Thursday, January 31, 2008

NYT Story Suggests Bill Clinton Took Huge Bribe

Why did the New York Times endorse Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination when it had a story in the works suggesting that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, took a huge bribe from a Canadian mining magnate in exchange for helping him to close a Kazakhstan uranium mining deal?

The lengthy story by Jo Becker and Don Van Natta, Jr. begins on Page 1 of the NYT today, and it tells how Bill Clinton flew in the private plane of the magnate Frank Giustra into Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Sept. 6, 2005 to join in the effort -- opposed by both the U.S. government and his wife, Hillary, by the way -- to enhance the respectability of Kazakh's dictator, Nursultan A. Nazurbayev, and obtain just two days later a uranium mining deal worth "tens of millions of dollars" to Giustra.

Then, just months later, Giustra secretly gave $31.3 million to Clinton's charitable foundation, and since then has publicly pledged to give $100 million more. Meanwhile, Nazurbayev has been made head of an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. The story details how Clinton's "enthusiastic" support of this travesty "undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan's poor human rights record by, among others, , Mr. Clinton's wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York."

When I suggested two days ago that Bill Clinton was s a "loose cannon" who needed to be reined in by his wife, I received a comment on the blog suggesting I was being unfair to the Clintons.

But the question is, and five days before a national primary that could make Hillary the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is certainly an appropriate time to ask it, is whether the United States can afford to put the Clintons back in the White House when Bill Clinton has been behaving like a big time mobster?

Could it be that the L.A. Times will follow up the New York Times endorsement -- which sickened some of that paper's most eminent columnists, including Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and Nichoilas Kristof -- with a Clinton endorsement of its own?

Lordy, lordy, I hope not. The LAT endorsements for Tuesday's primary will come either Friday or Sunday.

Kristof raises the dynastic question in a column this morning in a column headlined, fittingly, "The Dynastic Question."

"In a presidential campaign that has involved battles over everything from Iraq to driver's licenses, one sweeping topic has gone curiously unexamined," Kristof writes. "Does it diminish American democracy if we keep the presidency in the same two families that have held it since 1989?

"If Hillary Rodham Clinton serves two terms, then for 28 years the presidency will have been held by a Bush or a Clinton. By that point, about 40% of Americans would have lived their entire lives under a president from one of these two families.

"Wouldn't that make our democracy seem a little, er. Pakistani?"

A damn good question, I'd say, particularly when there is evidence the husband of the new president would be a crook.

And the Kazakhstan caper is not his first. Who can forget, why should we forget, the sleazy pardons of criminals Like Marc Rich (no relation to either Frank Rich or me) that marked his last days as president?

It reminds me unhappily of the L.A. Times endorsement of Richard Nixon for reelection in 1972, when there was already gathering evidence that his administration was deeply corrupt.

This is why the stakes next Tuesday, and in the months ahead, are so great. Do we want this country mired in the scandals of the past, or do we want to move on to a new era, with new leadership?

That is why the candidacies of men like Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are so encouraging. We cannot afford to pass over these opportunities to redeem and renew our democratic system. (I interrupted the editing of this blog to watch California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorse McCain for president. As I watched Schwarzenegger and McCain, joined by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, supporting environmental reform and, specifically doing something substantive to deal with global warming, I was impressed how more and more people are coming together for a new day in American government and world cooperation).

The bottom line this week, however, is that we don't need in Washington men like Bill Clinton. And we can't afford newspaper editors like Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times who fail to protect the public interest.


Congratulations to Janet Clayton, former Metro editor and editorial pages editor of the L.A. Times, upon being named president of the ThinkCare charitable organization, devoted to curing cancer, and sponsored by such organizations as the Los Angeles Dodgers, KCAL-Channel 9 and USC.

Clayton would have been an excellent choice to be new editor of the L.A. Times. But she may have been too much her own person, as fired editors Dean Baquet and James O'Shea were, for the tastes of the publisher, David Hiller. She is probably better off in her new job. All best wishes to her.

The latest word is that Hiller may name a new editor Friday. I'm not expecting he or she will be much. Let's hope Hiller, for once, rises to the occasion.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you're busily dumping recycled dirt on Bill Clinton and piously promoting the candidacies of Obama and McCain as if you and they were Mssrs. Clean, why don't you mention the embarassing fact that Obama's longtime patron and so-called slumlord, Tony Rezko, got himself arrested by the feds a couple of days ago?

1/31/2008 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your claim that former president Bill Clinton is behaving like a "big time mobster" is such b.s. fueled by the hot air in your suburban outpost that I'm surprised you're not flying high to do a dump on Hillary in California.

1/31/2008 3:10 PM  
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