December 19, 1998: The Impeachment Of Bill Clinton! A Day Which Will Live In Infamy!

On this day 16 years ago, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted charges of impeachment against President Bill Clinton!

Two charges, perjury and obstruction of justice, gained a party line majority vote, and the 42 nd President faced trial in January and February 1999, and was found not guilty, with only 45 votes for conviction on perjury, and 50 votes for conviction on obstruction of justice, with 67 votes needed to convict and remove. Ten and five Republicans supported Clinton on the two counts, and all Democrats supported the President, while 45 and 50 Republicans voted to convict.

The impeachment and trial was a mockery, with no just cause, just an attempt to besmirch the reputation of Bill Clinton, but it failed, in the sense that Clinton came out shining, growing in popularity, and this has continued since 1999.

So any attempt to impeach Barack Obama will have the same effect, with the same result, but that does not mean that the Republicans, with 54 Senators now, instead of 55, will avoid moving toward impeachment, since the GOP is much more right wing now than even in 1998-1999!

Historic Action Of Barack Obama On Changing Isolation Policy Toward Cuba!

When history is recorded on the Obama Presidency, the President’s move to end the isolation of Cuba, a failed policy for 54 years, will be high on the list of accomplishments!

The decision under Dwight D. Eisenhower to start an embargo on Cuba on January 17, 1961, was an historic mistake that has failed to bring down the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro.

Who would have thought that, through thick and thin, and even without Soviet support for the past 20 years, that the Castro brothers would have the continuation of the longest personal dictatorship in modern times, surviving through eleven Presidencies?

It is not an issue of endorsing the harsh dictatorship of Fidel and Raul Castro, as that, rightfully, has been, and continues to be, something worth condemning.

But if we were to decide not to deal with governments that are oppressive, then we would not have diplomatic relations with much of the world, and certainly not with China and Vietnam, but Richard Nixon opened up to China; Jimmy Carter established diplomatic ties to China; and Bill Clinton established diplomatic ties with Vietnam, a scant generation after 58,000 Americans died in the disastrous Vietnam War!

The Castro Brothers, in their mid to high 80s are on the way out, and Raul has said he will retire in 2018, and there is no obvious family heir, so the opportunity to influence the future of the island is likely by America having diplomatic relations with Cuba, and promoting trade, travel and opening up to American influence.

The Congress should lift the embargo, but even if they do not, short term, the failed policy is on its way out, and a majority of Americans support opening up to Cuba.

Barack Obama has been a profile in courage on this, and Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Robert Menendez, and House members Ileana Ros Lehtinen, and Mario Diaz Balart, and other Cuban American politicians are living in the past, with their narrow minded views on their homeland to go into the dustbin of history! The older generation in Florida and elsewhere may still be bitterly opposed to change, but the younger generation supports opening up to Cuba, which will have a massive short range and long range effect on that nation!

Presidents In Last Two Years In Office: Tradition Of Opposition Congress And Little Legislation Accomplished!

When one looks back at the past century of Presidential history, it is clear that it is common for the President to have to deal with an opposition Congress in the last two years of his tenure, and in two cases, a divided Congress in the last two years in the White House.

This, of course, means little can be accomplished, other than by judicial appointments, and by executive orders, as significant legislation is unlikely.

Look at the list of Presidents who dealt with opposition Congresses in their last two years:

Woodrow Wilson–1919-1920
Dwight D. Eisenhower–1959-1960
Richard Nixon–1973-1974
Gerald Ford–1975-1976
Ronald Reagan–1987-1988
George H. W. Bush–1991-1992
Bill Clinton 1999-2000
George W. Bush–2007-2008
Barack Obama–2015-2016

Add to this list two Presidents who had a divided Congress in their last two years:

William Howard Taft–1911-1912–Democratic House and Republican Senate
Herbert Hoover–1931-1932–Democratic House and Republican Senate

So if all the Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama are counted, it means ELEVEN Presidents faced a Congress unfriendly to them in the last two years of office, with only TR, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter having “friendly” Congresses in their last two years, with Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy in office too short a term to qualify, since they died in office, unlike Gerald Ford, who actually completed a short term.

So 11 of 17 Presidents, two thirds of the total, have had to deal with the reality of the decline of their ability to control events, other than judicial appointments and executive orders!

Tom Coburn Blocks Funding To Prevent Veteran Suicides, Now 22 Per Day, As He Leaves The US Senate

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is about to leave the US Senate after ten years, and six previous years in the US House of Representatives.

Coburn has been one of the absolutely worst members of Congress, known as MR. NO, constantly blocking action on numerous pieces of legislation by using “senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to prevent legislation he does not like. He has abused his position in the Senate, and will NOT be missed by anyone who believes in rational, decent behavior, which Coburn seems incapable of!

Coburn has opposed abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay rights, and has supported gun rights and the death penalty. He has also been against deficit spending and pork barrel projects to the extreme. He has also worked against environmentalists on a regular basis, in that joining his Oklahoma colleague, Senator James Inhofe, making Oklahoma the state with the combination of the two worst Senators of any state in the Union!

Coburn is a medical doctor, an obstetrician, who, however, has opposed Obama Care. His commitment to life is clearly, a mixed one, as he has now caused outrage in opposing a bill to promote veterans suicide prevention, which is at 22 veterans per day, complaining it would not work, and that its $22 million cost is too much. This is beyond belief, as $22 million is a literal drop in the bucket of the federal government budget, and is supported by a vast margin of the US Senate and House, as the least that can be done to stem the suicide epidemic facing former military personnel.

The whole concept of “Senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to stop a bill should be ended, as no member of Congress all by himself or herself, should be able to stop what a vast majority of the Congress wishes to do!

How can this Senator sleep at night, and we can all hope that he will drop his opposition to this bill before Congress adjourns, as there is no justification for his preventing what the vast majority of Congress supports! He can vote NO of course, but should not be able to block the legislation all on his own!

Barack Obama Should Veto Continuing Resolution, Forcing Congress To Stay In DC And Change $1.1 Trillion Budget!

One of the most important pieces of legislation to reach Barack Obama’s desk–the $1.1 trillion Continuing Resolution legislation that would cover the government budget through September 30, 2015, and allow Congress to leave, and would avoid a government shutdown—should be vetoed by President Obama!

This is a bold move, to ask Obama to veto the bill, but it has many problems, including allowing the big banks, led by Citigroup, to avoid responsibility for another collapse of the banking system, which seems more and more likely, and would have taxpayers save the banks once again, adding to the national debt! This would be possible by the repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation that prevents future such disaster! Senator Elizabeth Warren has made national news by her denunciation of this action on the Senate floor.

Additionally, allowing wealthy people to give ten times what they can now contribute to political campaigns is a further extension of the Citizens United Case, in which the Supreme Court has allowed millionaires and billionaires to engage in the “buying” of elections, through unlimited spending!

Also, pension protection for public and private pensions would no longer be guaranteed, causing disaster for millions of workers who would no longer be assured of the protection of their hard earned pensions when they retire, or even for those who have retired.

Additionally, nutrition standards set by Michelle Obama would be relaxed; and DC would not be able to allow marijuana use, losing control over its own jurisdiction by interference of Congress, despite the vote of the population in November’s election.

24 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against this bill, including most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and it should be vetoed by Obama, on the basis of too much lost and too little gained.

It is time for Obama to show aggressiveness, as what does he have to lose now?

Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders Turn The Democrats Toward A New Populism!

The two New England heroes of progressivism, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, are pushing the Democratic Party to return to its principles, and promote a new Populism, in which the battle for the middle class and the poor; the ethnic minorities; women; gays and lesbians, labor; the environment; support for veterans; and protection of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare are the priorities over protecting Wall Street privilege and engaging us in never ending foreign conflict with our troops as cannon fodder for the interests of those who feel invasion and war actions are the answer to our problems at home, which they, most certainly, are not!

It looks more than ever that Hillary Clinton, if she runs, will be challenged by one or the other of these two progressive heroes. Hillary may end up as the nominee of the Democrats, but her closeness to Wall Street and her “hawkish” image in foreign policy hurt her for the battle ahead!

We need a President who is willing to challenge the establishment, and we need a President who will fight Wall Street and the defense establishment, and work to undermine the one percent oligarchy which is undermining our democracy!

We need a President who has principles that he or she will not bend, to continue the work begun by Barack Obama, but needing a continuation under the next President!

A Warren or Sanders candidacy would make Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat, work to return to the base that has made the Democratic Party a party of great accomplishment, instead of acting as a moderate alternative to the Republican Party.

Three Outstanding U.S. Senators Retiring: A Loss To The Institution

As the 113th Congress nears its end, setting a record as the worst, most unproductive Congress in modern history, it is time to reflect on the loss of three outstanding US Senators who are retiring, after decades of exceptional service.

Those three Senators are:

Tom Harkin of Iowa
Carl Levin of Michigan
Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia

Harkin and Rockefeller served 30 years in the Senate, while Levin served 36 years.

All were principled men who stood up for the middle class and promoted progressive values and principles in their years in the Senate.

All three were men of conscience who worked against right wing attacks on the Democratic Party and its constituents, and added dignity to the Senate.

All three will be greatly missed, but will go down in the annals of Senate history, as having been among the greats in its history.

Dick Cheney: The Most Villainous Vice President In American History, Bar None!

America has had 47 Vice Presidents, and some of them have been true disasters and villains.

Aaron Burr, Vice President under Thomas Jefferson (1801-1805), tried to steal the Presidential Election of 1800 from his own running mate, Thomas Jefferson. He then proceeded to kill Alexander Hamilton in a totally legal gun duel in 1804. He was then accused of a plot with Spain to take away territories from the United States, was captured, brought to trial for treason, and found not guilty. In his old age, his wife sued him for divorce due to his serial cheating, which she had been unaware of, and left him in poverty.

John C. Calhoun, Vice President under John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) and Andrew Jackson (1829-1833), showed lack of loyalty to Adams, switching support to Jackson, and then threatening to lead South Carolina in seceding from the Union, provoking the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833.

Schuyler Colfax, first Vice President (1869-1873) under Ulysses S. Grant, was involved in the Credit Mobilier Scandal, and was therefore, forced out as the second term running mate of Grant.

Spiro Agnew, Vice President under Richard Nixon (1969-1973) was a divisive, confrontational Vice President, who was forced to resign in disgrace due to involvement in financial scandal, including taking cash bribes in his years as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and also as Vice President.

And then there was Dick Cheney, who enriched himself through his associations with Haliburton, a company which gained from war profiteering. He helped to promote war in Iraq, knowing full well that the war was based on false pretenses, and he advocated and promoted EIT (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques), meaning torture against detainees said to be involved in terrorist plots against America, including September 11, even though it went against American values of ethics and morality, as well as violation of international law. Cheney has never apologized for his actions or behavior, or had doubts in any form, while enriching himself in a totally corrupt manner. His daughter, Liz Cheney, has become the younger female version of her father; and his wife, Lynne Cheney, has shown herself to be no better.

Meanwhile, many Republicans, including Colin Powell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others have condemned the methods and actions of Dick Cheney, and there are calls for him and George W. Bush to be accountable for war crimes, although there is no possibility of them ever facing trial.

Without a doubt, Dick Cheney stands out as the most villainous Vice President in American history bar none!

Can The US Win Success In War On Terror By Utilizing Tactics Of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist North Korea, And ISIL?

It is clear that America lives in a different era since the September 11, 2001 attacks, and that our national security structure must do everything within legitimate limits to protect our nation!

There is no real argument with that fact, but the question arises whether this nation can win success in the War on Terror by utilizing tactics of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist North Korea, ISIL, and other despotic regimes throughout history.

If our government lacks any ethics, morals, and sense of decency in its actions against our enemies, it means our soldiers and civilians will be treated in the same despotic manner, whenever any of them are unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of the enemy.

But even if the enemy employs these despicable tactics is NO justification for us to do the same, as we are a democracy that believes in human dignity, human freedom, human rights, and the rule of law!

Torture is inhumane, and does not gain actionable intelligence by any measure we know of, but even if we think it does, it is against all common sense, as to become a “monster” in order to fight a “monster” is to lose our purpose as a nation which sets a standard of civilized behavior for the world.

Some will say that dropping the atomic bomb in World War II; firebombing Dresden and Tokyo in World War II; using drones in the War on Terror; and other similar tactics is the same situation, no better than CIA torture of detainees in prison.

But in actual fact, while the examples given are reprehensible, they are part of the laws of war, while brutal torture tactics are not so, as detainees are supposed to be treated with respect, which, of course, is why what happened with the Nazis in the Holocaust of World War II; the Cambodian Holocaust of the late 1970s by the Khmer Rouge; and other mass murders by ISIL and other groups is a totally different category of what must be called war crimes!

And sadly, what the CIA has done, and what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have authorized and defended, IS a war crime, plain and simple!

The Disgraceful Breaking Of International Law And Ethics And Morality Of The Bush-Cheney Administration!

Just about the most shocking event in many years is the revelation yesterday in the US Senate of the total lack of ethics, morality and decency, and the disgraceful breaking of international law by the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney Administration!

Torture is outlawed by all decent nations, and just because terrorists and some rogue regimes choose to torture is not a justification for such practices. The most obscene, reprehensible tactics authorized by the Bush-Cheney regime qualifies them for facing trial under international law as war criminals, plain and simple.

This crime is worse than ANYTHING ever done under any President of the United States, bar none, and should, rightfully, place George W. Bush in the very bottom of the rankings of Presidents for all time!

Dick Cheney will always stand out as the absolutely worst Vice President in history, with no conscience, ethics or morals, on top of being a war profiteer from the military involvement in Iraq, through his connections with Haliburton!

Bush and Cheney will escape judgment in an international court, but their names will be forever besmirched in history, and the fact that decent people in both political parties, such as Senator John McCain of Arizona (himself tortured in a North Vietnamese prison), Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Senator Diane Feinstein of California, and Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia join in condemning their lawlessness is a sign that we have not lost all morality and ethics. In effect, the Presidential Election of 2000, where Al Gore won the biggest popular vote margin for a losing candidate (due to questionable Supreme Court intervention) led to this monstrosity in the name of the American people! And if John McCain, by far the preferable GOP candidate in 2000, had been able to overcome the reprehensible tactics of George W. Bush in the primaries, and ended up running against Al Gore, this nation would have been assured of having a lawful, moral, ethical President, instead of the trash we put into the White House and the Vice Presidency!

It will take a long time for the American reputation to be revived to what it has been, and we have to work very hard to insure that, in the future, we elect to the Presidency ONLY men or women who have a basic sense of the limits of power; a sense of ethics and morality; and a sense of common decency and belief in international standards of behavior!

And to think that these reprehensible tactics did nothing to protect America, and instead endangers our citizens and military long into the future, is the ultimate irony above all!