Prosecuting Roger Clemens

The great pitcher Roger Clemens testified before a Congressional hearing that he had not used steroids.  But then came evidence that he had.   So he was brought to trial for perjury.   The prosecution used hearsay evidence that the judge told them not to use, resulting in a mistrial.   So do you think Clemons should be retried?

Notice that steroid use was not illegal, nor was it then a violation of the rules of baseball.   I don’t see why steroid use back then should keep a Mark McGwire, a Sammy Sosa, or a Barry Bonds out of the record books, even with an asterisk.  It wasn’t cheating, since it didn’t violate any rules.  Now it does, so it’s a different story.  As my cousin Mark observed, there have been different eras in baseball–such as the dead ball era and the juiced ball era–so we just need to realize there was a steroid era.  Perhaps we should ban all of the vitamins players take these days.  Other sports such as cycling are outlawing “doping,” including practices such as injecting one’s own blood, so as to increase stamina by increasing the number of red blood cells.  And yet our whole Olympic team trains in Mark’s home of Colorado Springs at an altitude that increases red blood cells.  Yet one is OK, because labeled “natural,” and the other is banned because labeled artificial, even though the effect is the same.

Clemens was hauled before a court for lying to Congress, not for using steroids.  He was speaking out against steroids, probably also trying to protect his reputation so he could get into the Hall of Fame.  Once again, it isn’t the action but the lying, or, better yet, the hypocrisy, that gets people into trouble.

Is it worth the expense and the time of our court system to once again try to convict a baseball player?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    No. Lobbyists, members of the executive branch, and other members of Congress, lie to Congress with impunity. With this or just about any other Congress, lying to it should be a citizen’s duty in order to protect oneself and his neighbors from harm.

  • SKPeterson

    No. Lobbyists, members of the executive branch, and other members of Congress, lie to Congress with impunity. With this or just about any other Congress, lying to it should be a citizen’s duty in order to protect oneself and his neighbors from harm.

  • JH

    No, not until all lying congressman,presidents,gov’t officials are tried first. He should’ve just remained silent, though.

  • JH

    No, not until all lying congressman,presidents,gov’t officials are tried first. He should’ve just remained silent, though.

  • Dan Kempin

    So it’s the hypocrisy that gets him in trouble . . . with congress. Oh, for a poet’s skill to capture the thorough irony!

    Look, I’m not a baseball guy, nor do I particularly care about any of the “scandal of steroids,” but this has frosted me from the beginning. What business does congress have investigating baseball? Honestly? There was not even a crime involved. Really, in the name of sanity, where else can you find such a combination of colossal arrogance and total irrelevance? Then, after marching free citizens before their inquisition and grilling them, the “crime” becomes an inconsistency or alleged lie about something that may have had nothing to do with the subject of the hearing, and they are going to prosecute this dangerous “crime” for all it is worth. This trial is not only a waste of public money, but it showcases the teeth behind the buffoonery of political arrogance.

    Buzz off, congress! Try doing your own job!

  • Dan Kempin

    So it’s the hypocrisy that gets him in trouble . . . with congress. Oh, for a poet’s skill to capture the thorough irony!

    Look, I’m not a baseball guy, nor do I particularly care about any of the “scandal of steroids,” but this has frosted me from the beginning. What business does congress have investigating baseball? Honestly? There was not even a crime involved. Really, in the name of sanity, where else can you find such a combination of colossal arrogance and total irrelevance? Then, after marching free citizens before their inquisition and grilling them, the “crime” becomes an inconsistency or alleged lie about something that may have had nothing to do with the subject of the hearing, and they are going to prosecute this dangerous “crime” for all it is worth. This trial is not only a waste of public money, but it showcases the teeth behind the buffoonery of political arrogance.

    Buzz off, congress! Try doing your own job!

  • Joe

    Actually, steroid use without a valid prescription is illegal and steroids have been on MLB’s banned substance list since 1991 – 7 years before Big Mac broke the single season HR record. There was no mandatory testing, so it was easy to avoid getting caught but it was still a violation of league rule and federal law.

    All of that said, I think this trial is a huge waist of time and money. If the subject matter were more important, I could see the value in bringing a perjury case.

  • Joe

    Actually, steroid use without a valid prescription is illegal and steroids have been on MLB’s banned substance list since 1991 – 7 years before Big Mac broke the single season HR record. There was no mandatory testing, so it was easy to avoid getting caught but it was still a violation of league rule and federal law.

    All of that said, I think this trial is a huge waist of time and money. If the subject matter were more important, I could see the value in bringing a perjury case.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I think that the DOJ ought to be getting around to prosecuting Clemens….AFTER they finally put the Black Panther voter intimidation case on trial, and AFTER they prosecute the standing Treasury Secretary for tax evasion. :^)

    Seriously, this is insane……it reminds me of the Martha Stewart persecution, where smart observers asked what she’d done to tick off the Clintons.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I think that the DOJ ought to be getting around to prosecuting Clemens….AFTER they finally put the Black Panther voter intimidation case on trial, and AFTER they prosecute the standing Treasury Secretary for tax evasion. :^)

    Seriously, this is insane……it reminds me of the Martha Stewart persecution, where smart observers asked what she’d done to tick off the Clintons.

  • Dan Kempin

    joe, #4,

    ” . . .it was still a violation of league rule and federal law.”

    Even so, since when is it the role of the legislative congress to investigate and enforce the law? (Let alone the internal rules of a private business.) I’m not saying that the players or the league are good, ethical, or innocent–far from it. I am saying that it is none of congresses d*** business. It is, in my opinion, a bald usurpation of power.

    (Not really arguing with you, but these congressional hearings really bug me.)

  • Dan Kempin

    joe, #4,

    ” . . .it was still a violation of league rule and federal law.”

    Even so, since when is it the role of the legislative congress to investigate and enforce the law? (Let alone the internal rules of a private business.) I’m not saying that the players or the league are good, ethical, or innocent–far from it. I am saying that it is none of congresses d*** business. It is, in my opinion, a bald usurpation of power.

    (Not really arguing with you, but these congressional hearings really bug me.)

  • Dan Kempin

    And sorry to all for venting my spleen here. I usually succeed in staying off threads that are in any way political. I feel better now, though.

  • Dan Kempin

    And sorry to all for venting my spleen here. I usually succeed in staying off threads that are in any way political. I feel better now, though.

  • Joe

    The congressional hearings bugged me too – that is why I included my second paragraph. Formally, the reason that Congress gets involved with the internal issues of major league sports is because most of the leagues have been granted exemptions from the Anti-Trust laws. In reality, Congress just wants a photo-op wherein they are defending the integrity of the game.

  • Joe

    The congressional hearings bugged me too – that is why I included my second paragraph. Formally, the reason that Congress gets involved with the internal issues of major league sports is because most of the leagues have been granted exemptions from the Anti-Trust laws. In reality, Congress just wants a photo-op wherein they are defending the integrity of the game.

  • WebMonk

    Congress shouldn’t have been investigating this in the first place, as has been mentioned by almost everyone on here.

    However, that said, if you testify before Congress you are under oath and lying during testimony is perjury. (regardless of the irony or whatever else) It’s a chargeable offense.

    They’re making a circus out of this, though. I think the wisest course would be to not prosecute. Perjury may have happened, but I think the wisest course, for this instance, is to not prosecute. However, now that they have brought up charges, the government has gotten itself into a bind, and they may feel they need to continue through to the end. I can understand that, though I don’t agree with it.

  • WebMonk

    Congress shouldn’t have been investigating this in the first place, as has been mentioned by almost everyone on here.

    However, that said, if you testify before Congress you are under oath and lying during testimony is perjury. (regardless of the irony or whatever else) It’s a chargeable offense.

    They’re making a circus out of this, though. I think the wisest course would be to not prosecute. Perjury may have happened, but I think the wisest course, for this instance, is to not prosecute. However, now that they have brought up charges, the government has gotten itself into a bind, and they may feel they need to continue through to the end. I can understand that, though I don’t agree with it.

  • DonS

    Actually, Joe @ 8, only the MLB has a blanket antitrust exemption, as set forth in the 1922 Supreme Court case Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs, which held that the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act specifically excluded major league baseball, which existed at that time. The 1972 Flood v. Kuhn case complained about baseball being singled out for special protection in this way, but said it was up to Congress to fix the problem.

    Nonetheless, when laws are broken by individual players, it is up to prosecutors, not Congress, to address them. Internal MLB rules should be enforced by the league. They are none of Congress’ business, as Dan rightly says. Congress can’t even begin to handle its own issues — it doesn’t even bother passing budgets anymore. It hardly has the time to delve into issues outside of its jurisdiction.

    We have an ex-president who lied under oath and is today revered by those in his party. They claim he was justified in lying because his sexual (and theoretically unlawful) sins were embarrassing to him. There is absolutely no reason to be picking on a pitcher who similarly lied to Congress to avoid an embarrassing disclosure of his own.

    Perjury is serious business. But if we are not going to take it seriously when committed by the president, then it hardly seems appropriate to further prosecute this more questionable case. It would be more profound for Congress to renew its efforts to be honest and forthright in its own dealings — to debate honorably and truthfully, to pass a truly balanced budget, and to level with the American people that it has spent us far beyond our means, and it is time to blow up the entitlement system and start over.

  • DonS

    Actually, Joe @ 8, only the MLB has a blanket antitrust exemption, as set forth in the 1922 Supreme Court case Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs, which held that the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act specifically excluded major league baseball, which existed at that time. The 1972 Flood v. Kuhn case complained about baseball being singled out for special protection in this way, but said it was up to Congress to fix the problem.

    Nonetheless, when laws are broken by individual players, it is up to prosecutors, not Congress, to address them. Internal MLB rules should be enforced by the league. They are none of Congress’ business, as Dan rightly says. Congress can’t even begin to handle its own issues — it doesn’t even bother passing budgets anymore. It hardly has the time to delve into issues outside of its jurisdiction.

    We have an ex-president who lied under oath and is today revered by those in his party. They claim he was justified in lying because his sexual (and theoretically unlawful) sins were embarrassing to him. There is absolutely no reason to be picking on a pitcher who similarly lied to Congress to avoid an embarrassing disclosure of his own.

    Perjury is serious business. But if we are not going to take it seriously when committed by the president, then it hardly seems appropriate to further prosecute this more questionable case. It would be more profound for Congress to renew its efforts to be honest and forthright in its own dealings — to debate honorably and truthfully, to pass a truly balanced budget, and to level with the American people that it has spent us far beyond our means, and it is time to blow up the entitlement system and start over.

  • Joe

    “but said it was up to Congress to fix the problem.” This was my point, MLB has an exception but it is constantly under review by Congress. I painted with too broad a brush when I said most of the leagues have an exemption. The other leagues are exempt because their players have unionized.

  • Joe

    “but said it was up to Congress to fix the problem.” This was my point, MLB has an exception but it is constantly under review by Congress. I painted with too broad a brush when I said most of the leagues have an exemption. The other leagues are exempt because their players have unionized.

  • Joe
  • Joe
  • DonS

    Yes, Joe @ 11, that’s right. Actually, one might wonder why Roger Clemons put himself into the position to lie under oath to Congress, but the reason is simply that the MLB pressures its players to cooperate with Congress in order to keep good relationships and avoid any amendments to the Sherman Act which would impact MLB’s antitrust exemption. All the more reason why it is silly to selectively continue to prosecute Clemons, particularly given all of the instances of perjury which are ignored, even when committed by high government officials.

  • DonS

    Yes, Joe @ 11, that’s right. Actually, one might wonder why Roger Clemons put himself into the position to lie under oath to Congress, but the reason is simply that the MLB pressures its players to cooperate with Congress in order to keep good relationships and avoid any amendments to the Sherman Act which would impact MLB’s antitrust exemption. All the more reason why it is silly to selectively continue to prosecute Clemons, particularly given all of the instances of perjury which are ignored, even when committed by high government officials.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    malevolent use of power

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    malevolent use of power

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@10):

    We have an ex-president who lied under oath and is today revered by those in his party. They claim he was justified in lying because his sexual (and theoretically unlawful) sins were embarrassing to him. There is absolutely no reason to be picking on a pitcher who similarly lied to Congress to avoid an embarrassing disclosure of his own. Perjury is serious business. But if we are not going to take it seriously when committed by the president, then it hardly seems appropriate to further prosecute this more questionable case.

    So are you arguing that the Democrats were correct, and the Republicans in the wrong, in the Clinton impeachment trial?

    Because, as I recall things, the Republicans then were arguing that perjury is serious business. And yet, so many of them on this thread appear not to care.

    It is a curious argument to claim, as you do, Don, that perjury is serious business, but since someone you disagree with politically perjured himself and other people you disagree with politically defended him, then, voila, perjury isn’t serious business.

    In other words, you appear to be arguing for consistency in how we treat perjury, but I’m willing to guess that this leads to a remarkable inconsistency in how you have approached perjury over the past few decades.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@10):

    We have an ex-president who lied under oath and is today revered by those in his party. They claim he was justified in lying because his sexual (and theoretically unlawful) sins were embarrassing to him. There is absolutely no reason to be picking on a pitcher who similarly lied to Congress to avoid an embarrassing disclosure of his own. Perjury is serious business. But if we are not going to take it seriously when committed by the president, then it hardly seems appropriate to further prosecute this more questionable case.

    So are you arguing that the Democrats were correct, and the Republicans in the wrong, in the Clinton impeachment trial?

    Because, as I recall things, the Republicans then were arguing that perjury is serious business. And yet, so many of them on this thread appear not to care.

    It is a curious argument to claim, as you do, Don, that perjury is serious business, but since someone you disagree with politically perjured himself and other people you disagree with politically defended him, then, voila, perjury isn’t serious business.

    In other words, you appear to be arguing for consistency in how we treat perjury, but I’m willing to guess that this leads to a remarkable inconsistency in how you have approached perjury over the past few decades.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 15: No, what I am saying is that it is Congress itself which chose, ultimately, not to care that the President of the United States lied under oath. I am not a big fan of selective prosecution, wherein the ordinary citizen is prosecuted for crimes that government officials get away with.

    Lying, and particularly perjury, is serious business. I trust that you agree. Accordingly, those serving us in positions of governmental power should make it a priority to lead by example and hold to the utmost standards of honesty and truthfulness. But, we start with the officials, not with the people.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 15: No, what I am saying is that it is Congress itself which chose, ultimately, not to care that the President of the United States lied under oath. I am not a big fan of selective prosecution, wherein the ordinary citizen is prosecuted for crimes that government officials get away with.

    Lying, and particularly perjury, is serious business. I trust that you agree. Accordingly, those serving us in positions of governmental power should make it a priority to lead by example and hold to the utmost standards of honesty and truthfulness. But, we start with the officials, not with the people.

  • DonS

    And, tODD @ 15: I missed this in my previous comment, but re-reading your comment I see “politically perjured himself”. On what basis do you contend that Clinton’s perjury was “political”? Because his actions occurred in the White House? He perjured himself while testifying under oath during a lawsuit. That’s perjury, not “political perjury”, whatever that is.

    So I guess Clemon’s perjury, since it occurred while testifying to Congress, is also “political perjury”?

  • DonS

    And, tODD @ 15: I missed this in my previous comment, but re-reading your comment I see “politically perjured himself”. On what basis do you contend that Clinton’s perjury was “political”? Because his actions occurred in the White House? He perjured himself while testifying under oath during a lawsuit. That’s perjury, not “political perjury”, whatever that is.

    So I guess Clemon’s perjury, since it occurred while testifying to Congress, is also “political perjury”?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I don’t get the seriousness of the lying in either Clinton’s or Clemon’s cases. Congress was asinine is asking the questions in the first place. Both men should have told them as much, but of course they fear the power that our malevolent representatives wield.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I don’t get the seriousness of the lying in either Clinton’s or Clemon’s cases. Congress was asinine is asking the questions in the first place. Both men should have told them as much, but of course they fear the power that our malevolent representatives wield.

  • DonS

    sg, the seriousness of the lying is that our whole system of justice relies on the concept of truthfulness under oath. When that concept is allowed to be eroded, without swift and severe penalty, then the whole justice system is at risk. Unfortunately, the Clinton perjury and its aftermath seriously damaged our system of justice, since everyone in the nation heard many of our political leaders say that it is OK to lie under oath if you would otherwise be embarrassed or put at some kind of risk. You can certainly understand the mindset of one on the witness stand thinking that if it’s OK for the president to lie under oath, it’s OK for me. Not to mention the fact that perjury is seldom prosecuted.

  • DonS

    sg, the seriousness of the lying is that our whole system of justice relies on the concept of truthfulness under oath. When that concept is allowed to be eroded, without swift and severe penalty, then the whole justice system is at risk. Unfortunately, the Clinton perjury and its aftermath seriously damaged our system of justice, since everyone in the nation heard many of our political leaders say that it is OK to lie under oath if you would otherwise be embarrassed or put at some kind of risk. You can certainly understand the mindset of one on the witness stand thinking that if it’s OK for the president to lie under oath, it’s OK for me. Not to mention the fact that perjury is seldom prosecuted.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS, first of all, what was your attitude about perjury when it applied to Clinton, back in the day? Was it the same blase attitude you’re showing now? I tend to suspect it wasn’t. That is the inconsistency I’m addressing.

    I am not a big fan of selective prosecution, wherein the ordinary citizen is prosecuted for crimes that government officials get away with.

    Really? Really? So, since Clinton “got away with” it, you would now like to see, what, no further perjury prosecutions ever? Oh, and now Roger Clemons is an “ordinary citizens”, just like me?

    It is Congress itself which chose, ultimately, not to care that the President of the United States lied under oath.

    Criminy, Don, you’re a lawyer! Surely you understand that failure to convict is not the same as failing to “care”. They impeached Clinton, did you notice?

    I’m sorry, but I’m completely unconvinced by your repeated assertions that you believe perjury is “serious business”. You don’t seem to care at all about it. All you seem to care about is Clinton.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS, first of all, what was your attitude about perjury when it applied to Clinton, back in the day? Was it the same blase attitude you’re showing now? I tend to suspect it wasn’t. That is the inconsistency I’m addressing.

    I am not a big fan of selective prosecution, wherein the ordinary citizen is prosecuted for crimes that government officials get away with.

    Really? Really? So, since Clinton “got away with” it, you would now like to see, what, no further perjury prosecutions ever? Oh, and now Roger Clemons is an “ordinary citizens”, just like me?

    It is Congress itself which chose, ultimately, not to care that the President of the United States lied under oath.

    Criminy, Don, you’re a lawyer! Surely you understand that failure to convict is not the same as failing to “care”. They impeached Clinton, did you notice?

    I’m sorry, but I’m completely unconvinced by your repeated assertions that you believe perjury is “serious business”. You don’t seem to care at all about it. All you seem to care about is Clinton.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And DonS (@17), it was awkward phrasing, nothing more. Here, I’ll clarify my statement with parentheses:

    …but since (someone you disagree with politically) perjured himself and (other people you disagree with politically) defended him…

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And DonS (@17), it was awkward phrasing, nothing more. Here, I’ll clarify my statement with parentheses:

    …but since (someone you disagree with politically) perjured himself and (other people you disagree with politically) defended him…

  • DonS

    tODD @ 20: You’re missing the whole point. I’m not at all blase about perjury. I just don’t believe in an elitist form of government where government officials are above the law. I want Congress to lead by example and demonstrate to the American people that it now repudiates its prior view, minimizing the seriousness of perjury, and now recognizes that truth and honesty, and their high regard, are essential moral values. There are plenty of government officials who should be prosecuted for perjury ahead of Clemons.

    Sure, the Republicans impeached Clinton. But they were ridiculed and excoriated for so doing, and the Democrats, who hold most of the levers of power now, clearly expressed their views regarding Clinton’s perjury. Now, all of a sudden, we are going full tilt to prosecute a pitcher? What’s different?

    So, tODD, what’s “political perjury”? You didn’t answer my question. It seems as if maybe you don’t regard perjury as being a serious offense. At least not in all cases.

    And, exactly why is Roger Clemons not an ordinary citizen like you or me? Because he’s successful? Wealthy? He holds no position in government and meets every reasonable definition of an ordinary citizen. Unless you believe that the successful somehow are entitled to fewer rights than the rest of us.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 20: You’re missing the whole point. I’m not at all blase about perjury. I just don’t believe in an elitist form of government where government officials are above the law. I want Congress to lead by example and demonstrate to the American people that it now repudiates its prior view, minimizing the seriousness of perjury, and now recognizes that truth and honesty, and their high regard, are essential moral values. There are plenty of government officials who should be prosecuted for perjury ahead of Clemons.

    Sure, the Republicans impeached Clinton. But they were ridiculed and excoriated for so doing, and the Democrats, who hold most of the levers of power now, clearly expressed their views regarding Clinton’s perjury. Now, all of a sudden, we are going full tilt to prosecute a pitcher? What’s different?

    So, tODD, what’s “political perjury”? You didn’t answer my question. It seems as if maybe you don’t regard perjury as being a serious offense. At least not in all cases.

    And, exactly why is Roger Clemons not an ordinary citizen like you or me? Because he’s successful? Wealthy? He holds no position in government and meets every reasonable definition of an ordinary citizen. Unless you believe that the successful somehow are entitled to fewer rights than the rest of us.

  • DonS

    OK, tODD @ 21, do you believe that Clinton should have been subjected to an ordinary criminal prosecution, as Roger Clemons was, instead of impeachment? Clearly, he committed the crime of perjury. No one denies that. Why should he not have been held criminally accountable?

  • DonS

    OK, tODD @ 21, do you believe that Clinton should have been subjected to an ordinary criminal prosecution, as Roger Clemons was, instead of impeachment? Clearly, he committed the crime of perjury. No one denies that. Why should he not have been held criminally accountable?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@22):

    I’m not at all blase about perjury.

    Really? Because you’ve done a bang-up job of convincing me of the exact opposite. You only seem to care about perjury to the degree that it achieves the political aims you seek. And those must be accomplished in a particular order, no less, before any current issues of perjury can be contemplated. Other than that, though, it’s very important to you, obviously.

    I mean, you don’t even seem to acknowledge the difference in the cases here: one impeached by Congress, the other indicted by a federal grand jury. Congress didn’t decide to indict Clemens. But no matter, he can only be prosecuted by our judicial system after Congress makes some statement to your satisfaction and all the other “government officials” you’re now accusing (any names, Don?) are prosecuted first.

    Honestly, that’s about as close to admitting that you just don’t care about perjury whatsoever as you could come. You’ve made the whole judicial system contingent on satisfying your own feelings about the government.

    And what’s ironic about this is you almost certainly agreed with the Republicans about perjury, back in the day (though you have yet to admit it). Oh, but they (and you) were “ridiculed and excoriated”, so if you can’t have your perjury fun, then no one can.

    As to “political perjury”, I assume you hadn’t read my explanation (@21) when you wrote your comment (@22).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@22):

    I’m not at all blase about perjury.

    Really? Because you’ve done a bang-up job of convincing me of the exact opposite. You only seem to care about perjury to the degree that it achieves the political aims you seek. And those must be accomplished in a particular order, no less, before any current issues of perjury can be contemplated. Other than that, though, it’s very important to you, obviously.

    I mean, you don’t even seem to acknowledge the difference in the cases here: one impeached by Congress, the other indicted by a federal grand jury. Congress didn’t decide to indict Clemens. But no matter, he can only be prosecuted by our judicial system after Congress makes some statement to your satisfaction and all the other “government officials” you’re now accusing (any names, Don?) are prosecuted first.

    Honestly, that’s about as close to admitting that you just don’t care about perjury whatsoever as you could come. You’ve made the whole judicial system contingent on satisfying your own feelings about the government.

    And what’s ironic about this is you almost certainly agreed with the Republicans about perjury, back in the day (though you have yet to admit it). Oh, but they (and you) were “ridiculed and excoriated”, so if you can’t have your perjury fun, then no one can.

    As to “political perjury”, I assume you hadn’t read my explanation (@21) when you wrote your comment (@22).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, thank goodness. For a moment, I thought this was a thread about Roger Clemens, and not Bill Clinton. Yes, by all means, let’s rehash the Clinton trial and completely ignore the actual topic. Fine.

    I would have been perfectly okay if Clinton had been “subjected to an ordinary criminal prosecution” (@23). That was not what he was subjected to, however. As you well know.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, thank goodness. For a moment, I thought this was a thread about Roger Clemens, and not Bill Clinton. Yes, by all means, let’s rehash the Clinton trial and completely ignore the actual topic. Fine.

    I would have been perfectly okay if Clinton had been “subjected to an ordinary criminal prosecution” (@23). That was not what he was subjected to, however. As you well know.

  • Joe

    At one level, all prosecution is selective. You make a decision based on your limited resources about whether or not you are going to pursue charges. The level of selective prosecution that is problematic is when you have two people in nearly identical situations and only one is prosecuted.

    Thus, I really don’t think it is inconsistent to think that Clinton should have been prosecuted and Clemons should not. There are several good distinctions (and a few bad ones) I can think of off the top of my head as to why the situations are different enough that differing reactions are justified.

  • Joe

    At one level, all prosecution is selective. You make a decision based on your limited resources about whether or not you are going to pursue charges. The level of selective prosecution that is problematic is when you have two people in nearly identical situations and only one is prosecuted.

    Thus, I really don’t think it is inconsistent to think that Clinton should have been prosecuted and Clemons should not. There are several good distinctions (and a few bad ones) I can think of off the top of my head as to why the situations are different enough that differing reactions are justified.

  • jgernander

    Would someone please spell the name right? It’s Clemens. I am a graduate of the University of Texas (where Clemens attended and played baseball 1980-83) journalism school (which docked a letter grade every time I had a misspelling or other typographical error).

  • jgernander

    Would someone please spell the name right? It’s Clemens. I am a graduate of the University of Texas (where Clemens attended and played baseball 1980-83) journalism school (which docked a letter grade every time I had a misspelling or other typographical error).

  • DonS

    tODD, @ 25, why are you attacking me personally, instead of engaging the issues? I was merely remarking on the irony of the leader of our nation committing perjury and being excused by Congressional leaders, and prosecutors, for so doing, and current hand wringing about two baseball players, Bonds and Clemens, committing perjury. Are we surprised? Should we expect something different, when we don’t hold our president up to the highest standards of honesty and truthfulness? That is all I was saying.

    I understand Joe’s point that prosecution is necessarily selective. However, I believe this is exactly why the Clemens case is a waste of judicial resources. We would be better of if Congress had stepped up to the plate, acknowledged its own failings in reinforcing the importance of always telling the truth under oath, re-affirmed its commitment to truth and honesty, and led by example. Let’s root the corruption out of government by concentrating our limited prosecutorial resources on wayward government officials, such as those who lie and who don’t pay their taxes, rather than baseball players. Let’s stop this silliness of calling witnesses before Congress to testify about matters that really shouldn’t be at the top of their list of things to do, given their inability to pass a budget and to spend only what they take in, i.e. to perform their core functions. If Congress makes a commitment to honesty, then the citizens will notice and become less cynical about their own responsibilities as citizens.

    And, tODD, why is Roger Clemens not an ordinary citizen, in the sense in which I used the term?

  • DonS

    tODD, @ 25, why are you attacking me personally, instead of engaging the issues? I was merely remarking on the irony of the leader of our nation committing perjury and being excused by Congressional leaders, and prosecutors, for so doing, and current hand wringing about two baseball players, Bonds and Clemens, committing perjury. Are we surprised? Should we expect something different, when we don’t hold our president up to the highest standards of honesty and truthfulness? That is all I was saying.

    I understand Joe’s point that prosecution is necessarily selective. However, I believe this is exactly why the Clemens case is a waste of judicial resources. We would be better of if Congress had stepped up to the plate, acknowledged its own failings in reinforcing the importance of always telling the truth under oath, re-affirmed its commitment to truth and honesty, and led by example. Let’s root the corruption out of government by concentrating our limited prosecutorial resources on wayward government officials, such as those who lie and who don’t pay their taxes, rather than baseball players. Let’s stop this silliness of calling witnesses before Congress to testify about matters that really shouldn’t be at the top of their list of things to do, given their inability to pass a budget and to spend only what they take in, i.e. to perform their core functions. If Congress makes a commitment to honesty, then the citizens will notice and become less cynical about their own responsibilities as citizens.

    And, tODD, why is Roger Clemens not an ordinary citizen, in the sense in which I used the term?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Why are you attacking me personally, instead of engaging the issues?

    asked the man (@28) who is insistent on making this into a partisan political diatribe, rather than engaging the actual issues himself.

    But honestly, if you can’t see any differences between the Clinton trial and the Clemens one, I doubt I can help you. You also seem to have trouble distinguishing between the 105th and 111th Congresses.

    Your argument is more or less the equivalent of a diatribe from a man pulled over for speeding, yelling at the cop for not finding the “real bad people”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Why are you attacking me personally, instead of engaging the issues?

    asked the man (@28) who is insistent on making this into a partisan political diatribe, rather than engaging the actual issues himself.

    But honestly, if you can’t see any differences between the Clinton trial and the Clemens one, I doubt I can help you. You also seem to have trouble distinguishing between the 105th and 111th Congresses.

    Your argument is more or less the equivalent of a diatribe from a man pulled over for speeding, yelling at the cop for not finding the “real bad people”.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 29: Oh, please.

    So, to you my reference to the whole issue of Clinton lying in a deposition, under oath (and, incidentally, also lying to the American people) is just a “partisan political diatribe”? You really don’t think that responsibility starts at the top? That our government officials should be the first to be held accountable under the law? That they should lead by example? That the current Congress, which still has many of the same members as the 105th Congress, bears no responsibility to correct the stain on American history that was committed by its predecessor Congress?

    Or that government prosecutors should not focus their limited resources on bringing charges against those in power?

    Maybe you disagree with my point, but to dismiss its obvious relevance to the present issue as mere “partisan politics” is ridiculous. You make the bed you sleep in, and it is the institution of Congress, whether the 105th or the 111th, that made this bed, by its utter trivialization of open and shut perjury committed by our nation’s highest official.

    And it’s interesting that you refuse to explain why you don’t believe Roger Clemens is an ordinary citizen, like you and me.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 29: Oh, please.

    So, to you my reference to the whole issue of Clinton lying in a deposition, under oath (and, incidentally, also lying to the American people) is just a “partisan political diatribe”? You really don’t think that responsibility starts at the top? That our government officials should be the first to be held accountable under the law? That they should lead by example? That the current Congress, which still has many of the same members as the 105th Congress, bears no responsibility to correct the stain on American history that was committed by its predecessor Congress?

    Or that government prosecutors should not focus their limited resources on bringing charges against those in power?

    Maybe you disagree with my point, but to dismiss its obvious relevance to the present issue as mere “partisan politics” is ridiculous. You make the bed you sleep in, and it is the institution of Congress, whether the 105th or the 111th, that made this bed, by its utter trivialization of open and shut perjury committed by our nation’s highest official.

    And it’s interesting that you refuse to explain why you don’t believe Roger Clemens is an ordinary citizen, like you and me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@30):

    So, to you my reference to the whole issue of Clinton lying in a deposition, under oath … is just a “partisan political diatribe”?

    In a word, yes. You’ve written nine (9) comments so far on this thread — which is, ostensibly, about prosecuting Roger Clemons — and in not a single one have you been able to avoid mention of or reference to Clinton and the 105th Congress. I very much think yours is a partisan diatribe.

    You really don’t think that responsibility starts at the top?

    Well, no. I think everyone is responsible for their own actions. Do you go easier on your children for lying to you (or any other misbehavior) because some President, somewhere, once got away with something? If you did, what kind of parent would that make you?

    That our government officials should be the first to be held accountable under the law?

    No. The concept we’re aiming for here is “equal under law”, not “held accountable to the law in a particular order that cannot be rearranged”. It’s funny to me how you’re actually reinforcing the idea that our politicians aren’t equal under the law with your prescriptions here. I would think that anathema to your political bent. It cetainly is to mine.

    That they should lead by example?

    Of course they should lead by example! But it’s a ludicrous suggestion that their failure to do so (which will always be with us) somehow means our entire justice system should shut down, in whole or in part — that one person’s completely unrelated, grand jury trial should in any way be considered (and, as you’re arguing, ignored) in light of some politician’s action at some point in the past.

    That the current Congress, which still has many of the same members as the 105th Congress, bears no responsibility to correct the stain on American history that was committed by its predecessor Congress?

    Criminy, Don, next thing you know you’ll be demanding that Congress pass a series of completely pointless apologies for civil rights abuses and the handling of Native Americans from other past Congresses! Except I kind of remember that “conservatives” don’t really go for such thing, because it’s kind of a waste of time and doesn’t solve anything.

    And it’s interesting that you refuse to explain why you don’t believe Roger Clemens is an ordinary citizen, like you and me.

    Oh please. Why don’t you answer every one of my questions I asked you first? You can’t very well accuse me of dodging things if you’re dodging even more (@15, 20, 24).

    Seriously, you think Clemens is every bit as “ordinary” as you? How many news stories get written about you in an average year? You think celebrities don’t occasionally get treated differently by our justice system (like, oh, I don’t know, Lindsay Lohan, to pull a name out of a hat)?

    But now that I’ve answered your very important question, please do answer mine. Oh and this: in what important way is Roger Clemens “ordinary” like you and me, but our politicians are not, in that same way, “ordinary”? And how many “ordinary” people do you know that got called to testify in front of Congress last year, anyhow?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@30):

    So, to you my reference to the whole issue of Clinton lying in a deposition, under oath … is just a “partisan political diatribe”?

    In a word, yes. You’ve written nine (9) comments so far on this thread — which is, ostensibly, about prosecuting Roger Clemons — and in not a single one have you been able to avoid mention of or reference to Clinton and the 105th Congress. I very much think yours is a partisan diatribe.

    You really don’t think that responsibility starts at the top?

    Well, no. I think everyone is responsible for their own actions. Do you go easier on your children for lying to you (or any other misbehavior) because some President, somewhere, once got away with something? If you did, what kind of parent would that make you?

    That our government officials should be the first to be held accountable under the law?

    No. The concept we’re aiming for here is “equal under law”, not “held accountable to the law in a particular order that cannot be rearranged”. It’s funny to me how you’re actually reinforcing the idea that our politicians aren’t equal under the law with your prescriptions here. I would think that anathema to your political bent. It cetainly is to mine.

    That they should lead by example?

    Of course they should lead by example! But it’s a ludicrous suggestion that their failure to do so (which will always be with us) somehow means our entire justice system should shut down, in whole or in part — that one person’s completely unrelated, grand jury trial should in any way be considered (and, as you’re arguing, ignored) in light of some politician’s action at some point in the past.

    That the current Congress, which still has many of the same members as the 105th Congress, bears no responsibility to correct the stain on American history that was committed by its predecessor Congress?

    Criminy, Don, next thing you know you’ll be demanding that Congress pass a series of completely pointless apologies for civil rights abuses and the handling of Native Americans from other past Congresses! Except I kind of remember that “conservatives” don’t really go for such thing, because it’s kind of a waste of time and doesn’t solve anything.

    And it’s interesting that you refuse to explain why you don’t believe Roger Clemens is an ordinary citizen, like you and me.

    Oh please. Why don’t you answer every one of my questions I asked you first? You can’t very well accuse me of dodging things if you’re dodging even more (@15, 20, 24).

    Seriously, you think Clemens is every bit as “ordinary” as you? How many news stories get written about you in an average year? You think celebrities don’t occasionally get treated differently by our justice system (like, oh, I don’t know, Lindsay Lohan, to pull a name out of a hat)?

    But now that I’ve answered your very important question, please do answer mine. Oh and this: in what important way is Roger Clemens “ordinary” like you and me, but our politicians are not, in that same way, “ordinary”? And how many “ordinary” people do you know that got called to testify in front of Congress last year, anyhow?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @19

    Yeah I get the point in the abstract, but when Congress just gratuitously asks embarrassing and impertinent questions, then it is just a disgusting display of abuse of power. They were not interested in righting wrongs, punishing crimes etc. The whole thing was a stupid and phony circus, a burlesque of accountability.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @19

    Yeah I get the point in the abstract, but when Congress just gratuitously asks embarrassing and impertinent questions, then it is just a disgusting display of abuse of power. They were not interested in righting wrongs, punishing crimes etc. The whole thing was a stupid and phony circus, a burlesque of accountability.

  • DonS

    Thank you, tODD.

    Of course, you understand that the reason I have 9 posts that mention Clinton is because I was responding to you, commenting about Clinton.

    Well, no. I think everyone is responsible for their own actions. Do you go easier on your children for lying to you (or any other misbehavior) because some President, somewhere, once got away with something? If you did, what kind of parent would that make you?

    Hmm. Agreed. But, that’s not very close to what we’re talking about, is it? What we’re talking about selectively prosecuting a private citizen for perjury because he allegedly lied to Congress under oath, a scant decade after Congress itself declared that perjury isn’t a big deal, certainly not worth convicting a president over. I trust that you can see the distinction between parenting techniques, and instilling moral values in your kids, vs. a criminal prosecution for perjury.

    No. The concept we’re aiming for here is “equal under law”, not “held accountable to the law in a particular order that cannot be rearranged”. It’s funny to me how you’re actually reinforcing the idea that our politicians aren’t equal under the law with your prescriptions here. I would think that anathema to your political bent. It cetainly is to mine.

    I disagree as to the concept we are aiming for here. I hate elitism, which increasingly infuses our establishment culture as we move farther and farther away from a concept of absolute morality to a relativistic code, where political power is increasingly valued. Accordingly, our priority is to ensure that our government officials are of the highest moral caliber, which means that they must be held to the highest standard of conduct.

    Of course they should lead by example! But it’s a ludicrous suggestion that their failure to do so (which will always be with us) somehow means our entire justice system should shut down, in whole or in part — that one person’s completely unrelated, grand jury trial should in any way be considered (and, as you’re arguing, ignored) in light of some politician’s action at some point in the past.

    That’s a nice straw man, but nobody’s talking about shutting down our entire justice system. We’re talking about whether the very limited resources of our justice system should be expended in re-trying a pitcher for allegedly lying before Congress, in regard to a matter which Congress arguably had no reason to be dabbling in anyway. My answer is a resounding no! Yes, the Clinton travesty is water under the bridge, but the damage is still there, in that Congress’ credibility concerning honesty and truthfulness is sorely damaged. Better to ensure that perjury prosecutions in the political realm are directed toward politicians and government officials until the people understand that our government has come to its senses and once again values truth over politics.

    Criminy, Don, next thing you know you’ll be demanding that Congress pass a series of completely pointless apologies for civil rights abuses and the handling of Native Americans from other past Congresses! Except I kind of remember that “conservatives” don’t really go for such thing, because it’s kind of a waste of time and doesn’t solve anything.

    Well, I think there’s a difference between addressing a moral failure from a scant decade ago and addressing a moral failure from 60 or more years ago. But it’s not about apologizing. It’s about changing behavior, codes of morality in the political world, and public perception. Unlike the case for the treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, I don’t see any evidence of a heart change on the part of Congress. The American people need to see that change, and they need to see politicians of all political stripes do better going forward. Absent that cultural shift, prosecuting Clemens accomplished nothing except to waste yet more taxpayer resources.

    Seriously, you think Clemens is every bit as “ordinary” as you?

    Yes, I do. At least in the sense that he is a private citizen, and not a government official, he is no different than me or you. Recall that was the point of my original statement: “I am not a big fan of selective prosecution, wherein the ordinary citizen is prosecuted for crimes that government officials get away with.

  • DonS

    Thank you, tODD.

    Of course, you understand that the reason I have 9 posts that mention Clinton is because I was responding to you, commenting about Clinton.

    Well, no. I think everyone is responsible for their own actions. Do you go easier on your children for lying to you (or any other misbehavior) because some President, somewhere, once got away with something? If you did, what kind of parent would that make you?

    Hmm. Agreed. But, that’s not very close to what we’re talking about, is it? What we’re talking about selectively prosecuting a private citizen for perjury because he allegedly lied to Congress under oath, a scant decade after Congress itself declared that perjury isn’t a big deal, certainly not worth convicting a president over. I trust that you can see the distinction between parenting techniques, and instilling moral values in your kids, vs. a criminal prosecution for perjury.

    No. The concept we’re aiming for here is “equal under law”, not “held accountable to the law in a particular order that cannot be rearranged”. It’s funny to me how you’re actually reinforcing the idea that our politicians aren’t equal under the law with your prescriptions here. I would think that anathema to your political bent. It cetainly is to mine.

    I disagree as to the concept we are aiming for here. I hate elitism, which increasingly infuses our establishment culture as we move farther and farther away from a concept of absolute morality to a relativistic code, where political power is increasingly valued. Accordingly, our priority is to ensure that our government officials are of the highest moral caliber, which means that they must be held to the highest standard of conduct.

    Of course they should lead by example! But it’s a ludicrous suggestion that their failure to do so (which will always be with us) somehow means our entire justice system should shut down, in whole or in part — that one person’s completely unrelated, grand jury trial should in any way be considered (and, as you’re arguing, ignored) in light of some politician’s action at some point in the past.

    That’s a nice straw man, but nobody’s talking about shutting down our entire justice system. We’re talking about whether the very limited resources of our justice system should be expended in re-trying a pitcher for allegedly lying before Congress, in regard to a matter which Congress arguably had no reason to be dabbling in anyway. My answer is a resounding no! Yes, the Clinton travesty is water under the bridge, but the damage is still there, in that Congress’ credibility concerning honesty and truthfulness is sorely damaged. Better to ensure that perjury prosecutions in the political realm are directed toward politicians and government officials until the people understand that our government has come to its senses and once again values truth over politics.

    Criminy, Don, next thing you know you’ll be demanding that Congress pass a series of completely pointless apologies for civil rights abuses and the handling of Native Americans from other past Congresses! Except I kind of remember that “conservatives” don’t really go for such thing, because it’s kind of a waste of time and doesn’t solve anything.

    Well, I think there’s a difference between addressing a moral failure from a scant decade ago and addressing a moral failure from 60 or more years ago. But it’s not about apologizing. It’s about changing behavior, codes of morality in the political world, and public perception. Unlike the case for the treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, I don’t see any evidence of a heart change on the part of Congress. The American people need to see that change, and they need to see politicians of all political stripes do better going forward. Absent that cultural shift, prosecuting Clemens accomplished nothing except to waste yet more taxpayer resources.

    Seriously, you think Clemens is every bit as “ordinary” as you?

    Yes, I do. At least in the sense that he is a private citizen, and not a government official, he is no different than me or you. Recall that was the point of my original statement: “I am not a big fan of selective prosecution, wherein the ordinary citizen is prosecuted for crimes that government officials get away with.

  • DonS

    sg @ 32: I agree with you that the whole affair about MLB steroids had no business being before Congress. But, if the principle of perjury, and the importance, in particular, of being truthful under oath, is allowed to slide because the witness believes the questions are stupid, you don’t really have a principle at all. And no basis for your justice system.

    They are two separate issues, but once the witness puts himself in the position of testifying under oath, telling the truth, and the whole truth, should be the highest value. Clinton’s failure to do that, and the subsequent apologists who excused him from his moral failure in that regard, caused serious damage to our justice system, there is no question about that.

  • DonS

    sg @ 32: I agree with you that the whole affair about MLB steroids had no business being before Congress. But, if the principle of perjury, and the importance, in particular, of being truthful under oath, is allowed to slide because the witness believes the questions are stupid, you don’t really have a principle at all. And no basis for your justice system.

    They are two separate issues, but once the witness puts himself in the position of testifying under oath, telling the truth, and the whole truth, should be the highest value. Clinton’s failure to do that, and the subsequent apologists who excused him from his moral failure in that regard, caused serious damage to our justice system, there is no question about that.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My point about perjury is that the question and answer need to be relevant to the prosecution of the crime. It is atrocious to put folks under oath ostensibly to ask them questions pertaining to the topic at hand and then ask them embarrassing tangential questions, the answers to which don’t matter to the issue being prosecuted. Then it is gotcha time to persecute the witness. It is abuse of power.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My point about perjury is that the question and answer need to be relevant to the prosecution of the crime. It is atrocious to put folks under oath ostensibly to ask them questions pertaining to the topic at hand and then ask them embarrassing tangential questions, the answers to which don’t matter to the issue being prosecuted. Then it is gotcha time to persecute the witness. It is abuse of power.

  • DonS

    sg: I guess I don’t know what you mean. Clemens agreed to testify knowing full well what the nature of the questions would be. Similarly, Clinton knew before he took the oath in the deposition what he would be asked. To my knowledge, the questions asked in each instance were relevant to the noticed topic.

  • DonS

    sg: I guess I don’t know what you mean. Clemens agreed to testify knowing full well what the nature of the questions would be. Similarly, Clinton knew before he took the oath in the deposition what he would be asked. To my knowledge, the questions asked in each instance were relevant to the noticed topic.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Let’s go back to basics.

    Why is perjury a crime?

    My son and I had this discussion when we studied the Code of Hammurabi and the Mosaic law.

    For example, a guy claims you stole his goat. His friend testifies to this lie (perjury) thereby injuring you using the authority of the state to get your stuff. The perjury was relevant to the alleged crime, the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator.

    From this useful understanding of perjury (injury by false witness) we now embrace the abstracted ideal of absolute honesty under oath to perversely prosecute witnesses who were asked impertinent questions under oath. The honest answers to the questions asked of Clinton and Clemens weren’t relevant to someone’s guilt for a crime. They were in and of themselves injurious to the witness, aka perverse. There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit of the law. Sometimes rigid views of the letter violate the spirit.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Let’s go back to basics.

    Why is perjury a crime?

    My son and I had this discussion when we studied the Code of Hammurabi and the Mosaic law.

    For example, a guy claims you stole his goat. His friend testifies to this lie (perjury) thereby injuring you using the authority of the state to get your stuff. The perjury was relevant to the alleged crime, the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator.

    From this useful understanding of perjury (injury by false witness) we now embrace the abstracted ideal of absolute honesty under oath to perversely prosecute witnesses who were asked impertinent questions under oath. The honest answers to the questions asked of Clinton and Clemens weren’t relevant to someone’s guilt for a crime. They were in and of themselves injurious to the witness, aka perverse. There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit of the law. Sometimes rigid views of the letter violate the spirit.

  • DonS

    sg @ 37:

    OK, fair enough.

    Let’s break down the statement you made in your last paragraph:

    a) “we now embrace the abstracted ideal of absolute honesty under oath to perversely prosecute witnesses who were asked impertinent questions under oath. ” — why is honesty, whether absolute or otherwise, an abstracted ideal? Isn’t it a fundamental moral value?

    This verse applies directly to lying under oath: Lev 19:12 — And you shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.

    Zech 8:17 — “Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,” declares the LORD.

    Prov 14:5 — A faithful witness will not lie, But a false witness speaks lies.

    Prov 12:19 — Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment.

    Prov 19:5 — A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.

    Col 3:9-10 — Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.

    So, we’ve established that God doesn’t like lying or false witnesses. Is there an exception if you think you are being perversely prosecuted or being asked impertinent question? I don’t see it in Scripture. Better not to answer the question than to lie.

    b) “The honest answers to the questions asked of Clinton and Clemens weren’t relevant to someone’s guilt for a crime. They were in and of themselves injurious to the witness, aka perverse.” — Well, let’s understand, first of all, that most testimony taken under oath in the U.S. is in connection with civil matters, not criminal matters. So the issue of whether the questions or answers are relevant to someone’s guilt for a crime isn’t really important. In the case of Clemens, he was testifying before Congress concerning the usage of steroids in baseball. It was not a criminal matter at that time, and no prosecution was underway or contemplated based on his testimony. As for Clinton, he was testifying in a deposition on a civil matter, not a criminal matter. In both cases, once the witness sat for the testimony, the questions were clearly relevant to the reason they were asked to testify. So your statement isn’t correct on that issue. Moreover, if a witness believes his answer will potentially put him in jeopardy with respect to prosecution for a crime, he can take the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer the question.

    c) “There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit of the law. Sometimes rigid views of the letter violate the spirit.” — I agree that in many matters there is both letter and spirit of the law, particularly given the complexity of our clearly over-regulated society. None of us can ever hope to fully obey all U.S. laws any more than we can hope to obey God’s laws in our own strength. However, truth is truth and lies are lies. Black and white. There is no such thing as complying with the spirit of the law by lying. If you don’t want to answer the question, simply refuse to answer it. That is your out.

    Again, sg, the bottom line is that our system of justice only works if witnesses tell the truth under oath. That’s why they take an oath. If you take the oath, you are giving your word that you will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That is why I made the point at the beginning of this thread that the Clinton episode very seriously damaged our justice system because, in the name of politics, many of our senior government leaders both condoned and defended our president’s decision to lie under oath. Regardless of how people want to sweep that under the rug in the name of the old “partisan politics” ploy, that was very serious business, not to be taken lightly.

  • DonS

    sg @ 37:

    OK, fair enough.

    Let’s break down the statement you made in your last paragraph:

    a) “we now embrace the abstracted ideal of absolute honesty under oath to perversely prosecute witnesses who were asked impertinent questions under oath. ” — why is honesty, whether absolute or otherwise, an abstracted ideal? Isn’t it a fundamental moral value?

    This verse applies directly to lying under oath: Lev 19:12 — And you shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.

    Zech 8:17 — “Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,” declares the LORD.

    Prov 14:5 — A faithful witness will not lie, But a false witness speaks lies.

    Prov 12:19 — Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment.

    Prov 19:5 — A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.

    Col 3:9-10 — Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.

    So, we’ve established that God doesn’t like lying or false witnesses. Is there an exception if you think you are being perversely prosecuted or being asked impertinent question? I don’t see it in Scripture. Better not to answer the question than to lie.

    b) “The honest answers to the questions asked of Clinton and Clemens weren’t relevant to someone’s guilt for a crime. They were in and of themselves injurious to the witness, aka perverse.” — Well, let’s understand, first of all, that most testimony taken under oath in the U.S. is in connection with civil matters, not criminal matters. So the issue of whether the questions or answers are relevant to someone’s guilt for a crime isn’t really important. In the case of Clemens, he was testifying before Congress concerning the usage of steroids in baseball. It was not a criminal matter at that time, and no prosecution was underway or contemplated based on his testimony. As for Clinton, he was testifying in a deposition on a civil matter, not a criminal matter. In both cases, once the witness sat for the testimony, the questions were clearly relevant to the reason they were asked to testify. So your statement isn’t correct on that issue. Moreover, if a witness believes his answer will potentially put him in jeopardy with respect to prosecution for a crime, he can take the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer the question.

    c) “There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit of the law. Sometimes rigid views of the letter violate the spirit.” — I agree that in many matters there is both letter and spirit of the law, particularly given the complexity of our clearly over-regulated society. None of us can ever hope to fully obey all U.S. laws any more than we can hope to obey God’s laws in our own strength. However, truth is truth and lies are lies. Black and white. There is no such thing as complying with the spirit of the law by lying. If you don’t want to answer the question, simply refuse to answer it. That is your out.

    Again, sg, the bottom line is that our system of justice only works if witnesses tell the truth under oath. That’s why they take an oath. If you take the oath, you are giving your word that you will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That is why I made the point at the beginning of this thread that the Clinton episode very seriously damaged our justice system because, in the name of politics, many of our senior government leaders both condoned and defended our president’s decision to lie under oath. Regardless of how people want to sweep that under the rug in the name of the old “partisan politics” ploy, that was very serious business, not to be taken lightly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    That is why I made the point at the beginning of this thread that the Clinton episode very seriously damaged our justice system because, in the name of politics, many of our senior government leaders both condoned and defended our president’s decision to lie under oath.

    How about the Clinton episode very seriously damaged our justice system because it maliciously asked questions designed to embarrass and humiliate the president, rather than address an important issue?

    We still have to get back to the problem of capricious prosecutions and witch hunts, a bigger problem than silly white lies to avoid embarrassment. The problem is the prosecution and its methods. Notice that our constitution is very concerned about the rights of the accused because officials in governments have always been able to use the letter of the laws intended to protect citizens to then turn them against those same citizens.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    That is why I made the point at the beginning of this thread that the Clinton episode very seriously damaged our justice system because, in the name of politics, many of our senior government leaders both condoned and defended our president’s decision to lie under oath.

    How about the Clinton episode very seriously damaged our justice system because it maliciously asked questions designed to embarrass and humiliate the president, rather than address an important issue?

    We still have to get back to the problem of capricious prosecutions and witch hunts, a bigger problem than silly white lies to avoid embarrassment. The problem is the prosecution and its methods. Notice that our constitution is very concerned about the rights of the accused because officials in governments have always been able to use the letter of the laws intended to protect citizens to then turn them against those same citizens.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @38

    All those verses point to injuring people with lies. But how did Clinton or Clemens injury anyone? The questions were asked of them both with the intention of injuring the witnesses. That isn’t about justice. It is about humiliation, or retribution, etc. It is disgusting.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @38

    All those verses point to injuring people with lies. But how did Clinton or Clemens injury anyone? The questions were asked of them both with the intention of injuring the witnesses. That isn’t about justice. It is about humiliation, or retribution, etc. It is disgusting.

  • DonS

    sg @ 39 & 40: Firstly, not everyone agrees with your apparent position that what Clinton did to Monica Lewinski was unimportant. As a male boss, just try engaging in such blatant acts of sexual harassment with your young female employee! The amazing thing was that all of the supposed womens rights groups remained silent about this egregious abuse, apparently for purely political reasons.

    Secondly, as I said above, the system fails if the witness is permitted to lie under oath, simply because he decides that the matter is unimportant. He has other legal remedies to fight the proceedings and to avoid answering the questions put to him if he believes they are inappropriate. Lying is never a moral or legal option.

    We still have to get back to the problem of capricious prosecutions and witch hunts, a bigger problem than silly white lies to avoid embarrassment. The problem is the prosecution and its methods. Notice that our constitution is very concerned about the rights of the accused because officials in governments have always been able to use the letter of the laws intended to protect citizens to then turn them against those same citizens.

    I agree with you, except for your characterization of the lies told by Clinton and allegedly told by Clemens as being “silly white lies”. No such thing. A lie is a lie. Answering “no” when the correct response is “yes” is hardly a silly white lie. As for the rest, yes, we engage in far too many witchhunts and capricious and intrusive prosecutions, many of them politically motivated Scooter Libby’s perjury prosecution, and the whole Valery Plame matter is another example of politically motivated prosecution. But, as you point out, the Constitution provides remedies for these things, which DO NOT INCLUDE lying under oath. Ever.

    “All those verses point to injuring people with lies. But how did Clinton or Clemens injury anyone?” — Hmm. Where do you get from those verses that they only concern lies that injure people? They seem absolute to me.

  • DonS

    sg @ 39 & 40: Firstly, not everyone agrees with your apparent position that what Clinton did to Monica Lewinski was unimportant. As a male boss, just try engaging in such blatant acts of sexual harassment with your young female employee! The amazing thing was that all of the supposed womens rights groups remained silent about this egregious abuse, apparently for purely political reasons.

    Secondly, as I said above, the system fails if the witness is permitted to lie under oath, simply because he decides that the matter is unimportant. He has other legal remedies to fight the proceedings and to avoid answering the questions put to him if he believes they are inappropriate. Lying is never a moral or legal option.

    We still have to get back to the problem of capricious prosecutions and witch hunts, a bigger problem than silly white lies to avoid embarrassment. The problem is the prosecution and its methods. Notice that our constitution is very concerned about the rights of the accused because officials in governments have always been able to use the letter of the laws intended to protect citizens to then turn them against those same citizens.

    I agree with you, except for your characterization of the lies told by Clinton and allegedly told by Clemens as being “silly white lies”. No such thing. A lie is a lie. Answering “no” when the correct response is “yes” is hardly a silly white lie. As for the rest, yes, we engage in far too many witchhunts and capricious and intrusive prosecutions, many of them politically motivated Scooter Libby’s perjury prosecution, and the whole Valery Plame matter is another example of politically motivated prosecution. But, as you point out, the Constitution provides remedies for these things, which DO NOT INCLUDE lying under oath. Ever.

    “All those verses point to injuring people with lies. But how did Clinton or Clemens injury anyone?” — Hmm. Where do you get from those verses that they only concern lies that injure people? They seem absolute to me.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Firstly, not everyone agrees with your apparent position that what Clinton did to Monica Lewinski was unimportant”

    Okay, maybe I am not remembering correctly, but I didn’t think that Monica brought any charges against Clinton. If she filed a complaint and he denied it under oath, then yeah, that is injury and perjury. But if they both consented, and she didn’t file any complaint, and then it is brought up by some third party, then it is irrelevant. Asking him about one or a hundred other consensual sexual encounters is irrelevant to charges of non consensual conduct brought by a given individual. Some might disagree with that. So, that particular point is arguable, if that is what you mean.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Firstly, not everyone agrees with your apparent position that what Clinton did to Monica Lewinski was unimportant”

    Okay, maybe I am not remembering correctly, but I didn’t think that Monica brought any charges against Clinton. If she filed a complaint and he denied it under oath, then yeah, that is injury and perjury. But if they both consented, and she didn’t file any complaint, and then it is brought up by some third party, then it is irrelevant. Asking him about one or a hundred other consensual sexual encounters is irrelevant to charges of non consensual conduct brought by a given individual. Some might disagree with that. So, that particular point is arguable, if that is what you mean.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Anyway, my point isn’t that lying under oath is acceptable, rather that irrelevant and malicious questioning under oath needs to be reigned in. There is nothing that innocent witnesses can do to reign in these prosecutors. The community must insist on proper conduct by prosecutors and investigators etc. I would be more comfortable with folks trotting out these prosecutors names and lambasting them in the press for their atrocious conduct and abuse of witnesses. Of course, we forget even the names of these nasty folks. They are free to humiliatate others and go home comfortable and free from public humiliation.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Anyway, my point isn’t that lying under oath is acceptable, rather that irrelevant and malicious questioning under oath needs to be reigned in. There is nothing that innocent witnesses can do to reign in these prosecutors. The community must insist on proper conduct by prosecutors and investigators etc. I would be more comfortable with folks trotting out these prosecutors names and lambasting them in the press for their atrocious conduct and abuse of witnesses. Of course, we forget even the names of these nasty folks. They are free to humiliatate others and go home comfortable and free from public humiliation.

  • DonS

    sg @ 42, 43: Well, we don’t need to re-hash the Clinton matter any further, because it is tangential to my point that the president lied under oath and that fact was minimized and trivialized by his defenders, many of whom happened to be senior government officials. And now, if I am reading you right, you are acknowledging that it is wrong for witnesses to lie under oath, regardless of the circumstances, so we agree on that. As to malicious prosecutions, I agree with you, and also with the point you are now making that the remedy is public pressure by the community, as well as the witnesses fighting their having to give testimony with every legal remedy at their disposal. Just don’t lie, particularly when you have given your oath, in God’s name, that you won’t.

  • DonS

    sg @ 42, 43: Well, we don’t need to re-hash the Clinton matter any further, because it is tangential to my point that the president lied under oath and that fact was minimized and trivialized by his defenders, many of whom happened to be senior government officials. And now, if I am reading you right, you are acknowledging that it is wrong for witnesses to lie under oath, regardless of the circumstances, so we agree on that. As to malicious prosecutions, I agree with you, and also with the point you are now making that the remedy is public pressure by the community, as well as the witnesses fighting their having to give testimony with every legal remedy at their disposal. Just don’t lie, particularly when you have given your oath, in God’s name, that you won’t.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Dr. Veith asks, “Is it worth the expense and the time of our court system to once again try to convict a baseball player?”

    Heck, no! It didn’t cause injury to anyone and was in response to a question that wasn’t even appropriate. It didn’t lead to a false conviction of someone or to acquittal of someone he knew to be guilty of a crime thereby depriving a victim of justice. Perjury is a crime when it leads to injury.

    If you want to try someone for perjury, how about Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade fame. Her lying led to the deaths of millions of children as did the perjured testimony of many who wanted abortion legalized.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Dr. Veith asks, “Is it worth the expense and the time of our court system to once again try to convict a baseball player?”

    Heck, no! It didn’t cause injury to anyone and was in response to a question that wasn’t even appropriate. It didn’t lead to a false conviction of someone or to acquittal of someone he knew to be guilty of a crime thereby depriving a victim of justice. Perjury is a crime when it leads to injury.

    If you want to try someone for perjury, how about Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade fame. Her lying led to the deaths of millions of children as did the perjured testimony of many who wanted abortion legalized.

  • DonS

    sg @ 45: You’re right, of course, about Jane Roe and others like her — these kinds of activist cases should be scrutinized much more than they are to ensure that the testimony being proffered is entirely truthful. Of course, the statute of limitations expired for that case over 40 years ago. But, Jane Roe later became a Christian and repented of her part in that infamous case, revealing herself to be Norma McCorvey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norma_McCorvey

    “Perjury is a crime when it leads to injury.” — this is not true, of course, as you know from our discussion above. Perjury is a crime whenever it occurs, regardless of its effects. You know this, as well. However, I would not argue with your statement if it were rewritten: “Perjury is a crime that should be prosecuted when it leads to injury”.

  • DonS

    sg @ 45: You’re right, of course, about Jane Roe and others like her — these kinds of activist cases should be scrutinized much more than they are to ensure that the testimony being proffered is entirely truthful. Of course, the statute of limitations expired for that case over 40 years ago. But, Jane Roe later became a Christian and repented of her part in that infamous case, revealing herself to be Norma McCorvey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norma_McCorvey

    “Perjury is a crime when it leads to injury.” — this is not true, of course, as you know from our discussion above. Perjury is a crime whenever it occurs, regardless of its effects. You know this, as well. However, I would not argue with your statement if it were rewritten: “Perjury is a crime that should be prosecuted when it leads to injury”.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Just don’t lie, particularly when you have given your oath, in God’s name, that you won’t.”

    Puhleeze! This is the USA where blasphemy is constitutionally protected free speech!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Just don’t lie, particularly when you have given your oath, in God’s name, that you won’t.”

    Puhleeze! This is the USA where blasphemy is constitutionally protected free speech!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perjury is a crime when it leads to injury.” — this is not true, of course, as you know from our discussion above. Perjury is a crime whenever it occurs, regardless of its effects. You know this, as well. However, I would not argue with your statement if it were rewritten: “Perjury is a crime that should be prosecuted when it leads to injury”.

    Yes, well, I think we can agree that criminalizing lying under oath has also lead to cases of malicious prosecution. I just feel that power corrupts and once prosecutors or Congress or whoever has the power to compel people to answer questions, they are not immune to the temptation to abuse that power.

    It reminds me of the case in US history that established that libels must be false in order to be crimes in the US.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perjury is a crime when it leads to injury.” — this is not true, of course, as you know from our discussion above. Perjury is a crime whenever it occurs, regardless of its effects. You know this, as well. However, I would not argue with your statement if it were rewritten: “Perjury is a crime that should be prosecuted when it leads to injury”.

    Yes, well, I think we can agree that criminalizing lying under oath has also lead to cases of malicious prosecution. I just feel that power corrupts and once prosecutors or Congress or whoever has the power to compel people to answer questions, they are not immune to the temptation to abuse that power.

    It reminds me of the case in US history that established that libels must be false in order to be crimes in the US.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I guess I just reject the criminalizing of non criminal behavior. If someone lies under oath and that lie obstructs justice, then it is criminal behavior. It causes injury to the innocent party in the dispute. That is what makes it a crime, not the power that the government has taken upon itself to compel honesty. The fact that the government has the power to punish non compliance does not make non compliance a crime.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I guess I just reject the criminalizing of non criminal behavior. If someone lies under oath and that lie obstructs justice, then it is criminal behavior. It causes injury to the innocent party in the dispute. That is what makes it a crime, not the power that the government has taken upon itself to compel honesty. The fact that the government has the power to punish non compliance does not make non compliance a crime.

  • IKNOWWhy

    Why isnt Roger Clemons Convicted? Because since the US doesnt wear sheets & pillowcases nowadays they Strip a Negro with their Power. Which is why the Sand Neg$@# (the muslims) are making the US spend Trillions of dollars, Because of the White US’s Lying Unjust Hypocritical As#.

  • IKNOWWhy

    Why isnt Roger Clemons Convicted? Because since the US doesnt wear sheets & pillowcases nowadays they Strip a Negro with their Power. Which is why the Sand Neg$@# (the muslims) are making the US spend Trillions of dollars, Because of the White US’s Lying Unjust Hypocritical As#.


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