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by Alexander Cockburn

Back Off, Bill

These past few months have been bad for Bill Clinton, disclosing him as a corrupt lobbyist for top-tier scum, including President Alvaro Uribe's blood-sodden gang of butchers in Colombia. His capacity for serial lying continues at full stretch. Furthermore, he cannot stop opening his mouth, each time dropping his wife another couple of feet through the trapdoor of public disesteem.

Example: Single-handedly, a week or so ago, he managed to reignite Hillary's Bosnian disaster, where she converted a pleasant outing into an anecdote of courage under fire unexampled since Audie Murphy took on a German battalion all by himself. Bill said that Hillary came up with this fictional packet because it was late in a long day and she was kind of tired and not thinking straight. So, what happens four hours later when that 3 a.m. phone call comes?

The bouncy charmer of January is now disclosed as a predatory lobbyist demanding outlandish sums for services rendered to an unalluring collection of patrons. The rewards are large. To take another example, committed to the Clinton Foundation is $131 million from Canadian mining czar Frank Giustra. Clinton flew to Kazakhstan with him to hunker down with Kazakh tyrant Nursultan Nazarbayev, who leased Giustra valuable uranium mining rights.

Even as Hillary was calling for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Beijing because of repression in Tibet, it emerged that in 2005, Bill had roosted on the payroll of the Chinese Web firm Alibaba Inc., which recently carried a government-issued Internet "wanted notice" urging the arrest of Tibetan protesters. Alibaba made a contribution to Clinton's foundation in return for a speech. Clinton tried to claim the money went to his AIDS-fighting operation. "They help me save lives in China," he declared fervently, but it seems Alibaba's money went into a different account.

The political inconvenience for his wife of Clinton's lobbying has become a staple of the talk shows. Cokie Roberts of CNN said flatly that every time Hillary seemed to be bouncing back, her husband dragged her down, and was this Bill trying to safeguard his legacy as the only person named Clinton ever to occupy the White House?

The recently disclosed $108 million in income earned by the couple -- mostly Bill -- since they quit the White House hasn't particularly helped Hillary tie down the blue-collar vote in Pennsylvania or boost her national ratings. Nor has the $800,000 paid Bill Clinton by Colombia-based Gold Service International to promote the U.S.-Colombia trade deal that Hillary has been denouncing. U.S. labor unions bitterly point out that Clinton (along with two of her own top staffers, Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson) has been lobbying for Colombia's Uribe, while the latter has consolidated his regime's record as the most dangerous in the world for labor organizers. In the six years since Uribe took office, more than 400 labor activists have been killed. In 2008, almost one unionist a week has been assassinated.

One of Bill's assets 20 years ago was that he looked so boyish -- so unlike a fleshy southern pol, marinated in dirty money. It's not the way he seems now. He looks like a sleaze ball. His low character has caught up with him yet again.

Again? He's always been like that. As I reported in our newsletter CounterPunch about a decade ago, back in 1979, my friend Tim Hermach, now leader of the Native Forest Council and breathing the righteous air of Eugene, Ore., was a businessman seeking commercial advantage. In 1979, this search took him to Little Rock, Ark., where an associate said the swiftest way of getting a certificate of origin necessary for a rebar (reinforcing steel for construction) deal was by conferring personally with the new governor of the state.

In short order, a dinner was arranged with young Gov. Bill at the Little Rock Hilton. Tim recalls that they were scarcely seated before Bill was greeting a pretty young waitress in friendly fashion, putting his hand up her dress while announcing genially to the assembled company, "This woman has the sweetest c -- - in Little Rock."

Tim, an Oregon boy by origin, tells us he listened with burning ears and mouth agape as Bill talked of womanhood in terms of astounding crudity. Badinage notwithstanding, some business was transacted. Hermach tells us that Gov. Bill, "very openly, nothing shy about it, said words to the effect that our end-use certificate would cost about $10,000," said transaction being of a personal, informal nature. "Since ours was a $2 million deal, we didn't care," Tim recalls.

Gov. Bill also informed Hermach that they should go to the Stephens Bank the following day to complete all necessary arrangements.

These tractations concluded, Gov. Bill repaired to the Hilton's nightclub with boon companions, where they cavorted lewdly with sundry flowers of Little Rock.

© Creators Syndicate

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Albion Monitor   April 17, 2008   (

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