Tag Archives: Nixon

G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate Infamy Has Passed On

It’s been nearly a week now since the leader of Richard Nixon’s White House Plumbers unit passed away. Many, if not most of you, have heard neither of him nor these plumbers. They had nothing to do with pipes in the White House. They were charged with doing what they could–legal or otherwise, to get Nixon reelected in 1972. As it turned out, he really didn’t need the help; he won by a landslide.

On the other hand, his second term ended early because of their criminal activity–and that of countless top White House staff or cabinet members in trying to cover up their misdeeds. Many of the perps went to jail, including Liddy. Oh, and then there was the tape of conversations between Nixon and those conspirators–that he had installed in the Oval Office–that was the “smoking gun” that the Supreme Court said must be released.

Quite a difference between them and former 45th President Trump.  Not nearly as many went to jail–though more still may do so. Nixon pardoned NONE of his criminal conspirators. Trump pardoned most of his. Unfortunately for those who stuck it out to the bitter end of Trump’s unsuccessful effort to reverse the 2020 election results, they didn’t get pardoned and now never will.

But let’s get back to Liddy, who served 4 1/2 years in prison back in the 1970s. Nixon resigned the White House in 1973, when it all came out. He would have been convicted in a Senate trial of impeachment–but it never came to that. The GOP has changed greatly over those decades–giving Trump a free pass, TWICE.

Notably, none of the media I read or watch had any word of Liddy coming to Trump’s aid on January 6th or any time over the four preceding years. One might be excused for thinking he might have followed in Roger Stone’s footsteps (or tattoo of Nixon on his back) working for Trump.

In 2015, we had dueling book reviews here on Views. One of Viktor Frankl’s best selling Man’s Search for Meaning. and one of Liddy’s memoir, Will. I won’t rehash that post; you can read it here.

But, I will repost my review of Liddy’s book, in somewhat sardonic honor of his recent death at age 90.

Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon LiddyWill: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy by G. Gordon Liddy
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This has to be one of the most hilarious, surprising and ultimately tragic books I have ever read. Far into the book I remained convinced that Liddy must have been writing a self-deprecating satire of his life just to spite all the liberals, Nixon-haters and antiwar protestors of the Watergate era.

Who would brag about tying himself to a tree in a lightning storm to overcome his fears? Who would describe choosing his spouse in major part for her strong Teutonic stock? Who would extoll many aspects of the Third Reich?

But no, I eventually concluded, he was serious. He really did do all the nutty stuff he described. He really believed all the nonsensical things he professed. He really did all the criminal acts he was charged with and did so proudly–thinking that his self-perceived set of American values superseded the Constitution and the applicable laws. It explains a lot about his behavior during Watergate. That he not only was but still is so deluded is the tragedy. You should read the book, but check it out of the library–don’t buy it.

View all my Goodreads reviews

 

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So It Begins, with Michael Flynn–Trump’s Ignominious Early Departure

Does any rational person really think that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn came up with his own talking points to Russian Ambassador Kisylak? Does anyone NOT think he discussed or got approval from Donald J. “Richard Milhous” Trump? Congress will demand that Flynn testify before their various committees. Will Flynn be a loyal soldier like G. Gordon Liddy–who refused to rat out Richard Nixon? Maybe, but maybe not. 

Trump and Nixon side by side
Donald Trump, Richard Nixon(Credit: AP/Reuters/Rick Wilking/Photo montage by Salon)

“What did the president know and when did he know it?” Déjà vu washes over American’s over 50. Odd, hearing newscasters who were not yet born or who were young children utter this phrase. A phrase that was said countless times on a daily basis 43 years ago. The Watergate investigation became America’s obsession in 1973, culminating in then President Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974. [I watched it in the student lounge of Georgetown University Law Center as I began my law school classes. Then major news anchor John Chancellor said no one in America was celebrating this event—he couldn’t have been more mistaken. I have never since had such a high level of schadenfreude—but I expect Trump’s eventual departure to exceed it.] More than 30 White House cabinet members, Nixon staff members and associates went to jail. It all began with a break-in at the Watergate complex headquarters of the Democratic National Committee  in 1972. Those who went to jail included John Mitchell, Attorney General and chairman of Nixon’s reelection campaign. Others included senior White House officials like H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and John Erlichman.

Many have seen the similar personality flaws of Nixon and Trump, as well as contemplated the trajectory of a Trump presidency that very likely could follow Nixon’s second term. Enemies—the news media, Democrats, blacks and religious minorities; for Nixon it was Jews, for Trump it’s Muslims. Hubris is a common element. But Nixon had more paranoia with his megalomania; Trump has more narcissism with his self-aggrandizement. Nixon resigned in the face of certain impeachment and conviction. Will Trump face the same fate? Maybe. Or perhaps he’ll be out on a mental disability. It wasn’t the break-in that put so many Nixon associates in jail, it was the cover-up of it. Will it be the same with Trump? Could be the financial conflicts, Russia or any number of things. Flynn is just the first. More will likely follow, the longer Trump remains in office.

You didn’t have to be a Malcolm Nance, former Navy intelligence officer,  to see the Michael Flynn situation coming. All you had to do was observe Trump’s behavior toward Russian generally and Putin in particular. Here’s some of what I said in my fake news (mostly to insulate myself from legal liability by claiming my commentary was true).

My January 19 post included this satirical item:

“On behalf of Benedict Trump, National Security Adviser Michael “RT” Flynn, called the Russian Ambassador five times on December 29th.  He reportedly saidaccording to a leak of an NSA intercept authorized by a FISA warrant,

“Don’t worry about Obama’s sanctions and those diplomats expelled. Once Trump’s in the White House we’ll roll them back and you can bring back as many spies—I mean diplomats—as you want.”

“Thank you, Comrade Flynn,” the ambassador replied.”

Of course no FISA warrant was needed; it was a routine matter for US counterintelligence to monitor calls to and from people like Russian Ambassador Kisylak. How carelessly stupid did a career US intelligence official like Michael Flynn have to be to in fact tell the ambassador that Trump might remove or lessen sanctions? VERY stupid. For that reason alone he should have resigned. No one that stupid should be in the position of National Security Adviser to the President.

My December 31 post included this satirical item:

“More breaking news on the Russian Front (Putin and Trump, that is).  An anonymous source linked this NSA intercept of a recent call between Trump and Putin.

 “Hey, Vlad baby, thanks for that smart move with the sanctions. That will make it easier for me to remove them after I’m in the White House–soon to be the Trump House, hahaha.”

“Donny, don’t worry about the sanctions Obama imposed. We can handle them for a while. Wait a few months before you remove them all–and the other ones about Crimea and the Ukraine. If you act too quickly, you’ll have trouble with Congress.”

“Are you sure you can stand them, Vlad?”

“Absolutely, Donny boy. Just remember, we’re always here for you. If you do get in trouble–like being impeached for conflicts of interest with all your business dealings, you can move to Russia. We treat our oligarchs very, very well here. You can make as much money as you want without annoying laws and regulations hemming you in. You could finally become a billionaire for real!”

“How about a reality TV show on RT?

“Sure, no problem. But you’ll want more than that won’t you? Resorts, casinos, golf courses and more–right? Just get rid of those sanctions in a few months.”

“Right. OK, but if I’m going to dump those sanctions, I’ll need approval for several projects up front. Donald Jr., will be in touch about them.”

“Sure, we can do that. But be careful about calls like this. We can’t help you if you go too far and get charged with treason!”

“Hey, I’ll be President. No conflicts. I can do whatever I want. Say, you really didn’t do that hacking did you?”

“No, of course not! You trust Infofarce, the National Enquirer, WhiteBark and Sean Insanity don’t you?”

“Oh sure. That’s why I don’t bother with those stupid PDBs. I’m smarter than those intelligence agencies!”

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Acknowledgements: See photo attribution

The Torture Report

Are you tired of hearing, viewing and reading about this yet? If you are, then you should skip this post. But let me try a multifaceted approach that may overcome your reluctance. There is legality and there is morality. There is politics and pragmatics. There is truth and there are lies. There are causes and there are consequences (effects). Finally, there is the opportunity for national self-reflection–if one can get beyond the self-protective rationalization. Continue reading The Torture Report

Carville’s Misplaced Loyalty

Hyperbole is a customary part of politics. But calling Bill Richardson a Judas for endorsing Obama is way over the top. Carville defends his commentary in an op ed today  by asserting, essentially, that Richardson fails to show sufficient appreciation for the Clintons making him the man he is today. Firstly, it was Bill, not Hillary that appointed him as UN ambassador and later Energy Secretary during Bill’s tenure in the White House. More importantly, loyalty to country comes before loyalty to president–an important distinction apparently lost on Carville.

Continue reading Carville’s Misplaced Loyalty