September 14, 2000
By Jerry Seper and Bill Sammon
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Vice President Al Gore and the chairman of the Democratic National Committee sought a $100,000 donation from a wealthy Texas lawyer in 1995 after promising that President Clinton would veto a bill limiting damage awards in product-liability cases.
According to documents obtained by The Washington Times, the requests came in separate telephone calls by Mr. Gore on Nov. 30, 1995, and by DNC Chairman Donald L. Fowler on Dec. 13, 1995, to lawyer Walter Umphrey, senior partner at the Beaumont, Texas, law firm of Provost & Umphrey.
In a telephone call sheet prepared for the vice president by the DNC, Mr. Gore was instructed to ask Mr. Umphrey for $100,000 for the DNC's media fund.
A call sheet prepared by the DNC two weeks later for Mr. Fowler suggests the vice president did not reach his intended target. Two weeks later, the DNC chairman received a similar directive to ask Mr. Umphrey for cash.
"Sorry you missed the Vice President. I know [you] will give $100k when the President vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now. Please send ASAP if possible," the sheet says under "reason for call."
The Justice Department's campaign-finance task force has opened a preliminary investigation into the solicitation and the activities of Mr. Gore and others. The probe was ordered by task force chief Robert J. Conrad Jr. [...]
In the months after the president's veto, Mr. Umphrey contributed more than $42,000 to the party. In the four years since, he and his firm have donated more than $700,000 to the Democratic Party, according to federal election records.
Mr. Umphrey, who specializes in personal-injury cases for labor unions, could not be reached last night for comment. Mr. Fowler, who now runs a South Carolina communications firm, also was unavailable.
On May 2, 1996, Mr. Clinton vetoed the Common Sense Liability Reform Act, which had passed in the House, 259-158, and the Senate, 61-37.
Among other things, the bill would have given defendants protection against damages for harm due to the plaintiff's own use of drugs or alcohol; reduced manufacturers' liability; required plaintiffs to prove the harm they suffered was the result of gross negligence or intentional conduct; and limited punitive damage awards. [...]
The complete story can be found online at www.washtimes.com/national/default-2000914224119.htm
September 11, 2000
Al Gore, Vice President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Who supports your candidacy?|
Disturbed by the possibility that you stand some chance of becoming president of the United States, I tried to get some idea of where support for your candidacy might be coming from.
At the Center for Responsive Politics web site, I found a list of "Al Gore's Top Fundraisers" who have raised in excess of $100,000, and heading that list (which is alphabetical) was "Fred Baron, TX (Baron & Budd)," and so I jotted down the name of Fred Baron as a campaign contributor at which my research could begin.
Immediately after that, I discovered the Common Cause web site which listed "Al Gores Board of Directors," a list of soft money contributors to Democratic national party committees, and heading that list (which was ordered by size of contribution) was the name of Haim Saban, credited with making a contribution of $337,000, and so I also jotted down the name of Haim Saban as a second campaign contributor worth checking out in my preliminary research.
Looking at the second of these two lists, I found the name of Fred Baron also on it, credited with $146,500 in soft money contributions; and looking at the first of these two lists, I found the name of Haim Saban also on it, credited of course with over $100,000 in hard money contributions.
Researching the names Fred Baron and Haim Saban online quickly leads to citations of much larger amounts donated or gathered by them in support of either yourself or of the Democratic party over many years, as for example the following:
However, pausing to sample from this scattering of large figures will not add appreciably to our conclusions, and so will be dispensed with for the present. It is enough for our purposes to conclude that Fred Baron and Haim Saban demonstrate a particularly strong interest in seeing you elected as the next president of the United States, and so perhaps they are a reasonable place to begin answering the question of who supports your quest for office.
One of the questions that I hoped would be clarified in my investigation was whether the donations of these two constituted personal sacrifices that they were willing to suffer in their struggle to produce a better America, or whether their donations were investments which they expected you to repay with interest in the event that you became president.
Mainly from Alison Frankel's article, Traitor to his Class, in the The American Lawyer 06-Jan-2000, we learn that Frederick M. Baron assumed the presidency of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America in July 2000, and heads the 70-lawyer, 300-employee, Dallas law firm of Baron & Budd of which he owns 35%, and of which together with law partner Lisa Blue (to whom he is married), owns "a majority of the firm's shares." Plaintiff asbestos litigation provides between 50 and 80 percent of the firm's revenue. In 1998, Fred Baron estimated that his law firm was currently handling 9,500 to 10,000 asbestos cases.
Fred Baron has discovered that class action law suits make him less money than litigating claims one at a time, and so he does the latter, turning his firm into a "veritable asbestos litigation factory," earning him "tens of millions of dollars representing thousands of victims of corporate wrongdoing." The result of this modus operandi has been that Baron made a pile of money, court dockets were congested, asbestos producers were bankrupted, much of the money went to the lawyers and not the victims, and what compensation victims did receive was slowed.
If anything goes wrong at Baron & Budd, we aren't subject to any indecision knowing where to lay the blame it has to be upon Fred Baron himself, as he is in total control: "He doesn't do a good job of delegating" and "He's an absolute dictator." And there is much that has been going wrong at Baron & Budd of late, as described by numerous articles available online, as for example the following five:
(1) Accidental exposure: excerpt from a 20-page legal guide prepared by Baron & Budd law firm for their clients engaged in asbestos-injury cases, Harper's Magazine.
(2) Walter Olson, Thanks for the memories: how lawyers get the testimony they want, Reason, June 1998.
(3) Tim Wyatt, Law firm's memo in asbestos lawsuit sparks ethics debate: Baron & Budd founder says papers to prepare witnesses are appropriate, Dallas Morning News, 28-Sep-1997.
(4) Patrick Williams, Christine Biederman, Thomas Korosec and Julie Lyons, Toxic Justice: Lawyer Fred Baron says he's one of the good guys, fighting a war against evil asbestos manufacturers. But some former employees claim his firm is a factory that mass-produces lawsuits by implanting memories and inventing testimony, Dallas Observer, 12-Aug-1998.
(5) Julie Lyons, The control freak: Fred Baron's attempt to spin the story of his law firm's tactics was memorable, to say the least, Dallas Observer, 13-Aug-1998.
What such articles as the above tell us (and I often borrow their wording in my summary) is that although in his early days Fred Baron accomplished much good winning compensation for horribly ill victims from asbestos manufacturers who had clearly acted recklessly that situation has long changed. The major asbestos producers have been driven into bankruptcy, and the defendants in the dock today are small players who used asbestos sparingly and secondarily, as for example as a minor ingredient in ceiling tiles for fire protection, or who were family-owned wholesalers that handled thousands of different industrial products back in the 1940s, or who manufactured brakes or turbines or paint, or even who manufactured first-generation respiratory equipment intended to protect workers from asbestos.
At the same time, those who were most clearly injured by asbestos have by now either received compensation or are dead, leaving plaintiffs whose symptoms range from uncertain to nonexistent. In the typical court case today, an asymptomatic plaintiff offers X-ray abnormalities visible only to Baron & Barr doctors, sometimes referred to by defendants as "whore doctors," because they can be bought to testify to non-existent abnormalities. Where in earlier days the victims had worked directly with friable asbestos, these have been replaced by plaintiffs who had only the slightest exposure to asbestos, if any at all the ranks of insulators and pipe fitters have given way to house-builders and roofers, supervisors, even office workers and supply clerks, to the point where someone can hop on the claimant gravy train if he spent a summer in college helping to renovate a library. Law firms park vans in front of union halls, and herd workers through for quick x-rays which nearly always, in the opinion of hired medics, indicate lung dysfunction. The day has even arrived when X-ray abnormalities are not required to qualify for compensation some recent cases have awarded compensation to asymptomatic plaintiffs for their fear that they may get cancer.
Most disturbing has been the discovery of the Ms. Lynell Terrell memo, "Preparing for Your Deposition," a 20-page internal Baron & Budd document circulated to all plaintiffs, which coaches plaintiffs on how to lie:
Tim Wyatt of the Dallas Morning News adds the following comments:
Definitive, in-depth investigation and analysis was conducted by the Dallas Observer:
Needless to say, the above revelations did not cause Baron & Budd major setbacks:
The impression left by the above information is that whatever he may have been in his beginnings today Fred Baron has become a parasite, and the suspicion arises that when he strives to help set anyone up as president of the United States, it might be in order to win protection for his parasitism. The Dallas Observer's citing an estimate that Baron & Budd had grossed $800 million from asbestos litigation by 1994 gives us some idea of the amounts Fred Baron has to gain from continuing his asbestos litigation at its usual high volume; and the disappearance of real victims and real victimizers makes us understand that such high volume can only be maintained with the help of fraud. Several million dollars spent protecting Fred Baron's income, then, would constitute a small investment for prolonging the life of a goose that lays golden eggs. If Fred Baron's practice was legitimate and commendable, then he wouldn't need your protection, and so that any campaign support he might then have offered would not be suspected of being motivated by his fear of losing a long-remunerative but increasingly-threatened livelihood.
What some American voters might like to see from you is an admission that Fred Baron represents a corruption not only of the American justice system, but also of the American character, seducing vast numbers of Americans into preferring extortion over productive labor as a means of supplementing income. And what some American voters might like to see even more is your refusing to rely on campaign contributions from people whose agenda includes the corruption of the American way of life.
Anyone who is familiar with the case of John Demjanjuk, and more broadly the practices of the US Office of Special Investigations (OSI), will immediately recognize that the same suborning of perjured testimony as we have seen at Baron & Budd above has been the standard practice at the OSI ever since its inception in 1979, and even before that when war crimes prosecutions were still being conducted by the Special Litigation Unit. The corruption of American justice, then, can be seen to be prolonged and widespread, with Baron & Budd constituting merely one recent manifestation. The anticipation of a president who not only fails to oppose such prolonged and profound corruption, but instead benefits from it, cannot but throw informed voters into a state of unease for the safety of the American republic.
Haim Saban is the world's leading supplier of television programming, feature films, home video, music, and consumer products for children. However, he does not see his mission as one of educating children or of improving them: "Another statement made by Saban is that children don't watch television to be educated, and they never will. After several hours of school, children are looking for a means of entertainment, and who better to fill that want than the media." (Matt Coffel, Response or responsibility, online at www.student.ipfw.edu/~coffmr01/REVLITREVIEW.htm.
What happens when the goal of improving children is relegated to secondary status can be illustrated by one of Haim Saban's creations, the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, eliciting world-wide protest from parents and teachers following an unprecedented outbreak of child violence imitating the show's unprecedented level of televised violence. One instance of this world-wide reaction was initiated by parent complaints in Ontario which led to a review by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) which released its decision on 24-Oct-1994, the gist of which was as follows:
The CBSC decision neglected to mention that in addition to the injury that a child's punching and kicking can inflict on the target of his attack, it might bring injury upon the attacker himself in the case that he unwisely chooses a target who is both stronger than himself and lacking the discernment to moderate his reply.
Although one might hope that the Power Rangers television series was atypical of Haim Saban's programming, comments such as the following suggest the alternative interpretation that his motivation is dominated by considerations of profit and neglectful of the welfare of his young viewers:
Thus, as in the case of Fred Baron, Haim Saban gives the appearance of making vast amounts of money in activities that are damaging to American society, and of having encountered opposition, and so of hoping for protection from an administration that he has helped put in power. His support of your candidacy for president might be interpreted as an investment whose payoff would come at the time that you as president began removing obstacles to his venturing further in the direction of harming American youth in order to further increase his wealth.
In the case of Haim Saban, there is one further objection, which begins with our noticing that he lived in Israel until the age of 22, and which continues into our wondering whether it is possible that his takeover of children's programming has been engineered largely under Israeli auspices and using Israeli manpower which conclusion is suggested by such evidence as that the movie Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie has the following creators:
Haim Saban (Executive Producer), emigrated from Israel at the age of 22;
Shuki Levy (Executive Producer/Screenwriter/Composer), born and raised in Israel;
Jonathan Tzachor (Producer), grew up in Israel and flew in the Israeli Air Force for seven years;
Ilan Rosenberg (Director of Photography), a native of Israel and a US citizen since 1990;
Yuda Ako (Production Designer), born in Israel and moved to the US in 1971.
(The above information is available online on the Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie web site at www.powerrangersturbo.com/tprf.htm.)
Although one cannot readily gain a comprehensive picture of Saban-empire personnel, one does keep coming across pieces of information that it is disproportionately Israeli, as for example:
Ronnie Hadar (Senior Vice-President of Production, Saban Entertainment), grew up in Israel and served in the Israeli army.
(Terri Ann C. Guingab, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Biography FAQ, 14-Mar-1996, online at www.media.mit.edu/Personal/manny/power/text_docs/mmpr_bio_faq.txt.)
Even if individuals such as the above are today landed immigrants in the United States, or even American citizens, it is possible that they still retain their Israeli citizenship, and in this sense can be considered to be foreign nationals. Thus it might be hypothesized that foreign nationals largely control children's television programming in the United States today.
Were it the case that foreign nationals exercised disproportionate influence over U.S. information channels that served adults, there would be less cause for concern because adults possess critical faculties which allow them to reject biased or manipulative or corrupting content. However, children do not possess such critical faculties, and are largely defenseless in the face of bias or manipulation or corruption, and so they do require protection.
And were it the case that the foreign nationals who controlled children's programming in the United States originated from a country adhering to Western values say Britain or Sweden or France then again Americans would have less cause for concern. However, Israel does not adhere to Western values, and so Americans do have a right to be concerned over the possibility that Israeli influence over children's programming may ultimately be used to disseminate Israeli values and beliefs to American children.
As examples of the ways in which Israel does not adhere to Western values, we note that Israeli culture is saturated with ethnocentrism, intolerance, hatred, racism, and xenophobia, as I outlined in my letter to you of 23-Aug-2000. Also, Israel is profoundly misogynistic, as I outlined in my letter to you of 24-Aug-2000. Israel is guilty of massive war crimes. Israel is home base to a world-wide organized-crime syndicate. Israel is the center for the sex-slave trade in Slavic women. Israeli justice is primitive enough to have produced the 20th century's counterpart of the 19th century trial of Alfred Dreyfus namely, the show trial of John Demjanjuk. Israel contributes toward the impoverishment and destabilization of the Former Soviet Union by plundering it of its brains. Israel's need to keep Jewish-holocaust fabrications from being exposed may be largely responsible for world-wide efforts to suppress free speech, as for example the efforts in Canada by the Canadian Jewish Congress. The Jonathan Pollard case revealed Israel spying against the United States not so that it could use the stolen information itself, but so that it could trade it to the Soviet Union.
Because of such Israeli characteristics as the above, anyone who holds Israeli citizenship may be suspected of harboring values which are antagonistic to those on which the United States was founded, and that is why the seizure of control of television programming aimed at American children by a group that may hold Israeli values must be viewed by Americans with trepidation.
Could you come clean?|
What would be really helpful to the American voter, and to the observer outside the United States who also will be affected by the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, is for you to go down the two lists of major campaign contributors that I cited at the top of the present letter, and to outline each contributor's characteristics as I have done in the cases of Fred Baron and Haim Saban.
Perhaps my selection of these two prominent supporters has been an unlucky one, and the others will give less cause for concern; but on the other hand, perhaps the two I have chosen have been representative, or have been even the best of a bad lot, and the others will give equal or greater cause for concern.
It is important for the American voter, and for the world, to know which of these alternatives is the case, and you are best placed to provide this information.