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Jewish World Review / August 3, 1998 / 11 Menachem-Av, 5758

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg Quotes of and for the week: take your pick

"WASHINGTON, JULY 28 -- Monica S. Lewinsky received a sweeping grant of immunity from federal prosecution today in exchange for a promise to testify that she and President Clinton had agreed to deny that they had a sexual relationship, two lawyers familiar with her account said today." New York Times. per-jury: 1 the willful telling of a lie while under lawful oath or affirmation to tell the truth in a matter material to the point of inquiry. 2 the breaking of any oath or formal promise. --Webster's

sub-orn ... 2 to induce or instigate (another) to do something illegal, esp. to commit perjury --Webster's

"OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE. ... Any act, conduct or directing agency pertaining to pending proceedings, intended to play on human frailty and to deflect and deter (a) court ... through medium of knowingly false assertion ... constitutes an obstruction to administration of justice." Black's Law Dictionary

When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.'' -- Richard M. Nixon

"The President shall ... take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed. ..." -- Constitution of the United States

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." -- William Jefferson Clinton, Jan. 20, 1993, and Jan. 20, 1997

"The president has kept the promises he meant to keep.'' -- George Stephanopoulos

"It's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude.'' -- Alexander Haig

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Constitution of the United States

"Perjury is a hard rap to prove." -- Richard M. Nixon

"... why do I take as my hero a man who brings about his own death because he can't put his hand on an old black book and tell an ordinary lie? For this reason: A man takes an oath only when he wants to commit himself quite exceptionally to the statement, when he wants to make an identity between the truth of it and his own virtue; he offers himself as a guarantee. And it works. There is a special kind of shrug for a perjurer; we feel that the man has no self to commit, no guarantee to offer. Of course it's much less effective now that for most of us the actual words of the oath are not much more than impressive mumbo-jumbo than it was when they made obvious sense; we would prefer most men to guarantee their statements with, say, cash rather than themselves. We feel -- we know -- the self to be an equivocal commodity. There are fewer and fewer things which, as they say, we 'annot bring ourselves' to do." -- Robert Bolt, in his preface to A Man for All Seasons

"It was not until months later, when I testified before the Grand Jury, that I spoke without reserve. Then it was no longer a question of overcoming my natural diffidence. By then, all defenses and shelters which ordinarily give the soul sanctuary in life had been torn down. Shyness, reticence, had become as incongruous as the legal fiction that I was still a person in the common sense of the word. I had ceased to be a person. By then I was a witness, to whom, as such, I was given to know, as men seldom are in life, the meaning of two lines that often ran through my mind: 'Whatever is hidden, shall be brought out / Nothing shall remain unpunished.' " -- Whittaker Chambers in Witness." The two lines quoted are from the Dies Irae.

"If it's just sex, then it's nothing" -- headline over a column by John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Thursday, July 30, 1998

"The situation is desperate, but not serious." -- attributed to an Austrian general.

"It is not a pleasant thought, or one that's often discussed, but lies are at base coercive. Deceit is a form of control. More than a few philosophers have compared the coercive force of lies to the power of violence. So even if they are common, they are not as benign as people pretend. Lies undermine the value of information, each one leaving us less able to trust the truthfulness of what we hear -- or read, as the case may be. Lies are more subtle than guns, but as threats to personal freedom, they should be regarded as no less dangerous." Mara Leveritt in the Arkansas Times

"The larger danger of his situational speech -- designing fictions to fit the moment -- is that it vindicates public cynicism of political leadership. Clinton's conceit is that people never notice untruths. But of course, they ultimately do, and in the long run, this makes effective governing harder. Trust diminishes, as it has."-- Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post

"Sejanus was a liar but so fine a general of lies that he knew how to marshal them into an alert and disciplined formation ... which would come off best in any skirmish with suspicions or any general entanglement with the truth." -- Robert Graves, I, Claudius

"I think he has over the years brilliantly combined legal language and political language. He has literally invented many weasel words and phrases and introduced them into the lexicon." -- Larry Sabato, professor of government, University of Virginia, speaking of Bill Clinton's contributions to American politics

"He has mastered the art of equivocation. There is something almost inhuman in his smoother responses that sends a shiver up the spine. It is not the compromises he has made that trouble so much as the unavoidable suspicion that he has no principles to compromise." -- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Oct. 28, 1992

"They say a nation gets the politicians it deserves. In some sense this is true: politicians are indeed a mirror of their society, and a kind of embodiment of its potential. At the same time -- paradoxically -- the opposite is also true: society is a mirror of its politicians." -- Vaclav Havel

"In our country, the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State. -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn


7/29/98: A subpoena for the president:
so what else is new?
7/27/98: Forget about Bubba, it's time to investigate Reno
7/23/98: Ghosts on the roof, 1998
7/21/98: The new elegance
7/16/98: In defense of manners
7/13/98: Another day, another delay: what's missing from the scandal news
7/9/98:The language-wars continue
7/7/98:The new Detente
7/2/98: Bubba in Beijing: history does occur twice
6/30/98: Hurry back, Mr. President -- to freedom
6/24/98: When Clinton follows Quayle's lead
6/22/98: Independence Day, 2002
6/18/98: Adventures in poli-speke

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate