chairman of the joint chiefs of

please reblog: steve bannon

Yesterday, Trump removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the National Security Council. He replaced them with Steve Bannon. Bannon has no government, intelligence, or high-level military experience; his experience is leading a propaganda outlet (Breitbart News) that peddles nationalist and white nationalist viewpoints.

This would be deeply concerning in and of itself. But one of the jobs of the NSC is to oversee a secret panel that authorizes the assassination of “enemies of the United States Government” – including American citizens. These targeted killings are fully authorized by law under the Congressional military authorization act following 9/11. There is no trial, no due process, and no public record of the decision or the assassination itself.

Just to recap the absurdity: the President of the United States has appointed a known propagandist, nationalist, and white supremacist to replace the highest military advisor in the country on a council that authorizes secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process.

What You Can Do:
- Call your Senators and Congressperson this week and demand that they publicly and legislatively oppose Trump’s appointment of Steven Bannon to the NSC.
- Spread the word about this news to your networks, since this is not getting a lot of coverage right now.

Please COPY AND PASTE this update as opposed to sharing the post.

Donald Trump...

…wants to take Iraq’s oil.
…is making enemies lists.
…is calling his critics “enemies.”
…is keeping his own security force.
…wants the Army to target civilians.
…would make the Army target civilians.
…wants to expand domestic surveillance.
…wants to make it easier to sue the press.
…wants to cut back our intelligence agencies.
…thinks security takes precedence over privacy.
…is undermining the legitimacy of the court system.
…is threatening journalists for unfavorable reporting.
…is threatening to enact martial law in American cities.
…thinks the 1st Amendment offers too much protection.
…needs the names of people working on climate change.
…needs the names of people working on gender equality.
…offered to “destroy the career” of a Texas state Senator.
…is undermining and telling lies to delegitimize the media.
…only supports transparency when it’s working to his benefit.
…is banning a religion from immigrating to the United States.
…will prevent administration officials from appearing on CNN.
…is going to publish a list of crimes committed by immigrants.
…is appointing unqualified cronies to national cabinet positions.
…is seeking the ability to purge the government of non-loyalists.
…is freezing federal agencies from communicating through twitter.
…is dismantling anti-discrimination protections for at-risk students.
…is showing no regard for the handling of delicate classified information.
…his chief advisor is using her position to push Trump branded products.
…is using his position as President to make money for his businesses.
…needs the names of State Department employees working on extremism.
…is demanding apologies from news organizations that report on WH leaks.
…has fired the acting Attorney General for “betraying the State Department.”
…is completely ignoring communications from the Office of Government Ethics.
…is allowing his chief strategist to destroy or prevent a White House paper trail.
…is presenting “alternative facts” (lying) to the American people.
…is frustrated that he is unable to govern the same way that he ran his businesses.
…is only taking questions from pro-administration news agencies at press conferences.
…wanted to oust all inspectors general to remove ethics oversight over government agencies.
…his policy advisor is warning that the President’s national security policy “will not be questioned.”
…withheld important national security information from the Vice President and the rest of his team.
…his campaign may have been working with another nation to effect the outcome of a democratic election.
…has removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s permanent seat on the National Security Council.
…has given Steve Bannon, an alt-right white nationalist, a permanent seat on the National Security Council.
…insulted Australia, an ally of the United States, and may have threatened to invade Mexico, also an ally of the United States.
…has planted hand picked supporters in his crowds.
…has given cabinet positions to his campaign donors.
…has undermined the legitimacy of protesters.
…fired advisors who don’t fully support his policies.
…considering quitting the U.N. Human Rights Council.
…rejected intelligence reports that don’t fully support his policies.
…went a full week without attending the Presidential Daily Intelligence Briefing.
…asked the FBI to undermine news reports on the administration’s ties to Russia.
…asked intelligence officials and key Republican lawmakers to counter Russia stories.
…has blocked CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, the BBC and the Guardian from participating in a press conference.

[from Reddit; Source(s)]

Haunted By War: Jared Kushner Just Woke Up In A Cold Sweat After Having A Flashback About Getting A Blister During His 2-Day Trip To Iraq

The horrors of war can have significant impacts on those who experience them, and it seems like the president’s son-in-law is no exception: Jared Kushner just woke up seized with terror after experiencing a flashback to a blister he got on his foot during his two-day trip to Iraq.

What an incredibly harrowing experience.

Dreaming he was back in the war-torn country he visited last week, sitting with military generals in a climate-controlled room, Kushner broke out in a cold sweat as he was forced to relive the trauma of having his big toe rubbed raw by a pair of shoes he had not yet had the chance to break in. His mind replayed scene after scene in which he had to excuse himself from conversation with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in order to limp to the bathroom and shake any grains of chafing sand from his new loafers. A phantom pain in his heel throbbed as he repeatedly clapped his shoes together in his dream, only to find the Italian leather insoles covered in a fresh layer of sand every time he slipped them on his aching feet. The terror of the nightmare proving to be too much to handle, Kushner gasped audibly as he bolted upright in bed, eyes bloodshot with the horror of the injury he had sustained in Iraq.

Trauma can be difficult for anyone to overcome, and these flashbacks to his 48 hours in Iraq spent 10 miles away from any fighting show that Jared Kushner is having a tough time adjusting back to civilian life.

As he kicked off his covers and tried to catch his breath, Kushner was plagued by visions of the long hallways he had been forced to painfully traverse with the soldiers who’d put their lives on the line every day, his blister growing redder with each passing step as they told him about their fellow service members who had not made it home alive. He was haunted by memories of meetings with military strategists, in which he had stoically endured hours of discussions about the future of the United States’ involvement in Iraq without a single opportunity to apply an ointment or soothing balm to his foot.

Kushner attempted to clear these thoughts from his mind as he tried to fall back asleep, but they kept him awake for hours more. The sunburn he’d gotten on his nose still felt as fresh as ever, even though by now it had faded into a tan, and he could swear his shoulder still felt the slice of the uncomfortable seatbelt in the Humvee in which he’d had to ride on the second day.

This just goes to show the serious horrors Jared Kushner faced for our country. We hope he has a strong support network to help him get through this grim chapter of his life and work past the traumatic blister flashbacks that haunt him and disturb his rest. No one should have to live like this.

Nancy Pelosi straight up called Stephen Bannon a White Supremacist: 

“What’s making America less safe is to have a white supremacist named to the National Security Council as a permanent member while the chairman of the joint chiefs and the director ofnational intelligence are told, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you. You’re no longer permanent members.'” 

(x)

This is what the “Muslim Ban” is helping to distract us from…
“What is unfolding inside Washington right now is, for all intents and purposes, a step-by-step coup e'tat against constitutional government. Steve Bannon has played, and will continue to play, the leading role in this usurpation – his positions effectively shield him from any government oversight or accountability. That Bannon has largely succeeded in shielding from public view his neo-Nazi associations and contempt for the American constitution should be cause for still greater alarm. What much we do know is gravely worrisome in itself.
This post concerns Donald Trump’s elevation of Bannon to leading roles within the National Security Council. To review: the National Security Council (NSC) comprises important high-level government officials including the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director of National Intelligence. Its main job is to use this broad expertise to advise the President on national security matters and assist in carrying out security directives.
Yesterday, the President removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the NSC. He replaced them with Steve Bannon. Bannon has no government, intelligence, or high-level military experience; his experience is leading a propaganda outlet (Breitbart News) that peddles nationalist and white nationalist viewpoints.
This would be deeply concerning in and of itself. But one of the jobs of the NSC is to oversee a secret panel that authorizes the assassination of “enemies of the United States Government” – including American citizens. These targeted killings are fully authorized by law under the Congressional military authorization act following 9/11. There is no trial, no due process, and no public record of the decision or the assassination itself.
Just to recap the absurdity: the President of the United States has appointed a known propagandist, nationalist, and white supremacist to replace the highest military adviser in the country on a council that authorizes secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process.
What You Can Do:
- Call your Senators and Congressperson this week and demand that they publicly and legislatively oppose Trump’s appointment of Steven Bannon to the NSC.
- Spread the word about this news to your networks, since this is not getting a lot of coverage right now.”

“I took her in my arms. The anaconda’s habitat was probably not the most romantic place on Earth, but it felt safe. ‘You know I love you.’

'I love you, too, Jake,’ she said, and put her head on my shoulder.

'I guess if we win, if we survive, maybe we should, you know, get married and all. I mean, eventually. I know we’re young, but man, we’ve been through enough that it should count for a few extra years, shouldn’t it?’

I don’t know what I expected her answer to be, but I didn’t expect her to start crying. And not tears of joy, either.

'I would like that…eventually,’ she said.

'But. But what?’

She sighed. 'But, Jake, what are you going to be? What are you going to do?’

'Guess I thought I’d go to college,’ I said.

'And study what, Jake? Me, I’ll go to college, I’ll become a doctor. I’ll never forget what’s happened, I’ll never even try, but I’ll be able to slip back into a normal life. But you, Jake?’

I shrugged and released her and stood away a bit. 'I’m not Rachel, you know. I didn’t fall in love with the fight. I don’t need it like she does. I do it, I try and do it well, but it’s just a job, a duty.’ I tried to make a joke out of it. 'I mean, what do you think? The Pentagon is going to call me and make me Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? I’m not even old enough to enlist as a private.’

She didn’t laugh. She just looked at me.

'Look, Cassie, when this is over I’ll be done with it forever. I’ll go back to school, get an education, go to basketball games, get a driver’s license, go to college, figure out what it is I really want to do. And be with you. You and me.’

She forced a smile. 'A year after it ends, if it ends, if we win, a year afterward if you want to be with me, we’ll talk about that again, okay?’

'I have to wait a year? Kind of harsh, isn’t it?’

'Hey, if we get married, Marco isn’t going to live with us, is he?’ Cassie said, trying her best to jolly us both out of our dark moods.

It didn’t work.”

- Book #53: The Answer, pg. 75 (by K.A. Applegate)

Trump and Bannon’s “America First”

Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council – elevating his chief political strategist Steve Bannon, and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bannon will join the NSC’s principals committee, the top inter-agency group advising the President on national security. 

Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential memorandum issued Saturday. 

Political strategists have never before participated in National Security Council principals meetings because the NSC is supposed to give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice.

But forget facts. Forget analysis. This is the Trump administration. 

And what does Bannon have to bring to the table? 

In case you forgot, before joining Donald Trump’s inner circle Bannon headed Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that has promoted conspiracy theories and is a platform for the alt-right movement, which espouses white nationalism.

This is truly scary. 

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice calls the move “stone cold crazy.” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also served under George W. Bush, says the demotions are a “big mistake.” 

Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told CBS News, "I am worried about the National Security Council. … The appointment of Mr. Bannon is a radical departure from any National Security Council in history.” McCain added that the “one person who is indispensable would be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in my view.”

Here’s the big worry. Trump is unhinged and ignorant. Bannon is nuts and malicious. If not supervised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, their decisions could endanger the world.

In Trump’s and Bannon’s view, foreign relations is a zero-sum game. If another nation gains, we lose. As Trump declared at his inaugural: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”

Some of you are old enough to recall John F. Kennedy’s inaugural, when the young president pledged to support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the success of liberty. 

But Trump makes no distinction between friend and foe, and no reference to liberty. As conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer observes, Trump’s view is that all other nations are out to use, exploit and surpass us.

Not incidentally, “America First” was the name of the pro-Nazi group led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.

Trump’s and Bannon’s version of “America First” is no less dangerous. It is alienating America from the rest of the world, destroying our nation’s moral authority abroad, and risking everything we love about our country.

Unsupervised by people who know what they’re doing. Trump and Bannon could also bring the world closer to a nuclear holocaust.

Legacy of World War II on the Philippines

In early 1946 Japan’s General Tomoyuki Yamashita was tried as a war criminal and hanged by order of MacArthur. In 1986, a salvage group located the wreck of a Japanese ship containing $500 million worth of treasure in Filipino waters. The ship was sunk in World War II.

In 1994, President Fidel Ramos had hoped to turn the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte into a sort of an Asian version of the D-Day commemoration at Normandy. President Clinton and MacArthur’s 92-year-old widow were invited to event but neither were able to attend. In their place came the U.S. Secretary of State William Perry and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili.

After World War II and independence, the United States Congress reneged on promised to give benefits to Filipino soldiers who fought on the Allied side against Japan. In 2009 Associated Press reported: “Men and women from the Philippines were promised recognition and benefits when they enlisted to fight alongside US troops during World War II. Many of those honors are only arriving now, 64 years after the war ended. The Fil-Am veterans are also set to receive long-awaited benefits that the United States pledged during the war. [Source: Associated Press, June 7, 2009]

“Some 250,000 Filipinos enlisted in 1941 to help defend the Philippines, a US commonwealth at the time. They were promised that they could become US citizens if they chose, and receive benefits under the G.I. Bill. The US Congress took away that offer in 1946 when the Philippines became an independent nation. Congress passed legislation in 2009 rewarding the soldiers for their service with $9,000 payments for non-US citizens and $15,000 for those with citizenship. In 2009, about 18,000 Filipino veterans, many in their 80s and 90s, were still alive. Ravaged by old age and disease, they were dying at the rate of 10 a day, officials said. “ [Ibid]

Carlos H. Conde wrote in the New York Times, “Unlike in other countries where the war’s end brought renewal and hope, there is a strong sense in this country that the war victimized Filipinos twice over, that its horrifying toll went beyond the destruction of its cities. If the war destroyed 80 percent of the Philippine economy, its consequences - the reparations, the ensuing relationship between Manila and Tokyo, the Cold War, the rise of Ferdinand Marcos, who exploited Japan’s postwar penitence and benevolence and almost single-handedly repaired relations with the Japanese - damaged Filipinos even further, diminishing their sense of pride and their ability to appreciate their past and learn from it. [Source: Carlos H. Conde, New York Times, August 13, 2005 +=+]

“In short, World War II left the Philippines devastated long after it ended, historians and sociologists say. This damage, they say, defines the modern Filipino: poor and lost, perpetually wandering the globe for economic survival, bereft of national pride, and - like the women of Mapanique - forced to suffer, to this day, the indignities of their violation. “Filipinos have a very short historical memory,” said Ricardo Trota Jose, the country’s foremost scholar on Philippine-Japan relations, who teaches history at the University of the Philippines.“ +=+

URGENT

Don’t get too distracted by the news right now, your local fascists are still pedaling behind the scenes and it is BAD on every level 👇🏻👇🏻

Yesterday, the President removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the National Security Council. In other words, the two most senior military men in the nation are no longer invited to attend the meetings where the National security decisions are made.

In their place, he has appointed Steve Bannon, a person with no government, intelligence or high-level military experience. Also a known anti-Semite and pro KKK individual. His only experience is leading a propaganda outlet (Breitbart News) that peddles nationalist and white nationalist viewpoints.
One of the jobs of the NSC is to oversee a secret panel that authorizes the assassination of “enemies of the United States Government” – including American citizens. These targeted killings are fully authorized by law under the Congressional military authorization act following 9/11. There is no trial, no due process, and no public record of the decision or the assassination itself.

To recap the absurdity: the President just appointed a nationalist white supremacist to replace the highest military advisors in the country on a council that authorizes secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process, among other things.

What You Can Do:
- Call your Senators and Congressperson and demand they publicly and legislatively oppose Trump’s appointment of Steven Bannon to the NSC.
- Spread the word about this news to your networks since this is not getting a lot of coverage right now.

Please COPY SHARE AND PASTE this, spread it like wildfire and stop this.

8

Chris Evans: “Each and every day our nation’s troops are making a real difference and I am endlessly grateful for everything they are doing for us back home. It is people like them - those who put on the uniform every morning, serve our nation and sacrifice their lives - that make people like me want to be a better person. A huge thank you to everyone serving our nation, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs for giving me this opportunity and the USO for making tours like this even possible. It is a real honor.”

5

The CIA’s plan to commit terror attacks in America — Operation Northwoods

In the early 1960’s Fidel Castro was becoming one pain in the butt embarrassment for the Central Intelligence Agency.  Cuba represented an immense failure of US foreign policy, as the once American dominated government fell to Castro’s regime in 1959.  In the upcoming years, the CIA would try numerous times to assassinate, discredit, and remove Castro from power.  This culminated with the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 where the CIA attempted a failed military invasion using Cuban counterrevolutionaries, and the Cuban Missile Crises, a showdown between the US and Soviet Union over Soviet nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba.

In 1962 the CIA proposed Operation Northwoods as a drastic but conclusive solution to the Cuban situation.  Operation Northwoods called for a series of terrorist attacks on American military bases and civilian targets, which were to be conducted by CIA personnel disguised as Cuban agents.  With supposed evidence in hand, the US Government would then have full justification for military operations against Cuba.  Operation Northwoods was to begin with an assault on Guantanamo Bay by “Cuban Forces”.  Then a series of terrorist attacks would be conducted by CIA agents in cities such as Miami and Washington.

 Among the plans was a scheme to hijack an airplane then simulate a crash with an empty airplane that would give the appearance of “killing all passengers”.  In Miami CIA agents were to assassinate a number of Cuban refugees, leaving evidence that the murders were conducted by Cuban assassins. It was also suggested that a boatload of Cuban refugees be destroyed, with evidence planted to blame Pro-Castro saboteurs.  The plan even called for the mass shooting of civilians on the street by “Cuban military forces” as well as the bombings of American ships and buildings. There was even a plan to blow up an American ship, creating a “USS Maine” propaganda moment to galvanize Americans against Cuba.  Finally, Operation Northwoods called for a fleet of American captured MiG fighter jets to fly over American airspace, harassing civil aviation and perhaps even shooting down an American airliner bound for the Caribbean.  

The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, and forwarded to President John F. Kennedy by Robert Mcnamara.  Horrified by such a corrupt and unethical plan, JFK refused to approve of it.  Fortunately, Operation Northwoods never happened.  Documents of Operation Northwoods were declassified in 1997.  A copy of a Defense Department memo on Northwoods can be found in the link below.

 http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/northwoods.pdf

"What Have I Done?": Richard Nixon's Perilous Final Hours in the White House

The 37th President of the United States was hysterical.  Crumpled in a leather chair in the Lincoln Sitting Room, his favorite of the 132 rooms at his disposal in the White House, Richard Milhous Nixon called for his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.  Nixon was drinking, Nixon was exhausted, Nixon was physically and mentally unwell and, hours earlier, Nixon had finally realized that he had no other choice but to become the first President in United States history to resign his office.

A Presidential resignation was so unthinkable that nobody had ever agreed on how a President even resigns his office.  Is his resignation effective the moment he makes his decision?  Does he have to sign anything?  If so, who does he hand his resignation into?  What happens to his things?  His belongings, his property, his papers?  Is the Secret Service responsible for his protection?  How does he even get home after leaving the White House?  In fact, after making the decision to step down, Nixon questioned whether a President could resign at all.  None of these questions had ever been contemplated until it became apparent that the Watergate scandal and subsequent cover-up was fatal to the Nixon Administration.

When Kissinger answered the President’s summons on the evening of August 7th, 1974, he found that Nixon was nearly drunk, sitting in a darkened room, and lost in thought.  Throughout the nearly 200 years of America’s life only 35 other human beings had held the office that Nixon was holding and Nixon was in the unique position of being the only one to decide on resignation.  Nixon was the only person in the history of human existence that had to do what he was forced into doing. 

Nixon was a ferociously introspective person — a man who hated people but loved politics.  Not only did he love politics, but he was extraordinarily skilled at it.  Some would say that Richard Nixon was a terrible politician, but the results prove otherwise.  When he was 33 years old Nixon was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  At 38 he was one of California’s United States Senators.  Before he turned 40, he was elected Vice President of the United States alongside Dwight Eisenhower.  A bad politician doesn’t accomplish that much that quickly.  Nixon was narrowly defeated for the Presidency in 1960 by John F. Kennedy and lost a race for Governor of California in 1962 to incumbent Pat Brown, but a bad politician would not have won his party’s nomination for either of those offices. 

The most overlooked barometer of Nixon’s political skill is the fact that he ran for President in three different elections (1960, 1968, and 1972), won two of them, and lost the popular vote in 1960 to John F. Kennedy by just .2% nationwide.  During Richard Nixon’s career, more Americans cast votes in favor of sending him to the White House than Franklin Delano Roosevelt who won an unprecedented four terms.  Over three elections, Nixon received 113,059,260 votes for President — nearly 10 million more than FDR (103,419,425 votes over four elections).  A bad politician couldn’t trick people into casting 113 million votes to make him their leader and allow him to become the most powerful man in the world.

Yet, for all of Richard Nixon’s immense political skills, intelligence, ability, and achievements, he allowed his uncontrollable paranoia to destroy him.  Nixon didn’t need help to win re-election in 1972, but he authorized dirty tricks against the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic nominee, George McGovern.  Nixon and his top aides covered up the break-in at the DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., and by the summer of 1974, it was revealed that a secret White House taping system held evidence of the cover-up.  Still, Nixon continued to fight, believing that he could win back the American people and once again come back from disaster as he had done many times before.  This time was different, however.  There was no comeback from this scandal.  If Nixon did not resign, he would be impeached and found guilty in a Senate trial.  If Nixon did not resign, he would probably go to prison.  When the impossibility of survival was finally understood by the President, the man who had told Americans “I am not a quitter” realized that he had to quit.

•••

In the last days of July 1974, most of President Nixon’s aides came to the conclusion that Nixon’s position was untenable and that resignation was imminent.  When Republican Congressional leaders indicated that they would no longer support Nixon and would vote for articles of impeachment, all hope was lost and Vice President Gerald Ford — in office for less than 8 months — began preparations to assume the Presidency.  Nixon held out the longest, but he was so out of touch that he was losing the ability to exercise the powers of his office.  For weeks, the day-to-day operations of the White House — and, really, the Presidency itself — were handled by General Alexander Haig, a four-star Army general and the White House Chief of Staff.  Haig was a longtime holdout in the futile attempt to save Nixon’s Presidency, but the damning evidence that was revealed almost daily in the final weeks of Nixon’s administration left Haig no choice but to attempt to orchestrate a somewhat dignified exit for Nixon and smooth transition for Ford. 

At times in those last few weeks, Nixon brooded in the Lincoln Sitting Room or his secret hideaway office in the Old Executive Office Building across the street from the White House.  Even in the Washington summer, Nixon would sit in one of the two rooms with a fire burning in the fireplace scribbling memos to himself on his familiar yellow legal pads.  The President would drink scotch and get drunk quickly; he was famously unable to handle his low-tolerance for alcohol very well.  Often, an aide or valet would find Nixon loudly blaring his favorite music — the score from the 1950’s documentary “Victory at Sea”.  Other times, Nixon would listen to the tapes from his Oval Office recording system that were bringing his Presidency down around him, rewinding, fast-forwarding, listening again-and-again to his own voice saying the things now coming back to haunt him.

Aides throughout the White House and staff from other departmental agencies worried about the President’s ability to function and continue to lead the country while in his current mental state.  Discussions were quietly held about whether it was necessary to attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which calls for the Vice President to assume the powers of the Presidency if the President is somehow incapacitated and unable to discharge the heavy everyday responsibilities of his office.  Nixon was barely sleeping, drinking heavily, and making bizarre, rambling late-night phone calls to subordinates throughout the Executive Branch of the United States government.  Nearly everyone who knew his condition questioned the President’s capacity to function.

There were also serious questions about whether or not Nixon, in a desperate attempt to hold on to power, might use the military to protect himself and the White House.  Tensions were already high in the streets of Washington, D.C. with protesters loudly demonstrating and calling for Nixon’s resignation.  High-ranking officials in the Department of Defense and the White House privately worried about the possibility that Nixon would ring the streets around the White House with tanks and armored personnel carriers, ostensibly to protect the Executive Mansion from acts of civil disobedience, but also to set up a fortress-like barrier that might allow him to remain in the White House in the case of a Congressional or Supreme Court-ordered removal from office.

Most startling of all is the fact that in the week before his resignation, Nixon’s inability to efficiently or appropriately wield executive power had dwindled so far that Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger urged General George S. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to not take military orders directly from the President.  In an attempt to save the country from any extra-constitutional power grab by a desperate President, the military chain-of-command took the extra-constitutional step of removing the President from the loop.  Schlesinger also investigated what his options would be if troops had to forcibly remove the President from office.  The Defense Secretary’s plan was to bring the 82nd Airborne to Washington from Fort Bragg, North Carolina if that was necessary.

While Nixon’s aides and fellow government officials worried about his mental health and ability to lead, Nixon’s family worried about his physical well-being.  The President was exhausted, erratic, and not sleeping well at all.  He downed sleeping pills, drank scotch, and continued sitting alone in one of his two favorite offices.  Nixon attempted to put on a brave face for his family, but they too were weary of the process and his wife Pat’s health was already precarious.  Nixon sometimes found solace in the company of his daughters Tricia and Julie and their respective husbands, Edward Cox and David Eisenhower (grandson of the late President Dwight Eisenhower). 

Yet the toll was terrible on the family and while Nixon’s daughters were supportive and urged him to continue fighting, both Cox and Eisenhower felt that their father-in-law needed to resign for the good of the country and the good of their family, and worried that the President might not leave the White House alive.  On August 6, 1974, Edward Cox called Michigan Senator Robert Griffin, a friend of Nixon’s who was urging resignation.  Notifying the Senator that Nixon seemed irrational, Griffin responded that the President had seemed fine during their last meeting.  Cox went further and explained, “The President was up walking the halls last night, talking to pictures of former Presidents — giving speeches and talking to the pictures on the wall.”  Senator Griffin was flabbergasted and even more taken aback when Cox followed that bombshell with a worried plea for help, “The President might take his own life.”

White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig also worried about suicide.  A few days earlier, the despondent President and his Chief of Staff were alone when Nixon started talking about how disgraced military officers sometimes fall on their sword.  To Haig, the Army General, Nixon said, “You fellows, in your business, you have a way of handling problems like this.  Somebody leaves a pistol in the drawer.”  Haig was stunned.  Then sadly — bitterly — Nixon said, “I don’t have a pistol.”

Haig was trying to steer the President towards as dignified of an exit as possible in such a dire situation.  Already dealing with the first Presidential resignation, what he definitely wanted to prevent as Chief of Staff was the first-ever Presidential suicide.  Haig worked with the President’s Navy doctors to limit Nixon’s access to pills and tranquilizers.  When Haig mentioned his worries about a Nixon suicide to White House counsel Fred Buzhardt, Buzhardt said he didn’t think Nixon was the type to commit suicide.  Buzhardt believed Nixon was actually a deeply religious man privately, but the White House counsel also thought that Richard Nixon would continue fighting, as he always had, until the ship went down.  Alexander Haig just wanted to keep the President alive.

In his office in the Old Executive Office Building on the evening of Tuesday, August 6th, Nixon met with Haig and Press Secretary Ron Ziegler to inform them that he was definitely resigning before the end of the week and that he would announce the decision in a speech to the nation on Thursday evening from the Oval Office.  Nixon, Haig, and Ziegler discussed ideas for the resignation speech and during a moment of contemplative silence, Nixon looked up at his two loyalists and said, “Well, I screwed it up good, real good, didn’t I?”. 

•••

The morning of August 7th began with Haig notifying Vice President Ford that Nixon’s resignation was imminent and that Ford would be assuming the Presidency within 48 hours.  Though Nixon had told Haig and Ziegler that his decision was irrevocable, the last obstacle to resignation was still Nixon’s indecisiveness, which was a result of the unwavering support from his daughters, Tricia and Julie.  Throughout the day of August 7th, Nixon seemed calm, but said more than once that he had not made up his mind about resignation yet, which worried his exhausted Chief of Staff.  Haig had barely slept over the last four days and he hoped that the President’s meeting with Senate leaders that afternoon would seal the resignation decision.  It did.  During the meeting, Nixon learned that he had virtually no support in either the House of Representatives or the Senate and that staying in office would damage him personally and be dangerous for the country.  After the meeting, Nixon told his loyal secretary Rose Mary Woods that he had no other choice but to resign, and then he directed her to inform his family.  Nixon’s family learned of his final decision from his secretary, and she also told them that the President didn’t wish to discuss the situation when they met for dinner later.  Before Nixon sat down to eat with his family that night, he simply said, “We’re going back to California.”

It was after dinner that night when Nixon summoned Henry Kissinger to the Residence of the White House and sat with his Secretary of State in the Lincoln Sitting Room.  Though the two leaders had worked tirelessly together on foreign policy during Nixon’s administration, they didn’t necessarily like each other.  Nixon was often jealous of Kissinger’s popularity and dismissive of his personality.  Kissinger thought the President was bitterly mean at times, and unnecessarily paranoid about Kissinger’s loyalty.  They worked well together, but more often than not, they downplayed the other’s role in crafting the administration’s foreign policy when speaking to others.  Nixon didn’t trust Kissinger and Kissinger was often angered by Nixon’s irrational behavior, especially in the past few days as the Secretary of State believed the President’s problems had paralyzed the country’s foreign affairs.

On this night, however, Nixon and Kissinger simply talked.  They discussed their accomplishments, their failures, their philosophies and disagreements, and Nixon urged the diplomat to stay on as Secretary of State and provide Gerald Ford with the same service he had provided Nixon.  Sitting there in the smallest room of the White House, Nixon asked Kissinger about how he would be remembered.  Although he had made mistakes, he felt that he had accomplished great things for his country.  Nixon was worried that his legacy would be Watergate and resignation, but he desperately wanted to be thought of as a President who achieved peace.  Kissinger insisted that Nixon would get the credit he deserved.

President Nixon started crying.  At first, it was a teary-eyed hope that his resignation wouldn’t overshadow his long career, but soon, it broke down into sobbing as the President lamented the failures and the disgrace he had brought to his country.  Nixon — a man who never wore his Quaker religion on his sleeve — turned to Kissinger and asked him if he would pray with him.  Despite being Jewish, Kissinger felt he had no choice but to kneel with the President as Nixon prayed for peace — both for his country and for himself. 

After finishing his prayer, Nixon remained in a kneeling position while silently weeping, tears streaming down the large jowls often caricatured by political cartoonists.  Kissinger looked over and saw the President lean down, burying his face in the Lincoln Sitting Room’s carpet and slamming his fist against the ground crying, “What have I done?  What has happened?”.  Nixon and Kissinger both disliked physical affection and Nixon in particular hated being touched, but Kissinger didn’t know any other way to console his weary, broken boss.  Softly patting Nixon’s back at first, Kissinger embraced Nixon in a hug and held the President of the United States until he calmed down and the tears stopped flowing.  Kissinger helped Nixon up to his feet and the men shared another drink, talking openly about what role Nixon could have in the future as a former President.

When Kissinger returned to his office a little later, he couldn’t even begin to explain what had happened to his top aides, Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger.  Kissinger was saddened and shocked, and Eagleburger noted that he had never seen the Secretary of State so moved by something.  A few minutes later, Nixon called Kissinger’s office and Eagleburger listened in on the call on another extension.  The President was clearly drunk and again thanked Kissinger for visiting him, imploring him to help Ford in the same way he had helped Nixon. 

Before hanging up, Nixon pleaded with Kissinger, “Henry, please don’t ever tell anyone that I cried and that I was not strong.” 

•••

It is telling that even while losing control and finding himself at the end of his rope, President Nixon was concerned about looking weak.  Throughout his long career, Nixon saw himself as a fighter and tried to portray himself as such.  But Nixon also proudly saw himself as a man who had to earn everything he achieved, without any help from anyone else, and despite obstacles constantly being thrown in his path.  Nixon felt that the media was out to get him because he wasn’t charismatic or flashy like his old rival, John F. Kennedy.  Nixon felt that there was something sinister behind every issue he faced, and he went too far in his attempt to destroy those that he felt were trying to destroy him.

Before leaving the White House on August 9th, 1974, Nixon made an impromptu speech to White House employees in the East Room of the mansion.  It is one of the most revealing speeches of any President at any time in history, and it is Nixon without his guard up; Nixon with nothing left to lose.  He talked about his family, his achievements, and his appreciation for the people who worked in his administration.  He rambled at times, and he was clearly saddened by the situation.  And, towards the end of his speech, Richard Nixon — with just minutes left in his Presidency — seemed to have finally learned his lesson:

“Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”


With that, Richard Milhous Nixon and his family walked out on to the South Lawn of the White House, accompanied by the man who would soon assume the Presidency, Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty.  As he boarded the Presidential helicopter, Marine One, Nixon turned around to face the cameras and the White House and the country, smiled wanly, defiantly thrust his trademark peace sign salute into the air over his head and waved goodbye to the Presidency and hello to history.

trayfour: Myself, #scarlettjohansson,#chrisevans and #mayadirado all had the privilege to connect with our men and women in uniform today on our USO tour with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. America!! We have some brave soldiers fighting for us all around the world and today we all had the honor to meet alot of them. I came away from today with an even greater sense of gratitude for the great country we live in and even more respect for those protecting it. Don’t take it for granted!! #the fewtheproudthebrave #noeasyday #carpediem #somewhereinthemiddleeast

I fixed the meme. It was dripping with sexism, so I cleaned it up with some fact.

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are passionate supporters of LGBT rights. The difference between the two of them when it comes to this is that Bernie claims to have always been as progressive as he is now, whereas Hillary has never made that claim and has owned up to the fact that she–like America as a whole–has evolved on this issue.

Keep reading

wsj.com
Donald Trump Shuffles National Security Council
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Saturday to restructure the National Security Council in a way that a White House official said would make the operation ‘more adaptive to the modern threats that we face.’
By Carol E. Lee and Peter Nicholas

January 28 2017 - Another Day, 3 More Executive Orders

A day after signing the Muslim Ban, Trump removed the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the principals committee and replaced them with Steve Bannon, Neo-Nazi In Chief. This is chilling and deeply troubling for America’s future. 

 I can’t help but wonder of Trump signed the Muslim Ban yesterday knowing that he would elevate Bannon today and needed something to distract journalists and the public from this extremely disturbing move.  So far all the coverage by the MSM is of the chaos at airports worldwide; not a word about Bannon being given a seat on the National Security Council

Bannon is also allegedly the driving force behind applying the ban to green card holders.

Do not be distracted. Do not take this affront to democracy lying down. Bannon must be stopped. Trump must be stopped. Resist.