Past Time

bunning-baseball-card.jpg The Bunning of History

Full disclosure. That’s what Hillary Clinton’s detractors demand. Endless rounds of stories about her husband’s Presidential Library, the tantalizing secrets it might hold, clinton-rnc-library-card.gif and endless speculation with a sprinkling of facts about who funded it.

But a bill to require donor disclosure by the Clinton and all future Libraries has failed again to make it to a vote. For months the block was Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning, but now a new stalwart paper-bag.jpg has stepped forward to anonymously block Senate consideration.

Ford, Lately

ford-exterior.jpeg Something Will Turn Up

Things are twice as nice at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. Attendance doubled in the last year.

The Ford is experiencing American’s traditional “death bump” in Presidential Library visiting, as citizens recall old whats-his-name after endless coverage of their “state funerals.”

And not a moment too soon.

The Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum has seen its attendance plummet nearly 60 percent during the last six years.”

The Ford, as always, holds it’s totemic objects, symbolic items which sending us swirling back to that magical, and above all, decent, time.

ford-siagon-stairs.JPG Who can forget the fall of Saigon, as evacuees descended from the US Embassy roof to waiting helicopters.

ford-berlin-wall-piece.JPG The Berlin Wall stood menacingly when Ford assumed the Presidency, and, um, continued to do so when he left office. And he sent the first US Ambassador to the East German government.

ford-mayaguez-wheel.JPG The centerpiece of the Ford Era, the touchstone of an all too brief generation, must be the wheel from the Mayaguez.

The American ship was seized off Cambodia shortly after the fall of Phenom Pen and Saigon. Bombs dropped, Marines died, and sailors were freed. In the Ford myth, repeated at his funeral, he “kicked that Vietnam syndrome” a decade before the elder Bush.

But not really.

“The crew of the Mayaguez was never held on Koh Tang island, the island that was invaded by the US Marine Corps...The Cambodians had announced that they intended to return the vessel, and had indeed done so while the bombardment of Cambodian territory was continuing, during which time the crew was being held unharmed on quite another island, named Rong Sam Lem. President Ford’s statement, claiming credit for the release and attributing it to the intervention on the wrong island, was knowingly false….American casualties were larger than has ever been admitted; twenty-three men were pointlessly sacrificed in a helicopter crash in Thailand that was never acknowledged as part of the operation. Thus, sixty-four servicemen were killed to free forty sailors who had already been let go, and who were not and never had been at the advertised location…As a result of the panic and disorder, three Marines were left behind alive on Koh Tang island, and later captured and murdered by the Khmer Rouge. You will not find the names of Lance Cpl. Joseph Hargrove, Pfc. Gary Hall or Pvt. Danny Marshall on any memorial.”

The Ford statue is another step closer to gracing the Capitol, unless you help.

Out of Sight

Smokin! cheney-office-fire.jpg

The National Archives official who challenged Dick Cheney’s handling of classified documents and whose office Cheney then tried to abolish is quitting. And furthering our knowledge of Cheney’s machinations as he exits.

cheney-lurking-head-and-shoulders.jpg Ever Vigilant

J. William Leonard headed the Information Security Oversight Office [ISOO] at archives, which tracks Executive Branch practices dealing with classified material. When he discovered Cheney had stopped complying with the security regulations he went to the Justice Department seeking a ruling that the Vice President follow the law. Cheney’s office responded by trying to eliminate the budget for the ISOO.

Leonard spoke to Newsweek on how Cheney’s people made up their own make-believe classification system, which they claim they don’t have to report:

A number of people have noted that the vice president’s office stopped reporting to you and complying with ISOO in the fall of 2003 when the whole Valerie Plame case blew up. Do you think there was a connection?
I don’t have any insight. I was held at arms length [from that.] But some of the things based on what I’ve read [have] given me cause for concern. A number of prosecution exhibits [in the Plame-related perjury trial of I. Scooter Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff] were annotated, ‘handle as SCI.’ SCI is Sensitive Compartmentalized Information, the most sensitive classified information there is. As I recall, [one of them] was [the vice president and his staff] were coming back from Norfolk where they had attended a ship commissioning and they were conferring on the plane about coming up with a [media] response plan [to the allegations of Plame’s husband, Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson.] That was one of the exhibits marked, ‘handle as SCI.’

These were internal communications about what to say to the press?
Let me give you some the irony of that. Part of the National Archives is the presidential libraries….So we’re going to have documents [at the libraries] with the most sensitive markings on it that isn’t even classified. If I were going to do a review [of OVP], that would be one of the questions I would want to ask: What is this practice? And how widespread is it? And what is the rationale? How do we assure that people don’t get this mixed up with real secrets?

But in the spirit of the holiday season, let’s all enjoy another laugh about the Clinton papers and UFOs.

This Christmas, Give the Gift of Nixon!

nixon-christmas-tree.jpg In time for the holiday, an exciting new blog has launched!

Get ready for What Would Richard Nixon Do?

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon

Face Facts nixon-profile.JPG

powerline-graphic.png Powerline forum participant “G. Will” [because the bow-tie pulls the babes?] has nailed the real trouble with Mike Huckabee:

“Only Problem: Huckabee Looks Like Nixon!..He is a no-winner due to this sorry quirk of Nature.”

Huckabee’s not alone.

Signposts on the Nixon Trail include vegetables: nixon-eggplant-two.jpg

Trees: nixon-a-tree-that-looks-like-nixon.jpg

Rock formations: nixon-geikie-gorge-western-australia.jpg

More rocks: nixon-rock-nixons-profile.jpg

And the great state of Montana: nixon-montana-map.jpg