PowerLine – Hillary Clinton and the Vince Foster suicide

PowerLine – Hillary Clinton and the Vince Foster suicide

Daily Digest

The ordeal of Omaha Beach

Posted: 06 Jun 2016 03:02 PM PDT

(Scott Johnson)AtBattleoftheBulge Reader Patti Kruse writes to say she “was surprised to see no mention that today is the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy….My dad landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was one of the fortunate ones, as he was never physically injured and managed to survive from D-Day all the way through the Battle of the Bulge and V-E Day. He rarely spoke about his experience except to say how much he loved America and was grateful to have served (he had immigrated from Ireland as a very young man).”

She adds: “I’ve attached a picture of my dad (Pat Nichols, at right in the photo above) taken somewhere in Belgium December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. I asked him once about the picture and he said they were told, “Only Yanks would be crazy enough to take their picture during the Battle of the Bulge.” He loved being called a Yank, especially as he used to be teased about his magnificent Irish brogue.” Here is our annual post in observation of the anniversary of D-Day, this year in honor of Patti’s dad:

Seventy-two years ago today our fellow Americans and their allies stormed the beaches of Normandy to vanquish the Nazis’ supposed thousand-year regime. In his D-Day message to the troops, General Eisenhower declared: “We accept nothing less than full victory!”

The landing was necessary if the war was to be won. In 1984 President Reagan called it “a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.” Yet success was far from inevitable. Eisenhower tucked the second message away to use in case of failure: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

We seek to remember the fallen and honor all those living and dead who performed their duty that day. They performed fearsome tasks with awe-inspiring fortitude.

In his 2004 Wall Street Journal column “Too much, too late,” Professor David Gelernter expressed his revulsion over “the tidal wave of phoniness” that he detected in the celebration of “the greatest generation” by the boomer crowd. As a remedy for the phoniness he detected, Professor Gelernter prescribed teaching to our children the major battles of the war, the bestiality of the Japanese, the attitude of the intellectuals, and the memoirs and recollections of the veterans.

Complying with Professor Gelernter’s prescription, I have been working through Rick Atkinson’s brilliant Liberation Trilogy. Last year I read the late Dartmouth English Professor Harold Bond’s moving Return to Cassino.

Professor Gelernter failed to assign a paper topic for the course he has prescribed. I would assign an essay on the subject of sacrifice. Do we deserve the sacrifice made on our behalf? What can we do to make ourselves worthy of it?

The battle of Omaha Beach, of course, represents only a small part of Operation Overlord and the other battles that occurred on the Normandy beaches. The story of Omaha Beach is nevertheless deserving of special recognition.

S.L.A. Marshall was commissioned to serve as a combat historian with the Army in World War II. By 1960, he was already concerned that “the passing of the years and the retelling of the story have softened the horror of Omaha Beach on D-Day.” That year the Atlantic Monthly published Marshall’s essay on Omaha Beach based on the field notes he had compiled during his service as a combat historian. The essay — “First wave at Omaha Beach” — is available online. Marshall’s essay was the original source for some of the telling details that Stephen Ambrose lifted for his account of Omaha Beach in his book on D-Day.

Please read it. Then print it out and save it for your kids as part of the required reading for the course Professor Gelernter has prescribed. (First posted in 2004, updated in 2013 & 2014.)

Hillary and the Vince Foster suicide [with an additional note]

Posted: 06 Jun 2016 12:14 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Donald Trump has revived the matter of Vince Foster’s suicide, calling claims of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.” Trump added, “I don’t know enough to really discuss it” but “I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder.”

As he often does, Trump is barking up the wrong tree, and irresponsibly so (if you don’t know enough to discuss it, don’t discuss it). In my view, and I once spent a fair amount of time looking into this, the claim that Foster was murdered is baseless. Investigators repeatedly have so found.

But, as is often the case with Trump, there’s a nearby tree worth barking up. Did Hillary Clinton’s behavior contribute significantly to Foster’s suicide?

The question has two components. First, did she contribute directly through the way she behaved towards Foster? Second, did she contribute indirectly by engaging in indefensible conduct that Foster had to defend? Both questions go to her character.

As to the first question, Alana Goldman of the Washington Free Beacon is reporting that Jim McDougal, the Clintons close business associate, said Clinton bullied Foster just before he committed suicide. According to Goldman:

Hillary Clinton relentlessly browbeat her clinically depressed former law partner Vince Foster shortly before he committed suicide in 1993, according to [previously unreported] notes from a final jailhouse interview with a former close business partner of the Clintons.

Jim McDougal, a long-time member of the Clintons’ Arkansas inner circle and a central figure in the Whitewater scandal, passed away from a heart attack in prison in 1998. But he said in a final interview before his death that Hillary Clinton had a “hard, difficult personality” and was “riding [Vince Foster] every minute” about Whitewater before Foster took his own life.

Goldman adds that McDougal’s comments “support a Daily Mail report last week on the FBI’s 1993 investigation into Foster’s death.” Federal investigators reportedly concluded that Hillary Clinton “triggered” Foster’s decision to take his own life after she publicly humiliated him during a White House meeting. (Emphasis added)

“Foster was profoundly depressed, but Hillary lambasting him was the final straw because she publicly embarrassed him in front of others,” Jim Clemente, a senior FBI investigator on the probe, told investigative reporter Ron Kessler.

McDougal’s comments are also consistent with the recollection of former Secret Service Agent Gary Byrne in his forthcoming book about the Clinton White House. Bryne says Hillary berated Vince Foster until he could stand no more.

McDougal summed things up this way: “[Foster] had so much of their sh*t on his head and Hillary was riding him every minute.”

The “sh*t on his head” line leads to the second question I posed above: Did Clinton contribute indirectly by engaging in indefensible conduct that Foster had to defend?

An affirmative answer makes intuitive sense and is buttressed by strong evidence that Clinton also induced Foster himself to engage in indefensible conduct. Recall that, from all that appears, Foster participated in the theft of “Whitewater” related Rose Law Firm billing records. Copies were found in Foster’s attic some years after his death.

Federal prosecutors came close to indicting Hillary for stealing the billing records. It’s my understanding that they fell one witness short. In Ken Starr’s view, they needed the testimony of either Webb Hubbell, Seth Ward (Hubbell’s father-in-law), or Foster before they could indict the First Lady.

Hubbell and Ward were men with no shame, but Foster was fundamentally decent. Prosecutors believed he felt remorse over his behavior. If they were to get “one more witness,” it would be Foster.

If this account is true, then Foster was under even more Hillary-related pressure than commonly supposed. And it becomes even more plausible to conclude that Hillary contributed to Foster’s suicide through her indefensible actions in connection with the “Whitewater” scandal.

If Hillary was also riding and humiliating Foster, as apparently she was, then her behavior is all the more unconscionable. This is the tree Trump should consider barking up, especially as Hillary continues to “open the door” with an assault on Trump’s problematic character.

NOTE: I changed the paragraph about Byrne’s book. When I wrote the original post, I forgot that Bryne wrote about Vince Foster specifically.

Imagine how Foster must have felt during his final days. This pillar of the Arkansas legal community had, from all that appears, been a party to the illegal removal of documents in order to help Bill and Hillary Clinton. In Washington, he’s burdened with trying to deal with the various legal problems created by the Clintons’ misconduct.

He has, in effect, sold his soul for the Clintons, yet Hillary, it seems, can’t stop berating him. The situation must have been unbearable.

The real Ali

Posted: 06 Jun 2016 11:07 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Gerald Early, a professor of English and African and African-American studies, explores some of the mythology surrounding the late Muhammad Ali. The first myth is that Ali was a civil rights advocate or activist. Not so:

The Nation of Islam, which Ali joined in 1964, was, if anything, against the civil rights movement and, as a separatist group, opposed to racial integration. The Nation also thought that whites were unnatural beings, while its millennialist bent made members feel superior to civil rights activists.

(Emphasis added)

Early also argues that Ali’s opposition to the Vietnam War initially “was more accidental and panic-stricken than informed political protest.”

[Ali] knew nothing about the war’s politics, and his famous utterance about having nothing against the Viet Cong was just his shocked reaction to reporters about his draft status being changed. Yet he grew into one of our country’s most compelling, sincere and important dissidents.

Ali had the courage of his convictions (whatever their origin) regarding the war. But so did the many Americans who suffered more than Ali in the Vietnam Era — whether by serving jail sentences or giving up life in the U.S., or (more impressively, in my view) by fighting in Vietnam out of the conviction that they ought to serve their country.

Early acknowledges that Ali denigrated his black opponents, as when he “unfairly and cruelly” belittled Joe Frazier as an Uncle Tom and a gorilla. But Early defends this on the theory that “Ali had few other options to interest the general public in a bout between two black men other than politicizing his fights.”

The defense doesn’t hold up. The Ali-Frazier fights required no racial attacks or “politicization” to generate interest. They were absolutely compelling solely in sporting terms.

And since when is race-based mockery okay if done for commercial reasons? As Robert Lipsyte asks, “How could [Ali] consider himself a ‘race man’ yet mock the skin color, hair, and features of other African-Americans, most notably Joe Frazier?”

Early notes that boxing “has always featured a tradition of trash talking and masculine put-down.” True. But what other fighters in the past 50 years, black or white, based their trash talking on the opponent’s racial features?

Early asks:

Was Ali’s rivalry with Frazier really very different or worse than that between actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis or between scientists Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison or between soul singers Joe Tex and James Brown?

Possibly not, and it was better than the Hatfields and McCoys. But Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, to take the example I recall best, were a pair of witches. I don’t think either was ever viewed as a great human being.

Ali was a great boxer and a great showman, but a bad guy during his years in the limelight. As for his political legacy, which includes his time as a disciple of the abominable Elijah Muhammad, it is no better than mixed.

WaPo Columnist: Let’s Gang Up On Trump!

Posted: 06 Jun 2016 10:42 AM PDT

(John Hinderaker)The Washington Post’s media columnist, Margaret Sullivan, who is also a former Public Editor of the New York Times, has an idea that she claims is novel, but may sound familiar to Republicans: news outlets should coordinate their efforts to defeat Donald Trump! It really is an extraordinary column:

Media outlets have given the likely Republican presidential nominee something like $2 billion worth of free exposure and, in many cases, let him get away with blatant falsehoods — even about something as basic as whether he did or didn’t support the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall liberal columnists objecting to Trump’s free publicity during the primary season when it helped him defeat Republicans who would have been stronger general election candidates.

Fairness is of utmost importance, no doubt, whether the reporting is on Trump, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. But what, exactly, does it mean in campaign coverage? It should mean keeping an open mind, not bringing preconceived ideas to one’s reporting, and listening seriously to candidates’ explanations.

It should never mean false equivalency, where equal time and emphasis are given to candidates or dissembling is allowed to go unchallenged. …

News outlets ought to rethink the purpose of their campaign coverage. It’s not to be equally nice to all candidates. It’s to provide Americans with the hard information they need to decide who is fit to lead the country.

In other words, the job of a reporter is to help win the election for Hillary Clinton. It isn’t long before this conclusion becomes explicit:

There have been encouraging moments: CNN’s Jake Tapper pushing Trump hard for clarity on an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Fox’s Megyn Kelly (before she went all fan-girl) asking a searing question about Trump’s treatment of women in a Republican debate. The Times’s investigation into Trump’s hiring of foreign workers at his Florida club, Mar-a-Lago. The Post’s reporters pushing so hard for answers on Twitter about claimed charitable contributions to veterans that Trump found it necessary to hold a news conference.

We need much more of this in every medium. Every day, in every news cycle.

Every day, every news cycle, in every medium: beat up on Trump!

Rather than promoting the same treatment for each candidate, how about this: rigorous and sustained truth-telling in the public’s interest. Citizens deserve some fairness, too.

Don’t treat Trump the same way you would treat a Democrat!

It’s time for tough follow-up questions, time for TV news to pick up on some of the hard-hitting reporting being done elsewhere, and maybe — radical notion alert! — it’s even time for news organizations to get together and prepare to defend themselves.

So news organizations should form a cabal to smear Donald Trump. But, hey, it’s self-defense!

That won’t come naturally to these highly competitive outfits, but given the assault on press rights that surely would come with a Trump presidency, strength in numbers is a far better idea than providing even-handed, nonconfrontational coverage.

What is the “assault on press rights” that “surely” would accompany a Trump presidency? It’s hard to say. Maybe she is referring to Trump’s desire to liberalize defamation law, or maybe she imagines there is a press right not to be contradicted. In any event, it’s not every day you see a journalist come out openly against “even-handed coverage,” while advocating ganging up on a disfavored politician, i.e., “strength in numbers.” We always knew that this is how liberals think, but it is unusual to see one of them put it in writing.

Seems Like Old Times

Posted: 06 Jun 2016 10:22 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Paul has already written about the forthcoming book, Crisis of Character, about the Clintons and their time in the White House in the 1990s, and I’m wondering how it will differ from the kind of revelations of Gary Aldrich’s book from back in the day (Unlimited Access). It’s not like we didn’t know about Hillary’s temper or Bill’s priapism.

But perhaps it will test whether the typical Clinton dodge—”this is old news”—still works. I can easily imagine that Hillary’s spokespeople will swat the book away with a single sentence along the lines of “Most people recycle their garbage into useful products, and readers will want their deposit back.” Of course, I can imagine Donald Trump talking about the book and forcing the media to give its charges more attention.

But then there’s also this, just out this morning:

Roger Clinton DUI Arrest in California; Impeccable Timing

Hillary Clinton‘s brother-in-law is sitting in a jail cell after getting busted for DUI in Southern California … just 2 days before the crucial CA primary vote.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … Roger Clinton was arrested Sunday just after 8 PM in Redondo Beach. He was booked for driving under the influence, and we’re told he refused blood alcohol testing.

Good times! Good times!

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