News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 8/19/98

From: adam.curry@thinkinc.com (Adam Curry);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 14:29:07 -0400;
Re:Truth Decay

Everyone lies from the moment we as children are able to communicate with words our parents lie to us. Simple little things, "white lies" to get something accomplished or not to hurt feelings.

We also love celebrities, not only the US, but the world is obsessed with celebrities, I know this first hand. We want to know what's going on in their personal lives, and often feel we have a "right" to it. National Enquirer, Star magazine and People are very successful publications because of this desire. Now the "conventional and authoritative" media had a "right" to cover this story, to fulfill our needs of wanting to know.

Bottom line, we chose this celebrity ourselves, so of course we want to know who he is boinking and feel we have a right to it. To say otherwise is hypocritical. Any leader will lie and deceive, it is in our nature.

We're just not used to getting the information at such speed and quantity....a direct result of the emerging digital economy.

From: bboehm@netcom.com (Robert S. Boehm);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 10:13:52 -0700 (PDT);
You are right

I find it hard to believe that I am in alignment with Orrin Hatch on this but you are right: Clinton should resign. It would absolutely be for the best. I am a liberal Democrat, but I can see the writing on the wall.

From: dfeldt@adeptsys.com (David A. Feldt);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 12:54:00 -0500;
Re:"Truth Decay, 8/18/98"

DaveNet is certainly topical and opinionated, and obviously your forum to comment upon whatever matters interest you or you feel are worthy of discussion.

Like Dan Shafer, I read DaveNet for insights on technology from someone whose opinions and integrity I respect (although not always agree with). Editorials on foreign policy, national politics, etc. don't normally add a lot (although on occasion insights from either you or your many email contributors have identified an aspect of an issue which I had not considered or seen mentioned elsewhere).

My feeling, like many others, is that there is little or no moral high ground at present within American national politics, and quibbling over who is the lamest within the beltway is almost as sad as the behavior itself.

It did set me to thinking about how to correct things starting from this point. I have always felt that leadership by example counts, while shouting orders or complaining about others' failings was mostly shrill and ineffective. I stopped to consider my own honesty and what kind of example I was setting for my family and community, and because you brought it up the example that Dave Winer sets.

I do OK, but could do better if I had more energy and courage. I think recent handling by yourself and Userland of the security flaw found in Frontier as well as other issues that have arisen in the past indicates that you also do a pretty good job of telling the truth and accepting responsibility for your actions. To me, it is this record of honesty and integrity that matters and makes a difference. How you felt about Clinton on Tuesday is interesting but hardly profound. The way you have been running your company and your life over the past decade (all I really have much data for) says much more. It says that an individual or a corporation can succeed while valuing the truth and treating its customers and employees with respect.

This kind of example has the potential to change those around you, and works towards correcting the problem. Passing value judgments on those who have already, and very publicly, failed the test doesn't seem to contribute much that is new or lasting.

By all means continue to hold and share opinions on anything that interests you, I can always stop reading them if I choose. But please continue to operate professionally in a manner which demonstrates that ideas like honesty and responsibility are valid in a business environment where MBA's perform cost/benefit analysis on ethical issues to decide whether or not it is cost effective to do the right thing.

From: larry@techwood.org (larry curtin);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 09:05:52 -0400;

Honesty is a noble quality we'd like in a president, but it prevents him from doing the job. That sucks, but it is the way things work. The last honest man we had in the White House was Jimmy Carter. Events may have conspired against him, but he was also unable to get the job done.

Perjury is a not just lying. It is a crime so technicalities have everything to do with it.

Bill Clinton doesn't care about the best interests of the country. He cares about his place in history. He is still looking for the "killer app" of his presidency. If he already had reached it, I'm sure Monday night would have been a resignation speech.

PS: As bad as his presidency was. I think Jimmy Carter is the greatest ex-president of the century and top 5 all time.

From: beno@xs4all.nl (Michel Benevento);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 98 16:51:35 +0200;
Is this for real?

The whole Clinton affair, from the allegations, the 'special prosecutor' (the name is Starr. Kenneth Starr. Licensed to kill), the testimony (Read my lips:), the moral outrage (oh my god, he's a liar!) and the bitterly serious coverage on CNN (and now Scripting News) comes across the Atlantic like any other sitcom, hardly distinguishable from '3rd Rock from the Sun'.

I cannot believe you (or anybody else) can really be *that* serious about any of this - men in power have always been lying (that's how they became powerful) and having lots of sex (that's why they became powerful). I just can't understand why the most powerful man in the world couldn't get a better looking woman to go to bed with (but then again, he probably has).

From: gndought@jps.net (George Doughton);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 04:43:33 -0700;

Thanks for showing that there are still people willing to say "the emperor has no clothes."

From: jeprox@iname.com;
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 18:31:13 +1000;
Re:Truth Decay

To tell the truth, I really don't care that he slept with Ms. Lewinsky, or that he lied about it. The thing that gets to me is that Congress appointed a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Whitewater Affair. To investigate financial improprieties committed before Clinton was elected President. After spending millions of dollars of OUR money, the taxpayer's, the only thing that Kenneth Starr has Proven is that the President had an affair with Ms. Lewinsky. Surely, this is something that the Clinton family should be dealing with, not Mr. Starr.

From: dan@gui.com (Dan Shafer);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 00:22:24 -0800;
Re:Truth Decay

As much as I respect you and your right as a journalist to voice your views, this crap has got to stop. You are buying into the media mythology on this subject. These are legal issues, not moral ones. You have no expertise in this area. You shouldn't comment on it. I can't understand why you feel compelled to do so. You risk alienating customers and prospects who don't buy into your political philosophy. Have you, e.g, read the recent Salon series on the background behind the origination of the investigation by Starr?

I don't want to engage in a debate about the substance of this issue -- you aren't going to change your mind any more than I am -- but I do want to encourage you to refrain from further use of DaveNet as a political platform in areas that have no specific effect on your readers.

Geez, I read DaveNet to hear what you have to say about things where you have credibility and where our paths as software people intersect. This kind of stuff just turns me off, even when I agree with you.

Dan, I'm thinking for myself. I'm not buying into anyone else's reasoning process. I'm a US citizen with First Amendment protection. I am also a voter and a taxpayer. Clinton works for me. You're entitled to your opinion, but this is a shut-up message, and I find that very offensive, very un-American. DW

From: frank@ned.dem.csiro.au (Red Hat Linux User);
Sent at Wed, 19 Aug 1998 14:28:12 +0800;

My dictionary defines perjury as "the willful telling of a lie while under a lawful oath or affirmation to tell the truth in a matter material to the point of inquiry".

The NY Times quotes the following excerpts from Clinton's deposition (presumably "under a lawful oath or affirmation to tell the truth") in the Paula Jones case:

Q. At any time were you and Monica alone together in the Oval Office?

A. I don't recall, but as I said, when she worked at the legislative affairs office, they always had somebody there on the weekends. I typically worked some on the weekends. Sometimes they'd bring me things on the weekends. She -- it seems to me she brought things to me once or twice on the weekends. In that case, whatever time she would be in there, drop it off, exchange a few words and go, she was there.

Q. So I understand, your testimony is that it was possible, then, that you were alone with her, but you have no specific recollections of that ever happening?

A. Yes, that's correct. It's possible that she, in, while she was working there, brought something to me and that at the time she brought it to me, she was the only person there. That's possible.

If it can be established, perhaps by testimony from Lewinsky, that some of the (now admitted) "encounters" occurred in the Oval Office, then to my mind Clinton would have commited perjury on this point, irrespective of any legal definition of "sexual relations" in force at the time.

From: pmrockwell@ameritech.net (Peter M. Rockwell);
Sent at Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:42:42 -0400;
Re:Truth Decay

I could not agree with you more, but the sad fact is that Bill Clinton so completely lacks integrity that he could never contemplate doing the right thing - resigning. His record speaks volumes to this assessment; not only does he believe he did nothing wrong but he is incapable of doing anything which does not directly benefit his material self-interest (I phrase it in that way because I believe the man is totally lacking spiritually).

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