Archive for category Richard Nixon

Zero Democracy In No Time At All



Some Americans get really angry when you use that word, saying… “WE’RE NOT A DEMOCRACY, WE’RE A REPUBLIC!”, “WE’RE NOT A DEMOCRACY, WE’RE A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC!”, “WE’RE NOT A DEMOCRACY, WE’RE A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC!” And last but not least: “DEMOCRACY IS MOB RULE!”.

I never understood the rage. If we’re not a democracy, why did George W. Bush, and every other politician say we were spreading democracy around the world.

Today, Nixon and Reagan would be considered too liberal to be president. Fake conservatives have moved the goalposts out of the ballpark. The worst parts of the Nixon administration have been moved to the forefront:


Pat Paulsen For President!

paulsen 2016

He ‘s been dead since 1997, but he’s even funnier then Donald Trump. His campaign started in 1968, and is still going on as far as I’m concerned. He has got to be a part of the reason “The Smothers Brothers” popular show was cancelled by Nixon. And, yes, It was canceled by Nixon, not CBS.

I was thinking we needed some actual political humor, instead of racism.

From 1988:


The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


Nixon’s Ghost, Missed Opportunities and Political Gridlock

I’ve long thought that American politics – and economics – went sideways in the 1970s and we’ve never recovered.  The ghost of Richard Nixon continues to haunt American politics.  Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s pardon of him left liberals feeling he’d avoided justly deserved punishment, while conservatives were never convinced his misdeeds were all that serious in the first place.  The Clinton impeachment of the 90s was little more than conservatives avenging Nixon on Democrats.  The invasion of Iraq was an attempt to refight (and win!) the Vietnam war, to restore the military and to show liberals once and for all the supporters of war were right.  Amidst the ruins of the Bush administrations, conservatives were neither chastised nor educated; the ascendant tea party was nothing more than an attempt to redeem conservatism itself.  Faced with disaster in every direction, unable to admit the problem lies not in their stars but themselves, conservatives doubled down on their ideology and have engaged in an idelogical terror that would make Stalin or Chairman Mao proud.

The left – burdened by a connection to reality – has proven unable to deal with the right’s lunacy and tantrums for the same reason a parent can’t control a child’s tantrum.  Pushed bey0nd reason by the ever-unfolding disasters of the Bush presidency, and then the shock of losing to Barack Obama in 2008, conservatives collectively lost their minds and have spent years having a public fit.  And so the whole political system has ground to a painful halt.

Could it have been avoided? Read the rest of this entry »


McCain’s Cynicism and the Deep Unseriousness of Sarah Palin

Last night, I caught a show on CSpan that showed a series of clips from the international news on the RNC. Watching the international reporting got me re-examining both McCain’s choice of Palin and McCain’s own speech.

First, I think it’s fair to say that McCain’s VP choice is the single most cynical political move in American politics in decades. It puts the first George Bush’s choice of Dan Quayle to shame. Palin’s choice serves demonstrates nothing more than a venal attempt to please the Republican base, to appeal to women on the basis of “she’s a woman, so if you are a woman you should vote for her,” and to engage in a new version of the Republican politics of resentment. McCain’s choice was so deeply cynical, so entirely and utterly devoid of anything other than the bit of political traction it could give him that we do not have to treat it, or him, as anything other than a cheap hack. John McCain is truly Nixons heir.

That the McCain campaign has done everything in their power to keep Palin away from the media demonstrates something else – Palin is a fundamentally, deeply unseriousness politician.

Look at it this way: Anyone who reads OneUtah – and I include even our most fundamentally conservative readers – finding him or herself in the position Sarah Palin was in, would have said, “This is the most important job interview I will ever have for the most important job I am likely to ever hold. I will give a speech equal to the moment. I will demonstrate that I am worthy of holding the job – I want to prove that I am a person seriousness enough for this important job. I want to demonstrate a mastery of the important matters, that I have given serious thought to the issues facing the nation and when I am done, I will have nailed my job interview.” Palin seems to have treated public office as her due – a place in which her needs, wishes and agenda should be paramount and she has treated resistance to that as unthinkably wrong – and a firing offense. Unlike John McCain who at least has a real and demonstrated history of public service, Palin seems not to consider public office as a position of trust.

Palin delivered a speech full if snide, sniping personal attacks, jokes, and mockery. The speech was prepared before McCain had chosen her, you might object. Doesn’t that make her seem even less substantial? Okay, I’m the Veep nominee and I’m not going to say, “If I have to, I will write my own speech. This is the most important speech of my life and it’s going to come from my heart; I will deliver a speech that Americans will celebrate for hundreds of years. I will follow in the footsteps of Seneca Falls and Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth. I will not deliver a canned speech”? Sarah Palin just says, “Okee dokee, let me practice this speech your wrote weeks ago.”

Palin was offered an historic moment and treated it as a joke. Here you are – giving what will be the most important speech you have ever delivered – and you have a choice: Treat it as an historic moment, one filled with gravitas, an opportunity to speak to the ages or treat is as a moment to delivery snippy and snide attacks on a current political opponent. Do you rise to the occassion or not?

Sarah Palin chose not to rise to the occassion. If for no other reason, that demonstrates that Sarah Palin is manifestly unsuited to be Vice President.


Doomed by the Bell Curve: Why Democrats Can’t Compete

Consistency. If there’s one thing Republicans have going for them, it’s consistency. In fact, no other organization that I’m aware of, whether it be a sports team, a university, a government bureau or a business can point to a track record of such astonishing consistency. For a hundred years now, the Republicans have unfailingly been electing stupid men to high office. I won’t say that these men are the stupidest you could find–one could with concerted effort, I’m sure, find denser, slower, BETTER candidates. But considering that the party has only a year or so each election cycle to find their man, the results are impressive.

I hadn’t appreciated the truly breathtaking nature of this consistency until this morning when it occurred to me to list all of the Republican presidents back as far as the first unquestionably competent holder of the office. This list says more than I ever could in praise of Republican consistency, so here it is in all of its exceptional mediocrity.

George W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
Ronald Reagan
Gerald Ford
Richard Nixon
Dwight Eisenhower
Herbert Hoover
Calvin Coolidge
Warren Harding
William Howard Taft
Theodore Roosevelt (the first competent one of the bunch)

Well and truly does Mitt Romney call for the elimination of eastern elites. In his heart, Mitt knows what it means to be a Republican, a true Republican, even if he can see the Republican promised land only from afar off, like Moses on Mt. Nebo. So, frankly, does John McCain, who passed on Mitt as a running mate, because frankly he has too high an IQ to be considered for high office. It’s sad, really, to see a man of Mitt’s stature knocking at the gate of a country club he can never enter. McCain’s own status would be as questionable as Mitt’s were it not for the fact that he shows all the signs of incipient senility, insuring that if he is elected the country will continue to be led by someone who is certifiably incapable of finding his ass with both hands.

Now, some will say that the Republican record isn’t in fact all that sterling. Does Dwight Eisenhower, for example, really belong in this distinguished company? Point conceded. Dwight did have a momentary lapse into greatness when he warned us about the military-industrial-scientific complex. Thankfully for the Republican record, no one took him seriously, and he himself didn’t have the lapse until he was just about to leave office, so we might fairly not even count the highly uncharacteristic moment of greatness.

Richard Nixon too might be debated. Far from having an unblemished record of nearly 100 years of thumb-sucking incompetence to their credit, the Republicans might only be able to claim a mere 35, which any party, even the Democratic, might, with luck, be able to match. But no, one has only to consider Watergate to feel confident in including Tricky Dick (not to be confused with his modern namesake, who is in fact demonically clever). Never in history has there been such a colossally, presidentially incompetent crook.

Nor is breathtaking individual executive incompetence the Republicans’ only claim to fame. Consider what these men have accomplished! George W. Bush has given us a $3 trillion war, a true luxury, Rolls-Royce-level war in the Middle East, the best war that American money could buy. And this war may yet give little George the chance to start a big world war. Not since Adolf Hitler has a stupid man done so much with so little and so little with so much. In the interest of protecting American family values, George has amassed a record national debt that will insure that our children aren’t tempted into vice by excessive discretionary income. George has insured that the world will never again face an ice age. And, last but not least, George Jr. has left us with a true Republican-size recession, just as his daddy did.

Some men, like George Jr., are born to great stupidity. Others, like his daddy, have it thrust upon them. In the case of George Sr. we’re dealing with a man, who, but for his presidency, might have entered the history books as an average, level-headed sort of CIA spook. Instead, destiny, in the figure of one of history’s truly astonishing dunces, Ronald Reagan, reached out and elevated him to the level of his own incompetence–the thing that all men most desire. Rising to the occasion, George Sr. gave us the first war in the Gulf and a modest-size recession.

Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention. When I first heard that this B movie star was running for president, I laughed out loud. “Unelectable,” I said. “Americans don’t have the balls to elect someone that stupid.” Well, I admit it now with shame, I was wrong. And I’ve since learned a thing or two about just how bold we Americans are in charting unknown territory. In 1980, though, we were just beginning to explore the jungle of deep incompetence that creatures such as Ronald Reagan call home. Ronald’s chief accomplishment was that he made being stupid respectable, something that Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge together over eight years couldn’t accomplish. Ronald even won over smart (or at least articulate) Republicans like George F. Will and Bill Buckley. Ronald had stupid people across America saying, “You know, he makes me think that anyone can be president,” and they meant it. They’re saying the same thing today in the aftermath of Sarah Palin. Ordinary housewives here in West Jordan and Ogden have been heard to say that they too could become president. Inspiring! Ronald Reagan did what a dozen Americans with Disability acts could not have done. He gave stupid people a sense of mission!

Dana Carvey’s “Gerald Ford Dead Today” sketch begged the all-important question: measured at least by brain waves, how could you tell? What more need one say of this man who parleyed his IQ into a long post-presidential twilight of success on the greens. He was a great non-crook. Perhaps the greatest non-entity since Coolidge. Nuff said.

Of the original, incomparable, legendary Tricky Dick what can you say? If Reagan’s gift to us was to make being stupid politically acceptable, Dicky’s was to teach us compassion for crooks. Greater love hath no man.

Of Harding and Coolidge it is perhaps enough to say that they gave us the Depression, and in so doing became the models for all Republicans since. None has yet achieved their level of impact on ordinary Americans, but Dubya is hot on their tail and still has four months.

How one asks, do the Republicans achieve such spectacularly consistent results. Their secret weapon is in demographics, as the following chart illustrates. The key to understanding this chart, however, is the statement of John Stuart Mill, a man who knew a thing or two about being smart (he had an estimated IQ of 210). I paraphrase, “I don’t say that all conservatives are stupid, but that all stupid people are conservatives.”

If the Republicans have the bottom half of the bell curve to themselves, how can a Democrat hope to compete? The best we can hope for is to launch the odd mediocrity, such as Lyndon Johnson. But this is kids’ stuff. The professional idiots are the Republicans. I take my hat off to them. “Hats off, gentlemen, a dolt.” Sarah Palin, if history is any indication, you could well be our next great Republican president. All the indicators are there, and you have the best backing in the world.


Experience as a Predictor of Presidential Greatness

Come one, come all pundits on this blog, to a penetrating quantitative analysis of Presidential greatness versus experience at–

(scroll down to “Is an Experienced President a Good President?”)


Conclusion: no correlation whatsoever!

My meditation:

According to this data, LBJ, with 27 years in the Congress, is the number two most experienced president and for my money, he was an exceptionally poor one. He was effective in the Senate but not in the White House. His presidency was proof positive AGAINST the argument that effective legislators make effective executives. Dramatic evidence that the executive and legislative arenas require two radically different skill sets.

Reagan on the other hand came from the executive branch, with eight painfully long years as governor and a whole lifetime on the campaign trail, but nonetheless for my money was one of drop-dead dumbest, silliest, clumsiest, least effective presidents in American history, running neck and neck with Bill Clinton in every department except intelligence–a most valid comparison oft-noted by presidential historians.

Reagan authorized arms for hostages, birthday cakes to the Ayatolla, a totally rogue-nation CIA that pandered to Iraq and armed Iran, coddling Saddam Hussein and other megalomaniacal tyrants all over the globe. Even while preaching the gospel of fiscal conservatism the Gipper ran up the greatest federal debt in the history of the world and then, for his last act, casually blew off the opportunity for total superpower nuclear disarmament offered to him on a silver platter by a genuflecting Gorbachev at Reykjavik–far and away the single greatest presidential blunder in all of American history–by many orders of magnitude more colossally stupid than anything Dubbya has ever done. In so many, many ways–fiscal, economic, domestic, foreign, environmental–Reagan set the stage for the eventual disintegration of America as a world power. What Dubbya has completed, Reagan began.

So I would be contrarian as to what constitutes, “effective” let alone, “great.” The dead-wrong-as-usual conventional wisdom is that Reagan was effective because he won two elections by large margins, reversing the polarity of the Congress, just as Clinton did 1992. This was the so-called Reagan “revolution.”

But I don’t buy that “effective” means “effective at winning elections” or “effective at political survival purely for its own sake”.

To me, “effective” means succeeding at some clearly defined political policy objective AND ALSO dealing adroitly with unforeseen contingencies–per Abraham Lincoln during the civil warm, or FDR during the Depression. “Effective” would in its penultimate expression mean being quite willing to LOSE an election in order to do the right thing for the country. It means having both vision AND stamina AND imagination AND integrity AND grace under pressure, all working together seamlessly.

Bill Clinton had no defined political policy objectives whatsoever, beyond longevity for himself in elected office. He was an airhead. He did exactly whatever pollster Dick Morris told him to do just about as mechanically as Dubbya did whatever Karl Rove told him to do, or Ronald Reagan did whatever his advisors thought General Electric and Bechtel–which supplied virtually his entire top management team–might wish him to do. Clinton’s single great domestic triumph is said to have been skillful “triangulation” of the Gingrich congress–e.g., promoting NAFTA on behalf of the military-industrial complex, and officiating over “the end of welfare as we know it.” Selling the poor mostly black folk down the river in order to fill up the campaign warchests and win elections.

But I don’t see much logic in crediting Clinton for balancing the budget or stimulating the economy. The ephermeral uplift of the 1990’s was very simply the ground swell of business cycle itself combined with a “perfect storm” of circumstance and convergent technology which temporarily spiked productivity even as energy prices and therefore inflation were at a cyclical low. Clinton was no more responsible for the behavior of the energy price/inflation cycle or the business cycle than Jimmy Carter was responsible for the behavior of OPEC.

Bill Clinton was “adroit” in handling unforeseen crises only inasmuch as he was shrewd enough to back down on whatever he had recently set out to do (gays in the military, national health care) or sufficiently timid enough to procrastinate on indefinitely (genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda)–either pulling back or flat giving up whenever a challenge proved difficult or dangerous. His greatest asset was his spectacular survival instinct whenever it was necessary to extricate himself–again and again; and again and again and again and again–from entirely self-engendered personal career crises, such as draft dodging, then Whitewater, then Geniffergate and Travelgate and Monicagate–et al. Wall to wall Bimbogate across two decades in elected office: the hidden “agenda” of the Clinton administration that presidential historians have long since conveniently forgotten….

We could very defensibly argue that the best president may well be the one who is so timid, so cautious, so utterly devoid of imagination, ideas, hutzpah or vision, so perfectly incapable of taking ANY initiative that he basically withdraws into a tortoise shell of inertia for his entire term. We want not the person “First in His Class”, but rather the phlegmatic student who SLEPT through class. We should aspire not to youthful idealism, but to advanced old age bordering on senility. Eisenhower would be the penultimate example. (“Is he ALIVE?”) The best offense is a strategy of uncompromising, isolationist, tortoise-like defense.

Are not the best presidents, like the best doctors, those wise and shrewd and zen enough to do nothing at all–to let time and the immune system do their work with minimal interference– as opposed to those who, like JFK declaring what would become the Cold War with his adolescent grandstanding and saber-rattling (“Let’s invade Cuba–that’ll show em!”), LBJ/Nixon in Vietnam, Truman in Korea, bush I and Bush II in Iraq, all making it their foremost priority to drive the nation straight into war at any cost whatsoever to the country and the people?

[Editors note: is this actually a back-door argument FOR the value of “experience”?  That depends upon what we mean by “experience”….]

What conventionally “great” Presidents do is make war, not policy or legislation. Nothing like a national security crisis to bring one’s personal approval ratings out of the toilet.

As Edward Abbey put it we have had “Roosevelt’s war”, then “Truman’s war”, then what might be called either “Kennedy’s War”, or “Johnson’s War,” or “Nixon’s War”, then “Bush War I” and “Bush War II”.

Our ambitious young men can think of nothing so glamorous as leading the nation into war.

But I would suggest that the conventional definition of “effectiveness” and “greatness” be reversed.

Instead of the hutzpah to rush into war, let’s acknowledge that true greatness is having the wisdom–and courage–to skillfully avoid it.



Want some racism to go with your jingoism?

Over at Orcinus, Dave takes on the ongoing effort of Republicans and conservatives to convince the world that they’re really not racists at all – history recent and not be damned. Dave writes:

It’s been kind of amusing watching conservatives reposition themselves on racial issues in anticipation of their upcoming electoral battle with Barack Obama, which seems to be growing likelier by the day.

Mostly they’ve been trying to revise the history of conservatism and the GOP in the past half-century, generally by omitting that whole sordid business about the Southern Strategy — or at least wholly redefining what that means.

The GOP’s patented Southern Strategy is simply enough pandering to Southern whites who felt betrayed by the Democratic parties embrace of Civil Rights. The outcome has been things like the dog whistle politics Ronald Reagan practiced with is “welfare queen” comments – the use of code words that the target audience knew meant black people. (FWIW, “welfare queen” was one of the more effective examples of this hateful practice; apparently that term was more effective at raising racial animus among whites than almost any other term especially more obviously racist language. Scary huh?)

Part of this is the not so quaint Southern tendency to try to pretend that some how the “States’ Rights” argument had nothing to do with slavery in the lead up to the Civil War and that it has had nothing to do with racism since. As is common, these arguments are combined with a rhetorically muscular America First Chauvinism that we’re supposed to believe is all about some set of core values that we degraded modern Americans have forgotten and for which the mythical Confederacy of the argument stood, for example (as quoted by Dave at Orcinus):

. . . what you never hear from these Democrat demagogues is what the Confederacy brought to America that has LONG since been lost in the short list of things that matter when it comes to being an American.

As a down-line Confederate, I know of a reverence for God, a deep-rooted respect for my elders, a conviction that a Government is only as good as the independent and strong-willed people who fight FOR her, and a belief that the Federal Government is BEST that governs States the LEAST – this being emblematic of a Republic that was founded with the intention of ensuring as much for her citizens. . . . The Confederate flag might have flown over some dark days of this republic, but that’s not to suggest that the ideals of the Confederacy, beyond the darkness of slavery, should be lost in the translation. That flag flew to represent an America that stood up for a people and a belief that a Federal Government had no place in deciding the business of the States’ right to determine their futures. Millions of dead later, the ideals are unchanged – do with that what you will.

Sounds innocuous enough doesn’t it? The Confederacy was really about freedom . . . if you were white. Historians have been pointing out for years and years now that the right the Southern states wanted to preserve was the right to own humans beings as chattel. Simple enough.

Defenders of this mythical Confederacy expect us to believe that racism is long dead, and that we should conveniently ignore the history of racism in the US. A think I quoted him, but a while back, Thomas Cahill was on Bill Moyers and he said “Racism is America’s nightmare . . .” it is our original sin, one that we codified into the constitution with things like the 3/5s compromise. The modern conservative movement got its start in opposing the Civil Rights movement. The conservative Christian subculture in the US began when white people didn’t want their kids sitting next to little black kids in schools and so they created “Christian” schools that were racially segregated.

The worst, overt forms of racism are largely gone from our society and that’s no small accomplishment. Jim Crow (at least as it applied to African-Americans) is gone. Conservatives tell us that means we’ve moved beyond racism. But the very existence and success of the GOP’s “Southern Strategy” gives lie to that assertion. And attempts to resist national reforms in the name of States’ Rights is nothing more than the continuation of an old racist strategy designed to keep slavery legal.

The other night, Gone With the Wind was on TCM. I suspect more people think of the Confederacy as it is portrayed in GWtW than as it actually was – a virulently racist, nasty nation fighting to preserve one thing and one thing only and rightfully consigned to the garbage pit of history. The myth of the lost cause, the noble Southerner fighting for his nation’s freedom, is exactly that – a myth and one it’s time we as a nation put to rest.


Beyond the Veil

Total Information Awareness Logo

Psychology and science made their debut as American weapons of war in 1916. President Woodrow Wilson, a Southern Democrat and avowed racial terrorist launched, “the Committee on Public Information.” That same year, President Wilson welcomed a parade of several hundred thousand hooded white men at the White House. The original masters of Amerikan terror held court in all their white robed glory. Soon President Wilson appointed George Creel as Chair of the “Committee on Public Information,” and the state of war came home to stay forevermore.

During this time advertising, psychology and media technology came to define a new kind of society. A society in which human beings live to tend machines and spend the green. The good white people were trained to make the scene and the robber barons hands washed clean. The socialists, anarchists and subversives came like curses upon this new order of things. President Wilson swiftly passed the Espionage Act through Congress in 1917 at the same time he covertly ordered U.S. troops from the war front in France to support the Imperial (white) Army of Czar Nicholas III against the popular revolt in Russia.

Dissent about the war “over there” (World War I) raged across America then much as it does today. To my dismay the tyrannical plays written in those days have grown in multiple ways to even include gays in this modern age. The struggle of the owners and masters to preserve their power matured into the beast of Babylon inside the 5 sided fist-a-gon.

From CointelPro to TIA they convey a sense of fear and insecurity that violates the purity of our souls. CointelPro’s or more properly, Counter Intelligence Programs developed by the FBI to disrupt and spy on American dissent and protest caused most of the distress. The program would coalesce by the late 1960’s in Nixon’s War on drugs, niggas and thugs. They swept the covert domestic war under the rug and slinked away snug as a bug in a rug. The hole it dug for us just keeps getting deeper. Terror filled eyes shy away from grim reaper better drive to Wal-Mart to buy their shit cheaper.

But not mine . . . they have seen the glory. I’ve seen the mountaintop and nothing can wash that away. Not even TIA (Total Information Awareness). Take a few moments to educate yourself. Not just for your health but for the wealth of the nations. Tell some friends two or three and maybe they too will see what I see. Maybe we could be free . . . then.
Read the rest of this entry »


The Substantive Law of Presidential Impeachment

Utah Law Review Volume 1973 (Winter) No. 4, 681-704. Reprinted with permission. Document PDF

Presented to the U.S Senate in 1973.

The genesis of this document was a request by then Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield via Utah Senator Ted Moss to provide a how-to in preparation to for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. It is perhaps the most comprehensive survey of the substantive law of impeachment under U.S. law. It was accompanied by a The Procedural Law of Impeachment also by Ed Firmage.

In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
Mr. Justice Louis Brandeis

Edwin Brown Firmage bio, website

The Constitution provides: “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”[1] The Framers of the Constitution intentionally selected from English law and Parliamentary practice the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” [2] which by then possessed definable content within boundaries [3] established by Parliamentary precedents originating with political offenses separate from the common law of crimes. From this English precedent, the Framers pruned those historical anachronisms attributable to Parliament’s moral struggle with the Crown for supremacy and ministerial responsibility, ultimately bequeathing a doctrine capable of protecting this country against presidential and ministerial offenses — criminal and non-criminal — subversive of the Constitution and its governmental institutions.

This Article will focus upon four influences that together determine the law of presidential impeachment: English law; the Constitutional Convention and state ratifying conventions; American impeachment experience; and public policy considerations. It is the public policy considerations upon which judgment must ultimately be based in our system governed by a body of law that is designed to protect the Republic rather than to punish the offender.

I. English Law

The American constitutional impeachment clause had its origin in English law. [4] The division of functions between the Senate as both trier of fact and judge of law, and the House as prosecutor originated in the same apportionment of functions in England between Lords and Commons. Hamilton acknowledged that the English experience was “the model from which [impeachment was] borrowed.” [5] The debates in the Constitutional Convention and the state ratification conventions [6] clearly indicate that the delegates were aware of the English law and practice of Parliamentary impeachment. Moreover, the term “high crimes and misdemeanors” was taken directly from English Parliamentary law and practice. Story asserted that “what are and are not high crimes and misdemeanors is to be ascertained by a recurrence to” English law. [7] Accordingly, the general content and structure of the English law of impeachment, being the matrix within which the Framers fashioned the constitutional doctrine of impeachment, [8] become the first source for determining the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

English impeachment proceedings, recorded as early as the fourteenth century, [9] reflected the prevailing political philosophy:

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Procedural Law of Impeachment

Duke Law Journal Volume 1974 (January) No. 6, 1023-1116. Reprinted with permission. Document PDF

The genesis of this document was a request by the then Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield via Utah Senator Ted Moss to provide a how-to in preparation for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. It is a survey of substantive law of impeachment. It was accompanied by a The Procedural Law of Impeachment also by Ed Firmage.

This document went through a number of iterations as events unfolded through Nixon’s resignation to subsequent pardon.


Edwin Brown Firmage bio, website **

R. Collin Mangrum***


I. Introduction

II. The English Precedents

III. House Impeachment Procedure

A. The Initiation of Preliminary Investigations in the House

B. The Irrelevance of Probable Cause to Impeach Named Individuals

C. Investigations Preparatory to the Articles of Impeachment

D. The Drafting of Articles of Impeachment

E. The Right of the Accused to Appear in the Court of the House Investigation

F. The Burden of Proof for the Adoption of the Articles

G. The Public Eye on the Adoption of the Articles of Impeachment

H. The Committee Report on the Articles of Impeachment

I. The Vote on the Articles on the Floor of the House

J. The Effects of Recesses and Adjournments on the Impeachment Process

K. The House Selection of Managers

IV. Senate Impeachment Procedure

A. Does the Senate Sit as a Court?

B. Initiation of the Senate Trial

C. The Presiding Officer

D. Conduct of the Impeachment Trial

E. Evidentiary Rulings

F. Final Arguments and Voting

G. Judgment

V. Raising the Defense of Executive Privilege

A. Executive Privilege Based on Separation of Powers

B. Withholding Information When the Public Interest Requires Executive Secrecy

C. Withholding Information on the Basis of a Statutory Privilege

VI. Excluding Evidence on Other Constitutional or Evidentiary Ground

VII. Impeachment and Judicial Review

VIII. Impeachment and Indictment

IX. Pardon and Impeachment

A. Historical Analysis of Pardon

B. Elements of Pardon

C. The Nixon Pardon and Beyond

X. Conclusion

XI. Epilogue

XII. Appendices

Actuated by these sentiments our ancestors arrayed themselves against the government in one huge and compact mass. All ranks, all parties, all Protestant sects, made up that vast Phalanx. In the van were the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Then came the landed gentry and the clergy; both the Universities, all the Inns of Court, merchants, shopkeepers, farmers, the porters who plied in the streets of the great towns, the peasants who ploughed the fields. The league against the King included the very foremast men who manned his ships, the very sentinels who guarded his palace. The names of Whig and Tory were for a moment forgotten. The old Exclusionist took the old Abhorrer by the hand. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, forgot their long feuds, and remembered only their common Protestantism and their common danger . . .The coalition of 1688 was produced, and could be produced, only by tyranny, which approached to insanity, and by danger which threatened at once all the great institutions of the country.

Macaulay on the Fall of James II[1]

I. Introduction

The aborted proceeding to impeach Richard Nixon has stimulated debate about the appropriateness of the impeachment process as a check upon the arbitrary use of presidential power. Impeachment has been criticized as a cumbersome, agonizingly slow, and unjustifiably expensive way for Congress to express its will, extracting a cost in an abraded electorate suffering further with duties of government unmet while Congress and the presidency are consumed with their offensive and defensive roles in the process. Termination of the impeachment proceeding without an admission of moral guilt (only “errors of judgment”) or a finding of legal responsibility is a disquieting denouement for the Watergate tragedy. Further, such proceedings could not adequately resolve whether a President who resigns when faced with certain removal should be allowed extensive federal retirement benefits or if a resigning President should have immunity from prosecution for criminal acts committed while in office—now a mooted question as to federal prosecution because of President Ford’s pardon.

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