Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

A Chat with Ken Starr, whose book “Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation” is now out

Two decades after the release of the Starr Report that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, former independent counsel Ken Starr presents for the first time his full and candid perspective on one of the most contentious episodes in American history, in Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation (Sentinel/Penguin, $28.00).

Here, he chats about the book and then some.

Why did you decide to write this book now?
The time was right, both personally and historically. I was no longer serving at Baylor University, and in my new-found freedom was moved to write–at long last–the story from my perspective of the President’s abuse of power and crimes against our justice system.

What is the significance of the book’s title? Why do you say “contempt” is the dominant quality of the legacy of Bill and Hillary Clinton?
The title literally applies to the former President. Bill Clinton is the only president in American history to have been found in contempt by a court of law. That courthouse judgment pointed to a larger truth–the contempt with which both the President and Hillary treated our foundational value of the rule of law and the human beings with whom they dealt.
Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation
How did you come to be appointed as Independent Counsel in the investigation of the Clintons?
Under the independent counsel law, a three-judge court – the Special Division of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit–appointed me. I definitely did not volunteer for the job. To the contrary, I was asked to serve  I was asked to serve.

As Independent Counsel, you were under continuous attack by the Clintons and their surrogates. They tried to portray your investigation as a politically and personally motivated witch hunt intended to bring down a president. Of course, your book is largely a point-by-point rebuttal of this view. But briefly, why was it wrong?
The unrelenting attacks from the White House were, by definition, politically inspired. They were clearly intended to erode the principles of the rule of law and the fair administration of justice. Our record of professionalism and integrity is demonstrated by the fourteen criminal convictions in Arkansas, and the universal acceptance of the factual accuracy of the so-called Starr Report.

What toll did your vilification by much of the media and the public take on you personally, as well as your family?

The years-long attacks as to my personal and professional integrity were not only profoundly unpleasant, but they took a toll on the investigation itself. In all too many quarters, the Whitewater investigation came to be characterized as a personal and political vendetta. In the process, my family members suffered grievously–most dramatically by the fact that our daughter, Carolyn, had to have round-the-clock security protection due to death threats.

In fact, you were such a lightning rod for controversy that you kept a very low profile throughout the investigation, staying mostly behind the scenes. But when the House considered impeachment, they
wanted only one witness to appear before them—you. What was it like to testify for twelve hours in a single day? What did you think of your performance then, and how do you think it stands up now?
That “longest day” shortly before Thanksgiving was the most difficult single day of my professional life. It profoundly tested my patience, when I had to listen–respectfully–to tirades by Judiciary Committee members such as Maxine Waters and Chuck Schumer.

What disappointed you about the way the House of Representatives handled the Clinton impeachment proceedings?
The House saw fit not to have real witnesses–those who knew the facts from their participation. I was the sole witness before the Judiciary Committee. I was put on trial, but I was simply the custodian of the facts. More fundamentally, I regretted that the House was not willing to consider a lesser sanction, namely a resolution of censure, rather than the ultimate sanction of removing a President from office. The debate would have been
more balanced, and less politicized, if that alternative sanction would have been seriously considered. But I respect the constitutional view that, as to the President’s misconduct, it has to be impeachment or nothing.

Were you surprised when the Senate failed to convict Bill Clinton and remove him from office after he was impeached by the House?
No, I wasn’t surprised at all. First, the House had seen fit not to move forward on our Count 11, namely the President’s abuse of the powers of his office. I describe that in detail in the book. We felt that all ten counts led up to, crescendo-like, his misuse of his powers of office for reasons of self-preservation. Second, impeachment
and conviction represent the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of our representative democracy. The American people would see their considered judgment–rendered at the polls overturned through an inherently political–and highly politicized–process where a President would be stripped of the power granted to him through the election process. That would be inherently destabilizing. The American people want the President to serve out his term, and to be able to get his job done without this sword of Damocles having over his head.

Many people continue to believe that Bill Clinton was impeached for “lying about sex.” What is your response?
That bumper-sticker takeaway ignores the undisputed evidence that he obstructed justice, intimidated witnesses,
encouraged witnesses to lie under oath, and profoundly misused the powers of his office to, among other things,
invent a non-existent privilege to try to hide the truth.

September’s chapter of sizzling Simon & Schuster must-have, must-read books

John Kerry tells the story of his remarkable American life—from son of a diplomat to decorated Vietnam veteran, five-term United States senator, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, and Secretary of State for four years—a revealing memoir by a witness to some of the most important events of our recent history. Every Day is Extra ($35) is John Kerry’s candid personal story. A Yale graduate, Kerry enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966, and served in Vietnam. He returned home highly decorated but disillusioned, and testified powerfully before Congress as a young veteran opposed to the war. Kerry served as a prosecutor in Massachusetts, then as lieutenant governor, and was elected to the Senate in 1984, eventually serving five terms. In 2004 he was the Democratic presidential nominee and came within one state—Ohio—of winning. Kerry returned to the Senate, chaired the important Foreign Relations Committee, and succeeded Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in 2013. In that position he tried to find peace in the Middle East; dealt with the Syrian civil war while combatting ISIS; and negotiated the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.
Every Day Is ExtraEvery Day is Extra  shows Kerry for the dedicated, witty, and authentic man that he is, and provides forceful testimony for the importance of diplomacy and American leadership to address the increasingly complex challenges of a more globalized world.

 

Best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize winner and “America’s Historian-in-Chief”, Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a fascinating book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times ($30), is a culmination of five decades of work in presidential history.

Combining her signature storytelling with essential lessons from four of our nation’s presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson—Goodwin shows how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by other. She explores their unique journeys to as they navigated and grew through adversity, and she analyzes how they emerged to confront the challenges and contours of their times. Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader? This seminal work provides an accessible and indispensable road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today’s polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency.

Uproarious, highly anticipated, and yes, totally fake, The Mueller Report: The Leaked Investigation into President Donald Trump and His Inner Circle of Con Men, Circus Clowns, and Children  ($16) shares with the American public the findings of  Mueller’s investigation into the election of asshole known as Alfred Frump, leaked to the Very Biased and Highly Unemployed comedy writer Jason O. Gilbert by an anonymous source known only as “Melania T.”

The Mueller Report: The Leaked Investigation into President Donald Trump and His Inner Circle of Con Men, Circus Clowns, and Children He Named After Himself by [Gilbert, Jason O.]

This is a hoot,  a hilarious inventory of the dirt, grime and Big Mac crumbs that the special counsel has collected on President Trump during his months of investigation. Filled with interview transcripts, intercepted phone calls, incriminating emails, text exchanges, ALL-CAPS TRUMP TWEETS WITH SPELING ERRORS, and more, it whisks readers from the leaky White House to an even leakier Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Moscow, from Donald Trump Jr.’s covert meeting with Russians in Trump Tower to Michael Cohen’s secret sale of a Trump Tower apartment to a shell corporation called Oligarch LLC. And, for the first time, you’ll find out what really happened in that Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room between Donald Trump and two well-hydrated Russian escorts. NOT GOOD!

Tirelessly leading the fight for racial and labor justice, Dolores Huerta has evolved into one of the most defiant feminists of the 20th century

She is one of the most important, yet least known activists of our time. Tirelessly leading the fight for racial and labor justice, Dolores Huerta evolved into one of the most defiant feminists of the 20th century—and continues the fight to this day, at 87.

With unprecedented access to this intensely private mother of eleven, Dolores (PBS Distribution) chronicles Huerta’s life from her childhood in Stockton to her early years with the United Farm Workers, from her work with the headline-making grape boycott launched in 1965 to her role in the feminist movement of the ’70s to her continued work as a fearless activist. Featuring interviews with Gloria Steinem, Luis Valdez, Hillary Clinton, Angela Davis, her children and more, Dolores is an intimate and inspiring portrait of a passionate champion of the oppressed and an indomitable woman willing to accept the personal sacrifices involved in committing one’s life to social change. The film is released March 27.

“In the 1970s, the national grape boycott that Dolores Huerta helped organize played out in the small rural Minnesota farming community where I grew up—supported by our Catholic church along with tens of thousands of religious organizations across the country,” says Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer. “More than forty years later, Dolores is still an indefatigable architect for social change on behalf of poor, underrepresented people, urging them to seek self-determination with her refrain ‘Si Se Puede’ (‘Yes We Can’).”

It was in 1955 that she would meet a likeminded colleague, CSO Executive Director César E. Chávez. The two soon discovered that they shared a common vision of organizing farm workers and in 1962 they launched the National Farm Workers Association, which would evolve into the United Farm Workers and bring national attention to the conditions faced by farm laborers.

Dolores’s lobbying and negotiating talents helped secure Aid for Dependent Families (AFDC) and disability insurance for farm workers; she was also instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which granted California’s farm workers the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions. While the farm workers lacked financial capital, they were able to wield significant economic power through hugely successful national boycotts. As their principal legislative advocate, Dolores became one of the UFW’s most visible spokespersons.

While directing the first National Boycott of California Table Grapes out of New York, Huerta met Gloria Steinem and was introduced to the burgeoning feminist movement which rallied behind the farm workers’ cause. Having found a supportive voice with other feminists, Huerta began to challenge gender discrimination within the farm workers’ movement.

At age 58, Dolores suffered a life-threatening assault while protesting against the policies of then-presidential candidate George Bush in San Francisco. Following a lengthy recovery, she began to focus on women’s rights, traversing the country on behalf of the Feminist Majority’s “Feminization of Power: 50/50 by the Year 2000” campaign which encouraged Latinas to run for office.

Dolores continues to work tirelessly developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children as founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in March of 2013 and has received numerous awards including The Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton in 1998, Ladies Home Journal’s “100 Most Important Woman of the 20th Century,” and nine Honorary Doctorates from U.S. universities. In 2012, President Obama bestowed Dolores with her most prestigious award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Two new titles from PBS Distribution are must-see history lessons

PBS Distribution has released the series Slavery and the Making of America on DVD and Digital HD. Produced by THIRTEEN/WNET New York, this landmark series documents the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies through the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction.  The program examines the integral role slavery played in shaping the new country’s development, challenging the long held notion that it was exclusively a Southern enterprise.

Through the remarkable stories of individual slaves, the program offers fresh perspectives on the slave experience and testifies to the active role that Africans and African Americans took in surviving their bondage and shaping their own lives.


For months, reports of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have dominated the headlines. FRONTLINE: Putin’s Revenge (PBS Distribution) tells the epic, inside story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States as an enemy, how U.S. intelligence came to believe he targeted the 2016 presidential election, the fallout under President Obama and now in the Trump administration, and the implications for the future of American democracy.

The program draws on more than 60 interviews with heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, diplomats, Russian politicians, historians and journalists to trace how Putin went from low-ranking KGB agent to long-serving president of a newly assertive Russia with the ability to wage cyber-war in the U.S. and across the globe.

With in-depth reporting from Moscow and Washington, D.C., Putin’s Revenge is a riveting and revealing documentary that explores why Putin has sought to sow distrust in America’s democracy.

The first part of the program is a portrait of what makes the Russian leader tick, and the events that shaped his belief that the U.S. has sought to undermine Russia dating back to the fall of the Soviet Union. It explores how Putin came to power and then carefully constructed his image, cracking down on independent media outlets and opponents. It also traces key turning points in Putin’s relationship with the U.S. over the years, including how his fear of a U.S. policy of regime change intensified, and how he came to see Hillary Clinton in particular as an enemy trying to oust him–despite State Department insistence it was only promoting democracy, not trying to steer the outcome of Russia’s election.

The second half delves into the riveting story of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and how and why the Obama administration struggled to confront Putin about both election interference and, before that, Putin’s actions in Ukraine.  The program   shows Donald Trump’s repeated praise of Putin, how Russia is believed to have weaponized hacked emails to influence U.S. news cycles and exploit the gulf between Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ supporters, and how false stories picked up by Russian propaganda websites were then promoted by Russian trolls and bots on social media, and eventually found their way onto mainstream American news broadcasts.

Against the backdrop of investigations by the FBI and Congress into the role Russia played in the election, Putin’s Revenge is the must-watch, inside story of how we reached this point, what drives Putin, and what might happen next.

Spend time with Babs Streisand gabbing while on her shrink’s couch

Looking to relax on the couch and read about Babs’ loves and lifestyle? Yearning to learn just what makes Mrs. James Brolin tick (and tock)?

The On the Couch series by Alma Bond, Ph.D. gives readers an opportunity to discover the “secret” lives of Marilyn, Hillary and Jackie O through the eyes of renowned New York psychoanalyst, Dr. Darcy Dale. According to the powers-that-be, “the fictionalized biographies provided a unique and revealing perspective of their lives.”

In Barbra Streisand: On the Couch  (Bancroft Press, $27.95), Bond captures the details found in other biographies dedicated to the life of Babs in a way that provides deep insight into her personality and character. Dr. Darcy Dale―a Madhattan psychiatrist whose expertise is confronted by Babs, dismayed after 30 years of minimally successful therapy.

Throughout a year, Dr. Dale conducts an intimate psychoanalysis, breaking through ego defense mechanisms, and repressions to go deep into the heart and mind of one of America’s last remaining superstars. Babs’ many dimensions come alive as we hear her story in her own words. She fluctuates between self-inflation and insecurity. She cracks wise. She becomes angry. She weeps. For better or worse, Dr. Dale sees her client in all of her raw, most human, aspects, giving readers unprecedented access to her pain and joy.

Babs is funny, a bit abrasive, but very intelligent. Bond provides interesting insights into what Barbra could have been thinking during pinnacle times in her life, and her state of mind from a psychoanalyst’s point of view. While this book is technically fiction, the facts themselves are all true. Only the thoughts and feelings attributed to Barbra are fictitious, along with the story of her “analysis.” Dr. Bond’s extensive research into the life of Streisand, along with her professional knowledge of psychology and her beautiful style of writing, give fans of Barbra’s work and her persona fresh insight into a complicated woman, making this biography “thoroughly enjoyable,” according to Kitty Kelley, who used to write unauthorized celeb bios about every three days.

The book contains no photographs (an obvious money/legal reason) but a slew of rather unattractive illustrations. Funny, girl.

 

PBS offers the fascinating “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” on TV and on DVD

She has been distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture.” She is a woman who has gone out on many limbs to make the world a better, safer and more living place.

Dr. Maya Angelou led a prolific life. As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before.

Her story is told in the marvelous American Masters: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, making its national broadcast premiere on Tuesday, February 21 at 8 p.m. on PBS as a continuing celebration of part of Black History. The DVD of the documentary will also be available (from PBS Distribution) that same done, and will include bonus features. The program will also be available for digital download.

With unprecedented access, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack trace Dr. Angelou’s incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life through never-before-seen footage, rare archival photographs and videos and her own words. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South and her early performing career (1957’s Miss Calypso album and Calypso Heat Wave film, Jean Genet’s 1961 play The Blacks) to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana and her many writing successes, including her inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton, American Masters: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise reveals hidden facets of her life during some of America’s most defining moments.

The film also features exclusive interviews with Dr. Angelou, her friends and family, including Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, Hillary Clinton, Louis Gossett, Jr., John Singleton, Diahann Carroll, Valerie Simpson, Random House editor Bob Loomis and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson.

American Masters: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise premiered to critical acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. It won the Audience Award at AFI Docs and was featured at notable film festivals worldwide, including Full Frame, Sheffield, IDFA and Seattle, winning 17 awards on three continents, and has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

The show’s title comes from an Angelou poem:

“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise / I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, / Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. / Leaving behind nights of terror and fear / I rise / Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear / I rise.”

Three broads (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer and Hillary Clinton) and their “Broad City” (mis)adventures

Think of them a 2 broke girls.

Broad City is an odd couple comedy about two best friends navigating their twenties in Madhattan. Their (mis)adventures always lead down unexpected and outlandish paths. They’re broke, flawed and don’t shy away from the sticky situations NYC throws at them . . . they dive right into the shi…, er, muck. But no matter how bad it gets, these young broads are always down with whatever hits them.

Think of it as comedy central.

Upright Citizens Brigade alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer came up with the idea for the show; the gals also star and their dynamic relationship, combined with their impeccable comedic timing and chemistry, has been described as “passionate, funny and sometimes raunchy” by The New York Times.

Broad City: Season 3 hits stores on January 10. The two-disc set brings back TV’s baddest BFFs for a whole new set of adventures. Join Abbi, Ilana and a lineup of special guests as they find true love (or one-night stands), get high on life (among other things) and show New York City how it’s done. Just ask one of the season three’s guest stars, Hillary Clinton.