THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE: A CyberZine #11, 15 March 1999


This will be the last JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE for a while. From time to time we may send out this or that, but not with the regularity and ferocity of the past two and a half months.

I, for example, hope, the next time I’m in New York’s Chinatown, to write down the words on the base of Confucius’ statue, about which I talked in J.M.E. # 9, and send them to everyone. Rachel Axelrod and our vast network of researchers inside The Beltway may have more to tell us about David Duke’s connections to racist organizations in South Africa and Germany. Other things may come up. Such as . . .

A friend has written to say, “Now that it’s ‘over’ the question is: What does it all mean?” We invite the readers of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE to come forward with their answers. If you would like to compose a SHORT essay on what you think “it” all means for us as individuals and for our country, we will publish your thoughts here in some future issue.

For the time being, we here at J.M.E. still feel the way we did at the beginning: the basic issue is not whether Willy is slick or he lied or he’s a womanizer. The basic issue is the Police State tactics with which Ken Starr pursued his case.

As our feature essay this time we offer one by Anthony Lewis from THE NEW YORK TIMES of 6 March.

But first, this excerpt from the Public Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On His Decision To Vote No on Both Articles of Impeachment which was entered into the Congressional Record on 11 February.

“The President has admitted before a Federal grand jury terribly embarrassing personal conduct and has seen a videotape of that grand jury testimony broadcast to the entire nation with excerpts replayed over and over again. This modern day version of the public stockade has been difficult to witness for those who know this man and his family and care about them.”

Justice Harry Blackman died a short while ago. He’s the one who said THE most basic human right is THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE.

Here is Anthony Lewis’ essay. Following it, some final comments about our readership and a fond, for now at least, farewell.



BOSTON — I saw things this past year,” Monica Lewinsky told Barbara Walters, “that I didn’t know happened in this country.” What happened was that an out-of-control prosecutor and his thuggish deputies threatened and grossly abused Ms. Lewinsky, her family and her friends. And the purpose was not to fight crime of any serious kind but to destroy the President of the United States.

In the ABC television interview we heard a young woman describe a tawdry sexual entanglement. Viewers might think her sympathetic or silly. But one thing was overwhelmingly clear. It was simply preposterous that those sexual antics should have produced a year of prosecutorial inquisition and the impeachment of the President.

Mr. Starr’s methods are the real story in Andrew Morton’s “Monica’s Story.” Literary critics may mock the book’s mawkishness. But it tells us important things about prosecutorial abuse — abuse of a kind that most of us, not only Ms. Lewinsky, did not know happened in this country.

When Linda Tripp set the trap at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City on Jan. 16, 1998, Mr. Starr’s agents took Ms. Lewinsky to Room 1012. A deputy prosecutor said they were ready to charge her with perjury, obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury, witness tampering and conspiracy — and she could go to prison for 27 years.

All those dread crimes were because she had signed an affidavit denying “sexual relations” with President Clinton. No honorable prosecutor would bring even a misdemeanor charge on that basis. And in fact, the affidavit had not yet been filed in court — and would not have been if the Starr deputies had allowed Ms. Lewinsky to call her lawyer.

Mr. Starr has steadfastly denied that she was kept from telephoning her lawyer. But the Morton book produces much evidence to the contrary. When Ms. Lewinsky asked to use the bathroom, a telephone was removed from it first. When she was finally allowed to call her mother, an agent had his hand ready to cut her call off if she said anything about where and with whom she was.

In Room 1012, Mr. Starr has said, Miss Lewinsky was “in a non-custodial setting.” The Morton book is utterly convincing in its picture of a young woman overborne, terrorized over many hours, cut off from the world. The experience left her with nightmares “of being trapped and drowning.”

A telling detail in the book is Mr. Starr’s treatment of Catherine Allday Davis, a friend in whom Ms. Lewinsky had confided. Ms. Davis was flown from Tokyo to appear before the grand jury. “It was awful,” she said. “I’m no prude, but they wanted very, very specific details about their sexual relationship. I thought it was wrong and quite disgusting.”

Mr. Starr’s office subpoenaed Ms. Davis’s computer. And over objections from her and her lawyer, her E-mail, including private correspondence about members of her family, was published in Mr. Starr’s referral to the House.

On July 27, 1998, Ms. Lewinsky met with Starr deputies to be questioned at length about what she would tell the grand jury if granted immunity. All had agreed that it would be a totally secret meeting. But when she got home, she turned on the television set and heard a reporter say that Monica Lewinsky had met the deputies and admitted a sexual relationship with the President.

Some time after she appeared before the grand jury, Mr. Starr wanted a videotaped deposition from her, the book says, about “how, when, where and why she had performed oral sex on the President and . . . other intimate details.” Why videotape? For someone’s private delectation, or so that the world could see it? Ms. Lewinsky was devastated at the demand. When her lawyers objected, the questioning took place without cameras.

In the television interview Ms. Lewinsky did not discuss Mr. Starr’s methods — because he had forbidden her to do so. Under her immunity agreement she cannot talk to the press without his permission. He is using that clause for the outrageous purpose of protecting himself from criticism. That is consistent with his assertion last year that criticism of his office could amount to obstruction of justice.

“What do you think of Ken Starr?” Barbara Walters asked. Ms. Lewinsky replied: “I’m too afraid to answer.”

[Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company]


Finally, we had planned to publish some of the more comical items our readers have sent us over the past more than a month now since J.M.E. #10. And there were some good ones too, but as we put together this last, for now at least, EMAILITE we seem too sobered to feel very funny.

What has happened to our country over the past year is grim and just because The President wasn’t kicked out of The White House does not mean “our great constitution prevailed.” If you’re feeling real good about the way things turned out, we recommend you read Ronald Dworkin’s “The Wounded Constitution” in the March 18th issue of THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS. That ought to wipe the smile off your face.

On the other hand, we can in some small and modest way quietly congratulate each other for helping to stop the progress of Ken Starr’s and the Radical Right Wing’s effort to establish a Police State, but a party is certainly not called for.

Although it’s not possible to end on a comic or even upbeat note, we did think it would be interesting for all of you to know something about the great diversity of people, numbering about 150 souls, who make up this tribe of EMAILTES.

Your fellow EMAILITES include: poets–including a winner of the National Book Award for Poetry, painters, actors, musicians, composers, young mothers at home with their babies, “a feisty old lady”–her own description, lawyers–lots of lawyers, a clerk in a federal district court, librarians, book editors and publishers, a craftsman who does fancy inlay on expensive guitars, a producer at National Public Radio, independent film and TV producers, college professors, elementary school teachers, farmers, congressmen and senators, ministers, theatre directors, newspaper editors and reporters, an Arctic botanist, a star of a prime time network TV sitcom, college administrators, psychologists, graphic designers, a book store owner, a free lance food writer, two bread bakers, college students, literary and theatrical agents, government workers inside The Beltway–one of them inside The White House, an art therapist, a director of philanthropic giving for one of the largest drug companies in America, magazine editors, and, naturally, some unemployed people: a pretty diverse group.

Okay. Enough is enough. Here is how, six weeks ago, I had planned to end this series:

“This is the last JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE for awhile, maybe forever. Time now for the Daring Masked Man, his trusty Computer, Silver, and his faithful cyber-companion, Internet, to slip quietly into the wooded hills surrounding Judevine Mountain and disappear until, once again, sometime, someplace the call comes forth to reappear and fight the never ending battle for Truth and Justice and The American Way. And so, as the sun sinks slowly in the west, it is time to say, Thank You All, a Fond Farewell and . . . Hi Ho Silver Away!”

Well, as I’ve said, things seem too grim for such levity.

If you have thoughts about what it all means, please do compose them and send them in. We’ll do another EMAILITE when the time is right and hopefully that will be sometime in the not too distant future.

Until then, be well, keep the faith, garden.