Iran Contra Scandal

The Negative Side Of The Presidency Of George H. W. Bush

As George H. W. Bush lies in state before his funeral on Wednesday and his burial on Thursday, praise and plaudits have been visited on the 41st President.

But as with all Presidents and all government leaders worldwide and historically, there is a negative side.

Among the shortcomings of the 41st President are the following in no particular order:

Bush ignored the AIDS Epidemic crisis, much like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, allowing the Religious Right Wing to set the agenda on a hate campaign against gays and lesbians.

Bush switched his pro choice views on abortion by picking up the Reagan viewpoint on women, and sacrificing his beliefs, while his own wife Barbara quietly continued to support abortion rights.

Bush ran a nasty, dirty, and despicable campaign for President in 1988 against the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, allowing falsehoods and distortions to be promoted, without any consideration of the damage his campaign manager Lee Atwater was engaged in.

Bush pursued a Mideast policy that led to long term disaster, and placing troops on a permanent basis in the Middle East led to September 11 and the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Bush as CIA head backed dictatorships in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Argentina.

Bush promoted a tough war on drugs, as Ronald Reagan had done, and it victimized people of color much more than whites, and caused prison terms that are now seen as a failed policy, that did not really get to the issue of how to treat those addicted to drugs.

Bush was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal under President Reagan, never fully explored, and ended up giving pardons to many who were part of that scandal, right before he left office in 1993.

Bush made a horrible appointment to the Supreme Court when he nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the nation has been burdened with his influence for the past 27 years, including many potential future Supreme Court nominees who worked for Thomas, and are now being put on the Circuit Courts under President Donald Trump, setting up a future Court with even greater Thomas impact than just himself.

Bush also gave us the most ill qualified, incompetent Vice President in modern history, Dan Quayle, and when Bush had medical issues in office, it made the nation worry at the thought of a President Quayle.

These nine points mentioned above make an assessment of the ultimate historical significance of George H. W. Bush much more complicated than the fulsome praise now being promoted at the time of his passing.

Impeachment Investigations Of Government Officials In American History Mostly Without Basis, More For Political Purposes

The impeachment of Donald Trump seems possible in 2019 IF the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, which seems highly likely, based upon polls 100 days out, and with the reminder that the party out of the White House always gains seats in the midterm elections, with the exceptions of 1934 under Franklin D. Roosevelt and 2002 under George W. Bush.

Having said that, it is reality that impeachment does not lead to convictions and removals from office, with the exception of seven federal district court judges over the long span of American history.

Richard Nixon would have been an exception if he had not resigned, but Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton both were found not guilty in their impeachment trials.

Other Presidents have been threatened with impeachment, but it was more just a threat or simply could not gain enough support in the House of Representatives to lead to impeachment.

That list of threatened impeachments include: John Tyler in 1842 and 1843; James Buchanan in 1860; Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Herbert Hoover in 1933; Harry Truman in 1951; Ronald Reagan in 1987; George H. W. Bush in 1991; George W. Bush in 2008; Barack Obama in 2013: and Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018. Notice most of these were not serious, and in many cases occurred in the last year of the President’s term or near the end of his last term in office.

Vice Presidents who have faced impeachment threats are: Schuyler Colfax in 1873, as he was leaving the Grant Administration; Spiro Agnew in 1973 as he neared resignation due to scandal under the Nixon Administration; George H. W. Bush in 1987 as the Iran Contra scandal emerged; and Dick Cheney in 2007 as the second Bush Administration dealt with the Iraq War continuation. None of them gained any traction.

Impeachment motions against Cabinet officers and other federal officials have been mostly just a gesture, a threat, as with, for example, Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013; Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in 2007; and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2004. Most recently threatened with impeachment is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the past few days, but unlikely to gain any traction, more used as a political ploy.

Republican Presidential Administrations From Richard Nixon To Donald Trump: Indictments, Convictions, Prison Time, Plus Warren G. Harding And Ulysses S. Grant

We are in the midst of the most corrupt series of Presidential scandals in American history in the 15 months of the Trump Administration.

An investigation of Presidential scandals since Richard Nixon left office demonstrates the following:

Under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, there were no serious, protracted scandals of note.

Under Ronald Reagan, there were serious scandals that led to 26 indictments, 16 convictions, and 8 sent to prison–most outstanding being the Iran Contra Affair, which led to indictments of the Secretary of Defense, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, two National Security Advisers, Deputy Chief of Staff, as well as criminal prosecution or resignation of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Under George H. W. Bush, he gave pardons to a number of people convicted under Reagan, and some wondered if the President was covering his own rear end, and potential involvement in the Iran Contra Scandal in particular.

Under Bill Clinton, while there were a lot of investigations under Republican Congresses after 1995, and the President was impeached in regards to the sex scandals with Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, there were no serious scandals that led to any indictments or convictions.

Under George W. Bush, there were a lot of scandals, leading to 16 indictments, 16 convictions and 9 sent to prison, and many people working for Bush resigned rather than testify in many investigations. There were many abuses centered around the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the promotion of national security, and led to resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Lewis “Scooter” Libby who was the aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, and White House Adviser Karl Rove among others.

Under Barack Obama, there were no serious violations of the law or scandals, despite many investigations by Republican Congressional committees, including Hillary Clinton after the Benghazi Libya attack on the US Embassy by Muslim extremists.

When one adds the massive scandals under Richard Nixon, and now Donald Trump, it is clear that under Republican administrations, corruption and abuses have been widespread, although not under Gerald Ford, and that the three Democratic Presidents, despite much criticism, had no serious scandals on the level of Nixon, Reagan, Bush 2 and now Trump!

And when one goes back to earlier scandals under Warren G. Harding in the 1920s and Ulysses S. Grant in the 1870s, both Republican Presidents, it only adds to the image and reality of Republicans presiding over scandalous times, as well as nine of the last ten economic downturns since 1953, along with the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover after 1929!

Journalist Dan Rather A True Profile In Courage: From Richard Nixon To The Bushes To Donald Trump!

Dan Rather, the long time anchor of CBS News from 1981 to 2005, is now 85 years old, but still in the battle for the truth and freedom of the press.

Rather fought against President Richard Nixon during the Watergate Crisis in 1973-1974, confronting him openly at a press conference, and was on Nixon’s enemy’s list.

Rather confronted George H W Bush in 1988 about Ronald Reagan’s Iran Contra Scandal, leading to the two men shouting at each other.

Rather exposed the fact in 2004 that George W. Bush had been reading magazines and avoiding National Guard duty during the Vietnam War, and for that, he was forced out as anchor in 2005.

Now, Rather is already exposing and condemning Donald Trump in his lies and deceit, and pointing out what any intelligent, sane person sees, that Donald Trump is an extremely dangerous man to America’s civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

Dan Rather has devoted his life to journalism, and is a true hero, who should be applauded and supported in the struggle to preserve American democracy!

Ronald Reagan: The Unvarnished Truth! Myth Versus Reality!

Ronald Reagan is treated as a saint by the conservative movement and the Republican Party, as a man and a President who could do no wrong, but the truth is otherwise.

Of course, no President and no human being is perfect, and all commit mistakes or show lack of sensitivity, but the point is that the 40th President’s image and historical record needs to come down to earth, on this, the 104th anniversary of his birth, and a quarter century after his leaving office.

So what should Americans and others know about Ronald Reagan, that is not general knowledge?

As California Governor and as President, the issue of mental illness was dealt with by cutting spending, and throwing mental patients onto the streets of America, creating a great increase in homeless population.

As head of the Screen Actors Guild in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Reagan cooperated with the House Unamerican Activities Committee investigation of Communists; worked with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare; and was an FBI informant for J. Edgar Hoover, all to protect his own image and security as he had been a strong liberal Democrat, and supporter of the New Deal.

Reagan sold illegal arms to Iran, what became known as the Iran-Contra Scandal, as he worked to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, despite Congressional admonitions banning such activities.

Reagan backed the apartheid government of South Africa, despite its horrific violation of human rights, and vetoed a sanctions law, which was passed over his veto in 1986.

Reagan’s Presidency saw the greatest amount of scandals of all sizes, only surpassed by the administrations of Richard Nixon, Ulysses S. Grant, and Warren G. Harding in overall malfeasance.

Reagan’s record on the environment is regarded by scholars as the absolute worst of all Presidents since 1900, and a big letdown after Jimmy Carter, who had one of the top three performances on that issue in American history.

Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis until 1987, and ridiculed the “gay plague”, only taking any interest when young hemophiliac Ryan White, and actor Rock Hudson, were revealed to have the disease in 1985.

Reagan supported backing the groups which fought Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, including such future terrorists as Osama Bin Laden; and also gave support to Saddam Hussein of Iraq in war with Iran, while still supplying arms to Iran.

The high ethical and moral standard said to be part of Reagan’s persona has now been revealed to be inappropriate, as he has been shown to have cheated on his first wife, Jane Wyman, and to have had affairs with dozens of actresses, including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Doris Day, among many others.

For a man who professed “family values”, Reagan and his wife Nancy ignored their children, Patti and Ron, Jr; and hardly saw their grandchild from Reagan stepson Michael; and hardly ever attended church services, although flirting with the Christian Coalition and Moral Majority of the Reverend Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

So the truth about Ronald Reagan is far from the myth that has been promoted!

Opposition Congresses Vs Split Congresses: Which Performs Better?

America is about enter a new period of an opposition Congress in both houses, something that been quite common in the past 70 years since World War II.

Harry Truman had an opposition Congress in 1947-48, and despite his “do nothing Congress’ attack on them in 1948, they actually accomplished a lot, just not all that Truman preferred, an example being the anti labor Taft Hartley Act.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had an opposition Congress in 1955-1961, but a lot was accomplished, including two Civil Rights laws in 1957 and 1960, and the National Defense Education Act in 1958.

Richard Nixon had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1969-1974, but despite conflict and Watergate, actually accomplished a lot in domestic affairs by cooperation, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Gerald Ford had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1974-1977, and although no major legislation was passed, got along quite well with the opposition party.

Ronald Reagan had an opposition Congress in 1987-1989, and while his last two years were declining years of performance amidst the Iran Contra Scandal, he still got along quite well with the opposition party, including when the House of Representatives remained Democratic during his first six years, and Social Security was reformed by bipartisan agreement.

George H. W. Bush had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1989-1993, but was able to move ahead on the Americans With Disabilities Act, and made a deal on a tax increase with the opposition party.

Bill Clinton had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1995-2001, after the first two years having his party in control, and while there was plenty of turmoil and drama, they actually came to agreement on balancing the budget in his last years, and working together on welfare reform.

George W. Bush had an opposition Congress in his last two years in office from 2007-2009, and despite a lot of conflict, gained support on a bailout of banks and other financial institutions during the Great Recession.

One will notice most times that the Republicans were in the White House, and the Democrats were in control of Congress when we had opposition Congresses, and that they were a lot more cooperative in general. The point was that at least most things that had to be done, and some others as well, were accomplished!

The split Congress of 2011-2015 has seen just about total stalemate, gridlock, and failure to accomplish anything, with a GOP House and a Democratic Senate. The four other Congresses in this situation, had also much more difficulty to gain new legislation, but those five from 1911-1913 under William Howard Taft, 1931-1933 under Herbert Hoover, and 1981-1987 under Ronald Reagan still accomplished more, due to the fact that the House was Democratic, and the Senate was Republican, the opposite of the last four years.

So when we have a Democratic Congress, or a split Congress with a Democratic House, historically, things get done; while when we have a Republican Congress, or a split Congress with a Republican House, the ability to get things done is far worse!

So the prognosis for Democratic President Barack Obama and a Republican Congress, led by a party much further to the right than earlier Republicans, to accomplish much in 2015-2016, is gloomy

“Sixth Year” Syndrome Of The Presidency From Truman To Obama

Presidents who have won a second term in the White House typically have what could be called the “Sixth Year” Syndrome, meaning it is a downturn in their fortunes, just one year after winning reelection.

Such was Harry Truman, facing the Korean War and the rise of McCarthyism in his sixth year in office.

Such was the case with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who saw a recession undermine his popularity in 1958 in his sixth year.

Such was the case with Richard Nixon, who was facing impeachment in his sixth year in office, due to the Watergate scandal, and ended up resigning in his sixth year in office.

Such was the case with Ronald Reagan, who was facing the Iran Contra scandal revelations in his sixth year.

Such was the case with Bill Clinton, who had to deal with the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the move toward impeachment in his sixth year in office.

Such was George W. Bush, facing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were not going well in his sixth year, and coming off the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

So the fact that Barack Obama is perceived as “in the doldrums” in his sixth year in the Presidency is not at all surprising, and in many ways, despite the hype of the news media, he is in better shape than his predecessors were, if one looks at the situation objectively!

The Persecution Of Bowe Bergdahl By The Right Wing: Poisoning America,With Purpose Of Destroying Barack Obama!

The case of Bowe Bergdahl is shocking in the intensity of the right wing attack on this soldier, who may have gone AWOL in Afghanistan, and was held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years.

The furious reaction to his release, in exchange for five top Taliban leaders who were at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center has led to death threats against his mother and father, and the decision to cancel the welcome home party planned in his small home town in Idaho later this month.

Meanwhile, Bergdahl remains in the hospital in Germany, and faces an impossible sitation when he returns to the United States.

He will be dogged by critics, threatened with assassination, and will have the worst case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that any soldier has ever had, and it would not be surprising that he might become a statistic, one of 22 former soldiers who commit suicide every day!

If Bergdahl has committed acts that he should be held accountable for, so be it, but the right wing has built up such a furor, including Oliver North, who participated in a similar action dealing with an enemy in the Iran Contra affair under Ronald Reagan, but now is a total hypocrite, not unusual for the right wing!

Face the facts, that the real purpose of this furor is to move to impeach President Obama, and the racists and fascists are out there with their knives looking to assassinate him, figuratively, and really, literally, if they had the chance!

We live in very dangerous times, and it is scary what is going on, and being encouraged by media unwilling to stand up to the right wing, including CNN and the major networks, minus MSNBC, the only channel that has any guts at all!

The Tragedy Of Young Americans Who Join The Military Without Full Disclosure!

The political firestorm over Bowe Bergdahl being exchanged for five Taliban leaders at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is unrelenting, and it is far from clear what the facts are, but yet, the right wing is in full swing on the attack, as they always are when it involves anything having to do with the policies and actions of the Barack Obama Administration!

Bergdahl may have been a deserter, and may have to face action by the US Army, if that is so, but that is far from clear at this point, and despite that, any move to bring troops home who are prisoners of war should be hailed, but not of course, when Barack Obama is the President, god forbid!

Ronald Reagan dealt with terrorists and evil forces in the Iran Contra scandal, and Israel has returned a thousand prisoners to the Palestinians for just one Israeli, live or dead, on the principle that they will do everything necessary to bring back their military forces, who are imprisoned or dead.

What is obviously overlooked, however, in this whole controversy is the reality and the truth that our young men and women are being propagandized, lied to, manipulated, at a naive age, when they think of the military, any branch, as “fun”, “adventure”, “a chance to do travel”, “the only possible way to get an education”, and as a way to “grow up”, when the military is very serious business, and recruiters lie through their teeth to get vulnerable, insecure, naive, ill informed young kids to commit to something they often have no conception of the seriousness involved, often something their own parents wish they did not do, but have no control over what an 18-19 year old does.

We see how many soldiers are not only harmed physically by being in the military and in a war zone, but psychologically, as they have trouble coping with what they see, what they participate in, what they witness, which stuns their image of themselves and the world around them.

At a time when only one half of one percent of the American people have been in the military, since the draft ended in 1973, most Americans do not appreciate the sacrifices, the turmoil created, the difficult times these troops have, engaged in unending wars with no purpose, unlike the Second World War, which was something everyone could understand.

It is also ironic how many, who have never served in war, are so quick to judge and condemn those who have, with Dick Cheney, the former Vice President and a draft dodger to boot, in the lead, but with most members of Congress and their offspring not having served, but very willing to send “cannon fodder” to fight wars for the oil and weapons industries, and make obscene profits at the expense of our young men and women!

As someone who did not serve in the military, the author has full respect for the sacrifices of the military, but has never supported the lies and deceit used by recruiters to convince young people, who have no direction, to sign up for something they are not mature enough to understand the full implications of, when they sign on the dotted line!

Republican Party Historically On Corruption And Impeachment: It Speaks For Itself!

The Republican Party has a very interesting history when it comes to corruption on the national level, and to the issue of Presidential impeachment.

The “self righteous” party, which tries to convince us that they are “holier than thou”, when it comes to corruption and scandal, has been responsible for the four most corrupt Presidencies in American history, and arguably, the fifth most corrupt Presidency as well!

At the same time, it is the Republican Party, in the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st century, that has constantly pursued the idea of Presidential impeachment as a weapon against Presidents of the Democratic Party!

Witness the following:

The Presidency of Richard Nixon, along with that of Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Ronald Reagan saw widespread corruption on a regular basis, and these are the four Presidents to have been in charge of the worst examples of corruption in American history, bar none!

Nixon is remembered for the Watergate scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Grant is remembered for the Credit Mobilier scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Harding is remembered for the Teapot Dome scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Reagan is remembered for the Iran-Contra scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

And, by the way, George W. Bush is remembered for numerous scandals and malfeasance, much of it still hidden, but to be uncovered as time goes by, and once the junior Bush leaves us, when documents become much more available.

There is no one among Democrats who can match these five GOP Presidents in corruption, although many make out Bill Clinton and his personal demons as a scandal on the same level. But most of the so called other “scandals” under Clinton are conjured up, are manufactured, just as with Barack Obama and his so called, but not real “scandals” over Benghazi, the IRS, and other controversies which are not indeed “scandals”, but instead part of the plan to undermine him, as was done with Bill Clinton.

Sure, there were personal scandals under John F. Kennedy, and rumors of scandals under Lyndon B. Johnson, and minor scandals under Harry Truman, and accusations of scandals under Jimmy Carter, but none ever worked out to be on the level of scandals under Nixon, Grant, Harding, Reagan and the second Bush! And only Nixon was a justifiable case to bring impeachment charges, as he actually abused the Constitution and the Presidential office, and was, rightfully, in process of being removed from office, had he not resigned in 1974!

Meanwhile, the Republican Party historically has worked to promote impeachment of Democratic Presidents on a regular basis, and have brought unsubstantiated and unjustifiable charges against:

Andrew Johnson in 1868 over attempt to remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Bill Clinton in 1998-1999 on his personal life scandals

Also, they have promoted impeachment threats or attempted moves to remove:

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934-1935 over the New Deal
Harry Truman in 1951 over the firing of General Douglas MacArthur
Jimmy Carter in general, working to undermine everything he promoted

So the so called party of enforcing the law and the Constitution has been involved in a systematic attempt to promote the cause of big business corporations and personal power grabbing while moving to undermine most of our Democratic Presidents in the past century and a half!

Part of this is also the attempt, constantly, to besmirch the record in office of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton and now Obama! Conspiracy theories have been rife in the Republican mind!

Realize that since Abraham Lincoln’s election, our first Republican President, there was constant deterioration after, until Theodore Roosevelt still upheld the good image of the GOP overall. But then there was rapid decline after, with a temporary revival under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then constant decline after, with a smidgen of decency and class under Gerald Ford, and then much more rapid deterioration up to now. The GOP wishes to be regarded with respect, when it does not deserve it, based on the historical realities!

Also, realize that since 1861 to 2017, a total of 156 years, from Lincoln to Obama leaving office, we have had 18 GOP Presidents from Lincoln to Bush II and only 10 Democratic Presidents from Andrew Johnson to Obama. Republicans have held the White House for 88 years and Democrats for 68 years!

So the historical reality of the Republican Party being the party of corruption and lawlessness, and yet having the gall to threaten three Democratic Presidents with impeachment, two Democratic Presidents with actual impeachment, and on the road to impeaching Barack Obama on flimsy charges, speaks legions as to their lack of ethics and morality!