News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 8/18/98

From: matthew@cata.com (Matthew Dornquast);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 21:18:53 -0500;
I'm sorry

I just wanted to apologize to you (and the rest of America) because I voted for him last time around. I believed him. He lied to me. I'm now a bit more cynical about our Government and the human race in general. <THANKS Bill>

Next time, I'll vote more wisely.

The truth is hard work, obviously he's not up to it.

I wish he'd quit too.


PS>Al Gore: Take note! If you can't take the heat, don't go in the kitchen.

PPS>I want to know why we spent ANOTHER billion on ANOTHER spy satellite. I don't remember voting for THAT! Does anyone know what special ability that spy wonder was going to do for us?

PPPS>Someone wrote to you stating that Bill should have said, "None of your damn business". And why is that not an exceptable answer? Seriously, what would they have done? Thrown him in Jail? I bet the 'polls' would have shown us 80%+ for him if he had. <Of course, that was before I found out he's a liar and everything is suspect>

From: gnu@toad.com (John Gilmore);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 17:33:33 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

Senior heads of Clinton's agencies are also regularly lying. Like the FBI, NSA, and Justice Department. See


This is the first chapter of the book I wrote about their lies. The first few pages detail specific times and places and statements. EFF spent a year and almost $250K building a machine to prove that they were lying about the security of DES, in order to push Congress and the public into a crypto policy that would let them wiretap at will.

From: elharo@sunsite.unc.edu (Elliotte Rusty Harold);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 19:13:24 -0400;
Re:Truth Decay

This is nothing like Nixon, and making the comparison is offensive. Nixon was, among other crimes, cheating in an election. At worst, Bill Clinton had sex with a consenting adult, and like most married men he didn't much want to talk about it. His private behavior is between him and his family. It's certainly not grounds for resignation, and shouldn't be grounds for the political witch hunt Ken Starr's investigation has become. A blow job in the White House is not even close to the same thing as electoral fraud (not to even mention the numerous other crimes committed by the Nixon administration).


From: harry.singh@nordstrom.com;
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 15:58:46 -0700;
About Truth Decay

Want to have fun?

So many people have been writing about Clinton. It is easy to comment. More so, in this age.

How about asking people to comment on the following:-

Assume you are Clinton. Assume you have gone through the last 7 months as he did. Now do your best to come out with a speech for the occasion. Think about explaining to Hillary. Think about Chelsea. Think about the presidency. Think about the colleagues who supported you. And also, think about your embarrasment. Think about Ken Starr. Do not see him as one doing his job. See him as your opponent. And make a speech. And lastly, be honest.

You might want to say -- If he had told the truth in the first instance, this situation would not have arisen. Ok but let's get into this situation and the give our comments.

I for one, knowing whatever little of myself, feel I would not have done any different from what Clinton did, speaking yesterday. Might have done differently in January though.

Do you think you will find more than 5 serious answers on this??

From: simon@dataway.com (Simon Lewis);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 15:19:37 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

Just about every politician in Washington lies in some form or other. The problem with this country is that the "powers" cannot fight each other on issues because there is no forum for serious debate and even if there were who would listen? Joe SixPack is far more interested in football and stupid sitcoms then a serious debate on - let's pick one - strong encryption and why the right to securely converse over any medium is the next watershed in human rights. The very small minority that really is interested in issues doesn't matter because they don't sway elections.

I could care less that he lies about sex with an intern. It's not important. I don't care that he lies to get elected. That's the way things are done here. He doesn't need to quit and do the right thing - he wasn't elected for that. America knew what it was getting and as long as the economy performs he'd probably be elected again if he could run.

From: bobk@gol.com (Robert Kawaratani);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 07:05:59 +0900;
Re:Truth Decay

I share your sentiments. Although I have problems with Paula Jones and her entourage and the Special Prosecutor, those people didn't create Clinton's problems and the fundamental fact that he's lacking in integrity. In one sense the situation resembles the one in Japan where senior bureaucrats in the MInistry of Finance who have been arrested for gross ethical violations have been mainly been graduates of the University of Tokyo's Law School (the prime nursery for elite bureaucrats).

Unfortunately, I doubt if Clinton will do the right thing.

From: minow@pobox.com (Martin Minow);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 14:35:58 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

Clinton's speech exposed the difference between "lawyer's truth" and rubber-meets-the-road everyday truth.

President Clinton said, "I did not have sexual relations" with Monica Lewinsky. In the Paula Jones deposition, he was asked whether he had sexual contact -- which was defined as him in contact with her genitals, but not her in contact with his. He answered "no."

Ask any lawyer how to answer a question, and they will say, first, "tell the truth" and, second, "answer the question as asked, not some other question."

However, when we listen to President Clinton, we wonder, "Did he have sex with that woman." We know what "have sex" means and expect an everyday answer to an everyday question. But, in a real sense, we don't know what "have sex" means: your definition of sexual *relations* is not necessarily mine. Do relations imply continuance, contact, mutuality? Can you have sexual *relations* with a prostitute, or a voice on a 900 number?

A lawyer should be able to ask a precise question and expect a precise answer. Why the Paula Jones lawyers, and the judge who limited their original question didn't cover all the bases is a question for another forum and another day. What they seem to have done, however, is to give a skilled lawyer enough wiggle room to answer their questions truthfully and, at the same time, to evade the greater truth of his actions.

From: cbarrett@borders.com (Cameron Barrett (Borders Online));
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 17:50:32 -0400;
Re:Truth Decay

We disagree yet again, Dave. I don't condone Clinton's actions, but I certainly don't feel he needs to resign.

We are all human, even the President. So, why have we stopped treating him like one? So he made a mistake. So what? We all make mistakes. We all screw up. It's in our inherent nature.


The time to take that approach would have been in January, if he had told the truth about the affair with Lewinsky. Your argument doesn't take into account the seven months of lying. How would you feel about an employee who lied publicly for seven months and mired your company in scandal? If he worked for me he'd be fired in an instant. Hey, he does work for me. QED. DW

From: bhoult@quintcom.com;
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 14:16:56 -0700;
re Davenet

Something which (as far as I've noticed) only you and Dee Dee Myers have picked up on at all is that Clinton said he took "full responsibility" for his actions, but that his idea of taking full responsibility is to *say* it and not to actually *do* anything.

Where I come from (New Zealand) we have what is known as a Westminster system of democracy. In that system -- which the US does not have, admittedly -- when a politician is caught in a public lie and he "takes responsibility" for it it means only one thing: he is resigning.

That's that "taking responsibility" means.

You don't just say "I'm taking full responsibility" and expect to move on as if nothing has happened. (I wish that worked with speeding tickets!)

From: tt035679@bcm.tmc.edu (Todd Tibbetts);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 15:18:43 -0500;
Re:Truth Decay

I just wanted to let you know that you echo the feelings that are being expressed by my fellow med students in Houston. I am happy to see someone in the media (even if you don't think of yourself that way!) standing up and articulating this viewpoint. Good job.

From: bvolk@inetworld.net (Bill Volk);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:12:19 -0700;
RE> Truth Decay

Some thoughts regarding your column.

From: gerald@cs.umb.edu (Gerald Ostheimer);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 16:03:19 -0400;
So he lied...

...about his blow job. He didn't hire criminals to break into his rival's offices. He didn't use federal agencies to threaten witnesses and journalists. He didn't sell arms to fundamentalist goverments in order to finance drug-running murderers of nuns and peasants.

How do you know? Would you believe him if he told you he didn't do all those things? DW

From: davidbak@microsoft.com (Dave Bakin);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:02:12 -0700;

Good DaveNet today, thanks!   By the way, what the heck is the difference between 'lying' and 'misleading' someone or giving someone a 'false impression'.  Because all Clinton fessed up to was 'misleading' people and giving them a 'false impression':

"I know my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression.  I misled people."   Actually, I doubt his silence gave anyone a false impression:  It talked louder than words.   But suppose George Washington had said:  "I cannot tell a lie.  I did not chop down that tree.  That cherry tree.  I don't recall if I was ever alone with that tree, but once in awhile, when I saw some cherries on the ground I went over and picked them up to eat them.  Most of the time I had friends with me but it seems that maybe I picked up a few cherrys from the ground while I was alone sometimes."   And then after 9 months of stonewalling and going to the Supreme Court to prevent his friends from testifying (claiming the sacred blood-brother privilege) and trashing the prosecutor and claiming the cherry tree was really rotten to the core and so on and so on, he finally says:   "I must take complete responsibility for all my actions, both public and private.  In January I was asked about my relationship with Farmer Fred's cherry tree.  While my answers were legally accurate I did not volunteer information.  Indeed I did have a relationshiop with Farmer Fred's cherry tree that was not appropriate.  In fact, it was wrong.  .....   I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression.  I misled people. ....  I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors.  First, by a desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct. ....  Now this is a matter between me and Farmer Fred, and our God. ....  It's nobody's business but ours.  Even soon-to-be-Fathers'-of-Our-Country have private lives. ...."   And so on.  I mean, I wish I knew about the distinction between lying and misleading when I was a kid, would have saved my butt from a few spankings I can tell you.

From: steve@woz.org (Steve Wozniak);
Sent at 18 Aug 98 12:43:15 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

I'm in agreement with your Clinton comments, although many may excuse him.

He looked me straight in the eyes and I believed him. Sure, I'm gullible and believe everyone when they say they aren't the least bit guilty. But he was lying and shouldn't have tried to fool me. He had such carefully prepared words, the sorts used by slick executives.

I was taught that the president is the most perfect person and you can only become a president by being that perfect. I would like to teach my kids what I was taught in this regard, but I can't. I've already taught them my belief that a lie is worse than any action or crime, that It's worse to lie about a murder than even to have done it.

All Clinton had to do was sacrifice himself to perfect integrity for 8 years, in return for being president. That's not forever. He may have had an understanding with his wife, who appears at so many 'women' events, but he has this trust thing with us as well when he's president. The office is pulled down by a president that doesn't treat it extremely specially.

Every time I hear him explain the reasons that a certain action is proper, perhaps even a military one, I'll think I'm being tricked by a clever salesman.

You are saying what most others are not. Especially the president should pay, just as any regular person pays for such deceit. This was in a lawsuit and under oath. No wonder we have such low opinions of the legal system. The master politicians can squirm out but honest folks can't.

From: sdenbest@qualcomm.com (Steven C. Den Beste);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 12:29:49 -0700;

When I was a kid and a fervent Christian (I later got over both afflictions) I was also a confirmed "Conscientious Objector" and firmly believed that I never wanted to kill another human being no matter what the provocation.

And my grade school classmates would say "Well, what if you're in the front line with a machine gun and the enemy are charging and the only way you can save your life is to fire? What would you do, huh? Huh?"

I must say that as a child, I had no answer to this intellectual and moral dilemma. It wasn't until I was an adult that I finally understood and had an answer: If I was in that situation as a conscientious objector, then I had already committed an immoral act even before pulling the trigger. Sometime previous to that there had been an opportunity to avoid that situation, and I hadn't taken it. Therefore, by that point there was no moral way out; all I could do was choose amongst immoral acts.

I think something akin to that has happened with regard to Mr. Clinton and his lies which seem to upset you so much.

Perhaps he should not have philandered with Miss Lewinsky. But it is a separate question entirely as to whether there should have been a publicly-funded investigation of that fact.

Launching the investigation was the immoral act. Mr. Clinton's answers to the questions don't matter to me because the questions should never have been asked.

In fact, the proper answer to those questions should have been "It's none of your damned business." The problem is that the questions were asked in front of a grand jury and that answer is not permitted.

I don't care whether Clinton lied. What I care about is the fact that we've reached the point where the President, no matter who it is, has no private life.

Philandering has a long history among Presidents. Eisenhower had his Kay Summersby, JFK was widely known to dip the wick, and FDR? Well, his list of conquests is a long and impressive one.

But none of that has anything whatever to do with their ability to fulfill the job of President of the US. In fact, all three were very good at their jobs.

The President already lives under a magnifying glass. What happens when there's no place to hide? What kind of candidates will we get for the office then? Saints happen to be in short supply right now.

No, there's a place to draw the line. If you commit an act which places me in a position where I only have immoral acts amongst which to choose, then the ethical responsibility for my resulting immorality lies with you and not with me. For I had no choices left.

Mr. Clinton was placed in that position by the Special Prosecutor. The moral act for Mr. Clinton would have been to refuse to answer any questions at all about this matter. Telling the truth and telling lies are equally immoral acts; saying nothing was the correct course.

But Mr. Starr put Clinton in a position where silence was impossible. So I place the moral onus on Ken Star. I blame him completely for this mess.

From: ga@ed4u.com (Gordon Apple);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 98 14:25:23 -0500;
Re:Truth Decay

I'm currently in Little Rock where I am originally from and where I am spending a lot of time recently due to the before, during, and after of my Mother's demise. I'm heading back to Redondo Beach this afternoon (Tuesday).

A friend of mine here is probably Clinton's closest confidant and spiritual advisor and is one of a handful of people who still have direct access to the President. I know he's been talking to him at least daily during this personal crisis. I won't mention the name because you would recognize at least the family name and fortunately the press isn't aware of him and doesn't dog him like they do others who are close to Clinton. (Even if they did, he'd tell them to go fly a kite.) I've visited with Clinton myself when he was Governor, but not since then. I'm not one of his fans, but for various unrelated reasons I've stayed close to people who do know him well.

Believe me -- this has not been easy on the President. Yes, he brought most of it upon himself but that does not make it any less painful or difficult for him. Speaking as a Republican (or at least as one who dislikes Republicans less than Democrats), I can't see any advantage in him resigning. Do we really want Al Gore instead? I don't think so.

My friend who I mentioned above said to me last night that Hollywood is just adolescents with money and Washington is just adolescents with power. (That might not have been original.) He has seen both from the inside and should know.

From: jackbell@ricochet.net (Jack Bell);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 12:11:33 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

Not much to comment on in your essay; I would be just another voicing chiming in with "Me too!" But after reading the mail you have received on it I am surprised by one thing - the number of correspondents who agree with you...

If you believe the polls President Clinton continues to carry a great deal of support. And, according to the press, somehow the Whitehouse spin machine is so efficient that many people refuse to look at the history of this thing (the whole Starr investigation) and focus instead on Monica Lewinsky and the current 'invasion of the President's personal life.'

Yet in the many responses you have posted I can find few that take that stand and even those seem to grudgingly agree that they don't like the lying. There are only three possibilities here (as I see it):

  1. You are lying by only including mail that agrees with you. Somehow I don't think so, considering that you have posted highly critical mail in the past.

  2. The press is lying in a similar manner. A distinct possibility, but unlikely as that means there is a deliberate conspiracy.

  3. The 'Geek Filter Effect' created by a forum like DaveNet only proves, once again, that we computer nerds have little patience for lying, cheating and other low-efficiency behaviors. Which is probably why we make lousy politicians...

Still, one mail message in particular (David Coursey) makes the point that "...let all the people who haven't lied about sex cast the first stone." Does that mean Mr. Coursey would think it acceptable to lie about sex under oath? That he would explicitly or even implicitly encourage others lie under oath? I really don't believe that even though I have never met Mr. Coursey. I tend to believe that most of us, if placed in a position like that, would choose truth over dissembling. We might lie about sex to our friends and even to our wives but we wouldn't do it in a court of law.

Besides if this was the only time President Clinton, his wife or his staff had ever attempted to subvert justice on a substantive issue it might be different. But if you take a good look at Starr's investigation (creating a timeline of events would be a very revealing exercise) you will find this is part of an on-going pattern on the part of the White House. A pattern that I, for one, find very disturbing. It doesn't matter that other Presidents or other politicians have acted in a similar manner. As my mother used to say "Just because everyone is jumping off of cliffs, that doesn't make it a smart thing to do." I don't like it now. I didn't like it when it happened before and I won't like it when it happens in the future. And while I cannot support *anyone* who acts in this way, I have come to actively dislike President Clinton.

The funny thing is, I can tell you the first moment I started to distrust the man. It was when he was being asked about the accusations that he smoked marijuana in his youth. If he had said "Yeah I smoked pot back then." It would have been one thing. Even if he had added "Hell, I still do at parties when someone passes me a joint." it wouldn't have bothered me too much (although it might have cost him my vote). But when he said "I didn't inhale." he marked himself in my mind as a glib liar. You see that meant either way he was lying. Either right that moment to the American people or back then to his friends; to whom he apparently didn't have the guts to say "I don't want to do that."

So don't blame me for Clinton - I voted for Harry Brown!

From: avery@1-1.com (Avery E. Dee);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 12:04:18 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

Right On!

Dave, I have never agreed with you more.

From: clong@kuhnwitt.com (Connie Long);
Sent at 18 Aug 98 13:50:01 -0500;
Re:Truth Decay

This is complete and total drivel. If you don't know good people, men and women, who have been put in similar situations by sexual peccadilloes. I sure do. This isn't Watergate. These aren't lies about Iran/Contra. It's lying about sex. About another bimbo (and her "presidential kneepads"). I will almost guarantee that this is not the first instance of extramarital sex in the White House. I will almost guarantee that it won't be the last. That kind and level of power and stress and responsibility would be difficult to manage for anyone.

I bet that a significant percentage of Congress members and other politicians have had extramarital sex. I bet they have or would lie about it. Especially to their spouses. I am not cynical. Just realistic. Look at the statistics concerning the number of people, men and women, in this country who have had affairs. And lied to their spouses. And if Ken Starr asked them about it, they'd lie to him too.

Clinton has provided the level of leadership that he has been allowed to provide. Health Care? Campaign Finance Reform? Nope... let's spend $40 million and 4 years determining that he had consensual sex with an intern. Let's see the media devote thousands of hours of air time and column inches to that. Ya know what Dave? I've lied about sex too. I'm around the same age as the Clintons.

I lived through the sixties and was a happy participant in "the sexual revolution". Open mindedness. Open marriages. Open hearts. Didn't work. Gave birth to a lot of ugly and unfortunate situations. But if people have something on the side... I don't think the scarlet A or the pillories are in order. I remember JFK. Do you think he would have lied had he been held under the same microscope? Should he have been threatened with impeachment? Eisenhower? Roosevelt?

There are times when we fallible humans lie. About sexuality might sometimes be one of them and perhaps, understandably so. Personally, I'll accept the kind of leadership Clinton offers over what was given to us during the dark ages of the Reagan years. Talk about lies. Do you remember Oliver North? And somehow I'm not sure how resigning would change "our" impression of Clinton to that of a "class act". Let him do what he has done reasonably well... provide leadership and compassion for the less fortunate. Not all of us enjoy the same advantages...

I'm a Democrat. My integrity is intact, thank you.

From: dlatkins@halcyon.com (David Atkinson);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 11:33:07 -0700;

After reading "Truth Decay," all I can say is "right on."

I listen to a few local talk shows from time to time, and am amazed by the number of callers who are willing to overlook Clinton's complete lack of integrity, honesty and honor. "The economy is doing great, so I don't care what he does with his zipper" seems to be the popular cry. Well, what if the economy was going to hell? Would they suddenly be calling for his impeachment? We get the government we deserve, I was told, and if Bill Clinton remains in office for the rest of his term, that will surely be the case.

Have you ever seen the movie "Rob Roy?" If not, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. This is a movie about honor, and how one man paid a huge price to hold onto it. Bill Clinton should watch this movie nightly - perhaps some of the message will rub off on him.

As to his family, I don't for a second believe that this came as a huge shock to Hillary. From everything I've heard and read about the First Lady, she is by and large cut from the same cloth as her husband.

From: Jim_Rea@provue.com (James Rea);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 98 11:36:41 -0000;
Re:Truth Decay

I'm not a right wing radical, in fact I'm a 30 year Democrat. I voted for Clinton in 92 and 96, and I support many of his policies. But I couldn't agree with you more. It's time for him to leave. What is really sad is that this conclusion isn't obvious to almost everyone. I've heard over and over again, "he's only human." Is that our standard for public office - simple humanity is enough? I think we can do better. I think we must do better.


From: slross@yahoo.com (Steve Ross);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 11:19:27 -0700 (PDT);
Truth Decay

You hit the nail on the head. It was pretty disturbing to hear the same man that some months before had emphatically told the American people (and gotten most of them to believe him) that "I did not have sexual relations with this woman.." now turn around and talk about "improper relations" with her (interesting that he STILL did not come out and say directly that he had an affair with her, nice euphemism, Mr. Clinton). We all know that the lies exist, but it is rare that one sneaks to the surface in such a public manner.

But every single American who has voted in any election for the lesser of two evils is responsible. It is "lesser of two evils" thinking that allows for EVIL to get into office. There are very few politicians out there with any integrity anymore, and I think it's because the American voting public does not have the courage to stand against all that is wrong with our political system.

From: david@coursey.com (David Coursey);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 10:51:12 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

It's news to you that the American people want to be lied to? "No new taxes." "Peace is at hand." "We had nothing to do with that coup." The electorate rewards liars and punishes the truthful -- Jimmy Carter on energy, Clinton on health care issues.

It is worth mentioning that of the millions of civil actions (such as the Paula Jones case) tried in this country there were (according to news reports) precisely 8 perjury prosecutions last year. Prosecutors just don't make perjury cases in civil actions, so while the President shouldn't be above the law, the President (and his friends) shouldn't be singled out for prosecution, either.

Whitewater is a sideshow, as anybody who lived through the S&L bailout in Texas knows. A handful of prosecutions, seemingly every S&L involved, the case is chump change.

Clinton has been singled out for legal harassment from the beginning by his right wing opponents. What concerns me more is how we have created a system so terrible that you need an ego as big as all outdoors to survive. (Consider the Henry Cisneros case: Lying to the FBI about having an affair has cost him over a million dollars in legal fees. Who would want to subject himself to that?)

Anyway, let all the people who haven't lied about sex cast the first stone.

From: idig@nbn.com (David Biedny);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 10:44:13 -0800;
Re:Truth Decay



Enough bullshit, how about reality for a change, huh? Last night was a reflection of the American population at large... say one thing, do another. Lip service.

My fave line from Oliver Stone's Nixon (when Nixon is standing in front of JFK portrait in white house):

"When they look at him, they see what they want to be... when they look at me, they see what they are..."

It's a sad state of affairs....

From: goneill@iddis.com (Gerry ONeill);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:41:47 -0400;
Misplaced support

To say that he could learn "truth" at 51 is to imply that he will totally change his personality.

Instead of wishing for something that will never happen, like clinton stepping down, support the process that is in place for dealing with the situation. Say you support Ken Starr's investigation.

Gary Heart in 84 could not imagine running for the office of president with the public knowing about his moral lapse. Clinton does not feel that same sense of shame.

For that reason, he will never step down. The only way that a message will be conveyed to the public is to procede with the impeachment process. They may not succeed, but we must enforce the process.

From: steve@webscribe.net (Steve Herrick);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:27:07 -0500;

I voted for Clinton once enthusiastically, and once grudgingly. I still say he was the lesser of two evils, but what a sad statement that is! With his speech last night, Clinton lost the traces of respect I held for him. He has abandoned leadership and responsibility.

It's one thing to lie. Nearly all our Presidents have lied to us. But when you get caught, you have to face it, and take responsibility. Clinton said he did, but he didn't really. Nor did he apologize.

Due to the technical nature of perjury, I strongly suspect there will be no impeachment. But as you said, Dave, he is now the lamest of lame ducks.

From: jaggi@pingnet.ch (Christoph Jaggi);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 19:26:15 +0200;
Re:Truth Decay

It is interesting how concerned you are with Clinton's lies. Have you ever seen a politician who did not lie? There are some for sure, but not that many.

What is a politician? A person who makes promises that others have to pay for in one way or another.

What is a lie? Knowingly making an untrue statment? What is truth? Perception or reality?

Look at the computer industry and the claims made. If those claims are not true, are those people and companies making those claims liars? If they make a claim which is untrue, are they then to be excused becaused they did not know or didn't realize that the claims were unfounded? Is it enough that a product works OK in certain instances to claim that it works? Is withholding facts a lie if you know that the acceptance of a product or technology would be lower if people would know all the facts?

From: lcox@neta.com (Larry Cox);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 10:15:49 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

we could think of Clinton as a class act, a man who learned the most important lesson that life can teach us, that truth is precious, and he was willing to pay the price.

I believe that Clinton is in a position where he can no longer clean up the mess. How many people have lost their livelihood or even their lives due to his attempts to keep the lies from unraveling? How deeply was he involved in the Whitewater event? Is a man dead because Clinton was able to pull strings? How may other things that have not even been in the news have been manipulated for his benefit at the expense of the people for whom he is supposed to be a leader?

This whole situation is not really about sex. It is about credibility and obstruction of justice. How can the United States be respected in international affairs when we have established a reputation for allowing our leaders to defy the law. It may be justifiable to try Mr. Clinton for treason. To just let the deterioration of our government continue because the people who break the law are in positions of power is to return to the dark ages where the peasants bear the brunt of the follies of the aristocracy.

From: Jonny@way.nu (Jonathan Peterson);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:14:05 -0400;
Re:Truth Decay

Dave, I love ya man, but you're too naive. Every professional politician lies. It's a sad truth. George Bush said "read my lips, no new taxes" even though he knew there was no way he could get through 4 years without raising them. Reagan "Could not recall" any events of Iran/Contra. Gingrich knowingly violated fundraising law.

Jimmy Carter, might have had enough integrity to have never lied to the American people, but he wasn't re-elected. The exception that proves the rule.

They don't start as liars, but sooner or later they take a contribution with a few unwritten strings attached. Better "access" for instance. The strings become chains in time, the rationalizations the politician makes (the ends justify the means) become greater. In time there is no integrity left, just a front man for the special interests who brought him to power.

Steve Jobs' reality distortion field can't hold a candle to field that exists inside the beltway. No matter how nasty partisan politics may become, political animals, whether elected, journalist or lobbyist, protect their own.

From: rick_eames@hotmail.com (Rick Eames);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 10:01:42 PDT;
Beating A Dead Horse

I'll try this one more time for giggles. Some points:

* The American people care about one thing only: the economy. If it does well (Reagan, Clinton), they cut you tons of slack. If it does poorly (Bush), they hose you down.

* The Starr Investigation wasn't started by Starr. He was hired to do a job, and he's doing it. In fact, he tried to quit and was torn apart for doing so. People freaking out on Starr is inexcuseable: he's doing what he was hired to do -- gather evidence.

* The Starr Investigation started on Whitewater. He was stonewalled. Remember the records the white house "misplaced" that suddenly turned up on someone's desk one day? How nice. Remember the files from the FBI that were discovered? He was told to investigate that too. And the travel office fiasco. And Vince Foster. And Hubble. All of this was ordered by the AG, Janet Reno. If you want to blame someone, fire away at her. His investigation would be over by now if all that other stuff hadn't of been piled on his plate.

* Starr had a great witness (Hubbel) who was going to testify, until Jordan got him a job. Then he went silent. That's what led to investigating the Lewinsky matter: Vernon Jordan getting jobs for people so they would shut up for the President. He's trying to establish a pattern. But people focus on the sex (because we are a nation obsessed with sex).

* The White House could have ended this mess by cooperating many years ago instead of appealing decisions, fighting requests for records, hiding evidence (the records mentioned above), stonewalling, and in recent events, lying outright.

* The President is an asshole. He just made every one of his friends go through great expense and time to testify in front of a grand jury to deny that which he knew was true: that he had fun with Monica. What kind of friend puts people through that? Every person who defended him and believed him must feel like fools today.

But it all doesn't matter. The economy is good, people don't want that to go away, so what's the problem? I'm totally unconcerned about the sexual stuff. The stuff that concerns me is the other stuff: Vince Foster, filegate, travelgate, Whitewater, funneling money through the Chinese, and China itself. Unfortunately, nobody is talking about that stuff because of our national obsession with sex.

From: fredh@csource1.com;
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 11:05:13 -0600;
Re:Truth Decay

By the way, I enjoy DaveNet.

Well, since you brought up the subject, and I read your two cents, here is mine:

1) The American Public is to blame. They elected him, they like him, and they STILL approve of him. (I am not in any of these categories. I didn't elect him, I don't like him and I still don't approve of him).

2) You have to ask yourself, If he can't control his zipper, can he control other areas of his life (like running the country)?

3) Clinton represents the United States to the rest of the world. Do you like having this guy represent every man, woman and child in this country? What judgements do people make about the US based on what they know about Clinton?

4) Clinton is probably the most powerful man in the world. He has NO values. He doesn't respect us, the voting public, why should we respect him? Why should we continue to let him stay in office.

In short, I agree with you. Clinton, resign.

(The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way represent the opinions of my employer)

Fred Halfpap, Interactive Director

From: preylude@yahoo.com (Preylude);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 09:56:18 -0700 (PDT);
Re:Truth Decay

For the most part, I agree that truth is a good thing. But I think in society today, truth has lost a lot of its value.

Truth is no longer absolute. There are too many voices, too many opinions, too much media, and too many ways of seeing things.

I think people's reaction to this event reflects the attitude of society. A lot of people would -rather- be left in the dark. A lot of people would rather turn their heads the other way and ignore what's happening around them.

I tell the truth most of the time. But sometimes, I lie. Sometimes the cost of telling the truth exceeds even the cost of getting caught lying. If Bill Clinton gets away with this, then he's proven that this is true, sometimes.

I must admit, that all this is very sad. But unfortunately, that's reality today.


From: cpr@emsoftware.com (Chris Ryland);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 98 12:59:20 -0500;
Re:Truth Decay

I don't usually agree with your political sentiments 100%, but you've got it exactly right this time.

From: deanc@ici.net (Dean Chouinard);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 12:55:02 -0400;
Clinton and Truth

Two things:

It's not only did Clinton lie, but did he coerce others to lie (esp. Monica) -- "obstruction of justice".

And, did anyone notice that the video and audio was out of sync during the speech on CBS? Was Clinton's speech really live, or was it just technical problems?

From: abaker@reef.com (Anthony Baker);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 09:51:40 -0700;
Re:Truth Decay

This is the first time I've ever written to you -- hopefully you get this one. Love your thoughts below, and I agree with most of it, but the sad truth is that there's not a tremendous amount of integrity in the political system in the first place -- the process by which individuals are elected and stay in power doesn't allow for it. All the fundraising, the deals, the manipulations, the promises and then the back door promises.

This isn't to say that there *aren't* people with integrity working within the system, it's just to say that there are many more with gaps in their integrity.

Sure Clinton lied, but so do others. The difference is that he got caught, drug his heels to this point, and is only speaking to the public because -- as you noted -- he was forced to. If this was dropped at some point, he would have never admitted anything at all.

The American public would *like* to think their officials don't lie to them, they'd *like* to think their officials are always working in their best interests, but I don't think the system always allows for it.

From: josh@stonecottage.com (Joshua Lucas);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 12:43:41 +0000;
Something you might like

If you check out this page -> http://www.stonecottage.com/josh/simpsons.html , you'll see the simpsons.xml displayed in HTML. This file was created via a Java class which takes an XSL document and an XML document and does all of the formatting for you. I'm using it with servlets to create HTML on the file, but there is also a command-line option which will create actual files. My goal this week is to write an RPC handler in Java which will take an XML file and an XSL file and return an HTML file back to the user. That would be pretty cool.

From: faisal@visionfoundry.com (Faisal Jawdat);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 11:54:19 -0400;
Two points on the mess

  1. The government spends somewhere between 40 and 120 million dollars (depending on whose estimates you believe) to fund a politically motivated witch hunt to show that the President got a blow job from a fluffer (yes, we can talk on and on about how this really about whether he lied or not, but then why is everyone so concerned with the exact quality of the "evidence" on that dress).

    ...and we wonder why the rest of the world doesn't take us seriously unless we're bombing them.

  2. If the Congress moves to impeach I'll eat my hat. Right now they have the lamest duck in history, and will have to work really hard to lose the next election. Move to impeach and they gamble on whether the people really want to impeach for fellatio. Also, three words: President Al Gore.

From: bernesbyj@hotmail.com (james bernesby);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 08:20:43 PDT;

Thanks for your views on Clinton, I like Dorthy talking to the Wizard in the Emerald City, as Toto pulls the curtain. the wizard says Don't Believe that man. Who I am suppose to believe in? Maybe we can now put the "If Nixon had only told the truth" theory to rest?

From: ericob@dlux.net (Eric O'Brien);
Sent at Mon, 17 Aug 1998 22:23:49 -0700;
Lying in public

Oh my! "Lying in public."

Well, it sure isn't nice, but politicians have lied, and on subjects of much greater weight than illicit sexual activities, for ages. (You know: "There have been no arms traded for hostages."; "There is no danger to the public from these Atom Bomb tests." etc.) Isn't the outrage about "lying" a little stale? I just figure that they're ALL liars, at one level or another, to one degree or another. Is it bad that I've become cynical in this way?

Truly, it is tragic. But the problem happened long before Clinton ("...but I didn't inhale.")

"Perjury" isn't "lying" anyway... I just discovered today that it has a neat, technical, definition:

"Under oath, intentional mistatements of fact on a matter of substance."

Or something similar.

Lied, but not under oath (just on TV)? Bzzzt - not perjury.

Lied, but it wasn't on a matter of substance (as apparently his testimony about him an Monica was ruled, during the Paula Jones trial)? Bzzzzt - not perjury.

He also didn't "lie under oath," if reality and his answers technically conformed to a precisely crafted (and mutually agreed-upon) defintion of "sexual relations." (If I recall, that defintion made reference to "touching" various parts of ANOTHER person. If instead, the other person did the touching... well, no I didn't engage in sexual relations....)

So, ya: can we get on to the next thing?

From: TuckerG@sandellmgmt.com (Tucker Goodrich);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 09:44:27 -0400;
CNN/Clinton Email

CNN is doing something interesting. On this page, they offer to send you an email when Clinton gets ready to go on the air with his report on his grand jury testimony.

I signed up for this, out of curiousity. Never got an email.

Same here. DW

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