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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The truth about the Marc Rich pardon

Well, the TPM spread is back down to below two points. And now it looks as though the FBI is going to do something to deep-six Hillary's chances ever single goddamned day until election day.

The feebies (if I may use an old term from JFK assassination lore) are saying that this FOIA dump was purely routine, that it's all on a first-in, first-out basis. Ridiculous. FOIA is often delayed for years, seemingly for no reason, although letters from lawyers tend to speed the process along. I don't think that there have been any lawyers who wanted prompt action on the Marc Rich thing.

In other words, the FBI made this move for purely political reasons. (To combat this impression, they also released some piffle about Fred Trump, Donald's father. Nobody cares about Fred.)

Funny, innit? The Republicans want you to think that Hillary's email system leaked national secrets, event though it didn't carry anything important. Yet right now, the Trumpians are encouraging the FBI to leak, leak, leak.

This FBI release does nothing to enlighten us -- it's mostly redactions, from what little I saw. Obviously, the FOIA release was designed merely to provide the Republicans with a talking point (or rather a screeching point). Their version of the Rich pardon will be all over Facebook -- and for the youngsters, this Old News will be New News. They will learn the GOP version of history, not the real version, which I will give you right now.

Here's the part you (probably) won't read anywhere else. Yes, Marc Rich made a large donation to Hillary's senate campaign, but that didn't buy a pardon. Bill Maher gave a million bucks to Barack Obama, but the donation didn't even result in an Obama appearance on Real Time -- and if Maher got in legal trouble tomorrow, you know damned well that the President would not pardon him.

The real reason for the pardon had to do with Israel. More specifically: Clinton did it for peace.

Given the heat and fury of today's politics, nobody will believe that statement, but it's true.

Israel wanted a pardon for Rich because Rich worked for their interests. Although Rich dealt with some of Israel's enemies, he often functioned as a Mossad operative. (Mossad used Robert Maxwell similarly. It's often helpful to know someone who can get a meeting with a bigwig in an unfriendly country.)

In his final months in office, Clinton's main goal was to bring Israel to the peace table. Being a lame duck, Clinton had few carrots and no sticks. (That last sentence mixes metaphors, but you get the idea.)

Now go here:
As the president mulled Rich’s application, he was preoccupied with his final and most ambitious efforts to revive the Mideast peace talks that had imploded at Camp David during the summer of 2000. He was talking virtually every day with Ehud Barak, then Israel’s prime minister, trying to persuade the Jewish state’s leader to approve concessions to the Palestinians. That was only weeks before national elections were to take place in Israel, with Barak trailing in polls and heading toward defeat.

Echoing Barak’s pleas on behalf of Rich were Clinton’s old friend Shimon Peres, former Mossad director general Shabtai Shavit, and a host of other important figures in Israel and the American Jewish community. Winning the pardon was a top priority for Israeli officials because Rich had long been a financial and intelligence asset of the Jewish state, carrying out missions in many hostile countries where he did business. Although commentators in the mainstream and right-wing media have discounted this aspect of the controversy, they often seem as unfamiliar with critical facts as the average senator.

Following weeks of preparation by Clinton, the last round of serious peace talks opened in Taba, Egypt, on Jan. 21, 2001, the day after he signed the Rich pardon. Those negotiations eventually failed, yet they came closer to achieving a workable settlement than any before or since.
Marc Rich has never used this pardon.

You will probably never read that news anywhere else, but it's true. The agreement held that Rich had to pay back taxes owed if he wanted to enter the USA again. Rich decided to remain in Switzerland.

So this whole business is designed to demonize the Clintons over a pardon that was never used, which Bill Clinton issued purely to bring Israel to the peace table.

No good deed goes unpunished.
It's gonna be annoying but I can't work the Electoral College map in any way that makes for a Trump win.

Now it would important to take the Senate and it would be nice to retake the House, but Hillary's going to win.
OldCoastie, there are ways for Trump to do this. Nate Silver talks about this in his recent piece.

Wisconsin is weak, and under-polled. There's supposed to be a new poll tomorrow. Could change everything.

Colorado is tighter than some think. So is NC. So is Nevada.

Maine splits its electoral vote, and could give a vote or two to Trump. Might be enough to change the picture.

Here's Silver:

"Whenever the race tightens, we get people protesting that the popular vote doesn’t matter because it’s all about the Electoral College, and that Trump has no path to 270 electoral votes. But this presumes that the states behave independently from national trends, when in fact they tend to move in tandem. We had a good illustration of this in mid-September, when in the midst of a tight race overall, about half of swing state polls showed Clinton trailing Trump, including several polls in Colorado, which would have broken Clinton’s firewall.

"This time around, we haven’t seen too many of those polls in Clinton’s firewall states, such as Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. But that’s misleading, because we haven’t seen many high-quality polls from those states, period! We have seen lots of polls from North Carolina and Florida — for some reason, they get polled far more than any other states — and plenty of them have shown Trump gaining ground, to the point that both states are pure toss-ups right now."
Old Coastie, I was happy to read what you said, and I, too, hope Hillary wins resoundingly and all this is just broadcasting how they plan to hound the poor woman once she's President, but another point we're overlooking, though it's been said many times, is that this Tea Party tempest could also serve as cover for outright election theft. All they need is a cover story.
I read some years ago that part of the reason for the Marc Rich pardon was that the charges against him were way beyond what was necessary. They threw not just the book, but the whole library at him, and Clinton was still nursing his psychic wounds from the vicious attacks against himself. May have been some empathy there.
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