Archive for the ‘RICHARD NIXON’ Tag




I’m not sure what else anyone could expect, Mr. Crook.

The cast of characters on the national political scene, especially those on the right, makes mighty poor material out of which to shape a civil political life.

Winning is everything, sophomoric arguments are common, and insults are basic building blocks of American politics, not to mention election fraud.

This political phenomenon is not new to America.

Perhaps many abroad have no real feeling for the history of America’s national politics.

Abraham Lincoln, now the nation’s most beloved president, was commonly called an “obscene ape” during his campaigning. Grotesque cartoons and vicious commentary played regularly on the theme.

There was an undercurrent in all that hatred of Lincoln’s having been believed to be an abolitionist. He most decidedly was not, but that mere fact didn’t stop the hate and excess of opponents just as facts do not stop the hate and excess of today.

Hatred was so intense, Lincoln went to Washington for his inauguration hiding his identity.

Andrew Jackson, as near a mad president as ever there was, fought duels, horse-whipped one politician, and threatened anyone who said anything he regarded as an insult.

Thomas Jefferson had a full-time paid hack to dig up dirt on his opponents, including the man he worked for as Secretary of State, George Washington. When the hack didn’t feel fairly treated by Jefferson, he sold his services to others, disseminating such dark facts he had discovered as Jefferson’s liaison with a teen-age slave girl, Sally Hemmings.

Look at the way the opposition treated Senator McGovern’s running mate, Senator Eggleton, a thoroughly decent man who had experienced some depression. Look at the way nasty graffiti artists treated Senator Muskie during his campaign, reducing him to public tears. Look at the words of Tom Delay – now a convicted felon – about Bill Clinton’s big trip to Africa, words dripping with hate and racism.

There are countless examples of this political insanity in America just during my lifetime. There was the idiot Republican Senator who accused the Clinton administration of running a concentration camp after the poor Cuban boy, Elian, was taken from his kidnappers and sent to a quiet place of refuge following months of being held to ransom and hearing his loving father regularly insulted by shouting voices.

And this stuff is not without real consequences, sometimes far greater than the recent shooting in Arizona. Richard Nixon made a career early on of defaming his opponents – his early election to Congress featured insults and lies toward the woman against whom he ran. Nixon accused her of being “pink down to her underwear.” His reputation as a gutter fighter was so established that President Johnson, in sending the beginnings of an army to Vietnam, was known to be motivated by political fear of being castigated for “losing Vietnam” the way “China was lost.”

The late Governor George Wallace and serious presidential candidate had a famous quote justifying his extreme actions towards desegregation: he famously said he would never be “outniggered” again after losing in an early political fight owing to his then moderation.

America is simply too young a society to have developed genuinely civilized political customs, and there is a raw quality to it that almost encourages the kind of behavior of a Sarah Palin having a cross-hair sight over a politician’s face on her web site.

The effects of this rawness are reinforced by America’s wealth because wealth enables people to publish and disseminate filth and stupidity in vast quantities. They are also reinforced by the totally dominant ethos of, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

I see little hope for any change, except after the passage of a century or so.

America’s now-certain relative decline in the world should help a bit along the way: nothing is unhealthier for manic behavior than quasi-religious faith in being number one.










It seems to me that Andrew Marr misses many of the juicy bits about Kennedy.

This is pretty tepid stuff, and none of it is news to people who lived in America at that time.

The treatment of Hubert Humphrey, one of the more honorable men to run for president in the 20th century, was very shabby.

But the Kennedys were ruthless people, all of them. They were the kind of people who would send a quick elbow into the face of an opponent in a race of any kind.

Britain knew what a truly nasty, prejudiced, and ruthless man the father was from the time he served as American ambassador. He left an outstandingly unfavorable impression.

The old man wasn’t just said to be a rum-runner during prohibition, that’s in fact how he made his fortune, and he maintained mob connections afterward.

The connections of the old man with the mob gave Jack a huge secret campaign contribution. There was a suitcase delivered with a $1 million cash gift, a very great deal of money in 1960.

Indeed, it has been reported many times that mob donors were extremely disappointed in Kennedy as President, accusing him of ingratitude.

The connections continued with Jack himself who was a friend of “the rat pack” in Vegas. One of Jack’s girlfriends, Judith Exner, was a former (?) girlfriend of Chicago mafia boss, Sam Giancana.

Perhaps the dirtiest Kennedy business was election fraud. Jack was elected by a very close vote, and it was fraud in Chicago that gave him Illinois plus fraud in Texas, courtesy of good old Lyndon, that tipped the total in his favor.

The election practices in Chicago were legendary when I was a young man. Vote counters who kept pencil lead under a fingernail to spoil paper ballots, local politicos who accompanied voters into the supposedly secret voting machines of the time, and the wholesale registration of names from local cemeteries as valid Democratic voters.

Lyndon Johnson’s career in politics in Texas is documented as having begun with local machine vote fraud with his first election to Congress. He made sure Kennedy got the same favorable treatment. His exclusion from any important roles in the administration was made all the more painful for knowing how he helped Kennedy get elected.

Mr Marr thinks Nixon might have made a good president if elected at a younger age, but there is little basis for that belief.

Nixon had a long and hateful record as a red-baiter. His first run for the Senate in California, while not involving vote fraud, very much involved the lowest of low tactics. He called the honorable woman, Helena Gahagan Douglas, who was his opponent, “pink right down to her underwear” among other charming epithets. Nixon’s work on the Alger Hiss case (a convicted spy) almost certainly involved fraudulent evidence from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Hoover was always a friend and admirer of Nixon’s, Hoover being one of the most unsavory characters ever to hold power in America.

Kennedy’s entire presidency was riddled with ambiguities and dark doings, despite his heroic appearance.

On the Cuban Missile Crisis, often cited as Kennedy’s best moment, there is a complex background which makes his role far less admirable and indeed helps make Kennedy responsible for its ever happening.

Kennedy was a martinet about military matters, and he dedicated his administration to getting rid of Castro. It was under Kennedy that many plans and attempts to murder Castro were made, reportedly his brother being the main report-to for the dirty work.

Yes, Kennedy was angry with the CIA for its failure at the Bay of Pigs invasion, but only because the failure embarrassed him, not because he didn’t wholeheartedly support the goal.

It was under Kennedy that the mafia was involved with the CIA in its efforts to kill Castro. At least two big mafia figures were involved in these efforts, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli. After Kennedy’s assassination, when it was reported that these men might be telling what they knew to Congressional investigators, they were both murdered in classic mafia style.

Kennedy kept a set of terrorist camps going and growing, run by the CIA and using Cuban émigrés, in places like Florida that make the efforts of Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan look like Boy Scout stuff.

Millions of dollars were poured into training, equipment, and supplies and plans for dirty tricks. Some of the members of these vast terror groups shot up Soviet ships from boats, planted bombs in places like hotels, buzzed Cuban locations with planes, and even attacked those in the United States who did not support them.

American spy planes regularly flew over Cuba, and surreptitious missions were taken by submarine, landing cutthroats to do dirty work. And, of course, the U.S. refused to return Guantanamo to the Cubans from whom it was on lease, the lease having expired.

It truly did appear from both Castro’s and Russia’s point of view that America was preparing to invade Cuba.

Kruschev fixed upon the movement of missiles to Cuba to protect Castro. It still is not completely clear whether he planned to use them as bargaining chips or only as a defensive threat. In the end, the Missile Crisis was settled by an American commitment not to invade Cuba, plus some other matters as removing Jupiter missiles from Turkey.

It may be argued that Kennedy’s response to events in Cuba brought us closer to nuclear war than is generally known. The Russians had armed with nuclear warheads a number of the short-range missiles, as protection while the rest were assembled. The idiots in the Pentagon were ready to land an assault force immediately, and it is likely that they would have been met with tactical nuclear weapons on the beach which were in the battlefield commander’s control. Kennedy did not oppose the Pentagon, he only wanted to try another approach first. That was his merit.

More than a few people think that Kennedy’s settlement was the beginning of assassination plans by whatever group did in fact assassinate him. Kennedy had so many bitter enemies – the mafia, elements of the CIA, the ferocious and armed Cuban émigré community, plus others, including Israel for his intense secret opposition to its becoming a nuclear power – and no one who has studied events of that time carefully believes that poor old Oswald was anything but a patsy in some plot he did not even understand.

The modern history of America has a good deal in common with that of the Borgias in Italy. What we get on television and in newspapers and in most books is highly sanitized.



Oh, please, Mr Rachman, “too soft” on China?

That’s pure Richard Nixon circa his first run for office in California, a contest he won by suggesting a fine congresswoman was soft-on.

He along with intellectual and ethical giants like J Edgar Hoover built entire careers on this kind of nastiness.

Let China be China. It is the most remarkable phenomenon of our lifetimes, a miracle perhaps short only of the Internet. China will become a democratic state, with democratic values, just as all Western nations became democratic states. The huge growth of the middle class assures that.

You really have no choice anyway, it is too big and important, although many Americans with a tendency to want to control others still think they can say some words and change a fifth of the planet. Delusional.

And I remind you that the Google business is rather trivial stuff compared with matters like invading a nation and killing a million people.

The United States is almost laughable in the words it uses to defend companies like Google, just as when it makes its ridiculous annual pronouncements about the human rights and democratic behaviors in the world’s other countries, as though it were somehow entitled to pass judgment, which, given its record over the last half century abroad, it most certainly is not.

Google needs to be Google too – leave China if you don’t like it. Don’t go whining back to mommy at the State Department about the bad boys in the school yard.

In a hundred places in this world, the United States stands for abuse and its own privileges, not rights or decency or democracy. Guantanamo continues. Diego Garcia continues. Bagram in Afganistan continues. Every week Hellfire missiles kill innocent people in Pakistan, and in Afghanistan for that matter. Now, in Yemen too. Oh the list is too long to place here.