Business;Arkansas Style

Two articles on the Clinton’s business dealings this morning are worth looking at. They both depict a culture of “means justify the ends” morality. The first from ABC News was on Hillary’s passivity on the WalMart Board when it came to the Arkansas company’s anti-union stance. The second, from the New York Times, details Bill’s willingness to cozy up to dictators, to help a major contributor to his charitable organization. That both Bill and his donor, Frank Giustra, both initially denied to The Times that a meeting with Kazakhstan officials had taken place at Bill’s home in New York is rather remarkable.

Both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Giustra at first denied that any such meeting occurred. Mr. Giustra also denied ever arranging for Kazakh officials to meet with Mr. Clinton. Wednesday, after The Times told them that others said a meeting, in Mr. Clinton’s home, had in fact taken place, both men acknowledged it.

This all reminds me of some time I spent in Arkansas in 1970 when I was the tour manager for The Band. Levon Helm, the singer and drummer was from Springdale, Arkansas and was close friends with Don Tyson, the chicken king. Don used to fly a bunch of his Arkansas buddies to Band concerts in his private jet. One night, after the concert, when everybody was pretty loose, the good old boys started bragging about how they had recently made a couple of million dollars in a week “cornering” the egg futures market with some friends in Springdale. Years later when Hillary Clinton had to explain how she had made $100,000 in a week with her first trade in the futures market, she said that Springdale futures trader, Robert “Red” Bone and James Blair, Tyson’s lawyer had advanced her the credit to make the trade. Obviously, Don Tyson wanted to stay on the good side of Arkansas’ governor Clinton, so he wouldn’t have to clean up all the chicken shit he was dumping in to Arkansas rivers. They were so brazen, even a federal search warrant didn’t slow them down.

According to EPA and U.S. Department of Justice officials, Tyson continued to illegally dump wastewater after the search warrants were executed, prompting an EPA senior trial attorney to remark that: “Having done this work for nearly 20 years, I don’t recall any case where violations continued after the execution of two search warrants. That’s stunning.”

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