Sunday, 15 September 1996 19:57

CTKA's Presidential Endorsement (1996)

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Pity a populace that must choose between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton as the chief executive of their government. Or even Dole, Clinton, and Ross Perot. In good conscience, CTKA cannot endorse any of them, writes Jim DiEugenio, arguing in favor of a vote for Ralph Nader.

Pity a populace that must choose between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton as the chief executive of their government. Or even Dole, Clinton, and Ross Perot. In good conscience, CTKA cannot endorse any of them. There is someone we do support. But before we explain why, we will explain why not.

For us, Bob Dole is, in political parlance, a "non-starter". Many have recently pointed out Dole's support for the tobacco companies as indicative of the kind of politician he is. We say the indications go back much further and deeper than just the tobacco companies. Dole was a fond admirer of the great divider of the American political system, Richard Nixon. And Dole staunchly supported Nixon through both the escalation of the Vietnam War and the paralyzing Watergate scandal. Dole has rarely found a corporate cause or thiet he didn't like. When two multimillionaire oil entrepreneurs were hauled before a Senate committee for stealing 30 million in oil from Indian reservations, Dole used the old chestnut of launching diversionary attacks against witnesses in order to disrupt the proceedings. The Koch brothers then became major contributors to Dole and the Republican party (for a complete report on this, see The Nation of 8/26/96). Like husband, like wife. Liddy Dole is supposed to be his better half. Not true. When Ms. Dole ran the Red Cross in the early 90's, her chief adviser was Mari Will, wife of Washington Post pundit, Oswald did it stalwart, and CIA defender George Will. Any candidate close to the Wills is an enemy of the research community, and consequently, good government.

Most revealing about Bob Dole was his behavior during the Iran-Contra scandal. As the mainstream media tried to make Jim Garrison the criminal when he probed the Kennedy case, Dole tried to make Lawrence Walsh the culprit of that later scandal. According to Robert Parry, Dole detracted attention from the allegations against Reagan-Bush officials by hectoring Walsh over issues like where he paid his local taxes and his first class airfares. In other words, Dole was part of the Washington "insider" effort to defuse and defund Walsh's investigation. After Bush stopped Walsh's probe by pardoning his suspects, Dole boasted in public about his role in derailing Walsh. If one is looking for someone to fund and extend the Review Board, and later appoint an independent consul, Dole would be a hapless choice. Ross Perot is to be credited for offering an alternative to the two party system. He wants to clean the lobbyists and special interests out of Washington. He campaigned against NAFTA. But Perot has an erratic and dictatorial streak in him, as exemplified by the controversy in the nominating process of his Reform Party. Although people in the research community offered him material on Gerald Posner, he has not used it even though Citizen Perot is a hit piece timed for the presidential race. Also, like Dole, Perot was a strong supporter of Richard Nixon as is attested to in John Ehrlichmann's bookWitness to Power. Reportedly, Perot also contributed to the candidacy of Oliver North in his run for the Senate. Recently another of North's criminal activities was brought to light: the selling of cocaine for distribution to gangs in Los Angeles. So although Perot is better on some issues, he seems a bit myopic about the overall picture.

Which brings us to the incumbent. Most of us at CTKA voted for Bill Clinton in '92. George Bush, former DCI, had fought the JFK Act. During the campaign, Clinton made some overtures our way. He stated in McKeesport, Pennsylvania that he realized many people had lingering questions about the JFK case and they deserved answers. The centerpiece of his nominating convention was the famous film of himself at the White House in 1963 shaking hands with President Kennedy. After his election, he made a grand photo opportunity out of his visit to Kennedy's grave at Arlington. After a slow start, he did finally get the Review Board nominated. But then in 1993, on the 30th anniversary of the assassination, he blindsided us. In response to a question by a CNN reporter Clinton said that, after reading Case Closed , he was now satisfied with the official verdict in the case. Since then, as noted in our last issue, he has yet to make a positive decision in favor of the Review Board in any of its disputes with the FBI over redactions in released documents. To our knowledge, he has made only one mention of the Board in public since Mr. Marwell was instated, and that was a passing notice. On the Robert Kennedy case, Clinton wrote the foreword to the recent book The Last Campaign, by Time-Life photographer Bill Eppridge and writer Hays Gorey. The book states that Sirhan killed RFK. Clinton implies the same in his unqualified opening endorsement. In retrospect, we should have known better about Clinton in 1992.

With our knowledge of the media, painfully culled from its treatment of the JFK case, we should have known something was up with the Arkansas governor. Back in 1988, when Clinton blew his nationally televised nominating speech for Michael Dukakis, he was invited onto The Tonight Show where he was allowed to kid himself over his longwindedness thereby redeeming his national image. When he finished second in the New Hampshire primary in 1992, he was allowed the guest spot on Nightline and, unchallenged by Ted Koppel, he announced himself the "real" winner since he finished a closer second than expected. When the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal brimmed over, he got a spot on Sixty Minutes with Hillary as his Tammy Wynettish wife that patched up his "family man" image. Later in the campaign, when the Whitewater and Mena stories started to leak out of Arkansas, Time did its turn with a remarkably deceptive cover story. Entitled "The Doubts About Bill Clinton", it masqueraded as an inquisition of his tenure as governor. In reality it ended up giving him the benefit of the doubt on every accusation. In other words, it was designed to put the rumors to rest.

How does a candidate get the red carpet treatment into the White House? Why would NBC, ABC, CBS, and Time-Life smooth the rails to get a Democrat into power? Those are the questions we should have been asking ourselves amid these odd maneuverings. The answers are in Roger Morris' new book on the Clintons, Partners in Power. In our Jan/Feb issue, we recommended the Morris biography of Richard Nixon as the best in that crowded field. He has repeated that feat with his work on the Clintons. Some of the things revealed in this book confirm the suspicions many people have had about the Clintons and explain the remarkable orchestrations to get him into office. Consider:

  1. Clinton lied to the University of Arkansas to escape the draft and used a crony of former governor Winthrop Rockefeller to stall his local draft board into delaying their decision on his case. These delay tactics were enough to get him out of serving in the Vietnam War since Nixon instituted a draft lottery in 1969. Clinton has orchestrated a cover-up of these facts since his first run for office in 1974.
  2. Morris cites three confidential sources in making his case that Clinton was a CIA informant at Oxford reporting on radicals in the anti-war movement abroad.
  3. The Rose Law Firm was the Sullivan and Cromwell of Arkansas. If Allen and John Foster Dulles had been attorneys in Little Rock instead of New York City, they would have felt at home there. It was a lawyers' school for scandal that fits right into the contemporary--and well-deserved--caricature of attorneys who, as long as they are paid $300 an hour, will cover up any kind of corporate malfeasance. Clinton got Hillary her the job there. It is at this time that Hillary Clinton took part in her patently rigged commodities deal, which Morris exposes as a thinly disguised political bribe. If Hillary Clinton had any ideals, and Morris indicates she had some, they were lost when she went to work at Rose in 1976.
  4. If Clinton had any ideals--and the case is weaker for him--he lost them after his failed reelection bid for governor in 1980. Contrary to popular belief, that loss did not change him from a dewy-eyed idealist into a pragmatist. It put him even more solidly in the camp of the powerful and wealthy interests who had backed him from the start.
  5. If the drugs for weapons transfer site at Mena, Arkansas is ever honestly examined by the major media or a legislative body, it will destroy Clinton and put Oliver North and George Bush in jail. Which, of course, is where they should have been if Dole had not obstructed Walsh.

The amazing thing about all of the above points is that they were all evident to Arkansas observers before Clinton ran in the Democratic primaries. Yet the American people were not allowed to know the full truth about Bill Clinton. The fact that the media provided interference for him should have alerted us like a flare in the night. So the failures of his administration, not just on the JFK Act, should have been no surprise or provided little disappointment. As Robert Parry has pointed out, Clinton was in a great position to reopen the "October Surprise" investigation since the Russians offered him new evidence that it had actually happened. Clinton has had opportunities to expose the sordidness of the Reagan-Bush years on the horrors of the El Mozote massacre, on Iraqgate, on the GOP tampering with his mother's State Department files. On all these, as well as the JFK case, he has remained silent. In many ways he has actually endorsed two political tendencies that CTKA most deplores and anyone who still values in the legacy of John Kennedy holds dear: the excesses of the national security state, and the wild maldistribution of wealth that has ravaged America since 1980. Clinton has doubled the number of FBI authorized wiretaps that Bush allowed. As exposed by the Los Angeles Times, he secretly authorized arms shipments into Bosnia through Iranian allies. Now that historians like Gar Alperovitz have exposed the myth of the "necessity" of dropping the atomic bomb, Clinton tries to reinflate it by saying he would have made the same choice as Truman did.

On the economy, unlike JFK, Clinton does anything except battle Wall Street. Giant investment house Goldman Sachs was one of the major contributors to his '92 campaign, so they are well represented with Robert Rubin at Treasury. The same Rubin who defended the FBI's incineration of 96 people at Waco. Late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was a partner of Tommy Boggs, a $500 per hour Washington lobbyist. Boggs is the son of Hale Boggs and brother of Cokie Roberts, George Will's partner in bashing Stone's JFK and Nixon in front of millions on TV. Clinton had an opportunity to replace Federal Reserve Chairman Allen Greenspan, that darling of Rockefeller-Morgan interests on Wall Street. He didn't and this keeps Wall Street and other wealthy interests happy; happy enough to give Clinton twelve million on his recent August 19th birthday, a sum that smashes all records for Democratic, and possibly GOP, fundraisers.

There must be a hitch to all this. Nobody shells out 12 million for nothing. There is. Far from reversing, or even halting the Reagan-Bush upward redistribution of wealth, Clinton has aided it. In a report issued in July, the standard of living for the poor is revealed as bad or worse in 1994 than in any year since 1967. The frightening pace of corporate mergers, especially in the media, has not abated. Pentagon and CIA budgets have not been seriously curtailed by the collapse of the "Red Menace". Wall Street has been so cheered by Clinton's policies that a headline in the Los Angeles Times of August 3rd actually reads, "Job Rate Growth Slows, Cheering Wall Street". The defeat of Kennedy's economic policies (so aptly portrayed by Donald Gibson), is so complete that Kennedy adviser Dick Goodwin can write an editorial lamenting the fact that Kennedy's struggle for economic justice is now over; the rich have won out. Goodwin should have ended with the quote, "Bill, you're no JFK."

This is unfortunate for both Clinton and the Democrats. It is also, in an American way, short-sighted on sheer political terms. First, as Kevin Phillips has pointed out, since the issue of the Warren Report the average American's cynicism about government has grown to epidemic proportions. This has now spread to the GOP, i.e. there seems to be a dealignment of both parties marked by large defections to third parties or independent status. In a July poll, an astonishing 60% of the public favors the rise of a third party. One of the main reasons quoted was that: People have such an incredibly poor view of politics and politicians, and such incredibly low expectations that it takes very little to make them convinced that what they are seeing is the same "old stuff".

Concomitant with this is the voters' knowledge that things weren't always this bad on the economic front; there was a president we used to trust. This was demonstrated in a July New York Times /CBS poll. When the respondents were asked which former president they would like to have running the country today, the winner in a landslide was John Kennedy. He received double the votes of Reagan and triple the amount of Truman, Lincoln, or FDR. This is even more remarkable in light of the myriad attempts to defame both the man and his presidency in every kind of media. An attempt which, we feel, has demonstrably increased in recent years. When a respondent was asked specifically why she voted for Kenendy, the reply was because he was "for the poor people, while today everyone seems to be more for the rich." In other words, he wasn't part of the Washington crowd which Morris calls, "the culture of complicity". For us there is very little difference between Clinton, Dole, and Perot. Or between those three and the corporate lobbyists and media pundits with whom they cavort. Kennedy wasn't part of that Washington crowd. He felt they distorted his message. As he told Ben Bradlee, "I always said, when we don't have to go through you bastards, we can really get our story to the American public." Kennedy's willingness to stand up for the public and against these money interests was never more vividly illustrated than in Executive Order 11110 of June 7th, 1963. This instructed Treasury to bypass the Rockefeller-Morgan Federal Reserve Board and begin minting its own silver dollars and silver certificates. Wall Street denizen Douglas Dillon pressed Johnson to reverse that decision. He did three weeks after the assassination.

There is one candidate running for president this year that we can endorse. In fact as this is being written I am listening to his acceptance speech given at UCLA's McGowan Hall. His name is Ralph Nader and he is the candidate of the Green Party. Some of our younger readers may not know who he is. As a young lawyer in Hartford, he noticed that many of his personal injury clients had been crippled as a result of automobile accidents. Upon investigation he discovered that the automobiles could have been manufactured more safely to minimize many of the injuries. In 1965 he wrote a book that exposed Detroit's culpability: Unsafe at Any Speed. It became a bestseller and vaulted him to Capitol Hill where his Senate testimony forced Congress to pass the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. The next year he was instrumental in getting Congress to pass a law for more stringent inspection of slaughterhouses and meat processing plants. It was Nader who convinced Jock Yablonski to run against corrupt UMW leader Tony Boyle. When GM launched a secret investigation of Nader, he sued and won. With this money he set up Public Citizen Inc., the umbrella group for his investigations of misleading advertising, abuses in nursing homes, and yes, a sick political system that ignores citizens yet is all to quick to respond to corporate and Pentagon wishes. Nader's example caused a whole slew of idealistic young people--Nader's Raiders--to join him. Compared to Dole, Clinton, and Perot on a moral and political plane, Nader has the stature of Nelson Mandela. In fact, next to Mandela, he still looks OK. Recently, his name was enough to stop what he calls "tort deformation" in California, i.e. the limiting of malpractice awards in civil cases. Reportedly, James Carville, Clinton's chief political adviser fears a well-funded, media exposed Nader candidacy more than any other. In other words, if Nader had Perot's money, Carville would be having sleepless nights.

To quote Malcolm X, what we are seeing now is the "chickens coming home to roost." The beginning of the breakdown of the traditional two party system in America. To which Probe says "Good riddance"; but more in sorrow than in anger. The party of FDR and JFK was a good one. But a party that won't demand the truth about the murder of its most popular leader, or the man who would have saved us from Nixon, Robert Kennedy, or its equivalent of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, does not deserve to persist. In Nader's acceptance speech of August 19th, he talked about U. S. support of foreign dictatorships that exploit cheap labor; the debasement of democracy by giant corporations; the maldisribution of wealth in America and how to correct it; the bloated Pentagon budget in the wake of the Cold War; a revival of citizenship and democracy among in schools. In short, he sounded a bit like young John Kennedy. If he gets on the national debates, Carville might have some difficulty sleeping. Even if he doesn't, we're for him. We'd rather cast a vote for a new beginning, no matter how far off, than be a sucker for false hope, even if it comes cynically gift-wrapped in the mantle of JFK.

Last modified on Monday, 31 October 2016 01:21
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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