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Because we're as thirsty as the next guy,
The Daily Muse
takes a sip of the brown stuff in a matter called Coffeegate...

Probes,
near and far

     Events in Washington and on Mars are dominating the news, so we have nothing better to write about than:

  • Kicking off their year-long hearing into all those campaign misdeeds, members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee voted to grant themselves immunity from prosecution of any past and future allegations they "may have taken" improper donations "from domestic or foreign sources." "First thing's first," Sen. Fred "Fred" Thompson explained...
  • Thompson alleged that the Chinese government is still trying to influence the U.S. electoral process by offering lawmakers all-expense-paid trips to Hong Kong, so they can see "real democracy" in action...
  • The committee--overcome by breathtaking views of "Yogi," "Barnacle Bill," "Flat Top" and other "rocks" on the surface of Mars beamed back by Pathfinder--ordered an immediate investigation into the central question posed by the mission so far: If the landing site was once flooded by gillions of gallons of water, where are all the dead fish? "We must have an answer. We must have an answer now," Committee Co-host John Glenn demanded...
  • President Bill, in Madrid to invite new members to NATO, drew international condemnation when he withdrew the United States from the alliance for "budgetary reasons." In a quick clarification, the White House called Clinton's remark "a mistake" and cautioned the confused press corps not to use quotations around "anything" the president says...


  • (Had we not been sick of the phrase, this headline would have said:)

    Show me the money--or else


         The president's fund-raisers were hungry, so very, very hungry for cash, the latest Icky memos ejected by the White House show...

         "The fund-raising needs for the DNC will require a very substantial commitment of time from the President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Mrs. Gore," Harold Ickes, a top ex-Clinton staffer, wrote in one telling document. "They will either have to flip a lot of burgers, play the lottery and pray to win, or invest in very risky ventures."
         Clinton and his aides say no money was ever solicited on White House property--at least the president and First Lady don't recall ever asking for it there.
          The Muse, however, has learned from confidential but extremely unreliable sources that visitors often felt compelled to give.
         Details are sketchy but involve Secret Service agents showing their weapons to anyone who insisted they had "already given at the office."

    MuseCam Exclusive

    Motel sign of the times
                                              The Daily Muse
    The going rate
    First Innkeeper Bill Clinton faces stiff competition from a more modest establishment.

    Bring in the
    truth squad

         The daily fusillade of allegations and counter-allegations over White House fund-raising is wearing and tearing us out.

          It seems the question of who knew what when and why they didn't do anything to stop it will be with us from here to eternity--much the same way the O.J. case went on and on...
         We believe one thing to be true: No one in a position of power can and should be believed. (We're ready to join the local chapter of Cynics Anonymous.)
         Even virginal Al Gore lost face when he swore he did no wrong in dialing for dollars from the comfort of his vice presidential chair, then swore he'd never do it again. (He must have heard that line from the kids.)
         President Bill and First Lady Hill say they, too, may have made fund-raising calls but can't remember if they did.
         And Clinton's insistence that he knew nothing about FBI warnings that China was trying to buy off U.S. politicians registers low on the truth meter. He says he should have known and the G-men say there was nothing stopping him from knowing. Let's slap the polygraphs on the both sides and see...
         California's congressional delegation was tipped that they may have been targeted for illegal cash from China. They're knocking each other over to confess to something, anything, just so they don't look silly themselves.
         And the Chinese, for their part, say all these allegations are rubbish. They were just trying to get White House visitors passes.

          Sure, we'll buy that...


    No soliciting
    on the premises

         For the second day in a row, President Bill was pressed about his White House guests and their generous ways and for the second day in a row, the Bubster insisted nothing was amiss.

         And, though aides saw his White House coffees as fundraising opportunities, Clinton insisted "there was no solicitation during the events, although I did ask a couple of ladies up to the Kennedy Bedroom."
         A day earlier, documents were released showing he had scribbled enthusiastically: Clinton's note "Yes, oh yes, yes! pursue all 3 and promptly. And get other names at 100,000 or more, 50,000 or more...Ready to start overnights right away. Give me the top 10 list back, along w/the 100, 50,000...more, more, more...give me money--that's what I want..."
         Those same documents, Clinton now said, "made it clear that there was to be no price tag on the events...there was no solicitation at the White House, and the guidelines made clear that there was to be no price tag on the events."

          But was there a pricetag on your soul, Mr. President?


    They always
    left nice tips
    Abe says 'Shame!'      There he goes again, playing the percentages. President Bill insists that the folks who helped raise cash for him represented a tiny fraction of the hundreds who had messed the sheets in the Lincoln Bedroom.

         "...I wanted to ask some of my friends who had helped me when I got elected President that I hadn't been in touch with to come to the White House and spend the night with me, but they wouldn't all fit in our bed, so we had to open a few cots and when those ran out a few of them even had to sleep on the floor...," Clinton told reporters.
         "...the people that worked for me and helped to raise funds for me were a small percentage of the total number of people who stayed at the White House...
         "But they were my friends (FOB) and I was proud to have them here...I did not have any strangers here. (Save for a few arms merchants and drug slingers.) The Lincoln Bedroom was never sold..."

         Yes, Mr. President, but was it rented?


    Maybe they had a craving for fortune cookies

    Fortune cookies      To the long list of gates in Washington, we may now need to add yet another juicy scandal: Chinagate...

         Bob Woodward, who knows from gates, tells Washington Post readers that the FBI is digging into the possibility the Chinese Embassy in Washington was used to plan contributions to the Democrats.
         As the story plays, Beijing may have been trying to win influence in Washington--its sister city--by helping out where the need was greatest, raising money for an incumbent desperate for election-year cash. Investigators' suspicions were raised by the activities of Huang, Wang and Lippo, a well-known Washington lobbying firm.
         The right-wingers out there, of course, must be rubbing their paws together in glee, saying they knew all along President Bill was a red-flag waiving Commie (remember rumors of pictures in Red Square?) in his youth.
         The White House reflexively says Clinton's puzzled by the story and wants to get to the bottom of it, while the Chinese Embassy flat out denies the report.
         In the interests of justice and the American way, we can only hope The Prez and his minions mistook the embassy for a Chinese take-out. But what if they came away with more than bagfulls of Moo Goo Gai Pan and chopsticks?
          Stay finely tuned...

    What were the Democrats ordering? Tell us.


    An offer he couldn't refuse?

         Just when you thought it couldn't get worse in the case of Bill Clinton and his coffee-sipping habits, it does.
         The revelation du jour: That the president-of-the-
    United-States-of-America-so-help-me-God downed a brown liquid with addictive properties in the White House with Eric Wynn a stock promoter convicted of fraud that benefited an alleged member of the Bonanno organized crime club (Motto: "Yes we have no Bonannos"). Whew!
         (This information comes courtesy of the Washington Post in a story co-bylined by Bob Woodward, so you know it must be important...)
         And just a day before, the world learned another interesting name on Bill's Coffee-Time List: Roger Tamraz, a fugitive from Lebanon who CNN says had money ties to Libya.
         Remembering that a convicted drug smuggler had also been allowed to attend a White House party, all this really, really doesn't look very good for the president.
         Maybe, for efficiency's sake Clinton should just agree to meet with these types of folks at the nearest federal correctional facility. It would save time and the hassle of an FBI background check.

         It would also be a chance for the prez to get a feel for the place...


    Big sister?

         At the White House these days, you don't have to spend much time waiting for the other shoe to drop.
         So much footwear has fallen already, in fact, you may feel as if you've wandered into Imelda Marcos' closet.
         Some of you may have lost count but the latest revelation is that Clinton's Democrats may have used a massive database containing the White House guest list to raise campaign dollars (because they really, really needed the money). Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt
         Hillary Clinton denied aides' contentions that she was the wizard behind the curtain on this one: "I would doubt that I was the person who ordered it, but you'd better ask Eleanor." (Conspiracy theorists who have always known Hill's the big string-puller at Casa Blanca must be rubbing their paws together in glee...)
         According to press reports, big wigs who were behind in their contributions soon received tantalizing invites to rub elbows (and other body parts?) with the president or other special treats that presumably other lowly taxpayers could never hope to have.
         The White House, of course, issued its standard denial. (Clarification, then acknowledgement are expected in the next 48 hours.)
         Meanwhile in an unrelated but ironic development, the IRS computer system is so f...ouled up, Uncle Sam may be forced to take a $4 billion write-off on it.
         Sounds like the taxman should wander over to the White House for help. Their computer system's working just dandy.


    It's all too much
    Bill Clinton, open mouthed
         The smell of blood was in the air--so how else was he to react?
         In holding his first second-term news conference, President Bill shouldn't have been surprised at the non-stop questions about the brewing Coffeegate scandal.
         But still, William Jefferson Clinton (what Momma used to call him when he was a naughty lad), seemed put off by reporters' persistent queries:
         Sir, how did you manage to raise so much campaign money without leaving home?
         "I would say to the skeptics, the vast majority--indeed, a huge percentage, way, way over 90 percent...the vast majority of the money that was raised by both the Democrats and the Republicans was raised...in a perfectly lawful fashion, completely consistent with the requirements of the law.
         "Which leaves 10 percent ill-gotten by good-for-nothing slimeballs who are bound to land me in jail soon..."
         (And, by the way, don't you just love the way the big guy masterfully manages to throw the GOP in the same dirty bath water with the Dems?)
         So, while the prez confessed that some of the White House coffee-for-cash events looked bad--really, really bad--he said his fireside chats with the rich and powerful are really, really good for the country. And besides, he said, the "system" made him do it.
         "It's too much money, takes too much time to raise, raises too many questions," he cried. "So please, please, please stop sending me money. I've got enough already. And besides, I'm tired of writing all those receipts. Thank you."


    Because that's where the money is Bill Clinton
         The list of political contributors who had "coffee" with Bill Clinton grows longer--and more interesting.
         The latest revelation has the prez and some of his top fund-raising aides sipping the black stuff with the nation's top bankers in May 1996. And even though some of the government's chief banking regulators were also in attendance, the White House says no influence was being peddled.
         "We know what's inappropriate, and this was not inappropriate. In fact it was appropriate as hell," presidential spokesperson I.M. Flak said of the meetings. "Just because they were held in the middle of the night and people were seen leaving with large suitcases full of small, unmarked bills, doesn't mean any wrongs were being committed..."
         We're inclined to believe Flak, just as we're inclined to believe we saw the Easter Bunny on the front lawn this morning.
         However, we think this was a more realistic scenario: Clinton and company were just seeking some practical advice from America's bankers about where to put the mountains of donations that had come in courtesy of John Huang and other friends of Bill.

         Bottom line: They must serve a helluva cupa Joe at Casa Blanca.


    Camp pain

         President Bill's famous (like Cary Grant's "Judy, Judy, Judy", did he ever really say it?) "I feel your pain" line took on more poignancy recently as the Bubster promised to reform campaign financing as he knows it.
         Resting comfortably in the White House for a second and final term, Clinton sounded like he really meant it when he announced that he and fellow Democrats would no longer accept checks from Indonesians, other foreigners or crack merchants, regardless of how many zero$ were on the line.
         And there would be no more big corporate "soft money" designed to skirt legal limits (just cold hard cash?).
         So now that they've taken all the fun out of fund-raising, what's a poor pol to do to raise her or his dough?
         Some suggestions:
  • Ask America's avid coupon clippers to march to their grocers, demand their 1/8th of a cent cash value (multiply that by a few billion--pretty soon you're talking serious money) and mail the proceeds directly to the president, the DNC or even the GOP.
  • Have candidates show up courtside to Bulls games, look funny at Dennis Rodman and take a few low blows. Apply huge "pain and suffering" settlements to campaign coffers. (Now that feels better, doesn't it?)
  • An idea for Republicans: Dig in closet, pull out several pair of dirty Newt Gingrich underwear, auction to highest bidder. (Be sure to report proceeds to House Ethics Committee and the IRS.)
       
  • With lower limits per contributor, the prez will have to go for volume on White House visitation rights. When all the bedrooms are full, pitch several hundred pup tents in the Rose Garden, the Ellipse and even the closed-off section of Pennsylvania Avenue. Then come around with a flashlight and tin cup in hand to wish all guests a good night. (Might be tough to tell the contributors from homeless folks, though...)

  • Donate your ideas and we'll forward them to Bubba.
  • Reader Dino Roggero has a better idea: "Hillary could sell 1-minute conversations with Eleanor for $50 bucks apiece."


  • Muse of the Day:

    Why did President Bill let his friend from Arkansas keep coming back to the White House?

    Because money grows on Trie(s)...


    White House
    guest list

  • Convicted drug dealer$
  • Democratic fundrai$er$
  • Big-ticket contributor$
  • Chine$e arm$ tycoon
  • Other friend$ of Bill

    Spot the pattern?

    Good.

    Class dismissed ...


  • See what President Bill's up to now--visit Bubba Muse

    Surf on over to Whitewaterworld

    Open the other gate

    Mosey on back to The Daily Muse


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