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Goldfarb writes: "If you take the long view of Washington's ungovernability - and when you're as old as I am and live on the other side of the Atlantic as I do, the long view is all you've got - you have a particular insight as to how we got here."

File photo, Fox News logo. (photo: Fox News)
File photo, Fox News logo. (photo: Fox News)

The Birth of Conservative Delusion

By Michael Goldfarb, Salon

20 October 13


The long road to Ted Cruz, Fox News, the Tea Party and right-wing insanity has its roots in the events of 1973.

f you take the long view of Washington's ungovernability - and when you're as old as I am and live on the other side of the Atlantic as I do, the long view is all you've got - you have a particular insight as to how we got here.

Much of the problem can be traced back to events that took place exactly 40 years ago (Oct. 20, 1973): the Saturday Night Massacre, a major turning point of the Watergate scandal.

The next day, banner headlines across the entire front page of The New York Times read:




It took a helluva lot to get that kind of coverage that autumn.

While Americans went about their weekend business, while the October war in the Middle East rumbled along, a mere 10 days after his vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned over charges of tax evasion, President Richard M. Nixon raised the stakes in his fight to keep the truth about his involvement in the scandal and its subsequent cover-up secret.

It's tough to summarize all the events of Watergate, from burglary to the president's resignation. Woodward and Bernstein's "All the President's Men" is 349 pages long and I'm sure both of them still agonize over what they had to leave out. But the narrative's main turning points were on legal ideas related to executive privilege and judicial independence in the Constitution and the statutes and case law that underpin these ideas.

A recap of events for those who have forgotten - or never learned:

In May of 1973, Archibald Cox, a law professor at Harvard, was appointed "special prosecutor" to independently look into the Watergate scandal. The appointment was made by Attorney General Eliot Richardson, himself a Harvard man, who had only just taken up the attorney general post, following the resignation - because of Watergate - of Richard Kleindienst, another Harvard law graduate.

Richardson had pledged in his confirmation hearings to give the special prosecutor complete independence - including subpoena power - to follow the evidence wherever it led. A few months later it led to the Oval Office when it was revealed in a Senate hearing on Watergate that Nixon was recording all conversations there. Cox issued a subpoena demanding that Nixon turn over the tapes. Claiming executive privilege, Nixon refused and offered a compromise: a Republican senator would listen to the tapes and provide a summary. Cox turned down the offer and stood by his subpoena power.

That was on a Friday. Presidents don't need high-priced media advisers to tell them that if they're going to do something unpopular they should do it on the weekend, when interest in the news is at a low.

Late Saturday afternoon, the president ordered his attorney general to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. Nixon then ordered Richardson's deputy, William Ruckleshaus (you guessed it, another Harvard man), to fire Cox. Ruckleshaus refused and resigned.

The onerous task next fell to the country's solicitor general, Robert Bork (not a Harvard man). Cox was fired, his offices sealed, and the FBI sent in to seize papers. All of this took place in the space of a few hours that Saturday evening.

The outrage was immediate: New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis reported the incident the next day and took aim at Nixon's chief of staff, General Alexander Haig. Lewis wrote that Haig told Ruckelshaus: "Your Commander in chief has given you an order." The columnist went on, "There it was, naked: the belief that the President reigns and rules, that loyalty runs to his person rather than to law and institutions. It is precisely the concept of power against which Americans rebelled in 1776 and that they designed the Constitution to bar forever in this country."

And if you think Lewis was just an overwrought liberal, a more dispassionate observer, Fred Emery, wrote in The Times of London: "Over this extraordinary weekend, Washington had the smell of an attempted coup d'etat .... Last night as the FBI men moved in without warrant to "seal" the Cox files, the whiff of the Gestapo was in the clear October air. Some of the soberest men in government and out are now privately expressing anxiety that the military might now intervene - either to back the President or throw him out."

For the first time since Watergate erupted, a plurality of Americans thought Nixon should be impeached. The calls for impeachment came from legislators as well - and not just Democrats; a fair number of Republicans joined in. They did so to preserve a basic, nonpartisan precept of our democracy: The president is not above the law.

Nixon was as good as gone after his Saturday Night folly. Although it took some time. The law, when every "i" is being dotted and "t" crossed, can be a slow-moving machine. Ultimately Nixon ran out of legal maneuvers and had to resign. But the game was over on the Sunday morning after the Saturday Night Massacre.

But was that the end of the story?


The conservative movement never really liked Nixon. He initiated detente with the Soviets, visited Mao in China - rather than bombing both countries. He raised taxes. But conservatives also saw him as a martyr to "liberals" and their lap-dogs the press. He also flew the flag for executive-branch power. Conservatives believe in a strong a executive branch - when a Republican is president.

The wound from one of their party - if not one of their own - having been driven from office is one that has never stopped festering for the Republicans.

Two Democrats in the last 30 years have made it to the White House: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Special prosecutors and impeachment for real or as a threat hovered around them almost from the beginning of their terms of office. Republican payback?

There were other ways the Saturday Night massacre continued to play out.

In 1987, Robert Bork, the man who ultimately carried out Nixon's orders that autumn afternoon, was nominated by Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court. Bork later claimed Nixon had promised to nominate him to the Court as the quid pro quo for firing Archibald Cox. Bork was rejected, in part, because of his willingness to fire the special prosecutor.

As Bork was being, well, "Borked," in another part of the Capitol Building hearings into the Iran-Contra scandal were going on. This affair was arguably much worse than Watergate. It involved the illegal sale of weapons to Iran with the proceeds secretly going to fund the contra rebels in Nicaragua - both of which had been expressly legislated against by Congress. On the hearings panel, making the argument for unrestrained executive-branch power, was a congressman from Wyoming who had served in the Nixon White House, Dick Cheney.

Later, as George W. Bush's vice president, Cheney, given a helping hand by al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks, took the position to its logical extreme. "When the president does it, that means it's not illegal" Nixon told David Frost at one point in their famous interviews. Cheney brought that philosophy with him to the Bush White House.

So how did this disgraced idea of unchecked executive power survive the Saturday Night Massacre and how did it lead to the current impasse in Washington? Here's an unprovable theory - at least to professional historians - but it makes sense to me. Five days after the Saturday Night Massacre, Nixon held a press conference. Deference had long since exited the relationship between the president and the reporters who covered him. Toward the end of the session the following interchange took place. A reporter asked: "What is it about the television coverage of you in these past weeks and months that has so aroused your anger?" Nixon answered, "Don't get the impression that you arouse my anger ... You see, one can only be angry with those he respects." He came back to the theme a few minutes later. "When a commentator takes a bit of news and then with knowledge of what the facts are distorts it viciously, I have no respect for that individual."

A four-decade-long war on the press's legitimacy had begun. The idea that it was a biased liberal press that made the molehill of Watergate into a mountain of Constitutional crisis took root.

A month later, an article in the New York Times quoted a letter to the editor written by one Lerline Westmoreland published in a Southern newspaper, the Memphis Commercial Appeal: "It seems to me that the greatest threat to this country is not so much a dictatorial Supreme Court or an imperfect President, it is a vicious, slanted news media on the minds of the masses of Americans who are either too lazy or too indifferent to think for themselves."

Under Reagan, Republican appointees on the FCC abolished the fairness doctrine, the obligation for broadcasters to air both sides of controversial issues. This led to an explosion of opinionated propagandists on the air waves relentlessly attacking "liberal" media. It continues to this day, degrading American public discourse.

A Nixon media operative, Roger Ailes, discussed starting a Republican-slanted news program with the president pre-Watergate. Later, Ailes invented Fox News for Rupert Murdoch. Fox is one of the prime shapers of the hyper-partisan political culture that has made the U.S. practically ungovernable.

As I said, at the top, I take a long view from this side of the Atlantic. Over here, even Conservatives find themselves taken aback by the Tea Party and other extremist know-nothings who have been given the oxygen of publicity on Fox.

Only one of the principals of that evening in 1973 is still alive: William Ruckelshaus. Now in his 80s, he runs a foundation in Seattle and is still active in national life. He was then, and still is, a moderate Republican. I wrote to him and asked, "If you knew, that ultimately, President Nixon would be forced to resign and that future generations of Republican legislators would spend so much time trying to even the score, would you have taken a long view and done what was necessary to protect the president and keep him in office?" I didn't really expect an answer - but within two days an email came back: "The answer is no." Mr. Ruckelshaus added, "I felt what he was asking me to do (fire Archibald Cox) was fundamentally wrong and unconscionable."

In Autumn 1973, it was still possible for Republicans and Democrats to come together and agree on a basic principle of government - like the limits on presidential power. It is hard to imagine that happening today because of those events precisely 40 years ago. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

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It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

-88 # Walter J Smith 2013-10-20 09:02
Well, to your ultimate conclusion: "In Autumn 1973, it was still possible for Republicans and Democrats to come together and agree on a basic principle of government - like the limits on presidential power. It is hard to imagine that happening today because of those events precisely 40 years ago."

A little "yes" and a very big "NO! Is was not that event that "caused" today's political paralysis. The cause is today as visible as anyone needs it to be.

First off, the GOP has, as the article described, used, and still uses that event to nurture a subsequent four decades-long-an d-growing culture of "NO!" to everbody else's, "yes."

But the heart of the "NO!" about that conclusion is the blatantly obvious fact that the Democrats have simply been incapable of offering an any-longer believable alternative to that flimsy GOP's "NO!" If the Democrats had a viable alternative, the GOP would fade away because it has nothing the nation wants on offer.

The Democrats slumber along behind a pathologically inept President Obama for whom finding a never-before-se en-during-his-P residency" spine that immediately after that spine proved almost adequate to the needs of the moment, abandoned it and went right back to his ordinary capitulate-at-e very-possible-o pportunity self.

To repeat: the Democrats have nothing to offer a nation starving for something it can build its future upon. This is the principal, immediate cause of the current political paralysis in Washington, D. C.
+113 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-10-20 09:58
What a crock of doodle do!

You state: "If the Democrats had a viable alternative, the GOP would fade away because it has nothing the nation wants on offer."

The nation wants help for the middle class, affordable health care, safe schools, reasonable gun control, bridges that aren't falling down, clean air, safe food, equal rights, a liveable wage and fairness restored to our rigged plutocratic financial system. What you don't understand is that the reason the Republicans love saying NO! is that the Republicans LOVE SAYING NO! As regressives, it is their raison d'etre, their self-fulfilling icing on the cake of comforting the comfortable as they play their assumed god-given roll as obsequious sycophants to the rich and powerful, and the best way to make the rich and powerful even more rich and powerful is to say NO! to the rest of us — to steal and rob America blind by pushing the tax burden on the middle class as they destroy government, privatize what's left, plunder all safety nets and any parts of government that "serve" anyone but the rich, and glory in their relentless assaults on the very concept of "the public good."

Unless you've been in a deep coma, you should know that the reason ZERO substantive legislation has been passed in this session of the House isn't because the Democrats have nothing to offer, it's because anything and everything they did offer was met with a resounding NO! by Republicans.
+91 # tswhiskers 2013-10-20 10:47
The Reps. only LOVE SAYING NO to democrats. If you remember, they LOVED SAYING YES, YES, YES to George W., hence the economic mess we are struggling with today.
+9 # brux 2013-10-20 17:32
Well this might be a bit more complicated than that.

If Democrats were really Democrats and say offered up a bill for Single Payer Health care, maybe the Republicans would say no, but I am not so sure, and if they did I am not so sure they could say no for long or stay in office.

If Democrats were clear and focused on their message, and serious. they would penetrate the haze in the nation and people would start to wake up and take notice. I think the Democrats are playing a kind of retarded game of trying to promote bad Democratic ideas and bills to make it easy for Republicans to drag the whole process down into endless bickering and debate and worse.

In other words our "politicians" are not longer representative or statesmen, they simple politicians, people in office to serve their own interests by bending to money and political power while pretending to talk about the American system and priorities ... it is a lie.
+4 # GrannyBgood 2013-10-22 07:27
....maybe that should be ENOUGH to offer..Case in Point: Single-Payer being taken OFF THE TABLE before it was even debated....not to mention all the other weak-willed half-assed stuff that has been driving Progressives crazy and left the Democrats as nothing more than the LESSER EVIL!
That just won't get it anymore.
0 # kochadoodledoo 2013-10-22 12:24
That, sir or madam, is one of the best things I've ever read. May I copy it for my facebook friends to read?
+64 # theory≠opinion 2013-10-20 10:28
Really? Do we have to list, once again, the long litany of achievements that President Obama has accomplished in the face of a completely intransigent opposition, whose attitude is that compromise is collaboration with the enemy and who have abandoned the task of governing in favor of the obsession of assassinating the character of a historic president? Not least of his accomplishments is the fact that we was re-elected in the face of the most expensive opposition every mounted in a presidential election. If there are failings of the President and the Democrats, it is that they act too much like Republicans.
+42 # Dharmadog 2013-10-20 12:23
Walter, you are so swept away by the red herring rhetoric of the paid-for media that you have missed the point of Mr. Goldfarb's article. The issue is that the system of checks and balances that was designed to prevent the type of runaway power by any one branch of the government has been undermined and suppressed by the implementation of the attitude expressed by Nixon's statement, "If the president does it, it's not illegal." Why are we focused upon partisan issues when our Bill of Rights is now printed on toilet paper, thanks to the "Patriot" act, and the National Defense Authorization Act allows the military to arrest Americans for the first time in our history... without due process... The NSA has carte blanche authority to invade our privacy, and a growing squadron of drones to enforce executive policies. The Republicans and Democrats are complicit in establishing and maintaining this imbalance of power, with no rational congress to check the power, and no reasonable Judicial branch to constrain the burgeoning autocracy. Walter, you and I are dupes, kept distracted from the progressive vivisection of our democracy by intense partisan antics. The politicians are just the puppets. The real enemies are the corporate bosses who pull their strings, and who can more easily manipulate a government bereft of the system of checks and balances that was established by the founding fathers.
+9 # rockieball 2013-10-21 08:56
It's much harder to be a Liberal than a Conservative. WHY? Because it's so much easier to give someone the finger than a helping hand.
+1 # tm7devils 2013-10-21 13:35
If I looked up the definition of "mental midget", I'm sure your picture would be there as an example.
Please go back to blogging on Repuglican sites and leave those of us that can think critically alone.
+5 # Artemis 2013-10-22 08:52
is this a mediocre piece of satire!

The Republicans have shocked the whole world with their utter vindictiveness and willingness to sacrifice American citizens for their misguided, corporate, warmongering notions of running a country. They have not had the courage to stand up to those in their party who are neo-fascists. Just look at who they have been willing to have elected or as candidates over the past decades!
Rotten to the core, despite some good people who for some reason still vote Republican.
+23 # anarchteacher 2013-10-20 09:41

Watergate Plus Forty, by Charles A. Burris

Recommended Reading: Jim Hougan’s excellent books, Spooks: the Haunting of America – the Private Use of Secret Agents, and Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA; Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin’s masterwork, Silent Coup: The Removal of a President; Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman’s insightful, The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, From Nixon To Obama; Phil Stanford's illuminating White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story; Anthony Summers’ superb The Arrogance of Power: the Secret World of Richard Nixon and Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq are essential. In 2005, Bob Woodward authored The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat.

For fascinating links between the JFK Assassination and the Watergate Scandal, see Carl Oglesby's The Yankee and Cowboy War; Jim Marrs' Crossfire; Russ Baker's Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years; and James W. Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.

An excellent website on the Watergate Scandal can be found at:

A streaming video version of the classic A & E documentary, The Key To Watergate, which inspired this article, is available at this site.
+41 # hd70642 2013-10-20 09:43
Governing by paranoia or witch hunts or autistic apathy is never good .The repubilcan't's govern by fear and hate and libertarians by indifference and callousness for the less fortunate and the delusion that everything will either trickle down to the general public or create a superior class . Then you have deficit mongers/gold standard hucksters who fail to realize with the size of the current population you will never have enough gold to backup every dollar ever printed They also fail to observe the laws of thermaldynamics in thinking wealth by created out of nowhere simply by privatizing out sourcing cutting taxes deregulating and gutting the social safety net instead of funding infra structure education R and D keeping the economy going by letting the poor have money to pay their bills and spend a litle
+27 # reiverpacific 2013-10-20 10:01
"Presidents don't need high-priced media advisers to tell them that if they're going to do something unpopular they should do it on the weekend, when interest in the news is at a low." (Quote).
Nowadays, the "Interest in the news" is at such a low, the force-fed hypnotized US public gets it from the huge conglomerates that water it down, ignore really important issues both nationally and internationally , rig it to look like anything but the deeply-censored , sound-byte, breathlessly-de livered "breaking", personality-wea ther-and-sports coverage that is mud-wallow-shal low and simplistic, presented by suited ciphers and self-important pundits between lengthy commercials, the real, lucrative "message".
Sunday morning bloviating "public affairs" has taken weekend punditry to a new level and the PBS milquetoast, oh-so-PC stuff is little better.
Mind you Reagan, Dimwits and their mobs showed us all that SOME presidents ARE above the law -if they can get fall guys and stooges like Ollie North, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales to cover for them.
The reference to that Fascist, snug, "conform or die" manipulator Alexander Haig is pretty apt, exemplified by his comment "Let them march in the street as long as they pay their taxes"!
Nixon could almost be seen as a "Liberal" these days, the broad brush the owner media use to categorize anybody left of right-center.
"Every time we are confronted with a new revolution we take to the opium pipes of our own propaganda"-"Iz zy" Stone.
+26 # bingers 2013-10-20 10:31
Isn't it insane that the last Republican president that did good things for the country was the rightly despised Richard Nixon?

"It seems to me that the greatest threat to this country is not so much a dictatorial Supreme Court or an imperfect President, it is a vicious, slanted news media on the minds of the masses of Americans who are either too lazy or too indifferent to think for themselves."

Boy, did she ever get it right!
+43 # tswhiskers 2013-10-20 10:19
Thank you for this important history lesson. I have said here many times that most Americans, certainly including politicians, fail entirely to study or remember history, and partly as a result we have today a Congress full of conservative amateurs and wilful ignoramuses who know and care nothing for history or the law. Govt. officials have failed in the past to remember history, e.g. in the Iraq and Afghan wars. Yes, I could well believe that we are now suffering from a sense among the Reps. of vengeance or payback; that may explain why Tea Party Reps. are increasingly perceived as spoiled undisciplined children. Our media which heretofore have done a poor to mediocre job of covering the news could do worse than to periodically recall important past political events to the mind of the public as lessons that might bear upon the present. We truly need to know when we have done a certain thing before and how it turned out. Sean Willentz and other historians whose articles have turned up on this website have done much to teach us and I hope RSN will continue to print them.
+19 # davidiste 2013-10-20 10:55
I've thought this same thing for a long time. Add into the equation the uncertain role of America post Vietnam in the world, and a desire to have a positive versus a negative aftertaste, and you have the regal aspirations of all Republicans in the White House. Let's show the world we can do it right! Hence Iraq. Is the only solution to elect a Republican to the White House and hopefully they get it all right, will that get them over this legacy blemish from the past? Too scary to contemplate the consequences of any current Republican front runner as commander in chief.
+4 # Doll 2013-10-20 11:41
I'm curious. Why did the author claim that only two Democrats have been in the White House since Nixon? He named only Carter and Obama.

What about Jimmy Carter?
+8 # Doll 2013-10-20 12:37
Ooops. I meant Clinton and Obama.
+8 # MindDoc 2013-10-20 12:37
The article states Quote:
Two Democrats in the last 30 years have made it to the White House: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Time does fly; Carter's term ended over 30 years ago (barely)!
+17 # sailorrog 2013-10-20 11:51
Well, not sure that getting even for Watergate was a sufficient cause of the current Republican Congress of "NO!" Frank Rich has an excellent article in the current New York magazine (forwarded by RSN) arguing that the anti government phenomenon goes all the way back to the Confederacy and that it is so deeply rooted in the culture, it will pop back up no matter how bad it makes the party look.One of my favorite factoids about the right wing and the depth of its capacity to say "NO!"is that Rush Limbaugh had a great-great (great? not sure of the number of generations) grandfather who was a Supreme Court justice of the Confederacy. He hates the government because it is in his genes."Fergit? Hell no!"
+18 # gdsharpe 2013-10-20 12:55
"It seems to me that the greatest threat to this country is not so much a dictatorial Supreme Court or an imperfect President, it is a vicious, slanted news media on the minds of the masses of Americans who are either too lazy or too indifferent to think for themselves."
And then, the uber-conservati ves realized that they could take active advantage of this. One result is Fox News.
It is worthwhile to note that, in those days, the "vicious slanted news media" seemed slanted because they really tried to report factual information. It was not the media's fault that those facts hurt Nixon's and the conservatives' image.
+5 # tgemberl 2013-10-20 15:00
I think the victimization model for what has gone wrong with our politics will only take you so far. I think a lot of it goes back to our own image of ourselves as Americans. The 70's were a tough time for us: we had Watergate, the failure in Vietnam, and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Americans wanted someone to come along and convince them that those things were aberrations. Ronald Reagan fulfilled that role. He basically told Americans to "believe in themselves" again. The 80's were glory days for Republicans, and now they can't let go of them. They are essentially a party of 80's nostalgia.

I say the victimization model doesn't work well because though there are lots of untruths in politics, people listen to the lies they like to hear. Yes, there are predators among the 1%, but they couldn't do what they're doing if so many of the 99% didn't like them.
+2 # Cassandra2012 2013-10-21 12:13
The Hannah Arendt defense for the indefensible?
0 # tgemberl 2013-10-22 10:45
Yes, I guess it does have something in common with Arendt. Even the Nazis couldn't have done what they did without the consent of the German public. That's not to say that all Germans were equally responsible, but the haters had to be enabled.

I think when people say that America's problems are all a result of a plot by the 1%, they're confusing two different things. Yes, in any complex society, there is predatory behavior. People will try to take advantage of others' ignorance or vulnerability. But that's not the whole motivation of the conservative movement. It comes from a different vision of what is good in human life, that emphasizes individual initiative. Ronald Reagan sold people on that worldview, and now they don't want to let go of it, though it no longer makes sense of some things.

I often see comments by conservatives who say that it's an injustice to make someone pay for someone else's health care. Well, we've been doing that since the 80's when Reagan signed the law that mandated hospitals had to provide care for people whether they could pay or not. If they can't, the rest of us do.

I don't know this for a fact, but I'm guessing Reagan signed that enthusiasticall y, because he was basically an optimist. He believed our system was strong enough to both stay privatized and, somehow, take care of everybody. Now we know that's impossible.
-1 # kochadoodledoo 2013-10-22 12:44
Why does every government employee get their health care paid for by our tax money then?
+2 # tgemberl 2013-10-22 13:32
Well, I suppose because we pay them. They're our employees. I'm not sure what you are asking here. Would you clarify?
+14 # brux 2013-10-20 17:23
> Under Reagan, Republican appointees on the FCC abolished the fairness doctrine, the obligation for broadcasters to air both sides of controversial issues. This led to an explosion of opinionated propagandists on the air waves relentlessly attacking "liberal" media. It continues to this day, degrading American public discourse.

The Fairness Doctrine is one very concrete real step that could be taken to start moving things in a democratic direct.

Is anyone demanding that the Fairness Doctrine be re-instated?

Would it do any good now that most media is private and not on the broadcast airwaves?

If there is one thing I'd like to see happen it is that the Fairness Doctrine come back.
-23 # citizenrights 2013-10-20 18:58
The first problem with this article which kind of ruins its credibility. That Michael Goldfarb brags about his old age. May be he is the delusional one? In this para graph he has written shows his ignorance, or he was not around then as he so states. Below you can read what he wrote.
in his forth paragraph. I have explained his historical mistake after and below.

"While Americans went about their weekend business, while the October war in the Middle East rumbled along, a mere 10 days after his vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned over charges of tax evasion, President Richard M. Nixon raised the stakes in his fight to keep the truth about his involvement in the scandal and its subsequent cover-up secret"

During this time in history the United States of America was heavily involved in south east Asia, Vietnam not so much involved in the Mid East . The draft into the Military was in full swing using a lottery system by the use of the social security number. If you are going to write about Past President Nixon and Vice President Agnew be sure to know what conflict The United States was in and what part of the world it is in. Maybe Mr. Goldfarb needs a geography lesson or two and history lesson?
+13 # Salus Populi 2013-10-20 20:30
The October War that Goldfarb refers to is the one that Israel launched against Arab countries; it concerned the United States because following the cease fire, Israel violated it and went on attacking Syria, which was a close ally of the Soviet Union -- and with both Israel and the USSR packing nuclear weapons, there was a strong possibility of the flare up going nuclear, and perhaps leading to World War III.

Also, the lottery was not based on social security numbers: It was first, your birthday -- mine, March 25, was number 343 out of 366; and within each birthday, the first letter of your last name -- R, my letter, was number 23 of 26. Luck of the draw that saved my ass.

When criticizing the writings of others for inaccuracy, it is important to be accurate oneself; with the Internet available as a research tool, there's really no excuse for factual mistakes. Due diligence and all that.
-16 # citizenrights 2013-10-20 19:05
Since I am old enough to know the facts of that era and served during this time in the Armed forces. I have read many articles on President Nixon through the years and some on Vice President Agnew and this is one of the worst. Full of out right bull half truths and lies. The worst is why President Nixon went to China. Had nothing to do with Mao. It had every thing to do with a possible world war and Russia. A war that was quickly developing between Russia and China. Later President Nixon developed a agricultural trade agreement with China for 30 years. Because he saved them from a very nasty war with Russia and possibly a world war. Because of President Nixon we are now trading with China. He Opened all the doors to mainland China. Richard M. Nixon was very Much respected by the conservatives and at the time even though he had been found guilty of the charges by a very liberal court! Or he would not have received the pardon. From President Gerald Ford.Also he remained as a adviser on China and further development of trade relations between The United States and China

Mr. Goldfarb write about something you know about and do not try to rewrite history with a twisted bunch of bull.
-18 # citizenrights 2013-10-20 19:09
Fox News likes to credit there format as being conservative? But it is the publishing of this kind of none sense that makes one wonder?
-20 # citizenrights 2013-10-20 19:19
Also Past President Nixon was one of the few presidents in so called modern history that actually kept a campaign pledge and promise. Unlike President Obama. President Nixon said, "he would end the war in Vietnam and bring the soldiers home even the fallen" and he did exactly as he said.
+16 # Salus Populi 2013-10-20 20:49
A little more nuanced. Nixon resigned his office in August 1974; while "Vietnamization " began in 1973, the U.S. was still involved in its overseas aggression until April 23, 1975, when the South's government finally fled. Ford was president then. Further, Nixon's pledge was to end the war "with honor," which was not a great deal different than what Kennedy and Johnson had both proclaimed. "With honor" meant a Vietnamese surrender, not the undignified fleeing by helicopter of the Western expeditionary force and its puppet government from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.

In fact, according to the memoir of H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's close adviser, Nixon's plan to end the war on favorable terms boiled down to having Kissinger confide to the Vietnamese, in August 1969 at the peace talks, that the president was quite unstable and capable of who knew what, and that unless the war was ended on U.S. terms before Nov. 1 of that year, he would order the nuking of Hanoi. Haldeman felt that Nixon was serious about the threat, and planned to obliterate the North Vietnamese capital city and incinerate hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Again according to Haldeman, it was only the size of the moderate Oct. 15 Moratorium demo in Washington, and the prospect that the much more militant one scheduled for November would be equally large [it wasn't] that caused him to get cold feet about the November 1 deadline.
+3 # bmiluski 2013-10-22 09:56
Thanks you. Your cold, clear facts are much appreciated.
+11 # pernsey 2013-10-21 07:50
Its amazing no matter what republicans do, these people just keep believing them. No matter how many times they are proved wrong. If the right wing didnt have the Fox News propaganda/lie machine running 24/7 no one would vote for them. They have to twist the truth and lie to keep the stupid people stupid, in the right wing spin bubble. I cant believe its been able to go this far. In my fathers day if you would have told him things would be like this, he would have said the press wouldnt allow it. Now the media and press are in the pockets of the wealthy...and here it is!
-6 # dick 2013-10-21 11:11
JFK-LHO assassinations & Watergate & Iran-Contra show that there is the way America is governed & there is the 3-ring circus of misdirection staged for the media & "attentive" citizens.
Manipulative people then "create history" for gullible audiences.
Obama, also a Harvard lawyer, by OMISSION (bankster & torturer prosecutions) & commission has also stood above the law, believing that "in these times" his ends justify the means. I think he has been guilty of overkill & underkill in that regard, & should show more moral courage in his next 6 years. Set some things right, while he can. New NSA may be a start.
+2 # bmiluski 2013-10-22 09:58
Please, as long as men/boys run this planet, it will always be a 3-ring circus. Boys never grow up. They play the same games as they did when they were little only with bigger guns, sling-shots, etc.
+1 # kochadoodledoo 2013-10-22 12:51
Lotta bullies out there.
+6 # gnusman 2013-10-21 12:49
I remember the slogan well:
0 # notsofreespirit 2013-10-24 17:27
Unfortunately, today ancient history is anything more than five minutes old. One is simply not going to get all that much info on Twitter or Facebook.

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