July 3, 2007
WASHINGTON — Six years ago, the launch of Hillary Clinton’s career in the US Senate was marred by allegations that her brothers had received payments from people pardoned by President Bill Clinton in the waning months of his presidency.
Now, in the wake of the launch of her presidential campaign, the pardon controversy has reemerged in an obscure court case in which Senator Clinton’s brother Tony is battling an order to repay more than $100,000 he received from a couple pardoned by President Clinton.
Tony Rodham, who acknowledged approaching the president about a pardon for the couple, is the second of Hillary Clinton’s brothers to receive money from people who were eventually pardoned by President Clinton. Hugh Rodham received $400,000 from two people, one of whom was pardoned and one whose sentence was commuted.
But while Hillary Clinton immediately expressed chagrin over the news in 2001 that Hugh received the money — and asked him to return it — she said Tony was “not paid,” according to a congressional report. The Clinton campaign yesterday declined to comment on the case involving Tony Rodham.
Clinton critics have been seeking to revive an array of controversies, from the Whitewater land deal to the Monica Lewinsky case. The Clinton campaign has sought to depict them as old or moot cases. But the Tony Rodham case could be different because it is in court just as Senator Clinton’s campaign reaches full speed.
Yesterday, US Bankruptcy Court Judge Marian Harrison of Nashville ordered Tony Rodham to respond by March 16 to the allegation that he failed to repay a loan of $107,000 from the couple pardoned by Clinton, according to attorneys involved in the case.
President Clinton’s pardons have been a political issue for Hillary Clinton because of her ties to a number of the cases. In addition to the people who paid her brothers, those receiving pardons included commodities trader Marc Rich, a fugitive who was prosecuted for tax evasion by then-US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and fled to Switzerland. Rich was pardoned after his former wife, Denise Rich, contributed heavily to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign.
Controversy over the pardons was reignited last week after Hollywood mogul and former Clinton supporter David Geffen criticized the Clintons for the Rich pardon.
“It is a legitimate campaign issue,” said Stephen Gillers, professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law. He said that Hillary Clinton should answer questions about her brothers’ and her own involvement in the pardons because “the stench of the Marc Rich pardon still stinks and it has never been adequately explained. “
The Tony Rodham lawsuit revolves around his work for a carnival company, United Shows of America, which was owned by Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory. The couple, who had been convicted of bank fraud, hired Tony Rodham as a business consultant and paid him $244,769 in salary over 2 1/2 years, according to a congressional report.
President Clinton pardoned the couple in March 2000. The Republican-controlled House Government Reform Committee issued a 2002 report that said Rodham had helped the couple obtain the pardon.
Edgar Gregory has since died, and his company is now bankrupt. The lawsuit against Tony Rodham, brought by the bankruptcy trustee, revolves around whether the Gregorys loaned Rodham $107,000, or whether that money was part of his salary. The trustee for the bankrupt estate says it was a loan that was never repaid and that, with interest, it would now be $153,000.
When Tony Rodham’s involvement with the Gregorys first became public in early 2001, Hillary Clinton said that her brother had known the couple “for some time . . . he has a personal relationship with them. He was not paid.”
The House Government Reform Committee report the next year, noting that Rodham had worked as a consultant to the Gregorys, said a further review should be conducted to determine whether Hillary Clinton “knew of the financial relationship between Tony Rodham and the Gregorys when Rodham was lobbying the President for pardons.” The report said Hillary Clinton’s “statement that Tony Rodham ‘was not paid’ is not accurate.”
Rodham yesterday did not respond to a request for comment. In 2001, he said on CNN that he had worked as a consultant for the Gregorys but that “on the pardon issue, I never received a dime from them.”
Rodham also said that he mentioned the pardon application to then-President Clinton. “Yes, I did,” Rodham said. “And I have no problem saying I mentioned it to the president.”
Attorneys for Rodham and the bankrupt estate said they have no plans to involve the Clintons in the case and declined to comment on the pardon.
“We are dealing with a bankrupt estate, so we are not going to be spending a lot of money to flesh out the pardon issues that are related to this,” Michael Collins, the attorney for the bankrupt estate, said.
Rodham’s attorney, Samuel Crocker, said in an interview yesterday that he believed the case would be settled. Crocker said he had “no interest” in involving the Clintons in the proceeding or delving into the pardon.
Groups critical of the Clintons have tied the case to questions about the pardons. Judicial Watch, a group that has targeted the Clintons for years, said the bankruptcy proceeding should prompt the Justice Department to review the circumstances of the pardon.
But a Justice Department official wrote to Judicial Watch on Jan. 16 that “it is likely that any new allegations would be outside of the five-year statute of limitations period.”
Judicial Watch last year tried to obtain unredacted documents related to the pardon of the Gregorys but were rebuffed by the Bush administration, which said releasing them would violate executive privilege.
The Clinton pardons were a major scandal in early 2001, as Hillary was beginning her term. She said she and the president did not know her brother Hugh had received $400,000 in fees from two people, one of whom received a commutation and one a pardon. Hugh Rodham has said he returned the money.
The Rich pardon received the most attention. Rich had been indicted in 1983 on charges of tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran. Rich fled to Switzerland and never stood trial.
Before Rich received the pardon in January 2001, his former wife, Denise Rich, contributed $70,000 to a fund supporting Hillary Clinton’s Senate bid, and also made a large contribution to the Clinton presidential library.
President Clinton has said he pardoned Rich at the behest of Israeli officials, and has denied any wrongdoing.
Right- the Israelis made him do it. Now that’s a culture of corruption, when you can blame a foreign government for your sins.
July 3, 2007
Once upon a time, on a farm in Indiana, there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered quite a few grains of wheat.
She called all of her neighbors together and said, “If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?”
“Not I,” said the cow.
“Not I,” said the duck.
“Not I,” said the pig.
“Not I,” said the goose.
“Then I will do it by myself.”, said the little red hen. And so she did. The wheat grew very tall and ripened into golden grain.
“Who will help me reap my wheat?” asked the little red hen.
“Not I,” said the duck.
“Out of my classification,” said the pig.
“I’d lose my seniority,” said the cow.
“I ‘d lose my unemployment compensation,” said the goose.
“Then I will do it by myself,” said the little red hen, and so she did.
At last it came time to bake the bread. “Who will help me bake the bread?”, asked the little red hen.
“That would be overtime for me,” said the cow.
“I’d lose my welfare benefits,” said the duck.
“I’m a dropout and never learned how,” said the pig.
“If I’m to be the only helper, that’s discrimination,” said the goose.
“Then I will do it by myself,” said the little red hen. She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see. They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, “No, I shall eat all five loaves.”
“Excess profits!” cried the cow.
“Capitalist leech!” screamed the duck.
“I demand equal rights!” yelled the goose.
The pig just grunted in disdain.
And they all painted “Unfair!!” picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.
Then a government agent came, he said to the little red hen, “You must not be so greedy.”
“But I earned the bread,” said the little red hen.
“Exactly,” said the agent. “That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy and idle.”
And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, “I am grateful, for now I truly understand.”
But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her. She never again baked bread because she joined the “party” and got her bread free. And all the Democrats smiled. ‘Fairness’ had been established. Individual initiative had died, but nobody noticed; perhaps no one cared … as long as there was free bread that “the rich” were paying for.
Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs. Hillary got $8 million for hers. That’s $20 million for memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn’t remember anything. (h/t Fausta)
July 3, 2007
Yesterday, SC&A were fortunate enough to be guests of Fausta’s Blog Talk Radio program.
We discussed the recent terror attacks and attempted terror attacks in the UK, as well as ‘what a terrorist looks like.’
As we noted, ‘you don’t need to be smart to commit terror- you need to be committed to a cause.’
This edition of Fausta’s Blog Talk Radio podcast, like all her podcasts, is a winner.
July 3, 2007
In Doctors, Sadists And The Beasts of Radical Islam, Dr Sanity discusses the bright and dark sides of medical practitioners. Her remarks are needed to be understood in context as she proceeds to make the following observations:
Doctors are in a position to do both great good and great harm. Understanding a little of their own darker motivations can be helpful in keeping them from becoming monsters like Dr. Mengele or Dr. Zawahiri or Dr. Shipman (who has the distinction of being the most prolific serial killer of all time) –but that potential certainly lies within every physician–to a degree that is likely significantly greater than most other humans.
When those of our profession who have taken the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm” are involved in incidents like the recently attempted terror bombings in England and Scotland, the horror experienced by all prospective patients who put their lives in our hands is palpable. When a terror plot is hatched in a hospital; and when some doctors who give into that dark side of themselves and find enjoyment, meaning or even religious awe by causing death instead of preventing it–it seems far more terrifying than any actions by your typical run-of-the-mill barbarian thug. After all, one expects a certain repellent style of behavior from barbarian thugs. It is extremely shocking to discover that the same repellent style can also exist in members of a profession that prides itself in saving human life.
Clearly, an advanced education is no guarantee of civilized behavior. After decades of institutionalized hate, racism and bigotry, is it any wonder that the broken and dysfunctional regimes of the Arab world have produced legions of broken and dysfunctional people? Of course not.
The Nazi regime, held in such high esteem in the Arab world (Mein Kampf is second only to the Quran in book sales) embraced an ideology of hate that was to last only a few years. The origin of Nazi ideologies was the purview of a few peripheral individuals, all outcasts. In the Arab world, the institutionalized hate is mainstream and has been mainstream for a long time. The Arab world has embraced and celebrated hate and vicious ideologies for over a century. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are doctors and plumbers, lawyers and bus drivers that are morally and ethically broken.
What drives an individual to commit acts of terror is more often than not a very conflicted self.
For example, once free of the institutionalized hate, racism and bigotry so prevalent in the Middle East, many Arabs are shocked to learn that the hated kaffirs, Jews and Christians are not the beasts they were taught they were, but are productive, kind and caring members of society at large (Virtually every large American city has a hospital founded by the Jewish community, established to serve the community at large, in the same way there are Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist hospitals. There has been no equivalent effort expended by the Arab and Muslim communities, nor is there appear to be any inclination to do so).
If an individual who is taught not to value life from a very young age, it should come as no surprise that even if that individual becomes a physician, they will not suddenly come to value life. In fact, an internal crisis or ‘tipping point’ might emerge.
Surrounded by other physicians who do care about the lives of all their patients, Arab doctors may come to question their own beliefs and value systems. This questioning might cause a great deal of internal conflict. When confronted with these realities, they can choose to respond in one of two ways. They can embrace what they now know to be the truth, or they can retreat into their own dungeons of dysfunction. To accept reality means to acknowledge that every value and moral that embraces the mother’s milk of hate has served only to poison them and their society.
The lifelong struggle for self awareness and insight can give meaning to life. This assumes a person is relatively healthy. No search for meaning can result in a positive outcome of the individual is broken. There are no healthy bigots, racists any more than there are healthy societies of racists and bigots.
When a morally broken and failed society attempts to instill meaning and purpose into it’s own people, we cannot expect fully moral or ethical populations.
When Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon was killed in the tragic Columbia disaster, there were those in the Arab world who celebrated the event, openly and without shame. ‘Educated’ Arabs spoke of the ‘joy in the heart’ of every Arab upon learning the news of the dead Jew. All the while, the Arab world that so happily embraces the poison and venom of hate, deludes itself into believing that they are ‘just like us.’
A posting on http://www.alfajr.com by Sheikh Dr. Ali Al-Tamimi, an American citizen said: “The whole world heard about the shuttle crash. Undoubtedly, the heart of every believer leaped with joy at the disaster of his greatest enemy.”
Al-Tamimi said, “In my heart arose some thoughts that I would like to share with my brothers: First, the name of the shuttle, Columbia, is from Columbus, who discovered the American continent in 1492 following the fall of Grenada, the last of the strongholds of Islam in Andalusia. It is known that with the discovery of the two American continents, the Byzantines, that is, the Christians of Europe, exploited the resources of both these continents in order to take over the Islamic world. With the fall of the Columbia, a thought arose in my heart that this was a powerful sign that the supremacy of the West, and particularly that of the U.S., which began 500 years ago, is about to fall precipitously – Allah willing, as happened to the shuttle.”
The American continued, “Second, the shuttle crew included an Israeli astronaut, about whom the Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. said that he bore with him all the hopes and aspirations of the Israeli people. Thus, these hopes and aspirations burned up, Allah willing, in the fall and burning of the shuttle.”
Third, he said, “CNN announced at the beginning that the shuttle fell near the city of Palestine, Texas. I said to myself: Allah is great; thus, Allah willing, will America fall in Palestine.”
Al-Tamimi said that “Texas is the state of the stupid president George Bush Jr., about whom we hope, Allah willing, that, like the shuttle fell on his country, his idiotic policy will collapse the foundations of his country on his head.
Finally, he said, “in the president’s eulogy, to the American people … he quoted from the Book of Isaiah … . I said to myself: Allah be praised, in this book there is a prophecy regarding the coming of the Prophet Muhammad and the destruction of the Jews at the end of time … . Anyone who sought to elevate the Jews on whom Allah has cast humiliation and misery … will be struck by humiliation and by divine wrath.”
There will be murderous doctors and terrorists until we hold them accountable for their actions. Terror and mayhem are not acceptable forms of religious and political expression amongst civilized people. If the Arab and Islamic world want to be considered equals and loved, there needs to be a kind of ‘tough love.’ They need to be held accountable for their actions, inactions and words they utter.
*UPDATE* Shrinkwrapped doesn’t shrink away from his own take on doctors gone wild. In Doctors Of Death, he notes
Several trends intersect to produce Doctors of Death. The intellectual underpinnings go back to the Nazis, whose ideology forms part of the ideology of the Islamists, adapted to their interpretation of Islam. For certain types of Doctors who have an overabundance of intellect and an insufficiency of humanity, Physician training can be easily corrupted by ideology…
The Nazis took such objectification several steps further. They skillfully created an ideology, based on identity politics, that considered the population as a whole as an organic entity, akin to a person. The body politic was reified. Once such a conceptualization had been made, the step toward seeing certain sub-populations as being akin to infectious agents or tumors, causing illness and distress in the body politic, became inevitable. Medical Doctors then were tasked with curing the body politic by excising the offending sub-populations. The gas chamber followed.
Islam as practiced by the purveyors of Wahhabism, goes yet another step. Here the objectification of the sub-population is religiously sanctioned. Islamic states overtly treat non-Muslims as sub-humans, with limited rights, whose very existence is a stain on Islam, though Islam gains stature by not only tolerating such lesser beings but actually hold themselves out as moral and peace loving by protecting the “inferior” races and religions (“Muslim man’s burden”, perhaps.)
The confluence of the Nazi inspired objectification of entire populations with its attendant genocidal rationalization with the Islamic religiously sanctioned genocidal rationalizations, creates a powerful toxic mixture which can easily overcome the rationality of a Muslim Physician. Add in the tendency of the Muslim world to eschew any responsibility for their own suffering and the need to project all their hatred and failure onto others, and the Physician, in complete agreement with Mengele, Habash, Rantisi, and Zawahiri, takes it upon himself to “cure” his community by murdering the objectified other. Murder and suicide then become evidence of his loving devotion to the well-being of his people and all the while he keeps himself unaware of the sadistic hate that fuels his “treatment.”
These physicians are doing God’s work. In the eyes of these Muslim doctors, ridding the world of the ‘other,’ hides their own failures. The magnitude of those failures are only highlighted and magnified by comparison with hated ‘others,’ whose achievements, accomplishments and successes only serve to highlight their own spectacular moral and ethical malfunctions and dysfunctions.
If the ‘other’ can’t be seen, the ‘other’ doesn’t exist.