American 
Flush twice... it's a long way to Sally Quinn's place...















Pundit Pap
for January 19, 2003
Smirk eager to get his war on
by the Pundit Pap Team

Jan. 19, 2003, 4:50 PM -- NEW YORK (APJP) -- Out here in the real world, there are a couple of issues that people are actually talking about.

First, there's Junior's latest assault on minorities in the form of his decision to back the Confederate position in a lawsuit against the University of Michigan's admissions policy. It seems that people are finally beginning to figure out that the smirking dingbat masquerading as leader of the free world only supports a leg up for rich, stupid C students when it comes to college admissions. And who is coming to his defense? Why none other than Condolleeza Rice, the ultra-right, doctrinaire idiot who sold out our national security to political considerations -- completely dropping the ball on Al Qaeda despite Sandy Berger's warnings.

But who should be surprised? Even David Frum admits in his newly published book that there is "dearth" of actually thinking among the Texas Twit's circle of handlers and puppeteers -- and this certainly includes the completely unqualified Rice.

But we digress.

The other niggling issue is that little Hatfield-McCoy feud Little George is trying to engineer against Saddam Hussein. Around 300,000 people protested against going to war with Saddam yesterday in Washington, despite bone-chilling temperatures. To our surprise, cable news channels actually covered the event. C-SPAN even eschewed a gathering of right-wing pro-war morons to cover the largest gathering, where speakers included Tyne Daly, Patti Smith, and Ramsey Clark -- who called for the impeachment of former Texas governor George W. Bush and his fellow Texan, Dick Cheney.

Earlier in the week, UN inspectors turned up twelve old artillery warheads that the cable news infotainers immediately labeled "chemical warheads"! Ooh! Spooky! Scary! It looked like a move to justify military action -- especially given that these warheads are engineered for artillery that only has a maximum range of, say, twelve miles. In other words, they pose no threat to New York, or Washington, or Tel Aviv. They are a tactical battlefield weapon.

So it was no surprise to see Iraq back at the top of the talk show compost heap -- and even less of a surprise to see Donald "Vietnam draftees were crap" Rumsfeld and other Bunnypants Administration top players spinning for war -- or at least regime change.

 

ABC This Weak
Steph lets slip the Rummy of war!

Players:
George "Steph" Stephanopoulos, boyish host
Don "Dr. Strangefeld" Rumsfeld, Secretary of War and More War, Dammit!
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Former Sen. Gary "Stud Muffin" Hart

Steph's first guest was, of course, Rumsfeld, whose first order of business was to fire off a priority one Smirk spin point: despite Hans Blix's comments, Iraq has not cooperated and even lied in their weapons declaration -- and, Rummy predicted, will not cooperate.

Yep, that evil evildoer is guilty and they won't believe it even if the UN finds him mostly innocent.

Steph asked if there would be a war if there were no smoking gun, and Don Rummione, sounding oddly like any of the stock "old school" mob characters on The Sopranos, claimed that a number of nations would sign onto a new coalition to take on Saddam. When Steph argued that Saddam had been contained, Rummy argued that containment has failed -- but himself failed to explain how or why.

When Steph brought up the chemical shells and a cache of nuke documents uncovered by UN inspectors -- in the context of the inspections working -- Rummy suggested that Saddam meant for these items to be found.

Huh? Has Rummy been copping Smirk's stash of hallucinogenic pretzels/ Do the math: within hours of the chemical-capable shells being uncovered, TIME reported that a faction of the Saudi government is working to engineer a coup. It could very easily be argued that Saddam's internal rivals are behind this week's "discoveries" by inspectors.

Steph asked when the window on military action closes -- and Rummy said it won't, giving a rambling answer about money and measured decisions. There are better times than others -- Rummy refused to get into the specifics, but it's been made clear that the war hawks see serious problems with war during the hot Iraqi summer.

Would exiling Saddam be a viable and acceptable option? Rummy, in the first of many such recitations of the spin point this Sunday, replied by emphatically saying "anything besides war" would be great -- but questions of amnesty or immunity for Saddam, his family and cohorts are not up to him. Rummy, interestingly, called the exile of Saddam and his coterie "a fair trade" for avoiding war altogether.

Hmm... that sounds to us like a Big Fat Saudi-Turkish-Jordanian Wedding of US military pressure from the outside and Arab pressure on Iraqi players from within.

Steph turned to war preparations : what will it look like -- and what will the human and dollar cost? Rummy addressed the latter, saying the Office of Management and Budget estimates a price tag of $50 billion. Steph suggested OMB might, just might, be lowballing the actual final price, and Rummy muttered "Baloney" before raising the specter of a biological attack on the US, adding that war is unpredictable, and Saddam may well use chemical or biological weapons.

It was a truly twisted non-sequitur employed to suggest, "Who cares how much it costs if Saddam unleashes weapons of mass destruction" -- which merely served to remind us that Saddam never posed much of a threat until "Baby Dork" Bush started rattling his saber.

Steph then quoted the bellicose Saddam and his implication that there would be urban war in Baghdad and a victory for Iraq. Rummy said Saddam is a liar (as if we don't know) -- Saddam claims he won Desert Storm, and he's using human shields. He is only one man, and he may want to use WMDs, but the US has made it clear that Iraqi military personnel who use WMDs will be held accountable.

Interestingly, Rummy returned to the issue of internal revolt, focusing on Iraqi Shiites who loathe Saddam.

Steph then brought up the Saturday antiwar protests -- and then played Moveon.org's remake of the "Daisy" ad which calls for UN inspectors to be allowed to do their work, but, as with most cable news operations, slanted the message of the commercial by not playing the entire spot. Rummy said that the ad is getting more play in the media, as was the original "Daisy" ad which was "irresponsible" (but far be it from Rummy to castigate ABC for irresponsibly playing an edited version of the spot). He said the ad doesn't persuade people rationally or emotionally (a sure sign that the ad IS persuasive).

Finally, Steph turned the focus to North Korea, asking Rummy about a deal in which the nation would get energy and food aid in exchange for ramping down their nuclear programs. Rummy did not want to sound like an appeaser, saying that the US would not be blackmailed, and calling for diplomacy. (Funny how all that "blame the appeaser Clinton" rhetoric has mysteriously disappeared.)

We passed on the round table, which preceded the second big guest: Sen. Ted Kennedy, who started his segment with Steph by plugging guaranteed health coverage for everyone who works at least 20 hours a week, streamlined information technology to cut costs, a system that rewards outcomes and focuses on prevention of expensive diseases such as diabetes and stroke.

Steph said that the business community is already whining about his proposal amounting to another "required mandate" -- and Kennedy said that the nation cannot afford but to have a comprehensive program, and the plan builds on ideas that work. Health gets paid for one way or another, and Kennedy said his plan will put a handle on costs. Steph played video footage of Smirk talking about his plan to "cap civil damages" in medical lawsuits (read: strip citizens of their right to getting a just award when some doctor or HMO screws up) -- will Kennedy accept caps on civil awards? Kennedy said there is virtually no difference in health insurance premiums among states with and without caps -- and Smirk's plan of a $1000 credit still won't cover insurance costs for the poor. Worse yet, said the Tedster, Smirk wants Medicare patients in HMOs -- which are part of the problem.

Kennedy then talked about Iraq: Smirk's "priorities are a mess", Iraq is the"wrong war at the wrong time" -- and then Kennedy lit into the Boy King's claim that inspectors wouldn't work. They are, said Ted -- and now the administration is whining about it! (You could hear the delight Kennedy was taking in pointing out Team Smirk's complete hypocrisy.) The misadministration, said Kennedy, snubbed North Korea and have alienated South Korea. How much time would Kennedy give the inspectors? Kennedy said they need as much time as they need -- and Smirk should focus on homeland security and the Korea crisis.

Kennedy looked and sounded great. More encouragingly, Steph looked as if he was having a great time mixing it up with Ted. That's an encouraging sign -- we sure hope to see more of him on the Sunday shows, the evening news, and cable news channels.

Steph's final guest was Gary Hart, and Steph opened the interview by mentioning that Hart has launched a new web site and is headed to Iowa -- symptoms of Ovalofficus Covetus Maximus, a disease that seems to strike some pols about two years after someone is given the presidential oath of office.

Hart said he is planning a speaking tour and will make a decision on a run for the Democratic presidential slot in March. He's going to "give it the old college try" and will base his decision on the response he gets. Naturally, Steph could not resist bringing up the "scandal" about some Monkey Business on a boat (forgetting that everyone except uptight Evangelical types loves a stick man). Hart fired right back -- sixteen years ago, he apologized to the nation and his family. He's built a career as a policy wonk and author, everyone makes personal mistakes, and Americans are very forgiving. (Hint to Hart: next time, remind Little Judas that Bill Clinton had an over 70% F score on the day he was impeached -- with Smirk just above 50%, maybe he needs to have a fling himself!) Steph kept flogging -- horrors -- a sixteen-year-old scandal, asking if the old story is no longer a factor! Well, conceded Hart, it is a factor (and, in retrospect, most voters would rather have a visionary who likes Monkey Business than an uptight, self-righteous dumbass in the Oval Office). But then, Hart pointed out that if people are dying in Iraq, who's going to care about personal peccadilloes?

Hart laid out some of his issues: a more progressive foreign policy, a national health plan, and homeland security that focuses on escalated threats. Hart feels that the US is completely unprepared for retaliation once American soldiers set foot in Iraq, and container ships are the number one unchecked threat. He repeated his point that invasion of Iraq amplifies the threat not just from Saddam but other Islamic groups and nations that hate us.

The segment was short and to the point. Hart failed to dazzle -- but Snippy and his team of warmongers should heed his warnings about homeland security.

-- JJ Balzer

 

FAUX News Spin Day!
Rummy recycles his spin points!

The players:
Tony "Baloney" Snow, arch-propagandist but still the host with the best hair on Sunday political TV
Rummy
Senate Minority Leader Tom "Slowly growing a spine" Daschle (D-SD)

We caught the first half hour of FNS.

Tony's top stories: War is inevitable in Iraq! All those protesters who invaded DC yesterday are irrelevant!

Tony welcomed Rummy, first playing a video clip of our dashing War Minister saying that Iraqi scientists should be pulled out of the country in order to provide a smoking gun. Tony even asked Rummy if this means that the US has no "smoking gun" to justify Iraq Attaq!

Rummy, to Tony's shock, urged patience and caution -- UN chief inspector Hans Blix and his team are still inspecting, but things are starting to turn up.

Tony: Do we know what they are producing in the way of WMDs?
Rummy: My goodness, NO! It's a big country, and they have active programs.

We laughed out loud -- that sounds like a non-smoking-gun smoking gun to us!

Tony retorted that there are many who do not feel that Smirky has the goods on Saddam and cannot justify his feud. This gave Rummy an opening to say there is "solid information" on equipment and material they have purchased and how they are hiding the goods and the paper trail (this apparently being a reference to aluminum and motor parts shipped from India to elsewhere in the Middle East that somehow turned up in Iraq). The problem, said, Strangefeld, is that Saddam's toadies will say such-and-such is somewhere -- and it's gone by the time inspectors get there. Tony was pressing Rummy on the real problem for hawks: Smirk needs an excuse to invade Iraq but doesn't have one yet! Rummy said that Chimpy will be able to make the case for slaughter and mayhem when the time comes.

How reassuring -- for the cable news channels, who are counting on real-time coverage and the great ratings that go with it. But the subtext of the exchange was interesting: Tony essentially saying that right-wingers and war hawks want to get their war on, and the Doofus-in-chief is not playing along or providing an excuse!

Tony then turned to the manner in which UN inspections are being conducted -- and Rummy in effect said that Saddam was not cooperating. (We're SHOCKED, Rummy! Saddam -- not cooperating with the UN in a way that plays into the hand of the son of the former President who tried to kill him!) Tony implied that Blix is going about inspections "backwards", that Saddam's declaration is worthless, and Snippy George said, "Time is running out." Rummy said there will be a judgment call made.

Rummy then recycled the same claim he made on ABC: there are "a lot of countries lined up" to disarm Saddam. Funny, but Rummy won't name them -- and most of our "allies" don't seem too eager to go after the homicidal Hussein.

Is firing on our jets (i.e. Iraqi antiaircraft guns in the "no fly" zone) an act of war? Rummy said, "It's not an act of peace." So we're already at war? Rummy: technically, that state of war with Iraq has not been over since 1991.

Tony then turned to reports that the Saudis are trying to put together a coup within Iraq and the US has ramped up "psyops", giving Rummy a chance to repeat the talking point he made on ABC: war is the "last option". Rummy also repeated his assertion that Saddam puts artillery near mosques, hospitals and other areas where he can use "human shields".

Has military force changed the way the world views Saddam? Rummy shilled for the glorious "success" of our bogus leader. Tony pounced -- or so it seemed -- asking why we took military force off the table with regard to North Korea. Rummy denied this was the case -- all options are still open, he said, adding that we have a "strong" alliance with South Korea.

Guest two: Tom Daschle. Brit Hume said Smirk has all the authorization he needs to declare war on Saddam. Daschle jumped all over Hume's narrow "let's get our war on" assertion, saying that Smirk must live up to his obligation to the UN and prove Saddam is a compelling and imminent threat. Junior, added Daschle, has "failed" (Daschle put careful emphasis on the word) to file the 60-day report and Rummy has "failed" to brief the Senate. Daschle continued (to our surprise, uninterrupted by the usually testy Hume): Incurious George and Rummy must report to the American people.

Bottom line: Daschle is going to cudgel the lack of Smirk Regime openness and accountability.

Hume said "even the French" found the Iraqi weapons declaration deficient, and Daschle replied that Saddam has not done enough -- but there has been a modicum of cooperation, and the US cannot come across as unilateralist. So is there the need for another UN resolution? Daschle said that the more the UN can demonstrate support for the US effort to disarm Saddam, the better.

Daschle then threw a monkey wrench into Tony's spin, saying that there are two pressing issues: the extent to which Saddam has WMDs, and the possibility of a regime change in Iraq. The most significant thing Shrub can do is to work through the UN -- he promised the American people he would do so and that the UN would be a part of any military action undertaken by the UN -- and Daschle repeated that Smirk broke his promise to inform the Congress after 60 days.

Tony then turned to the GOP spin that says that people who assume blacks cannot compete on a level playing field are racists; Daschle responded by saying that the President is all for diversity if it happens by accident! This was a great line, and Daschle delivered it with dripping sarcasm. Daschle cited the plummeting admissions of minority kids at the University of Texas after they succumbed to pressure from neo-Confederates. Hume chimed in, saying that race should not be a factor, and that Smirky's amicus brief in the University of Michigan case calls it a disproportionate factor. Hume then blew his point by in essence LYING about the U of Michigan test score standards, using the deceptive spin point claiming that "being black gets you 20 points, perfect SATs get you only 12 points".

Daschle responded to the broader issue: there are no quotas at U of M, and Smirk's supporters have been reckless with the facts -- but should have been prepared to demolish Hume's spin with this added fact: being POOR also gets you 20 points no matter your race, a perfect GPA gets you 80 points, and a perfect academic record including SATs a total of 110 points.

Daschle also gave the lie to Smirk's "tax cuts", pointing out that state taxes will have to go up at a much higher rate than federal taxes will drop. Tony tried to get Daschle to "pledge" he would contain costs, but Daschle gave a mealy-mouthed answer about bipartisanship.

Will Daschle try to filibuster the Smirk agenda? Daschle said he is looking at all options.

Make that a yes.

-- JJ Balzer

 

Meet the REAL Press -- BookTV on C-SPAN2
Russert, Shmussert!
We ditched Fat Tim for a real American hero this morning

C-SPAN 2 today aired Susan McDougal's appearance at a Little Rock bookstore to promote her new book, "The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk: Why I Refused To Testify Against the Clintons And What I Learned In Jail." McDougal, the seminal figure in the stain on our country's history otherwise known as the right-wing assault on American democracy, made an appearance at WordsWorth Bookstore to speak about her new book. She is, of course, is the heroically courageous and principled woman who simply refused to be threatened and brutalized into testifying falsely against the Clintons. She therefore almost single-handedly prevented what could have been the worst miscarriage of justice and subversion of Democracy in the nation's history.

For this she deserves the world's gratitude and praise.

She was greeted by a standing ovation from the audience, and while she thanked them, an elderly woman in the front was heard saying, "You stood up for us." (So they stood for her.) She started her talk by noting that her ace lawyer, Mark Geragos, always said, "Susan, if people knew you, they'd never believe that you went to jail for not talking." She then explained that she was going to stick to a list of questions that people asked her most, to prevent her from wandering off the point. She explained that these questions were the ones most asked as she tours the country speaking to groups about women in jail.

She led off with what she said was her favorite question, "What was with the outfit you wore to jail?"

She said what she was wearing was not the uppermost thing in her mind that day, but it probably should have. She said when she got to the jail -- a cell built to house 10 women which now held 20 to 30 -- it was filled to overflowing with women sleeping on the floor head to foot, next to toilets, stepping over one another, and that there on the TV, was a picture of McDougal in chains in the outfit she was wearing. She said that at that moment, she heard a voice across the cell call out, "I KNOW you didn't buy that!" She said it continued, "Girl, I KNOW you didn't buy that." McDougal finally answered by saying that, next time she went to jail, she'd put a little more thought into what she was wearing.

"What do you think Starr will think about your book?" was the next question.

McDougal -- correctly -- said that she really hadn't given it any thought, and that she really didn't care what he'd think. But she said that he shouldn't be surprised by anything in the book, since he was there, after all. She noted that it's a work of nonfiction, and that if one were to go to a bookstore, you'd find Ken Starr's book right next to hers. "But if I've been to that store, you'll find it right BEHIND my book, but you can find it if you really want to. Personally, I wouldn't want Starr's book anywhere near mine. I think rather than putting it behind my book, I'd move it to a more appropriate category, say, Abnormal Psychology or something."

The next question was, "What was the real story behind Whitewater, and what were you trying to hide?"

McDougal said that the best proof of what the story of Whitewater is about, and the is the fact that there never WAS anything to hide, after the spending of 50 MILLION DOLLARS, the involvement of hundreds and hundreds of FBI agents, more than were devoted to any other case, including the Oklahoma City bombing, looking over every document they could find, numbering into the millions, and FINALLY, after all those years, they issue a report. The report says that they could find NO WRONGDOING on the part of the Clintons having to do with Whitewater. Period.

She said this bore out everything she had been saying from the very beginning. At the very first meeting she had with these thugs she stated that she didn't know of any wrongdoing by the Clintons, "but they were not interested."

So as to her trying to "hide" something, she was only trying her hardest to tell the truth. McDougal said that the truth needs two people, one to tell it, and another to listen to it. Her problem was that she couldn't find that second party.

"Did Bill Clinton, or anyone around him, try to contact you or influence you during the investigation?"

On this point, McDougal was emphatic. She said after thinking about it, she realized the obvious: that if you are innocent, WHY in the world would you need to contact someone? Why would you need to try to influence their testimony? She said that the Clintons knew that they were not guilty of any wrongdoing in this matter, "and they knew that I knew that, so of course they didn't try to influence me. And the reason was, that they knew, better than anyone else, that they had not done anything wrong. And of course, they asked for an independent counsel to be appointed to investigate all of that. And I think that is why they never contacted me."

She stated further stated that she never even wondered what she'd say to them if they did contact her. She said, "When you're innocent, you don't have to manipulate the truth."

"Were you scared in jail?"

She said that the only time she was scared was when she was moved from one jail to another. McDougal was held in, get this, SEVEN different jails in FIVE different states. She said that turned out to be fortunate, since it exposed her to all sizes and types of jails in many different locations. She said the frightening part was that they usually come in the middle of the night, and your family doesn't know where you've gone, you have a bar of soap and a plastic comb, a pair of underwear that doesn't fit and keeps falling off, a jumpsuit that is torn from top to bottom, but they're yours, and when you leave, they're all taken from you, and all you leave with is what's on your body.

You're not even told where you're going, and when you get there, you can't make phone calls. Even your relatives have to send in their driver's licenses, and go through a process of having their backgrounds checked that can take a week or 10 days before you can even speak to them on the phone. "It takes forever and your family is scared."

Not only do you not know where you're going, but you don't know where they're going to put you, if you're going to be put in with very violent or mentally ill prisoners. Will it be an even worse place than where you've been?

McDougal was moved SEVEN times.

In response to what she said was the biggest question she's asked, "Why didn't you just testify and save yourself," she chose to read from the passage of her book about her first meeting with the OIC (Office of the Independent Counsel, or Forces of Darkness)

Her attitude in going into this first meeting was one of confidence. "Our intent was that we would cooperate fully, they'd ask me questions, and that I would be so honest and open, that the investigation probably wouldn't have to go any further, because their was no guilt there."

But what she didn't know at that time was that this was an orchestrated, lavishly financed and controlled attempt to stage a coup against a twice democratically elected leader of the United States. They, like good soldiers, were ordered not to fail.

Her account was enough to make one's blood boil. The slimy stooges of Ken Starr were truly disgusting. They were not interested in anything other than some sort of dirt on the Clintons.

Bobby McDaniel, one of McDougal's able attorneys, was with her at this first meeting. (He was also there at the bookstore with her.) She recounted his advice to her. He said that they would likely try to ask her the same question many times, subtly rephrasing it each time in an attempt to get her to say something conflicting that they would then use against her. He counseled her to not talk too much, to not try to speculate about things she didn't know about, such as details of Madison Guarantee's business practices, and "Don't try to make them love you like you do everyone else."

She was met in a conference room by four OIC attorneys, and two FBI agents. McDougal recounted how one of the OIC thugs, Steve Luhrman, gestured to McDougal and her attorney to come sit on the same side of the table as they were sitting. She found this strange, and her attorney smiled and took her arm and led her to the side opposite the OIC thugs. Though McDougal didn't speculate, I feel safe in assuming that these goons were filming the thing and wanted a frontal shot so they could scrutinize her expressions and for later leaking to the press. I guess they couldn't hide the camera on their side of the table.

Luhrman started things off by saying "This is what we do for a living Susan, and we're VERY good at it," then proceeded to put his hand on top of a foot high stack of papers. "This stack of papers represents evidence of crimes Susan McDougal committed while at Madison Guarantee." McDougal said that got her attention. She had come thinking she was just going to answer questions, and now she is informed that she is a target of their investigation.

When her attorney McDaniel asked, "May we see those papers?" Luhrman pushed them to the side away from them and said they were not there to discuss potential criminal actions. Scum. "We want to know whether your client is willing to make a proffer in this case, and if so, what information she could give us."

McDougal said she had no idea what a proffer was, and McDaniel gave her a short explanation. He said that a proffer is a statement of whatever testimony she could offer in the case, particularly about any illegal activity that she may have witnessed. Typically, a proffer is the first step in gaining immunity, the better the proffer, the better the chances of immunity.

McDougal said at that point she thought that was a stupid idea. She said rightly that in this situation, if a person is guilty, and this is the only way for them to gain immunity, then there's tremendous incentive for that person to lie. There is absolutely nothing to prevent a person from making up false testimony against an innocent person in order to save their own skin.

Though the system seemed wrong, McDougal was still more than willing to give them a proffer, if that's what they wanted. She related this to McDaniel and McDaniel then announce to the OIC lawyers that "Susan is ready to tell you everything she knows about Whitewater and Madison Guarantee."

"Across the table, all six faces lit up with smiles", McDougal related.

McDaniel then started to ask the OIC thugs what information they were looking for. "Their response was not at all subtle", writes McDougal, 'We want to know the Clinton's role in Whitewater.'"

McDougal responded by saying to her attorney, "No problem! I'll tell you everything I know about Bill and Hillary's role, from beginning to end."

"Again," Susan writes, "the other side of the table was all smiles."

"There's one thing you should know though," McDougal continued, "I don't know of anything wrong that either the President or the First Lady has done."

"The smiles disappeared."

Luhrman then explained to McDougal that any proffer would have to be "an honest, open statement" of everything McDougal knew. If it was later determined that anything she had said was not true, any deal would be yanked.

"No problem!", McDougal said, "I'm ready to give my proffer under oath, on my grandmother's grave, cross my heart, hope to die." But, "I don't know about anything the Clintons have done that is even remotely illegal."

Again, Luhrman gestured to the tall stack of "evidence" against McDougal. He warned. McDougal that based on their investigation, she would "very likely" face criminal charges.

McDougal noted that the message was crystal clear. If she gave the thugs something on the Clintons, she could not face criminal charges. But Luhrman was slimy enough to state things in such an oblique way that it allowed the sanctimonious prick Ken Starr and his goons to later spout with fake indignity that no one had ever made such an offer.

"But everyone on both sides of the table knew EXACTLY what was going on. For the third and final time I told them, 'I don't know anything illegal the Clintons have done, if you want a proffer stating that, then this meeting is done.' And once more, the made a reference to my indictment. With that, Bobby McDaniel adjourned the meeting. I hadn't been asked one question."

After reading this stunning passage, McDougal said that at that point, both she and her attorney realized that something was "very, very wrong."

She said that one of her big reasons for not cooperating with the OIC, was their treatment of her ex-husband, the weird and unstable Jim McDougal.

Susan McDougal said it has taken her up to this day to admit to herself some of the things he had done and to reconcile them. She said that watching Jim McDougal cooperate with the OIC was one of the most painful and torturous things she had to endure in the entire sorry episode.

They had both been convicted, and she knew that Jim McDougal was in very frail health and was going to face a long time in jail.

When he approached her and told her that he was going to cooperate, she said she just hugged him and said that it was OK, but that she simply couldn't do that.

She then related that further into the investigation, Jim McDougal had begun to warm to the idea of cooperating -- and LYING -- for the sake of the OIC keeping him from serving a long prison term. And not only that, but he actually was beginning to think it would be "fun". Susan said that Jim McDougal was beginning to think of the OIC attorney's and FBI agents almost as "buddies".

She states in her book that McDougal knew full well that the Clintons were innocent, and relates how he shouted at her to just "Forget the Clintons!" and save herself. And not only was Jim McDougal noted for being erratic and eccentric, but, as Susan McDougal reveals, he was actually receiving checks from the government throughout the entire investigation for being unable to work due to mental problems!

She then read the account from her book of the period after she'd been convicted and before the hearing where the OIC would argue sentencing.

The prospect of jail was now staring her in the face. She told her family and friends that she could handle it, that it probably wasn't as bad as the movies made it out to be, but privately, she was terrified. Her ex-husband was now cooperating with the OIC and trying to get her to cave.

"If the OIC has such a great deal for me, just tell them to call Bobby McDaniel and talk to him." Susan had told Jim by phone a week before sentencing. "They HAVE! They've called him and called him, he won't talk to them!" But when Susan called her attorney McDaniel, he let her know that they had never called him, not even once.

Susan then realized that, as the OIC had done to Jim, that they were trying a ploy to get to meet with her without her lawyer.

She wanted to see what the OIC had to say, and so arranged to go to McDaniel's office with her closest friend and make the call. They put the OIC attorney on the speaker phone so everyone could hear.

"If Susan agrees to cooperate, what are you prepared to offer?", McDaniel asked. The reply was immediate, if her proffer was acceptable, the OIC would go before the judge at sentencing and recommend probation rather than jail time, they would help her with charges filed by Nancy Mehta in California, and quash federal income tax charges that were being drawn up against her as they spoke. "In one fell swoop, I would have my life back", writes McDougal.

Bobby McDaniel looked at Susan and asked the OIC lawyer again, "So exactly what is it you want from her?"

The OIC lawyer replied, "She knows what this investigation is about, and she knows what we want."

This, ladies and gentleman, is how the heroes of "the rule of law" and the right go about achieving "justice."

McDougal relates how she was stunned and the words echoed in her head. She began to cry. He attorney told the OIC thug that she was distraught and they'd have to call them back. The thug responded that they better call back by the end of the day or the deal was off.

McDougal walked to a small restaurant with her close friend and regained her composure and tried to wrestle with the choice she now faced.

She finally asked her oldest friend what she should do. Her friend was truly concerned, and told her that if she was her daughter, she'd tell her to just take the deal, tell them whatever they wanted, say whatever they wanted, but just please don't go to jail. Save yourself.

She said that she wondered if that's what Bob would have said. (Bob Riley was her friend's husband who had been a former governor of Arkansas, a war hero, and someone McDougal had idolized all her life.) She said, "I just don't think Bob would have agreed to it."

" No," her friend said, "Bob would have told you to fight the bastards to the end."

She then called Pat Harris, her fiancée, in California to seek his advice. She asked him what he thought she should do. He said no one could blame her if she took the deal, it's a tempting offer. They talked about what a relief it would be to avoid going to trial. She said, "So you think I should take it?" He paused for a long moment and then said, "You can't."

When McDougal asked why, her fiancé explained that "It sounds simple I know, and it sounds so good, you just go into their office and you agree to back up David Hale's [proven felon and liar] story, you say something negative about Hillary, then you just go on with the rest of your life. But it just won't work that way. A lie isn't just for one day. You'll spend the next year or more of your life going before grand juries and into courtrooms, and possibly even an impeachment hearing, telling a story that you know isn't true, and destroying other people's lives just the way yours has been destroyed. If you do this, you'll be lying for the rest of your life."

McDougal then wondered what would have become of her if she hadn't had people like her attorney and Pat Harris around her. Harris could have easily advised her to take the deal so they could begin their lives together, it could have been all over that day. But their sense of right and wrong were so straight and true.

This is only a glimpse of the outrages that were done to Susan McDougal, and only a fraction of her story. Her book is surely a worthy read if you have the stomach to actually hear the truth about what an out of control right wing is capable of, and what loathsome, sanctimonious "good Christians" the reprehensible Kenneth Starr and his able minions truly were and are.

This program will be aired again tonight (Jan. 19) at 9 p.m. Central on C-SPAN 2. I highly recommend catching it if you're able.

-- Dash Riprock


JJ Balzer is a former television news producer. He lives in New York City.

Dash Riprock is a freelance smart-aleck based in Moline, IL He urges all people of good will to participate in any antiwar activities in your area. You can ease his fevered mind, or poke him with a sharp stick at dashriprockapj@hotmail.com.

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