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ggdwill

Bill Clinton's Impeachment.

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The ex-President should have never been asked about - and never have had the opportunity to lie about - his sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky. Despite the repetitive, off-base excuse about it being no one's business but his own that the liberal apologists clung to, they actually were right that it should have never been the government's business.

Clinton was asked about Monica Lewinsky to try to show a pattern of infidelity and womanizing in order to strengthen the prosecution's case in a sexual harrasment suit against him. The facts alleged in this suit were that Clinton, before he was President, had exposed himself to Gennifer Flowers in his Arkansas hotel room.

This shouldn't have been illegal for two reasons. First, harrasment should be defined as repeated, unwanted attention despite requests to be left alone and/or attempts to flee - regardless of the type of attention involved. He allegedly only exposed himself once. Second, it was his hotel room. The hotel had rented this space to him, and for a period of time it was effectively his property. If Ms. Flowers didn't like what was going on there, she should have left and that would have been the end of it.

So, I'm posting this because I want to know, if all of the above is true, was telling the truth in a court of law the right thing to do in this case? Was there an interest greater than his own career, financial security, and possibly even freedom that Clinton should have considered before he committed perjury? If so, what was it?

- Grant

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So, I'm posting this because I want to know, if all of the above is true, was telling the truth in a court of law the right thing to do in this case?
Yes, it would have been. Now are you asking whether by legal standards he actually committed perjury?

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First, harrasment should be defined as repeated, unwanted attention despite requests to be left alone and/or attempts to flee - regardless of the type of attention involved. He allegedly only exposed himself once.

I don't see why it has to be repeated. Miss Flowers did not consent, and Clinton knew it--that sounds like harassment to me!

Second, it was his hotel room. The hotel had rented this space to him, and for a period of time it was effectively his property.

The legal term for that is custody. It gave him a right to invite Miss Flowers to the room or to ask her to leave. But it did not give him a right to violate her rights while she was in the room.

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I am not so sure how exposing yourself to someone is necessarily a violation of their rights. Sure you are "forcing" them to see your genetalia for at least a split second, but again they are free to leave, you are not forcing them to stay against their will.

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My point is that you shouldn't have to get the consent of a guest to do something while inside property that is in your custody.

As long as he didn't physically harm her or restrain her, and as long as he didn't steal from her; her right were no violated.

- Grant

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LazloWalrus,

I don't see how it does. While there is certainly a very strong correlation between odd sexual behavior such as flashing someone and sexual violence, it is still only a correlation. There are so many other factors present in a particular situation that would make someone feel physically threatened besides the act of exposure itself. The things that were said before the exposure, the tone in the exposer's voice, the lighting of the room, any presence of a past sexual relationship between the two people, etc. These should all be considered when making a judgement about whether or not the exposure itself was the final act that crossed the line from an expression into a threat.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that "rape" as such does not exist. Rather it is merely a type of assault, because it is the coercion, and not the sex, that violated the rights of the victim.

- Grant

Edited by ggdwill

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My point is that you shouldn't have to get the consent of a guest to do something while inside property that is in your custody.

As long as he didn't physically harm her or restrain her, and as long as he didn't steal from her; her right were no violated.

So he could have, for example, promised to give her some documents if she gave him $1000, and then put away the money without giving her anything, just because it was in his hotel room? Check your premises.

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In fact, I would go so far as to say that "rape" as such does not exist. Rather it is merely a type of assault, because it is the coercion, and not the sex, that violated the rights of the victim.

You cannot really separate the coercion from the sex in the case of rape.

But more importantly, your premise seems to be that a person does not have a right to choose whom he has sex with. If you went to a massage therapist, he could have sex with you and you couldn't complain because you have already given your consent for him to touch you. I very much disagree; I think sex is a very important part of one's life and therefore if you have any right to your life at all, you definitely have a right to say whom you allow to have sex with you and whom you don't.

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So he could have, for example, promised to give her some documents if she gave him $1000, and then put away the money without giving her anything, just because it was in his hotel room? Check your premises.

I think you need to check yours. The last time I checked mine, defrauding someone out of $1,000 is stealing.

- Grant

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You cannot really separate the coercion from the sex in the case of rape.

But more importantly, your premise seems to be that a person does not have a right to choose whom he has sex with. If you went to a massage therapist, he could have sex with you and you couldn't complain because you have already given your consent for him to touch you. I very much disagree; I think sex is a very important part of one's life and therefore if you have any right to your life at all, you definitely have a right to say whom you allow to have sex with you and whom you don't.

Uh, I didn't "seperate" them, I just pointed out that it's not the sexual contact itself, but rather the fact that it occurs under coercion or threat, that makes it a violation of rights. With that said, I don't see any reason why rape should be punished any more harshly than any other type of assault.

Not that it matters anyways since I don't think the government should be involved in the punishment beyond conviction. You can read my ideas about that here. I guess the only way it would matter is when the judge determines the length of the sentence.

I don't understand your analogy involving getting a massage. Being touched during a massage and being touched during sex are two very dictinct things - especially considering that you don't pay a meusseuse to massage your genitals.

- Grant

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I think you need to check yours. The last time I checked mine, defrauding someone out of $1,000 is stealing.

That would be a relatively loose interpretation of the word, but I don't want to quibble. On to the more essential point:

I don't see any reason why rape should be punished any more harshly than any other type of assault.

This is because you don't see any additional damage done to the victim. You think that kicking somebody in his stomach and raping a woman only differ in what part of the victim's body was touched. A shoe against your belly or a penis against your vagina--what difference does it make. What you are missing is the crucial importance of sexual integrity to a person's life. It is this integrity that a rapist assaults, and also what Bill Clinton assaulted according to Miss Flowers.

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To answer your question LazloWalrus,

I don't see how you can equate brandishing a weapon with brandishing a sexual organ. I can't think of any legitimate reason to point a gun at someone unless you are prepared to use it. On the other hand, showing one's penis could be for any number of reasons (such as, say, beads at Mardi Gras). As I said in one of my earlier posts, there are many other facts that have to be considered in a particular case before you can determine if the exposure itself was a threat and/or harrassment.

- Grant

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On the other hand, showing one's penis could be for any number of reasons (such as, say, beads at Mardi Gras).

So could showing a weapon also be an innocent act, depending on the context. However, in the contexts under discussion, exposing oneself is clearly a threatening act.

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IAmMetaphysical and ggdwill. Sorry, I should have been more specific.

Ah, now I get it, you think the case against Clinton is that he threatened Miss Flowers by showing her his "weapon of rape." As Inspector pointed out, whether or not that is a threat depends on the context of the situation.

I think there is a case agaist exposure even if there is clearly no threat of rape--for example, if the person exposing herself is a woman. If she knows she has the consent of all who are to see her, it's fine; but if she doesn't, she has to obtain it first, and then she can expose herself.

Here is a related quote from Miss Rand, which I am copying from here:

No one has the right to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately owned street).... Similarly, the rights of those who seek pornography would not be infringed by rules protecting the rights of those who find pornography offensive—e.g., sexually explicit posters may properly be forbidden in public places; warning signs, such as "For Adults Only," may properly be required of private places which are open to the public. This protects the unconsenting, and has nothing to do with censorship, i.e., with prohibiting thought or speech.

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There is a line, and it is contextual. I do not think that the simple act of exposing oneself alone can be considered a violation of rights. Does one have the right to not have to see the body parts of another? Is it the exposure of genitals or the percieved threat of sexual assault that is the problem? Was Clinton's (alleged?) exposure a come on, a flirt, or was it a threat?(I do believe there is a difference, the same difference between force and persuasion, albeit in the case of exposure of genitalia not a very good attempt at persuasion, if it was flirting). My point is that not all exposure is force, and neither is flirting, unless there has been an explicit request for the "exposer" not to do so. So if she had said that she didn't want to see his penis, and he still showed it to her AND DID NOT LET HER LEAVE, then that would be force, but not because there has to be an agreement, but because of the element of force involved when you show someone something they had explicitly stated they do not want to see AND they have no way of not seeing it or escaping the situation. This all depends on context AND an objective definition of "threat" it is NOT a threat if I am just hanging out naked in my hotel room while you are there. You may not like it, you may think that it is inappropriate, but there is nothing objectively wrong with the human body. BUT, if I was masturbating and making leering comments to you, then I pose an objective coercive threat to your body, sexually.

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At the risk of spending the rest of eternity in hell, I'm going to have to say that I disagree with the quote by AR that Capitalism Forever posted.

If "Family Fun Town" advertised video games, pizza, and ballon-sculpting clowns and yet when you walked in you were inundated with hard core pornography, I would have a problem with that, and I would sue them for fraud. If, however, Walmart claims to be a distributor of a virtually limitless range of products for the home, office, and everywhere else, what reasonable person would think that pornography doesn't qualify? I mean, they sell cigarettes and heavy metal magazines and people don't find that offensive enough to conjure up rationalizations like the one AR did. Unless a business explicitly states that they don't stock pornography, or if they implicitly state that they don't by explicity saying that they only sell something else, where's the violation?

Also, please keep in mind that I'm only talking about private places (no matter how "open to the public" they might be). I'm totally in support of "censoring" public places to keep them decent. Besides, I can't see any reason why a court house or a police station should spend tax money on Playboy.

Where is that quote from anyways? I've never seen it.

I hope this contributed to the discussion.

- Grant

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If, however, Walmart claims to be a distributor of a virtually limitless range of products for the home, office, and everywhere else, what reasonable person would think that pornography doesn't qualify?

It does qualify, but there would have to be some clear indication on packaging of the movies regarding their content, and it shouldn't be played on the TVs on display.

I mean, they sell cigarettes and heavy metal magazines and people don't find that offensive enough to conjure up rationalizations like the one AR did.

Which part of the quote do you think is a rationalization, and why? Accusing Ayn Rand of intellectual dishonesty is not something we take lightly on this forum, so if you do it, you'd better be prepared to back it up with a very solid set of arguments.

Unless a business explicitly states that they don't stock pornography, or if they implicitly state that they don't by explicity saying that they only sell something else, where's the violation?

It's not about the stocking, it's about showing it to customers who don't consent to it being shown to them. There is a difference between having a clearly labeled "erotics" aisle and playing clips of Monica in action to entertain customers waiting in the check-out line.

Where is that quote from anyways? I've never seen it.

According to Stephen Speicher, who originally posted it, it's from Part III of the article "Thought Control," published in Vol. III, No. 2 of The Ayn Rand Letter, October 22, 1973. (I haven't read that article myself.)

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I don't think that quote is a rationalization, but it is just an assertion and not an argument, which is what I find wrong with it. I assume though that she did provide an argument or at least a reference to an argument that the quoter left out.

Edited by IAmMetaphysical

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No one has the right to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately owned street).... Similarly, the rights of those who seek pornography would not be infringed by rules protecting the rights of those who find pornography offensive—e.g., sexually explicit posters may properly be forbidden in public places; warning signs, such as "For Adults Only," may properly be required of private places which are open to the public. This protects the unconsenting, and has nothing to do with censorship, i.e., with prohibiting thought or speech.

I wonder where she says where she derives this belief. It would seem as though she's trying to claim people have a right to not be offended. I fail to see how "protecting the unconsenting" is grounded in Objectivist philosophy at all. Where is the objective "limit" on what an individual just has to deal with? For example. Using Ayn Rand's own reasoning.

I am a Jew,

Crosses offend me,

I and my children should be protected because we don't want to see crosses,

Private companies must clearly label "Christian" sections of a store.

or

I am a Christian,

I think it's disgusting that Jesus’ birthday has been reduced to a consumer holiday with Santa Clause being honored,

I shouldn’t have to look at Santa because he offends me,

It is proper for me to DEMAND that stores have special "Santa" sections and that any images of Santa are taken off the streets.

The list could go on and on. What makes pornography or nudism so taboo, so horrific, that it requires special rules? This quote seems as though it was written by a religious zealot, not the founder of Objectivism. Ayn Rand was right. The issue has nothing to do with censorship but what about private property rights? I guess they're trumped by whether or not someone might be offended. The proper rational response to nudism and pornography should be the same as anything else that offends people. If you don't like it just leave. Period.

Edited by Drew1776

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I agree with the above, although I am not sure that Ayn Rand was making an argument for the "right to not be offended". There are certain cases where someone'e speech does constitute a violation of rights, in the case for instance if someone were to blare their horns at 2 in the morning, or putting up flashing neon lights on their own house which makes it impossible to sleep for the neighbors (this is because when you flash a light, you project it onto someone else's property)

What I think the quote does, is slightly stretch those protections to include the right to not have to see that which is offensive. I disagree, but I do not think that Ayn Rand was that way off the mark.

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