Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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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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