Richard Nixon’s Other Legacy

Richard Nixon departed the White House in ignominy after resigning the presidency on August 9, 1974. The Watergate scandal had finally done him in. (Even today, a political scandal is labeled “-gate.)

Since Nixon’s leaving, the Electoral College has given the U.S. several Republican presidents. With an exception or maybe two, each was lazier and oversaw an administration more corrupt than his predecessor.

But I digress.

President Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on New Year’s Day, 1970.

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40 Acres and a Mule

Blacks don’t want enough to be successful. So said boy wonder Jared Kushner, who, as we know, worked hard for all his success.

Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand announced they will introduce the Justice for Black Farmers Act. The proposed legislation will address the precipitous drop in land ownership by African-American farmers.

Is this another attempt at reparations for some unfairness a hundred-and-fifty years ago? Why should there be giveaways to people who were not directly harmed? The short answer is no, because much of white wealth is the result of giveaways to their ancestors, while non-whites were excluded from access.

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First Amendment—What First Amendment?

Although in the Senate hearings Amy Coney Barrett has shown herself to be a little hazy on the First Amendment, she taught constitutional law from 2011 to 2016 at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a summer training program for Christian law-school students. Blackstone Legal Fellowship was established by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing “Christian” advocacy group, for the purpose of inculcating a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law.” The ADF’s stated goal is the defense of “religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom advocates and litigates their version “religious freedom” for their version of “Christians.” Other religious groups, not so much. In fact, ADF views it as a zero-sum proposition: their religious freedom generally means restricting other religions’ freedom.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and other conservative evangelicals established the Alliance Defending Freedom in 1993 to generate opposition to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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The Neverending Inauguration Story

Take a break from the 2020 campaign and reminisce about previous presidential transitions. Bill Clinton in 1997 and George W. Bush in 2001 limited contributions to their presidential inauguration festivities to $100,000 from any one donor. Bush upped the limit to $250,000 in 2005. Barack Obama did not accept contributions from corporations, labor unions, PACs (political action committees) or lobbyists for his 2009 inauguration celebration. Individual gifts were capped at $50,000. Still, he set the record with a $53 million haul.

The current occupant of the White House had no such limits. Thirty donors contributed $1,000,000 or more to the total of $107 million. What’s still in question is where all that money went.

Surprise! A lot of it went into the Trump Organization.

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Annals of Bi-Partisanship

What started out as a child-molestation case ended with the Supreme Court ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma belongs to the people who there first: Native Americans.

The convicted child molester brought suit contending that because he was a member of the Creek Nation and the offense occurred on reservation land, the state of Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction. The state countered that because the treaties going back to the 1830s had been ignored in practice all along, and officially ignored since Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the reservation had no authority on its own land. The Supreme Court said otherwise.

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