, a deputy director for the Pentagon's Force Health Protection and Readiness Programs. A Pentagon staffer examined 10,000 individual health records last year to determine causes for the non-deployable ratings, Kilpatrick said. Some reasons included a need for eyeglasses, dental work or allergy medicine and a small number of mental health cases, he said.
Most of the non-deployable servicemembers are in the Army, which is doing most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between 5% and 7% of all active-duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers slated for combat were found medically unfit due to health problems each year since 2003, according to statistics provided to USA Today
GREAT MOMENTS IN JOURNALISTIC NAVEL GAZING
Only a group with
as pompous a name as the Project on Excellence in Journalism
could do such a dull study on the Daily Show. Do you think
they go any of the jokes? We'll leave that to a later study.
MEDIA CHANNEL Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism studied the content of The Daily Show for an entire year (2007), compared its news agenda with that of the more traditional news media, examined the lineup of guests and segments and tried to place the program into some kind of media context.
The results reveal a television program that draws on the news events of the day but picks selectively among them - heavily emphasizing national politics and ignoring other news events entirely. In that regard, The Daily Show closely resembles the news agenda of a number of cable news programs as well as talk radio.
The program also makes heavy use of news footage, often in a documentary way that employs archival video to show contrast and contradiction, even if the purpose is satirical rather than reportorial. At other times, the show also blends facts and fantasy in a way that no news program hopefully ever would. In addition, The Daily Show not only assumes, but even requires, previous and significant knowledge of the news on the part of viewers if they want to get the joke. And, in 2007 at least, the joke was more often on the Bush Administration and its fellow Republicans than on those from the liberal side of the aisle.
Among the study's findings:
- The program's clearest focus is politics, especially in Washington. U.S. foreign affairs, largely dominated by the Bush Administration's policies in Iraq, Washington politics and government accounted for nearly half (47%) of the time spent on the program. Overall, The Daily Show news agenda is quite close to those of cable news talk shows.
- The press itself is another significant focus on The Daily Show. In all, 8% of the time was made up of segments about the press and news media. That is more than double the amount of coverage of media in the mainstream press overall during the same period.
- A good deal of the news, however, is also absent from The Daily Show. In 2007, for example, major events such as the tragic Minneapolis bridge collapse were never discussed. And the shootings at Virginia Tech, the most covered story within a given week in 2007 by the overall press, received only a cursory mention.
- Republicans in 2007 tended to bear the brunt of ridicule from Stewart and his crew. From July 1 through November 1, Stewart's humor targeted Republicans more than three times as often as Democrats. The Bush Administration alone was the focus of almost a quarter (22%) of the segments in this time period.
- The lineup of on-air guests was more evenly balanced by political party. But our subjective sense from viewing the segments is that Republicans faced harsher criticism during the interviews with Stewart. Whether this is because the show is simply liberal or because the Republicans control the White House is harder to pin down.
How popular is The Daily Show? According to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in April 2007, 16% of Americans said they regularly watched The Daily Show or the Comedy Central spin-off, the Colbert Report. Those numbers are comparable to some major news programs. For instance, 17% said they regularly watched Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, and 14% watched PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer regularly.
The survey also suggests Daily Show viewers are highly informed, an indication that The Daily Show is not their lone source of news. Regular viewers of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report were most likely to score in the highest percentile on knowledge of current affairs. 
The Daily Show, which began in 1996, now has an average audience of about 1.8 million. By comparison, Fox News' primetime show Hannity & Colmes had an average audience of 1.9 million in the first quarter of 2008, and CNN's highest rated show, Election Center captured an average of 1.2 million viewers. Stewart became host of the Show in 1999 and also serves as a writer and co-executive producer.
Structurally, The Daily Show combines elements of both traditional news shows and late night variety programs. Two commercial segments divide the 30 minute show into three distinct parts. Typically the first segment consists of Stewart's monologue, which often uses video and audio clips. The second segment usually brings in correspondents who do skits, or staged interviews with Stewart. The third, and final, act of the show consists of a guest interview. Guests range from celebrities, to historians and politicians.
Having fun yet?
REVIVING THE GI BILL OF RIGHTS
BOB HERBERT, NY TIMES At the top of the list of no-brainers in Washington should be Senator Jim Webb's proposed expansion of education benefits for the men and women who have served in the armed forces since Sept. 11, 2001.. . . Senator Webb, a Virginia Democrat, has been the guiding force behind this legislation, which has been dubbed the new G.I. bill. The measure is decidedly bipartisan. Mr. Webb's principal co-sponsors include Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John Warner of Virginia, and Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. . . Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are on board, as are Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.. . .
The Bush administration opposes it, and so does Senator John McCain. Reinvigorating the G.I. bill is one of the best things this nation could do. The original G.I. Bill of Rights, signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, paid the full load of a returning veteran's education at a college or technical school and provided a monthly stipend. It was an investment that paid astounding dividends. Millions of veterans benefited, and they helped transform the nation. College would no longer be the exclusive preserve of the wealthy and those who crowned themselves the intellectual elite. As The New York Times wrote on the 50th anniversary of the G.I. bill: 'Few laws have done so much for so many.'
The Bush administration
opposes the new G.I. bill primarily on the grounds that it
is too generous, would be difficult to administer and would
adversely affect retention. This is bogus. The estimated
$2.5 billion to $4 billion annual cost of the Webb proposal
is dwarfed by the hundreds of billions being spent on the
wars we're asking service members to fight in Iraq and
Afghanistan. What's important to keep in mind is that the
money that goes to bolstering the education of returning
veterans is an investment, in both the lives of the veterans
themselves and the future of the nation.
It's easy to understand why Obama supporters and Democratic officials would like to see the primary battle brought to an end. Less clear is why the conventional media feels the same way. Under the rules of traditional journalism a fight is always better than its resolution. The former can last forever; the latter is stale news in a day or two.
But ever since the media became indentured servants of the powerful, this is no longer true. As soon as it seemed Obama would win the nomination, the media was out to show it recognized the fact and Clinton, like a bleeding, losing canine in a dog fight, was to be put to rest. Little things like the practice of democracy and the intrinsic purpose of even having a convention are placed aside out of respect for the presumptive winner.
You see this same creepy coddling of power in the way the media makes fun of third party candidates, worthy causes that lack major power, or singers who get kicked off American Idol. I always thought satire and ridicule were meant to be used against the powerful and not the weak, but that's far from the majority media view. Let's hope the political media doesn't start covering sports events. You'd end up paying for nine innings and only getting five.
Admittedly it is all getting pretty dull. But if you're going to insist that the Democrats' major concern is whether they are led by a black or a woman, there isn't much to talk about after a couple of months. The candidates approached this campaign like auto salesmen offering different models. So some voters said, "Hey, I like the black" or "I prefer the more feminine look" and after that, the conversation was pretty much over.
What they forgot was that other voters couldn't afford any car or had other matters on their mind, like health care, pensions, or home foreclosures. Lost in the shuffle was that both candidates claimed to want to get us out of Iraq but were vague about how and how much. One wanted to attack Pakistan while the other preferred obliterating Iran. Both favored programs that subsidized the health insurance industry by requiring voters to be its customers and neither offered any economic programs that were particularly encouraging.
A less evasive approach to real issues might have helped either candidate in the primaries and still could work in the general election. But that would mean reaching out beyond one's natural constituency and being more than just another brand. It would mean doing so more substantively than standing on the back of pickup trucks or eating cheese steak sandwiches with a slight frown on your face.
One of the basic problems the Democrats have is that much of their liberal constituency views with contempt much of the constituency the party needs to win. You don't have to own a rifle or go to church to reach those who do. But you do have to prove to others that you have the policies and the will to help them. And you have to care enough about those different from yourself to want to try.
MAKING IT EASIER TO FIND RON PAUL SUPPORTERS
PAULVILLE The goal of Paulville is to
establish gated communities containing 100% Ron Paul
supporters and or people that live by the ideals of freedom
and liberty. The process is forming a co-op of people buying
shares in the community and these people would be granted
land use at a minimum of 1 acre per share, for as long as
they homesteaded the land. The community would be privately
held by the co-op to establish private property for the
general community thus preserving the community is 100%
freedom and liberty lovers. The community votes on all
community efforts, such as utilities etc. However no one is
forced to consume these utilities and or pay for them, AKA
people can be off grid on their share of land. This is in
line with the ideals that you're free to live your life the
way you want and not be forced to do or pay for other
people's life styles you may not agree with. These
communities are not for the faint at heard they will start
as undeveloped land in non city locals, as this is the way
to secure large tracts of land needed for these
However the goal is a minimal financial outlay of around $500 per share to establish this community.
DON'T CRY FOR ME, ARKANSAS
Nostalgic moments from
the Clinton years
PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 2000 "Playing with the president was weird. He shot a 90. At the end of the game, his scorecard said 84." – Fourth–ranked NCAA golfer Bryce Molder on his round with President Clinton
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The Louisiana Democratic Party's hopes this fall of winning two congressional seats long held by Republicans could be dashed by a potential crippling revolt within its base. If Barack Obama wins the presidential nomination, Democratic candidates in Louisiana and other states could be swept into office by a massive African-American turnout. Yet some black legislators here have their own ideas about who should ride Sen. Obama's wave. Sen. Lydia Jackson of Shreveport, in the 4th District, and Rep. Michael Jackson of Baton Rouge, in the 6th District, say they are considering running for Congress in the fall as independents. As such, they would go directly onto the November ballot without having to survive one or two Democratic primaries against better-funded white candidates. African-American voters comprise 31 percent of the 4th District, 30 percent of the 6th and 24 percent of the 7th. Bayou Buzz
John Halle makes the case for a general strike next May Day, a tool used around the world, but not typically found in the American activist playbook.
FURTHERMORE. . .
Jeff Stein, CQ The State Department says it has found the 400 laptops that CQ reported were unaccounted for last week. A senior official in the department's Office of the Inspector General, speaking only on a not-for-attribution basis, acknowledged that managers in the Diplomatic Security service had lost track of the computers, which are destined for friendly foreign police services. But he said that they were located "within 24 hours" after CQ reported them missing over the weekend. "We didn't start looking until Monday morning, and found that this may have been an internal management count (problem)," the official said. "By the end of the afternoon they found out they were in Springfield or Herndon or wherever they're stored before they go overseas." CQ also reported May 2 that Mark Duda, a representative of the inspector general's office . . . warned the managers that they needed to get on top of the equipment issue before it "blows up." Duda said a scandal loomed akin to the one that engulfed the Veterans Administration in 2006, when news broke that a VA official had taken home a laptop with the personal records of 26 million veterans, which was subsequently stolen.
Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted says lawmakers determining whether Attorney General Marc Dann should be impeached over a sex scandal need help from an unlikely source: the attorney general himself. Husted said Wednesday the House isn't equipped to investigate whether Dann has committed any impeachable offenses. He says it would be helpful if Dann appointed an independent investigator to review all the information from the scandal.
NOTE: You can post your comments on any of the above stories by going to our Undernews site and searching for the headline. Once posted, a copy is immediately mailed to the Review and we pick some of the most interesting to publish here. http://prorev.com/indexa.htmTHE CORPORATE CURSE
I thought about this when I heard the guy from the Dresden Dolls (a retro cabaret singer - piano player act) talking about his products and offerings. There are a lot of reasons for this happening, as an artist it isn't easy to accept that this is the best way to go. But most culture unfortunately is shit. Maybe what your seeing is the vast expansion of that. Here's Conrad, in another context of course:
"It is very probable that, had the Battle of Salamis never been fought, the face of the world would have been much as we behold it now, fashioned by the mediocre inspiration and the short-sighted labours of men. From a long and miserable experience of suffering, injustice, disgrace and aggression the nations of the earth are mostly swayed by fear--fear of the sort that a little cheap oratory turns easily to rage, hate, and violence."
I have yammered here and other places about the collapse of the economy in the '70s and the reasons for that, primarily because the dollar was devalued on the say so of economists on the Commanding Heights. The history of the Modernist Era, at least in my field, has been a desperate attempt to take those heights by one group or another, and you do it by boiling out the personal and individual.
Finally they gave up and called the End of Art. People are still making art, but to me the economy of it resembles the middle class age of Rembrandt rather than the Church-centered Renaissance. Yes a lot of shit is created. But aren't we better off without the commands coming down from above? - wellbasically
- I've been preaching anti-MBA sermons to anyone who would listen for about 15 years. It's an incredible, terrible fraud on the public. - Jim
- Extraordinarily well done--cogent, readable, and tightly related to objective reality. This sort of article is why Mr. Smith's work is worth all of the other Intertrash put together. Keep it up, Sam; we love ya. - wam
Who cares what he says now; he's gonna say whatever gets him elected. Then after he's elected he can do whatever the hell he wants. I think he really does believe in decrim but he can't admit it while he's running for Prez. Once he's elected I'm sure he'll have no problem supporting it.
PHILLY POLICE BEATING
- It is hard to say what concerns one the most about this story. The beating, the PR excuses, or that the police had to know they were being videoed by the news helicopter above them, and they didn't give a damn. - Jim
- Maybe it's about time that we stopped being so terrified about admitting the possibility of genetic variables among people of different ethnic and racial groups. The differences don't necessarily have to be pejorative, but we'll never discover that either if we continue to let ourselves be so cowed by overblown notions of political correctness that we refuse to examine the data on that head objectively.
Cities, townships and municipalities can pass all the high-flown ceremonial resolutions they choose--acting on them is quite another matter altogether, and I strongly suspect any who tried would find Federal agents and troops on their doorstep in short order.
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Editor: Sam Smith