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Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Watergate Interlude ► The Saturday Night Massacre

Watergate complex
DATELINE October 20, 1973 - President Richard Nixon fires Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelhaus resign rather than have to carry out the job. The press immediately dubbed this The Saturday Night Massacre.

Archibald Cox
Cox and Nixon seemed destined to come to loggerheads. Archibald Cox had been the U.S. Solicitor General under President Kennedy, who was a sworn enemy of Nixon, long before he defeated him in the 1960 presidential election. After serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations Cox returned to private life and Harvard Law School in 1965, where he had been before serving in government. When, in May of 1973 the government was looking for someone squeaky clean to look into the growing Watergate Scandal, Cox was tapped for the job. However, it wasn't as smooth as that makes it sound.

Richard Kleindienst had been Nixon's Attorney General, but resigned on April 30, 1973, the same day that John W. Dean was fired and H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were allowed to quit. When Elliot Richardson was nominated to become the new Attorney General the Senate made Cox's appointment a condition before confirming Richardson.

Special Prosecutor Cox learned of the extensive White House taping system at the same time the rest of 'Merka did, at the Watergate Hearings. He knew the tapes might settle some of the questions of who knew what when. That's when a 4 way power struggle began; with Nixon on one side, and the Senate Watergate Committee, Judge John Sirica -- who had issued a Grand Jury subpoena for the tapes -- and Cox on the other. All wanted the White House tapes and President Nixon stalled for months rather than turn them over.

President Nixon posing with the rejected transcripts
At first Nixon claimed Executive Privilege. Finally Judge Sirica ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes. Nixon stalled again by offering a compromise. He's have Democratic Senator John Stennis listen to the tapes and prepare a summary of the tapes, based on transcripts prepared by the White House. This was rejected by Special Prosecutor Cox on October 19, who held a press conference the following day to outline his reasoning.

That evening Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than do so. That left it to Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to carry out Nixon's order. Ruckelshaus resigned as well. During the Watergate scandal there were not many acts of integrity from the Nixon administration. That is why these stood out in sharp contrast.

In the end it was left to Solicitor General Robert Bork, who was now acting head of the Justice Department, to fire Archibald Cox. And the shit hit the fan. There was far more at stake than just the tapes and Nixon's presidency. As the Washington Post of the following day noted:
The action raised new questions as to whether Congress would proceed to confirm House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to be Vice President or leave Speaker of the House Carl Albert (D-Okla.) next in line of succession to the highest office in the land.
It was all downhill for Nixon from here on in. As the WikiWackyWoo reports:
On Nov. 14, 1973, Federal District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell ruled that the dismissal of Mr. Cox was illegal, in the absence of a prior finding of extraordinary impropriety as specified in the regulation establishing the special prosecutor's office.
Congress was infuriated by the act [of the Saturday Night Massacre], which was seen as a gross abuse of presidential power. The public sent in an unusually large number of telegrams to both the White House and Congress. And following the Saturday Night Massacre, as opposed to August of the same year, an Oliver Quayle poll for NBC News showed that a plurality of American citizens now supported impeachment, with 44% in favor, 43% opposed, and 13% undecided, although with a sampling error of 2 to 3 percent. In the days that followed, numerous resolutions of impeachment against the president were introduced in Congress.
Nixon was forced to allow Robert Bork to appoint a new Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski. If the White House thought Jaworski would be more amenable to pressure, it was sorely mistaken. Jaworski continued to press for the release of the tapes, as well as the expansion of the investigation beyond the original Watergate burglaries.  Later Nixon released transcripts of the tapes, which satisfied no one and made "expletive deleted" a national punchline. It still took another 10 months until Nixon finally resigned to avoid impeachment and possible conviction.

Some of my books on President Nixon and
Watergate. Behind those books are more books.
Richard Nixon has long been a fascination of mine. For further reading try my other posts on Watergate:

Aunty Em Ericann's Bun Fight With James Rosen of Fox "News"

Unpacking The Aunty Em Ericann Blog ► Part New 

Watergate ► The Beginning of the End

Watergate ► The End of the End 

Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be ► Happy Birthday Martha Mitchell

Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be ► Vice Presidents We Have Known

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Me and Pierre Trudeau ► Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

DATELINE October 18, 1919 - Pierre Elliot Trudeau is born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. While he was born into wealth, when he became Prime Minister in 1968 there were no Canadians who didn't think he also spoke for the "little guy."

I shook Pierre Trudeau's hand once. It was 1967. I was a 15 year-old 'Merkin and at summer camp, which was in Michigan. Every year, in an effort to shoehorn culture into us, we would be sent to Stratford, Ontario to take in a Shakespeare play. We were waiting in front of the playhouse and the doors were still closed, long past the time they should have opened. Several of us were milling around on the steps, hoping to be the first to get inside.

Suddenly a black limousine pulled up, a man jumped out of the back, and the crowd went wild. Suddenly all the Canadians erupted in applause and cheering. As the doors to the playhouse opened, and we were held back from entering, PET bounded up the few stairs shaking hands all the way as the crowd magically parted for him. I was right at the door. Pierre Trudeau turned to his left, where I standing, and reached out to shake my hand. I reached back. For 2 seconds we were connected. Then he ran into the theater. The audience was held back another few minutes so he could get settled, but the crowd waiting was ELECTRIFIED. I had never seen anything like it before. I turned to the closest Canadian and asked, "Who was that?"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How Mitt Romney Didn't Build That

At the end of August Rolling Stone published an article called "The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney," by Tim Dickinson. The article made the rounds, but had dropped off my radar when I was reminded of it again. I was alerted to a HIGH-LARRY-US parody video -- that captures this explosive story -- called "King of the Dole." Now I am trying to help the creator make it go viral.

Now that it's the morning after the second Presidential debate, as all the pundits decide who won and how much Mendacious Mitt lied, it's worth taking a look back to see how Mitt Romney's entire reputation for his self-proclaimed business acumen is based on a lie. To put it bluntly: He didn't build that and knowing what actually happened shows Romney's entire presidential campaign is predicated on a pack of lies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chow Mein and Bolling 10 ► Ignorant And Proud Of It

Unretouched pic of Bully Boy Bolling
taken by me directly from my tee vee
It's not JUST that Bully Boy Bolling is an ignorant Bully Boy. It's that he's so proud of being an ignorant Bully Boy. 

What's more: his ignorance is not just limited to the Fox "News" arguefest The Five, still the worst show in tee vee since My Mother, The Car. Bully Boy Bolling proudly displays his ignorance on social media all across the innertubes. His pride in his own ignorance extends to sending out links to articles that prove he's an ignorant Bully Boy; articles that demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that he lies boldfaced on tee vee. Then he lies again in his messages which also display his proud ignorance.

Bully Boy Bolling's latest ignorance comes in the shape of a message he proudly sent out this morning, which follows the ignorance he proudly spouted on The Five last night:

Musical Appreciation ► Bob Weir

DATELINE October 16, 1947 - Robert Hall Weir is born in San Fransisco, California and grew up in nearby Atherton, on the other side of the bay, with his adopted parents. He picked up the guitar at the age of 13. Three years later, on a New Year's Eve, he followed the sound of banjo playing to meet Jerry Garcia for the first time. After jamming all night they decided to form a band. At first they called themselves "Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions," which became "The Warlocks," and finally "The Grateful Dead."

There is no 'Merkin band with the same storied romance between its fans and the group. Long before most people even knew about Bootleg recordings, The Grateful Dead would allow fans with tape machines to plug directly into the sound board. Dead Heads would follow the band around the country, and across the world, to take in as many shows as they could. An entire culture grew up outside Grateful Dead concerts, not to mention inside the shows.

While with The Dead, and after the death of Garcia in 1995, Weir also performed with such bands as Kingfish, Bobby and the Midnites, RatDog and his latest band Further, which is named after the bus used by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, where the Grateful Dead got their start, and the subject of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, one of Tom Wolfe's early books.

However, it will always be about the music.


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Fox "News" Spin Cycle ► Episode 21

Bizarro is owned by DC Comics
It was another busy week and the research room of the Fox "News" Spin Cycle was working overtime with 333 tweets and status updates collected in the week since Episode 20 was published. Of course most of them were from Judge Nap. That's why, beginning next week, we are giving Judge Andrew Napolitano his own series.

It was a week in which Fox "News" helped the GOP politicize the attack in Benghazi, Lybia, Vice President Joe Biden smacked down that snot-nosed kid Lyin' Ryan, and several attempts were made by the Man Who Fell To Earth, before he finally succeeded on Sunday, which Fox "News" didn't cover live at all.

After weeding out all the duplicate ideas, and non-political tweets, this is what we are left with, so, let's get right to it.