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Executive Privilege

I’m back at Owl Farm. Yesterday, on the way to the airport, I looked at my itinerary that said “US Air” for my 1:36pm flight to NY. I made it just in time… to the WRONG CONCORSE, where I learned that US Air uses United planes to fly to Laguardia (something they didn’t teach me at Columbia). So, I RAN to the B concorse with my rolling carry on wheels zooming, but missed the UNITED flight by 4 minutes.  That lack of knowledge left me on failed standby for the next 8 hours.  I ended up driving home in a rented "subaru outback" from Denver last night and will try it all again on Wed.  So, unfortunately, I’m missing all my Tuesday classes. One huge bummer is that professor Rosalind Rosenberg is lecturing on Watergate today! And I’m missing it! Damn.

I turned to Better Than Sex  for wisdom on Watergate and Nixon. Also, you may already know that within the pages of Shark Hunt is actually an entire book on Watergate, if you want to brush up on American history tragedies (and victories). 

Before I forget… I need to ask you for help. Does anyone have any film of a pilgrimage to Woody Creek? I’ve seen people with video cameras at the Tavern.  If you have anything, please email me email@owlfarmblog.com and let me know ASAP.  Thanks.

Anyway, it’s serendipitous that my professor is lecturing on Watergate today, while the current president is waiving his “executive privilege” around to Congress who is asking to investigate the purging of 9 federal prosecutors (because they were refusing to press bogus charges against Democrats and/or other tactics to help Republicans win elections). Bush is saying that if his staff testifies, then it will inhibit them from giving him candid advice in the future. And he is trying to invoke “executive privilege” just as Nixon did. The Watergate tapes were recordings of a president’s private discussions with top advisers, the essence of confidential presidential communications. Mr. Bush, by contrast, is trying to shield communications that occurred among members of his staff.

 As the New York Times editorial said today: In the End, the public may be the harshest judge of all. Executive privilege claims now occur, as one law review article put it, “in Nixon’s shadow.” Fairly or unfairly, Nixon, who resigned in disgrace shortly after the Supreme Court ruled, gave executive privilege a bad name, which it keeps to this day. If Mr. Bush battles Congress in court, he will be fighting not only legal precedents, but the nation’s collective memory about the last president to take this stand.

Nixon’s spirit will be with us for the rest of our lives — whether you’re me or Bill Clinton or you or Kurt Cobain or Bishop Tutu or Keith Richards or Amy Fisher or Boris Yeltsin’s daughter or your fiancee’s 16-year-old beer-drunk brother with his braided goatee and his whole life like a thundercloud out in front of him. This is not a generational thing. You don’t even have to know who Richard Nixon was to be a victim of his ugly, Nazi spirit.

He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.

– Hunter S. Thompson Better Than Sex "He Was a Crook"


Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson

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