TCS Daily


Rallying Cry Wolf

By Lee Harris - February 2, 2006 12:00 AM

The Democratic Party has been searching for a way of attacking George Bush that they hope will fire public indignation and spark popular outrage. It is one thing for hardcore Democrats, amongst themselves, to deride and deplore the President; it is quite another to grab hold of an issue that will galvanize the general population into vehement opposition to the President.

Most recently, the leading lights of the Democratic Party, including Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, have attempted to use the issue of "domestic surveillance" or "spying" as a vehicle to achieve their goal of arousing populist ire against Bush. But the question is, Will it do the trick? Will this become a rallying cry capable of turning popular sentiment against the President?

Note, please, that I am not addressing the question of whether such surveillance or spying is right or wrong. To use the language of marketing, I am only concerned with whether the Democrats can "sell" this particular product to its target audience, namely, the American people. Will they buy it in sufficient quantities to create a generalized firestorm of protest against the President?

But before we try to answer this question, let us consider the role of marketing in politics.

Political parties in democratic societies often confront the same two problems that businesses confront in a free market. First they must find a product that has the potential of mass appeal, and second they must figure out a way of successfully marketing this product to the general public. Sometimes a company like McDonald's will begin with a product that has an established track record of success, namely, the humble hamburger -- but through an ingenious method of marketing, the company will seize the imagination of the general public and persuade it to buy their hamburger instead of the hamburgers offered by their less market-savvy competitors. Yet, at the same time, it should be obvious that no amount of market savvy could save a company that tried to convince the American public to eat dog-burgers, not even if there were billboards everywhere depicting adorable cats scrawling the words "EAT DOGS FOR A MORE PURR-FECT WORLD."

Of course, political parties are not trying to market consumer products; they are trying to market consumable ideas: that is, ideas that may be gulped down in a single bite. For example, American politics was revolutionized by Andrew Jackson and his astute marketing agents in the aftermath of the election of 1828. Jackson had gotten more votes than his rivals, but not enough to win the election outright, forcing the decision to be made by the House of Representatives. Henry Clay, who genuinely feared Jackson as a Napoleon in the making -- (Jackson intensely admired Napoleon, it should be noted) -- decided that it was in the best interest of the country that the utterly un-Napoleonic John Quincy Adams should be the next President. Clay therefore persuaded his followers in the House to vote for Adams against Jackson. Adams later appointed Clay as his Secretary of State, which, at the time, was the traditional route of advancement to the Office of the Presidency, and it is hard to imagine a better choice for the Secretary of State than Clay.

This, however, was not how Jackson saw the matter, and soon there arose a rallying cry, one of those instantly consumable ideas that was brilliantly marketed by Jackson and his coterie: Clay and Adams had made a "corrupt bargain." Clay had offered Adams the Presidency, in return for his appointment as Secretary of State, and, by this bargain, the American people had been deprived of the leader they really wanted, namely, Andrew Jackson himself.

The corrupt bargain charge galvanized the nation. In the next election in 1832, voter turn out, mainly for Jackson, increased dramatically over any of the previous elections, and Jackson won by a landslide. So what if there really was no corrupt bargain -- the slogan had taken hold in the minds of the masses, and it had been adroitly marketed by Jackson's extremely talented political friends The corrupt bargain charge, in short, was a product that "caught on," like the transistor radio or the hula-hoop.

After the Civil War, the Republicans created a product that in many ways came to stand for all similar political products -- it was called the Bloody Shirt, referring to the blood-smeared shirts of the Yankee soldiers who had died during the Civil War. Webster's Third includes the phrase "the bloody shirt" as an entry, and defines it as "a symbol used to inflame to anger or to retaliative action -- used specifically in the U.S. after the Civil War of any means employed to stir up or revive party or sectional animosity especially in the phrase wave the bloody shirt."

In the aftermath of German defeat in the First World War, a freshly laundered bloody shirt emerged that would eventually end by putting Adolf Hitler in a position of absolute power. Germany would have won the war, it was alleged, except for the famous "stab in the back." And who stabbed Germany in the back? Well, Jews, Socialists, and Marxists. Again, note the simplicity of the idea, and how easy it could be grasped. Note, too, how much this one simple idea explained -- it made comprehensible Germany's unexpected defeat as well as the humiliation it suffered in the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles. Yet, despite this self-evident appeal, this idea also needed considerable marketing skills to sell it to a wide audience; and few men have ever possessed better marketing skills than Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi party's brilliant Minister of Propaganda.

As my three examples should have made clear, it is irrelevant to the marketing of a bloody shirt (or corrupt bargain or stab in the back) whether the idea contained within the product is actually true. What is important is simply that there is a widespread willingness to believe it on the part of the general public. It must make sense to them. But, equally important, it must genuinely cause them to feel outrage and anger, and this is possible only if the issue in question hits a responsive nerve in the collective psyche of the target audience.

Which brings us back to the issue of domestic surveillance.

It may be argued that the team of Gore, Kerry, and Clinton simply lack the marketing genius to convince Americans to become outraged over the charge of domestic spying -- and a good case could be made that Gore and Kerry are singularly devoid of such marketing skills. But my own feeling is that, in this case, it is the product itself that presents the biggest challenge to its own marketability, akin to the challenge posed by the problem of marketing dog-burgers. The public doesn't have the appetite for it, and no political marketing blitz can alter this fact.

There are many who, like myself, can find much to criticize in Bush, but who simply can't buy the idea that Bush has betrayed the American people because he eavesdropped on men who were suspected to be terrorists plotting an attack on our nation. If Bush was perhaps overzealous in his domestic spying, it is precisely this kind of overzealousness that the American public will be found most ready to forgive.

On the other hand, suppose that after 9/11 the United States had been subjected to a series of terrorist attacks, all originating from cells within our own borders. Furthermore, suppose that it was discovered that all of these attacks could have been prevented by domestic surveillance of those who perpetrated the attack. What a bloody shirt that would have made! And the Democrats would have been insane not to wave this particular bloody shirt as violently as possible. "Bush betrayed America because he failed to properly monitor those who were preparing to attack us" would have made a legitimate rallying cry, and it is one that would have instantly resonated in the American psyche.

In short, the attempt to make political hay out of the domestic surveillance issue is doomed to failure. Even worse -- and this is something that the Democrats must reflect upon -- their decision to use this issue to try to stir up resentment against Bush runs the risk of seriously backfiring on them. By appearing to put the civil liberties of suspected terrorists above the national interest, they are in danger of delivering a bloody shirt, made by their own hands, to the Republican Party. "The Democrats are more concerned with the civil rights of foreign terrorists on our soil than they are of another 9/11. So who do you want to look after the welfare of our nation -- them or us?"

Can any Democratic Presidential hopeful in his right mind want to wear that bloody shirt -- or in Senator Clinton's case, bloody blouse? Do any of them wish to take the risk of appearing "soft on terrorism" to an American public still not over the trauma of 9/11?

Lee Harris is author of Civilization and Its Enemies.

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52 Comments

Who will take care of our Civil Liberties?
Political opposites aligned against Bush wiretaps
San Francisco Chronicle, January 26, 2006

...GROVER NORQUIST, president of Americans for Tax Reform, says he knows some FELLOW CONSERVATIVES HAVE LABELED HIM A TRAITOR for condemning the same administration that instituted the biggest tax cuts in recent American history -- cuts for which Norquist vigorously lobbied. But an even greater disloyalty, Norquist responds, would be to allow what he regards as the trampling on civil liberties to go unimpeded.

"My view on the terrorists is that we should find all of them and kill them," said Norquist. "But WE SHOULD ALSO PROTECT OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES, which the terrorists are trying to destroy."

Norquist said one of his main concerns is that, once the government becomes so intrusive, there is NO WAY TO PREVENT CONTINUED EROSION OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS...

"For 40 years WE ALWAYS ASSUMED THE LEFT WOULD TAKE CARE OF OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES," he said. "If there were problems, the Democrats were the ones who would push back. But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican in the White House, the ACLU can't get their calls returned."

http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=EAVESDROP-01-26-06

They are criminals
"The Democrats are more concerned with the civil rights of foreign terrorists on our soil than they are of another 9/11. So who do you want to look after the welfare of our nation -- them or us?"

The Clinton Administration and many in Europe treated and treat terrorists as criminals. As criminals they have rights.
But if they are treated as an enemy of the state, which they are, then they have fewer rights.
If the Democrats will ever see that, they may begin to dig out of their present chasm.

How its used.
If while the NSA is doing its thing and discovers you have commited a crime, I don't think they will care, not their jurisdiction, plus, the evidence would not be admissable.
If you were planning a terrorist attack, the NSA would be interested and would try to stop you, not arrest you.

Not much was made of all the IRS audits the Clinton administration performed or of the FBI files in Hillary's possession.

because they were investigated
The reason "not much was made" of these events was because there was no substance to the allegations, which were investigated and investigated and investigated. The difference here is the Bush White House consistently refused to allow investigations.

Amazingly enough...
The constitution doesn't establish a special category of people without rights. Nor does the President have the authority to establish one. Last I looked, the bill of rights was still in effect. Maybe you'd prefer it not be.

Speaking of waving the bloody shirt...
That has been the sole and only argument of the White House since 9/11. Lots came out after 9/11, in the investigation of the commission, detailing just how serious the mistakes made by the Bush (and before it, the Clinton administration) in failing to act. Nevertheless, the only people who lost their jobs as a result of the failures were whistleblowers who came forth to detail mistakes.

A red shirt could have been waved by Democrats about, for example, the complete failure of the Bush administration to take any action or even make consistent plans against Al Qaeda following the Cole attack. It was traced to Al Qaeda just as the Clinton administration was leaving office. Nothing was done; nothing even after Bush received a briefing in August: 'Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S."

Instead, Democrats did the patriotic thing: rallied behind the President after 9/11. Their reward has been to have their patriotism continuously questioned subsequently each time another gross mistake by the administration comes to light.

Harris' crocodile tears about the democrats problems need to be set against the Bush administration's appropriation of all patriotic feeling from 9/11, coupled with deflection of all criticism for mistakes - and there have been plenty.

more lies from eric
There were no investigations, the Clinton's shut them down.

enemy combatants
I guess the sainted and ever praised FDR was violating the constitution when he had unlawfull enemy combatants (ie spies) shot.

more lies from the master
if eric would for once learn about which he speaks, he would learn that in these presidential briefings there are always comments regarding potential threats. 99% of which never amount to anything.

The "serious" mistakes made by the Bush team were mostly failures to unwind fast enough, the bad policies put forth by Clinton, and heavily defended by most Democrats.

Tell that to Ken Starr
Strangely, most people remember quite extensive investigations.

After trials -- remember the idea of "trials?"
In which the issues were fully raised. Even spies employed by a foreign government landed by submarine get a day in court.

please bring facts instead of insults if you want to contribute, Mark
and who is eric?

Not of this issue
there were constant, and I might add politically motivated, investigations of whitewater, rape allegations, and several other scandals. This was never investigated.

Not entirely true and no foreign combatant was ever allowed the standard of constitutional rights
Many were put on trial, others had tribunals (as Bush has requested). Even those who got trials never enjoyed the full protection of Constitutional rights unless they were American citizens. Even then, they were pretty much steamrolled.
Remember the the Constitution/ it applies to citizens of the United States. Foreigners have no such rights by law. The Constitution also does not apply across the border in any direction.
That, by the way, is one reason Gitmo was used as a detention center.
I know, you think American laws should apply to everyone everywhere in the world, as long as we are not talking about American citizens, who always get what they deserve and should never presume to impress their ideas or culture on others.

Why. You never bring any!
If you aren't Eric, there are two of ya here with the same mantras.

Many had no trials.
Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was being held indefinitely: no trial, no tribunal, no nothing.

"Foreigners have no such rights by law. The Constitution also does not apply across the border in any direction. "

Please talk to any lawyer at all regarding this. The constitution goes where Americans go. And foreigners in the U.S. have the same rights as citizens to habeas corpus, non-self-incrimination and all the rest.

For some reason we were able to beat the Germans and Japanese and win the cold war without this kind of stuff.

" know, you think American laws should apply to everyone everywhere in the world, as long as we are not talking about American citizens, who always get what they deserve and should never presume to impress their ideas or culture on others."

You've got it exactly backward. We have our government imposing totalitarian ideas and culture on Americans.

please bring facts instead of insults if you want to contribute, Paul
If you think I haven't (which isn't true) then set a better example.

ps - who is eric?

Not of what issue??
Ken Starr was in business for years. What wasn't investigated? Please be specific and back up what you say.

Not tonight Monica
I agree, I even think Starr overstepped his bounds.

The whitehouse files on various key figures and the fact they were used to blackmail or get IRS audits on certain public figures. It was never really denied, the files were in fact found in the Whitehouse, it was never really investigated.
The proof game is in your court bozo. Find me the documents and stories that specifically point out an investigation into the "Hillary Files" as I remember them being called.
Can't find it?
I couldn't. this is such a well covered issue that I will submit if you can't find the specific reference to the investigation, it didn't happen.

You never post any evidence, just demands
Eric is a name used on the old TCS and you sound a lot (just?) like him. The academy argument is one I had, I believe with him, on the old site and you on another post here.
As for evidence, I haven't seen nary a shred of real evidence from you. On the old sight I would spend hours looking things up and giving referneces to you (eric?); it didn't matter. He had his opinion and evidence to the contrary didn't matter. I refuse to do the work for others anymore. I have seen as much of the evidence as I can find, on any issue I post about, and I always look at both sides.
In this case, I'm pretty sure you are wrong (though not positive). I did look for it and I couldn't find any reference to it. There are newspaper articles about "filegate" I think it was called, but no direct evidence it was ever investigated; at least not beyond the original inquiry.

sorry, guy: burden of proof on you
you're the one says something -- can't exactly say what -- wasn't investigated. What are you referring to?

>this is such a well covered issue that I will submit if you can't find the specific reference to the investigation, it didn't happen.

Excuse me, but you haven't even shown that therre was an issue, well covered or otherwise, much less that it wasn't investigated. You can't find backup for your own allegation and this is proof that you must be right?? Dream on.

Back up a step: why in the world wouldn't it have been, given that every other story including drug smuggling was. Vince Foster was investigated three times.

The filegate investigation by special counsel Robert Ray
Regarding "filegate."

It was investigated, at length, not by Starr, but by his successor, Robert Ray, who failed to find criminal wrongdoing.

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/07/28/clinton.filegate/

Have you ever thought of researching things and thinking thing through before blaming other people?

Also: you can't find something lying in plain Googlesight like this investigation report, but you're the expert on everything you talk about?

For the fifth time: stop the insults and bring facts.

bill of rights in war time
During times of war the constitution of the U.S. has often not been applied to various classes of people within the territory of the U.S.

A notable example is the internment of Japanese Americans by President Roosevelt during world war two. All presidents exercise their authority to the maximum during times of war.

Canada routinely passes on the contents of intercepts between American citizens and suspected terrorist connections abroad. If Kerry, Clinton and Gore insist I suppose Canada as well as Britain, Australia etc. can be convinced to stop. In fact that was already being suggested in Canada until the previous government which supported Clinton, Gore was thrown out. The new government has not raised the issue and is unlikely to do so unless the pressure from the American media and laeading Democratic politicians increases.

The current Canadian government is in a minority position and has quite enough of its own controversies. They don't need to go looking for trouble in someone else's territory.

If you really don't want the information just say the word loud and clear.

And we're really proud of that, aren't we??
Sure, the Japanese in California were interned.

Now, the action is seen as utterly wrong and unjust. We've paid reparations to the people interned.

But now we're supposed to take this as an example and justification for even wrose abuses?

I will not tell you again, I will not do your homework for you son, do it yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you don't even know what issue the last six post have been about, you need to reduce your medication.

Why can't you look it up yourself and make an intelligent response for once; I do before I respond to you.

As for the rest, I agreed in my last post, the Clintons were over-investigated. Yup, yup, yup.
It was politically motivated. Yup, yup, yup.

The file scandal wasn't investigated. Yup, yup, yup.

Look it up. Here let me help, type the following letters and symbols: h-t-t-p-:-/-/-w-w-w-.-g-o-o-g-l-e-.-c-o-m. from there it souldn't take you more than a week to figure out how to put in clinton whitehouse files or clinton files scandal and find the correct references.

left wingnut alert!!!!!
Again, I have. The law applying to non-citizens applies only to the extend we want to prosecute. The easy way out is to deport, which is sometimes done without so much as a hearing; and is always done with nothing more than a hearing.

All that I have written concerns WWII. There were incidents in that war were spies were executed. This happened on foreign soil and in combat zones. Look up details on the Battle of the Bulge. Sorry we did not manage to get through WWII and the Cold War without this stuff.

do you know any world history at all??

First time for everything
At least you looked it up, but you didn't look very well. Still, you get an "A" for finding out that Ken Starr did not investigate this. I believe i said it was "looked into", but to say it was investigated "at length" in a massive overstatement.

This came after Clinton's impeachment and was closed out by the demands of both political sides before the upcoming election and before any real investigation even got going. Dig a bit deeper and read on. The "no wrong doing" finding was the only thing possible under the circumstances.

I'm not saying the Clinton's did anything wrong, I'm just saying this was not "investigated at length as you and cnn suggest.

one more thing
I do bring the facts, always. I just don't feel the need to go back and document everything for you.
I figure you can find it if you really want to know, (like you found out that the special council on this was Robert Ray and not Ken Starr as you suggested earlier.) If you would look before you leap, you might get your facts straight!

I posted the link: you're wrong
The filegate "scandal" was thoroughly investigated, by Ray. Nothing there. Check it out big guy. You're wrong for a change, but don't let it bother you: you never do.

Sorry, that doesn't cut it.
The Ray report was long, detailed, and unambiguous: nothing there. If you knew it was investigated, you could have found out yourself. If you know something that the CNN story left out, bring itup.

"I'm just saying this was not "investigated at length as you and cnn suggest."

You can say anything you like. You do. But you haven't backed anything up. What's your source for saying CNN's reporting on this issue is misleading?

I see: you know it, you're just too big to have to show it.
This is really getting silly.

You seem to expect everyone to take everything you say at face value just because you say it. You began this by saying it was something you remembered from somewhere and had to do with something -- it was that vague. But you were right all along, because you say you were. Sure. Pour yourself another tall one.

WWII: sure. 1944 is exactly like 2006
And the battle of bulge conditions are just like what we are faced with now.

> The law applying to non-citizens applies only to the extend we want to prosecute. The easy way out is to deport, which is sometimes done without so much as a hearing; and is always done with nothing more than a hearing.

So, according to you we can prosecute or deport. But wait: that's not what we're doing: we're holding people indefinitely.

I actually know a lot of world history. One of things you see is that the world changes, the law changes.

Why not give your "wingnut" stuff a rest? It makes your arguments, weak as they are, even weaker.

Maybe there's another Pauled
I mean, here's what you wrote before:

"In this case, I'm pretty sure you are wrong (though not positive). I did look for it and I couldn't find any reference to it. There are newspaper articles about "filegate" I think it was called, but no direct evidence it was ever investigated; at least not beyond the original inquiry."


So: you don't think it was every investigated. You were wrong. About as wrong as someone can be. Instead of apologizing, you say "I do bring the facts always." Maybe the guy who said no direct evidence was another Pauled.

WTF
"But now we're supposed to take this as an example and justification for even wrose abuses?"

Having my private conversations with suspected terrorists listened to is worse than being removed from my home and placed in an internment camp?

At least you don't exagerate TOO much.

I understand the slippery slope argument completely when it comes to phone tapping.

But I'm not too worried when the Gov listens in on conversations from murderers foreign to this nation.
Nor am I worried when those who those muderers call become the targets of phone taps.

Noone has complained while this was going on in the previous 4 or 5 administrations.

And it surely has been allowed and OKed when listening in on drug dealer and mob phone #s-phone #s comprised completely of American citizens.

You're not focusing on the issue: warrants
>Having my private conversations with suspected terrorists listened to is worse than being removed from my home and placed in an internment camp?

That's being done too, along with torture, if you follow the news. The point was that internment of California Japanese-Americans was being brought forward as a justification for administration actions. My point was, as stated, the action is now universally regarded as a horrendous abuse.

>
"But I'm not too worried when the Gov listens in on conversations from murderers foreign to this nation.
Nor am I worried when those who those muderers call become the targets of phone taps."

Neither am I when the government gets warrants for this from the special FISA court set up to issue the warrants, which has almost never turned such warrants
down. They can even authorized the warrants 72 hours after the surveillance begins.

"Noone has complained while this was going on in the previous 4 or 5 administrations."

Complained about the necessity for getting warrants? You're right, not really. The Bush administration is the first that says it doesn't need them.

"And it surely has been allowed and OKed when listening in on drug dealer and mob phone #s-phone #s comprised completely of American citizens."

The rules for warrants are a little tougher, but you're right, it is allowed.

I agree -- and we can win withoiut this un-American totalitarian overreaching
And what troubles me is not the actions as much as the attitude.

If the administration came to congress and the American people and said, we need to do this, let's change the law, that's one thing.

Instead it's saying we want to do this and we are the law, get used to it.

I think this is absolutely un-American. We won World War II and the Cold War without doing this. We can beat terrorists without adopting their methods and ideals.

Wrong
"My point was, as stated, the action is now universally regarded as a horrendous abuse."

Really? Let's revisit-again-what you actually said:

"But now we're supposed to take this as an example and justification for even wrose abuses?"

WORSE abuses. I can't possibly compare the NSA program to that.

As for 72 hours AFTER for warrants, try up to two weeks. Just because FISA dictates a time frame does not mean it's acheivable.

"That's being done too, along with torture, if you follow the news."

Strange how the lefty media hasn't been able to present even ONE case of internment. And as for torure, well of course that's happening if you watch those in the Durbin crowd say we are worse than the *****, pol pot or gulag.

Do you even listen to yourself speak?

Sometimes reality is such a pain in the backside.



Yes, as a matter of fact, you are wrong
>WORSE abuses. I can't possibly compare the NSA program to that.

Findings that the President can authorize torture and indefinite detainment without trial of su****ious persons, including American citizens are on the table besides the NSA stuff.

>s for 72 hours AFTER for warrants, try up to two weeks. Just because FISA dictates a time frame does not mean it's acheivable.

Then the President should make that case to the American people and Congress and ask for the FISA restrictions be changed. What he can't and shouldn't do is simply take it upon himself to ignore them.

>Strange how the lefty media hasn't been able to present even ONE case of internment.

I don't know about the "lefty media," but the case of Jose Padilla, American citizen, detained for years without trial or charges may have crossed your screen. If it hasn't, try using Google.

>And as for torure, well of course that's happening if you watch those in the Durbin crowd say we are worse than the *****, pol pot or gulag.

This is both denial and irrelevancy.

Regarding denial, the reports have come in from all over, starting with the Al Ghraib stories and continuing. We have memoranda to the President telling him Geneva rules against torture don't apply. We have the President resisting moves by Congress to impose rules against torture. If we don't use it, why object to a rule against it. Or read reports by Human Rights Watch, which is not a bash-the-US group, as you'll see if you read their site.

Irrelevancy: No, we're not worse than Pol Pot (who we supported, by the way, after the Vietnamese kicked him out). However, is that really the American tradition - "not as bad as the very worse human offenders of the 20th century"

>Sometimes reality is such a pain in the backside.

It's clear your backside is well insulated from reality.

lying and twisting in the wind
Lets see, you say that we "won WWII and the cold War without resorting to this stuff" and when I give you a little something to look up that refutes that claim you say that it has nothing to do with today.

You make the comparison then say it isn't connected. In every post you make statements you consider true, then when confronted with the truth you twist off on another tangent.

You are illogical and intellectually dishonest at best; a nut and a liar at worst. Nothing I have said is an insult, it is the facts as revealed in your own writing.

Your world is an erie place and seems to have little connection to where the rest of us live.

Oops, We are both wrong on this one
i looked it up over the weekend and we are both wrong. I knew Ray was listed as investigator, but Starr actually started the investigation. it was started in 1994 and continued through the entire Clinton adminstration. It was well investigated, but no real clonclusion of the matter was made. It was dropped as the 2000 election was drawing near. Here are some of the links, I have more if you want them. In the end Ray exonorated the Whitehouse and all high government officials, but the matter remains controversial in some circles because of several questionable acts, namely some of the high level republicans whose files were among the 330+ found at the Whitehouse.
http://www.newsmax.com/articles/?a=1998/12/16/135337
and
http://www.netmagic.net/~franklin/GF1.html
and
http://www.judicialwatch.org/1197.shtml
and
http://www.mega.nu:8080/ampp/stonewall_filegate.html
and
http://www.house.gov/mica/fs061896.htm

These are just a few of the more than 20 sites I checked out over the weekend. As I said, I try to cneck out sources on both sides of any issue as well as official sources. I do appologize for some misleading comments I made, but in general we were both dead wrong here.

no, we were not both wrong. you were wrong
I said Starr had investigated it: he did. I say Ray wrote the report on it: he did. First you denied that there had been an investigation, then you accused me of not knowing what I was talking about when i stated, correctly that Starr had investigated.

"t was well investigated, but no real clonclusion of the matter was made. It was dropped as the 2000 election was drawing near."

No, it was not "dropped." The investigation was concluded and Ray wrote up the report. That is not "dropping" an investigation, that is finishing an investigaion.

"but the matter remains controversial in some circles because of several questionable acts, namely some of the high level republicans whose files were among the 330+ found at the Whitehouse."

which were investigated in detai. low-level screw up. no evidence of lying, of coverup, or improper use of the files. Sheesh!

Please try to make your points without personal insults
Calling people you disagree with "liars" is not an argument it is an insult, particularly when you have not brought up anything to show that i knnow x but am insisting that y is the case.

Yes, some Germans spies in American uniform received summary judgement in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, at the front. Soldiers dressed in the uniform of enemies have been shot as spies in every conflict in history. If the WWII pattern had also included routine torture of prisoners, widespread warrantless wiretapping of Americans, routinesly ignoring Geneva convention rules-- i.e., what the Germans did -- you might have a point.

But instead you are taking something obvious: in wars, all nations sometimes mistep or are stress by extreme emergency to do things, something things they later regret. and usually subsequently regret it -- and using it as a get out of jail free card for any and every questinable act committed by the Bush administration. And when called on it, you call me "illogical and intellectually dishonest."

Unlike you, I am not so defensive I have to tell other people what to think of your style. I am quite sure they can draw the same conclusions I'm drawing for themselves.

Ahhhh, a Bush hater! So it has nothing to do with reality and truth
I agree with what you say here, but I would also say that those same edicts apply to Iraq. Your Bush comment reveal your purpose.

You hate Bush because your just like him; never admit a mistake!
Whatever! You didn't have a clue when you started this and i doubt you checked into it any further than your favorite liberal blog, cnn.
You twist in the wind worse that a flag in a hurricane. You insisted Starr did the investigation, then you changed horses when your single look at a cnn post said Ray finished it and claimed Ray did the investigation. I checked your source and had some intriguing questions, so I spent a good number of hours looking it up.

From that I found several incosistancies in both our posts and said so. Then I posted a few of the references, but do you check them out? NOOOOOO. You just take a smug "I told you so" attitude.

Fine.

I don't have time for intellectual dishonesty, or dialog with closed minded, one-sided people. Unlike Bush, and you, I admit my mistakes and try to correct them.

good day

Disagreement with administration policy does not make a person a hater
And someone who injects as much venom into his comments as you do is a funny one to complain about hate.

What are you talking about?
I posted on the basis of my recollection that Starr had investigated. In fact he did. Looking for evidence of an investigation, I posted a link to the Ray report. There's no contradiction. I was correct. I didn't say Starr didn't investigate, I just noted Ray had done a report.

You on the other hand said there was no investigation. You were utterly wrong. Instead of admitting this, you launch sitll another cockeyed word stew.

As for the hate stuff: mirror time.

Foreigner Rights
I am a lawyer, and you can believe me when I say that foreigners in the US ARE NOT considered to have all of the rights of citizens. Some rights have been applied to them, others have not.

Furthermore, if you call what has been done by Bush "totalitarian", you haven't a clue as to the real meaning of the word.

-Bob

More...
Oh, and by the way, the Constitution DOES NOT go where Americans go. Where do you get this crap from? It has long been policy that prisoners of war held on foreign soil, even if held by Americans, do not get constitutional rights. Even the recent gitmo decisions only slightly change that long held tradition.

-Bob

More Errors
The Cole was bombed on October 12, 2000. By anybody's calendar, Clinton was president. Furthermore, you argue that Bush received a briefing in August, but then was supposed to resond instantaneously, huh? 9/11 was only a few weeks away. I guess you expected him to nuke Afghanistan, or something.

Bush was in office only 9 months by the time the terrorists attacked. Clinton had 8 years of attacks both at home, and overseas. And yet you blame Bush? Wow!

-Bob

Eric...Fortunato
The best evidence that Eric=Fortunato is that both constantly demand that others cite their sources for the simplest of things. The tone of the two is also indentical, and the arguments of both typically devolve into namecalling. I don't think that there is any doubt who is who.

-Bob

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