Tag Archives: Iran-Contra

Let the Mueller probe continue … and conclude

Congressional Republicans keep harping on the length of time special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating whether the Donald Trump presidential campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 election.

They keep saying it’s gone on too long. They want Mueller to wrap it up now.

Hold on here.

Mueller’s probe hasn’t lasted as long as the Whitewater investigation that ended up with President Clinton’s impeachment; or as long as the Iran-Contra probe; or as long as the Benghazi probe that looked for years to find criminality against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mueller has been given the opportunity to find the truth to a highly complicated set of issues. The president keeps saying there was “no collusion.” He keeps calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”

If that’s the case, then let the probe continue to its conclusion.

And has anyone noticed that Mueller’s team has been water tight? There have been zero leaks? Can the president’s team make that claim? No.

Let the special counsel reach his conclusion at his own meticulous pace. Then let the man deliver his report to the nation.

And stop griping, Republican partisans, about the length of time he’s taking.

Irony abounds in this NRA selection

Ohhh, the irony of it all.

Oliver North is set to become the next president of the National Rifle Association, the nation’s premier gun-rights advocacy group.

He’s a former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who got caught up in a scandal that rocked the nation three decades ago.

The irony? Oh, it’s just that it involved sale of illegal weapons to our enemies in Iran, not to mention dealing with rebel fighters in Nicaragua.

North was accused of shading the truth and waffling on his explanation of what he was doing and for what purpose he was doing it.

It’s perfect, yes? He gets now to run the NRA, an organization with its share of critics who contend that the organization isn’t always truthful about its claims that more guns in the hands of more people create a safer society.


Maybe it’s just plain karma that puts Oliver North in charge of the NRA. As Mother Jones notes: The Iran-Contra scandal was a dark episode, in which the US government hooked up with shady arms dealers and a variety of sleazy crooks and con men around the globe, including drug-runners. At a time when Nancy Reagan was promoting her “just say no” campaign, the secret operators of her husband’s administration were saying yes to a host of shady miscreants. And North was among those making common cause with criminals.

The NRA brand needs a lot of help in many political circles throughout the United States. Naming a fellow such as Oliver North as its next president doesn’t do a thing to improve the NRA’s image.

That’s just my view. I am quite certain others of a different political ilk believe quite differently.

Yep, Trump isn’t your ‘normal’ president

Donald J. Trump more or less vowed to be an unconventional president while he campaigned for the office. Man, he’s made good on that one, eh?

Consider what he said after the failure of the Republican caucus in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I won’t own” the failure, he said. He wants to let the ACA fail and then he’ll swoop in to clean up the mess — assuming, of course, that it even happens.

How disgraceful.

President Truman famously had that sign on his Oval Office desk: “The Buck Stops Here.” President Kennedy told us after the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961 that “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan”; he took the hickey for the invasion’s failure. President Reagan admitted to making a mistake during the Iran-Contra controversy, that he didn’t believe “in my heart” that he was trading arms to a hostile nation; he “owned” it eventually.

The current president? He’s not standing by the stumble-bum effort in Congress to enact this legislation. Republicans had seven years to come up with an alternative to the ACA, which they despise largely — or so it seems — because it has Barack H. Obama’s name on it. They call it “Obamacare” as a term of derision.

They blew it. As head of the Republican Party, so did the president. He owns this mistake, whether he cares to admit it or not.

Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Reagan all knew how to stand behind their failures. They all understood that the terms of the office they required them to do so.

Aw, but what the hell. They were just your normal run-of-the-mill politicians who played by the rules. The current president doesn’t operate under the same precept of full accountability.

Who sold arms to Iran?

This video is quite instructive.

President Reagan went on the air in March 1987 to explain why he sold arms to Iran in exchange for money that he would use to seek to topple the Marxist government in Nicaragua.

The late president today remains a conservative icon to those who revere the policies he instituted during his two terms in office.

Those admirers are going ballistic — no pun intended — over a nuclear deal brokered by another president, Barack Obama, that seeks to disarm Iran and intends to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal. Why, they just cannot fathom how we could negotiate with those who would refer to the United States as the Great Satan and who would sponsor terrorist activities around the globe.

What, then, was President Reagan doing when he sold weapons to the Islamic Republic of Iran less than a decade after the radicals seized our embassy in Tehran, held our citizens hostage for 444 days and threatened to blow up the Middle East during that entire time?

Have those folks forgotten all that?

Watch the video. President Reagan said his “heart” told him he wasn’t doing what the facts proved he was doing. He was selling arms to an enemy state.


Speaking in the first person … singular

President Obama can take credit for a lot of good things that have happened while he’s been living and working in the White House.

But as the short video attached to this blog post indicates, he seems all too willing to take all the credit.


Readers of this blog know that I’ve been a strong supporter of Barack Obama’s work to fix what was ailing the country when he took office. I hope those who’ve read it over the years also will understand that I bristle when he keeps using the first person singular pronoun when he speaks of the good things that have occurred.

The president took some questions at the White House and, by gosh, he did it again. He kept using the words “I” and “me” and “my” when referencing the positive accomplishments of the presidency.

“On my watch” the United States is the most respected nation on Earth, he said. “I” fixed the auto industry, he said. “I” got the country working again, he added.

Mr. President, you are part of a team that, yes, you assembled. But you all have worked together to do these things. Isn’t that correct?

President Nixon had an equally annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person. “The president” has the power to do certain things that others don’t have, he would say. Nixon’s use of the third person became prevalent during the Watergate scandal and it chapped my hide royally every time I heard him say it.

I recall something President Reagan once said. I am paraphrasing it here, but he said something about not caring “who took the credit” for positive outcomes. On the flip side, I recall him saying that “mistakes were made” during the Iran-Contra scandal that embarrassed him and his team — as he lapsed into that maddening passive-voice verbiage so common among politicians who refuse to take full responsibility for the policies that go wrong.

It’s fine for the current president to take credit as well for the plus side of his time in office. I just wish he’d be willing to acknowledge publicly, out loud, so everyone can hear it, that it’s a team effort.

How about a little more “we,” “us,” and “our,” Mr. President?


'We should have sent someone' to Paris rally

Think long and hard about this one.

When was the last time the White House admitted openly that it made a mistake. My best recollection goes back to, oh, around 1987 when President Reagan said as much about selling arms to rebel fighters in Nicaragua.

Still, the White House press spokesman, Josh Earnest, made a startling announcement today in declaring that the Obama administration erred in not sending a higher profile emissary to join the massive Paris “unity rally” in the wake of the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.


Secretary of State John Kerry said today as well that the U.S.-France relationship goes far beyond a single event, such as the Paris rally. President Obama has noted that France is our “oldest ally,” dating back to the American Revolution.

But yes, the White House made a mistake. I’m glad the administration is acknowledging it.

The current war on international terror began on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists conducted the cold-blooded, premeditated attack on the United States. We issued a call to arms and enlisted the aid of nations around the world.

The United States has been the main player in the world’s fight against the monsters who seek to terrorize the rest of the world.

There should have been a high-profile U.S. delegation at the unity rally, which featured the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

That does not diminish our leading role in the global war. Indeed, today’s White House admission well might enhance it.


What say you, Col. North?

Allow me to stipulate right off the top that I am acutely aware that the source of this blog post is an admittedly progressive pundit who routinely criticizes conservatives on her nightly TV talk show.

However, the point made here is a valid one.


Many Americans are steamed over the terms of the deal that brought about the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. One of them — are you ready? — who’s really angry about it is former Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North, the former principal character in another hostage-release deal that, um, drew a lot of attention to a Republican president.

As it is stated in the link attached here, it is almost beyond comprehension that this guy, of all people, would have anything to say at all publicly about a deal that involves “negotiating” with enemy agents. He was involved up to his armpits in precisely such a deal. It brought shame and, yes, scandal to President Reagan’s administration. He also was actually convicted of a crime, although his conviction was overturned on appeal.

Still, for Ollie North to weigh in … well, there’s your benchmark for absurdity.

Obama: ‘That’s on us. That’s on me.’

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook yesterday that praised President Ronald Reagan’s taking responsibility for misleading the nation on the Iran-Contra scandal. “That’s how a leader” should do take the heat, the message said.

The implication, of course, is that President Barack Obama hasn’t taken personal responsibility for the mess-up involving the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the ridiculous failure of the website healthcare.gov to handle applications for insurance.

Well, today the president said, “It’s on me,” meaning that he’s the man in charge and that he is responsible for the insurance policy cancellations that have scared the daylights out of Americans.


Obama has instituted a plan to give Americans an extra year to shop for insurance while keeping their current insurance plans.

He vowed to take action to stop the cancellations. Today, he announced the plan. Will it work? Well, like everything associated with the ACA, that remains to be seen.

Will the government computer geeks be able to repair what ails the website? That, too, is an open question.

However, I swear I heard the president say today that he’s at fault for this mess. I believe that’s what a leader is supposed to do.