Dateline Guam

Conniff and Frum

Dateline Guam

Conniff and Frum

Dateline Guam
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Aug. 19 1998 6:03 PM

Conniff and Frum

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Dear David,

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I'm pleased to report that I am innocent of the cigar story. Like you, I'm out of the loop. It's lovely in Guam. There's nothing worse than the details after the big scandal breaks. Now Monica is testifying again, I'm sure we'll get another round of icky gossip soon. I'm surprised she doesn't snap under the pressure. This whole thing stinks.

Of course the Dems are distancing themselves from Clinton. But honestly, the smoking tie? The smoking dress?

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the media watchdog group in New York (www.fair.org), just posted a bulletin criticizing the Times tie story. They criticize the Times for reporting hearsay using unnamed sources, and point out that Lewinsky arrived at the court house before 8:30 A.M. to testify, and remained cloistered for 7 hours. Clinton and his "jazzy" tie appeared in the Rose Garden at 10:45 A.M. "The story is a classic example of tabloid journalism in which sensational stories are 'too good to check.'"

I don't see them hanging him with the tie. If that's what they've got for proof he tried to influence her testimony, it's going to be slim pickins for Orrin Hatch and his pals in Congress. Hatch, by the way, insinuated on This Week August 9 that he thinks the CIA should assassinate America's enemies not only abroad, but also here at home, including "1,500 to 2,000 known terrorists and terrorist organizations in America". (For the transcript see ABCNEWS.com, "The President's Problems: Orrin Hatch Explains the Situation"). Newsflash--Senate Judiciary Chair recommends government institute drive-by shootings of official enemies. That ought to stir things up with the militia crowd.

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In other interesting news, which we might be reading if we weren't too busy examining the Clinton/Lewinsky wardrobes, the scientist who ran Iraq's nuclear program, Kidhir Abdul Abas Hamza, spoke publicly about the bomb, and his near-failed efforts to interest the CIA in the details, including the news about the Western companies that helped Iraq get the materials to build its nuclear arsenal. The same companies helped Iraq develop "cover stories" to hide the use of their products to build a nuclear program. Why did the U.S. government ignore Hamza for so long? This is big news. No one is following up on this story, that I've seen, since last Sunday's New York Times.

These are dark days. At the end of the week I'm going camping "up nort" as we say here. Went to the Wisconsin Dells last weekend. People are terrifically calm here about the White House In Crisis. They'd rather talk about something else.

Wouldn't you know it, the big headline this week in the Wisconsin State Journal was about a corporate polluter in Canada. "Mining Firm has Stain on Record". Rio Algom Ltd. of Toronto, which wants to open a zinc and copper mine in northern Wisconsin, created a toxic waste dump in northern Quebec. After filling local waterways with mining waste, the company sold the polluted Poirier mine back in 1975 for $1 to get rid of the environmental liability. The company has just been brought to justice and paid a $20 million settlement. But we'd just as soon keep them away down here.

Citizens for a Cleaner Guam!

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I have a new game to propose: how about we both write the speech Clinton should have given. Perhaps one spoof, one real.

I still say Clinton survives.

Say, do you have a tie-dye shirt? If not, when we get back to DC I'll lend you one.

RC

 

Week 2:

Mon., 8/17; Tues., 8/18; Wed., 8/19; Thurs., 8/20; Fri. 8/21

For more Flytrap, click here.

Ruth Conniff is Washington editor of Progressive magazine. David Frum is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard. He is the author of What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America.