Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Most Scandalous...
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Most Scandalous Presidents

George Foster - March 29th, 2007
It seems like political corruption increases with each new presidential administration. Or could it be that noise from opponents is more deafening each term?
Lately, political junkies have been in heaven. It seems like a new political scandal breaks out almost every hour. Over the last couple of weeks, we have been treated to the following disclosures: Vice-Presidential aide Scooter Libby’s perjury conviction, the Walter Reed Hospital deficiencies in care for wounded soldiers, accusations of U.S. government funds being funneled to Sunni groups with terrorist ties, millions of Iraqis leaving war-torn Iraq for Syria and Jordan (our administration doesn’t acknowledge a refugee problem), the callous treatment of Iraqis who have put their lives on the line by working with the U.S. Government, word from some soldiers that the U.S. military is sending injured troops back to Iraq, Halliburton moving its headquarters to Dubai, the mid-term firing of U.S. attorneys for political reasons, and... whew, that’s enough for now.
Before getting too carried away, the scandals must be put in perspective. The following are the most corrupt presidencies to-date (in reverse order):
(10) John Adams. Just before leaving office, Adams created dozens of new judgeships by appointing judges loyal to his party. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
(9) Bill Clinton. Travel-gate, Haircut-gate, Lincoln bedroom, Whitewater and even Monica Lewinsky hardly seem worthy of scandal status compared to the recent scandals. Yet, Slick Willie still deserves a place on this list due to the continual claims of improprieties raised during his two terms.
(8) Andrew Johnson. Beside Clinton, the only other president impeached was Johnson. Acquitted by a single vote in the Senate, the real scandal was the Republicans who tried to punish the president for his lack of vindictiveness against the South.
(7) Thomas Jefferson. In the election of 1804, Jefferson’s opponents attempted to smear his name by accusing him of a love affair with a slave named Sally Hemmings. Jefferson dismissed his opponents’ tirades and won the election easily. Two hundred years later, DNA testing proved some of Hemmings’ descendents are, in fact, related to Jefferson.
(6) John F. Kennedy. Speaking of affairs, Kennedy earned a spot due to his incredible ability to rotate women in and out of the Lincoln bedroom without public suspicion until recent revelations.
(5) Warren G. Harding. Shortly after Harding moved into the White House, millions were stolen from the V.A. hospitals. His attorney general was soon implicated in fraud. In the famous Teapot Dome Scandal, Harding’s Interior Secretary received kickbacks for drilling on Federal lands. Most impressive of all, Harding reached this notorious position on the list despite serving only about two-and-a-half years as president.
(4) George W. Bush. As with Clinton, sheer quantity of scandals gives him a prominent place on this list. If it is eventually proved that lies launched the invasion of Iraq or that top Bush officials are responsible for illegal torture practices that have scarred the U.S. image abroad for generations, then this administration will easily leap-frog to number one on the list.
(3) Ulysses S. Grant. Maybe the greatest of U.S. military generals, Grant was one of our worst presidents. Financial kickbacks to Federal officials were commonplace. The Whiskey Ring Scandal siphoned off millions in taxes for Grant’s personal secretary. The Robber-Barons earned huge fortunes with openly corrupt business practices. Grant himself wasn’t greedy. His problem was gross incompetence.
(2) Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s administration allowed mid-level officials to launch major foreign policy initiatives and set up a secret army without any Congressional over-site. By allowing “arms for hostages” deals, the Teflon President placed the lives of Americans abroad in greater danger. The Iran-Contra Scandal rightfully resulted in convictions for several Reagan officials, but most were overturned by legal technicalities or presidential pardons.
(1) Richard Nixon. Only one self-evident word needs be uttered to describe the king of political scandals: Watergate. The break-in of the Democratic headquarters itself was a relatively minor case. The administration cover-up and other crimes found during the Watergate investigation led to jail terms for many administration officials. Nixon, of course, resigned in disgrace.


 
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