PEEPING TOMS WITHOUT END, AMEN: Gennifer Flowers' "accusation!"

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2017

Part 2—Alter's vicious response:
Just a guess:

With this morning's report about Charlie Rose, the revival meeting-inflected chase after Bill Clinton is probably mostly over.

The children may blow with the breeze. In this morning's New York Times, Michelle Goldberg has already flipped about the need for Al Franken to resign. We'll guess that these idiots' latest return to the 1990s has also come to an end.

It's hard to keep up with the raging stampedes of a group which is so unfocused. That said, we might gain some insights from the recent cries about Bill Clinton, including the recent cri de coeur from the hapless Goldberg herself.

Yesterday, when we left off, Ross Douthat had caught up with some old friends from the 1990s. Almost inevitably, the New York Times' "excitable boy" had mentioned Gennifer Flowers first.

If we want to understand the current journalistic era, Gennifer Flower isn't a bad place to start. Let's get clear about the defining values of the nation's peeping Toms as of January 1992, when Flowers injected herself into a White House race.

At that time, Bill Clinton had long been regarded as the nation's most talented upcoming Democrat. For that reason, the RNC had been conducting some rather unreliable "opposition research" about him dating all the way back to 1988.

These events are described in The Hunting of the President, the 2000 book by Conason and Lyons which Douthat forgot to "skim" or "leaf" in his pseudo-review last week of the era in question.

At any rate, Clinton's entry into the 1992 race resulted in instant attacks. One such "attack" came from Flowers, who was paid $100,000 by the National Enquirer to tell her exciting tale.

At this point, we start to see the values of the Toms as of 1992. Once again, let's get clear on what Flowers wasn't saying:

She wasn't accusing Governor Clinton of sexual assault. She wasn't accusing Governor Clinton of sexual harassment.

She wasn't saying that Governor Clinton had dated her when she was 19 and he was 32. Flowers was born in January 1950. Clinton was only three years older—not even three and a half!

In short, Flowers wasn't accusing Clinton of the types of conduct being discussed with respect to the ludicrous, possibly criminal alleged conduct of people like Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore and now Charlie Rose. In fact, it isn't clear that she was "accusing" Clinton of anything at all.

She was saying something different. She was saying that she and Governor Clinton had conducted a torrid, twelve-year love affair—a love affair between consenting adults of roughly the same age.

We'll guess her statement wasn't true. But given the values of the time, it did set the peeping Toms off.

From Douthat's column, it isn't clear that he fully understands the difference between Flowers' "accusation" and some other accusations that have been made against Bill Clinton. In all honesty, it isn't clear that the excitable child understands much of anything about his old friends at all.

Douthat was only 12 years old when Flowers arrived on the scene. It isn't clear that he knows much about the era is question. But as excitable figures like Douthat and Goldberg start setting the nation's mental agenda, it's worth getting clear on a basic point:

When Flowers began attempting to take Candidate Clinton down, she was alleging an (extramarital) love affair, full and complete freaking stop.

At that time, that was enough to trigger our barrel of Toms. In 1987, they had eliminated the previous Democratic front-runner by hiding in bushes outside his house and catching him in the act of spending the night with a conventionally attractive woman who wasn't his actual wife.

They then eliminated Candidate Biden over a college plagiarism incident. After that, they began trying to eliminate Candidate Gore with questions about whether he'd smoked marijuana when he was 19 years old.

There were the values of these idiots at that point in time. Even now, it's important to understand who and what we're dealing with when the Douthats and the Goldbergs, along with the Thrushes and the Roses, tell us what we should care about, along with what we should think.

The extremely well-paid Gennifer Flowers alleged a love affair. At this point, we reach an extremely dark part of the era in question.

Over at Newsweek, Jonathan Alter didn't seem to know that he must "believe the accusers." He didn't even seem to know that he must "believe the women."

We've chatted with Alter a time or two. Long ago and far away, we lunched with him on one occasion.

Alter seems like a perfectly decent person to us. Surely, though, he ought to step forward at this time to explain the misogyny he so viciously demonstrated in the following way:

When Flowers launched her accusation, Alter didn't necessarily seem to believe what she'd thoughtfully said! It almost seemed that he was suggesting that some accusations, in this world, are perhaps maybe possibly false!

We can't tell you where the fellow got a weird idea like that. But he quickly presented a report in Newsweek—and no, we really aren't making this up—which said that Flowers, the accuser, had credibility problems!

Horrific, isn't it? Alter sounds like the kind of guy who might have waited for all the evidence in the Duke lacrosse case, then later at UVa! People like this need reeducation. Here's part of what he wrote:
ALTER (2/3/92): Gennifer Flowers also has credibility problems. Among them:

[...]

* Flowers claims she met Clinton at the Excelsior Hotel in 1979 or 1980. The hotel didn't open until late 1982.

[...]

* Flowers claims to have been part of an opening act for Roy Clark's band and to have joined the band's U.S. and European tours. But her own booking agent says she exaggerated her role.

[...]

* Flowers claims to have taken 50 hours of classes at the University of Arkansas. There is no record of her having attended the school.

* Flowers claims to have been Miss Teen Age America, 1967. She wasn't—that year, or any other.
Mistakenly, Flowers claimed that she'd been Miss Teen Age America. She'd claimed that she met "her Bill" at a hotel that didn't yet exist.

Anyone can make such minor understandable errors, but Alter was in need of reeducation. On the basis of these honest mistakes, he said that that Flowers had credibility problems—even seemed to suggest that she might be making false claims!

Last week, the excitable Douthat revisited a bunch of old friends, naming Flowers first. He forgot to mention what Alter wrote when Douthat had just turned 12. Because he apparently didn't skim, or even leaf, the Conason/Lyons book, he also didn't mention this gruesome excerpt:
CONASON/LYONS (page 25): Musicians and club owners who had worked with Flowers described her as manipulative and dishonest. Her resume falsely proclaimed her a graduate of a fashionable Dallas prep school she’d never attended. It also listed a University of Arkansas nursing degree she’d never earned and membership in a sorority that had never heard of her. Her agent told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that contrary to her claims, Flowers had never opened for comedian Rich Little. A brief gig on the Hee Haw television program had come to a bad end, the agent would later confirm, when Flowers simply vanished for a couple of weeks with a man she’d met in a Las Vegas casino—and then concocted a tale about having been kidnapped. She had never been Miss Teenage America. Even her “twin sister Genevieve” turned out to be purely a figment of Flowers’ imagination.
Nor did Douthat mention what his old friend said in her own 1995 book, Passion and Betrayal, from which she scored more cash. Thoughtfully, Douthat's friend recalled the first time she set eyes on Hillary Clinton, then Arkansas' first lady:
FLOWERS (1995): I was shocked. She looked like a big fat frump with her hair hanging down kind of curly and wavy. She had big, thick glasses; an ugly dress; and a big, fat butt.
Should any sane person rush to believe the statements made by such an "accuser?" Absent confirming evidence, we wouldn't suggest rushing in.

Douthat failed to mention any of this in Sunday's column—a column so clownish that, in a less ridiculous world, it would get a journalist fired, or at least shipped off to the countryside for years of reeducation. That said, you've never seen any of this in the pages of the New York Times, an enterprise which operates on the general level of the private Charlie Rose and his three million enablers, who stampede after Clinton/Gore/Clinton while kissing the ascots of people like Rose.

Did Bill Clinton, when he was governor, conduct extramarital relationships or affairs? We would assume he did. He seemed to say as much on 60 Minutes in January 1992, when he said he'd caused pain in his marriage, and that everyone knew what he was talking about.

("You know, I have acknowledged wrongdoing. I have acknowledged causing pain in my marriage...I think most Americans who are watching this tonight, they'll know what we're saying. They'll get it.")

Presumably, everyone did know what he and his wife were talking about. But just for the record, Gennifer Flowers wasn't accusing him of harassment or assault. She was accusing him, probably falsely, of a fully consensual love affair.

In those days, that was all the peeping Toms needed to stage their own crackpot affair.

In the face of all the excitement, Alter questioned Flowers' credibility! Why have you never seen any further reference to the points he mentioned about the remarkably coarse, error-riddled accuser who intruded on a White House election, attempting to take Clinton out?

Easy! As of 1992, your "press corps" was conducting its own love affair, a love affair with accusers! They blew right past the credibility problems of Flowers. They then blew past the credibility problems with Kathleen Willey, in remarkable ways we'll recall before the week is done.

Were other accusations against Bill Clinton true? It's very hard to know such things, especially when 1) the press is conducting a love affair and 2) the RNC is conducting a war.

Too funny, though! On Sunday, Douthat penned the dumbest statement in journalistic history:

"The story seems like it was probably mostly true."

That was his thrice-qualified assessment of "Troopergate." His next sentence may have been even dumber:

"I have less confidence about what was real in the miasma of Whitewater."

Whitewater was the murky assemblage of pseudo-scandals which gave its name to an era. Twenty-five years later, it remains a "miasma" to Douthat.

Just a guess! Because Whitewater didn't involve sex, it seems it may be largely probable that it didn't interest our young peeping Tom a whole lot. But go ahead! Enjoy a good laugh! He has less confidence about Whitewater than he does about Troopergate, concerning which he's so certain that he says it seems like it's probably mostly true!

It seems like it's probably mostly! This is the kind of brain disease which swirls through the conduct of Rose.

Tomorrow, we'll join Douthat as he revisits Monica Lewinsky. Friday, we'll look at Goldberg's work, in which she agrees that Clinton's a rapist, unless she has decided to change her mind by now.

They've jockeyed for spots on the Charlie Rose show. It's time for them all to go.

Tomorrow: The "predator" and the "willing intern"

21 comments:

  1. This blog makes me tense. The thoughts should be more congruent. I don't know what is being said. Should we love the other side really? The remarks thus far leave me unsure and worried. Bob says be like MLK yet then he says we are stupid and lazy. MLK would never say that so it's a mystery, like being hurled down a flight of darkened steps into a dusty basement of confusion and lies. Our side is smarter and better. We wouldn't have voted for Trump. So we are supposed to hold hands and forgive? It is as if the wild ducks of change and reason have all be shot and captured and eaten. The world is getting colder and meaner. There isn't any answers. We are spinning into a void and no one listens. I wonder what he will post next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably something about Bill Clinton. Or Al Gore. Just a guess.

      Delete
    2. No, it's called don't be a sanctimonious, dishonest maniac. Like just about everyone in the media these days.

      Bob's right about all this.

      Delete
    3. The Daily Howler is a beacon of sanity, a touchstone of all that is good about blogging.

      Delete
    4. 1;29 PM,
      Adam Serwer's piece in "The Atlantic" today, really calls out the dishonest, sanctimony of the press, and spells out how they tried to "gaslight" the public into thinking Trump's bigotry didn't swing the election.

      Delete
  2. The Clintons need to go away. Forever. Interns and cigars and getting rich in politics is their legacy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your legacy is posting bullshit comments.

      Delete
  3. Glad to see Rachel Maddow's dear friend Chris Matthews is out preaching Bob Somerby's sermon.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/20/chris-matthews-diagnoses-the-democratic-partys-deplorables-problem/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_1_na&utm_term=.ff4a8a701606

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not even sure what to say here, I've been reading the Daily Howler since the 2000 election, Bob Somerby helped me realize what the press was actually doing to Al Gore, because I was one of the liberals back then who was starting to believe the 'AlGore' stories.....
    Now I read as many political blogs as possible, mostly liberal but some conserartive and there is just nobody on the vast Internet who does what the Daily Howler does. Even today, it's pretty amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree.

      And he's the only one anywhere who's making sense of all the sex scolding going on.

      For a while there I thought that he was overstating his point about the MSNBC crowd. This latest sex mania/hyper-outrage proves it beyond doubt.

      Delete
    2. Mr. Somerby seldom ceases to amaze. Where does an Irish Catholic boy come to know so much? I'm not doubting it, just marveling at it. Still incomparable!

      Delete
    3. Yep. No one can cut and paste like old Bob.

      Must be all the practice he's had over the years.

      Delete
    4. Don’t forget that Bob also reports on the dogs that didn’t bark.

      Delete
    5. " ...reports ...."

      Now that is satire.

      Delete
  5. "At that time, Bill Clinton had long been regarded as the nation's most talented upcoming Democrat."

    The most suitable to betray the 'tribe', more like; DLC-style. Which he certainly was. Which is how we got to where we are now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I think this is how we got here:

      http://howhegotthere.blogspot.com/?m=1

      Delete
    2. We? Hahahaha!

      All you have is a small cubicle, a CRT with Dragonspeak, and a tired, repetitive, pointless script.

      Delete
    3. Mao,
      Did you see Trump wants to get rid of "net neutrality"? Probably because he's so anti-estab...ha ha ha ha ha. It's so ridiculous, I can't even type it.

      Delete
  6. No, I think this is how we got here:

    http://howhegotthere.blogspot.com/?m=1

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm going to tell you an ancient hax0r secret: There is no actual ranking system for hackers. Yes, I'm well-known, but that doesn't necessarily translate into being a good hacker. I personally try to avoid even using the term "hacking" to describe what I do, simply because it's such a loaded and controversial term.

    There are a lot of very bright people out there, and many of them specialize in ways that don't always lend themselves to the public eye. For example, my friend (and former classmate) Isaac Yamamoto, who I consider a pharmaceutical hacker, has a project intended to design cancer drugs free of intellectual property restrictions, making them accessible and affordable to the wider public (you can check out his web site atindysci.org). This is pretty much the pharmacological equivalent of many hacker-inspired open source projects, but because people tend to think of hacking as having to involve computers and security, it's not picked up by the same communities. 

    The people who end up on hacker "top-10" lists tend to have three things in common.

    1. They've committed crimes. (That's me.)
    2. They've been arrested. (That's also me.)
    3. The previous two have happened in a public manner. (ditto.) 

    There are many folks who do hacking-related things that aren't illegal, don't lead to arrest or prosecution, and happen outside of the public consciousness. Because hacking occupies a particular part of the public consciousness (particularly the media), there's an emphasis on cybercrime as being representative of hacking. In fact, there are hackers all around you - they may not call themselves hackers, and they may not be in the paper, but if they're finding a typical, creative solutions to problems, are they capable?

    This isn't intended to cast those hacker lists as valid or invalid. Only to suggest that they're limited in scope, encompassing only one person's definition (the author's) of hacking. Since hacking is inherently about overcoming barriers and preconceptions, it stands to reason that when thinking about hackers, we shouldn't limit ourselves to a given list of well-known people. You'd be better served by finding examples within your own community and social circle - after all, who knows? They could very well be future occupants of some future author's hacker top-10 list, if only that author expands their horizons a bit. Which is, in the end, what hacking is all about.
    People always seek of Access to get in touch with me for Hacking issues so i give them this mail : compositehacks@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm going to tell you an ancient hax0r secret: There is no actual ranking system for hackers. Yes, I'm well-known, but that doesn't necessarily translate into being a good hacker. I personally try to avoid even using the term "hacking" to describe what I do, simply because it's such a loaded and controversial term.

    There are a lot of very bright people out there, and many of them specialize in ways that don't always lend themselves to the public eye. For example, my friend (and former classmate) Isaac Yamamoto, who I consider a pharmaceutical hacker, has a project intended to design cancer drugs free of intellectual property restrictions, making them accessible and affordable to the wider public (you can check out his web site atindysci.org). This is pretty much the pharmacological equivalent of many hacker-inspired open source projects, but because people tend to think of hacking as having to involve computers and security, it's not picked up by the same communities. 

    The people who end up on hacker "top-10" lists tend to have three things in common.

    1. They've committed crimes. (That's me.)
    2. They've been arrested. (That's also me.)
    3. The previous two have happened in a public manner. (ditto.) 

    There are many folks who do hacking-related things that aren't illegal, don't lead to arrest or prosecution, and happen outside of the public consciousness. Because hacking occupies a particular part of the public consciousness (particularly the media), there's an emphasis on cybercrime as being representative of hacking. In fact, there are hackers all around you - they may not call themselves hackers, and they may not be in the paper, but if they're finding a typical, creative solutions to problems, are they capable?

    This isn't intended to cast those hacker lists as valid or invalid. Only to suggest that they're limited in scope, encompassing only one person's definition (the author's) of hacking. Since hacking is inherently about overcoming barriers and preconceptions, it stands to reason that when thinking about hackers, we shouldn't limit ourselves to a given list of well-known people. You'd be better served by finding examples within your own community and social circle - after all, who knows? They could very well be future occupants of some future author's hacker top-10 list, if only that author expands their horizons a bit. Which is, in the end, what hacking is all about.
    People always seek of Access to get in touch with me for Hacking issues so i give them this mail : compositehacks@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete