Watergate

Constitution Day: A Day To Commemorate, And A Warning Of Our Potential Future

Today, September 17, is Constitution Day, the day that the Constitution was signed by 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

It has survived 230 years since it went into effect in 1789, and has weathered the crises of the Civil War, the Great Depression, the two World Wars, the Cold War, Watergate, and now the Donald Trump threat to the enforcement of the Constitution.

We are in a constitutional crisis, the greatest since Richard Nixon, but in many ways, far more massive, and all efforts must be taken to insure that Donald Trump does not destroy our Constitution, which he is so intimately involved in trying to do as we go about our business every day of supporting our families, and trying to insure a long term future for our children and their children.

The Constitution is not perfect, and needs reform over time, but the idea of calling for a new Constitutional Convention is horrifying, as it would open up the possibility of abolishing the Bill of Rights and transforming the nation into a full scale Fascist dictatorship, with right wing forces wishing to destroy all of the reforms that have made America a more equitable and decent society within the last century from Theodore Roosevelt onward through Barack Obama.

The Beginning Of A Challenge To Donald Trump For Renomination: William Weld And Larry Hogan

It seems as if the beginning of a challenge to Donald Trump for renomination by the Republican Party has arrived.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-1997) , also the Libertarian nominee for Vice President in 2016 with Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, has indicated he is planning to challenge Trump. He would be 75 at the time of the inauguration in 2021.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who just won reelection last year by a 12 point margin, has also indicated he plans to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. He would be 64 at the time of the next election.

Both are moderate Republicans, seen as centrist and pragmatic, and both won office in heavily Democratic states.

Weld has a distinguished aristocratic background starting with ancestors coming over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims in 1620. He was a counsel with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Impeachment inquiry, and with one of his colleagues being Hillary Rodham, before she married Bill Clinton.

Hogan has the heritage of being the son of a Congressman, with the same name, who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon.

Can either of them seriously overcome the advantages of being an incumbent President?

History tells us when incumbent Presidents are challenged for renomination, invariably, the President defeats his opponent, but then loses the election.

So even if Weld or Hogan cannot defeat Trump, hopefully, they can weaken him enough that he will follow in the tradition of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, who overcame, respectively, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, and yet lost the second term as President.

Tip Of The Iceberg? Some Republicans Warn Mueller Should Be Allowed To Finish Investigation

It is interesting to note that some top Republicans have stated over the past weekend that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation into Donald Trump and his administration on charges of possible Russian Collusion, Obstruction of Justice, and other charges, without any intervention or action by Donald Trump.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina made that very clear.

So did Florida Senator Marco Rubio, South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy and Arizona Senator John McCain. Also, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has spoken up.

But notice that Graham and Rubio are not facing voters this fall; McCain is in the hospital; and Gowdy and Flake are not seeking reelection.

And a spokesman for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan issued a similar statement for Ryan. Ryan has all along proved to be a gutless wonder, who may yet decide not to run for reelection, but in any case, is not willing to stick his neck out too much.

One can be sure that if Barack Obama had dared to behave like Trump has for 14 months, the Republicans would be out to get his head immediately!

Is this “the tip of the iceberg”? Will the Republican Congress demonstrate candor and take their responsibilities of oversight of the executive Branch seriously, and the protection of the Constitution, or allow abuse of power by Donald Trump?

Hard to say, as other Republicans totally ignored the rantings and ravings on Twitter by Trump this past weekend on Mueller, and fired former Deputy Head of the FBI Andrew McCabe, and former FBI head James Comey.

At the same time, former intelligence officials such as former CIA head John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former retired Four Star Army General Barry McCaffrey unleashed attacks on Trump as a danger to national security, with his continued unwillingness to criticize Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

There is no question we are in the midst of a massive constitutional crisis, far worse than Richard Nixon and Watergate 45 years ago!

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!

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address And First Actions Show America Is In Massive Constitutional Crisis, Greater Than Watergate!

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address and first actions in office show America is in a massive constitutional crisis, greater than Watergate!

Trump’s speech was the most negative, darkest speech ever given on Inauguration Day, when usually the rhetoric is lofty and positive.

He talked about “Carnage” in the nation after eight great years of positive change under Barack Obama.

He is so insecure that he continues to brag about his accomplishments, even today while visiting the CIA headquarters in Virginia, an agency he had been highly critical of, as they investigate any Russian connection during the Presidential campaign, and with Trump still applauding Vladimir Putin of Russia, while strongly attacking NATO and the European Union, undermining our alliances from Truman to Obama.

And his changes in the White House website within an hour after Barack Obama left office is alarming–wiping out the sections on Gays and Lesbians, Civil Rights, Health Care, Immigration, Native Americans, Violence Against Women, Disabilities, Climate Change, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Public Radio, PBS, and with more certain to come.

Trump also signed into law the wiping out of an Obama initiative to lower mortgage insurance fees to help new homeowners, causing an estimated $500 increase annually, which will force some out of the home market, people who are struggling to be able to buy The American Dream, their own home.

How can Trump say he is for the people, and that they control their government, when only the wealthy and powerful will benefit, and many groups of people will suffer, massively, by his narrow mindedness and bigotry?

Trump is already in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, with conflicts of interest all over the world, making profit off being President, and putting his foreign properties under threat of attack. Just the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House, is a violation of the Constitution, and leading early to impeachment resolutions.

We are in a nightmare situation, and the fear that Trump will suppress the free news media, form an enemy’s list like Richard Nixon had, and try to curb freedom of assembly, and who knows, possible thoughts of Martial Law that might be endorsed by a right wing Attorney General, Jeff Sessions!

Trump Cabinet Appointments And Other Top Advisers Mostly A “Basket Of Deplorables”! An Outrage To Presidential Cabinet History!

Donald Trump is nearing the end of his search for Cabinet appointments and other top advisers, and sadly, the group is mostly a “Basket of Deplorables”, an outrage to Presidential Cabinet history!

The problem is that some skeptical Republicans and the entire Democratic Party in the US Senate have limited ability to prevent or hold up more than a few of this disgraceful group.

The list of people Trump is offering us includes people too close to Russia; people who are billionaires and deeply engaged in the corporate culture; people who are totally inexperienced and unqualified to hold the positions they are being offered; people who are retired generals who have not been retired long enough from the military, so must have legislation passed to allow them to serve, undermining the idea of civilian control; and people who are simply outrageous in their views on the environment, education, health care, labor rights, and foreign policy.

It is hard to find anyone who one can be content with as a choice, and it seems as if Donald Trump is determined to select the kind of people which seem assured to wish to destroy not only the Barack Obama legacy, the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, but also to promote the interests of major corporations such as in the oil industry and Wall Street at the expense of workers, consumers, and the middle class and the poor, while also stirring up animosity toward China, Iran, and North Atlantic Treaty allies, while strangely becoming cozy with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

We are on the road to a massive constitutional crisis that may surpass Richard Nixon and Watergate, and Donald Trump seems very willing and able to create one crisis after another, as he lurches toward Fascist type government, and declares war on the news media and civil liberties and civil rights. He is already alarming many members of the Republican Party, which he feels no loyalty to, and to think that we are seeing John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, and Floyd Flake as already alarmed about his controversial statements and actions, and he is not yet inaugurated as President, but already is stirring a tempest, is a sign of the crisis that is coming after January 20, 2017!

I just published an article on the Trump Cabinet choices on History News Network, and it is posted on the blog on the right side for everyone to read and consider.

It Looks As If The Bush Dynasty Is Not Done: Hints That Jeb Bush Will Announce For President!

It now seems clear that Jeb Bush, the former Florida Governor; and brother of the 43rd President, George W. Bush; and son of the 41st President, George H. W. Bush, will soon announce his candidacy for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

Jeb has not run for political office since 2002, and has not been in political office since 2006, but he is making the rounds of appropriate sites and venues, and speaking out on the issues as he sees them, many of them alienating the Tea Party Movement within the GOP, but soothing the mainstream, “Establishment” Republicans, who tend to control the party machinery when it comes to actual nomination battles, including those of Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012.

If Jeb does run, he will run as a hawk in foreign policy, and sympathetic on immigration and “common core” educational standards in domestic policy, all of which will irritate many who are part of the right wing extremists in the party in 2014.

If he runs, it will also make the Bush family a true dynasty covering nearly 40 years of American politics, as his dad was considered as a possible Vice Presidential alternative, instead of Gerald Ford, when Spiro Agnew resigned at the time that Richard Nixon was under fire for Watergate.

Ford also thought of George H W Bush as a possible running mate in 1976, maybe not seriously, but under consideration, and then Bush became a Presidential candidate in 1980, ended up as the runner up, and agreed to join Ronald Reagan as Vice President for two terms. This was followed by one term in the White House, and then a bitter defeat to Bill Clinton in 1992.

But his two oldest sons then ran for the Governorships of Texas and Florida in 1994, and when Jeb lost in Florida by a very small margin, he set his sights on 1998, when he won in Florida, and then served as Florida Governor for two terms, while brother George W. went to the White House for two controversial terms.

Jeb running would create great controversy, but the Bush Family is not afraid of that, and it seems doubtful now that mother Barbara arguing against Jeb running will be listened to anymore.

Were he to win and serve two terms, Jeb would add to the fact that the Bush Dynasty would have lasted longer than any other, even more than the Adamses (John and John Quincy, and with THREE Presidents, not two. And the theoretical Kennedy dynasty would look quite insignificant, since only John F. Kennedy had the opportunity to serve as President, despite the desires of many that Robert and Ted Kennedy might do the same.

So although the Bush dynasty might not seem as glamorous as the Kennedy dynasty has often been seen, it is still making history!

Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye Dies After 50 Years Service, Age 88

The second longest serving United States Senator in all of American history, Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, died this afternoon at age 88, after 50 years of service.

Only West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd served longer, a total of 52 years, with South Carolina Republican Senator Strom Thurmond serving about 48 years, but less than Inouye, and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy serving 47 plus years before his death.

Inouye is easily the most famous Japanese American politician in American history, and was injured fighting in Italy in World War II, at a time when Japanese Americans were being interned in prison camps because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He lost an arm to the war, but was always proud of his service in units that won more medals, honors and awards than any others in the Second World War. Inouye won the Medal of Honor for his service.

He is the most important person in promotion of the University of Hawaii, and of the cause of veterans, both disabled and otherwise.

As the senior member of the Senate in the past few years, Inouye served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, which put him third in line to be President, behind the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

A man of courage and strong principles, Inouye will be remembered as a Senator who made a real difference!

He served as Hawaii’s first Congressman beginning in 1959, and came to the Senate in 1962 at the same time Ted Kennedy came to the upper chamber.

Inouye served on the Watergate and Iran Contra committees, and was long time chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He did a great deal to bring federal aid to Hawaii, and to promote the advancement of native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, and native Americans, and was a major promoter of transportation projects and of education. There was never a better advocate of the Hawaiian Islands than him.

May he rest in peace, having done a great job serving his constituents!

Inflexible, Rigid Presidencies: Major Problems For Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, And Richard Nixon

One of the most important personality characteristics needed for a successful Presidency, and to avoid a tragic end to a leader’s time in power, is his ability to be flexible and open minded to new ideas other than his own, and not to be outraged by criticism.

This does not mean, however, that a President should not have courage, guts, and decisiveness, but still flexibility and openness to others and their ideas is essential.

Going by this standard, America has had three Presidents in the past hundred years, who, despite some of their great accomplishments, were ultimately tragedies in office.

These three Presidents would include the following:

Woodrow Wilson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon

Woodrow Wilson was never good at negotiating with his critics in Congress, and his moment of great failure was when he lost the battle for ratification of the Versailles Treaty and American membership in the League of Nations in 1919-1920. While things were going well for him in domestic affairs, he was very effective, but lost it all once there was strong opposition. He never fully recovered from a stroke, which incapacitated him in his last 18 months, and only had three short years of retirement in bad health before his death in 1924.

Lyndon B. Johnson had brilliance as a legislative strategist, with his Great Society programs, but again, as with Wilson, he fell apart and became defensive and stubborn when opposition developed over the escalation of the Vietnam War, and he left office beaten, and only had four unhappy years of retirement before his death in 1973.

Richard Nixon, on the other hand, had great foreign policy ability, but despite his great foreign policy and some domestic policy accomplishments, he reacted defensively, and with a sense of being persecuted and mistreated, brought about by his own psychological demons. So he ended up pursuing his “enemies”, who criticized his Vietnam War policies and his use of his executive authority in an illegal and unethical manner, and he became saddled with the Watergate scandal, which brought him down by resignation in 1974, with his mission being to rehabilitate himself during the last 20 years of his life, but never quite accomplishing that goal.

All three men were brilliant and talented, but each had an inflexible and rigid personality that trapped them in tragedy they could not escape!

The Extraordinarily Close Relationship Between President Obama And Vice President Biden

Now that the first term of Barack Obama and Joe Biden is ending, it is worth a few moments to recognize the extraordinarily close relationship that exists between the President and the Vice President.

When one looks back on such relationships in the past, it is clear that no other relationship has been quite as close, as warm, as personally friendly, since the time when Jimmy Carter utilized Walter Mondale as practically a “co President” from 1977-1981.

Vice Presidents never really mattered or were close to a President until the 1950s, when Richard Nixon made the office of Vice President a significant office. But President Dwight D. Eisenhower was not very happy, a lot of the time, with his Vice President, and there were hints that he would have preferred a different running mate in 1956,

The John F. Kennedy–Lyndon B. Johnson relationship was not close at all, and neither was the Johnson–Hubert Humphrey relationship.

The Richard Nixon–Spiro Agnew relationship was not much better, and Nixon with Gerald Ford was only a brief period where the two men avoided contact with the other during the Watergate crisis.

Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller were closer, but Ford chose to drop Rockefeller in favor of Bob Dole for the 1976 Presidential race to please the conservative wing led by Ronald Reagan, and years later, Ford expressed regret that he had allowed himself to dump Rockefeller.

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale were extraordinarily close, with Mondale being treated as an absolute equal, and the two men remain close friends now after nearly 32 years out of office, the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team, breaking all records for longevity every day.

Ronald Reagan was not very close to George H. W. Bush personally, and Bush did not take Dan Quayle very seriously at all as a Vice President.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore were friendly and close until the Monica Lewinsky and impeachment issues arose, and then Gore stayed away from Clinton during his own campaign for President in 2000, which very well may have harmed his ability to win, despite a popular vote majority of about a half million votes.

George W. Bush relied on Dick Cheney a great deal, but their closeness, if it ever existed, dissipated in the second term over various matters.

The Obama-Biden friendship and closeness seems not at all affected in any way by events, or Biden’s well known problem with gaffes, and he has played a major role as an adviser on so many issues, domestic and foreign. One can see in so many situations and photos that the two men are close, and have a very warm, personal relationship with each other.

This could create a problem for President Obama IF both Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decide to run for President, as the President owes a lot to both of them, as well as to former President Bill Clinton, for having worked so hard for his reelection, and giving what many consider the best speech for Obama at the Democratic National Convention as well.

The best situation for Obama then, would be to remain neutral, but with the hope that maybe one or both would decide ultimately, because of their ages and long careers, not to run for President in their 70s (Biden) or nearing 70s (Clinton).