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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

Kodiac 8 years 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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Kodiac 8 years 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.....

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Arminius 8 years ago

Kodiac:

"Please note that Kevin Groenhagen and Arminius are the same person."

I have never acknowledged my true identity. Do you have evvidence to back up your contention?

"At least David is being honest about who he is and is willing to stand-up and be recognized."

If using a pseudonym is being dishonest, should we discount all that you write? After all, I don't believe your actual name is Kodiac.

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

Odd statement. If I am actually Groenhagen, than I am not anonymous, am I? And you just attacked me while using a username that is not your actual name. Does that make you a coward?

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?

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Jamesaust 8 years 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.

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Kodiac 8 years 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.

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Kodiac 8 years 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.

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Pilgrim 8 years ago

Posted by just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) on April 2, 2006 at 10:11 p.m.

Have you taken up drugs, Pilgrim?


Not at all, but it appears David Burress has. This from his contribution to this thread above:

Posted by davidburress (anonymous) on April 2, 2006 at 4:52 p.m.

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." ...

David Burress Lawrence KS


If I counted correctly, there are four references to the WSJ in that post. I even put stars on either side of them to make them easier for you to find. I'll type this slowly for both you and David -- WSJ = Wall Street Journal. LJW = Lawrence Journal-World.

Hope your Monday is off to a better start than the way you finished Sunday.

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rtwngr 8 years 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.

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Arminius 8 years ago

bozo:

"Yea, Kevin, Burress is quite guilty of exercising his first amendment rights."

I have no problem with Burress exercising his First Amendment rights. However, I do have a problem with him characterizing others as liars when he himself is the one being dishonest. Jamesaust, et. al. have pointed out Burress' inaccurate statements.

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Arminius 8 years ago

Not only is Burress dishonest, he's not all that great at research.

According to Burress, "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."

In reality, letter writers to the J-W have gone beyond merely implying Bush is a liar and have explicitly said he lied.

Here are several examples:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/dec... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/nov... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/nov... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/oct... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/sep...

This Burress letter is nearly as bizarre as the one he offered last month. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/mar...

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Pilgrim 8 years ago

I have to wonder why Burress insisted on talking to someone at the Wall Street Journal about the style policy on a letter he wrote to the Lawrence Journal World. It's no wonder the person on the other end was curt with him. They probably didn't have the foggiest notion of what he was talking about. And that means she has a lot of company.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years 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.

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xenophonschild 8 years 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.

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rightthinker 8 years ago

'LJW ' then it's 'WSJ' then it's 'LJW' again.....is Burress ADHD or something? Or just pounding the keys so hard in a state of distress now that he has been outed.

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Godot 8 years ago

Good catch, Arminius.

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rightthinker 8 years ago

by Burress:

'electronic version of white pointy-headed hoods. '

Mr. Burress is somewhat on. The KKK wore hoods to hide and intimidate. But that's the way it is on this forum today and noone is getting hurt by anomonously expressing ideas ONLY.

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rightthinker 8 years ago

by rightthinker:

'So Mr. Burress, are you saying us on the left should NOT excercise freedom of speech??'

I meant to say "us on the right'......does anyone care? Please tell me it's not a Freudian slip!!

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Arminius 8 years ago

75x55:

Yes, Burress is very much involved with LCPJ. Burress, a research economist/associate scientist with PRI's Center for Economic and Business Analysis, contributed $200 to Progressive Lawrence Coalition and is also a contributor to LCPJ. He helped LCPJ raise funds on January 20, 2004 by hosting a "Sorry-Ass State of the Union" house party. See http://www.legitgov.org/discus/messages/569/4703.html?1074375569

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Arminius 8 years ago

burress:

" 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."

The only personal attacks issued thus far have been from you. For example, you accused Groenhagen of being a liar, yet never offered an example of a lie in his letter. It's a bit hypocritical of you to now offer a preemptive attack on those who you believe will attack you.

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75x55 8 years ago

Arminius - Mr. Burress is connected with LCPJ?

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rightthinker 8 years ago

by buress:

'relatively small catchment area'

Yes, but all we need to see Lawrence is bursting at the seams with far left mouthpieces.

'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.'

Wrong, One doesn't imply Willy J. Clinton is a liar, they forthrightly proclaim it in all of its truth and glory. One saying Bush is a liar is stating a falsehood. Clinton is convicted of lying and lost his law license, vs. GWB who is merely accused of lying by anti-war, anti-Bush liberals who are flying off with a temper-tantrum.

'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.'

Here we see more hypocrisy offered up to the right on a silver platter!! So Mr. Burress, are you saying us on the left should NOT excercise freedom of speech??

Surely as a professor, you would not encourage stifling dissent and are smarter than to fall prey to the trappings of the lefts' hypocrisy??

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David Burress 8 years 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

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Arminius 8 years ago

This letter is wrong on so many levels that you have to wonder why KU would want to associated itself with a man as dishonest and ignorant as Burress.

"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."

Burress failed to share an example of a lie or illogic in the Groenhagen letter.

"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.')"

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." However, LCPJ, in which Burress is a member, is a fringe element within the left and was out of step with elected Democrats in Washington. Democrats in Washington did not call for the censure or impeachment of Clinton over Iraq, nor did LCPJ urge Democrats to do so.

"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."

As noted above, Clinton was impeached (and subsequently disbarred) for commiting perjury and obstuction of justice. And, as an intern, Lewinsky could not be considered a consenting adult since Clinton was her superior. Thus, the relationship constituted sexual harassment.

"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."

The facts say otherwise. Al Qaida attacked two U.S. embassies in Africa in August 1998, killing 257 and wounding 5,000. Clinton retaliated by firing a few missiles at empty tents and an aspirin factory. He then moved on to a preemptive attack on Iraq's "nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs" in December 1998 and an illegal war of choice against Kosovo in March 1999. Those were diversions from the "struggle." (BTW, LCPJ opposed our struggle against al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9-11, so Burress really has no leg to stand on when criticizing anyone for diverting resources from the struggle.)

As far as misleading the public about intelligence data, Clinton did claim for eight full years that Iraq had WMDs. If "mislead" is not the right word, what would be a more appropriate verb?

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Arminius 8 years ago

i_tching:

"After the outgoing Clinton administration told Bush that 'his greatest problem would be Al Queda'the left would not likely ignore its own advice."

The only "evidence" we have to support that is Clinton's own testimony. We all know how relaible that is.

Members of Clinton's national security team gave several speeches during the transition period. Those speeches overwhelmingly focused on Iraq, not al Qaeda:

http://www.usembassy.it/file2001_01/alia/a1010801.htm http://www.usembassy.it/file2001_01/alia/a1010903.htm http://www.usembassy.it/file2001_01/alia/a1010901.htm http://www.usembassy.it/file2001_01/alia/a1011102.htm

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observer 8 years ago

Vs: The Bush administration mantra -- What can we hide from 'em today?

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Pilgrim 8 years ago

Posted by just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) on April 2, 2006 at 12:49 p.m.

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


Or the political biography displayed in "Primary Colors."

The Clinton administration mantra -- How can we fool 'em today?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years 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.''

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Pilgrim 8 years ago

Posted by just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) on April 2, 2006 at 10:57 a.m.

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,


But he was still forced to surrender his license to practice law because of the lies he told under oath. A prosecutor may have been fooled into thinking he had no case, but the judge saw it differently.

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Pilgrim 8 years ago

Posted by derf (anonymous) on April 2, 2006 at 9:24 a.m.

"What's a progressive?"

It's a euphemism for a socialist.

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Godot 8 years 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.

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rightthinker 8 years ago

I was not even referring to personal behavior or actions....and more referring to the 'illogic and misapprehensions put out by the radical right whip up such a perfect storm' part of the statement. Therein lies more hypocrisy in the statement itself; this is precisely what the left has been and will continue to do while W is in office.

In all fairness, I know what the Bush-haters are going through. I absolutely loathed/loathe Willy J. and Hellary Clinton. But evil is evil, I don't care what anyone says.

At best, Willys's reign was uneventful, due mostly to the fact he was mostly engaged in bumping elbows with the left coast. At worst, he did much harm by allowing us to become vulnerable to terrorism.

Willy's gal, Janet "The Destroyer" Reno had no problem torching dozens of women, children and Christians, regardless of how bizarre they were in their beliefs.

W had done this, dear God in heaven, liberals would be wetting themselves with excitement at the very thought of how they could beat W and the right over the head. The left WANTS strife under W's reign...they love it and welcome it.

Hypocrisy abounds on the left and it will come full circle.

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Arminius 8 years ago

i_tching:

"I would say that could serve as an equivalent, if not greater example of hypocrisy and self-contradiction than the unspecified examples blightdinker does not disclose."

Gingrich may be slime, but he did not commit perjury or obstruction of justice. And he did resign.

The greatest example of hypocrisy would be Jesse Jackson ministering Clinton on his extramarital afffair while Jackson himself was cheating on his wife.

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xenophonschild 8 years 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.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years 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.

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Jamesaust 8 years 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.

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derf 8 years ago

What's a progressive? I thought that was an insurance company. Is this an ad hominem argument? My insurance agent told me about those. Seems like there are enough of those to go around so that everybody has got some. What's a COC?

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bisky1 8 years 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.

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i_tching 8 years ago

Newt Gingrich was known to be maintaining an affair with one of his staffers while at the same time freely attacking Clinton in the Lewinsky tempest.

I would say that could serve as an equivalent, if not greater example of hypocrisy and self-contradiction than the unspecified examples blightdinker does not disclose.

Rush Limbaugh's famous admonitions to jail all drug abusers is certainly a heightened example of hypocrisy, as his own criminal addiction problems were then manifest.

One of the right's criticisms of Clinton is the lie that "Clinton did nothing about the attacks on the Cole, the embassies, etc.," because Clinton did not take us to war in response to these events. (Of course, those responsible were prosecuted for their crimes.)

But would it not be fair to say that because jets were not scrambled, and he ignored the Presidential Daily Briefing, that Bush "did nothing" except stutter through the reading of a children's book on 9/11?

To say that "the left would be doing the same thing" only further damages the credibility of the benighted entity that wrote it.

Certainly, the left would not have handed off the budget-busting tax cuts to the rich.

After the outgoing Clinton administration told Bush that "his greatest problem would be Al Queda" the left would not likely ignore its own advice.

The left would also not likely formulate an energy policy nor a prescription drug plan that hands public largesse to those industries respectively.

Just a few things that come to mind.

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rightthinker 8 years ago

by David Buress:

what he said--

'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.'

what he should have said--

'Sometimes the lies, illogic and misapprehensions put out by the radical left whip up such a perfect storm of self-contradiction that they end telling the simple truth by accident.'

There is no greater example of hypocrisy and self-contradiction than that of liberals which today are synonomous with rabid, frothing at the mouth Bush-Haters.

I'm 100% sure, no matter what W may have done in his great eight years as COC, the left would be doing the same thing. The left is beside themselves with abject unwarranted hatred for the man.

You can thank Al Gore in part for this for instilling a sense of hatred for W with the election debacle. Al Gore can and hopefully will burn in helll for all I'm concerned.

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xenophonschild 8 years ago

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

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