Is it fair to start with Checkers?
In 1952, a young Senator from California named Richard Nixon was tapped to become the running mate of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Muckraking columnist Jack Anderson and investigative journalist Drew Pearson wrote an article about money that Nixon might have taken from corporate interests during his tenure thus far in government, where he had served in the Congress since 1947.
In response to this claim, Nixon crafted and delivered his famous “Checkers speech,” in which he decried his opponents and stated that no matter what anyone said, he would not return his daughters’ dog, Checkers, which had been given to them as a gift. In Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture, professional correspondent Mark Feldstein gives a useful analysis of how that went over with the people.
“That resonated emotionally with the public, and a huge base — particularly of hard-core Republican conservatives — swelled to his defense and pressured Eisenhower to keep Nixon on the ticket,” Feldstein explains. “Meanwhile, liberal Democrats were nauseated by it and thought it was a maudlin speech. And the polarization that Nixon’s career would have ever after was indelibly marked.”
Thus did Richard Nixon embark upon his road to the White House. Many books have been written as to how he spent his time there, and it is not our purpose to touch on it deeply. Our interest rather lies in what effect it had on our system, to have weathered an assault on its every parameter. The Nixon administration treated America like an old Commodore 64.
Nixon’s failings were tempered and intertwined with great political gifts and considerable vision. His judgement was uneven and delusional, but he had a keen and nimble mind. In penetrating to the core of our system, he was to lay bare the groundwork of it, and expose key vulnerabilities to the light. This paved the way for a systematic undermining and devaluing of truth and objectivity.
Nixon went down in something rather less than a blaze of glory. The affair that became known as the Watergate scandal was a major political fiasco that occurred in the United States in the early 1970’s. Several Nixon operatives were caught attempting a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972.
The articles of impeachment drawn against him did not consider the break-in itself to be of primary importance in the reason why Nixon had to go. They focused rather on the tyrannical and power-hungry way he’d tried to cover it up. The first two of them read as follows.
(1) Making or causing to be made false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States.
(2) Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States
He was convinced to resign by the four-star general sent in to be his chief of staff toward the end of his tenure in office, Alexander Haig, who played the role that his fellow four-star general John Kelly is playing in the Trump White House now. As Nixon became increasingly paranoid and miserable, Haig ran the daily affairs of the White House, and was instrumental in effecting the president’s resignation. It can only be hoped that Kelly will have similar luck.
The legacy of the deleterious effects of the Nixon era on our democracy cannot be overstated. He had his fingerprints all over the most fundamentally anti-democratic projects ever put together in America, such as the Enemies List. This was the roster of famous liberals targeted by Nixon for IRS audits and other forms of extralegal retaliation. His smear campaigns against his likely 1972 opponent, Senator Edward Kennedy, were reminiscent in many key regards to the fake news attacks on our people last year.
The elimination of the American people’s ability to think critically has had many an epoch. It is certain that a large one took place under Nixon, who in one famous speech toward the end, insisted to America that he was “not a crook.” That statement proved sadly untrue. Nixon was a crook, and his crookedness has reverberated clearly into our own times.
By now it should be getting pretty clear. This new GOP, the one that came to power after the death of John F. Kennedy, was not at all the same entity we’ve been looking at up until now. In the days of Eisenhower, much less in the days of Theodore Roosevelt, this kind of conduct would have been unthinkable. Even Warren Harding, corrupt as a Chinese eunuch, was a far more genial type of criminal. Nixon’s era was vicious.
That ferocity came directly from the fascist element that absorbed into America and Europe after World War Two. It values nothing, except the will to power. It values power as both the ends and the means. Ideology is unimportant to it, but is often employed as its tool.
G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars who went to prison for it, wrote an autobiography and named it WILL. It sings the praises of Hitler and the Nazis on every page. He presents an anecdote inside as to how he silenced an entire D.C. county jail pod, by standing around naked and singing the Horst Wessel song.
This is why they’re getting together with Russia. It’s the same group of guys. The Russia of the modern era is fascist in every regard. Like other fascists, they are intent on controlling the resources of the world. They have picked up and adapted these ratf*cking strategies, included them in their disinformation programs, and used them to destabilize us last year in the very same way the CIA once used to destabilize Third World countries like Haiti and Nicaragua. We have been systematically prepared for this, like Hansel and Gretel, by the dirty work done by Richard Nixon and others.
The Nixon era is also when the Republicans most directly involved in the 2016 Russian election hacking fiasco started crafting their modern mask in earnest. Guys like Roger Stone, the soon-to-be-indicted Paul Manafort, and Karl Rove all got their start during this time. Their mentors were the men who ran the Nixon administration, a place overflowing with competing monsters. All of these were deeply complicit in last year’s ongoings with the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin.
Donald Segretti, the Nixon operative who coined the term “ratf*cking”, as in, “F*cking a DemocRAT”, played his role, did his prison time, and lived an unimportant life thereafter. However, Karl Rove, the GOP strategist whom George W. Bush referred to as “The Architect”, was a personal protege of his. Rove was already a deeply corrupt and ruthless person, even at nineteen.
In 1969, posing as a volunteer at the Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for state treasurer, Rove stole official campaign letterheads, and sent out 1,000 invitations to people in the city’s red-light district and soup kitchens, offering “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing” at Dixon headquarters. A bunch of crazed alcoholics showed up at this important fundraiser for Dixon.
Policies such as the War on Drugs were developed and refined during these decades. Although this war on the American people is more commonly associated with Reagan, Nixon was the first to use the phrase. It was designed as a strategy to hamstring the lives of voters who Nixon saw as reliably Democratic, according to White House tapes.
Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman said, “We had two enemies- the antiwar left, and the blacks. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs themselves? Of course we did.”
Reagan’s continuation of this so-called ‘war’ was meant to heighten racial tensions for the benefit of the Republican Party. This was a linchpin of the “Southern Strategy” conceived by Lee Atwater, whom most political observers of both parties rate as the dirtiest political strategist of the twentieth century. Voting rights, food stamps, and even madhouses were all taken away from the people. This was effective because the aforementioned white malcontents like to see other people get the shaft- at any cost. They’ve been taught to accept this as a substitute for a decent lot in life since before the Civil War.
The US 2000 presidential election was the triumph of media over mind and matter.
To an objective observer, two facts are clear: Clinton’s Vice-President Al Gore won the nationwide popular vote, and according to a recent Miami Herald analysis, he was also in all likelihood the favorite of Florida voters as well.
In a fair count, without cheating or election irregularities, and leaving aside Ralph Nader, the Miami Herald estimated Gore would have won Florida by 23,000 votes. The Bush strategy all along was to prevent a recount and run out the clock.
Jeb Bush, the brother of the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush, was also the governor of Florida. He was a key component in the plot to steal the Florida election on behalf of his brother. If not for Jeb, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would never have had the chance to cast that fateful vote on behalf of Bush.
The impropriety of that decision was obvious even to the members of the court. That is why they passed a second ruling, that the decision used in the process used to block Gore’s final recount could never be used again, as a legal precedent for any future cases.
The Bush era is when most of us millennials entered the story. Many of us remember the new heights of indecency and state-sanctioned lying reached on nearly a daily basis. The disinformation campaign that’s been used on us by the GOP since the Nixon era was taking a terrible toll by this point. The people didn’t know who to believe, and they didn’t know who to trust. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that this did a great deal to soften us up for the Russian disinformation machine.
The Republicans know that the only strength the people have is in their numbers. If they can make sure the left doesn’t work together, they can pick us off one by one. Karl Rove and the Republican Party know this very well. It has been a tactic of rulers since the days of Rome and before.
And so, both in 2000 and in 2004, the Republicans used a man named Ralph Nader, then the Green Party of the U.S.’s (G-PUS) candidate for president, to divide the left and hamstring the Democratic candidates.
We were to see those techniques again, as they were used to cheat Hillary Clinton from her rightful place in the White House. Jill Stein, the milkwater replacement of Nader in the G-PUS, and Paul Manafort were both attendees at that infamous meeting with Putin in Russia.
Al Gore was a highly principled and competent man, but he lacked the drive for victory that Bill Clinton had, and he lacked the necessary vigor to withstand the ferocity of Republican greed. Bush got into office, and spent his time there dragging his country so deeply through the mud that it still has yet to be seen whether or not we can recover.
The next four years changed everything for America.
When Bill Clinton left office, the country had a balanced budget and even a surplus. That was gone within ten months, nine of which had been very quiet. Bush hunted armadilloes, hung out at Camp David, and agreed to read My Pet Goat to some kindergartners.
Then 9/11 hit.
The strange circumstances surrounding that cataclysmic and unlikely disaster will be debated for as long as people walk this earth, and it is not our purpose to look deeply into the mysteries surrounding. We will stick to what we know for sure. Regardless of its causes, George Bush used the biggest foreign assault our nation has ever been victimized by to pass some of the most invasive and insidious legislature ever conceived.
The War on Terror has mostly come and gone, but the domestic effects of the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts will be with us until the end. A war in Afghanistan was started, which we are still fighting. And then Bush used all the nation’s rage to finish a job that his father had started, the rousting of Saddam Hussein from the apex of the power structure of Iraq. By 2003, we were at war in Iraq. By 2004 it was clear we were in big trouble. Nothing else mattered in 2004, except getting George W. Bush out of office.
However, when the election finally came around, an election so crucial that a movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 was made about the slovenly evils committed by the Republican candidate Bush, an unbelievable amount of different things went wrong. Half of the six million people living abroad, for example, got their ballots too late to vote. Malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.
All in all, nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment – roughly one for every 100 cast. But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent. Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote at the time, “After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004.”
In 2008, the anti- Clinton machines to the right and the left geared back up for another battle. A lot of the same old smears were employed by the Obama campaign, as well as the new tactic of associating her with big business and Wall St. Hillary Clinton called at the time for higher regulations on Wall St. Their decision to side against her cost her the presidency.
As 2009 began, the same juggernaut of lies was employed consistently during her tenure as Secretary of State, most notably in the drumming up of unimportant nonsense like Benghazi and email servers. None of it did them much good with Obama in office. Romney was a joke in 2012. Obama’s reign, hateful as it was to the racist fascist network, was secure.
During the eight years of his tenure, the GOP was to reach heights of total desperation. Outlets like Breitbart and Fox News were a help, but on their own they would never have been enough. It’s only once you factor in RT and Sputnik and the Russians that you can see they had a chance, and this is what led to the devil’s bargain in 2016 that Robert Mueller is now closing in on.
The decent and moderate conservatives of the old school, who meant the word in the sense of conservation, who once played such a key role in the enactment of civil rights and environmental legislation, have gone the way of the dinosaur.
Rich and poor alike, the Republican Party of today, as in the 1920’s, is overwhelmingly reactionary. They are strongly opposed to doing business with their Democratic counterparts, and will hamstring them any way they can.
Republicans know perfectly well that when people vote for them, they are voting against their own interests. The day people realize that is the day the GOP stops winning elections. So they have developed an entire playbook of dirty tricks, with which to demoralize the Democratic base and suppress the vote as much as possible. Every time you hear someone say that they don’t vote, because their vote doesn’t matter, you have heard an example of their strategy working.
Republicans have fewer adherents every year, but they have two major factors on their side; a fanatical base willing to carry out the dirty tricks, and the greediest billionaires to finance them. They deceive good people by appealing to their worst instincts. raising the red flag of abortion and gay marriage to divert attention away from their arrogant and greedy policies which cause the poverty, war and pollution we are facing today.
2016 proved once and for all that there is no trick too dirty and nothing too low for the Republicans, who went so far as to collude with Russia, our biggest global rival, rather than see another Democrat in the White House.
In 2016, extremists on both ends of the political spectrum did a great deal to spread around the notion of a moral equivalency between the two parties. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because the President doesn’t really run the country anyway. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because all politicians are corrupt, They say the system is broken, that it can’t be fixed, and that the right thing to do is just stand back aloof from the whole mess until it collapses under its own weight.
Those ideas are paid for by the Republicans, who are only too happy to keep right along tightly controlling the “broken” system. Votes matter tremendously. They’re the only power we have. That’s why the Koch network and others spend so much money every year to keep us from being able to use them.
The new development is for the GOP to link hands with its ideological allies in Russia, who have developed the same sorts of ideas to their most logical conclusions. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is now an exile in London for the crime of having run against Putin in a supposedly democratic election, summed it up best by saying that comparing America’s approach to the management of its global affairs against modern-day Russia’s is like comparing the work a surgeon does to Jack the Ripper. Both of them cut people open, but that is where the similarity ends. Certainly that was true during Obama’s reign, but the future of everything has been thrown into uncertainty by the hacking of our election and the coming to power of Donald Trump.
Democrats have found ourselves beset on many sides, with no control in any branch of government and facing the most terrible international and domestic threats through the disastrous medium of Trump. Knowing the extent of our domestic paralysis, and encouraged by the failure of the West to respond when they annexed the Crimea from Ukraine, it is all too likely the Russians may attempt another seizure of formerly Soviet-dominated areas, daring the West to respond once again.
Last month, they moved tens of thousands of troops, plus accompanying artillery and air support, unsettlingly close to Baltic borders, in what they have labeled “strategic war exercises”, and given the name of the Zapad War Games. In the same week, it came out that over one hundred United States power stations are infected with the very same Stuxnet virus used to turn the power off in Ukraine in 2014, just before Crimea was taken.
In the meantime, the Syrian Civil War is winding down. Assad and the Russians won, while the rebels we were supporting were left to their fate. North Korea is firing rockets over Japan, and instead of entering talks with them Trump is exchanging schoolyard insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on the floor of the United Nations. The rest of the world is watching. It’s become painfully clear that things with the Party of Trump have gone terribly awry.
Going forward, we have got to find a way to reveal and highlight the fundamental fact of this whole series. A tremendous amount of social illness in this country is directly attributable to an imported and organized fascist network that has infiltrated and radicalized the Republican Party.
The long road to tyranny is a slippery slope, and one without organized mile markers. None of this has happened overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either. It’s hard to dig your way back out of a hole, especially when that hole is 120 years deep. But it is incumbent upon us to undertake this task, nonetheless. This is our country, for better or worse, and stranger things have happened. Victories have been won against worse odds.
Recognizing the problem is the first step. The one positive of 2016 is that many people have awoken to the general plot. The Republican Party has become an impediment of colossal and vicious proportion. Ohio Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich said on Sunday that unless the Republican Party reforms, he can no longer continue to support it.
Hard as it may be for Mr. Kasich to accept, it’s too late to reform the GOP. But it’s not too late to learn from its example. We still have time to reform the country.
Over this series, we took a look at the hole the GOP has been digging for itself. We have learned why it is time to remove the Republican stumbling block from our path. Moving forward, we’ll be taking a closer look at the fascist network we’ve been making reference to, who they are, and where they came from.
By shining light on cockroaches, you make them skitter for cover. It’s the same with Nazis. We’re going to turn over the rocks they’ve been hiding under. By exposing their plots, networks, and strategies, we will truly #MakeNazisAfraidAgain. Fascism and democracy are incompatible, like mold and fungus. Democracy cannot live, where fascism is thriving. To save the America that our ancestors lived and died in, we have got to see this through to the very end.