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Embarrassment

Posted by Rick · April 27th, 2004 · 30 Comments

The President and Vice-President of the United States go to the Supreme Court today to see if they can withhold information from the American people. At issue is whether oil companies can write the United States Energy Policy without fear that we, the people, will find out how the government and legal system are being used to generate gas prices which consistently run above $2.00 per gallon and are threatening to go higher over the next several months.

This really should be a non-issue.


After all, the American people have proven that what the current administration does is actually irrelevant. I’m not saying this (seriously) to be sarcastic, but I’m not sure if the reason for this is because we so like having a Republican in office or if we just hate having a Democrat in office or if we like sending our children to die like heros in the dessert or if it’s because Bush claims to be a Christian or what. There’s something going on in the minds of most Americans that is simply unexplainable.

Over the last four years, I’ve seen prices going up for gasoline as if we were dumping gold into our gas tanks. Housing prices have risen dramatically (although this isn’t always bad, if you’re a seller). Civil Rights have become almost non-existent. Our government — and no one else — is responsible for this.

We accept these things because we refuse to believe our government — particularly one with a President who so frequently invokes the name of G-d — would not have our best interests at heart. And as to the restrictions on our freedoms, well, after all, most of us “have nothing to hide.”

Yet Americans don’t seem to understand that governments aren’t always benevolent. For more than 200 years, ours has been held in check by the law. For that reason, we’ve gotten used to the idea that (at least our) governments can’t really oppress — well, they can’t visibly oppress most white people, anyway. Essentially, we’ve been able to live free. The thing is that we’ve been able to live that way because our nation’s Founders placed limitations upon our government. Without these limitations, they believed, governments naturally turn despotic.

Under Parliamentary government, there is little or no restraint that is exercised by a Constitution upon the passions of the moment that may seize a nation. In what is perceived as an emergency, individual rights can be overridden. The entire government, therefore, is less stable over time and subject to being changed by something that might in retrospect seem whimsical.

The saving grace for the United States was that the Founders first wrote a Constitution to keep the power of government in check and then deliberately made it difficult to revise that Constitution. So opposed were the Founders to the concentration of power that a federal government would bring that the United States almost was not created at all!

Joseph Ellis points out in Founding Brothers: ?no one had ever established a republican government on the scale of the United States, and the overwhelming judgment of most respected authorities was that it could not be done.? The revolution had ?stigmatized all concentrated political power . . . and any energetic expression of governmental authority as an alien force that a responsible citizens ought to repudiate.? After all, Americans had just fought a long and difficult war to rid themselves of a ?despotic? king and ?tyrannical? parliament so they could be free to pursue life, liberty and happiness, unfettered by trade restrictions, taxes, and other burdens.

And so, for the majority of our history, our government has been limited in its powers. The major limitations have included requirements that prevent the government from conducting its business in secrecy. In addition to the Constitution, the Freedom of Information Act is one such limitation.

Freedom of information is a phrase bandied about almost daily by press and public alike. And with the perennial stress on both constitutional and inherent rights of American citizens, with the added assertion of government subservience to the individual, it was necessary that government information would be available to the public. Issues of counter-rights, such as sensitivity of government information or private interests, clash. It was, therefore, attempted in 1966 to enact a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which would effectively deal with requests for government records consistent with the idea that the people have the ?right to know? about them. Also, close in hand, the Privacy Act (PA) of 1974 covered government documents charting individuals.

Today, the Bush Administration has been hammering away at all such restrictions. They want the ability to operate in secret and they want the ability to maintain records on the majority of citizens.

That’s right, the majority of citizens, not just those the average American might agree “should be” watched.

This blog entry is not intended to be an in-depth examination of these issues. For more information on Total Information Awareness, “the closest thing to a true ‘Big Brother’ program that has ever been seriously contemplated in the United States,” you can check this web page. Technically, the Total Information Awareness program was killed by Congress amid concerns it would be used to spy on Americans. But the government views your privacy as anathema — which it is — to their ability to control. And Total Information Awareness lives on — but now with new names that help disguise its breadth.

Again, it isn’t (well, it wasn’t) my intent to go into much depth on these issues. One other thing to note, though, is that even where the law still forbids government from collecting extensive databases on citizens, it does not forbid them from using databases created by non-government entities, such as Cendant Corporation, which is (legally!) compiling huge databases on citizens. So far, these databases are “only” being used by other companies to “weed out” customers they don’t want. Insurance companies, for example, look at the buying habits of Americans (remember those discount cards you get from Von’s, Ralph’s and other grocery markets that track your name and purchases?) to eliminate those with “unhealthy” habits like “buying alcohol, cigarettes and red meat.” (And when Robert Rivera slipped and fell in a California grocery store and fractured his kneecap, he sued the store to pay the medical bills. In turn, the store threatened to use Mr. Rivera’s shopping history against him, specifically, that he made frequent purchases of alcohol and that he “was a lush with poor memory and coordination,” the Seattle Weekly reported.) These same databases are being used by government agencies like the IRS to track people who underreport income — looking at your purchases allows them to make judgments about whether you are reporting less than you earn.

Meanwhile, as the government increases its surveillance of ordinary citizens, our Vice-President fights valiantly to protect his right to keep us from finding out how much participation oil and energy companies had in the writing of the United States policy regarding energy.

The Bush administration has lost two rounds in federal court. If the Supreme Court makes it three, Cheney could have to reveal potentially embarrassing records just in time for the presidential election.

Although he’s lost repeatedly in the lower courts, the chances are that his run at the Supreme Court will be like, well, shooting ducks. Purely coincidentally, “The Times notes that pair [sic] arrived Jan. 5 on Gulfstream jets and were guests of Wallace Carline, the owner of Diamond Services Corp., an oil services company in Amelia, La.” (See “Scalia-Cheney Trip Raises Eyebrows,” CBSNews.com, January 17, 2003, emphasis mine. In fairness, of course, Scalia notes that “I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned.” That’s his opinion, anyway; and any other opinion isn’t reasonable.)

The White House’s fear is that in the unlikely event Cheney loses in the Supreme Court, it could be embarrassed by the records which would end up being released just in time for the election. But the damage this administration is doing to our country and our willingness to sit still — like so many ducks — is what’s really embarrassing.

Categories: Corporations · Economy · greed · Law and Legal Issues · Politics-In-General · Social Issues · The Bush Regime

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30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nat Dawson // Apr 29, 2004 at 5:00 am

    Gasoline exceeded the $2.00 price point on numerous occasions during the fraudulent “presidency” of Bill Clinton. How typical of a one-dimensional, blinkered Liberal to conveniently forget that.

    Of course, the nation’s attention was distracted while a discussion of semen-stained dresses of the White House staff occupied the former “Administration’s” attention. Perhaps if Clinton had not been so consumed by his own petty form of narcissism and with selling pardons out the back door of the White House, and had he actually been able to spell “Middle East”; then we might not be facing today the same price level for gasoline that was the marker of his impeached and thoroughly discredited occupation of our nation’s Oval Office.

  • 2 Rick // Apr 29, 2004 at 7:14 am

    Well, it’s possible that I’m “a one-dimensional, blinkered Liberal,” but at least I’m capable of reading an English sentence. You’ll note that I said “are being used to generate gas prices which consistently run above $2.00 per gallon and are threatening to go higher over the next several months.” (Emphasis added to help you through your next reading. And the key word is “consistently.”) That oil companies were occasionally able to drive prices to $2.00 per gallon during the Clinton Presidency — before they were able to actually write our national Energy Policy — has no bearing on the present situation.

    I’m guessing you haven’t read many of my other posts, either, or you couldn’t have come up with “one-dimensional” and probably also would have realized that I am “liberal” and I am not “a Liberal.” In the years since I’ve been able to vote, I’ve voted Republican — which can hardly be called “Liberal” — almost as often as I’ve voted Democrat. I recognize the “capital-L” distinction as being a favorite slur of right-wingers, so I got your point there.

    As to the rest of what you’ve said, I might suggest some time with a newspaper or two. Even as slanted right as they typically are these days, you’d still learn that:

  • Bill Clinton was actually elected by a vote of the country. This makes his Presidency non-fraudulent. Although I believe it’s possible that Bush was also elected by a vote of the country, it’s possible — given the level of intimidation of African-American voters in the swing state — that he was not. If this is true, then he was elected by the Supreme Court, which makes his Presidency the likely candidate for being called “fraudulent.”
  • Semen-stained dresses are better than blood-stained uniforms.
  • Semen-staining dresses of willing interns are better than tricking unwilling citizens into war against sovereign nations. The one involves possibly dishonoring your marriage; the other involves dishonoring yourself and your country.
  • Clinton did not sell pardons, so far as any evidence shows; Bush appears to be selling not only our country to his business cronies, but he is taking over other countries and selling them, too.
  • Clinton was a Rhodes scholar who may not have focused enough on the hopeless Middle East which he certainly understood better than Bush, but did manage to consistently build budget surpluses. He can also say and spell “nuclear.” Bush is a former drug addict (now addicted to power) who cannot do that, but he can certainly create — practically overnight — massive deficits that threaten the security of our country. His methods bring the world closer to a “nuk-yoo-ler” war.
  • A partisan house was able to impeach Clinton, but an indictment is not a conviction. Clinton was not convicted.
  • Clinton’s moral behavior regarding sex (he screwed an intern) and the increasing inability of demagogues to work to build societies rather than businesses which directly benefit them and harm the country lead to the impeachment. Bush’s moral behavior regarding sex (he screwed the world) and the increasing inability of demagogues to work to build societies rather than businesses which directly benefit them and harm the country will lead to the continued downslide of our way of life.
  • Already, we have the Secret Service visiting 15-year-old boys because of artwork, American citizens detained indefinitely without charges, without trials and without Constitutional protection because of a group which is increasingly fascistic in approach (if — so we hope — not in intent). The pretend war on terrorism, which does not target terrorists so much as it targets oil-rich countries (remember al Qaida? rumor has it they were based out of Afghanistan, not Iraq), is draining our budget and our strength faster than you can say “There ought to be limits to freedom.”

    Thanks to the current administration, there already are new limits to freedom. And once they’ve drained our budget and our military strength enough, another country (China? Some collection of Arab nations?) may be able to limit it further.

    Are all these things a certainty? Some have already happened. The rest, we can hope, will not. But the path we’re on is driving us in that direction.

    Bill Clinton should have kept his dick in his pants. Come next election, we need to keep a dick out of the White House.

  • 3 Nat Dawson // Apr 30, 2004 at 7:55 am

    That’s truly pathetic. Walking through this life under as many delusions. Sad.

    Clinton NEVER achieved a plurality of the vote. Not in 1992 after a campaign of straight up lies, fraud and deceit and not in 1996, with the bribe…err..campaign contributions he received from the Communist Red Chinese in exchange for access to highly secret US nuclear technology. Accordingly, he was never the choice of a majority of the American people.

    You want to talk about “blood stains”? Clinton’s presidency was one of the most blood-stained in all of history. Why did Clinton all but enable the Interahamwe to brutally hack to death over one million Tutsi women and children in Rwanda? We sat there night after night and watched this slaughter on the TV news and now the vile, deceitful hyena claims that he “didn’t know it was going on?” What an incredible LIAR. The blood of those poor innocents is on his filthy, cowardly hands.

    Do you suppose that if we don’t oppose the Islamo-facists that they are going to make an exception for you? Bush’s policies are right on the money. My daughters don’t want to have to wear burkas.

    And yes the Marc Rich pardon was sold in return for extra-marital sex and “library contributions”. And did Rodham’s brother ever return the $400,000 he took to “obtain” a pardon? You know, I can’t quite remember if that was before or after Hitlary was caught stealing the White House furniture.

    Yeah, some “presidency”

  • 4 Mark // Apr 30, 2004 at 8:16 am

    This is rich! A supporter of an appointed resident of the White House who can’t SPEAK English accuses the last ELECTED President of the United States (a Rhodes scholar) of not being able to spell!

    Because the guy is obviously a wing-nut Republican, I can understand why the peace and prosperity of the Clinton years angers him so. But at least he could get his facts right. Wait — he’s a Republican!! “Weapons of Mass Destruction!” “Mission Accomplished!” And we can’t leave out that great quote from Shrub, “Is our children learning?”

    From the other things this guy talks about, it appears that he’s been doing drugs with Rushbo.

    Next he’ll probably start ranting about Kerry’s medals and ribbons. Tell me, what did Shrub and Cheney do with THEIR medals and ribbons?

  • 5 Rick // Apr 30, 2004 at 10:55 am

    Mr. Dawson,

    The last time I checked, we still held elections in the United States. This is even true of the one in which Bush won the Presidency. Bush may not have won the popular vote and so it’s possible to say that he was never the choice of a majority of the people. He did win the electoral votes needed to legitimately take office.

    Similarly, Bill Clinton won the Presidency both in 1992 and 1996 in elections that were untainted by the need for either candidate to ask for a Supreme Court back-up vote.

    Contrary to your statement that “Clinton NEVER achieved a plurality of the vote,” that is exactly how he won in 1992. In 1996, he easily beat the Republican candidate, Bob Dole, attaining nearly 50% of the popular vote and with more than twice as many electoral college votes as Dole had. If you have some evidence that the Chinese government was somehow allowed to vote in an American election, you’re as free to post it here as you are to post your unsupported ad hominem comments — in fact, more so.

    The last time I checked, Rwanda was not in the United States. Many of us realize, based on the inability of Floridians to understand the mechanics of such basic civic duties as voting, that your educational system isn’t terrific, but if you’re going to argue about such things, you should at least grab a map. Or perhaps you’ve been smoking some of the funny weeds growing over there at Beauclerc Gardens? President Bush’s approach to world politics notwithstanding, American Presidents are not elected to send troops into every country that does something we find reprehensible. Perhaps if the Republican leadership would be willing to support a tax base to pay for a worldwide U.S.-led police force and volunteer their own sons and daughters for such duty, we could reconsider that policy. But then other countries may begin to get the idea that the radical terrorist organizations were right after all; they might join with them just as many Iraqis are now doing. And we already spend more on our thinly-stretched and underpaid military to destroy than we spend on social programs to build. But, again, if the Republicans want to stop cutting taxes to the rich, maybe we can police the world without gutting our military resources and strength.

    Moreover, I do not suppose “Islamo-fascists” are going to hurt us much more than our own home-grown fascists and fearmongers. We already send the Secret Service after 15-year-old artists and bolster our economic interests by scaring people away from our malls. George Bush, the self-declared War President, should consider adding “The Fear President” to his title. It’s worth keeping remembering that we wouldn’t need a Fear President if we didn’t already have a War President.

    This is particularly true if we begin to adopt a view of ourselves as citizens in a world populated by varying cultures, not all of which subscribe to the view that they exist for our pleasure. And if “Islamo-fascists” were our real target, we would go after them. Instead, we target countries lead by people our President has a personal vendetta against — or did we do it for the oil? Like you, I forget some things. Unlike you, I’ve actually read some facts to back up my claims and therefore I have something to forget.

    I admit to not knowing much about the Rich pardon. What I do know is that you haven’t provided any evidence for the claims that you’re making. I do know that the Bush Administration themselves are preventing anyone from finding out what really happened with the Rich Pardon. I do know that President Bush wanted the investigation to end. And I do know that Bill Clinton invited debate over whether to provide the pardon, allowing others to persuade him to give it. This doesn’t sound much like it was sold. And, as one of the Republicans pushing for the Rich pardon said,

    The case involves many disturbing features, but at its core are transactions, which were not criminal. It [the government] employed an unprecedented use of RICO that resulted in the defendant’s capitulation, without trial, to the government’s charges. We know that we have a heavy burden in satisfying the U.S. Attorney that he should reexamine this case. We know that the task of persuasion will take time and resources. But the circumstances of the case, the consequences of its outcome, and the extraordinarily important questions of criminal law enforcement it poses, justify considering such a review.

    I know also that the money was reportedly returned.

    Finally, as for the “stealing furniture” issue, I am unable to locate any information on that. No mainstream (I started to say “reputable,” but that would be an impossibly high bar for news organizations in the U.S. today) news organizations have stories that I can find. But, again, you provided no backing for any of your claims; perhaps you’ll be able to do that in future posts?

    Perhaps the problem here isn’t with a “one-dimensional Liberal” (as you’ve called me) who backs his claims with verifiable reasons for them, but with slathering warmongers ready to follow corrupt politicians whereever they may lead — and complain if where they lead isn’t into foreign countries against which we can wage indiscriminate wars that ultimately do not so much correct injustices as pad the pockets of war-profiteers.

  • 6 Bob // Apr 30, 2004 at 11:36 am

    Hey Nate,

    All this Clinton versus Bush talk is very cute but I am looking for one person of either political party to explain to me just what the hell we’re doing in Iraq.

    Hillary can have the furniture and Bill can keep semen soaked dresses. George W can have all the ‘w’ keys back for his computer keyboards and Cheney can come out of hiding if ANY of them can explain why we’re wasting so much blood in that armpit of a country.

    Pleeeese Nate, help me decide who to vote for. Help me see the light of day with truth and logic, not rhetoric.

    To quote someone you respect:
    “What an incredible LIAR. The blood of those poor innocents is on his filthy, cowardly hands.”

    We have sacrificed too many innocents at the orders of this president to wait this long for the most basic question asked in any war: why?

  • 7 Bob // Apr 30, 2004 at 11:49 am

    Hey Nate,

    An example of an innocent in case you missed it:

    http://www.unspun.us/archives/000316.html

    Yeah, I know, he volunteered, it’s his choice. But in your answer please don’t gloss over the fact that this type of sacrifice is only made by people who believe in something. I am losing my religion about this president, Nate.

    I’d also like to point out that I served with many like him and to sacrifice that quality of life for a unjust cause is unforgivable.

    I don’t think our president gives a rat’s ass about freeing the people of Iraq. He could care less about Iraq’s involvement in terrorism and certainly didn’t heed the world’s warning that this war was based on fictitious intelligence.

    I feel that this president doesn’t even care about the opinion of his own citizens and the arrogance of this administration should be made illegal.

    Please explain Nate.

    If you can you’ll have the ear of an entire country.

  • 8 Nat Dawson // Apr 30, 2004 at 6:39 pm

    First, I am a Conservative Democrat. I realized, shortly into the Clinton “presidency” what a fantastically, horrible mistake I made in voting for Clinton in 1992 when, within 18 days of assuming office, he personally broke a pledge to me that he had made while looking me in the eye on the Larry King Show.

    This mistake was confirmed when, one late January day in 1997 I had picked up my 8 year old daughter from school and she was obviously stressed when she got in the car. “Daddy” she said, with an agonized look on her face,”what is oral sex”? She said the boys in the playground had been demanding a “Monica” because “Bill Clinton did it”.

    That’s when I had my moment of clarity as to who this piece of filth Clinton really was. He forced me to have a discussion with my daughter than I had not planned on having for another 5 years. I personally felt betrayed. Everytime that vile piece of work appeared on TV for a national speech after that, I felt dirty after watching him.

    There’s no question in my mind that Juannitta Broderick’s story is true. There’s no doubt that there was a quid pro quo for the pardons and the fact that Hillary Clinton stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of furniture, and was forced by public outcry, to return it to the White House is well documented. Maybe they didn’t report that in the Liberal rags that you people get your information from. The New York Times? Jayson Blair anyone? Helloooooo!

    And as for the “great economy”. Puhleeaaaze. It was all based on phony numbers! The “boom” was fueled by lying financial statements and corrupted auditors. Enron, World Comm, Adelphia Communications etc. etc. etc. ALL had their genesis in the feel-good ’90s. The whole thing was a metaphor for the thoroughly corrupt criminal enterprise that you people disingenuously refer to as the “Clinton Administration”.

    Finally, as far as the 2000 election goes – let me sum it up for you … BUSH WON! Not only after all the counts and recounts but also after FIVE different news organizations went through the votes afterwards. Guess what? BUSH WON every single time!! He is the legitimately elected leader of the free world and I am marvelously impressed with the job he has done and the strategic vision he has for re-casting the landscape in the Middle East. Bravo Bush!!

    You people need to get over yourselves. You claim to soooo compassionate. So how come you’re drooling with hatred every night on America’s TV screens? HATE is just oozing out of every pore of your frenzied, hate-twisted faces. You are so full of hate you can’t even see straight. And you’re the ones who claim to be so full of compassion? Que merde!

    Fortunately Liberalism is dying. It’s never worked and never will. I think you are the last generation of dinosaurs who subscribe to that sick, corrupt and and decaying political philosophy.

    Have a nice day.

  • 9 Rick // Apr 30, 2004 at 10:53 pm

    If you are “a conservative Democrat,” then it seems to me that you might be able to recognize that simple labels (e.g., “one-dimensional, blinkered Liberal”) don’t fit very well. Your apparent lack of ability to discern distinctions among individuals with potentially-complex belief matrices, though, belies this possibility.

    Clearly you adhere to labeling (and the concomitant pigeon-holing), even when reading something that doesn’t fit very cleanly. For example, your exclamations over the fact that Bush won the 2000 election — did I not say that already in my comments? Yet you say it as if it’s something I won’t accept. I recognize that there are people who will not accept it. I even understand why and I’m not unsympathetic to the possibility that some of their claims are true. Yet although I’ve never denied that Bush won the election, you appear to imply that I have and to use that to impugn the points I have made; that attempt itself, besides being wrong (i.e., incorrect), is nothing but ad hominem.

    Now I don’t know much about Juanita Broaddrick — a woman who both you and Ken Starr mistakenly refer to as “Broderick”. I do know that you’ve said you believe her story.

    So I did a search to see what I could learn about her. So far I’ve slogged through several Republican blogs that state that Bill Clinton has gotten away with the crime of raping her. But I can’t find any convictions to support that. Not only that, but Clinton appears to still be a free man, indicating he isn’t doing jail time for this. And, lastly, Ms. Broaddrick appears to deny it.

    She denied in the Jones case any sexual contact with Clinton, according to sources familiar with her statement. Contacted at home last night, she said, “I don’t have any comment about it.” — Baker and Sun, “Starr Seeks Records From Jones Team on Four Women,” Washington Post, March 26, 1998, page A12.

    I gather that although you said you believe her, this isn’t what you believe. Is it?

    And did I understand you right about the budget surpluses? You’re saying that the government lied to us about them? They didn’t exist? They were phony numbers?

    If that’s so — and I don’t believe that — then is the government telling us the truth about the budget now that we have massive deficits? Or are they lying now, also? Are all the newspaper reporters who reported the budget surpluses before liars? Did no reporter uncover the real facts?

    Additionally, I’ve never been on television that I recall. Certainly I’ve never been “drooling with hatred every night on America’s TV screens” with “HATE…just oozing out of every pore of [my] frenzied, hate-twisted face[].” Nor, to my knowledge, have I even written posts as full of hate as yours.

    If I believed your story about your 8-year-old daughter, I could perhaps almost understand that hate. But the story sounds quite contrived. For one thing, a search of Google for “8-year-old asks father oral sex Clinton” will turn up a lot of angry Conservatives thanking Clinton for teaching their 8-year-old daughters about oral sex. Funny how there aren’t complaints about the 7-year-olds or the 9-year-olds. Why is it that only the 8-year-old daughters are asking?

    Could it be because this is a great new national Conservative meme?

    I’m also puzzled that the boys hanging out on her playground are sophisticated enough to come up with “a ‘Monica'” as a euphemism for “oral sex.” That’s the kind of thing an adult (such as yourself) trying to tell an interesting story might come up with, but the boys on the playground at a school where your 8-year-old daughter has to ask “What is oral sex, daddy?” are not likely to have that ability. I’ll tell you point blank: I think you’re lying. I think you made up the story to help justify the rage your note contains, to make it seem “noble.”

    Far from my being filled with hate, I pity you. From where I sit, you appear to be the one so filled with hate that you can’t see straight. You certainly can’t seem to read my postings closely enough to realize that trotting out tired old counter-arguments for a straw man don’t work here; while they’d perhaps counter some other points and arguments, they appear as non sequiturs alongside my posts.

    Finally, President Bush is not the first person to have a “strategic vision…for re-casting the landscape” as regards some segment of the world that did not wish to be conquered. He’s not even the first to use deception and subterfuge to achieve that goal.

    But he does appear to be the first American President able to convince large numbers of people about whom he doesn’t give a damn that they should send their sons and daughters to die for that, when he, in his own time, was unwilling to do so.

  • 10 Nat Dawson // Apr 30, 2004 at 11:40 pm

    My youngest daughter was born in 1989 and therefore was eight years old when the news came out that Clinton was cheating on his “wife”. Your questioning of my veracity – based on my daughter’s age at the time – is the most specious, fallacious and utterly moronic statement I have read in a long time.

    So, according to you it just couldn’t have happened because my daughter was 8 at the time?Please. That is sooo Liberal. You choose to dissemble around a presumed factual error rather than face the truth that Clinton was a piece of slime, a piece of moral filth who set an embarrassingly bad example for the youth of this country.

    Do you have any idea of how retarded and just plain silly you sound?

  • 11 Bob // May 1, 2004 at 12:08 am

    Hey Nat,

    I’m still waiting for my answer.

    Please tell me of the ‘vision’ this president has. Please tell me the reason we went to war, you know, the reason you could use if you had to had to stand before a judge.

    Or better yet, the reason you would give if you had to stand before God. Yes, that God, the one that Bush claims to honor and respect in the most conservative of ways. Yes, that God that is greeting our best and brightest at heaven’s door on a daily basis.

    Yes, that God that supposedly is behind this president.

    Nat, I do care that you had to have a difficult conversation with your daughter due to Clinton’s behavior. Please explain just how your conversation would go with the parents of a Marine who is coming home in a flag draped coffin.

    Please omit the words ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. Those words are reserved for governments that allow the photography of those very coffins arriving home. Those words are are supposed to be describing the Iraq of the future but don’t describe the America of this administration.

    Nat, Clinton was a sexaholic and probably addicted to power as well. Bush is spilling American blood on a daily basis. Which, in your enlightened mind, is worse?

    Belly up to the bar, Nat. Your president needs explaining. If you’ve got the guts to debate Rick then debate me. Give it your best shot but be prepared to wear the the blood of men more worthy than you to be called ‘Americans’ or ‘heroes’. When you defend this idiot you defend the wasting of our greatest resource, those willing to fight and die for the very ideal of government by the people and for the people. Nothing in Iraq qualifies.

    Bring it on Nat. I’ll be here the rest of your natural life.

  • 12 Nat Dawson // May 1, 2004 at 5:46 am

    The predictable Liberal tactics!! Sooo Alan Colmes like. The embarrassing subject of Clitnon comes up and you people immediately try to switch the debate to President Bush.

    Everytime you do this you’re conceding that Clinton was a moral leper. A puppet of the trial lawyers. A complete rube when it came to matters of international diplomacy. A contemptible, unprincipled, throroughly disgusting man. An uncultured, crude, Arkansas redneck hick.

    Oh BTW, can you name ONE thing of lasting importance that Clitnon accomplished in 8 years? I don’t mean his total neglect of Islamo-facism which led to 9/11. I mean one positive thing that will last beyond his unfortunate occupation of the people’s house.

    I’ll bet you can’t do that.

  • 13 Rick // May 1, 2004 at 8:24 am

    Clinton isn’t running for President. Clinton isn’t taking our country into wars with sovereign countries that haven’t attacked us. Clinton isn’t damaging our ability to work with other countries with which we haven’t yet gone to war. Clinton isn’t straining our military budget. Clinton isn’t running up huge deficits. Clinton isn’t inviting oil executives to write national energy plans that impact my gas bill and reduce the money I have left for other things, like visiting you in Florida for scintillating conversations over beer. (Wait…that part is a good thing. Assuming you’re sober when you type your notes here, I’d hate to see you drunk!) Clinton isn’t selling our future.

    Frankly, if my questioning the fact that you and nearly all the Conservatives discussing the “waaaa-I-had-to-tell-my-daughter-about-oral-sex” sounded unbelievable because all those daughters are 8 years old, and not 7, not 9 is “most specious, fallacious and utterly moronic statement I have read in a long time[,]” then you should be a happy man, instead of such an apparently hateful, bitter man. Because if that’s the case, you, like your purported daughter, have lived a pretty sheltered life. Personally, if I’d had an 8-year-old daughter to whom I had to explain the facts of life because Clinton had sex with someone, I’d be even more pissed now, when I have to explain to her what huge budget deficits mean for her future. (Surely you’ll tell her, right? You wouldn’t want her to learn that you supported the equivalent of massive credit cards for which you get the fun and she gets the bill, would you?)

    Clinton had sex with someone to whom he wasn’t married. As near as I can tell from all that I’ve read, it was consensual sex. So you think it’s horrible. Clearly you think it’s immoral. That’s fine. I don’t remember anywhere that I said Clinton screwing Monica Lewinsky was okay. I do recall saying somewhere in this thread that “Clinton should have kept his dick in his pants” or words to that effect.

    But, again, Clinton isn’t in office right now. His current activities are of little concern to me. Me, I get more riled up by current Presidents who screw the entire country rather than just interns.

    Frankly, based on your conduct in these conversations, refusing to directly address what Bob or I have said, I wouldn’t even be talking to you anymore if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s allowing me to make a few more points about what’s wrong with the current administration (and, of course, it’s raising the comment count on this thread which can’t hurt). Trying to actually convince you (I’ve no doubts about this at all) is quixotic. It’s the old “pearls before swine” story writ large and modern. The saving grace, as I’ve said, is that it allows pointing out the truth a few more times for any other readers who may be entertained by this online version of a shouting match that has made Fox “News” so popular.

    The difference here is that everyone’s words get heard and there’s no time limit. Fox’s raucous, boorish hoods can ensure only their views are heard by drowning out or cutting off their guests, or allowing other conservative guests to do that. Here, you get to blather and I still have the opportunity to bring out cogent pieces of information about what’s happening to our country.

    Even if I was to agree that Clinton was a slime, nothing here would change. You don’t appear to be interested in discussing the issues I’ve raised. You’re more concerned about a possibly fictitious 8-year-old daughter and the ability “she” gives you to exercise and develop your skills with hyperbole. (For my part, I’m enjoying the practice, too. It’s a fun counter-balance to the actual arguments I work to construct in my serious pieces.)

    From the looks of it, you’re pretty close to the edge here. And since you’re also pretty close to the water there, why not just take a little walk over to that little cove there on St. Johns and cool off a bit.

    We’ll wait. You’re fun. Just one question: You’re not a postal worker, are you? 😉

  • 14 Mark // May 1, 2004 at 8:47 am

    This idiot obviously did not read the Consortium Report. The news organizations counted the votes NINE ways. Six ways in which ALL votes (even the illegal Republican absentee ballots) were actually counted — and three ways in which valid votes were left uncounted. In the six ways in which all votes were counted (by varying standards) — Gore won every time. The ONLY way to manufacture a Bush “victory” was to NOT count some of the valid votes. That’s why the wing-nuts on the Supreme Court wanted to make absolutely certain that the votes were not counted. They KNEW what the outcome would be — a Gore victory. The Consortium Report proved them right. Right-wing propaganda to the contrary, you can’t change the facts.

    Regarding the conversation he had with your daughter, Nat, that’s an urban legend I’ve heard so many times it makes me want to throw up. Come up with something original, please!

    For what it’s worth — I understand that thousands of National Guard troops in Iraq are asking for transfers to a unit in Alabama that would not require them to show up for anything other than a dental exam. “Bush did it,” they proclam, “Why can’t I?”

    And if you think Alan Colmes is a liberal — you HAVE been doing drugs! You’ve also been watching too much of the “We exhort – you comply!” network. Try thinking for yourself, Nat. It might expand your horizons.

    You might actually come to see that the super-rich who want to transfer money from your pockets to theirs are NOT acting in your best interests. I will give the G-O-P (Greed On Parade) credit for doing one hell of a marketing job. Getting so many rednecks and other disadvantaged souls to believe that making the super-rich even more wealthy by taking from the rest of us is GOOD for America, that the coward deserter Bush is a hero, that deficits are good for America, that Clinton and all the good he did was somehow evil — it’s amazing to me that anyone could pull this off. Nat and others like him are evidence that this brain-washing campaign has suceeded beyond what anyone could have possibly imagined.

  • 15 Nat Dawson // May 1, 2004 at 10:02 am

    C lassless
    L iar
    I mpeached
    N arcissist
    T raitor
    O bfuscator
    N auseating

    STILL waiting for you to mention ONE thing that lying, crude, Arkansas-redneck-hick did that will have a positive, lasting effect on the US or the world.

    I’m waiting!!!

  • 16 Rick // May 1, 2004 at 12:08 pm

    Once again (last time), I fail to see what Clinton has to do with Bush’s mismanagement and theft of our resources.

    If I were to point to anything Clinton did that would “have a positive, lasting effect on the U.S. or the world,” you could easily shoot me down.

    Why? Because the positive things he did that could have had this impact — creating budget surpluses and such — have been undone by the current President.

    It’s a little disingenuous to have your guy come along and destroy all that was being built in the eight years before he took over and then say, “See? No positive, lasting impact!”

  • 17 Nat Dawson // May 1, 2004 at 1:32 pm

    Budget “surpluses” exist only in the minds of Liberals. ONE TIME in the past 10 years there has been an actual surplus. All the rest were projected surpluses on out into the future.

    The one budget surplus was achieved by cutting into the muscle of vital government agencies. The Coastguard, the INS, the FAA, the Military – all those agencies we really needed, did not have essential equipment or manpower because of Clinton.

    Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, there was a terrorist attack on the United States on 09-11-01. Handing out $20bn to New York, restoring the absurd cuts Clinton made and putting our seniors health care programs on a par with everyone else’s, along with reduced tax receipts from the recession that Clinton bequeathed to President Bush, has caused the deficits.

    But, as you Liberals HATE to acknowledge (mark that word “HATE” because you people own it), the economy is now booming and tax receipts are increasing and therefore deficits are reducing. I know you Liberals hate the truth but I just had to tell it – the deficits will soon disappear.

    As will the Clinton LIEgacy.

  • 18 Mark // May 1, 2004 at 2:48 pm

    The list of Clinton’s achievements is long. Rick is right, things like budget surpluses (yes, Nat, despite what Fox News tells you — they were VERY real), shriking the size of government (as Democratic administrations historically do), and actually making more friends for the United States in the world — these things (and other good works) have been hastily undone and reversed by the current appointed resident of the White House.

    There’s one accomplishment that cannot be undone, however. Millions of jobs were added in the United States during the Clinton Administration. To the individuals who got those jobs, and their families, the effects are lasting.

    Shrub, on the other hand, is going to be the first occupant of the White House since Herbert Hoover to have jobs LOST during his administration — millions of them, in fact. Some of these jobs were outsourced by Shrub’s G-O-P cronies who think its cool to send American jobs overseas — just as they think it’s patriotic to set up mail drops in Bermuda so they can avoid paying taxes.

    While the damage done to the individuals who lost their jobs during the Shrub years and to their families is severe, it can eventually be undone if votes are ever counted in the future and a Democratic administration returns this country to the right path.

    I could talk about other things, as well, such as the important work done in Central Europe during the Clinton years. But you wanted just one, Nat. Now it’s your turn to tell us that adding jobs is evil and sending American jobs overseas is patriotic. I can’t wait.

  • 19 Bob // May 1, 2004 at 3:32 pm

    N o
    A nswer
    T oday

    It’s funny Nat that you are waiting on answers from others yet I still wait for you to answer my one, single, simple question.

    Maybe you’ll answer today? Today would be a good day to answer since no American soldiers have died in Iraq today. You can claim that peace is at hand. You can claim to have pacified the country ….. for 24 hours.

    For the record, I am not a big Clinton fan. I like my leaders to be high on integrity.

    Since we haven’t found any WMD I have lost respect for your president, Nat. Again, it’s that irritating integrity issue.

    Yet again, I will quote one of your favorite sources:

    “STILL waiting for you to mention ONE thing that lying, crude, Arkansas-redneck-hick did that will have a positive, lasting effect on the US or the world.

    I’m waiting!!!”

    Ok Nat, try this. Clinton got less US servicemen and women killed in eight years than Bush did in four. That’s less flag draped coffins. That’s less times a parent has to hear taps played for their child. That’s that many more AMERICAN children with both parents. That’s a positive, lasting effect in most rational minds.

    Look Nat, just jot down the answer and elighten us all. We’re waiting…..

  • 20 Bob // May 1, 2004 at 3:38 pm

    Oh Nat, if you ask me nicely, I’ll tell you what I did with MY ribbons and medals.

    You might be surprised.

  • 21 Rick // May 1, 2004 at 6:32 pm

    I can’t help but note that I keep linking in stories from mainstream news organizations to back my claims — and I don’t just make bald claims.

    Mr. No Answer Today (I liked that one, Bob!), when he does make an attempt at providing some reasons for his vitriolic spewings, simply makes bald assertions without anything to back them.

    JUST TWO EXAMPLES

    Señor No Answer Today says,

    Budget “surpluses” exist only in the minds of Liberals. ONE TIME in the past 10 years there has been an actual surplus.

    CNN says,

    President Clinton announced Wednesday that the federal budget surplus for fiscal year 2000 amounted to at least $230 billion, making it the largest in U.S. history and topping last year’s record surplus of $122.7 billion. — Wallace, “President Clinton announces another record budget surplus,” CNN.com allpolitics.com, September 27, 2000. (Emphasis added.)

    Señor No Answer Today lauds Bush for,

    putting our seniors [sic] health care programs on a par with everyone else’s[.]

    American Medical News says,

    Health care in the United States is second to none. Right? Well, not according to the World Health Organization. A recent WHO survey ranked the United States 37th in overall health system performance — sandwiched between Costa Rica and Slovenia….

    WHO placed a great deal of weight on a country’s fairness in financing its health care system. The United States fell way down the list on that measure, coming in at 54th, between the Republic of Korea and Fiji….

    “Ideally,” he said, “the United States could join just about every other civilized nation in the world in providing universal access to health care. I think that is the mark of a civilized nation.” — Landers, “The world’s health care: How do we rank?,” American Medical News, August 28, 2000. (Emphasis added.)

    Thank you and good night.

    P.S. I hear Bob’s still waiting….

  • 22 Nat Dawson // May 1, 2004 at 7:13 pm

    bwahahahahahaahahahahaha!

    Since you Libs are so busy hating Bush that you can’t answer my question … let me answer it for you.

    To recap: I asked you to name one piece of landmark legislation, one singular foreign policy action that characterizes the Clitnon “presidency”? I mean, in the entire 8 nightmare years of fraud, lies and deceit he accomplished what …..?

    The answer is he accomplished exactly N-O-T-H-I-N-G!! Oh wait,
    he did manage to get himself impeached. AND disbarred. Yes, two BIG accomplishments. Oh, and he did sell a bunch of pardons to criminals on the FBI most wanted list. And yes, he betrayed US nuclear secrets so that Chinese rockets are now pointed at our children. And Hitlary got to take Chelsea on a bunch of overseas trips that were charged to the US taxpayer. So I suppose you could say he did accomplish some things.

    As for the braying burro, Mark, who wants to talk about Clitnon and jobs. Clinton did not create a single job. Well, except the Special Prosecutor for Whitewater. Clitnon’s presidency coincided with an economic upswing which he had nothing to do with. Can you name ONE action he took to create jobs? You can’t because he didn’t. That is not the function of the Federal Government. The economy creates jobs.

    During Clinton’s reckless and irresponsible term in office, he put the entire world’s future at risk. During his tenure both India and Pakistan became nuclear powers. So now the world is a much more dangerous place. And Osama bin Laden trained tens of thousands of terrorists right under Clitnon’s nose and he what about it? N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

    The Arkansas redneck rube did not understand any of the nuance of foreign policy. Look at his SoS for crying out loud. The hideous Madelaine Notsobright. He completely failed to contain the disintegration of the Soviet nuclear stockpile. His bumbling handling of N. Korea has now come back to bite us. I guess only a liar would be fooled by liars, huh? Oh wait – he did bomb an aspirin factory in the Sudan. Yes, he did that. That, I have to admit, was a HUGE foreign policy accomplishment.

    To sum it up; the immoral Arkansas redneck Bill Clinton, liar and cheat extraordinaire, deceived his way into the presidency and, while in office, accomplished nothing but getting some ass.

    I thank God every day for the 22nd Amendment.

  • 23 Mark // May 2, 2004 at 8:57 am

    Any economist will tell you, Nat (if you would listen — which is doubtful), that responsible budget management by the President has a hell of a lot to do with the economy and hence jobs. the President writes the budget. Back when Reagan was running up what were (at that time) record deficits, wing-nuts wanted to blame Democrats in Congress. The fact is, if Democrats in Congress had not trimmed some of the pork from the budgets Reagan sent to Capitol Hill, the deficits would have been even higher.

    Now, of course, Reagan’s previous deficit records look like nothing compared to what Shrub is doing. The BIRTH TAX — the debt that every child born in American inherits thanks to Shrub and his cronies — is growing at an alarming rate. That’s why our dollar is weak and getting progressively weaker in world markets. That’s why our oil prices are skyrocketing while they are barely rising in Europe. Our dollar isn’t worth nearly as much today as it was under Clinton. Harry Truman liked to say “the buck stops here.” Shrub passes the buck along to unborn children and grandchildren who will have to pay (with interest) for his give-aways to the rich. But meanwhile, his irresponsible behavior is hurting Americans today with a weakened dollar, higher prices for things like oil that must be purchased on international markets, and a weak economy that is LOSING jobs.

    I’ll bet Nat is proud of this shameful record of fiscal irresponsibility. Do you live this way at home, Nat? Do you run your credit cards up to the max, spending far more each month than you take in? If you could give things to your friends now and make your daughter pay for it when she’s an adult — would you do it? If not, why aren’t you pissed that Shrub is doing PRECISELY that to your daughter?

  • 24 Bob // May 2, 2004 at 7:41 pm

    Gnat doesn’t have a daughter.

    Gnat doesn’t have a clue.

    G ot N o A nswers T oday.

    G ot N o A nswers T omorrow.

    Just an opinion “allegedly asked by someone that is totally peripheral to this discussion.”

    Nat, I am real.

    I am not Rick and my question will haunt you……..if you’re a good person.

    If you bought into the ‘compassionate conservative’ aspects of this administration during the last election, you have to ask this question. That’s a big if according to your previous writings.

    IF you want to seriously debate the most important issue of the BUSH administration then I will retract all my baiting descriptions of your intelligence and character. I will apologize in writing for every reader of this blog to see………IF you can respond to a honest question about this administration, regardless of the context of the original article, you will be received by an intelligent community as an equal.

    In fact, IF you can answer this question, I will refrain from posting to your comments. Forever. All you have to do is win this debate.

    Until then, you’re a bug.

    Useless.

    Worthless.

    Stupid.

    This is your chance Gnat, to post ethical reasons for the war and to embarass all these ‘liberal’ thinkers. I, for one, would love to see that because the reason for this war escapes me now and has for a while now.

    Please grab the brass ring and show us the error of our ways. Until you do, you will just solidify the opinion that this president is worthy of being booted. You will just work against the very ‘ideals’ you respect. You will demonstrate everything wrong with ‘republican’.

    Please Gnat, make this a DEBATE and not an exchange of witty insults. YOU could actually make a difference for your president.

    So, will the Bush administration be known for a just war or an unjust war?

  • 25 abi // May 3, 2004 at 2:59 am

    Speaking as an American citizen living in the United Kingdom, let me answer one of Nat’s points.

    STILL waiting for you to mention ONE thing that lying, crude, Arkansas-redneck-hick did that will have a positive, lasting effect on the US or the world.

    Two words. Northern Ireland. His astute and clever handling of this situation, his understanding that the way to stop extremists is to erode their support among the ordinary people, are remebered with great gratitude here. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1065913.stm for a summary, for instance.

    It’s a painful comparison to make with the current approach, which seems to me to be fostering terrorism by giving Muslim moderates plenty of evidence of the extremists’ claims about America.

  • 26 Nat Dawson // May 3, 2004 at 5:41 am

    That’s not just a lie – that’s a transparently stupid lie.

    Northern Ireland is a British problem. You’re suggesting that Tony Blair just sat there while the redneck-hick-rube-fron-Arkansas solved the problem?

    Please.

  • 27 Rick // May 3, 2004 at 7:07 am

    This latest response of Nat’s clearly illustrates the reason I’ve largely quit responding to him (although, if you’ll pardon the expression, I’m particularly glad to see that there’s been a kind of “international coalition” of responses to him otherwise).

    Nat purports to want to know “just one thing” that Bill Clinton did “of lasting value,” even though the original post was not about Clinton, never mentioned Clinton and didn’t even allude to Clinton. And he’s been given several good examples from different people, the latest being from Abi in England concerning the peacekeeping efforts of Clinton relating to the longstanding conflict in Northern Ireland.

    Nat calls this “a British problem.” It would appear that because Clinton helped provide long-term solutions to problems of terrorism without actually invading, destroying, or occupying the country, Nat finds this unacceptable. It can’t really be just that it’s “a British problem.” After all, he didn’t consider the Interahamwe-Tutsi conflict “a Rwandan problem.” Those who read the entire thread above will find it ironic that Nat took Clinton to task for not invading Rwanda, saying “[t]he blood of those poor innocents is on his filthy, cowardly hands,” yet dismisses the work Clinton did regarding Northern Ireland as “a British problem.”

    And, of course, Nat disregarded comments posted by Bob that showed Clinton was credited for helping begin the process that has Libya cooperating with other nations (see above). We didn’t even discuss his efforts in the Israel-Palestinian conflict; there’s probably no actual hope that that conflict will ever be resolved, although Clinton did more to try than the current administration has.

    The fact is that Nat has some other issue going on. It may be that he likes to see his words “in print” (so to speak). It may be that he likes the attention he thinks is being showered on him. Really it’s an opportunity I’ve used to hopefully provide reasons for believing there are alternatives to invading the rest of the world; something the current administration just doesn’t get. And that’s a reason the current administration — when re-elected — is probably going to finish the job of making America a third-world “power.” Once our military resources are depleted; once greedy corporations have sent the bulk of our good jobs overseas; once our national deficit comes home to roost — we’re going to have some serious issues. Much more serious than what we have now. And people like Nat, who refuse to face even something as trivial as what’s been brought out in this thread, about a President who is no longer in office, are going to not only re-elect Bush, they’re going to be as woefully unable to deal with the aftermath as Nat is unable to deal with the facts he’s been given here. Maybe the problem is jealousy — I don’t know. Maybe Nat’s pissed that Monica got screwed by the President, so this time around he and those like him want to be sure every American gets the opportunity to be screwed by their President — I don’t know. It’s just a thought.

    Although I’ve repeatedly reminded that I regard the whole “Clinton thing” as being off-topic, I responded to him to actually give answers to the queries he put. He simply shrugs off these as if they were not answers. In some cases, I sensed that he never even read everything that was said; he simply used it as a stimulus to another emotional tirade consisting of vacuous vitriol. If it weren’t for a private email to me (of pretty much the same nature) that required working around a spam filter (on his end), I would have thought it was a computer program that had been written to post garbage anytime it saw a new response.

    At any rate, his reply to Abi’s comment makes clear why this thread is dead. There’s no real conversation here.

    And even though I consider talking to Nat to be a waste of time, it did provide an unexpected opportunity for others to post positive reasons for paying attention to the work of Bill Clinton, whose one major failing (which in my opinion had nothing to do with his work as President and which failing he isn’t the first human — Democrat or Republican, politician or non-politician — to demonstrate) was that he had extramarital sex and then was embarrassed enough about being found out that he lied about it.

    Most people, of course, never lie about having had sex with someone with whom they were not supposed to have sex. And so this is a “crime” for which he can never be forgiven.

    Meanwhile, a special thanks to all who participated in this thread — I can’t really call it a discussion, since only one side was actually providing substantive comments. I hope you’ll all continue to be involved in future posts. One reason I write is because I think I have something to say. But the other reason is to engage in dialog with other intelligent people.

    And, sometimes, just to play with mice.

  • 28 abi // May 3, 2004 at 8:05 am

    Without wanting to prolong the discussion, I would point out that John Major was Britsh Prime Minister at the relevant period in Northern Irish history. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. But those efforts would not have gone anywhere had the major source of IRA funding (the USA) not been behind the peace process.

    There are many more complexities to the situation, but I thought I’d just touch on the basic, verifiable facts, in case anyone wanted to use them as a starting point for further research and learning.

  • 29 Harry // May 14, 2004 at 12:21 pm

    Having fun reading the ranting on the comments post. Have one question:

    Nat, id, as you said on May 1st, “Budget “surpluses” exist only in the minds of Liberals”, where did the money come from for the tax cuts for the rich?

    Either they existed, and Clinton did do somethign good, or they did not exist, and bush knowingly robbed future generation to line the pockets of his friends.

    Which is it?

  • 30 Harry // May 14, 2004 at 12:21 pm

    Having fun reading the ranting on the comments post. Have one question:

    Nat, id, as you said on May 1st, “Budget “surpluses” exist only in the minds of Liberals”, where did the money come from for the tax cuts for the rich?

    Either they existed, and Clinton did do something good, or they did not exist, and bush knowingly robbed future generation to line the pockets of his friends.

    Which is it?

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