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Archive for Sunday, April 2, 2006

Comparison fails

April 2, 2006

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To the editor:

Sometimes the lies, illogic and misapprehensions put out by the radical right whip up such a perfect storm of self-contradiction that they end telling the simple truth by accident. Such is the case with Kevin Groenhagen's March 27 letter defending President Bush.

Earlier writers had characterized the case for impeaching Bush as vastly more significant to the Republic than the case used against Clinton. Groenhagen thinks he scores debater's points by attacking Clinton's Iraq record. Actually, progressives will cheer him on. Groenhagen seems unaware that many progressives condemned President Clinton's bombing of Iraq as inhumane, illegal and ineffective. (Maybe Groenhagen is ignorant of this because it received little coverage in a mainstream press he regards as "liberal.")

As it happens, however, the radical right majority in Congress impeached Clinton purely for attempting to keep private his sexual relationship with another consenting adult. Most Americans think the impeachment was repulsive. It is no contradiction to support Clinton's sexual privacy while opposing his war policy.

But in any case Groenhagen's comparison fails as a defense of Bush. Clinton never tricked us into a spurious and hopeless ground war and never diverted us from the struggle against al-Qaida. As far as we know, Clinton never even misled the public about intelligence data.

David Burress,

Lawrence

Comments

xenophonschild 8 years, 8 months ago

Good on you, Burress. Groenhagen is unable to achieve any level of objectivity about either Clinton or Bush, and must be dismissed accordingly.

bisky1 8 years, 8 months ago

the budget problem is not tax cuts for everyone (tax revenues are actually way up because of the tax cuts for everyone) but because of spending, and there is certainly plenty of blame to go around on that basis.

Jamesaust 8 years, 8 months ago

At the risk of defending a certain undeserving person, the following statement is inaccurate: "...Congress impeached Clinton purely for attempting to keep private his sexual relationship with another consenting adult."

No, Clinton was impeached for the crimanal act of providing purjured testimony. Defendant Clinton found that the law he supported for others didn't apply to him. In sexual harrassment and rape cases, we have evolved to shield the woman's past sexual history even while opening up the man's. As Clinton found, merely upon the accusation, he ceased to have any right to privacy regarding his own past sexual history and was required by law to provide under oath full and accurate details of every noble or sordid 'doings' he'd had - or invoke his fifth amendment rights (either/or). Defendant Clinton, like many who believe they are priviledged, judged that the law applied to 'the little people' but most certainly not to him. Now, I may agree with him that it is unconscionable that one loses the right to privacy upon accusation prior to conviction, but then that doesn't mean that the laws are being unfailing applied to just him.

Reasonable people are free to draw different conclusions as to what consequences should apply to this crime - impeachment, censure, surrender of professional licenses for failure to meet ethical standards - but reasonable people are not free to redefine events contrary to their indisputable illegality.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 8 months ago

"No, Clinton was impeached for the crimanal act of providing purjured testimony."

This is now ancient enough history, I don't remember all of the details, but my memory is that legal scholars pretty much agreed that nothing Clinton said under oath met the definition of perjury, which is lying about something that is relevant to the infraction that is being prosecuted. As far as I know, the Scaife-financed fishing expedition failed to catch this big one with its perjury net.

xenophonschild 8 years, 8 months ago

Good on you, i_tching! I noticed that no one grasped the essence of your post, which is that (1) all politicians, to a degree, have feet of clay, and; (2) few who play on this site understand the motives - and savagery - of those who deliberately persecuted the Clintons. William the Great raised taxes on the rich, an act that profoundly shocked and horrified them. They were the only ones in the country during the Reagan and Bush I years to make any money; to have to give some of it back to balance the budget and cut the federal deficit was, to them, tantamount to a declaration of war.

They were joined by the racists/elitists who were equally horrified at the numbers of women and minorities, particularly blacks, that William the Great was appointing to federal office. "Whitewater" has, finally, been exposed as a long-running Republican vendetta, and who among us can forget the images of Vince Foster's family at his funeral as reporters questioned them as to the role of the Clinton's in his "murder."

In the real world, what you really need from a president is competence. On his worst day, William the Great was a better, smarter, more experienced leader than the pathetic twerp who sits in the Oval Office now.

Godot 8 years, 8 months ago

Think back to the 90's. Who did you fear more: high school children or Al Qaeda?

Be honest, now.

That is Clinton's legacy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 8 months ago

Here's what Bill Buckley had to say about Clinton recently. I think it's pretty accurate.

Bill Clinton is the most gifted politician of, certainly my time,'' Buckley said.He generates a kind of a vibrant goodwill with a capacity for mischief which is very, very American.'' He doubted that ``anyone could begin to write a textbook that explicates his (Clinton's) political philosophy because he doesn't really have one.''

David Burress 8 years, 8 months ago

Unlike many of my friends, I think the LJW is a pretty good newspaper. I would even say especially good, considering the obstacles: media monopoly and lack of much local competition; relatively small catchment area; and right-wing political beliefs of the owner. Nevertheless, the WSJ does exert a certain degree of censorship over local news and opinion, and the details are of some public interest.

In my letter to the editor published today, the newspaper changed my sentence "Clinton never even lied to the public about intelligence data" to read "Clinton never even misled the public..." I thought that was an interesting editorial change. When I asked the editor's assistant why, she said it was because I accused someone of lying. Then I asked if the WSJ would always delete accusations of lying, and whether they had a written style book. I probably came off as argumentative, but that really wasn't my intent; I just wanted to be able to comply with their rules (while of course edging as close to the line as I thought could get away with). In any case she responded, in a manner that at the time seemed oddly curt but which I later took to be defensiveness, to the effect that there are no specific rules and it all depends on the situation.

Now that stirred my interest, so I did a search of recent WSJ stories for words like "lies" and "lying" and guess what popped up at the top? The very Kevin Groenhagen letter I was responding to. Here is Groenhagen's relevant paragraph (as printed the WSJ): "If it was a lie to say Saddam had WMDs, Bill Clinton's lies contributed to the deaths of 500,000 children and gave us 9-11. President Bush's alleged sins pale by comparison."

Now two things seem apparent to me: 1. Groenhagen was allowed to use the actual terms "lie" and "lies" while I wasn't allowed to say "lied." 2. Groenhagen actually named Clinton as a liar (with a slightly softening hypothetical lead-in), while I merely indirectly suggested that Bush might have lied, without naming him.

I think the most reasonable description of this pattern is that it is OK to imply that Clinton is a liar, but not OK to imply that Bush is a liar.

Incidentally, I have run into this sensitivity before, when a previous letter to the LJW attacking Bush was rejected. (My letter was later run by another journal; it's available at http://www.lawrencian.com/issues/october2005.pdf.)

On a not totally unrelated matter, this website allows a form of lying that consists in hiding responsibility for scurrilous language behind a phoney pen name. I hope that my readers will ignore the nearly inevitable personal attacks this post will elicit from far-right-wingers wearing the electronic version of white pointy-headed hoods. It is my policy not to respond directly to verbal attacks from anonymous cowards.

David Burress Lawrence KS

xenophonschild 8 years, 8 months ago

William the Great was a competent president; GWB is an inept twit. You Republican apologist/activists can sophistrate all you want, but you can't obscure the truth. Your man is a loser.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 8 months ago

Yea, Kevin, Burress is quite guilty of exercising his first amendment rights. I'm sure when the country is really "free" again, you'll not have to be bothered by such activities.

rtwngr 8 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Burress,

I think it is wonderful that you can exercise your first amendnment rights. I find it intellectually dishonest and juvenile to refer to those that disagree with you by name calling. To infer that those of us, on the right, wear "pointy white hoods" (in reference to the KKK) is insulting and without merit in the discussion. It carries the same validity as calling you "comrade" and "pinko". It only detracts from your inane and boorish argument.

Kodiac 8 years, 8 months ago

Written by Arminius:

"First, Groenhagen never mentioned the ideological leanings of the mainstream media, so Burress is only making an assumption. Second, I'm sure Groenhagen is aware that groups such as the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice did codemn "President Clinton's bombing of Iraq as inhumane, illegal and ineffective."

Please note that Kevin Groenhagen and Arminius are the same person. Why the duplicity Kevin? Please stop referring to yourself in the third person. At least David is being honest about who he is and is willing to stand-up and be recognized. Why on earth would you act like you are defending someone else in your messages. Does it make your points more valid? It makes me think you have something to hide Kevin.

Kodiac 8 years, 8 months ago

This is what David is referring to when he writes:

"On a not totally unrelated matter, this website allows a form of lying that consists in hiding responsibility for scurrilous language behind a phoney pen name. I hope that my readers will ignore the nearly inevitable personal attacks this post will elicit from far-right-wingers wearing the electronic version of white pointy-headed hoods. It is my policy not to respond directly to verbal attacks from anonymous cowards."

David is right. Arminius(Kevin Groenhagen) is a coward.

Jamesaust 8 years, 8 months ago

"...my memory is that legal scholars pretty much agreed that nothing Clinton said under oath met the definition of perjury, which is lying about something that is relevant to the infraction that is being prosecuted."

Bozo - I'm certain that on that hyper-partisan subject no doubt some legal scholar was willing to opine that Clinton had not purjured himself (after all, attorneys by nature say all sorts of things with a straight-face - its their job).

The subject upon which Clinton purjured himself - his history of sexual harrassment - WAS the subject of the underlying lawsuit he gave sworn testimony for (the delightful Paula Jones). Indeed, as my memory serves, in 1994 Clinton himself signed a federal sexual harrassment law changing the rules of evidence to allow digging around in the defendant's sexual history. (Sort of what Saddam might call 'the mother of all ironies.')

The federal prosecutor - as part of a deal - declined to prosecute him in the end in return for a surrender of his law license, a fine, and effectively permanent disbarment. Clinton also settled the lawsuit privately for $850k. Settlement of the lawsuit does not imply guilt - agreeing to disbarment does.

My original point stands: one may disagree on the precise punishment for this sort of 'above the law' behavior but there is not a debate that laws were broken and they (no doubt, in addition to more sub rosa motivations) formed the base of Clinton's impeachment. There's no need for the author to distort history by making Clinton seem 'whiter' in order to make his point.

Kodiac 8 years, 8 months ago

Arminius has claimed that he created the retroactiveimpeachclinton website. Kevin Groenhagen is listed as the creator of this site. Therefore Kevin, you are Arminius. That is good enough proof for me. Now not only do we have a coward but a liar as well. So much for being credible Kevin.....

Kodiac 8 years, 8 months ago

"How about we deal with the points in the Burress letter and eschew the personal attacks? You really don't want to be that small of a person, do you?"

No reason to discuss anything with a liar and a coward. You about as small as you can get Kevin....

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