History’s Rhyme, Part 3: How Nixon’s Impeachment Unfolded [UPDATE-2]
[NB: Check the byline, thanks! UPDATES at bottom of post. /~Rayne]
I’ve previously looked at example Articles of Impeachment against Trump in these posts:
History’s Rhyme: Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment — focus on obstruction of justice
History’s Rhyme, Part 2: ‘Abuse of Power’ Sounds So Familiar
I’ll return to do Part 2a to address more abuses of power in the near future. I’m still working on Articles 3 and more related to violations of treaties and foreign policy failures, as well as human rights violations.
This post is one that I didn’t foresee needing. Where the previous posts in this series have direct parallels to the Articles of Impeachment against former president Richard Nixon, this post is about the sequence of events leading to Nixon’s eventual resignation in 1974.
What follows is an abbreviated timeline including what I think were the biggest benchmarks between the beginning of Nixon’s first term in office and his resignation. If I miss something you believe was instrumental in his exit, let me know in comments.
I wanted to look from a 50,000 foot level at the amount of time it took for Nixon to leave office from the beginning of investigations into the Watergate break-in, and particular actions on the part of investigators and Congress as well as Nixon and some of the co-conspirators. I’ll offer observations after the timeline.
Keep in mind as you read this that impeachment and removal are spelled out in the Constitution:
Article I, Section 2, subsection 5:
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Article I, Section 3, subsection 6:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Article I, Section 3, subsection 7:
Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Article I, Section 4:
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.
Article III, Section 2, subsection 3:
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
~ ~ ~
Timeline of Richard M. Nixon’s terms in office including impeachment effort
20-JAN-1969 — Nixon inaugurated and installed in office.
18-MAR-1969 — Unauthorized by Congress, secret bombing of Cambodia under ‘Operation Menu‘ begins.
09-MAY-1969 — NYT revealed secret bombing based on information leaked by an administration source. Nixon demanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) find the source of the leak; then National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger‘s NSC aide Morton Halperin was illegally wiretapped for 21 months.
XX-OCT-1969 — Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo photocopy what would become known as the ‘Pentagon Papers‘ — compiled study of the Vietnam War commissioned in 1967 by then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.
~ ~ ~
26-MAY-1970 — Secret bombing of Cambodia under Operation Menu ended.
~ ~ ~
XX-FEB-1971 — Ellberg discussed the Pentagon Papers with NYT reporter Neil Sheehan, turning over some of the materials to Sheehan.
XX-FEB-1971 — Illegal wiretap of NSC aide Halperin ended.
13-JUN-1971 — NYT began publishing portions of the Pentagon Papers
20-JUN-1971 — Senator Mike Gravel entered thousands of pages of the Pentagon Papers into Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds’ record to assure public debate.
~ ~ ~
17-JUN-1972 — Five “plumbers” were caught breaking into Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate; these burglars include a GOP security aide.
20-JUN-1972 — Based on a tip from anonymous source referred to as ‘Deep Throat,’ Washington Post reported that one of the burglars had Howard Hunt’s name in an address book as well as checks signed by Hunt in their possession. Deep Throat also said Hunt was affiliated with Charles Colson, Nixon’s Special Counsel.
20-JUN-1972 — Recordings made in the Oval Office this day eventually contain erasures including an 18-1/2 minute gap. Some of the material recorded included a conversation between Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman.
23-JUN-1972 — Nearly a week after the burglary at DNC offices, Nixon and Haldeman were recorded discussing how to stop the investigation into the break-in. Nixon agreed upon Haldeman’s suggestion that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Richard Helms and Deputy Director Vernon A. Walters should contact FBI’s Acting Director L. Patrick Gray and ask the FBI to stand down on the investigation, calling it a matter of “national security.” This conversation would become known as the “Smoking Gun” tape. [UPDATE-2]
01-AUG-1972 — Washington Post reported one of the Watergate burglars had a $25,000 cashier’s check in their bank account.
15-SEP-1972 — G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Hunt, and the five Watergate burglars — the first Watergate Seven — were indicted by a federal grand jury.
29-SEP-1972 — Washington Post reported that former Attorney General John Mitchell used a secret GOP slush fund to pay for opposition research including intelligence on the Democratic Party.
07-NOV-1972 — Nixon reelected in landslide. The race had been substantively shaped by dirty tricks conducted by Nixon’s aides.
~ ~ ~
08-JAN-1973 — The first Watergate Seven are tried by Judge John Sirica.
30-JAN-1973 — G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord, former Nixon staffers, were convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping related to the break-in of DNC offices in Watergate.
07-FEB-1973 — Senate Watergate Committee formed by 93rd Congress under S.Res. 60, to investigate the break-in at DNC, “all other illegal, improper, or unethical conduct occurring during the presidential election of 1972, including political espionage and campaign finance practices,” and subsequent cover-up.
21-MAR-1973 — White House counsel John Dean, who’d been tasked with tracking and updating Nixon on the progress of the Watergate investigation, discussed the hush money payments to the team of burglars calling the mounting obstruction of justice a “cancer on the presidency.”
17-APR-1973 — Dean informs Nixon that he had been cooperating with the U.S. Attorneys investigating the Watergate break-in. Nixon is informed the same day by U.S. Attorneys that White House counsel Dean, Chief of Staff Haldeman, and aide Ehrlichman were involved in the cover-up.
30-APR-1973 — Nixon fires Dean; he had asked for the resignations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman as well as Attorney General Richard Kleindienst who had been friends with Haldeman and Ehrlichman.
17-MAY-1973 — Senate Watergate Committee hearings began.
19-MAY-1973 — Special prosecutor Archibald Cox appointed to begin investigation into presidential impropriety.
25-JUN-1973 — Dean testified before the Watergate Committee. He had been granted limited immunity and eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, for which he eventually served several months in prison. [UPDATE-1]
13-JUL-1973 — White House aide Alexander Butterfield testified before Congress that Nixon secretly taped phone calls and conversations in Oval Office.
18-JUL-1973 — Nixon had recording system disconnected in White House.
23-JUL-1973 — Nixon refused to turn over presidential tapes to Senate Watergate Committee or to special prosecutor.
20-OCT-1973 — Nixon fired Special Counsel Archibald Cox and replaced him with Leon Jaworski (Saturday Night Massacre).
23-OCT-1973 — In the furor of the public’s displeasure about the firing of Cox, Nixon agrees to release some of the Oval Office tapes.
17-NOV-1973 — Nixon said during a Q&A on TV, “Well, I’m not a crook.”
21-NOV-1973 — A number of erasures amounting to 18-1/2 minutes were discovered in released Oval Office tapes. Nixon’s personal secretary Rose Mary Woods claimed responsibility for the erasures, blaming the loss on accidentally depressing a pedal on a transcription device while answering the phone.
~ ~ ~
01-MAR-1974 — The second Watergate Seven, all advisors and aides to Nixon, were indicted by a grand jury; Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator.
18-APR-1974 — Special prosecutor Jaworski subpoenaed Nixon for his presidential tapes.
09-MAY-1974 — House Judiciary Committee launched impeachment hearings.
24-JUL-1974 — Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn tapes over to investigators.
27-JUL-1974 — Over the course of three days, the House Judiciary passed three of five articles of impeachment which include charges against Nixon of obstruction of justice and other unlawful acts, abuse of power, and failure to uphold his oath of office.
XX-AUG-1974 — A White House tape from 23-JUN-1972 was released; referred to as the “Smoking Gun” tape, Nixon and co-conspirator Haldeman are heard plotting obstruction of justice.
07-AUG-1974 — A few key GOP Senators told Nixon there are enough votes in the Senate to convict and remove him from office.
08-AUG-1974 — Nixon gave his resignation speech to the American public over national broadcast television.
09-AUG-1974 — Nixon resigned.
~ ~ ~
I was a tweenager at the time the Watergate Committee hearings commenced. I remember watching them on black-and-white television and thinking them the most boring events in the world at the time. There was nothing else on to watch; it didn’t help that it was during summer vacation in remote northern Michigan and there was only one television station.
But now I wish I’d paid attention to those suited old white dudes droning on in the Senate and in the House. I might have realized much sooner there is something very different about the way the Trump-Russia investigation has unfolded compared to the Watergate investigation.
Note very carefully when the first Congressional hearing was held in May of 1973.
It took roughly 15 months to remove the president from the beginning of these hearings until Nixon was persuaded to resign instead of being forced out by conviction and removal by the Senate.
The first hearing was convened by the Senate Watergate Committee — not the House Judiciary, and without the additional implicit constitutional power conferred upon a House impeachment inquiry.
Why is the Senate under Mitch McConnell’s leadership utterly supine in the face of attacks on our election infrastructure by a hostile nation-state?
Why has McConnell done absolutely nothing to further the investigation into the attacks nor into the possible obstruction of justice the Special Counsel’s report outlined, from which the Special Counsel could not exonerate Trump?
Why is McConnell doing nothing at all except waving through a train of poorly-qualified and often compromised presidential nominees for various posts including judgeships with lifetime appointments?
Why is McConnell proving the value of John Dingell’s recommendation that the Senate be abolished since McConnell has refused to submit at least a hundred of the House’s passed legislation for a Senate vote — including a bill which is intended to bolster election security?
By the time the House Judiciary Committee began its impeachment hearings almost exactly one year after the Senate Watergate Committee hearings had begun, the House did not have much to do. Only three months transpired between the launch of the House Judiciary Committee hearings and Nixon’s resignation.
Only a little over two months passed between the House Judiciary beginning impeachment proceedings and the passage of the three Articles of Impeachment which encouraged Nixon’s departure.
For all the complaining about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership with regard to investigations into Trump-Russia and subsequent impeachment, the press has not held McConnell to account for his failure of leadership.
Of course McConnell is a Republican and belongs to the same party as Trump; the Senate is led by the GOP now and both houses of Congress were majority Democratic Party in 1973-1974. But this is a nation of laws; a Republican-appointed, Republican-approved Special Counsel conducted an investigation which did not lead to the exoneration of the president. The GOP-majority Senate helmed by McConnell is just as capable of conducting an investigation into alleged White House misdeeds, could form a dedicated investigatory committee just as the 93rd Congress did back in 1973.
But no. Not Mitch McConnell, who has been compromised in several ways that we know of and has himself obstructed both the investigation into Trump-Russia and prevented the public from knowing they were under attack.
What else do you see in this timeline which is relevant to today’s investigations into Trump-Russia, Trump’s obstruction of justice, his abuses of power, and other failures to uphold the oath of office?
~ ~ ~
While House Committees have already begun hearings into Trump administration activities as part of their oversight responsibilities, formal impeachment proceedings have not yet begun. Following are the anticipated next steps which should happen sooner rather than later; compare them to the Nixon timeline:
- One of two paths open the impeachment process: 1) A resolution to impeach a civil officer may be referred to the House Judiciary Committee, or 2) a resolution to authorize an investigation as to whether grounds exist for impeachment is referred to the House Committee on Rules; the resolution is then referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
- The House Judiciary drafts and approves a bill for House consideration and approval outlining the authorization to investigate fully grounds for impeachment, the powers the investigative committee may use in the course of its investigation, and the budget for such an investigation.
- As specified in the authorizing bill, the House Judiciary or other House committee, perhaps even select or special for the purpose of the investigation alone, conducts its investigation and reports as required by its authorization or House rules.
- Assuming adequate grounds for impeachment have been found, the House Judiciary drafts and approves articles of impeachment outlining the “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” against the civil officer in question.
- The entire House votes to impeach the civil officer based on the articles approved by the House Judiciary; it votes on a resolution to inform the Senate of the impeachment.
- The Senate, being responsible for trial and possible conviction, should take up a trial at this point with the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice presiding. What’s not clear is if the Senate can refuse to begin a trial once the House has impeached; once the Senate begins, the steps it takes are governed by the Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate when Sitting on Impeachment Trials.
This last bullet point is no small hiccup.
You can learn more about Congress’s power to impeach and remove civil officers by reading these two Congressional Research Service papers:
Impeachment and Removal, R44260 (pdf)
Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office, RL30016 (pdf)
I note the first was prepared in 2005 during the Bush administration. I wonder who requested this paper; I also wonder who requested the second paper in early 2012.
That second paper might be a particularly worthwhile read if one were interested in how to go about removing an obstructive member of Congress or a cabinet member who has proven unsuited to their office. Imagine what could happen if enough Senators decided they needed to change things up on their side of the legislative branch.
UPDATE — 03-JUN-2019 —
Timeline items (highlighted in yellow above) have been added related to Nixon’s White House counsel due to new developments reported today:
Former White House counsel John Dean will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on June 10, committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Monday. The hearing, titled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” will also feature former U.S. attorneys and legal experts. (via HuffPo)
John Dean will convey the import of the Special Counsel’s report since Trump’s White House counsel Don McGahn will not comply with the House Judiciary request for his appearance to testify.
UPDATE — 05-JUN-2019 —
A reader pointed out the origin of the “Smoking Gun” tape, a conversation on June 23, 1972, was not included in my timeline and has now been added (highlighted in turquoise above). The tape captured Nixon’s direct involvement in obstruction of justice less than one week after the break-in at the Democratic Party HQ in the Watergate complex. We may not have anything quite as tidy as the “Smoking Gun” produced by the Special Counsel’s investigation, but repeated efforts by Trump to shut down the Trump-Russia investigation documented by witnesses are quite damning when combined with the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the harassment and termination of FBI employees Andrew McCabe and Peter Strozk.
I was in my early 20s at the time. Yes, the hearings were boring – until Butterfield told them about the recordings. (John Dean testified honestly, also. They were about the only ones in the WH that did.)
Somewhere I think I have the “Watergate Comedy Album”, which covers it as the title indicates – with songs and bad jokes. But ISTR it hits all the high and low points, and it might be a good 40-minute overview.
Was that a Firesign Theater thing?
Actually, no. Avery Schreiber and Fannie Flagg are probably the names most people would recognize. (Yes, it’s Burns and Schreiber.)
Outstanding! Two names I have not heard in too long. Think we may be aging ourselves though!
My white hair thanks you for the compliment!
Aww. Nixon’s no fun, he fell right over.
I had just graduated from High School in ’74. That was the year I found NPR. I listened to all of the Watergate hearings on the radio while I did a lot of driving that summer.
My Mother had been involved in the Republican Party in California, even though I grew up in the Berkeley/Kensington area, and school friends accussed my Father of being a John Bircher. It was a bit awkward in the house that summer, until the hearings. Then both my parents, glued to the hearings on TV, saw the light.
I remember a “Nixon’s the One” poster tacked inside the garage on the wall; I remember catching my father throwing darts at it.
Thanks for sharing that anecdote, I could almost picture the scene in the garage.
I was at my grandmother’s house, helping to get ready to sell it (which she did the next year). She was hosting her precinct’s polling place in the (empty) garage, most years. And yes, she was a Democrat, mostly because Grandpa was, and she stayed as they moved left; her own family had been GOP back to Lincoln’s first election. (She remembered the election of 1892, when she was 8.)
I think the big difference between then and now is that the Republicans think of themselves as a dying political demographic. They also don’t wish to besmirch the Republican party a second time under even more dubious circumstances than happened w/Pres. Nixon especially at a time when the Republican party is finding itself the recipient of covert funding and covert political support from Russia. For the Republicans to admit to these flagrant instances of globalism to support themselves when their entire schema relies on smearing globalists like George Soros would deal a significant blow to a large segment of the Republican party who tolerate that Russian support. It would/will be fascinating to watch which individuals crawled out of the ashes of these present ethical dilemmas and reestablished the Republican party anew. I cannot understand how there could have been a Republican delegation to Moscow under these circumstances. It simply doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever. It’s particularly grievous the Republicans did not provide a transcript to the Congressional Record of their interactions and discussions w/the Russians who met w/them. That visit alone signifies the ethical political differences between the Watergate period and what Trump has wrought out of the long-term disaffection the propaganda from folks like the Koch brothers and Robert Spencer and David Horowitz have wrought in conservative circles. For the Koch brothers to finally recognize just what their falsehoods and propaganda vehicles have brought about such that the Koch brothers are trying to find common ground w/Democrats is a fascinating testament to just how frightening these political tremors are.
I think the difference between then and now is that there still existed people who were principled Republicans. They put the country first–not party. No such thing in 2019.
I don’t know whether you read Jeff Sharlet’s “The Family” (2009), about the fusion of globalized, religiously-infused politics spanning dictators, free marketeers, and Congress. Layer on Fox News, and if you are in today’s GOP, you may very well believe that you are entitled to make laws because it is ‘God’s will’ that you are in office. To make matters worse, you get your ego massaged on foreign junkets, by staff, by constituent deference, yada yada. The result is that a lot of partisan thinking is more cultish than the traditional GOP of Nixon’s era, and it is dangerously tinged with religiosity [see also: Kavanaugh, Brett; Alito, Samuel].
In the mid-1970s, the GOP still had a lot of respectable local business owners, people who were rooted in their communities. They might have been Knights of Columbus (although the Catholics tended to be Dems), or members of the Elks or the Moose Lodge, the Kiwanis, and the Rotary. Three of those were primarily service organizations (Kiwanis, Rotary, KoC) that actually did projects in their local communities, and sponsored scholarships. There were a lot of shared communal experiences, and there was no 24/7 cable noise back then. It was also before Pat Robertson and the ‘Moral Majority’ belligerence, which polarized a whole lot of things, and made secret organizations/cults like ‘The Family’ appealing to people looking for a tight community of Believers.
The earlier generation of old GOP Rotarians accepted the fact that they were sometimes sinners and that politics was the art of the practical. Unfortunately, the newer, weirder GOPers wanker on about ideology, and seem convinced that politics is the route to sanctification.
IOW: the older generation distinguished between religion and governance; the new ‘Family’ cultists mistake government for religion. This makes them vulnerable to winner-take-all, to ‘might makes right’, gerrymandering districts, and to the manipulations of a venal creep like McConnell. They don’t understand that winning is sometimes losing; they lack a sense of irony.
I honestly can’t imagine that the solid old Rotarians of my youth would have tolerated Mitch McConnell for ten minutes — they were very much about cooperation. They were all busy and active in their businesses, and serving on boards or committees, or at a Rotary or church event. They didn’t need to use politics as a route to moral purity; they just needed to make sure the parks were maintained and the water system worked well. IOW: they were sane, humorous, and modest. And eminently practical, above all else.
What we see today — McConnell’s obstruction, his cynicism, his use of power just for the hell of it — was absolutely foreign to the astoundingly productive people of my childhood, who built huge dams for hydropower, and dug canal systems that brought water to the arid lands. Their ability to use political resources for collective purposes changed the world.
The kind of ossified, sclerotic politics that we see today did not exist. I can’t imagine any of those old Rotarians, most of them WWII vets, putting up with Mitch McConnell’s antics. He’d have been sacked and sent packing.
One reason they finally, eventually got fed up with Nixon is because the nation was at a standstill, and it was simply too costly not to get it moving forward again — it was partly from a sense of moral indignation, but it was also a practical matter. You can’t allow a pseudo leader to lie to you, destroy your reputation, destroy goodwill, destroy credibility, and publicly insult people.
I’m convinced those Old Rotarians would be aghast and incredulous that the Dems are still twiddling their thumbs and fretting over electoral implications of holding impeachment hearings.
I truly believe the Old Rotarians would have started impeachment proceedings, if only out of simple self respect. Trump is a cruel, insulting, dysfunctional person. They would not have permitted him to continue damaging the nation’s reputation, even if it meant risking electoral losses. They were not reckless gamblers, but they were willing to take risks in order to maintain their self-respect. They had standards. (You had to call them “Mr” and “Mrs”, but everyone was civil.)
They had a sense of self respect that did not require cults, nor polling, nor endless press events. They understood the necessity of compromise. McConnell and the GOP have lost that practical art, and have become destructive.
Too long a comment, but I agree with you.
I’m trying to sort out the factors that account for the dismal dysfunction that we see today. If you have not read ‘The Family’ by Jeff Sharlet (2009), it gives some extremely important context for the mess that we are in today.
I agree with your point about the Watergate generation of politicians and their WWII experience. Even Nixon, despite his Quaker upbringing, served in the South Pacific. The lesson of WWII was that democracy and freedom were not to be taken for granted and needed to be defended. And politics was a serious undertaking, not “show business for ugly people” as it is sometimes now described.
People who now think that doubt is weakness and everything comes in deepest black or whitest white…and they’re lost, but can’t recognize it. (As far as their religion, it’s Pauline rather than Christian.)
I read Slacktivist. He understands this.
Another thing to consider, especially with regard to McConnell, is the way the southern Republican party got taken over by genteel racists who were forced out of the Democratic Party (or chose to jump ship before the inevitable ouster). Scratch a conservative global corporatist like the people in the Family, and you’ll find a colonialist; the divine right of capital and the white man’s burden are two sides of the same coin. And both sides are used by believers to delude themselves about the violence and destruction their priorities require.
I have read “The Family” and it is disturbing. Especially knowing that Brett Kavanaugh and Steve Bannon are part of that organization.
I also remember the years that Rush Limbaugh was idolized and allowed to change the meaning of words such as; Liberal, Feminist(feminazi) and Homeless into such shame filled epithets that many are fearful to identify themselves as such.
We also have Karl Rove’s VERY deep pockets (Crossroads PAC, et. al) with a committed mission of a “Permanent Republican Majority” that I see coming closer to fruition.
I love a long comment, and yours was worth the read.
I hear you regarding principled Republicans. Justin Amash has pulled away from his pack and shown some spine.
My parents were both Democrats-democrats, but they had many friends who were Republicans. They were all so decent and civil towards each other. Fast forward to now and she’s actually stopped talking to longtime friends because their views have skewed so hard right and just plain hard.
P.S. thank you, Rayne. Truly.
Thanks Rayne. Excellent post taking me down memory lane. As a college student, I was memorized by the Watergate hearings. It was a great education about how impeachment works and part of history. When Butterfield exposed the secret tapes, that was curtains for Nixon revealing he was a crook.
Nixon used the words “political circus” and “witch hunt.” Same words heard today from current administration. Start impeachment proceedings on Trump in order to obtain material/documents/information being covered up.
I’m sure the Watergate hearings and Nixon’s near-impeachment had some impact on Trump — he would have been 27 at the time the Senate Watergate Committee launched their investigations. Not to mention a key reason why Nixon was in hot water was the illegal conduct of the Vietnam War that Old Bone Spurs dodged.
I suspect also had impact on Roger Stone who likely suggested recycling “witch hunt.”
Interesting comparison either way. In addition to amoral Republicans, the Dems are not standing too tall either in oversight of criminal behavior all over government not just prez.
I think you are expecting far too much from the Democrats who have roughly 100 passed bills stacked up on McConnell’s desk right now. 100 bills on top of investigations which have been in progress for 5 months with requests for documents and subpoenas systematically shut down.
If you can point to an Article I power which allows Democrats in the House to overrun the GOP-led Senate and subsume Article II powers, by all means, we’re all ears. In the mean time we are waiting for House Dems to both continue their investigative work and arrive at consensus they are ready to pull the trigger on an impeachment inquiry a la 1974.
Somebody could be putting pressure on the Republicans — particularly McConnell — to do the same thing as I pointed out in this thread but it just seems easier to dump on the Democrats instead of taking a stick to the folks who are bolloxing up governance.
The bill count I saw this morning was 148 sent from the House to the Senate – plus whatever bills the Dems in the Senate keep trying to get on the calendar (McTurtle is blocking all of those too).
Thanks. I knew it was at least a hundred but I haven’t had time to go check the latest number.
We really need an organized messaging approach to the less-engaged average American about the Republican’s intransigence. But we also need that same messaging to communicate to the public this is NOT a conservative country. It only feels like it because Republicans have cheated so badly at so many things for so long that it distorts our perception of reality.
In writing this post I re-read John Dingell’s op-ed about fixing Congress; he pointed out he had nearly as many people in his district as there are in Wyoming. Why does conservative, fossil-fuel owned Wyoming get more of a say than the people of a single House district in Michigan who vote blue? It’s numbers like this which have skewed government so that it doesn’t serve the people and the average American is as clueless about it as they are about the facts of the Special Counsel’s report.
That, times ten
Triple the size of the house and move the senate to a purely ceremonial role. Perhaps they can propose bills but don’t have the power to vote on them.
Takes an actual Amendment to the Constitution. That is never going to happen. Frankly, at this point I have a very hard time envisioning any Amendment that could actually pass, and this certainly never would. The last Amendment was the 27th. And that was cleared in 1992. Even that would never pass today. The last one before that was in 1971. There is almost zero possibility for amendment now.
It feels like regulatory capture on steroids.
Where so much wealth and power has become so concentrated, and far too many struggling just to get by (half the population not having 1000 to spare for emergencies), and we are taught cynism more often than idealism.
You’d need to build a new House chamber. The size is currently limited by the physical space available. There’s literally no room for more members.
IOW, the underlying stats are translating to ‘ungovernable’. Ed Walker wrote a fantastic post about all this, but I’m not able to find it (I must be using incorrect search terms).
This x 9^(Mobius symbol)
We need a fact based liberal activist group that can wrangle some media and we need more message cohesion.
Thanks – IMVHO, that post by Ed Walker was brilliant. Perhaps this could be an official request that the EW crew re-post it sometime in coming weeks…?
Then, some kind of public database of all current bills that McConnell won’t move – along with a yuuuuge PDF ‘map’ of the topics, committees, bills passed. IOW, and infographic that can also be shrunk to the size of a desktop browser image.
And for mobile, there is no end of the ways this could be presented. It would be in the public interest, not simply any kind of partisan smear. People’s lives are affected by policies, legislation, and legal decision — they need a faster, more efficient way to find the information they need that affects their own lives
You can see bills at http://www.congress.gov . It has a decent search engine.
I perhaps ought to have known that 8^0
That is a bloody wonderful idea!
I really don’t understand why so many people don’t understand the importance of these issues, and sometimes think it’s because they have gotten confused, given up and don’t want to admit to a lack of understanding maybe?
But yes, a central database and some sort of messaging platform could do great. I wish I had coding experience.
I’m curious just how long the Republicans intend to keep up this working boycott and what the Democrats should do to publicize what they are getting done despite the Republican boycott.
There is no law that permits the Republicans including the POTUS to go on strike while Congress is in session. Perhaps at some point, the Democrats ought to bring the Republicans up on dysfunction charges if there is such a thing available in the laws for congressional order. After all, dysfunction of this order of magnitude interferes completely w/the work of the people.
The Dems are not getting anything done in the face of the GOP Senate obstruction. It is all show bills worth nothing.
What in the world are “dysfunction charges”?? This is loopy.
The bills are real. They’re trying to make the logjam so big that the pressure breaks the logjam. (Publicity helps: if people know that the House is doing its job, but the Senate is not, they can pressure their senators to do their f*cking job, even if it requires removing McTurtle from his comfy chair.)
Meh. That is being used as an excuse not to even open an impeachment investigation. And it is a farce. They can still crank out bills that have zero chance of passage and protect the Constitution at the same time.
Yes, publicity. This requires some out of the box thinking and resources from different quarters. Just doesn’t seem to clue into the right people that we could build the swell needed to kick off the tsunami.
Clearly bmaz and I aren’t entirely in sync on this. The legislation must back up considerably at the bottleneck before a good case can be made that not only POTUS is impeachable but so is the Senate majority leader. It’s rather sweet if incredibly painful that POTUS continues to sow more havoc and climate change deepens distress so that the bottleneck becomes untenable.
That disaster relief bill Republicans are suppressing could be key.
Senator Schumer is pushing a bill to provide relief from robocalls. Yes, absolutely, let’s pressure the Rs to do better.
Robocall relief has broad support from the public, definitely should hammer on this bill. Also pretty clear to me based on anecdotal experience with a landline who benefits most from robocalls and it’s not the Democrats.
I even received a call from the Republicans in the middle of Bill Barr’s House Appropriations Committee testimony. I wished I’d noted after the fact *exactly* when that call came — was it in the middle of one of his lies?
I’ve gotten five robocalls in the last two weeks from a woman speaking Chinese. We definitely need a new law.
I have also – something about UPS. I recognize that, and “xiexie”. I have no idea who they think they’re calling.
If it was a “political circus”, it was his elephants in the ring as well as his clowns.
Additional timeline items after Nixon resigned which are still of relevance to us today:
How much of the interference with U.S. elections and subsequent Trump obstruction in some way affected by or related to the aftermath of Nixon’s administration?
I’d start by looking at how many of his past and present staff and advisers were involved with the Nixon WH, even tangentially.
Rayne, Thanks for putting all of the Watergate information together. It helps to see it so neatly organized.
qui indagat inquisitores ?
I want Mc Connell’s hide tacked to the side of the barn. When is the investigation of him and his crooked wife going to happen ? They are so dirty, he should be leaving a little cloud behind himself like Pigpen, when he walks thru the halls of Congress. Kentucky has a lot to answer for.
After revisiting Nixon’s administration, Watergate and Vietnam history, and re-reading the Constitution, I seriously wonder if we should not be trying to identify 20-22 GOP senators who are on the bubble about Trump and determine if they wouldn’t consider impeaching McConnell.
Just so happens this is about the number of GOP senate seats up for re-election in 2020. I’ve been banging on doing whatever we can to take their seats back. If public sentiment grows worse as the orange wanker continues to screw up the economy, on top of the clamor for impeachment, these same senators are going to get twitchy about their prospects. They might be willing to throw McConnell under the bus along with Trump.
Got sidelined by the Warriors game !! Whew !
I want McConnell to walk the plank. I would work for any process to get him out of the Senate. Any suggestions for Left Coast citizens who care ?
And a beautiful game it was!
Yeah, but it is aging me.
Now I have to worry about Klay’s thigh, Steph’s dehydration, Looney’s shoulder….we are limping home. Thank God there are no style points in basketball !!
I give the Warriors credit for winning after Thompson got hurt. He saved them in the first half. But, the Raptors blew it the last 90 seconds imo.
Oh geez, bmaz !! I told you I had to worry about Looney’s shoulder !! Broke his damn collarbone last night!!!!
Mitch just got himself a Republican primary challenger; might be worth looking into that– besides whatever dem eventually faces him in the general.
Related, there’s a dem already seeking funding against Graham:
Jaime Harrison: “We’re building a people-powered campaign to #SendLindseyHome but I can’t do it without your help. Chip in $5 now: (link)”
Jaime Harrison: “I may not be a superhero, but I am a proud South Carolinian, and I’m ready to fight for a better future for our state and our country. I hope you are, too. Find out how you can #JoinJaime and get involved: (link)”
Thanks Eureka, I will look into both
It would surely be helpful if some of the self-important dem candidates for the 2020 presidential election would turn, instead, to gaining senate seats for the dems. I’m looking particularly at O’Rourke, and Hickenlooper, but Abrahms in GA, too, falls into the “too busy to bother with a mere senate seat” cohort.
Can’t think of the Governor of Montana’s name, but he has won every election he has been in the past decade or so. He would win the senate and needs to run.
Steve Bullock is the governor of Montana. I wish he would run for the Senate, too. I think his current attempt to be a presidential candidate is not going to do that much for him. He will be in the debate later this month, but I’d be surprised if he’s at the September debate. He’s a good guy, he’s been a good governor, and is still popular in Montana. He cares deeply about dark money and campaign finance. I think he’ll come across well, but I can’t imagine him taking off enough to be a serious contender for the nomination next year. I could be wrong, and maybe I should hope that I am.
As far as I can determine, Steve Daines, our junior first-term senator, hasn’t held an in-person town hall meeting since March, 2016. He and Greg Gianforte both do telephone conference call meetings. I’ve listened to one from each of them, and they are a waste of time. They repeat the Republican talking points verbatim, and there are never any confrontational, or even hard, questions. Any caller with a question is pre-screened before being allowed to ask it. The questions, generally, seem to come from the Fox News end of the spectrum, although I have to admit there was at least one decent question per call. Not hard or confrontational, just decent. But Daines won’t do anything in-person where it’s not strictly controlled. Last year he toured Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula. The senator’s office put out a press release saying he would meet with local officials, constituents, and community leaders. He didn’t. He did a private tour, and those people who had come to the event watched him leave for his car through the back door.
It also cannot be mentioned often enough that Daines was part of the congressional group that was in Russia over the 4th of July, doing who knows what for who knows whom. He was also for the government shutdown.
Which, to me, says he’d be vulnerable next year, and I think Bullock could win the seat. It would also mean there’d be a ton of money coming into both campaigns.
I do wish Bullock would run for the Senate. That’s where I think he’s needed. I am waiting to see how this all plays out here in Montana.
I wish Dems would hammer on that Putin visit ad nauseam and name and shame the GOP supplicants.
Agree that unseating McConnell by having the Dems retake a majority in the Senate is as or more important than defeating Trump.
If we unseat McConnell and take a majority in the Senate, we can remove Trump even if he wins re-election (knock on wood firmly).
Going after McTurtle’s wife, Chao, and her questionable actions as Transportation Secretary – they seem to benefit her family a lot of the time, though not US shipping – would appear to be another tack to try.
One key bit I’d add after McCord’s conviction is that he wrote a letter to Judge Sirica declaring that there was an extensive coverup and his willingness to cooperate.
It’s very possible that with McCord’s change of heart, the investigation would have stalled — he was apparently upset that Nixon wouldn’t provide much suppport in exchange for his silence. McCord provided key linkages to the White House, which led to Dean coming under the microscope.
Maybe the best parallel to today is Michel Cohen, although the impact of Cohen’s testimony remains to be seen.
Maybe as a footnote or a parenthetical comment: 4-May-1970, Ohio National Guard open fire on protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding at least nine. The protests were a direct response to the secret bombings disclosure. (I always figured the 18 1/2 gone minutes included stuff re Kent State.)
I omitted that point because it did not make it into any of the five Articles of Impeachment. In hindsight this was a failure of the House Judiciary Committee at the time; Nixon should have borne responsibility for American deaths here or abroad if the deaths were due to unlawful government action.
I plan to add the deaths of Puerto Ricans to one of the next Articles of Impeachment — under failures related to human rights and the Equal Protection Clause. I hope in adding it to my example/specimen/sample articles that the House will likewise add these deaths and others to Trump’s list of impeachable High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Understood, and why I begged you to footnotize or parenthesize the apparent irrelevancy. Nevertheless, the antiwar movement made Nixon commit all those crimes.
Those deaths on an Ohio campus aren’t irrelevant. I was nine years old and living in a suburb of Columbus at that time, remember being shocked and horrified that students had been killed. Those murders followed a string of events beginning with the assassinations of MLK Jr and RFK and the LIFE Magazine expose on My Lai, all of which shaped my consciousness and made me the progressive liberal I am today.
I may not have written this post at all if not for that cascade of events including four dead in Ohio 49 years ago. But they didn’t figure into Congress’s calculations then as part of the articles of impeachment.
It’s fun to know that you were once a Buckeye, Rayne. Here is a timeline that includes Kent.
From the University of Southern California:
Timeline | Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers
(Kent State is mentioned in this list.)
There were also deaths by national guard at South Carolina State, I believe, a black university.
Thanks. I believe you’re thinking of the Orangeburg massacre in which three students were killed by police two years before Kent State. There were the Jackson State killings as well, ten days after Kent State and again by police.
Sadly, because both sets of deaths were the fault of state/local police and not National Guard as in the case of Kent State, I can’t attribute them to Nixon. What I can attribute to Nixon is his inability or refusal to do anything about the tensions about race, and it’s not like it wasn’t a huge issue. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated roughly a month after the Orangeburg massacre — and those events were sandwiched between riots in 1965-1967 and the 120 riots across the U.S. in 1968 that followed MLK’s death.
p.s. Weren’t you going to use Elevator48 for your username?
Thanks. You’re right. it was all-black, about Jackson State. Nixon set the tone on race etc., just like Trump that let led to this stuff. I thought elevator 48 would just appear after I used it last week. I wrote it in the header this time Sorry.
Nixon committed all those crimes because he was Nixon.
External events only partly explain Nixon’s criminal reaction to them. The same could be said of Donald Trump.
My parents – my mother in particular – remember his campaign against Helen Gahagan. It’s one reason why I never even considered voting R. (They were sure he was a crook, long before he ran for president.)
Nixon the trendsetter. Today’s GOP is well to the right of Nixon in every respect.
They’ve fallen over the edge, and they still haven’t noticed that they’ve left reality.
They make their own reality. That’s been their claim since Tim Griffin borrowed without attribution the signature phrase from The Gladiator – “Unleash Hell” – to motivate his righwing oppo researchers to help elect BushCheney.
Griffin is representative of the new GOP: an unqualified mediocre puppet whom Karl Rove made into a short-time US Attorney for BushCheney and then a congresscritter from Arkansas. Like the Matt Gaetzes of the GOP, he will perform any trick his masters holding the strings demand of him.
One thing Trump and Nixon have in common is a weak man’s obsession with projecting toughness.
Relatedly, an almost pathological need for approval and festering resentment against those who withhold it.
This is a naive IANAL question.
There are multiple scientifically credible, reinforcing in terms of minimum, studies pointing to at least 1000 preventable post-Hurrincae Maria deaths in Puerto Rice. Many deaths occurred weeks and months after Hurricane Maria’s devastation of the island, and thus during known continuing emergency circumstances. Given his prior, contemporaneous, and even current negative statements directed at Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans, and including groups, would Donald Trump be subject to a supportable civil suit based on some notion of malign neglect after leaving office? The event remains, for me, a higher circle of hell failure.
I remember dashing home at lunch to watch the hearings in the summer of 1973. I was mesmerized by the brilliance and voice of Rep. Barbara Jordon. At the time I hoped she might be our first female president. Sadly, she became ill and died much too soon.
I am confused by the timeline committee listings above–she was on the House Judiciary Committee. Did the HJC also have hearings that summer? (I remember where we lived then, and by 1974 we were in another city and work and home were too far apart, so I am certain I am not confusing the years.) I’m sure there are videos of Jordon…definitely worth searching for.
I have been following Marcy since The Next Hurrah, then at Firedoglake and now here. Thank you Marcy, bmaz, and Rayne for providing a sane home for all us lurkers.
Good to see you again!
Rep. Barbara Jordan’s speech during the House Judiciary Committee on 25-JUL-1974 is available at YouTube.
She was magnificent. We don’t have enough orators like her any longer, which is a pity given how easily and widely we can share oration.
That was beautiful. Is still beautiful.
The 2012 document on impeachment might be related to Clarence Thomas. In New York Magazine last year, Jill Abramson wrote an article on impeaching Clarence Thomas, and she cited a folder created by David Brock in 2010 for Hilary Clinton. Here’s the quotation:
“To my surprise, the notion of impeaching Thomas resurfaced during the 2016 campaign. In the thousands of emails made public during the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton, there was one curious document from her State Department files that caught my attention, though it went largely unremarked upon in the press. Labeled “Memo on Impeaching Clarence Thomas” and written by a close adviser, the former right-wing operative David Brock, in 2010, the seven-page document lays out the considerable evidence, including material from our book, that Thomas lied to the Judiciary Committee when he categorically denied that he had discussed pornographic films or made sexual comments in the office to Hill or any other women who worked for him. When I recently interviewed Brock, he said that Clinton “wanted to be briefed” on the evidence that Thomas lied in order to be confirmed to his lifelong seat on the Court. He said he had no idea if a President Hillary Clinton would have backed an effort to unseat Thomas.”
Personally, I wish the Obama administration had moved on that front. If they’d managed to unseat Thomas, subsequent appointments would’ve been very different. At the same time of course, doing so would have been politically difficult, if not impossible. But he doesn’t deserve to be there, any more than frat-boy Kavanaugh.
Thanks for that, sheds a lot of light. Wondering who in Congress was doing the legwork? And yes, attempting to remove Thomas would have changed the calculus. Had some folks been playing three-level chess, they should have made a bigger stink about wanting to do it and making this a negotiating chit about Scalia’s seat. But we don’t have enough political ‘bomb throwers’ on the left side of the aisle willing to shift the Overton window their way — I’m hoping this will change.
Very interesting, thanks.
I admire the hell out of Obama, and while I have policy issue differences I admire both of the Obama’s tremendously. That said, given the hindsight we know have I really wish he had been more aggressive in his confrontations with the right.
(Though it’s always easier to say of you should have done x,y, and z years later when the reasons one didn’t do an action have faded whilst the reasons why to have committed to a different course of action have only grown stronger)
“I was a tweenager at the time the Watergate Committee hearings commenced. I remember watching them on black-and-white television and thinking them the most boring events in the world at the time.”
I was an Army draftee from 1967 then … hippie back to the land good times followed.
Nixon was my high school’s student body president, dated my best friend mother’s sister, well known as a jerk to everyone in Whittier.
If Trump is not impeached, my service and 6 generations back is for naught (Union of course in the Civil War … 100th Illinois)
(41st Illinois in my family. Great-grandfather’s older brother joined first, late in 1861, and was at Shiloh. They made it all the way to the Grand Review in DC, being in Sherman’s army, and then home. Gread-grandfather turned 21 a week after Appomattox. And a few years after the war, they moved to Kansas.)
Rayne, many thanks for a thread that has me reminiscing also as someone who was in my early 20’s at the time.
First, please let amplify two points of P J Evans at 8:21 p.m. and BobCon at 10:00. When James McCord made has famous statement that there was a coverup, Judge John Sirica very actively sought to help uncover the truth. He played a critical role in the transmission of the Watergate roadmap from the grand jury to the House Judiciary Committee in early 1974. Also, John Dean was indeed a galvanizing witness, setting the stage for Alexander Butterfield’s revelation about the existence of the tapes which proved to corroborate Dean’s testimony.
One other memorable episode to me was the release on April 29, 1974 of the “edited” White House transcripts, including redactions which made the phrase “expletive deleted” famous. Even in the expurgated version of the White House, the transcripts shocked many people: Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott said they revealed “a deplorable, disgusting, shabby, and immoral performance” by all the principal participants, pointedly not excluding the President. That may have helped create a basis for bipartisan cooperation later in the process moving toward impeachment (and Nixon’s resignation).
Thank you Rayne. And to commenters. As an Australian it’s fascinating to read your comments about Watergate. I now have a better grasp of those events. I started following American politics very closely when Trump was elected as what happens in your country has a profound affect here. We are usually an election cycle or two behind you. And the stock market follows USA as day follows night (literally). The rot really started when Prime Minister John Howard fell in love with George Dubbya & Cheney. Howard took Australia into Iraq without going to Parliament, wedge politics/lying became the norm (and Howard’s son got a job in Dubbya’s WH). Plus Murdoch owns 70% of the print media here & much more. Is there any chance that Pelosi is stalling on an impeachment inquiry because she is waiting for the Stone (and Miller) trials to begin with their subsequent publicity? (I need hope here.)
One cannot forget “Deep Throat” who was Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI being an informant to reporters at the Washington Post, Woodward and Bernstein. He provided vital information about the Watergate scandal.
FYI: All the President’s Men book and movie are excellent if one is interested in comparing today and yesterday.
I rewatched All The President’s Men recently for the first time in quite a few years. I was struck by how differently I saw the introduction and reliance on “Deep Throat” this time compared to years ago. I almost hate typing that because I hope anyone revisiting that film has a similar reaction to Woodward’s relationship with that source.
Coincidentally, Netflix added it to their line up on April 1st.
A 2013 documentary featuring background on the 1976 film and commentary by Robert Redford was recently re-released.
Um, cool! Where can I find that for viewing??
“All the President’s Men Revisited,” (2013), currently available free on cable from MSNBC. A fortieth anniversary look back on Watergate.
Basic description from IMDB: [https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2189106/]
A typically narrow take from the NYT, by Alessandra Stanley in 2013. “How Redford et al Covered a Scandal.” [https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/arts/television/robert-redford-narrates-all-the-presidents-men-revisited.html]
It opens with this too-cute-by-half question: “What did Robert Redford film, and when did he film it?” A classic, nothing to see here, move along dismissal.
This Slate article is much better: “Unanswered Questions About Watergate: There Are Many – Why is No One Asking Them?” by Beverly Gage, 22 April 2013 [https://slate.com/culture/2013/04/robert-redford-watergate-documentary-all-the-presidents-men-revisited.html]
One of the interesting things I learned in the last couple of years is that Haldeman told Nixon that Felt was Deep Throat, but they decided there no was payoff in exposing him. I believe they figured the cost in publicity and potential exposure of more information wasn’t worth it.
“Daniel Ellsberg: The Rolling Stone Interview”
“The man who leaked the Pentagon Papers talks about how much Mr. Nixon likes to win— how he changed our form of government, used awesome police powers to eliminate opponents and cynically prolonged the Vietnam War four more years”
JANN S. WENNER, 11/8/73
(This is the final question and answer in this remarkable interview with Daniel Ellsberg)
“What do you think the Watergate hearings really are accomplishing? “
“I think the hearings are, first, giving the people the facts about how they were lied to and misled, and gradually the realization that it was the president, the man they elected, the man they believed, they listened to, and they voted for, or failed to work hard enough to defeat.
That connects the responsibility up to them personally and I think they feel an immediate sense of responsibility only for what the president does, not for what some subordinate down in the bowels of bureaucracy may do.
Second, the hearings show him doing these illegal, self-serving, and in some cases, violent things to Americans, which also strengthens their sense of responsibility and concern.
And third, I think Congress is rediscovering powers it has really never used or had forgotten about long ago; powers of subpoena, of impeachment, of demanding witnesses and testimony, of going to court, of threatening contempt, above all, of cutting off funds.
And this has given people hope that there are sources of organized power outside the executive branch.
I think they are discovering the power of truth and the effectiveness of a man willing to take a risk. We have the spectacle of this collection of suits, and exposures, even if going on in a rather diffuse way: people telling the truth; former servicemen, at last, coming clean and so forth.
So many of these individuals, even now when they come clean this late in the game, are still taking some risk of retaliation when they do it. And the impact of that is becoming apparent to some people. That a man can make a difference.”
All that. It’s been a generation since Watergate — my kids and stepkid are all voting adults ranging from 38 to 22 in age. They haven’t seen a strong exercise of oversight as adults. It’s past time.
I can still see the sweaty-faced, nervous Richard Nixon saying, “Well, I am not a crook!” And it still makes me sick to my stomach.
Suddenly Last Summer!
We need a warm, clammy, torrid summer of impeachment.
Congress is back from their break.
Suddenly, Last Summer was a Tennessee Williams play made into a 1959 film with Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift. Whom do you cast as the charismatic Sebastian, so ardently pursued by a famished crowd?
An absolutely great classic movie any film buff should know. Also the magnificent screenplay was done by Gore Vidal. And was the first real return for Montgomery Clift after his nearly tragic car crash. Liz Taylor insisted on him being given the chance again. And she is both beautiful, and incredible, in her role. Truly classic.
Timeless themes and no better writers to express them than Williams and Vidal: the power of money and shame, the powerlessness of most women, the normality of lobotomy and the male-dominated establishment that used it, the opprobrium visited on homosexuality.
The argument that film censors accepted for allowing the latter discreetly on screen – in a late 1950s film about fictional events in the late 1930s – was that Sebastian’s homosexuality was punished by way of a normally ghastly crime: cannibalism.
The casting of Montgomery Clift was elegant. He plays a Freudian knight-errant, who brings out the truth from a witness to that crime, played by Taylor, and confronts Sebastian’s rich domineering mother (Hepburn) with it.
The disclosure reverses the characters’ fates: It cures Taylor and releases her from the threat of mental sterilization; it shrinks Hepburn’s world to the confines of her decayed, poisoned garden.
Also, The Motels song. Version I happened to click links to (links to) a bunch of great 80s songs and Live Aid performances, etc. Nice recharge for this upcoming summer of impeachment hearings.
Queen – Live AID 1985 Full Concert (Best Version) (HD)
Opening of the Clinton trial in the Senate. Not hard to imagine substituting Trump for Clinton in the charges. And more.
Because of a blowjob. Jesus, this is quaint. What a waste of Republican firepower, blowing up a president over a lie they harassed out him about extramarital oral sex between consenting adults.
Sound and fury, signifying nothing. If you think about it, that gavel is the death knell for the Republican Party. From this point captured in that video on they have been committed to party over country, headlong falling into fascism. And fuck that corrupt hypocrite Henry Hyde. I hope he’s been slowly roasting for the last dozen years.
We Are The Wall
United we stand, divided we fall,
It doesn’t take much
To lose track of the ball.
In the slick hand, the one with the gall,
the one in a rush
Claims “winner takes all.”
First is the pledge, then comes the turn,
Prestige is the promise,
Deception is earned.
Out on a ledge, who cares about burn,
We know it’s not honest,
That’s not their concern.
With the best magic, with the best lure,
It’s all about brand,
We know this much for sure.
Even if tragic to those who demure,
There’s a line in the sand,
That we have to secure.
Taking command, we are the wall,
And facing their bluff,
Beats succumbing to stall.
United we stand, divided we fall,
Who cares enough,
To make the right call?
Scrabble has a new synonym for “execrable”: Fred Hiatt, the WaPo’s editorial page editor. His latest editorial repeats the claim that “everybody” knew Trump was a shite, he was elected anyway, so it’s too late to impeach him for it. Just vote him out of office later. [https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2019/06/03/fred-hiatt-we-knew-who/] I can’t decide whether Hiatt is doing a favor for Nancy, Mitch, or Donnie.
Even if Hiatt’s argument were true, the precedent he proposes would absolve from liability every politician and CEO in the country. But his claim is not true. And neither life, the law, nor politics work that way.
Many voters did not know how much about Trump before he was elected. Congressman Amash’s recent town hall in Michigan made clear that many Fox-afflicted voters know little about him now. A lot of congresscritters are choosing not to read Bob Mueller’s report so that they don’t know much about him either. One thing it casts doubt on, which underpins Fred’s argument, is the legitimacy of Trump’s election.
Then, too, Trump has foisted hundreds of non-disclosure agreements on anyone who ever worked for him – before his election and in the White House – to keep his sins hidden. He lies so seamlessly and endlessly that the uninitiated do not know where one lie ends, another begins, and how much reality he leaves behind.
More importantly, an election is not a pardon. Unearthed past crimes are just as punishable as new ones. If egregious enough, they justify his removal from office. The immediate step for the House is to investigate and document them thoroughly for both future Congresses – to frame reform legislation – and future prosecutors.
Hiatt’s arguments are as self-serving as Bill Barr’s, many of which Hiatt adopts. Neither is a disinterested or trusted voice on what to do about Donald Trump.
Part of the problem is that the Russian trolls convinced a lot of people Hillary was as bad or worse.
Someone once explained Trump’s election to me as the people chose the lesser of two criminals.
80,000 people in Michigan chose neither, amounting to a record undervote. Trump’s win was roughly 10,000 votes.
Rayne, sorry to bother you, but last week when i posted for the first time it used my nickname elevator48, but today it is heading my posts with my real name. What am I missing?
Here’s what you’re probably seeing now, though with your name instead of mine:
After you click on Log Out and refresh your browser window, you should see this:
If this doesn’t work, try cleaning out your browser’s cache. ;-)
Yes Hops. Where one of “the criminals” was neither criminal nor vile. Instead she was basically the smartest, most informed and most experienced of people to ever run for the Presidency in history.
One might be forgiven for thinking that those attributes of Mrs. Clinton were a major reason Russia so opposed her election and favored an ignorant, greedy, manageable, narcissistic, goombah like Donald Trump. It is presumably ready to wash, rinse, and repeat in 2020 what worked so well in 2016. Meanwhile, Trump denies that reality and leaves his country more vulnerable now than it was then.
Another reason Hiatt’s argument is pernicious is that it would erase the impeachment clause from the Constitution and the authority Congress derives from. He would substitute for Congress an uncoordinated, information-challenged, malleable, anonymous public, whom “reputation managers” on Madison Avenue have been learning to manipulate since the First World War. What could go wrong with that?
And we can see the kind of people we’d have, in the ones already in office, like Gohmert and Gaetz.
God I miss Hunter Thompson. He would savage these repub ican thugs of today to no end and make you fall down laughing at the same time. I just re-read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” about the 1972 election. Incredible stuff.
Yes, Earl, indeed.
Hiatt’s not doing it for Nancy, but for his beloved access, and possibly for Mitch and Donald.
I’ll believe that when Nancy Pelosi decides that her leadership can stop driving a stake into the impeachment heart and approves launching an impeachment inquiry.
John Dowd steps forward…
“This is clearly a baseless, political document designed to smear and damage the reputation of counsel and innocent people,” Dowd said in an emailed statement following the release of the transcript. Mueller’s report reflects no conflict of interest between Trump’s lawyers and Flynn in the matter, he said.
Comment: Mr. Dodd, you have clearly covered yourself with mud. Take away his license to practice. Sound an APB for his witness tampering quest.
Is this in the Articles of Impeachment?
Sure, but it is John Dowd. And he is an asshole. What he says now is irrelevant.
I’m looking forward to the Article V issues you mentioned in an earlier piece, because I think that is an area where the parallels are least strong.
Nixon had some definite sleaze, such as the ITT donations deal and his tax schemes, but his were small potatoes compared to Trump.
I think the Democrats have made a particular error in not drawing the connections sooner and more explicity between Trymp’s finances and impeachment. The NY Times and Washington Post investigative reporters have done a lot of work already, and citing them puts the onus on their political beat reporters to finally start acknowledging and discussing the work of their colleagues.
One reason I think Nixon’s crimes are considered “small potatoes” is Gerald Ford’s preemptive pardon of them. We don’t really know what his crimes were, but they exceeded the short list in the House’s inquiry.
Two examples. His intrusions, via Kissinger, into the 1968 peace process and his apparent prolonging of the Vietnam war again in 1972. His reputed acceptance of money and electoral help from the Taiwanese – at a time when the ROC lobby was as powerful as today’s Israel lobby. And that was in a day when both parties’s campaigns accepted dumps of cash in brown paper bags.
Earl, back to the All The President’s Men documentary, again, where can I find that? Is it on Netflix or Amazon?
Also answered your original question up thread: “All the President’s Men Revisited” (2013). It’s available free on cable now from MSNBC. Use “Search” mode.
It’s described by IMDB here:
In a lousy, let’s ignore this Redford promo take from the NYT here:
And in a much better review in Slate here:
And again, thanks! Am going to try to look for it. Got to spend the better part of a day with Redford once long ago (circa 1981 I think) and he is a truly smart and very thoughtful guy.
Maybe not up to the level of Redford, but …
“Democrats Bringing In Nixon Lawyer John Dean To Talk About The Mueller Report.”
It’s $3.99 on Amazon, which also has a Watergate documentary series.
Thanks! Is it free for Prime?
I avoid Amazin’ when I can. Depending on your cable subscription, I think it’s free for general viewing.
All The President’s Men, Revisited … find it on YouTube
Thank you. I do not really watch anything significant on the computer/YouTube. Much prefer the big screen TV.
Going to have to get a streaming TV stick like Chromecast or Roku, or use a smart TV. Then you can watch it on a big screen, Old School. LOL
All four of our main TV’s have that.
Well, then you can watch YouTube on the big screen. :-)
p.s. That’s a lot of TVs — one for each of your dogs, I take it?
There are actually more TV’s. But only four of them have Roku’s. Things are spread out here…..
And only the two dogs.
LOL, ‘old school’ is HDMI-cabling it over to the teevee (reduces the corporate surveillance partners in the home).
Piece of cake for bmaz, assuming any of his TVs have the connections. We both probably remember tuning rabbit ears to capture broadcast UHF and VHF. That’s “old school.”
For a long time, we had a length of the two-wire flat cable that had been split for several feet and tacked up on the wall of the family room (which had a cathedral-beam ceiling, so there was plenty of room for it). It wasn’t a great antenna, but it did work.
Even this relative enfant (i.e., one who’d make a favorable comment re 80s music) recalls UHF, VHF, and rabbit ears (also PJ’s flat two-wire cable).
I ran an audiovisual cable from my pc to my tv. I do YouTube on the big screen all the time.
I’m sure there was more than ITT and his taxes, but by any measure Nixon wasn’t getting much farther than upper middle class or lower upper class with his grift by 1974. When he tried to pull the tax deduction scheme by donating his official papers, I think he barely touched six figures in net worth.
The ITT scam was about $2 million in illicit campaign contributions in 2019 money, which is a rounding error today.
Trump’s finances are much richer hunting grounds. Well, I guess there is reason to suspect he may have a true net worth close to what Nixon was worth in 1974, but for a vastly greater level of hijinks than what Nixon was involved in.
I’d add that Nixon’s financial schemes are a separate article than the 1968 peace plan conspiracy. I think covering that up may actually be a key motive for creating the Plumbers.
I agree that Trump’s apparent crimes are greater and more frequent than Nixon’s – in fact, they define him. My point was that Nixon’s crimes were considerable. Ford’s pardon hid them.
Oh, no question. The interference with the peace talks is not given the condemnation it should. You can attribute countless deaths to his lust for power. The lengths he went to cover his tracks was deeply criminal.
Nixon wasn’t trying to make himself ultra rich, he was trying to make himself immortal. More Caesar than Crassus, his crimes (the covert ops that Deep Throat told Woodward about) were carried out to insulate his strategy on the Grand Chessboard from the petty interference of democratic oversight.
My memory is that Senator Ervin’s committee heated things up in the summer of 1973. I think Speaker Pelosi, if she thinks there are going to be other financial disclosures, or other testimony, would like that to happen this September. In my mind Senator Ervin presided as the committee chair in a cream colored southern summer suit.
Don McGahn seems to parallel John Dean. Will McGahn ever testify, and will he be accurate and truthful?
There is no Deep Throat in this Russian election attack investigation. Rosenstein remained loyal to the Republicans and the cover-up is succeeding. Some has to ask Rosenstein how he can justify Comey’s firing and preside over the investigation.
The big difference in this instance is the information gathered from foreign intelligence. That is because Russian interference involves this interest of Britain and the other Europeans.
(I was not that familiar with Dr. King, but when Bobby Kennedy was murdered, I was sure that we must be living in a bad country with bad people.)
Sen. Ervin: I’m just a simple country lawyer.[!]
Yup, just a simple country lawyer – by way of UNC Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School, and seats on the NC state supreme court and in the United States Senate. Not to mention a DSC, Silver Star and two Purple Hearts from World War One. He was in his mid-seventies during Watergate.
All I could think of when I heard him speak was Foghorn Leghorn
Pressure on the investigation front is good. But the Democrats have to narrow the field.
Booker, O’Rourke and perhaps Harris, would create the most damaging optics for Trump.
Big crowds and appearances on Fox, both at the same time, are the most threatening to him.
Thanks for writing these articles.
As Rayne says in the update:
…and 15 days short of 46 years later…
Wonder what Don McGahn is thinking right now.
Rayne, Marcy and other Michiganders, have you seen this:
12:34 PM – 3 Jun 2019
NO. WOW. I hadn’t seen that, have my head stuck in 1974 right now!
Oh please oh please oh please let them pull out all the communications in that 24 window before/after the cut-over from Detroit Water System. Somebody had to have told Flint’s mayor to disregard the midnight/last-ditch effort by Detroit to keep them on the water system.
Thanks for staying on top of this, harpie, that’s huge.
Potentially evidence of a Nixon style coverup too, I’d think.
Please, dear Ghu, help them nail Snyder and his buddies to the wall, for the people of Flint!
This morning, bmaz retweeted:
5:25 AM – 4 Jun 2019
Ex-Governor’s Phone Seized in Flint Water Probe; AP; June 4, 2019
Thanks much, harpie. Reminds me I have to drop Michigan’s AG a note about one more place she needs to look for incriminating information. :-)
Thanks for the updates, Rayne. Very interesting.
Also, since writing upthread, I’ve found time to read the NYT reports about McConnell’s wife, US Sec of Transportation Elaine Chao — whose family has huge ownership interests in shipping and shipbuilding. Unbefucklinglievable.
From today’s article about Elaine Chao, and several related articles, it seems impossible that McConnell of KY would ever have been able to raise the kind of campaign contributions and war chest that have made him Sen Majority ‘Leader’. Watergate was child’s play compared to today.
Nice to see that the NYT surely had Mandarin and Cantonese journalists contributing to the story. More of that, please!
God bless John Dean; there’s someone who is aging brilliantly. Nice to see.
I kind of wonder whether attempting to impeach Chao wouldn’t be a nice warm up. You know, flex those stiff Article I muscles a bit. LOL
This kind of thing would make a difference to the Chinese not in terms of law but in terms of distinction. Does Chao want to bring permanent shame to her family because she’s corrupt?
Well, we’ve seen Amash pull away and now comes this group of R’s who at least seem to be trying to move in the right direction.
https://www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com (Rayne, I hope it’s ok to post this link just for reference.) I stumbled across them while googling something about R’s with spine – not a long list.
Now if we can just get Nancy P. moving in the right direction as well by opening a real impeachment inquiry. What will it take to get her knocked off top dead center? My Rep. is blue as are my Senators but I write them anyway and every week. I hope they’re encouraging her per my directives.
Thanks for doing this Rayne. Thanks also bmaz and MW.
Great summary, Rayne,
I watched the hearings closely, changing shifts so I could watch them live during the day. It’s interesting to note that Nixon’s approval/disapproval numbers crossed each other in May of 73, coinciding with the start of the Senate Hearings. This was an inflection point, where slightly more people disapproved than approved – that point was roughly 40/41 percent.
His approval ratings continued to slide through the summer, and by August they were at roughly 30 percent. Post Saturday night massacre, by November they under 25 percent. From that point on Nixon had a solid 25 percent support. He might have even been able to shoot someone on Pennsylvania Ave and got away with it with those people.
Trump’s numbers have held steady at somewhere just around 40 +/-…
I believe we’ll reach an inflection point by the end of this summer, and it will be brought on by a Supreme Court or Appeals Court showdown he loses.
What he does then might start the downward slope towards 25 percent appovals, a point I believe he needs to be at or near for impeachment to have a chance.
Of course the wild card may be his refusal to obey a lawful court order. At that point all bets are off. He may declare himself defacto king, albeit he’ll be a supremely unpopular one.
If I might be so impertinent to suggest that you consider one addition to your Watergate timeline:
23-JUN-1972 President Nixon signs Title IX into law in a White House Rose Garden ceremony, then returns to the Oval Office for a meeting with Chief of Staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman where, according to Conversation No. 714-002 of the White House Tapes, he gave the green light to Haldeman to tell CIA Director Vernon Walters to call FBI Director L. Patrick Gray and shut down the FBI’s investigation of the break-in at DNC HQ in the Watergate complex. (This was the so-called “smoking gun” that would lead directly to Nixon’s resignation 25 months later.)
Oh excellent, I’d forgotten the origin of the Smoking Gun. Bad habit of trying to avoid Chekhov’s Gun while writing fiction — don’t introduce it if it isn’t going to fire. Thanks!
For every impeachment inquiry hearing’s every exchange, imagine how many Trump tweets everyone has to read or hear about, for starters.
In his recent interview about how the White House granted his security clearance, Jared Kushner said he wouldn’t talk about it. Under mild pressure, he relented and said his file was the most “vetted” in history. A classic evasion and non-answer, not very artfully delivered.
Kushner intended to convey that his background was thoroughly vetted and that he deserves his clearance. Reporting suggests the opposite.
It suggests analysts did look at his file for a long time. They found evidence – much of it in the public record – of suspicious transactions and conflicts of interest that weighed against issuing a clearance. But not wanting to feel a figurative Valyrian blade across the neck for denying Jared a clearance, someone in charge fudged the issue and extended his temporary one. Intense media interest finally forced Trump to intervene personally. Kushner received his clearance.
The abuse inherent in that process should be part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.
I’ll add this to my list of Abuses of Power for Part 2a (or it should be 2b and the one already published 2a). Thanks.
Yeah, they’re investigating that. But the WH won’t turn over the pertinent papers.
After Monday’s hearing with Dean, the House Judiciary Committee is supposed to vote (again?) on Barr’s contempt of Congress. And maybe McGahn, too. I think they should do Ross and Mnuchin, too. Did they subpoena Ross?
Regarding the timeline of events, I vaguely remembered this, and looked it up again. Dorothy Hunt, wife of E. Howard Hunt, died in the United Airlines flight 553 in December 1972. She was carrying $10,000
cash in $100 bills.
That’s one or two bundles – it sounds like a lot, but really isn’t that much.
Respectfully, allowing for inflation, moneytimes.com, shows ten grand in 1974 would be equivalent to about 53 grand today.
One of the curious things about the Plumbers operation was how much of the failure was connected to cheap behavior on the Nixon side, relative to what they wanted to achieve. Hunt’s cash may have been hush money, but considering the stakes, it’s surprising it wasn’t more.
James McCord flipped in large part because he felt he was owed a lot more money for legal fees and to take care of his family.
A big reason why they hired Cuban expats instead of former FBI pros is that the Cubans worked for cheap. When caught inside Watergate, the fact that Cubans were involved immediately raised suspicions that an old FBI pro might talk their way out of.
The Watergate burglars were caught in part because there was no money in the budget for better lookouts. They also lacked the money for full time listeners to the bugs they had planted.
Considering Nixon’s neurotic and skittish personality, it’s not surprising he wanted a big dirty tricks operation but wouldn’t pay for it.
Cheap workers: they taped the door lock open and did it so badly that a guard noticed.
I was speaking in the physical sense. It would have fit in a purse easily. (In 1971, you could buy a Corolla for $2000. I know because my parents did. They wrote a check. It would have been a month’s gross pay for my father (a registered mechanical engineer with 30 year’s experience, at that time.)
Thanks for that intriguing fact. Any chance you have a link to an article about that? I don’t think I can add it to the timeline now because it didn’t lead directly to the Articles of Impeachment; rather, it would have shown Hunt’s personal situation to be worth suspicion.
A good pod cast for all things Watergate related, including details that many missed originally, is Leon Neyfakh’s “Slow Burn,” a series that helped me remember a lot from Watergate. It starts with Marth Mitchell’s kidnapping (essentially) and goes from there.
Hunt’s wife is a character in the saga too. Well worth the time. Don’t have the link, but “Slow Burn” should turn up easy enough.
All the President’s Men, Revisited. Narrated by Robert Redford.
Watergate was previews to coming attractions with this current administration. Fascinating to go back and revisit with a new perspective.
All The President’s Men, Revisited. The Secret Tapes: 42:11 to 50:08
Alexander Butterfield gets a call from the Senate committee while at home requesting him to testify at 2 o’clock. He said to the aide, “You can just tell him I am not coming.”
Butterfield while watching the hearings, sees this man (who called) go and whisper into Senator Sam Ervin’s ear. Immediately, the aide called back to Butterfield and said, “If you are not in his office at 1 o’clock, he will have federal marshals pick you up on the street.” Butterfield testified that day.
Much to learn from the Watergate hearings.
Now THAT is the type of courage of conscience we need more of today.
Tr*mp, via Grand Chamberlain Mulvaney, has issued a decree that Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson may not appear as subpoena’d, because everything during their employment at the WH is covered by “executive privilege”, even when they weren’t talking with Himself.
(They’re not actually asserting EP, just using it as an excuse. Again.)
I find myself wondering about the general health of some of these people. Sleep deprived? Not eating well? Underlying health issues….? Because on the surface of things, they just don’t seem to be functioning at 100%. BTW: Loved the Hacktivist link; that’s a keeper.
Also, Hicks is an employee of Fox, not the WH or any other official part of government. They don’t have legal authority over her.
In terms of whether Hicks has a future at Fox, there may be no difference just now between pleasing Murdoch and pleasing Trump. She is vulnerable if she opposes the wishes of either one. Playing softball to get her to comply will net House Democratic leadership zilch.
And Hicks may be the most amenable subject. The Dems are simply feckless.
I can’t wait for Schumer to retire, no matter how smart he is.
I remember my 2016 caucuses, sitting among super smart, indebted Millenials and we were all discussing Bernie’s policies. I’d waited decades for that experience.
IMVHO, these younger voters are in a very demanding (!) economic environment, and if you add in climate change — which they see up close either due to their jobs/hobbies, it’s a whole other vibe from the Hillary supporters.
I’d say the Hillary voters (and I fit that demo) tend to be homeowners, have medical, be financially reasonably well off, and have income, savings, pensions… not super wealthy, but not on the financial edge.
The younger voters, when I was able to really listen to a couple of them: college debt, co-housing with friends, watching every penny, having to justify their value to their employers.
Offhand remark kind-of, but I’ve also lived two kinds of experiences:
1. Having lots of autonomy and not really having to justify my existence constantly,
2. Having some system oversee, checking for progress, noting when I’m ‘online’ or working.
The older Hillary types have not been under the pressures of scrutiny — for the most part — of the younger employees.
The younger employees seem to exhibit the sense of ‘WTF do these (politicians do all day?!!)’ and from my own forays into local government, I TOTALLY get it.
From a business perspective, it just irks me intensely that some people think they are due a fat paycheck and perks in the state retirement system for ‘showing up’. Lemme tell ya, that doesn’t cut it very long at the tech outfits that I’ve experience.
I think the techies look at the Hillary workers and ‘feckless’ is the kindest word they’d use. I don’t blame them one bit, and I really was energized by the Bernie-progressive conversations. Those Millenials are smart as hell, and they measure p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e.
That’s why the GOP is completely doomed. Use performance metrics on McConnell, and he’s a political sinkhole.
But the Dems under Schumer need to seriously up their game. Sen’s Michael Bennet of CO, Schatz of HI, Whitehouse of RI seem to ‘get it’. My gov, Jay Inslee ‘gets it’ because he’s been around this culture.
Another too-long comment.
Clearly, I’m not on the clock at the moment ;-)))
as a retired Boomer, I get where they’re coming from. (I have to watch my spending – SS doesn’t really pay enough to live on, in most of the country – and I gave up years ago on the idea of buying a house, or even a condo. Hell, mobile homes are out of reach for most of us, what with space rents and fees for everything.)
I don’t think Hicks’ role there is intended to please. She’s a cut-out between the White House and Fox News and as long as she has utility as a buffer between the two entities, providing a screening mechanism, she’s of value to them. Unless another entity in the right-wing media ecosystem has a gig for someone of her dubious talents and experience, she’s not going anywhere soon.
Seems to be a great resource– here, a long thread– documenting abuses of power/emoluments/tons of crazy shit.
Links/photos at most of these tweets. A few excerpts for oh no reason:
Zach Everson: “Recap the week’s top stories from the Trump Hotel D.C.: -William Bar dined -Roger Stone to headline “free speech reception” -climate-changer deniers to gather in July; two Trump administration staffers set to speak Via @1100Penn”
“Another guest at the U.S. president’s hotel landed a fun photo last week with— Attorney General William Barr. Via @1100Penn”
“President Trump is set to profit from an event at Doral in October that will feature— George Papadopoulos and Laura Loomer Via @1100Penn”
This maladministration makes Harding’s look like honest men.
There’s so much, it’s impossible to make a highlights reel (which I suppose is the point).
We are being flooded with corruption.
Agree. Corruption, corruption, corruption and a brazen disregard for the law. When will he/they be held accountable?
I’d c all it a low-lights reel, but that’s my sensahumor.
And unlike opinions, not everybody’s got one. SAD.
Adding here, and to Jenny above: It was very refreshing to watch Elizabeth Warren on Chris Hayes.
Warren absolutely killed that town hall. She was fantastic.
I wanted to call her “President Warren” but don’t want to jinx it.
She is, and has been, head and shoulders above all of the others. Outstanding. Clear. Rational. Compassionate. Not enough superlatives: she is singing my song.
Adding: on the one thing I’ve heard from her that I strongly disagreed on (re reducing funds to hospitals if they don’t reverse maternal-infant morbidity/ mortality rates, or tying funding to same), I suspect she is amenable to change on learning more. What a concept.
There must be a transition period between tying reduced reimbursements to mortality; it’s not fair to penalize hospitals for a lack of adequate prenatal care which can contribute greatly to mortality. But I’m betting the numbers haven’t yet been worked up for this; it’s something which definitely needs to be negotiated, especially since infrastructure for prenatal care can vary widely from state to state. I trust her to get it right over any of the non-uterine endowed, that’s for sure.
Exactly, and she of all people would understand the relationship between structural inequalities and hospital catchment areas, the competing interests of a “c-section them all” defensive posture, and a host of related issues. Besides that she’d listen and get it, I trust that she actually wants to do what is right by people. _That’s_ the difference-maker as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve recently been exposed to some very interesting conversations about the role of undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes [T2D], or even prediabetes, in some of the high risk pregnancies. Underlying maternal health stats is probably a lingering, ‘hidden’ problem with high glucose and insulin levels that are affecting all other systems.
BTW: If you overlay a map of Trump’s victory with population maps of US T2D, the overlap is downright spooky.
Trying to salvage the current health care system, I’m told, is a lot like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Chronic conditions like T2D require a different, consistent, ‘coaching’ approach to reverse. Also, we’d need to stop selling gallons of sodas and bags of Cheetos at every gas station and mini-mart. It would require a cultural shift, plus new taxes on sodas. Scratch any restaurant owner or grocery and you’d probably hear loud squeals of protest, but the city of Seattle is already taxing sugary drinks and putting that money in a dedicated fund aimed at improving public health.
Meanwhile, insulin sales continue to grow. Insulin doesn’t cure diabetes; at best, it can only manage it. But once on insulin, people can’t simply stop taking it.
The challenges of T2D for a huge population is a fascinating aspect of health care, and I’m pretty sure that it’s lurking beneath some of the maternal mortality data, but don’t have time or resources to unpack it. FYI…
It would be an incredibly cruel irony if hospitals were penalized for something completely out of their control — a nation eating too many Doritos with super-sized sodas 8(
Agreed. And yup, definitely something going on with nutrition and diabetes occurrence.
We need an entirely new relationship with food production as the climate emergency deepens. Just look at the grain belt and the likelihood crops are now too late to put in this year because of flooding. If we start building this new food infrastructure on a more local basis, the food deserts where people can’t readily buy healthy food begin to change. Build more local small scale or mobile health care to compliment it and I think we’ll see mortality numbers drop.
readerOfTeaLeaves: the relationships between Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes (their incidences influence each other) and poor maternal & neonate outcomes (including in future pregnancies) have been priority public health concerns for decades, especially as they disproportionately impact women of color and poor women– as do comorbidities like hypertension. (That’s part of why I referred to hospital catchment areas and c-sections in my comment above in the context of prenatal care (the latter because unchecked diabetes can fuel fetal overgrowth, though not exclusively)).
Agreed, access to quality, nutritive food is a problem peri-pregnancy and over the lifespan– as with all of the other social problems we need to fix, like safe, affordable housing, job/ wage security, etc…
Rayne and Eureka, thanks for the comments. Agree that food security is a big, big deal.
FWIW, there is some very interesting research about ruminant biology and their role in helping secure carbon. Both Univ of Oregon and Wa State Univ have ruminant experts. But the large herds – of Eurasia, Africa, N America, probably had a role in both enriching the soil and (hoof activity) helping secure carbon. IOW, not only do we need more food deserts, perhaps some expert will figure out how to reconfigure the Great Plains for more carbon sequestration. Interesting possibilities.
Eureka, if you are at all interested, someone named Noakes wrote a book titled ‘The Lore of Nutrition’. He is South African, and part of the book recounts what happened as colonials took over the lands of the native Xosa (sp?) and other tribes, in large part by killing their cattle. The colonials wanted land for crops; traditional life had apparently centered very much around cattle. The medical impacts down the line have been horrendous as people lost their traditional foods and the diabetes rates went off the charts as people began eating carbs. If you are interested, the latter part of the book is fascinating. Noakes has a foundation and it looks like they are having a good impact on their local population — many native to South Africa.
High-carb high-fat high-sodium food tends to be cheaper than fruits and vegetables – between subsidies and being much less seasonal, it’s not a big surprise. But it makes it hard to eat better food, when what you can afford is the same stuff you’re being told to avoid.
Interesting info, rotl. Thanks – I’ll check out the Noakes book. Btw, are you in Seattle or environs?
(*Putting out the call for Greenhouse to pipe up*)
Proper nutrition (now, or among disrupted indigenous groups, or as estimated in prehistory) is not about demonizing carbs (nor is that the solution in our original conversation about prenatal nutrition etc.). I have to emphasize all of that first.
Noakes is one of the many proponents of a highly restrictive, orthorexic, “low carb high fat” diet. If you or anyone personally finds that works for you, that is great but there is ample, current and longstanding research to consider that none of this is prescriptive for humanity nor “the right” way to eat to solve diseases of civilization. As I recall, obese diabetic men seem to often benefit but that’s not a universal outcome (for even that highly-specific sub-population), nor the only solution. I urge anyone to look farther beyond current trends to see that. Such diets can cause great harm.
That said, so-called “low-quality” carbs based on refined sugars, with excess added sodium, etc. etc. etc. are problematic for health in general and no one will disagree; however as PJ notes they are the cheapest and most readily available foods for most.
Along these lines, you may enjoy or have heard of Robert Sapolsky’s work on so-called “junk food monkeys.” Loosely, other primates in areas with large tourist influxes eat from western-diet-remnant-filled dumpsters, etc., and get all of our health problems. Same findings replicated experimentally (sadly).
That is why we must solve the food desert problem, where neighborhoods lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.
PS: Thank you for your well-intended comment, readerOfTeaLeaves. It just calls-forth some diet wars BS that can be dangerous, upon which many have tried to place the imprimatur of “evolutionary” inherence (and sidenote, “low carb high fat” is an even more restrictive sub-domain or overlap of “paleo” type diets).
And from Noakes’ wiki, re his amplifying anti-vaxxer Wakefield on twitter:
More at wiki, and a book review linked there:
Less lore and more science, please, Prof Noakes
Another documentary about Watergate which is fascinating and educational. Nixon’s former staff talk about Watergate and working for Nixon in the WH. Exposes Nixon’s secrecy about war in Vietnam and his illegal wiretapping. Insightful about an insecure and paranoid man.
Watergate Plus 30 (2003): Shadow of History