Rik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Politics and Prose: Video: John Dean: The Nixon Defense


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Not being there or even being alive in 1972, I would say that President Richard Nixon was involved in the Watergate burglary coverup the day he found out about it. The President is on tape like the day after they find out about in June, 1972 as telling his Chief of Staff to direct the FBI not to go into this Watergate business any further, period. I first heard about that in the early 1990s when I was in high school. President Nixon didn’t have someone on his team in the White House to say, “with all due respect sir, this is very important story and case. We can’t cover it up. It would be bad for American justice and bad for this administration.” Perhaps being a big more diplomatic, but he didn’t have someone to tell him no. And this is what should be done instead.

What President Nixon essentially had was a team of loyalists. A team of yes men who believed in him so much, or at the very least believed in how far they could go with him. They weren’t there to say this is what should be done here and there and give their advice. But to find out what the President wanted to do and go about accomplishing those things the best way that they can. President Nixon didn’t have a good team in his White House at least when it came to people who knew what was right and wrong and what should be done. Other than maybe Al Haig who was his second and final Chief of Staff who told him when it was time to step down and resign.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: The Second Term


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

As far as messing around with other people’s elections, that is something that the United States shouldn’t be involved with. If that kind of thing happened here and you could make a strong case that it did in 1996 with President Bill Clinton’s reelection from the People’s Republic of China, we would be freaking out in America over that and did. Congress actually investigated that election both in the House and Senate in 1997. Let other countries elect their own people and then make the best of it as far as how you relate with them. In defending your own interests and standing up for human rights in other countries. That is how you build up credibility with other countries and their people.

As far as Vice President Spiro Agnew, it always brings a big smile to my face every time I hear that. And not because a fellow Marylander made it to the Vice Presidency of the United States. But how would someone of a Spiro Agnew’s limited experience in and out of government makes it that far in this country. One thing you can say about the Richard Nixon White House and before that their political campaigns that ran Dick Nixon’s 1968 and 72 presidential campaigns, is that they didn’t do their homework on their own people. Spiro was already suspected of being corrupt when he was Governor of Maryland in the mid and late 1960s. You can see why President Nixon didn’t give his Vice President a lot of work and didn’t keep him very busy. Because he wasn’t very impressed with him and didn’t see him as much of an asset.

President Nixon was investigated for more than just Watergate in Congress, when the House of Representatives looked into his financial affairs as President in 1974. They reported that the President owed taxes to the IRS that he by law of course was obligated to pay back. But a lot of people owe back taxes that they haven’t paid back. And in most cases they’ve put that off because they can’t afford those taxes because they’ve run up debt. And are looking to put their tax payments off. I’m sure President Nixon had the money to pay his taxes assuming that the only income he earned while as President was his presidential salary. So I don’t know why he had back taxes to begin with.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: The Vietnam War


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

First of all, I believe that Richard Nixon already knew by 1968, or at the very latest in the early days of his presidency in 1969 that the Vietnam War was already lost. Just from his own knowledge about the war, his own advisers and from things that people around him have said. Now that doesn’t mean that you declare that the war is lost in public. He personally wasn’t ready to do that and it would’ve been bad policy as well. Because it would’ve send the message to South Vietnam to stop fighting. And to the North Vietnam to go stronger and see what that can get out of the South and from America.

So when Nixon comes to office in 1969, his strategy about Vietnam was exactly how the hell to get out of there and do it the best way possible. To continue to defend the South as best possible so the North couldn’t simply overwhelm those people and kill millions of innocent Vietnamese. While at the same time negotiate with the Communist North about how to end the war. And this went on forever. The war was officially over by late 1972 early 1973, but American troops and other government personal were still in Vietnam until early 1975 when we finally got out of there.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: Full Interview About Watergate


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I covered this last week, but the White House coverup of Watergate was about ending a story that the Nixon White House thought could explode in their faces. Which was an attempted burglary of Democratic National Headquarters. Even though the President, Vice President or White House Chief of Staff weren’t directly involved in the operation. But they were worried that this story would play in the media as if the Nixon Campaign in 1972 was involved in the Watergate burglary. When what they should’ve done was to say, “here’s this local Washington burglary of Democratic National Headquarters, lets let the Washington Police handle it. Because we’re not involved.”

Had Richard Nixon had a sounder more sober mind, not as far as intelligence, because he was really a brilliant man and perhaps the smartest president we’ve ever had, but a more sober mind in the sense that he could see things for what they are and act accordingly, he would’ve said, “Watergate is not our problem. And even if some of our people on the campaign are involved in it, the police will find those people and act accordingly.” Now President Nixon didn’t know that his own Attorney General John Mitchell was involved in Watergate. And I and others believed he ordered the operation when he was running the reelection campaign. But again the police would’ve figured that out and the President would’ve fired him.

But that is not what President Nixon and his White House team did. They played it like they were ones who not only knew about the Watergate operation, but ordered it. They acted as if they were the criminals in this story and because of their behavior they became the criminals and defendants in this story. All of the career lawyers and some of them former prosecutors who became defendants in this case and did time in prison. Like John Erlichman, John Dean, Chuck Colson and perhaps some others. Instead of just letting the story play to its natural conclusion and moving on with the business of the country.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon The Complete Interviews: Foreign Policy


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The real genius of the Nixon Presidency was the foreign policy. President Nixon and his National Security Director, could simply see things happening twenty-years in advance. I don’t believe we’ve ever had two people that high up in the U.S. Government that knew so much about foreign policy and national security than Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. But President George H.W. Bush and his National Security Adviser, perhaps come close. Nixon/Kissinger, looked at both the world that they wanted and the world the way it was. And based on those two things tried to make the world as safe as possible.

Nixon/Kissinger, saw the Soviet Union, a country back then of around four-hundred-million people and physically the largest country in the world and the People’s Republic of China, already with a billion people back then and physically the fourth largest country in the world, just behind the United States, as trading partners. Even though we were enemies with both of them. But they believed the way you get bad guys to behave well is for their people to see what your country has to offer and how other countries govern themselves. I don’t believe the democratic awakening in the Slavic States in Eastern Europe like Poland happens in the late 1970s and 80s, without Russia being opened up in the early 1970s.

Nixon/Kissinger saw a day without the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. It happened twenty-years later, but they saw the end of the Soviet Union by the early 1970s. And wanted to open a relationship and dialogue between the two government’s and people’s before that day came and if anything to speed up that transition. While everyone else Left and Right was talking about containment of Russia in the early 1970s, President Nixon was interested in actually defeating Russian communism politically and economically. Let the Russian people know how bad their form of government and economic system is. And give them incentive to look at other systems around the world.

Ronald Reagan did not win the Cold War. No one President can win a war like that by themselves. President Reagan presided over the end of the Cold War in the 1980s and put in policies to see that happen. Like continuing with the military buildup, which actually started under President Gerald Ford and continued with President Jimmy Carter. And with the nuclear arms agreements with Russia. And with President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, putting in economic polices to move Russia passed Marxism economically.

The ending of the Cold War started under the President Nixon. And even Russia did have a military buildup in the late 1970s and were on the move in the Middle East and Central Asia, like in Afghanistan, they weren’t economically strong enough to sustain that. Their economy was already collapsing then because they were spending so much on defense and were going through economic shortages as a result. Not saying that President saw all of this happening, but opening up a country that huge and letting their people see your country, gave the Russian people a chance to see what a wealthy free country looks like. And President Nixon and Henry Kissinger deserve a lot of credit for that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon The Complete Interviews: Watergate


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Richard Nixon being the very smart if not brilliant politician that he was, knew about the dangers of Watergate as soon as he heard about it and what the burglars were breaking in to. I mean think about it, you have Republican operatives who are at the very least connected with the Nixon reelection campaign accused of breaking in to the Democratic National Headquarters. Richard Nixon is President of the United States at the time of course and obviously a Republican, so of course the media is going to want to know what involvement did the Nixon White House have if any in the burglary.

So what President Nixon wanted to do at least early in the story, was to get the story finished and over with. So no one could make it look like someone in the White House ordered the operation, especially the President. And that the Nixon Campaign wasn’t breaking into Democratic Headquarters illegally to steal information and use it against the George McGovern Campaign. President Nixon saw Watergate as a time bomb that could blow up his reelection campaign and turn what was a runaway blowout victory, into a close election with Senator McGovern and perhaps even hurt his presidency.

So when President Nixon tells his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman to tell the FBI, “not to go into Watergate any further, period”, he was trying to put an end to the story and get the country passed Watergate and back to the issues that his administration was focusing on. And his reelection campaign and back on pace to his forty-nine state victory and winning 3-5 of the popular vote in 1972. The facts are, Watergate didn’t hurt President Nixon at all in 1972. Its early 1973 when Watergate becomes a big story and when Congress gets involved in it starting in the Senate with their bipartisan investigation of the story in the summer of 1973.

The Washington Post led by Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were focused on Watergate from the beginning. And to a certain extent CBS News and The New York Times. But The Post was really where the action was in this story from the beginning. And when they started breaking stories and getting hard information about the story, the other major national news organizations, network news and the papers and Congress as well started looking into this story. And the more facts that came out about it and the fact that the White House was trying to cover it up, the worst President Nixon looked.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Film Archives: Video: C-SPAN-The Dark Side of Richard Nixon & Henry Kissinger: Seymour Hersh 1983 Interview


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The Far-Left in America both see Richard Nixon and Seymour Hersh as war criminals. Because of President Nixon’s and his top National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s involvement in the Vietnam War. And their involvement with Far-Left Marxist dictators in Latin America and trying to even oust them. Not saying what Sey Hersh says about President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger was wrong, or all of it was wrong. But you at the very least have to take that into account when you hear Sey Hersh and his colleagues talk about Nixon and Kissinger. And know that what they are going to say about those two men are of course going to be negative. And to be made to look as negative as possible about those two men.

Now from my perspective and I’m a Center-Left Liberal Democrat, I improvise Center-Left because that is where Liberals are on the American political spectrum. And we are not always against the use of force and we aren’t anti-military. Unlike the Far-Left in America who would probably dissolve the military if they could. And having said all of that I consider President Nixon to be our best foreign policy President at least going back to Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman and FDR. No one new foreign policy and national security as a President better than Dick Nixon. And I consider Henry Kissinger to be our best Secretary State of all-time. If not Kissinger, then it would be George Schultz. Even though they are both Conservative Republicans.

And I say that, because Nixon and Kissinger saw things back in the early 1970s that most if not the rest of the country couldn’t see for another twenty-years. The ending of the Soviet Union for one and a point where America and China if not allies would at least not just be communicating with each other, but even working with each other on key issues. They both also saw China as a future world power and economic power. China now has the second largest economy in the world and one of the best militaries as well. They saw things that no one else could which is why they ran their foreign policy the way they did. That you talk to your enemies to encourage them to behave.

Dick Nixon and Henry Kissinger both have their vaults of secrets that we’ll never know everything that they did exactly acting as representatives of the United States. In the President’s case, both extra legal and illegal like with the way he ran his White House to use as an example. But you can’t deny what they both accomplished when it came to foreign policy and doing things that no one else could’ve done at least when they did them. Like opening up the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China in 1971. To the point that America and China had an official relationship by the late 1970s. And these are things that you don’t hear from people who simply dislike Nixon and Kissinger if not hate them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

TNT: Nixon and Kissinger 1995- The Ending of The Vietnam War


Source: TNT- Ron Silver as Henry Kissinger-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I saw this movie last night in preparation for this blog and I gotta admit, I like this movie more than I did twenty-years ago when I saw it for the first time. Back then I guess I was under the impression that this movie was simply about the relationship of President Richard Nixon and his top foreign policy and national security adviser Henry Kissinger. And I guess that would’ve been interesting enough, but this movie is much deeper than that. They cover most of 1972 and the Nixon Administration trying to end the Vietnam War one way or another that year. And before Election Night 1972 if all possible.

This movie is basically about the last days of the Vietnam War. When the end of that war was declared and when both countries were officially no longer at war. And after the war was officially over in late 1972 or early 73, the last two years became about how to successfully get all American personal out of Vietnam and prepare for our next relationship with the new Communist Republic of Vietnam. And Henry Kissinger who at this point was President Nixon’s National Security Director the head of the National Security Council and not Secretary of State yet, was in charge of these negotiations.

This movie also covers the personal and professional relationship of Nixon and Kissinger. How Nixon being the paranoid man that he was and how jealous of all the good publicity that Kissinger was getting. While the American press was never a fan of Dick Nixon and him becoming President of the United States didn’t help the press in how they felt about him. According to this movie the Nixon White House wanted to use Kissinger and take advantage of what they brought to the White House, but at the same time make it look like Kissinger was just taking orders. And not actually running foreign policy. This is a very good, but unfortunately short movie about two of the most fascinating and brilliant people to ever serve in the U.S. Government.
TNT: Kissinger and Nixon 1995

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Daniel J.B. Mitchell: Video: Ronald Reagan Campaigns For Harry Truman in 1948


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you just saw or met Ronald Reagan in lets say 1978 or so and had no idea who he was other than Governor of California and looking to run for President in 1980 and someone told you that Reagan was once not only a Democrat, but a Progressive Democrat who voted for both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman for President, you might think that you were seeing same-sex marriages being performed at the Southern Baptist Convention, or looking at Martians with four eyes or something. And I’ll give you one more thing that might send you into shock therapy because I’m an evil bastard. Ron Reagan was not only a supporter of organized labor in the 1940s and 50s, but he ran the actors guild in Hollywood.

There’s plenty of evidence that Ron Reagan wouldn’t fit in very well in the Republican Party today at least as a national candidate and leader. Who would still do very well in California and probably could rebuild the Republican Party by himself out there. But today’s GOP at least the hard right believes that it should still be 1930 and things like the Great Society and New Deal should’ve never of happened. And that organized labor or even having the right to decided if you should join a union or is Un-American if not immoral as well. But that was the type of Democrat that Reagan was up until 1960s or so. A Cold War Progressive Democrat who was concerned with working people. Who was against American elitism.

Reagan was an FDR/Truman Progressive Democrat. Not a left-wing far-lefty radical, but a mainstream Progressive who believed in things like national security, national defense, liberty is worth defending, the right to organize, protecting the working class and even civil rights. Which is why he did very well with working class Democrats in the 1960s and 70s in California and won working classic Democrats over when he ran for President in 1979-80, while also being able to win over white-collar Republicans because wanted to cut taxes and regulations. What other Republican could do that today and win over a coalition like that and even be able to win over Latin and African-Americans and even women? Don’t see another Republican like that right now.