Posts tagged ‘President Nixon’

04/17/2012

Mandate Candidate Tax Disclosures

Although the Federal Election Commission requires Presidential candidates to reveal assets and liabilities on Ethics Form 278, there is currently no law mandating the disclosure of tax returns, but there should be. Although it has been a tradition for over four decades for aspiring Presidents and incumbents to release several years of tax returns, Mitt Romney has surrendered only two. The Congress should impose a 7-year mandatory look-back period to correct this type of reluctance.

During the 2008 Republican primaries, Mitt Romney refused to disclose any tax returns whatsoever, and so far in the 2012 race, he yielded only his 2011 return, which showed 20.9 million in gross income, and his 2010 papers, that disclosed another 21 million in revenue. Voters are entitled to many more years from Romney, if he expects to be taken seriously in November.

President Barack and Michelle Obama released eight years of tax returns before the 2008 election. They grossed $240,000 in 2000, $275,000 in 2001, $260,000 in 2002, $238,000 in 2003, $207,000 in 2004, 1.6 million in 2005, $991,000 in 2006, 4.2 million in 2007, and 2.6 million in 2008. Since becoming Commander-in-Chief, he reported 5.6 million in 2009 (only $374,460 in Presidential pay), and 1.7 million in 2010, and his 2011 return. Sen. John McCain also made his tax returns public in 2008.

George W. and Laura Bush reported $936,000 in 2007, $765,000 in 2006, $738,000 in 2005, $784,000 in 2004, $822,000 in 2003, $856,000 in 2002, $811,000 in 2001, and $894,000 in 2000. Sen. Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry also showed us their numbers.

Bill and Hillary Clinton disclosed $417,000 in 1999, $509,000 in 1998, 1 million in 1996, $316,000 in 1995, $263,000 in 1994, $293,000 in 1993, and $290,000 in 1992, in addition to several other returns, all the way back to 1980. Bill’s 1996 challenger, Sen. Bob Dole, also surrendered to the media his tax returns.

George H. W. and Barbara Bush grossed $456,000 in 1989, $452,000 in 1990, and 1.3 million in 1991. His challenger, Gov. Michael Dukakis had no problem releasing his tax returns.

Ronald Reagan reported $345,000 in 1987, $320,000 in 1986, $394,000 in 1985, over $400,000 (illegible) in 1983, $741,000 in 1982, and $412,000 in 1981.

Jimmy Carter reported $270,000 (illegible) in 1979, $254,000 in 1978, and $350,000 in 1977. President Ford also showed the public his tax returns.

Richard Nixon reported $736,000 in 1969, $262,000 in 1970, $262,000 in 1971, and $282,000 in 1972.

09/06/2011

Draft Is No Answer To Contractor Army

President Bush’s privatization of the military through the use of independent contractors led to cost-control failures and billions in waste, fraud, and abuse, and though his cost-prohibitive Contractor Army must now come to an end, the alternative is not a military draft; the answer is to withdraw from our foreign wars.

The military draft, last used durnig the Vietnam War, came under increasing attack, between 1965 and 1973, as monthly quotas escalated, and many argued the Selective Service was unfair.

Of the millions who came of age during the war, whether in college or not, 32% did not serve, because they were 4-F, which meant physically or mentally unfit. Married men, and those with children, also avoided conscription. The burden of military service fell largely upon those who were single and physically-fit.

One popular myth was that all college students were completely exempt from the draft. While it is true they received “2-S” deferments in the early years, as long as they studied full-time and maintained good grades, 56% served after their deferments expired, a number that compares favorably to the non-college-bound group, from which only 46% joined the military.

When President Nixon arrived, college 2-S deferment were eliminated and local draft boards were replaced by a military draft lottery that exempted no one. The 1st lottery, on Dec. 1, 1969, for men born from 1944 to 1950, led to 162,746 draftees in 1970. A 2nd lottery, on July 1, 1970, for those born in 1951, took 94,092 in 1971. A 3rd lottery, on Aug. 5, 1971, for men born in 1952, summoned 49,514 in 1972. A 4th lottery, on Feb. 2, 1972, for those born in 1953, called hundreds more before the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, and Congress ended the draft.

The real problem with the draft was not the exemption of the unfit, or the grant of deferments to fathers, married men, or college students; it was the denial of liberty to draftees. It was the further insult of giving them only a relatively small sum in combat pay to engage in the most hideous of acts. If market forces had determined their pay in Vietnam, the cost would have been just a prohibitive as it is today, under the Contractor Army created by George W. Bush.

The answer to the problem of the extremely expensive Contractor Army in Afghanistan and Iraq is not to return to conscription, for if draftees received market rates, they too would have to be paid what the Contractor Army now takes, and the U.S. would still be on the verge of bankruptcy. The answer is not to force young men into service for a pittance; it is to end our foreign entanglements.

06/24/2011

Afghanistan Withdrawal Like Vietnam’s

Although I respect President Obama and would vote for him over any Republican, his schedule to withdraw from Afghanistan looks more like a political timetable, than anything connected to the reality on the ground, and it resembles Nixon’s Vietnam plan.

Richard Nixon was elected in 1968, based on a secret plan to end the War in Vietnam. At the start of President Johnson’s last full year in office, in Jan. 1968, the U.S. had 486,000 men in Vietnam. When Nixon was sworn in, he first increased troop strength from Jan. through April 1969, to a peak of 543,000, before starting a very slow de-escalation. By Jan. 1970, 475,000 boots were still on the ground and nearly as many as there were two years earlier.

Instead of just getting out of Vietnam immediately, as he implied in the 1968 campaign, Nixon broadened the war in April 1970, by conducting an invasion into neighboring Cambodia. That surge, if you will, accomplished nothing, but more death and destruction.

While Nixon told the American people in Jan. 1971, the U.S. was pulling out, the number of troops still stood at 234,000, two years after he took office. Instead of simply withdrawing, which is what most Americans wanted, Nixon re-escalated the war again in Feb. 1971, by backing a South Vietnamese invasion into Laos. Among other losses, that effort destroyed 89 U.S. helicopters and crews.

As of Jan. 1972, three years after Nixon was sworn in, the U.S. still had 156,000 troops in Vietnam. When the North Vietnamese launched an offensive across the DMZ in March 1972, instead of just letting it go, Nixon resumed the bombing of North Vietnam, which President Johnson had halted 3½ years earlier. Nixon then ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor, in May 1972.

To insure a political victory, Nixon instructed Sec. of State Henry Kissinger to announce: “peace is at hand” in Oct., just before the Nov. 1972 election. This helped Nixon defeat Democratic Sen. George McGovern, a decorated WWII combat pilot. Once Nixon was in his second term, in Dec. 1972, he quickly resumed a vicious full-scale bombing campaign over Vietnam, known as the Christmas Bombings. Nixon finally gave up in Vietnam on Jan. 27, 1973, under the same terms he could have had 4 years earlier.

Two years later, after Nixon had resigned, the inevitable occurred on April 30, 1975 as the North reunited all of Vietnam and finally ended the conflict for the Vietnamese. President Ford acknowledged: “America is no longer at war,” on May 7, 1975.

Like Nixon, Obama gave the impression he would end the war, sooner than later. Under the recent plan however, it will take at least four years to get out of Afghanistan. Like Nixon, Obama increased troop strength, before starting to reduce it, a cleaver plan someone in the Pentagon must have dreamed up. Like Nixon’s incursion into Cambodia, Obama’s cross-over into Pakistan was without legal authority.

The Afghan withdrawal, scheduled to be done by Oct. 2012, is timed to insure victory in the Nov. 2012 election, just like Kissinger’s peace is at hand statement in Oct. 1972 was made to seal a win in Nov. 1972. The saddest part of the whole thing, is just like Nixon, Obama could have obtained the same result, if he had withdrawn immediately, upon taking office in Jan. 2009. The sad truth is we will not have gained anything but more body bags by staying another four years. The reality on the ground is we can never “win” in Afghanistan, no matter how long we stay. It was a lesson most Americans learned about 40 years ago already.

04/12/2011

Mexicans Need Jobs, Not Drug Wars

Another 13 dead bodies were found in the State of Tamaulipas, south of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico, and it appears the drug war in Mexico will not be over with any time soon.

Some say it is simple supply and demand and that as long as there is a demand for drugs in the U.S., people will continue to get involved in Mexico on the supply side.

Another explanation is that there are so few good paying jobs in Mexico that the business of selling drugs is one of the only ways for Mexicans to make any money.

Mexico, with a large population of 112 million, has significant economic troubles. Beginning in the 1960s, tourism increased in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and at other historical sites, but that industry alone could not, and cannot, support Mexico’s economy.

There was hope that reducing barriers to trade would lift Mexico into a more prosperous future, as Mexico and the U.S. signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (1994) and joined the World Trade Organization (1995), but half of the Mexican work force remains under-employed, and a large number continue to seek jobs in the U.S.

Mexicans have looked for work in the drug trade, because there are few opportunities elsewhere. Conducting a war on drugs without offering alternate employment has not worked and will not work. The war on drugs has been going on a long time. It started when President Nixon first tried to intercept the flow of marijuana from Mexico in 1969, but it did not work. The current phase of the 42-year-old drug war began when Mexican President Calderon took office (2006), but his efforts also will not succeed, since they are not addressing the economic causes of the problem.

When typical Mexican workers begin to have good paying jobs and something better to do than run drugs across the border, the practice of producing and selling them will fade from the scene. The Mexican government should focus on doing something positive, like creating jobs, and when they accomplish that goal, poor young Mexican men may no longer be tempted to turn to drugs as a vocation.

03/22/2011

Chile: Who Changed to Democracy?

President Obama said yesterday in South America that Chile made great change from dictatorship to democracy. I had to think about that. A more correct statement would be: Chile has always supported democracy; it is the U.S. that has changed, since it is the U.S. that no longer promotes dictatorship in Chile, but instead accepts democracy and the choices made by the Chilean voters.

Chile is a South American state in the Andes Mountains, where copper and iron ore are mined. Many of their mines were owned by U.S. interests. Back in 1965, a democratically-elected Chilean Senate voted to nationalize U.S.-owned copper mines, including Anaconda, Cerro and Kennecott. Their legislation was not carried out at first, until a man named Salvador Allende campaigned in 1970 to implement their laws. He was democratically-elected.

Behind the scenes, President Nixon’s CIA tried but failed to prevent Allende from being elected. The CIA conspired with International Telephone & Telegraph to disrupt Chilean politics. Meanwhile, Allende went ahead and nationalized copper, iron-ore and other concerns. Several UN Resolutions had made it clear that countries had right to control their own natural resources, without outside interference. Nevertheless, strikes, demonstrations and sabotage in 1972 led to a state of emergency. It was the U.S., and not the Chilean people, who engaged in a war against democracy and the freely-elected Chilean government.

Nixon’s CIA sponsored a military coup in 1973, which led to the execution of Allende. It was the U.S. that ushered in Gen. Augusto Pinochet and his brutal dictatorship. We were the ones responsible for his army and the arrests of thousands, the torture of political prisoners, and the death of many. Pinochet remained until 1990, when his collaborators gave him immunity from prosecution, so he could leave office. Pinochet, the dictator the U.S. had installed, finally died in 2006. Ironically, that same year Chile freely elected a Socialist woman as their president.

The point is Chile did not change; their voters have always wanted democracy. What changed is America. It is the U.S. that moved out of the dark days of the Nixon era, when dictatorships were supported, and into the light of the Obama presidency, where we are now promoting democracy.