Middle East peace processby Israeli opposition leader Binyamin (Benjamin) Netanyahu, a right-wing extremist with strong ties to US conservatives. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin seals off the West Bank and Gaza from Israel. US President Clinton seals a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. (Dan Cohn-Sherbok)
Middle East unrestthe first inside Iraq in years, in an area controlled by the US-friendly Kurds and not under Saddam Hussein's control. The headquarters of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress are nearby. Chalabi, with US funding, intends to mount a revolution in Iraq that will overthrow Hussein. The plan, detailed in November 1993 to Clinton officials, calls for simultaneous insurrections in Basra, a southern Iraqi city dominated by disaffected Shi'ites, as well as in the northern, largely Kurdish cities of Mosul and Kirkuk. The plan predicts that massive Iraqi military defections will follow, and Hussein will topple. "We called it Chalabi's rolling coup," says Bob Baer, the CIA station chief in Iraq. The US has virtually no intelligence sources inside Iraq, nor in the neighboring countries -- Iran, Jordan, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia, so the US is dependent on Chalabi for its information. It will quickly become apparent that Chalabi is unreliable. (Seymour Hersh)
"Culture Wars"writes a scathing op-ed for the Wall Street Journal decrying what she calls the unwarranted influence of the "cultural elite" in the creation of new standards for teaching history. Cheney has given the GOP a perfect scapegoat in their ongoing battle against the "laxity" and "dissolution" of American moral values. The standards Cheney is shouting about are relatively innocuous and voluntary, giving history teachers alternatives to incorporate in their standard teaching content. But Cheney and her confreres rail that the new standards leave out American icons like Thomas Edison, Robert E. Lee, and George Washington, failing to note that the curriculum is designed to supplement, not supplant, current teaching content which, of course, includes the above American historical figures. According to Cheney, the new curriculum wants to strip the Founding Fathers and every other white male from the teaching of history in America's public schools. Cheney finds objectionable such classroom activities as "Analyze the character and roles of the military, political, and diplomatic leaders who helped forge the American victory" in the Revolutionary War, or, regarding the Civil War, "Compare the civilian and military leadership of the Union and the Confederacy." Students answering those questions would by necessity have to include Washington and Lee in their analyses. But these caveats aren't included in Cheney's inflammatory sound bites.
Middle East unrestThe US responds by deploying troops to Kuwait. The UN Security Council passes Resolution 949 demanding full cooperation; Iraq withdraws its forces. (UN/Iraqwatch/Electric Venom)
Whitewater / Lewinsky and related "scandals"this one alleges, falsely, that Bill Clinton pressured former judge David Hale to arrange for the bad $300,000 loan at the center of the Whitewater investigation. The tale is told by Arkansas state trooper L.D. Brown at the behest of Starr officials. The motive seems to be to inject some steam into Starr's foundering investigation. Leaking information provided to a grand jury, known as a 6E violation, is a federal crime. It also warrants a contempt of court citation, and is a violation of Justice Department guidelines, American Bar Association rules, and DC Bar ethical guidelines. But, as Clinton consultant James Carville puts it, Starr "spew[ed] self-serving information like the Exxon Valdez." Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz will later observe, "Material is just not safe once it gets in the presence of this independent counsel's office." (James Carville [multiple sources])
Congressional RepublicansBoth Republican prospective leaders of Congress, the Senate's Bob Dole and the House's Newt Gingrich, have publicly shared their plans for implementing their agenda as if the election is already in their pocket. "It's hard to believe, they don't seem to have any doubt at all," says Richard Fenno, a political scientist at the University of Rochester in New York. "I wonder if they're not celebrating prematurely, because they certainly are celebrating." Fenno says he still guesses that 90% of the incumbents running this fall will be re-elected, articulating the cooler-heads-prevailing judgment heard from many scholars and political professionals this fall. But even a 90% re-election rate might not be enough for Democrats to retain control of either chamber. In the Senate, a Republican takeover can be accomplished with the defeat of just two or three incumbents, assuming all are Democrats. The key to the Senate is in the nine seats being vacated by retirement. Six are Democratic. If Republicans take five of these away while holding their own (as now looks quite possible), they can capture the Senate by defeating just two incumbents, from a list of vulnerables including Harris Wofford, Edward Kennedy, Dianne Feinstein and Jim Sasser. There are 383 House incumbents who have been renominated by their parties (including independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont). If just 10%, or 38, lose, it would be the largest number defeated in any November in two decades. The same thing applies in the House, where the GOP is expected to dominate in the 52 contests for "open seats" due to primary defeats and retirements.
Domestic terrorismHe is disarmed and arrested, and no one is injured. The man is later proven to be a disaffected gun advocate who had made threatening phone calls to one senator's office about the Brady gun control bill and the ban on assault rifles. Right-wing media commentators use the incident to ridicule the Clintons and continue their outspoken opposition to any gun control legislation. (H.R. Clinton)
Whitewater / Lewinsky and related "scandals"Falwell had hoped to tape his show at the Immanuel Baptist Church, where Bill Clinton had worshiped every Sunday during his tenure as governor, but pastor Roger Horne forbids him access. Horne feels that Falwell has trampled upon the Ninth Commandment's prohibition against bearing false witness: "I happened to tune in on a Sunday morning," he says, and "I saw Falwell promoting the tapes that have proven to be scurrilous and full of innuendo and falsehoods directed against not just Clinton but other Arkansans. I could not, in good conscience, go along with it any longer. Falwell's sermon blasts Michael Jackson and Madonna, among others, but makes no mention of Bill Clinton. When asked about his relationship with the group Citizens for Honest Government, the producers of the two Clinton Chronicles tapes which Falwell helped subsidize, promoted heavily on his show, and appears on conducting a fake interview with a producer masquerading as a reporter who claims his life is in danger, Falwell tells the reporter, "I have not associated with or [had] any relationships with [those] people." (Joe Conason and Gene Lyons)
Conservative hate speech and intoleranceRepresentative Newt Gingrich comments on the drowning of her two children by a 23-year old South Carolina woman named Susan Smith: "I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things. The only way you get change is to vote Republican. That's the message for the last three days." Gingrich's attempt to indirectly link Democrats to the Smith murders backfires when it is revealed that Smith is the daughter of affluent local stockbroker Beverly Russell, the county chairman of the Christian Coalition and a member of the South Carolina Republican Party's executive committee. Court records further reveal that Russell routinely molested his daughter, from age 15 until just weeks before she committed the murder of her children (which Smith attempts to blame on an unidentified black male, setting off a manhunt throughout South Carolina which results in the harassment and arrest of dozens of innocent black men). Russell says after the revelations that his daughter committed the crime herself, and says of his own systematic molestation of her: "Of course, had I known at the time what the result of my sin would be, I would have mustered the strength to behave according to my responsibility." Gingrich never acknowledges his grotesque attempt to link the murders to his own political fortunes; indeed, a year later, he blames "the left" and "the welfare state" for the slashing murder of a mother and her children in Illinois. Gingrich continues to hide the fact that he himself is having an extramarital affair with an intern, Callista Bisek. (Joe Conason)