Victor D. Hanson: Rethinking Watergate

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I look at Watergate now more than 45 years after the 1972 break in and almost 45 years after Congress starts to look into the the Watergate break in and the 1972 presidential election with the Senate Watergate Select Committee, in a couple of ways.

First, just the pure stupidity of it from several vantage points and perhaps the biggest being how unnecessary it was. We know that President Richard Nixon didn’t personally order the Watergate break in. Why, because he was already ahead of Senator George McGovern ( the 1972 Democratic nominee for president ) by 20 points or more at this point during the summer of 1972.

Not so much because breaking and entering into private property is morally wrong and illegal. That is probably not the reason why President Nixon didn’t order the break in, but because it would’ve been politically stupid for him to do that. Especially with a Democratic Congress with clear majorities in both the House and Senate. With network news media and the print media being such huge forces. The risks of these bunglers, I mean burglars screwing up the break in and perhaps not even finding anything that President Nixon could use against Senator McGovern. Unfortunately Richard Nixon tended to operate from purely partisan political calculations, instead of morality and doing what’s morally right and so-forth. Which is one of the reasons for his downfall, along with his paranoia and lack of self-confidence.

The other thing that makes Watergate so stupid and even laughable now at this point, but perhaps by 1973 or so, is that the crew that was put together and how they were put together and actually did the Watergate operation. ( If you want to call it that ) If you’re going to order a break in of private property and you’re not personally involved in physically committing the crime yourself, you would think that you would hire professional burglars to do the operation. You could learn that just from watching any half-decent caper movie.

That you don’t hire auto mechanics to perform brain surgery. You don’t hire dentists to represent you in court when you’re being charged with murder. You hire brain surgeons to perform brain surgery, criminal defense lawyers to defend you and when you’re being charged with crimes, and you hire professional burglars to pull off break ins. The Watergate break in team were former CIA officers who were accustomed to working in other countries and getting information for the U.S. Government. They weren’t professional burglars or criminals of any background. The Watergate break in was Amateur Night at the Watergate and when these guys knew they were a helluva lot of trouble and looking at doing 20 years or more in prison, they decided to talk to the prosecutors and that is where President Nixon freaks out or perhaps before that and decides to try to cover it up.

The Nixon reelection effort, looks like a bunch of guys in high school who decide to run for class president and pick one guy to run with his friends helping him out with the campaign, With this of course being the first time that any of them are ever involved in any political campaign ever. Not that different from the Donald Trump presidential campaign of 2016. You have a long list of 10-15 men who worked for President Nixon during the early 1970s either for the Administration or reelection campaign, who ended up in prison. Who pre-Nixon and perhaps post-Nixon were by enlarge good, intelligent, moral, productive people, but who got in way over their heads during this presidential campaign and simply made a lot of horrible decisions that put them all in prison. Watergate is a tragedy because of how stupid and unnecessary it was and the damage that these people did to themselves.

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Daniel J. Mitchell: ‘Three More Reasons To Laugh At Communism’- Wait, There’s More

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I sort of look at Communists and communism like the way teachers might look at poor students. Students who fail the exact same tests over and over who simply don’t do the work they’re assigned and don’t learn the lessons that they’re taught. That old cliche those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

We know communism doesn’t work, at least anyone with a brain who is mentally competent, sane, sober, and capable of learning. And yet it still exists in a lot of the third world in and now even in a country like Venezuela which is an energy independent country and at one point one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America. Similar to how Chile and Brazil are today. We know it doesn’t work and yet people keep trying to make it work and keep trying to experiment with it.

A look at Communist lack of logic-

“Maybe if we only nationalize parts of the economy, or allow people to own their own property.

Maybe if our state-owned industries are partially privatized.

Maybe if we allow free and fair open elections, Communists will actually get elected and we can hold power that way.

Maybe if we allow for some free and private media, private news organizations will still kiss the central government’s huge over paternalistic ass for fear of being taken over by the regime and thrown into jail.”

None of these experiments work for communism because when they’re tried and people get a taste of freedom, they tend to like it.

Imagine being lost in a desert for weeks perhaps your plane crashes and you have to rely on only what you brought for that trip and then you’re finally recused and you start pouring water down your throats and perhaps try to drink and entire lake, at the same time you’re eating everything in sight including eating things that months ago people couldn’t pay you to eat, but you’re starving and you’ll eat anything. Are you going to go back to being stuck in the hot desert not knowing when you’ll be able to eat and drink anything ever again, or are you going to hang onto your freedom and live in civilization with the freedom to eat an drink whenever you want whatever you want?

Freedom can be addicting. Communism and authoritarianism in general is suffocating and torturing. When people escape communism and authoritarianism in general, they tend to fall in love with freedom and not wanting to live under an authoritarian system ever again. Communists have an ego problem and over trust in government and believe that people are essentially morons who can’t be trusted to put their pants on correctly each morning and therefor need Big Government to babysit them. And as we see now with only North Korea being the only pure communist state left in the world, people tend to like having the freedom to make their own decisions and tend not to want Big Government to do their thinking and decision-making for them.

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John Birch Society: John F. McManus- Understanding Donald Trump


Source: Inside JBS

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

If there is one group that you think would stick with a President like Donald Trump, it would be the John Birch Society. They’ve been talking about what he ran on for President and what he’s been trying to do as President like immigration and the so-called Cultural War, since the 1940s. Pushing this bogus ( to be overly generous ) idea that we’re losing America and America no longer looks like America because of non-European especially non-British immigration in America since the 1960s. Something that both Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter, have been talking about for a very long time. Maybe even further back than that. Maybe Newsmax, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, will be the next people who abandoned President Trump. Something to look at.

To sort of speak up for President Trump and the next time I’ll do that might be the day I win the state lottery in five different states on the same day, but to sort of defend the President I would say the man is simply out of his element and unqualified to be President. Like an auto mechanic trying to perform brain surgery, it just doesn’t look right. The man is use to no limits where he can even push the limits of the law with his business ( perhaps even break the law ) with no one holding him accountable.

The President of The United States, is the last position where you want on the job training to be performed. Trying to perform brain surgery by yourself might be the second to last place where you want on the job training performed. Donald Trump finds himself in a place now where he can’t do whatever he wants with no consequences. Where even people around him if they don’t like what he’s doing or saying, positions he’s taking, they’ll make that clear to him, or at the very least make it clear to the public and leak what they don’t like about what the President is doing. Instead of acting like they’re participating in a bootlicking, or ass kissing contest.

Don’t know the man personally ( certainly not my loss ) but I imagine Donald Trump saw himself in New York as essentially a dictator. Who could literally do whatever he wants and say whatever he wants without any consequences. And his 2016 presidential campaign sort of reenforced that where he said the most insulting, hateful, and even disgusting things and never paid a price for any of that. Where the Access Hollywood tape from 2005 comes out where he’s caught on tape about how he can physically violate women and get away with it. If anything his popularity only went up after that.

America is the last country in the world where you can be a dictator. Where you can have dictatorial authoritarian leanings as a chief executive and head of government and believe you can get away with anything. Our checks and balances and form of government simply don’t allow for that.

And even with the President’s own National Security Adviser resigning or being fired last year, with own Attorney General recusing himself from the Russia investigation because he was part of a presidential campaign that had Russian allies and even worked with Russians to help defeat Hillary Clinton, where his own Deputy Attorney General appoints a special prosecutor to investigate not just the Trump Campaign, but Donald Trump himself , where a Congress that is controlled by his own party is looking into the Russia affect on the 2016 presidential election, where his own National Security Council and intelligence community acknowledged early on that Russia not only interfered in our presidential election, but did it successfully even though President trump denies that. At some point very early on a light would’ve gone on inside the head of an intelligent reality ( not reality TV ) based man that he can’t do whatever he wants.

That The White House Office of Legal Counsel and U.S. Justice Department, are not his personal law firms, that the FBI is not his personal private detective and security agency, that the U.S. Congress doesn’t personally work for him and can’t be fired by him. But that is not the mindset and world that Donald Trump operates in. He sees himself as King and anyone who disagrees with him is not only disloyal to him, but America as well and should lose their job if not be in jail as well. As much as Donald Trump might want to be the Vladimir Putin dictator of the West, our form of government and system simply prevents that from happening.

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Richard Nixon Foundation: Pat Buchanan- 1968: The Year The Silent Majority Was Born

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I believe you have to understand the 1960s and 1967-68 especially to understand the great political comeback of Richard Nixon and the rebirth of the Republican Party. Once you know what this time was and what it was about and how it benefited Richard Nixon you’ll also understand how brilliant of a politician and political strategist that Nixon really was. Nixon is in the same class as Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, when it comes to great politicians in American history. Perhaps smarter than all of then including FDR and Bill Clinton.

Where I agree with Pat Buchanan is that in 1967-68 America did feel like it was falling apart. The whole country seemed like it was pissed off. Riots and protests all across the country. Dr. King’s nonviolent civil rights movement seemed to be going out of style even within the African-American community with the rise of the militant socialist Black Panthers. Millions of Baby Boomers of all races and ethnicities coming of age in the 1960s and seeing an America they didn’t want and stood up to demand change across the country. People who tended to agree with Dr. King on the issues that his movement was addressing, but were primarily campaigning against the Vietnam War and what they saw was a self and racist American capitalist economic system.

By the time we get to 1968 the late 1950s is only ten years before 68 and yet America was and looked completely different as a country and not just because of color TV, but the music was not recognizable from the 1950s, the movies and the language and culture in the movies was completely different. Protesting and especially rioting in the streets and doing it in big cities like Detroit, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, just wasn’t done in 1957 or at any point in the 1950s for the very most part. But you also didn’t have a huge generation of angry Americans ( the Baby Boom Generation ) who were angry and wanted a different country and different system.

And during this whole period in the 1960s you had one political party in charge in America and in most of the country. Similar to what we have today but with large majorities in Congress. A Senate with 64 Democrats in 67-68, 243 or Democrats in the House, a Progressive Democrat as President in Lyndon Johnson. But with the angry Baby Boomers of all racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds and the angry African-American community for good reasons, you also had the parents and grandparents of the Baby Boomers who were also angry, but they weren’t angry at America. Just the leadership and party in power, as well as the new Counter Culture that seemed to be taking over America.

What we would call Reagan Democrats in the 1980s and today, were Nixon Democrats in the 1960s and 1970s. Southern and Midwestern Democrats who voted Democratic most of their lives until 1966, 67, and 68 came around when they were looking for different political leadership. Back in 1968 the Republican Party even with their big gains during the 1966 Congressional midterms when they won 45 seats in the House and 4 in the Senate, was still primarily a Northeastern party, with some support in the Midwest and conservative-libertarian West.

And to get to why Richard Nixon was such a brilliant not just politician but political strategist which is just as important. Nixon understood that for the Republican Party to come back they were going to have to make gains in the Democratic Dixie South, while holding their ground in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mountain West. They were going to have to win over right-wing Southern Dixiecrats who opposed the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

It started in 1966 with Congressional Republicans winning back over 40 seats in the House and a lot of them in the South and winning back 4 seats in the Senate allowing Congressional Republicans along with Dixiecrat Democrats, to block partisan progressive legislation that was proposed by President Johnson and the Congressional Democratic Leadership. And in 1968 thanks to the Vietnam War and the socialist New-Left that emerged in the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party was a huge house that was hugely divided and their grand political coalition that kept them in power since the Hoover Administration in the late 1920s when they won Congress back finally broke.

With Richard Nixon again being the great politician and political strategist that he was being there to take advantage of that. Richard Nixon is a big reason why the Republican Party is southern and rural based in America. He’s also a reason why Republicans struggle to win in big cities and big metro areas, because they’re base is so dependent on right-wing Fat-Right in many cases Southern Anglo-Saxon Protestant aging men. But pre-1966 the Republican Party simply wasn’t big enough to compete nationally with the Democrats and Richard Nixon changed that.

Richard Nixon Foundation: Pat Buchanan- 1968: The Year The Silent Majority Was Born

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C-SPAN: Molly Worthen- Lectures in History: 20 Century Fundamentalism


Source: C-SPAN

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

According to Wikipedia:

A fundamentalist, “is a person who believes in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture in a religion.”

That could cover any religion anywhere in the world but generally its’s Protestants in America and Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia, parts of Africa who carry that label. Because they’re not only religious fundamentalists, but people who are very political and use their religious fundamentalism as their political philosophy. You have countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia which officially is a monarchy, but they’re also a theocracy and Islamic theocracy. As well as Iran that is official called the Islamic Republic of Iran. Before America invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because the Afghan Government was harboring terrorists who are partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan under the Taliban Regime was an Islamic state.

You move to America and we see Christian fundamentalists who are Protestants and tend to be Southern or rural as well as Anglo-Saxon with their ancestors coming over here from England in the 16 1700’s. America is obviously a federal republic as a well as a liberal democracy with a strong separation of church and state, but if fundamentalist Evangelicals had their way in America they would create their religious theocracy, at least the fringe wing of the Christian-Right in America and establish a fundamentalist Protestant-Christian Anglo theocracy in America. Where women’s place in America would be a lot different and a lot more restrictive. Homosexuality and pornography, would obviously be illegal. Certain types of speech when it comes to entertainment but also how people communicate in America would be illegal. Cursing to use as an example. And the argument for these restrictions would be that God wouldn’t approve.

There fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups like Al-Quada and ISIS in the Middle East and Africa, that are looking to take over territory and countries to establish their own religious theocracy. But there also fundamentalist Protestant terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan in America, that commit their racist terrorism in the name of God. As well as non-violent fundamentalist Protestant organizations on the Christian-Right in America that would like to see their religious and cultural values become law in America. Where everybody would be forced to live under those values. The Family Research Council would be an example of that. There was a famous Alabama Senate candidate last year whose governing political philosophy was what he called God’s Law. His fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible is Roy Moore’s governing political philosophy.

Religious fundamentalism doesn’t have any one particular owner. Not one religion or religious faction owns religious fundamentalism. Whether it’s the Islamic-Right in the Middle East or the Christian-Right in America, or other religious factions in the world. They’re just people who believe so strongly in their religious and cultural values and take the literal text of their religious books so literally and believe in those values so strongly and believe they’re so great and right, that everyone else should not only live under those same values, but in some cases when it comes to theocrats believe that people in their communities and country’s should be forced to live under the same religious and cultural values.

C-SPAN: Professor Molly Worthen- Lectures in History: 20th Century Fundamentalism

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Bloodletters and Badmen: Virginia Hill- Mistress To The Mob

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

If you watch the movie Bugsy from 1991 with Warren Beatty playing Ben Siegel with Annette Being playing Siegel’s mistress Virginia Hill, the movie portrays Virginia as much more than a mobster’s mistress. Mistresses are common with mobsters and mobsters who are married with children is also common with both Italian and Jewish mobsters and perhaps Irish mobsters as well.

With the wives of the mobsters basically being babes in the woods. ( To use a Goodfellas line ) Basically unaware or ignoring what their husbands do for a living at least until their husbands go to prison for the first time. Then maybe, they get a clue that their husbands actually aren’t actually construction workers or auto mechanics, legitimate businessmen, or whatever lie their husbands feed them as far as what they do for a living.

If you watch the movie Bugsy you see Virginia Hill as not just a mobster mistress but she basically handled the finances of Ben Siegel’s Las Vegas operation and business. Siegel had the vision that Las Vegas would become a gambling and entertainment mecca that it is now today and has been since the 1960s if not farther back. But in the 1940s when Siegel got this vision Las Vegas was basically a pitstop four hours east of Los Angeles. Where people would go to gas up, get a bite to eat, perhaps stay for the night, but generally not a place where people would go to vacation. Unlike what it is now which is one of the top vacation towns in America.

Virginia Hill was not a babe in the woods. She knew who Ben Siegel was and that he was married with kids and that he was a New York mobster before they got involved out in Los Angeles. And didn’t have any major issues with that. She was attracted to him physically, but his charm, his humor, and perhaps the most of all his power and wanted to be with him. And became his business partner and had a role in helping his build his Las Vegas casino which was the Flamingo.

Bloodletters and Badmen: Virginia Hill- Mistress To The Mob

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Mob Video Vault: Mobsters- Benjamin Bugsy Siegel

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

One of my favorite quotes about Ben Siegel was about his friendship with actor George Raft. The quote being that Ben Siegel was a mobster who wanted to be an actor. And George Raft was an actor who wanted to be a mobster. That is sort of how I view Ben Siegel. This Hollywood looking mobster who is the lead character and the mobster that is profiled in either Italian or Jewish mobster movies. Ben Siegel just didn’t have the look of a criminal. At least not the look of a mobster or Ben’s case a mobster enforcer who worked for both the Italian Mafia, even though he was Jewish and not Italian and also worked for Jewish mobsters like Meyer Lansky.

Now, Ben Siegel did have the look of a white-collar criminal, a scammer, gold digger who scams wealthy widows out the the money that they inherited from their dead husbands. Not saying that Ben Siegel didn’t have the profile of a mobster or even enforcer but you see him walking around and he looks like a legitimate businessman. Perhaps a Jewish banker or something like that from New York. ( Not to play off on Jewish stereotypes )

But that is what made Ben so effective as a mobster is that even though he didn’t have the face of a mobster or the overall appearance, he had the mental and physical toughness of a mobster. Plus the intelligence of not a mobster but someone who would’ve been a successful New York businessman. He was a lot smarter than the average even successful mobster in America. And that is not like saying he makes idiots look stupid or something. Or he’s a really intelligent rookie. Siegel was a very bright man even though he never had much of a formal education. Who in some ways was even a visionary when it came to business especially gambling and casinos.

Along with Jimmy Hoffa, Ben Siegel is literally one of the architects of th modern Las Vegas that is so popular today. Siegel had the vision of a Las Vegas that would be come a popular entertainment vacation town back in the 1940s when Las Vegas was a town of about 10 thousand people or so. Seventy years later today Las Vegas is a city of about 600 thousand people and a metro area of about 2 million people. Siegel wasn’t just a mafia hitman who eventually has his own crew and division that was part of a broader Mafia family. He was a businessman and a visionary in business.

Mob Video Vault: Mobsters- Benjamin Bugsy Siegel

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