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December 07, 2018

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Interesting.
One can find nuance in the most unlikely places:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/12/08/ammon-bundy-spoke-kindly-about-migrant-caravan-backlash-has-him-rethinking-his-supporters/

What struck me after Bush died was the number of commercially published articles, blog posts and comments, and social-media posts and comments reminding everyone not to forget all the bad stuff Bush did when he was president. Each one written as though it was the lone voice reminding everyone of these things while everyone else was whitewashing his legacy.

One that stands out in particular was (at least partly) titled "Is History Being Too Kind to Bush?" This was 2 days after he died, when you should expect the sort of hagiography that goes with eulogizing the recently departed - not the sort of thing I would refer to as "history."

It doesn't particularly bother me that people were criticizing Bush, and I didn't dispute any of the facts presented, but I thought there was an obvious lack of perspective on display.

What struck me after Bush died was the number of commercially published articles, blog posts and comments, and social-media posts and comments reminding everyone not to forget all the bad stuff Bush did when he was president.

I took those to be reflections of the urge to demonize one's political opponents, root and branch. After all, Bush was a Republican who pushed things like the Clean Air Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the 1991 Civil Rights Act -- in short, things that Democrats support and utterly unlike Trump. And in a (political) world where everything is strictly black or white, either totally good or utterly evil, such a thing is anathema.

Another fox for the pile.

Regarding GHW Bush, he did some good things, he did some bad things. Some folks take the occasion of his death to throw rocks at him, others take the occasion of his death to make him out to be a saint.

I have no strong opinion about the man either way.

Bush seemed to me, as a liberal, to be about as good as one can expect from a conservative president. He did conservative things? Duh. He did things that were typical of conservatives of his day? Wow.

Some of these “Bush was actually super terrible and we should hate him” takes just seem gratuitous and needlessly bitter. He was a Republican, liberals are naturally going to think he made a lot of bad decisions. But I can’t help but think people who can summon so much bile for GHWB probably have too much bile to begin with.

I didn't come across very many "Bush was actually super-terrible" articles.

Heck, the liberal media can even find halfway nice things to say about Ted Cruz on occasion...
https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/12/ted-cruz-beard-is-good.html

I think Loomis at LGM did at least four of them.

Most of my mass media exposure is CNN and MSNBC because that's what my client watches. I also read Wapo.

What I saw was nostalgia for a time when "conservative" didn't mean "Stupid, mean, morally and ethically bankrupt, self-righteous and intellectually dishonest hypocrite".

Of course no one came right out and said that, so it could just be my interpretation.

I'd say the elder Bush was not a pure ideologue and not in it primarily to personally profit from it. That is far more than can be said about most big profile GOPsters these days.
And I did not get the vibes that he in any way felt entitled to the POTUS position or acting out of an inferiority complex.

From a purely German perspective: there are very good reasons to assume that there would not have been a peaceful reunification without him persuading Thatcher, Mitterand etc. that Kohl could be trusted and that there was nothing to fear from a united German state. And I read that he trusted Gorbachov before Reagan did and thus became eesential in the process leading to the end of the Cold War.

So at least a wee bit of nostalgia seems to be justified whatever else one thinks of his policies and deeds (and imo we could have hanged all US presidents since at least Wilson if strictly following US laws).

Of course no one came right out and said that, so it could just be my interpretation.

Nobody had to come right out and say it. It was pretty blatantly obvious. To the point that even Trump was visibly getting the point during the eulogies.

He was a Republican, liberals are naturally going to think he made a lot of bad decisions.

Mostly, I resent that he pardoned the Iran-Contra criminals, pardons that also stopped the inquiry into his own culpability. It's not a coincidence that William Barr, Bush's Attorney General, is being called back into service in that he has some experience with how to get rid of pesky investigations.

Also, the fact that no one has the bad taste to bring up his affairs (with work subordinates), when that cad Clinton is still the constant object of public shaming, is a bit annoying. It's the double standard that's frustrating. I'm not suggesting that prying into and publicizing people's consensual sex life is the outcome I endorse, but geez. Another instance of IOKIYAR.

Gosh sapient, I had no idea he had affairs, let alone with subordinates, which kind of supports your point. I wonder why everyone has been so reticent? What are the facts (at least regarding the subordinates issue)?

I don't know, I feel about GHWB a bit the way I felt about McCain:

What I saw was nostalgia for a time when "conservative" didn't mean "Stupid, mean, morally and ethically bankrupt, self-righteous and intellectually dishonest hypocrite".

Yup, that's pretty much the kind of nostalgia I feel.

GftNC, it's all "alleged". There was an alleged long-term affair with someone named Jennifer Fitzgerald, who worked for Bush in a succession of jobs. There are rumors about other dalliances. You can google. Why have people been so reticent? Because that's the way it used to be about consensual, discreet affairs - they were the subject of tabloids, not everyone's business. Which, IMO, is fine, until the double standard ensues. Without a freaking $30 million investigation by Ken Starr, under penalty of perjury, we might not have known about Clinton's most famous affair either. Or it may have been tabloid fodder.

Whatever.

Bush was, by all accounts, a pleasant and thoughtful human being. My point isn't to drag him through the mud about his alleged personal life.

The Iran-Contra issue is something I remember vividly, though, having recently finished law school, and retaining some idealism about the integrity of the Constitution and the legal system. Reagan won in part because he made a deal with the Iranians to free the hostages [prior to the election] that Carter tried to save in a failed military mission. Then, later, after the Democratic Congress rejected Reagan's policies to support Central American death squads, a secret Republican rogue military unit subverted democracy to do the Iran-Contra deal. Bush was involved, and exonerated himself by pardoning the conspirators. That was ugly. "Nice" as he was, is a continuation of a pattern of increasing Republican lawlessness.

I can't deny that I enjoyed seeing the former heads of state being gracious with each other, including GWB sneaking candy to Michelle. But the deeper story is very problematic. Republicans don't respect democracy. They make that more apparent every single day, and it started quite awhile ago, including with GHWBush.

By the way, how much of Clinton's legacy (health care for children, the halting of genocide in former Yugoslavia) are we going to hear about when he dies? Or this?

We're not going to get the reverent bullshit, believe me.

Thanks, sapient. I had googled - couldn't find much or anything definitive. I'll check out the Jennifer Fitzgerald link out of interest. All the stuff you refer to above re the Reagan deal with the Iranians to free the hostages, and the Iran-Contra shenanigans, is indeed hard to forget, let alone forgive. But on your point that Republicans don't respect democracy, God knows that's exactly how it feels now, but somehow it didn't seem that way with the McCains and GHWBs of this world. Maybe you're right, but on the other hand weren't there some very questionable electoral practices by e.g. the JFK campaign? I don't know, perhaps politics has always been a dirty game, but it's just made a quantum leap for the worse in the last little while.....

JFK v. Nixon? Of course, there were rumors that JFK stole the election, because ... Nixon!

Whatever. I'm not saying that Democrats for the past century were perfect people. But certainly, they have shown a respect for voting rights, and democracy generally, in spades, way more than Republicans.

Also, just to rant a little more since the commentary here seems sparse:

Iran-Contra wasn't about an election. It was about a secret foreign policy that totally subverted the will of the people as exhibited by the Boland Amendment, a law of Congress. Note that Oliver North and Erik Prince are good buddies now, trying to create a private corporate military to do whatever unaccountable evil in favor of right-wing interests around the world.

This stuff is seriously [and because I'm talking to you GftNC, maybe I shouldn't say fascist?] right-wing nationalist paramilitaryish. It was so during the Iran-Contra era, and it is now.

Thanks, GftNC. Needed to vent.

There was an alleged long-term affair with someone named Jennifer Fitzgerald, who worked for Bush in a succession of jobs. There are rumors about other dalliances. You can google. Why have people been so reticent? Because that's the way it used to be about consensual, discreet affairs - they were the subject of tabloids, not everyone's business.

Of course, there's the detail that a lot of what was in the tabloids had about as much relationship to reality as Fox News commentators. In fact, you could easily consider Fox News as merely a technological update of the tradition. (And yes, there were those who believed what they read in the tabloids, too.) All the link really demonstrates is that there might have been an opportunity for an affair.

I don't know about anybody else here, but there were certainly such opportunities in my past which weren't. Affairs, that is -- one of the ladies is my best friend these days, but we never even went on anything you could call a date back in the day. Just saying, allegations and opportunities don't necessarily equate to actuality.

As for JFK vs. Nixon, I hadn't heard the rumor about Texas. But at the time there were certainly rumors about (Chicago Mayor Richard) Daley "voting the graveyards" to swing Illinois' electoral votes.

Also interesting to see that, even half a century ago, California's absentee votes could swing the vote totals for President. ;-)

I agree that we're worse off today, but nostalgia shouldn't lead us to collective amnesia - and in fact one could argue that Bush laid the groundwork (e.g. Flight 655 response, "babies torn from incubators" propaganda, Panama, Carlyle Group) for the mess we face today.

Also, as person he had a remarkable capability for callousness and what some admire as his "patrician" demeanour only thinly masked his strong sense of entitlement.

JFK’s VP was notorious for ballot irregularities (‘landslide Lyndon’j, and came within an ace of having his political career ended over them.

US electoral politics has never been entirely bright and shiny.

I’m not a great fan of Bush, but I don’t think he was one of history’s cup villains, either.

An article on the other side of the conflict in Yemen (caution, some of the detail is fairly graphic, and quite horrific)
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/12/08/world/just-let-die-yemeni-prisoners-describe-rampant-horrific-torture-houthi-jails/#.XA0UYxqnyhA

On the day guards thought Baakar had died, then realized he was still alive, they untied him and allowed two prisoners to feed and clean him.

As Baakar began to recover from his wounds, other detainees who had been tortured began asking for his help. He tried to heal the injured. He carried out simple surgeries, without anesthesia, using electric wires, the only tool he had in prison.

Sometimes the guards allowed him to go about his medical work. Other times, he says, they turned on him and punished him for helping his fellow prisoners....

It doesn’t begin to excuse Saudi policies, but it does go some way to explain what the conflict is about - which doesn’t get much discussion.

All the link really demonstrates is that there might have been an opportunity for an affair.

And don't you think that Lawrence Walsh should have taken up investigating that aspect of Bush's conduct, just to make sure? Yeah, no. Me neither.

Ten western state governments (red and blue), the Bureau of Land Management under Bush and Obama, private conservation groups, ranchers, and the drilling industry spent more than a decade developing a plan that they could all live with to preserve greater sage grouse habitat. The sage grouse is an indicator species: if we're preserving enough habitat for the grouse to do well, there's a lot of other species that will also do well. On Thursday the administration announced that it will be "relaxing" the restrictions on BLM lands, opening up very large areas to oil, gas, and coal development.

Should have added to my comment that despite the apparent disarray in Washington, Zinke/Pruitt/Perry have mounted a well-coordinated and effective effort to make drastic changes to federal land policy in the West, with resource extraction becoming the primary goal.

And add that Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt's temporary (and quite possibly permanent) replacement, is every bit as bad on policy but more competent in terms of knowing the federal processes.

Yes, Trump is an environmental as well as political saboteur.

Came across this (in the Washington Post):

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on “Face the Nation” that “there’s a very real prospect” that Trump may be indicted the day he leaves office and that he “may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

“We have been discussing the issue of pardons that the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people,” Schiff said. “The bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump.”
[emphasis added]

It occurs to me that this might be a solid argument against impeachment -- not giving a President Pence the opportunity to pardon Trump.

If it’s a state AG bringing charges, as it fairly likely, then that wouldn’t arise.

Conspiracy to Commit a Fraud on the US might lead to his impeachment, but financial charges would follow that.

It occurs to me that this might be a solid argument against impeachment -- not giving a President Pence the opportunity to pardon Trump.

There's Supreme Court precedent that the President can issue pardons for crimes both known and unknown. Unless the Donald is even dumber than I think, he'll resign if necessary in order to be pardoned by President Pence. If things are written up in advance, the whole thing takes what -- minutes? Trump signs the letter and hands it to the Sec of State, a federal judge administers the oath to Pence, Pence signs the pardon.

I think, he'll resign if necessary in order to be pardoned by President Pence. If things are written up in advance, the whole thing takes what -- minutes? Trump signs the letter and hands it to the Sec of State, a federal judge administers the oath to Pence, Pence signs the pardon.

IANAL, but it seems to me you could make a strong case that resigning with a pre-written pardon from Pence would constitute bribery. That is, an official (Pence) getting something of value (the Presidency) in exchange for an action in his official capacity. Bribery by Trump; acceptance of a bribe by Pence.

Anyone know what impact it has, as a matter of law, on the validity of a government action if it is shown that it was taken due to a bribe? Is it automatically void? Or just voidable in court? Or does it stand regardless, even if the official goes to prison for taking a bribe?

I have had an amusing, if nasty, follow-on thought.

Assume they set up the resign-and-pardon scheme. Complete with pre-written pardon. Trump resigns. Pence is sworn in. But then, knowing that he'd be on the hook for accepting a bribe, Pence exhibits a positively Trumpian approach to paying debts and declines to sign the pardon.

As I say, an amusing, if nasty, scenario.

I need to make a bumper sticker: TRUCK FUMP

President Pence may want one for his limo.

--TP

IANAL either, although I had to pretend to be for three years, but given the enormously broad power of the President to pardon, I'd hate to have to argue the bribery case.

Oh, I expect the pardon for Trump (by Pence) would be upheld. But who would pardon Pence for taking the bribe?

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