There are two dynamics at work in political lives: the individual, and the group. The individual dynamic can be easy to overlook in terms of how history tends to affect popular culture, in favor of the cooperative effort, and that effort's result, be it good or bad. This is why scandal intrigues us like it does. Do you understand what I mean? If not, here is an illustration: most people do not comprehend the differences between Hitler's genocide of Jewish people, and other so-called "sub-humans", and the Spanish Inquisition. They are both identified by the term holocaust. But their realities are starkly contrasting. From 1929-1945, a period of roughly fifteen years, the government of Germany executed as many as ten million non-combatants, six million of which, (according to the popularized figures) were Jewish.
In 1478, the Spaniards began expatriating Jews and Muslims. Those whom refused to leave were tried. Five thousand people died during those trials. Less than 200 were burned at the stake for witchcraft.
This is not at all what hard-line atheists, etc wish us to believe. Especially considering that the Inquisition didn't officially end until 1965, but it ran for four hundred years uninterrupted, and this is the point: often, what we are taught, as well as that which we infer, or take to be knowledge from media like tv, or Facebook, is actually not up to any sort of standard.
But the bigger point is that when considered, Hitler, himself, as an individual, did not invent the genocide which is very often attributed to him. But a group dynamic of all his disciples, plus his hatred for these people, all combined to make horrible things happen.
Scandals are merely bits of the types of snafus in which both the group and individual dynamics, as well as the personalities driving them, can be very emotionally provocative. As with most things, the US has had her fair share of scandals. And they have taken forms ranging from baseless accusations that caused irreparable harm, all the way to the mother of all scandals that cost the Thirty Eighth President of the United States his political life, and would be immortalized as his legacy, in the suffix "gate" forever being attached to each scandal in the United States which followed his, and gives no hint of going out of style.
Scandals are, at their essence, the exploitation of unwritten pathways to power that exist in spite of every attempt of the Framers of the US Constitution to foresee, and prevent these issues. They are crimes that either are not yet illegal, or not technically illegal, but the politician acting to conceal the crimes of American Scandal is very often committing the crimes which will later ruin his political life.
But from each scandal we grow, we evolve, we learn, and we move forward. Or...at least some of us do...
One of the earlier US scandals began an evolution of the office of the vice presidency, which became finalized in the current way one might be chosen: he is the running mate of the candidate for the presidency. But he didn't start out that way.
During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, and between 1829-1831, a scandal would rock his presidency which took the form of allegations that were made by members of his own cabinet. The allegations, later proven baseless, held that Jackson's Secretary of State, John Eaton, was married to a woman, whom besides being of bad repute, was married once before, and the marriage had never ended. Therefore, Jackson was entertaining the Department of State to be entrusted to a cuck, and to his wife, whom was a criminal bigamist.
Sound familiar? Well....that's politics.
One thing that the Petticoat Scandal helped to improve and forever change is the way a president and vice president relate to one another in terms of political parties. For this takes place during a time in history when the twelfth amendment, which ceased placing the runner-up in an election into office as vice president, was supposed to prevent this kind of in-fighting. Until 1809, as per the Constitution, the loser of an election became vice-president.
Although the need for change presented itself, and would not be resolved until sometime in the 1860's, the first elections of the United States had the unweildy effect of making the Vice Presidency a sort of preventative force. The kind of deadlock that was created pitted one political ideology against another. For instance, a Republican, whom had won the presidency, was forced to work so closely with, and potentially to be foiled by, a vice president, whom would be a Democrat, because he would have lost the bid for president.
The framers of the Constitution saw this as a check against the projection of too much presidential power. The Congress addressed this issue by placing the candidate for VP on his own ballot, believing if the public wanted the president and vice president to have the same party affiliations, then the public had spoken.
But, as exemplified by the Petticoat Scandal, when the two are at odds, this is a threat to vital functions of the presidency. Under the new system that allowed voters to choose the vice president in a seperate contest, John C Calhoun ran intentionally as a foil to Jackson, though both were Democrats. And, the allegations made in the Petticoat Scandal were really nothing more than his personal ambition.
Later, in 1860, the creation of a running mate to the presidential ballot made the vice presidency the choice of the would be president.
By no means was the Petticoat Scandal the first scandal in the country. There are scandals wherever people are. The trick is identifying the dynamic which is at work, and engaging logic in order to detect whether or not we are being lied to. The logic that holds through all of the turns and unites the events must hold some factual basis. But the logic requiring a lot of invention must also hold none.
In the two most recent scandals, Russiahacked, and Pizzagate, we have several means by which we can determine both the likelihoods of their being real or not, as well as what effects they should have.
For Pizzagate, we are given information from an implicitly reliable source, which is WikiLeaks. And, the information given alleges that certain high-ranking political luminaries engage in pedophilia. And, that it is being covered up on a scale which is extraordinary.
We see the elements of truth here: the individual dynamic drives these people towards this despicable vice, but we also see group dynamics, such as the media and popular culture trying to erase it from existence. This is how the powerful interact with the public when they are caught: either via official, or unofficial means, they attempt to use their influence to attack those whom investigate them, or those looking into the charges, or the powerful simply try to erase the matter from being discussed. This is the political equivalent to bells and whistles that the scandal should convene an investigation.
Even mentioning the word Pizzagate has caused journalists to lose their jobs, as the Democrat Party machinery and private sectors converge on several publications, and these publications have not been successful in quelling the scandal.
In the Russiahacked scandal, we have objectified the character of Donald Trump as that of someone whom is unpredictable, this is his individual dynamic.
The conspiracy alleges that he, and several Russians fixed the 2016 election. Ok. How? Who? Silence....
There is too slim of a group dynamic, even if we include the dissenting Bush Republicans, to have either electronically rigged ballot counts, or to have replaced the voting public with clones, and then, somehow, put them back after Nov 20.
It is historically applicable that Pizzagate is real, we have an example in our closest political ancestor, Great Britain. Between the years of 1962-2014, a pedo-ring dominated the free time of the powerful, rich, and media stars, exactly like pizzagate. It operated in front of the public with malicious indignation, just like Pizzagate.
Unfortunately for the Clintons, their ill-concieved counter allegation of Russiahacked isn't running out of steam: it never actually had any. But as I write I realize that it appears that I have chosen sides....can you comment, and explain, in detail, how Russia did this? No foil hat stuff, either. I want to know how the unique and closed circuit electoral systems in as many voting precincts which criss cross the nation, a number which nobody actually knows, had their data corrupted in a fashion which also has a historic example?
Yeah. I thought so.
Other scandals that have affected the way we live, the way we view politics, as well as the way we determine the sentence of those guilty parties whose hands were caught in the proverbial cookie jars, are pretty much status quo in politics. For instance, during FDR's 1937 attempt to overhaul the Supreme Court, also known by its more enigmatic name, the Court Packing Scandal, FDR introduced contraversial legislation to Congress which proposed to add six more justices to the Supreme Court.
|A cartoon depicting the Court Packing Scandal.|
His critics, already in a state of catatonia resulting from his many pieces of legislation which increased government spending to a point unprecedented in American life, began to include members of his own party. The gyst of the allegations culminated with some bipartisan accord that FDR planned to pack the court with judges who would promise to rule in his favor, which, if true, would basically empower the presidency with two-thirds of the power in Washington. And the resulting exchanges of insults in the press were enough for him to abandon the effort whole-heartedly, declaring that he had no such designs on the government. But the scandal did nothing to stop the path he made out of the Great Depression, which was his abiding principle.
This is a fine example of how an individual dynamic contends with both having caused, and having taken responsibility for, the effects of scandal. But it would be the next to the last in US history.
When JFK acknowledged before the American people that his administration was accountable for the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba, in 1962, this is the last time a US president has publicly admitted his role in how scandal formed, and, or why scandal was not prevented.
Scandals that villify a group of people, yet never involve proof, are the types of scandals which are best ignored. Russiahacked villifying Russians is an example of Cold War thinking, and this makes it easy to determine who has invented the conspiracy theory that accompanies this scandal, as there is almost always one of those...
Perhaps the greatest forerunning epitome of American Scandal occured during the Harding administration, (1921-23). The scandal villified certain bankers, company owners, and interior department personel as being engaged in an unprecedented act of corruption: selling government property to oil companies, then, stealing the money.
|Albert Fall, whom lived up to his aptly titled surname when he was convicted in the Teapot Dome scandal.|
The implication was that this violated federal laws, as well as presented an unfair advantage to whichever company paid the highest bribe. Harding's Secretary of Interior, Albert Fall was eventually the person, and the face, of what was then considered to be the worst corruption and bribery scandal in US history. The scandal recieved its name from a town in Wyoming where the first shady sales of government property took place, Teapot Dome, Wyoming.
The results of this scandal were the very public trials of its principles, and that even the president's friends would be held to an equal dispensation of justice when they violate the laws of the nation which they were sworn to protect.
During the late eighties, a series of scandals involving seemingly unrelated people and events rocked the Reagan Administration, when it came to light that the administration had engaged in election fraud via Bush's connections in the CIA during the 1980 campaign. But that was just one facet of the scandal which would come to be known by the name Iran Contra Gate. The scandal alleges that members of Reagan's White House armed a known enemy in exchange for favors, as well as to raise currency for an illegal series of wars that were being operated by the US covertly in Latin America.
The so-called Iran Contra Gate, which proved the election fraud, as well as the unlawful involvement in Latin American wars, boiled down to the unlikely common thread of Marine Lt Col Oliver North. His and his secretary's document purge was too tell tale, resulting in a stain upon the White House which threatened to topple the campaign of Reagan's Vice President, George Bush.
|Col Oliver North, convicted of perjury.|
The charges against North were that he had lied under oath when he denied that the funds gathered from illegal arms deals by the Pentagon were, indeed, being used for the efforts to resist Communist partisans in Nicaragua, in particular. The Congressional inquiry uncovered a memo in which North stated that the arms being sold to Iran were, indeed, to support the anti Communist rebels called the Contras, in their conflict against Daniel Ortega, the chief Communist belligerent in the region.
Interestingly enough, the American public didn't bear a grudge with Reagan, largely due to his percieved successes in the public's imagination, which had freed the Iran hostages, and visited very celebrated and very successful revenge against Libya each time terrorist acts were traced back to that nation.
If the public held a grudge, it came in the form of "wait and see" in terms of trusting the Vice President, George Bush, to pick up where Reagan had left off. He didn't, and this limited the Bush Administration to a single term.
During the two terms of Bill Clinton, 1992-2000, his administration was rocked by two scandals. They were known as the Monicagate Scandal, in which the president engaged in a sexual relationship with an unpaid White House intern, Monica Lewinksky, and Whitewater Gate, which took its name from a series of shady land deals in which then Gov Bill Clinton, of Arkansas, and his wife, pushed the envelope of legalities in, from all outward appearances, what became a ten figure insurance fraud scheme when the non-existent Whitewater Resort was cancelled, and an insurance payout made to investors. Both Bill and Hillary really pushed legalities, both recieved payouts: but stayed just on this side of legal. But the scandal still haunts them, both.
Though thoroughlly subjected to inquiry in both cases, the public sentiment with the Clintons became one of extreme distrust, and, indeed, when many witnesses of his marital indiscretions came forward, the denials about Lewinsky seemed at best insincere, at worst, at least in the eyes of the Republican led House of Representatives, it amounted to impeacheable offences. When DNA evidence proved that he had lied to Congress, it was this lie that subjected him to the criminal charges and Articles of Impeachment being written up. Indeed, these scandals caused Clinton to be the second president impeached in the twentieth century, and third...ever.
And now, finally, the scandal that gave Iran Contra Gate, Whitewater Gate, Monica Gate, as well as a host of others, their "Gates": The Watergate Scandal. Since a lot of my friends both foreign and American ask me about the peculiarities of this scandal, it deserves some special regard.
The Watergate scandal, as most scandals in US History up until its time, not all, but most, is so-named for a place.
The Watergate Hotel still stands in Washington. DC, as an element of enigma and confusion to people both American, and worldwide. The gyst of the scandal is that Nixon, and members of his administration, were engaged in any number of criminal activities ranging from running an illegal war against Cambodia and Laos, to campaign fraud. And it has been conclusively proven via investigations by special prosecuters that the President was either involved, or was responsible, for them all.
The facts that lead one to conclude that Nixon cheated during the 1968 presidential election also lead one to ask, inevitably, "Why?"
But he cheated in the '72 election, as well. And this is the very beginning of the corruption.
How it grew from conspiracy theory to proof still inspires envious, although ridiculously inadequate, contemporary attempts by current journalists to both copy, and to exceed the work of Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein. Their novel, "All The President's Men", became what could be best compared to venerated iconography. It remains a bestseller, and quantifies the investigation of Nixon perfectly.
During the election of 1972, the Democratic Party ran George McGovern for the presidency. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquartered itself occupying a set of suites in the Watergate Hotel complex. On the night of the 17 of June, 1972, several men were caught afterhours as they were trying to leave the DNC when their presences alerted security, whom then called the police. The connection of this group of Cuban asylum-seekers, as well as Nixon associates, to Nixon himself, was only made clear by the huge and bizzare efforts to cover up the matter, as well as one of Nixon's associates, E Howard Hunt, having left a briefcase full of his personal papers, as well as incriminating evidence, at the scene of the crime.
At the time of the break in, the Nixon White House was already weathering the storms of scandal. The Pentagon Papers, a series of "Wikileaks"-type of reports and documents which revealed that the US involvement in Vietnam had been invented by interested defense contractors, as well as agreeable presidents, and military officers, implicated both Johnson, president before Nixon, and the ill-fated Nixon.
The Pentagon Papers alleged that, among other things, Nixon was bombing Laos illegally. This resulted in a special prosecuter, Archibald Cox, being appointed to investigate Nixon when the Watergate break-in occured.
This scandal changed the United States, as well as the office of the presidency, and the nation. Watergate remains the measuring stick by which all future scandals in America are and will forever be judged. What we can take away from all these scandals are a few things that continue to aid us in identifying the veracity of any given scandal.
- In American Scandal, where there is smoke, there is fire. The frequency of allegations against Nixon, for instance, were made worse by his constant attempts to shift the blame, and counter-attack his investigators. The manner in which the break in was discovered, and that it had conincided with previous blankets of denials from the White House, all seem to be a pretty good indication of smoke. In Russiahacked, there is the attempt to decieve the public, but it seems to be coming from the accusing voices in Russiahacked, and this is the perfect place to apply that proverb...where there is smoke....
- Innocent people do not ask for your support. When FDR was caught, if one can call it that, trying to pack the Supreme Court with judges at his bidding call, he didn't spend millions trying to lead a campaign in the media which attempted a functional reversal of misfortunes against his critics. When Kennedy took responsibility for the Bay of Pigs, there were no fingers by either of these men against anyone using the media to simultaneously excuse and sympathize with that which is inexcusable. They bravely took responsibility for the blunders. And they moved on. American Scandal destroys whiners, regardless of the fact that they may be innocent. But that is because innocent people do not need false sentimentalities of your approval.
- Eventually, they all get caught. As in Iran Contra Gate, or Monicagate, there may not be enough time nor public desire to prosecute those involved, but they will pay for it in infamy, future failures, and the failures of any family members to attain public office. There are no exceptions to that rule.
- It is the coverup that always gets them. The Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton scandals, like all scandals involving broken laws and real substance, the effort to cover up is also one of the criminal acts that they go down for doing. In fact, the damage to all would've been far less had the lies not snowballed into a portrait of desperation that divided them from the admiration of the American public. But, we can therefore deduce that the shutdown of Pizzagate reporters, for instance, is a pretty good indicator that the charges that implicate both Clintons, as well as many others, at least in the testimony of American Scandal, are very real charges.