Bill Clinton

Supreme Court Once Again Stands Up To Presidential Assertion Of Executive Privilege, And Limits It!

The Supreme Court of the United States for the third time in 48 years has stood up to a President who asserted “Executive Privilege”, and was smacked down by a court including members appointed by the President who was involved in the Court case.

First, we had US V Nixon in July 1974, having to do with Richard Nixon and the Watergate tapes, which the Court unanimously, 8-0, ordered them handed over to the Watergate Special Prosecutor and the House Judiciary Committee. This led within weeks to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Associate Justice William Rehnquist recused himself from the case, appropriately, as he had worked earlier in the Nixon Justice Department, but the other three Nixon appointees, Chief Justice Warren Burger, and Associate Justices Harry Blackmun and Lewis Powell, joined the unanimous decision.

Next, we had Clinton V Jones, 1997, which involved the issue of whether Bill Clinton could be required to testify in a civil trial while in office, a case brought by Paula Jones against Governor Clinton for sexual harrassment. The Court unanimously, 9-0, including his two appointees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, ruled that he had to give testimony, and this helped to lead to his impeachment in 1998. So there was no immunity from civil law litigation for acts done before taking office, and unrelated to the office.

And now, we have Trump V Thompson, a lawsuit brought by Donald Trump against the January 6 House Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021 Insurrection, in the name of Chairman Bennie Thompson. So documents to show the series of events leading to the Insurrection are now to be made available to the House committee, as it investigates the wrong doing of the 45th President. This is a major victory, and all three Trump Supreme Court nominees—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—voted with the majority 8-1, with only Clarence Thomas in oppostion.

This is a conflict of interest by Thomas, who should have recused himself, as William Rehnquist did in the Nixon case. Since Thomas’s wife was involved in the planning of the January 6 Insurrection, encouraging lawlessness, this should be grounds for removal of Clarence Thomas from the Supreme Court, highly unlikely, but would be appropriate!

First Year In Oval Office Under Most Presidencies Problematical, And Joe Biden Better Than Many!

One could argue that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in the first year, while often having disappointments and shortcomings.

Two major pieces of legislation were accomplished (The American Rescue Plan, and the Physical Infrastructure legislation), and the only reason why the Build Back Better bill and voting rights have failed to be accomplished is the opposition of two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema–and the reality of an equally divided Senate for only the third time in American history!

While inflation has become a major problem, the stock market dramatically rose, more jobs were created in the first year of a Presidency than any other administration, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low rate.

There are still the issues of the COVID 19 Pandemic, and the disaster of Afghanistan withdrawal, but the first issue was unpredictable as the worst health crisis in a century, and the second would have been the same result had Donald Trump stayed on as President, since he had made a deal with the Taliban without Afghanistan government involvement, to leave in May 2021, NOT as occurred in August 2021!

So some disappointing developments in the first year of a Presidency are not unique to the 46th President!

When one looks back at other Presidencies, it is actually quite common that the first year of a Presidency is a learning curve, and does not reflect on whether such Presidents will be, in the long run, successful, and also have the possibility of successful reelection.

The following Presidents had very successful first years—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush!

Three Presidents had what could be described as mixed records in the first year in office–Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The following Presidencies in the 20th and 21st century were far from successes in their first year:

Harry Truman 1945
John F. Kennedy 1961
Richard Nixon 1969
Gerald Ford 1974-1975
Jimmy Carter 1977
Ronald Reagan 1981
Bill Clinton 1993
Donald Trump 2017

Among these eight Presidents, four—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton–won reelection.

So it is not time to say that Joe Biden will fail to succeed, as he already has in many respects, and it is not time to say he cannot win reelection fo a second term!

Comparing Kamala Harris To Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew!

Kamala Harris has been Vice President for nearly a year, and has faced brutal criticism and attacks, and suggestions by some that she resign, because she has not been assertive in the role of Vice President.

Of course, these suggestions come from Fox News Channel anchors Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, who are actively involved in attempting a coverup of the events of January 6, 2021, even though they were stunned by the events of that day, and tried to reach Donald Trump to express their dismay.

It is insulting that conservative supporters of the January 6 Insurrection have the gall to attack Kamala Harris, when the major issue is that she is a woman, and of mixed African and Asian American heritage, as her father is from Jamaican origin and her mother of Asian Indian origin.

Who are the critics turning to as models?

Is it Mike Pence, who refused to speak up at all to Donald Trump for four years, but at least had the guts to uphold the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden on January 6, facing the threat of being hanged by rioters? That is his only redeeming quality.

Or is it Dick Cheney, who while qualified by experience, was a dangerous, out of control Vice President, under George W. Bush, who enriched himself by America’s engagement in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through leadership of Haliburton, and endorsed the use of torture against war prisoners?

Or is it Dan Quayle, who made everyone nervous for four years about the health of George H. W. Bush, as Quayle demonstrated how dumb and clueless he was?

Or was it Spiro Agnew, who resigned from office as a felon, after nearly five years a heartbeat away from the Presidency under Richard Nixon?

The only truly reputable Republican Vice President in the past half century was George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan! Although it must be said that the abbreviated Vice Presidency of Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford was also decent!

Meanwhile, Democrats could be proud of their Vice Presidents—Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and Joe BIden under Barack Obama!

Kamala Harris is in the tradition of decency and dignity of Mondale, Gore, and Biden, and will do a fine job over the next three years, with her excellent qualification as former San Francisco District Attorney, California Attorney General, and US Senator!

US V Nixon; Clinton V Jones; And Now Trump Lawsuit Against January 6 Committee Appeal To Supreme Court!

The Supreme Court has come out with two decisions in the past half century that made it clear of the limits of Presidential power!

In 1974, in US V Nixon, the Supreme Court, including three appointees of President Richard Nixon, unanimously by an 8-0 vote, declared that Nixon had to hand over the Watergate tapes to the Special Prosecutor, leading to the resignation of Nixon from the Presidency within weeks!

In 1997, in Clinton V Jones, the Supreme Court, including two appointees of President Bill Clinton, unanimously by a 9-0 vote, declared that a President had no immunity from civil law litigation in federal court for acts done before taking office. This case involved the sexual harrassment charge brought by Paula Jones against Governor Bill Clinton

Clinton’s evasiveness in testifying in court about Paula Jones led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, and his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998, although found not guilty by the Senate in the impeachment trial in 1999.

Now, Donald Trump wants “executive privilege” to be in effect to prevent evidence in White House records of what he was doing on January 6, 2021 involving the Capitol Hill Insurrection, to be presented to the January 6 House Committee, investigating the events of that day. President Joe Biden has authorized waiver of such privileges, since Trump is a former President.

Despite having three Trump appointments to the Supreme Court, the strong likelihood is that the Court will, unanimously, reject such arguments, as earlier Courts did involving Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

If such does not happen, which seems like a long shot, then the Court will have besmirched its reputation for the long term, and the reputation of Chief Justice John Roberts will be damaged forever.

And that will promote the likelihood of attempts to add four new members to a Court which will be the most condemned and pilloried since the time of Chief Justice Roger Taney during the Civil War!

Bob Dole, An Historic Figure, And True American Hero, Dies At Age 98!

Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, the Vice Presidential running mate of Gerald Ford in 1976, and Republican Presidential nominee in 1996 against Bill Clinton, passed away on Sunday at the advanced age of 98!

Dole served nearly 40 years in American national government, including service in the House of Representatives from Kansas, as well as the Senate.

Dole was a true American hero, and suffered immensely when wounded in World War II as the war in Europe neared an end in April 1945, and spent three plus years in a military hospital recovering, and never had the use of his right arm, as a result of grievous injuries.

Dole was an historic figure, who fought hard for his Republican views, but also had humanity and a sense of humor, and often worked across the aisle with Democrats.

Dole served as Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader, and was also Republican National Chairman at one point, as well as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Dole is a giant figure in the history of the Republican Party, and was well regarded by politicians in both parties, and millions of Americans!

Effect Of John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Reverberates On America 58 Years Later!

This author and blogger was a sophomore in 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

It was the most stunning event of my life until the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Kennedy assassination transformed American politics dramatically, both in good ways and bad ways.

It brought about the possibility of the greatest period of reform since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, with Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society.

But it also brought on a devastating long term war in Vietnam, and the beginning of disillusionment with government at all levels.

Had Robert F. Kennedy survived and won the Presidential Election of 1968, instead of being assassinated after winning the California primary in June 1968, the potential for more great reform and change, and to avoid the Presidency of Richard Nixon, would have existed.

WIth RFK’s death, after the earlier tragedy of JFK, America was put into a permanent decline in hope and optimism for the next forty years, as even the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 did not revive the hopes of the Kennedy legacy.

Instead, we had Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush cause great regression in so many ways, as Richard Nixon had done earlier.

Barack Obama was a bright light, but faced great opposition, and the horrors of Donald Trump as his succession!

Joe Biden, who has a bust of RFK behind him on the left in all photos when he is sitting at his desk, is trying to revive the Kennedy legacy of hope and promise, and has made a good start.

But it is clear the two Kennedy assassinations in the early and late 1960s have left a permanent scar on the nation!

A Year After Joe Biden Election, Major Economic Advancements In Midst Of COVID 19 Pandemic!

A year since Joe Biden was elected President, the nation has seen major economic advancements in the midst of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

We have seen 5.6 million jobs created, the greatest of any President in nine months in office.

We have seen 531,000 jobs created in October alone.

We have a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, similar to what Barack Obama left the nation when he finished his Presidency in January 2017.

The Stock Market is at an all time high as I write this!

We have seen major Pandemic relief legislation, and now a massive Physical Infrastructure bill ready to be signed by Joe Biden.

The Social Infrastructure legislation is making progress, at a lower rate than originally planned, but still in the range of $1.75 trillion.

We are seeing greater progress than was possible by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and even Barack Obama in their first year.

Joe Biden is on the way to being the most successful domestic President since Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This is the time to promote and publicize the great advancements, and make the case for the Democrats to have expanded majorities in both houses of Congress in 2022 and beyond.

The Presidency And Native Americans

A recent article on History News Network has rated Presidents on “Integrity and Humanity in Dealing with Native American Nations”, a significant analysis of how the “original” Americans have been treated by American government.

It is not a positive picture overall, and we have had Presidents who were particularly horrid in their treatment of native Americans, and others who had a more open minded and considerate reaction to the plight of native Americans.

The list of Presidents who are seen as villains includes:

Thomas Jefferson
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Andrew Johnson
James Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
Donald Trump

The list of Presidents who are seen as reformers includes:

John Quincy Adams
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Overall, sadly, native Americans were treated with violence, disrespect and paternalism, with their lands stolen, and forced out of their ancestral lands!

Bill Clinton Illness And Colin Powell Death Reminders Of Fragility Of Life

The past few days reminds us, even if we try to forget, of the fragility of life.

First, Bill Clinton, age 75, had a dangerous urological and blood infection, that required six days in the hospital, and will require a few weeks of further recovery at home.

And this morning, we have the shocking news that former Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor Colin Powell has died of COVID 19 complications at age 84, despite having been fully vaccinated, although he was suffering from cancer.

Powell was a truly great American, a man much admired. But his defense of the claim of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) before the United Nations, which justified the Iraq War under George W. Bush at the time, was proven to be a lie, undermining somewhat his reputation.

Still, as a mainstream Republican, Powell supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Joe Biden in 2020, and was an especially leading critic of the danger represented by Donald Trump.

So we are thankful that Bill Clinton is recovering from his illness, and greatly saddened by the death of Colin Powell!

Joe Biden Upholds Barack Obama And Bill Clinton, Cancels Donald Trump, On Environmental Protection

President Barack Obama greatly expanded protection of national monuments during his time in office, including Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, and also Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, off the coast of Rhode Island.

The first and the third national monuments were created by Obama in 2016, and the second created by Bill Clinton in 1996 and continued protected under Obama.

All three were dramatically reduced in size by Donald Trump in 2017, to promote development, mining, ranching, drilling, and fishing to take place on the lands, with the first two monuments also having sacred native American significance, which had been ignored by Trump.

But now, President Joe Biden has restored the entire expansion under Obama and Clinton, reversing Trump’s actions, a fantastic development!

Environmentalists and native American tribes are rejoicing, along with many conservation groups, including the Conservation Lands Foundation, for which my older son works as its Washington DC lobbyist!