Tag Archives: Watergate

Our Most Recent “Long National Nightmare”

Democrats are now in charge of the House. Things that were not happening with the Republicans in charge, are now happening.

The president’s former lawyer and so-called “fixer,” Michael Cohen, will be questioned about reported irregularities with the Trump organization, including his campaign and subsequent administration with regard to meetings with Russians in the Trump Tower, alleged “hush-money” payments to Mr. Trump’s women friends and more.

The House Oversight Committee, will once again begin carrying out its assigned duty of overseeing the executive branch of the federal government. Something for which the Republicans, exhibited absolute negligence over the past two years as they looked the other way, letting Donald J. Trump run roughshod over the nation with his Mafia boss style of governance. The Democrats, have a lot of catching up to do.

Even with all the lies and unacceptable activity, with Donald Trump publicly soliciting the help of the Russians to throw the 2016 election, with his publicly taking the side of Vladimir Putin over United States intelligence agencies, with his defaming a great American like John McCain and smearing a Gold Star Family, with him publicly proclaiming that there are good neo-Nazis among us as he continues to conduct a presidency by Twitter, even with all of that and more, there are still those out there who continue to support the Republican Party, the party of Trump. According to some pollsters, Trump’s support is running as high as 40%. How can that be possible?

To paraphrase progressive satirist, Bill Maher, anyone who still thinks there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, hasn’t been paying attention for the past twenty years. This is a real pet peeve of mine, especially for those who think it’s okay to continue supporting Republicans at the local level, even though they disapprove of Mr. Trump. It’s not. Can’t have it both ways. With the Republicans, if you’re in for a dime, you’re in for a dollar. Trump’s dirty, bullying, racist, sexist, boss hog politics have polluted the Republican party with self aggrandizing political filth, including, but not limited to, cozying up to the Russians while turning his back on our allies. Speaking out against our free press, with his unbelievable acts and statements piling atop one-another, eventually forming a mountain of deceit.

Those who have read Orwell, might liken our would-be dictator Donald Trump and his current batch of Republicans to a neo-feudal movement, using deceit to take their naive followers to a new world of haves and have-nots. Only rich and poor, with the poor realizing far too late that they made the wrong choice in worshiping greed and fear, surrendering their self-determination rather than having the courage to pursue the common good and promotion of our general welfare through Democracy. The former needing only followers, the latter requiring those with the courage to lead.

With Donald Trump in Vietnam for talks with North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, one is reminded of Nixon being praised for his China initiative, even while the Watergate scandal was approaching its inevitable conclusion. Reminded of the sad and pathetic denials of Richard Nixon, despite a mountain of evidence towering over his presidency. It can, I think, be legitimately compared to the sad and irresponsible and possibly treasonous behavior of Republicans in congress who did nothing while Donald Trump ran wild with what may be the most dangerous American presidency in history, even while Michael Cohen prepared to offer public testimony, now that Democrats have regained control of the House.

If you still think there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, you really haven’t been paying attention.

Many of us who have been paying attention, I fear, are nearing exhaustion, feeling a need to turn away from Facebook and Twitter and even the daily news, as we grow weary from attempting to refute the lies and half-truths of the right, weary from wondering if those we argue with are actually who they seem to be or might be a Russian bot or agent. We are seeking some relief from the intellectual overload of daily nonsense coming from the Administration of Donald J. Trump, while hoping more of America, at least some portion of those who continue to be in Trump’s tribal camp, will wake up to the facts, rather than right-wing fiction, to help us deliver the country from this most recent “long national nightmare.” So that we can once again, as President Gerald R. Ford said not so many years ago, “go forward now together.”

Where Are The Reporters?


A couple of moments that marked my former life as a broadcast journalist include a member of O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” telling me, “I love you guys individually, but I hate you collectively.”    Another happened when a former member of the Los Angeles City Council left the microphones clustered atop a lectern, walked over and proceeded to cuss me out for demanding an answer to a question he didn’t care for.  I didn’t care for being cussed out and continued to demand an answer to my question.

I recall these incidents and others with pride as badges of merit for doing my job, trying to get legitimate answers, a little honest information for the people I worked for,  the people in our viewing audience who depended upon me and others like me to find out what the hell was actually going on.

All of this would be pure braggadocio, were it not for the fact that I was far from being the only reporter who would, at times, bite down and hang on like a pit bull if I felt someone was dodging a question that deserved a real answer, rather than the circular verbal shuffle now being employed by the likes of Donald Trump.  Repeatedly.  And every time it happens I wonder what happened to American journalism?   When did hair and makeup become more important than holding public officials accountable, more important than getting it right?  When did we backslide into becoming the country of the big lie?

An incident that bears mentioning happened at the Century Plaza Hotel in the early 80’s.   It was long ago and I don’t recall who the member of Congress was that showed up at a news conference, only that he was from a state that is largely rural.   I do recall that he began delivering a “good ole boy” spiel that was full of bunk.   We listened, shaking our heads and looking at one another in disbelief until a reporter from the Los AngelesTimes could take it no longer and interrupted with anger, saying (paraphrased), “You don’t really expect us to believe any of this nonsense, do you?   Where do you think you are?   Who do you think you’re talking to?   

Reporters are accepting answers from Donald Trump that Trump himself would never accept from contestants on The Apprentice.   They sometimes talk about things without having even a basic understanding of their subject, like knowing the difference between an email account sitting on some company’s server with that same company providing securty and a private server in one’s own home, with any number of possible functions and security provided by who?   Some friend of a friend who took a computing class at the local community college?   Apparently Mrs. Clinton, has no idea.   Reporters should, if they intend to continue reporting on it.   Was Mrs. Clinton’s problem that she had a private email account or was it the fact that she had gone completely off the range with a personal  server set up in her home doing God knows what while circumventing federal oversight and securty?

Why don’t reporters follow-up anymore, demanding an answer to something Trump has dodged by issuing a non-answer, which he  does again and again – which is why the American people have literally no idea of how he actually feels about anything?   It’s frightening.   This guy actually has a shot at becoming President of the United States, and his positions on critical issues change from one day to the next.   He’s done it on assault weapons, abortion and Muslims entering the United States.   And now he will be forced to do it again on his idiotic claim that there is no drought in California, as the reservoirs are drying up and avacado orchards are being cut down to stumps.

It is, it seems, impossible to pin Trump down on any given issue, or so we’re told,  which leads one to believe he has no firm conviction about anything.  He’s cutting a deal, the biggest deal of his life, to be the most  powerful person in the world and there is far too little accountability from the press with pundits complaining that it’s so hard to nail Trump down on an issue because he’s so skilled at doing his verbal shufffle.

Come on now people, its time to do your jobs.   Mexico, will never build a wall on the border.   The United States cannot simply carpet bomb our troubles away in the Middle East or deport eleven-million undocumented people whose families are now interwoven into our national fabric.    We are not the Saudis, we do not punish women for having abortions and anyone to tells you these things is treating you like a pack of dummies.   You should be outraged.

Do some fact checking.   Do a little  journalism.  Please.  There’s so much at stake.

A passage from the movie-version of “All the President’s Men” comes to mind. Washington Post Executive Editor, Ben Bradlee, is rousted out of of bed by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who tell him there may be electronic surveillance of their work on the Watergate story,  that lives may be in danger, and that they made a mistake in their coverage of grand jury testimony,  giving ammunition to those who want to attack the paper.   Bradlee, listens to the reporters and says-

“You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up… 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad. Goodnight.”

Journalism matters.