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Lewinsky Is Not Why Clinton Should Have Resigned

2017 November 15

I don’t usually write about subjects I disagree with Matt Yglesias on, but this piece on how Bill Clinton should have resigned over Lewinsky is sickening.

It’s not that Clinton’s actions with Lewinsky weren’t awful, it is the moral and ethical vacuum required to think that’s the issue over which he should have resigned.

Clinton gutted welfare. I guarantee that killed a lot of people and hurt way more. Clinton pushed the three strikes laws hard, which hit black communities brutally, locking people up for years for a third strike for things like stealing a bicycle. Bill Clinton engaged in punitive sanctions against Iraq which hit basic medicine, killing and hurting a lot of people. Bill Clinton pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and signed it; this was one of the causes of the 2008 financial collapse and, thus, killed and hurt a lot people.

What happened to Lewinsky was sad, gross, and wrong. But it came nowhere near the harm Clinton did with other actions.

This inability to think at scale haunts us when dealing with powerful people. What matters most is by far and away what they do as policy. One intern and a cigar is a tragedy, to paraphrase Stalin, but thousands of deaths and people locked up for decades is a statistic.

Oh, there are arguments against this: That killing and impoverishing people is the role of the US president, but that screwing around with interns isn’t, basically.


I actually can see the case. Some things are over the lines. Rape, for example. Or torture. But war causes both, and Bush, Jr. served out his terms, as did Obama. Heck, by some accounts Bush, rather closely supervised some of the torture in Guantanamo and enjoyed doing so.

The bottom line is that we choose our leaders in part because they are functional sociopaths–able to do great evil and sleep at night. We shouldn’t choose them that way, but for a variety of reasons, we do.

But to be concerned about one abuse of position (which was consensual, however) and not about all the vast harm Clinton did to people even more powerless than Lewinsky, to say that’s where you draw the line rather than at, say, welfare reform—I don’t know, it sticks in my craw.

About the only good argument is that people who abuse power in that manner shouldn’t be allowed near power. I agree. But by the time Lewinsky occurred, Clinton had already shown he was willing to hurt the weak and poor at scale.

It’s the statistics that matter. The individual cases only can warn you about the statistics that might follow, and they aren’t always so accurately predictive. (FDR had an affair with his principal secretary. It didn’t make him a bad President and if he’d stepped down it would have been disastrous.)

I wonder if we evolved killer apes are capable of running large civilizations in anything close to an effective and beneficial fashion. The evidence coming in is looking grim.

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38 Responses
  1. Dan Lynch permalink
    November 15, 2017

    Of course Ian is right, but most people have strong opinions on infidelity but not so much on banking regulation or foreign policy. Hence identity politics rule while both parties mostly agree on economics, foreign policy, and the police state.
    George Lakoff reminds us that we should frame our issues in moral terms. Of course that assumes society has a sane and consistent system of ethics which is the furthest thing from the truth in the U.S.. We’re mostly a conservative Christian nation, the Christian equivalent of Saudi Wahhabism, mixed with a healthy dose of atheist Ayn Rand. Sprinkle with batshit crazy Revelations. You don’t hear too much about the Beautitudes since that is basically communism. But mostly we worship the dollar.

  2. November 15, 2017

    Of course you’re right about Yglesias. But I’m wondering about this part:

    “What happened to Lewinsky was sad, and gross and wrong”

    To what are you referring? If I remember correctly, Monica Lewinsky had a consensual affair with President Clinton, then attempted to suborn perjury when she was about to be caught. I don’t see how she counts as a victim, but obviously I could be missing something.

  3. November 15, 2017

    @Notorious P.A.T.

    The President of the United States getting blow jobs from a White House Intern in the Oval Office was “sad, and gross and wrong.”

    Your opinion may be different.

  4. November 15, 2017

    It was clear who he is/was before he was elected.

  5. S Brennan permalink
    November 15, 2017

    Let’s not forget that it was Clinton who expanded NATO to the very border of Russia thus “necessitating” the cold war revival. A former President explains the cruelty of the Clintons:

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense….Is there no other way the world may live?”

    —Eisenhower, “Give Peace a Chance” speech 1953

  6. dude permalink
    November 15, 2017

    “This inability to think at scale haunts us when dealing with powerful people”—-

    It is a tried-and-true technique to deal with the scale of wrong-doing in public policy by trying to describe the perpetrator at a scale people readily understand and associate with their own scale. Ian cites policy decisions Clinton pushed having adversely affected many, many people; however, he is demonized for something we are more likely to understand in our daily lives–interpersonal behavior, sexual foibles, etc. Reagan was a killer in much the same way as Clinton , but we relate to him mostly on the scale of personal affability and his ‘common touch’ manner. But what of someone like Hitler? God help anyone who tries to put an ounce of humanity into describing Hitler . There is a line that gets crossed somewhere when the scale of public policy wrong-doing becomes irreconcilable with our idea of humanity, at least for this period in our history. Neither have we reconciled with slavery, yet we still willing to redeem or forgive the Founders. For now anyway.

  7. Emma permalink
    November 15, 2017

    No, no, no, no, no, you are all wrong on this one, stipulating an actual position as if what’s happening is a moral or ethical argument. It is not an argument.

    We are having A Rape Moment, now. We are Addressing Rape. It’s a long overdue comeuppance, even in our overprivileged culture, but it has quickly degenerated into a shouting match to determine whose team has the most rapists on it. So far, we’ve been counting the Hollywood rapists as mostly Donkey Team, and the political rapists as mostly Elephant Team. A good journalist has to meticulously whatabout whatabout whatabout in his columns to make sure the scores of both teams match exactly. This is what we call “objective reporting.”

    We are continuing to ignore the fact that most cultural systems both tacitly and openly reward abusers and demean victims. Everything is characterized as a win, a conquest, a competition — even the act of sex itself. We’re not going to talk about that, probably ever, because that might mean we would have to change the way we do business. And if there’s one thing hardworking American people refuse to do under any circumstances, it’s change the way we do business.

    It doesn’t matter to most people if Bill Clinton dropped five atomic bombs on a orphanage, on purpose — unless we can have an Atomic Bombs on Orphanages Moment. (Ask some famous people about it, you might be surprised.)

    P.S. — When I see people petulantly using the term “identity politics” to dismiss the opinions of people in subcultures they don’t like, I assume they are attempting to assert that straight white folks don’t actually exist, and only queer brown immigrants have identities. Because that’s the only reading of the words that makes sense. All politics are identity politics, and if you find that divisive: Welcome to being a brown person! Or a woman! Or a gay person! Or an immigrant! Or anybody who sees themselves as anything but “a worker” or “an American” or “a voter”! Depressing.

  8. Synoia permalink
    November 15, 2017

    I wonder if we evolved killer apes are capable of running large civilizations in anything close to an effective and beneficial fashion. The evidence coming is looking grim.

    Personally I believe somewhat our practice of Intelligence is an evolutionary dead end.

    It has taken us less that 300 years to threaten the planet’s biosphere with our “industrial revolution,” and less than 100,000 to from the last ice age to the current system.

    Of, if you’d like to include, Lucy an Australopithecus, about 4 million years to get to this point.

    The dinosaurs, not noted for their large brains, survived in various forms for 240 million years.

  9. Hugh permalink
    November 15, 2017

    I would add that Clinton deregulated derivatives in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. This allowed risk to be multiplied and along with the repeal of Glass-Steagall (which prohibited insurance companies and regular banks from gambling on Wall Street) turned a nasty real estate bubble into a financial meltdown. Clinton also re-appointed the anti-regulatory Alan Greenspan, he of the Greenspan put, as chair of the Fed.

    Re Monica Lewinsky, consent can be problematic when there are large differences in power. Clinton was both President and Lewinsky’s boss. However Clinton’s impeachment was based on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, not the “affair”. He was not convicted but was disbarred.

    Of course, Clinton did not act alone. There was also the Congress and the political system itself. Being the President of the hegemon pretty much means that you will use violence, perhaps even great violence, because even if the hegemon did not exist, the world would remain violent. What is so revolting is the casual, even thoughtless, use of violence for a lie or for no purpose at all, not even a bad one.

    Identity politics is a con. The hook is participate politically as who you are. The con is vote for us based on your tribe, even if we work against your interests.

  10. November 15, 2017

    Yglesias rides whatever coattail he can find. Today it’s being against sexual assault. He’s never cared about the powerless.

  11. jonst permalink
    November 16, 2017

    all morality in America begins, and ends, ‘below the belt’. What in the world do I care about a consensual sex act? Give me a break…

  12. Tom permalink
    November 16, 2017

    This thread reminds me of this. What surprises me is that an SS Unit was allowed to drive their vehicles back to Germany along with their arms… Despite this area being home to several notorious Death Camps…

    Already we can see the beginning of the US Military’s recruitment of War Criminals for their own ends and covering up their crimes.

  13. November 16, 2017

    In a society (and world) which operates with “its head inside its pants” at all times anything with the label “sex” on it takes precedent over anything else. Even swindling innocent people out of basic human rights and reasonable entitlements.

  14. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 16, 2017

    Sexual impropriety is one of the only ways our society — ie: Anglo-American — holds some of the powerful to some kind of account. Sometimes. 

    In my long time efforts against police misconduct, murder and brutality, I’ve learned that it is almost impossible to charge and convict police officers for any but sexual offenses, such as raping or sexually abusing suspects in custody or demanding sexual favors from convicts, or having too many mistresses, or some such.

    Pretty much the same is true no matter how high up the power-chain you go.

    So of course it’s a tool to thwart political ambitions among other things. It’s one of the few that work, and it doesn’t always.

  15. Willy permalink
    November 16, 2017

    The NFL has its combine. I propose that POTUS candidates be run through a series of objective tests, such as 40 yard dash, bench press, Wonderlic… (if for no other reason than our own amusement). So far, wishful tribal thinking with partisan voters projecting good leadership qualities onto heavily flawed candidates has produced abysmal results.

    Sadly, I don’t think a sexual derangement test has been developed yet.

  16. Herman permalink
    November 16, 2017

    Matt Yglesias’ piece is reminiscent of the attempt to rehabilitate George W. Bush as a “good Republican” compared to Trump. Trump will have to do some truly terrible things to even equal George W. Bush. But if you listen to the mainstream media Trump saying mean things about Muslims and Mexicans and being a bit more enthusiastic about deportations than Obama is worse than starting a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people and destabilized the entire Middle East.

    The only cause for hope might be that ordinary Americans are less prone to hysteria about culture war/sex/identity issues than the political class. Polls regularly show that bread and butter issues like jobs and health care are more important to most people than culture war issues. The major parties promote culture war issues because of the persistent theory that maximizing turnout among hyper-partisan ideologues is the key to winning elections. But Trump showed that winning more independent-minded swing voters is really the key to winning elections. People were willing to forgive Trump’s indiscretions because he made promises on bread and butter issues like trade and jobs. That shows me that plenty of Americans still have their priorities correct.

  17. StewartM permalink
    November 16, 2017

    What happened to Lewinsky was sad, gross, and wrong. But it came nowhere near the harm Clinton did with other actions.

    Hear, hear! This is one of the things that disgusts me about DKos types. The progressives of my youth used to argue that ‘sex isn’t and shouldn’t be such the big huge deal we make it out to be’ and used that argument as a justification to legalize everything from pornography to homosexuality to sodomy laws (not just affecting gays) plus more. But starting in the late 70s “Carrie Nation” (to use a term from Camille Paglia) “progressives” began their drive to push everyone back to Victorian standards.

    Even sexual misconduct (and I agree with some of the cases are) isn’t ethically on par with sanctions that kill 500,000 Iranian children. FDR and JFK and others weren’t sexual saints by our moral code, while insofar as we know, Hitler and Stalin were pretty much sexually ‘normal’ by the definitions of their times and culture. Thomas Jefferson may well have an affair with 14-year old Sally Hemmings, which would be a worse case than what Roy Moore is accused of doing (The oral tradition of the Hemmings family, btw, maintains that their relationship was a love affair, not ‘rape’). And how about Gandhi sleeping with nude teenaged girls?

    All this is consistent with my contention that we’re not ‘killer apes’ by nature at all, but horny chimps–we’re closer to bonobos than common chimps. We’ll do pretty much anything (the only probable biological exception is mother-son incest; it’s the only one bonobos have). The nuts and bolts of sexual conduct in what-someone-does-with-someone else insofar as I can see is not a good predictor of their other moral qualities. Roy Moore is a vile horrible person, true, for many reasons, but his sexual behaviors (save it involved his abuse of power as DA) are not nearly as bad as what he and his ilk would do if he got the reins of power.

  18. S Brennan permalink
    November 16, 2017

    Susan of Texas said; “Yglesias rides whatever coattail he can find.”

    So true, all [any exceptions?] the early adopters of internet commentary, our host excepted, sold out…as soon as some pimp flashed the cash…they were out walking the street….taking to the life as ducks to water.

  19. brian permalink
    November 16, 2017

    He is just writing that because he wants _trump_ to resign, and is populating the moral relativism / outrage. If he was placed back into 1998, he would still not think Clinton should resign. Muh sexual liberation, these Christian moralists..

  20. realitychecker permalink
    November 17, 2017

    Maybe someday we will have an adult discussion about the actual mechanics and desires of the various participants in the mating dance rituals.

    Because I can hardly find anybody who can speak coherently and honestly about such matters.

    Male or female.

  21. November 17, 2017

    The revisionist history underway regarding the Clinton affairs is a psyops. They know they can ride the current “Believe Women” train and sell what was documented, debated, litigated, etc. to death in the 90s to a new audience who, in the current environment, will eat it up. Also, it’s too coordinated as it’s not just Yglesias . There have been several of these “think pieces” running lately some of which are truly disingenuous as the authors were alive and well and know exactly what happened then.

  22. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 17, 2017


    I’m sure you understand that the various wars against the rebels in the Near East are not only continuing under Trump, but they are expanding in Africa and the Far East among theatres of operation we know about. There are no doubt Special Forces and other military operations we don’t know about.

    Entire cities are being partially or completely leveled to the ground, and not just in Syria and Iraq. It’s estimated that the civilian casualty count in these operations — never entirely clear or honestly stated — has increased 60% or more since Trump took office and there is no end in sight to the death and destruction perpetrated against who knows who anymore.

    Spears are rattling and war drums are beating on behalf of new attacks — even nuclear attacks — on Iran, North Korea, and who knows what other targets our warmongers are eager to flatten and glass for eternity.

    It’s long past time to give up the notion that somehow Trump isn’t as bad as Bush, the Clintons and Obama when it comes to war-making and destruction. He essentially removed any restraint on His Generals’ conduct of warmaking. That’s one reason among others there’s been such an increase in the killing and destroying that’s been doctrine at least since 2001 Signs are he’s worse by an order of magnitude at least, and all this bloodlust could easily turn apocalyptic.

  23. Hvd permalink
    November 17, 2017

    I would recommend “Why is Sex Fun” by Jared Diamond as a starting point and then consider that the divergent mating strategies amongst mammals probably helps lead to speciation whereas in human beings they result in different cultural norms and taboos. Inasmuch as we break with cultural norms and taboos and interbreed we are undoubtedly left with conflicting “instincts” significant numbers of which must be repressed if we are to exist within the constraints of the currently dominant forms and taboos. What should be seen as a variety of neutral mating “technologies” instead becomes freighted with unfortunate “moral”dimensions. I am of the belief that we are by nature, as noted by Norman O Brown, polymorphously perverse, and that it is the overlay of the variety of genetically available mating techniques with the variety of “moral” constraints that leads to so many of our frustrations and misapplications of the mating urge. Not to mention the fact that sex is fun and funny and we should be free to experience it as such. All sexes, equally. Certainly in this time where we are and should be free of the dangers of unwanted pregnancy as a constraint on the simple enjoyment of sex.

  24. Willy permalink
    November 17, 2017

    Temperament plays a major role in sexual behavior. Those hardwired for power and control tend to be more the pussy grabbing asshole, while strong introverts tend to prefer masturbating quietly in the corner. And then you have the emo heartfelts who prefer hour long hugs on the beach…

    I think it’s the pussy grabbing assholes we’re discussing here. And for those who have beautiful and sweet daughters, that probably goes double.

  25. different clue permalink
    November 18, 2017

    Naked Capitalism has run several paragraphs with some links to some stuff on the subject of why/how Clinton lost the election . . . finishing up with some speculative material on what a Clinton victory might have brought us.

    Since we are being invited by certain persons to believe that Bush was a better President than Trump will be and that Clinton would have been a better President than Trump will be, I thought I would copy/paste all that text here.

    * * * * * * * * *

    2016 Post Mortem

    “Hillary Clinton on Trump’s Election: ‘There Are Lots of Questions About Its Legitimacy’” [Mother Jones]. “In an exclusive interview with Mother Jones, Clinton says Russian interference and GOP voter suppression efforts may have cost her the presidency.” Remember when liberal Democrats were fomenting a moral panic that Trump wouldn’t accept the election results? Good times. Anyhow, I read the piece — nice get, Clara, thank you for your service — so you don’t have to (though I didn’t have time to listen to the video). Here is the key paragraph (not Clinton, but exposition):

    The impact of Russian interference in the election can be measured in a few tangible ways. Operatives in Russia published about 80,000 Facebook posts that reached 126 million Americans, as Russia-linked Facebook ads targeted swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin. More than 36,000 Russia-linked Twitter accounts generated 1.4 million tweets about the election that had 288 million impressions. The constant drumbeat of stories based on Clinton campaign and Democratic Party emails [said by the intelligence community and Democrat vendors to have been –lambert] obtained by Russian-backed hackers is one reason that then-FBI Director James Comey’s 11th-hour letter hurt Clinton so much.

    Once more: On Facebook and Twitter, the constantly repeated numbers seem impressive, but are tiny relative to total content on both platforms; and if the $50K Russian Facebook buy neutralized the $1.4 billion spent by the Clinton campaign, then Clinton (and Mook, and Podesta) owe us (and their donors) an explanation. None has been forthcoming. Moreover, I have yet to see any evidence, either in survey form or anecdotally from voters, showing that one single vote was affected, and I do try to keep track. Moreover, is such evidence did exist, I would expect the famously detail-oriented and knowledgeable Clinton to be able to cite it. (I suppose at some point it will have become necessary for a study to emerge, at which point it will be important to look at methodology and funding; testimony from million-dollar trolls on Twitter won’t be credible.) On the DNC and Podesta emails: In the real world of issues, supposing there to be such a thing, nobody, including Clinton in this interview, has ever successfully challenged their authenticity, and they portrait they paint of the snakepit of vicious mediocrities infesting the leadership of both institutions. And so what if voters were appalled? It’s certainly strange that a party calling itself “Democratic” depends on keeping voters ignorant for electoral success! As for the Comey connection, Sanders asks the right question: “It’s not a question of what happens in the last week. The question is that she should have won this election by 10 percentage points.”

    More importantly, Clinton says that she regards Russian “election meddling” as a form of war. Remember Clinton wanted a no-fly zone in Syria, which was likely to provoke war with Russia (and, as Clinton herself said, kill a lot of Syrians).Perhaps I’m too cynical, but it looks to me like Clinton — along, one supposes, with her silent partners in the national security apparatus and the intelligence community — is using her failure in election 2016 to push the policy we already know she’s in favor of: War with Russia. After all, a great power faced with a casus belli that doesn’t respond is no longer a great power, no? Any stick to beat a dog.”

    I think these paragraphs show what a deadly bullet we dodged by preventing Clinton from getting elected.

    Since we are being told that Trump is “an order of magnitude worse” than Bush was or than Clinton would have been, and since ” an order of magnitude” means ” ten times more”, it might be interesting to see someone demonstrate how Trump is / would have been “ten times worse” than Bush or Clinton in light of the material just above

  26. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Naked Capitalism, particularly “Lambert Strether,” has been so obsessed with Hillary Clinton and the “Democrat” Party [sic] and their particular failings for so long it’s become a joke among astute political observers. They plow the same ground over and over and over again no doubt hoping to turn up an answer for their misery, but they won’t — unless they imagine it.

    In the mean time, their Clinton/Democrat/Obama obsession prevents any but the most superficial examination or critique of the current regime, in fact it assured that Susan Weber (“Yves Smith”) would consistently defend Trump against the myriad condemnations against him and his regime — whether they were warranted or not — simply because of who was making them.

    That is until Charlottesville, when she seemed to wake up to the fact that there is a real problem in the White House and it’s not named Clintoon (sic, Lambert) or Obomba (sic, internet haters).

    Nor are the Dems the problem right now.

    Very slowly, those who have invested so much in the “destruction of the Democrats” trope that’s been around since the Internet was the Intranet are realizing amidst their denial that the current power situation does not include Clinton or Obama and barely includes Democrats at all — except in the many Blue cities that have strong Democratic power bases.

    But they have no influence on or control of foreign and overall domestic policy. Those in power now in DC do. And they are using their power to cause immense harm in the many expanding global imperial wars of aggression which Trump has in no way diminished (instead he’s expanded them) and in the many domestic policy ukases and decisions which cumulatively have put the United States into a tailspin of domestic reversal of progress (however imperfect it was) that the US may not be able to recover from.

    As for the War with Russia trope that Clinton supposedly was so very eager to engage in (with citations of her supposed Syrian No-Fly Zone as “proof”) it’s simply a pernicious lie. Her No-Fly Zones were in no substantial way different than Trump’s Safe Zones; neither would be imposed unilaterally; negotiations with Russia and Syria were axiomatic. Of course, in the end, neither happened, and Syrian cities continue to be destroyed to this day, together with the annihilation of any residents who can’t escape. Same is true in Iraq. So too in Yemen and in parts of Africa and the Philippines and soon again in Afghanistan.

    Suddenly, none of the expansion of death and destruction under Trump matters a bit. Trump “prevented” war with Russia, and that’s all that matters. Preparations for wars of aggression with Iran and North Korea among others don’t matter. The tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands killed and the millions displaced in the wars of ‘reconquest’ that have left dozens of cities in ruins don’t matter. Trump’s policy decisions to release His Generals from restraints they were under during previous administrations don’t matter. Regulatory revision leading to more pollution and accelerated climate change don’t matter. On and on.

    The duopoly is strengthened, not weakened; despite the strain and the chaos of the current regime, the permanent government is demonstrating its resilience.

    Is that what you wanted? Well, you’ve got it. So keep on obsessing about things that no longer matter. If it makes you feel good, why not?

  27. different clue permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Certain people were always closet Clintonites. Now they reveal themselves as they slither out of the closet. I remember their hysterical appeals to “legitimacy” and “remove the illegitimately elected Trump”. Would they have made such appeals to remove ” the illegitimately elected Clinton” if it had won? I think not.

    I await evidence that Trump has been “ten times worse” a President than Clinton was. Clinton oversaw the famine sanctions by which 500,000 thousand children were famine-sanction murdered in Iraq. I await someone pointing to Trump’s pyramid of 500,000 skulls.

    Pres Bush kept the Generals under firm civilian control. In fact, it was the BushAdmin who fired General Garner right after the defeat of the Iraqi Army and toppling of Saddam Hussein. And it was the BushAdmin who sent in the Civilian Viceroy Bremer to disband the Iraqi Army and install a Shia Supremacist Regime which set in motion all the Sectarian Cleansing and violence in Iraq from that point forward. All with Bush’s Generals on Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s tight leash.

    Certain people pretend that SecState “We came, We saw, He died. cackle cackle.” didn’t want war with Russia and doesn’t want it today, and with all its anti-Russianitic racist hate for Russia would certainly have consulted WITH Putin on an “no fly zone” in Syria. Certain people haven’t convinced me of that to date. Certain people would prefer to see Syria become an Islamic Emirate of Jihadistan rather than see the legitimate government of President Assad restore order and disinfect Syria of the Islamist filth by any means
    necessary. With the most grudging and minimal help from America forces, I might add.

    Certain people affect to fail to see the difference between keeping the Evil Clinton out of power to start a nuclear war with the only peer nuclear power which can join us in co-exterminating all life on earth . . . with a desire to support Trumpian dis-regulationism and pollutionism. Certain people can lie as much as they want to about “what other people want”. Maybe certain people may succeed in spreading their lies about “what other people want.”

    If so, we will see how their victory will advance political progress and political thinking in this country.

    Finally, Ian Welsh has written, and continues to write about the failures of the past and how they have led to the decay in the present. Is he merely obsessing over “what cannot be changed and therefor no longer matters”? I think not. We can’t know where we are if we don’t know how we got here. We can’t know what to do with well-thought-out precision what to do in the present and future if we don’t know with well-studied-precision exactly what caused what in the past, and how all those cause-effect spiderwebs worked. I am no Ian Welsh, clearly. But I do my best to understand the past in order to avoid repeating the very same exact past on steroids in the immediate and near-immediate future.

  28. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 20, 2017

    You make less sense than Peter Pangloss.

    But it must make you feel good just the same.

  29. realitychecker permalink
    November 20, 2017

    @ Che

    “Nor are the Dems the problem right now.”

    A statement like that is just a flat declaration that you and the folks you try to appeal to care about NEITHER principle NOR pragmatism.

    It seems that, according to you, we should listen to the guys who did the same or worse when they could, and now want to LEAD us out of a situation that is similar to the one that they did not get punished for. That is good for the previous set of bad guys. Nobody else. Not pragmatic, and also not principled.

    When you know of two bad guys, get them both dealt with. That is pragmatic, AND principled.

    The rule of law will thank you.

  30. different clue permalink
    November 20, 2017

    @Che Pasa,

    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  31. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 20, 2017


    You and your little friend are so deep in error there is no way to dig you out.

    The Dems are not in power. The Rs are. At some point before we all shrivel up and die, that may (sort of) dawn on you. Or maybe not. It doesn’t really matter in the end, because Rs and Ds are and always have been co-conspirators in the operations of our government. It’s hard wired into our systems; there’s no way to escape it without the termination of that government itself. If that’s what you want, you’re not heading in that direction. You’re reinforcing the duopoly as it has long been operating: an authoritarian one party state with two vaguely contrasting aspects.

    Thus, you and those like you waste endless time and energy fulminating about the Dems and particularly about The Hag-HellBitch and The Kenyan Socialist Obomba as if they were still wielding a stick over you and control your life. They do not. They will not return to positions of power. Their day is done. Give it up.

    The Dems in one form or another may or may not return to a congressional majority and the White House, but right now, the problem is the Rs in Congress and the Freak-Gangster in the White House. The fact is that opposition to them is impossible for you and those like you because: A) you like what they are doing — no matter that it’s a continuation of the worst of what’s been going on for decades, regardless of which party is in power; and B) you don’t care what horrors are visited by them on anyone else.

    It’s amoral, hypocritical, tribal and disgusting.

  32. realitychecker permalink
    November 21, 2017

    @ Che Pasa

    “The Dems are not in power. The Rs are. At some point before we all shrivel up and die, that may (sort of) dawn on you. Or maybe not. It doesn’t really matter in the end, because Rs and Ds are and always have been co-conspirators in the operations of our government.”

    This para illustrates the poor quality of your mind. Dwell on it. When you are sober, please.

  33. realitychecker permalink
    November 21, 2017

    Hint: Your formulation would guarantee that all crimes are forgotten as soon as a different Administration takes office. Even if they just happened during the campaign a few months ago.

    You are a team slave if you believe that, since you know full well the Obama Admin never would have taken out one of their own bad guys.

    Fuck the Rule of Law, amirite?

    No, better to say GFY to you. Much better.

  34. Bob Dobbs permalink
    November 22, 2017

    Ian, I’m afraid you are also in a moral vacuum if you think policy was a reason to impeach Clinton. Policy questions are for voters to decide.

    To borrow a phrase: It’s the perjury, stupid. He lied under oath in a court of law, repeatedly, intentionally. The seriousness of the crime of perjury is magnified beyond conception when the chief executive of the country is the perjurer.

    Since then, we have had an unmitigated Rule of Lies.

    We fix this ONLY by returning to the Rule of Law.

    He may have done many evil things as policy; voters are the ones ultimately responsible for that. But the perjury was a slam dunk charge that rested 100% on Bill Clinton himself for which no other person can be blamed, making it as clear a basis as possible for impeachment, removal, and prosecution.

  35. StewartM permalink
    November 23, 2017

    He may have done many evil things as policy; voters are the ones ultimately responsible for that. But the perjury was a slam dunk charge that rested 100% on Bill Clinton himself for which no other person can be blamed, making it as clear a basis as possible for impeachment, removal, and prosecution.

    C’mon now. Are seriously contending that before Clinton presidents did not lie? (ahem, Vietnam? Iran-Contra?) And that Clinton’s perjury was some game-changing event?

    It’s a silly legalism to say that Clinton’s lying about a blowjob and cigars demand impeachment, while lies that result in hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths are just “policy”. And besides, how does your mechanism work in practice–how are the voters going to punish the liars if they only find much later they’ve been lied to?

  36. Bob Dobbs permalink
    November 23, 2017

    Clinton lied IN A COURT OF LAW and UNDER OATH.

    I really don’t understand why the unique significance of that isn’t self-evident.

  37. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 24, 2017

    Voters do not vote on policy matters. They vote on personality and marketing. Why is that so hard to understand?

  38. StewartM permalink
    November 25, 2017

    Bob Dobbs

    Clinton lied IN A COURT OF LAW and UNDER OATH.

    I really don’t understand why the unique significance of that isn’t self-evident.

    Because it’s a silly legalism that involved something of minimal consequences. It’s the equivalent of jaywalking. In fact, it has less tangible and less moral consequences than jaywalking. Even in law, prosecutors have the discretion to dismiss cases where there is no public interest in prosecuting (it’s one of the reasons why we have juries, to boot).

    The other lies I spoke of, by contrast resulted in yes, the predictable deaths of more than a million people all told. Yet by your argument this is just “policy” and the presidents escape consequences because we rarely can confirm we’ve been lied to until only after the Presidents are safely out of office (and more to the point, often dead–JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, etc).

    Our impeachment system is broken, and one of the reasons it’s broken is that our common wisdom holds we can’t impeach based on bad policy which adversely affects millions but are allowed to impeach on things that by comparison carry far less consequences. You can subvert the Constitution but don’t dare be caught getting a blow job. I think Clinton should not have been impeached, but Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Ronald Reagan, plus probably more, richly deserved it because their actions involved constitutional violations. Our presidency would be far less “imperial” if we had developed the tradition of impeaching on policy differences.

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