Showing posts with label Richard Nixon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Nixon. Show all posts

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Just Like Nixon

Like many millions of Americans, I have been enjoying Ken Burns' amazing 10 part documentary, The Vietnam War. Part 7 contains an historical fact that most folks likely do not know about.

Richard Nixon and his team told the South Vietnamese government that if he was elected president, they'd get a better deal with the North Vietnamese. This all took place in the weeks leading up to the election. Humprhey was actually up in the polls and likely would have won had it not been for the South Vietnamese refusing to show up to the peace talks in Paris in the fall of 1968. Nixon ended up winning by 0.7 of a percentage point with a few states falling his way in the last few days.

The Donald seems to be doing his best to emulate Nixon. He too has conspired with a foreign government to influence and election. Back in 1968, LBJ called what Nixon did "treason." It's time for us to recognize that our current president is guilty of the same thing.

We all know where this is going to end up. The facts speak for themselves.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Poopy Pants People Who Are Fat and Stupid!

Here is a photo of Richard Nixon talking to Mao Zedong...

Mao was incredibly evil man responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

Here is a photo of Ronald Reagan signing a deal with the Soviets

The Soviets were the "evil empire," right?

So, two Republican leaders, the second of which is highly revered among conservatives today, talking and making deals with mortal enemies far greater than the likes of Iran or Syria.

Yet, if you listen to Republicans today, even sitting down and talking with countries like Iran signifies capitulation. Why? The only explanation I see is that they don't want to talk with their fat headed fat faces ever again because they are poopy pants people who are fat and stupid!! Plus, if that fat headed Obama gets another victory then it will be a never ending shame spiral of seeing him win...again!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Other Nixon Legacy

The Nixon Library released another 265 hours of conversations Richard Nixon recorded during his presidency. What's interesting about these conversations is how they show the kind of progress we can make in 50 years, and how far we still have to go.

In those conversations, according to the New York Times article, Colson told Nixon he had always had "a little prejudice." Nixon responded that he himself wasn't prejudiced but that "I've just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits."

In other words, Nixon prejudged people based on their ethnicity because "all people" have certain traits. One of the dictionary definitions of prejudice is "preconceived notion or opinion." So there's no question that anyone who makes broad assumptions about someone based on race or ethnicity is prejudiced in at least one sense of the word.

Another dictionary definition of prejudice is "an irrational attitude or hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race or their supposed characteristics." This is the one that Nixon thinks he is innocent of.

But in practice, one sort of prejudice makes the other sort possible. By buying into the idea that certain groups all share some trait, you automatically exclude a person from consideration for certain jobs solely based on their ethnicity. And the crazy thing is, especially in the US, almost no one can claim any one ethnicity -- my ancestors came from at least five different countries and pretty much everyone here can say that.

Most of the headlines echo the New York Times: "In Tapes, Nixon Rails about Jews and Blacks." But Nixon was bigoted all around. From the Times:
“The Jews have certain traits,” he said. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”

Nixon continued: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,” and his voice trailed off.
Paradoxically, this is a ray of light.

Nixon was obviously prejudiced in all senses of the word against pretty much everyone. At the time of these conversations people were becoming what the right loves to call "politically correct" about racism. But 10 years earlier Nixon's ethnic slurs would not have raised any eyebrows.

The headlines on this story trumpet Nixon's prejudice against Jews and blacks, but relegate his racism against the Italians and the Irish to minor talking points that burnish Nixon's racist credentials. These days Nixon's anti-Irish and anti-Italian prejudices seem silly, nonsensical and almost quaint.

The most damning thing in the Nixon story was this (from the Times):
At another point, in a long and wandering conversation with Rose Mary Woods, his personal secretary, that veered from whom to invite to a state dinner to whether Ms. Woods should get her hair done, Nixon offered sharp skepticism at the views of William P. Rogers, his secretary of state, about the future of black Africans.

“Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said. “He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on.

“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” he said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.”
It's taken less than 40 years for a black man to attain the highest office in the land, not 500. But, some will argue, Nixon was right after all: Obama is the son of a Kenyan and a white American. He had been "inbred."

No, Nixon was just racist and wrong. Colin Powell would have been able to run for president and win. I don't think Powell has the stomach for the crap you have to put up with to get elected (I don't see how anyone can stand it). But he has the ability to lead and he had the trust of the American people until he was caught up in the Bush administration's lies on Iraq. And he was serving in Nixon's military at the time Nixon made his pernicious remarks!

And, yeah, Powell too had been "inbred." But that's the point. Everyone in this country has been thrown into the melting pot. It doesn't take 500 years for this to happen: it only takes the time for racist bigots to die out and the artificial barriers that separate us to fall away and allow us to treat each other as equals.

In the next 50 years we'll likely see the last vestiges of racism against American blacks die out, and the anti-gay hysteria disappear completely. As groups assimilate prejudice eventually evaporates (new prejudices may form as new out-groups arrive, but that's life).

This question of assimilation seems to be the bone of contention for a lot of people on the right today. They aren't prejudiced, they insist, but it's not right that Mexican Americans "refuse" to learn English or that American Muslim women wear veils or that Somali Americans eat weird food. These people demand assimilation instantly, but they miss the lessons of history.

Assimilation doesn't happen in a day. Japanese, Chinese, Irish, Italian, Norwegian and German immigrants spoke their native languages.

But their kids assimilated and now all their descendants speak English and wear jeans and eat hamburgers and French fries. And we eat Kung Pao chicken and sushi and beef burritos.

The wrong way to force assimilation was what happened to many American Indians -- kids were taken from their parents, stripped of their clothing and their names and forced to learn English.

If you want to hire someone you don't criticize their clothes, what they eat and how they talk. It's the same thing with assimilating recent immigrants into our society. To encourage assimilation and remove racial tension we need to accept people for what they are. We can't insist they change instantly -- it's not possible. The adults will never change, because adults can't. But their kids -- their kids will be 100% American if we don't alienate them.

Like the generations of Swedes, Frenchmen, Russians, Poles, Czechs who came to this country, these new kids will forget their parents' native tongues, throw away their veils, and stop eating weird food. Their parents will bemoan the loss, but hey -- that's life in America. If we make the American way of life attractive and inviting the kids will be helpless to resist The Borg of American popular society.

At the same time we may get something new in the process. Like pizza: the staple of American life.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Operation: Brainwash (Heroification)

Most of you know that I am a big fan of James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me. In that book, he discusses how American History is taught using a number of poor methods and concepts. One such concept is heroification. He uses the excellent example of President Woodrow Wilson, a figure who is regarded in most history textbooks as a hero. In fact, President Wilson was probably the biggest bigot our country had ever seen, overturning decades of progress made by the Republicans in respect to rights and advancement of African Americans. The image of Wilson by our nation is one of the many great lies in our country's history.

Another great lie is one that got started by Ann Coulter and is now policy according to the Texas State Board of Education. Essentially, it's this: Joe McCarthy was a hero. Coulter said:

Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie. Liberals denounced McCarthy because they were afraid of getting caught, so they fought back like animals to hide their own collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis.

Caught in what, exactly? Oh yes, that's right...anyone to the left of the Cult is a commie. Got it. It's also amusing that she brings up hegemony. The raison d'etre of the Cult is control through blind consensus. Once again, we see the Rove in action.

But this view of McCarthy is exactly what Texas school children are now going to he was a hero fighting against (in his own words) the treasonous Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. They will learn of a US government filled with dirty, stinking Commies many of whom "got away" and remained in the form of the Democratic party. None of this, of course, is even close to being grounded in reality.

Coming a few years after we defeated the greatest army and threat the world had ever seen, McCarthy accused the Democrats of "twenty years of treason." He added twenty one after Eisenhower refused to acquiesce to McCarthy's demands. His paranoia knew no bounds as he went after the United States military. In one hearing he called Brigadier General Ralph W. Zicker, a WWII battlefield hero, a "five year old child not fit to wear the uniform." Ironic, considering McCarthy's outright lying about his own military record. His investigations into the US military turned the tide of public opinion well against him and his rampant alcoholism began to show in his Senate floor speeches. In fact, his constant changing numbers of how many communists were in the US government from the very beginning were evidence enough of his severe impairment and inability to think clearly.

None of this matters to that chapter of the Cult that has now changed the curriculum in Texas and perhaps nationwide. Commies were everywhere (ahh!!!!!!! look out...he looks funny...commie!!!) and still are. No matter that McCarthy was shown to be a liar very early on..he said pretty things so we loves him:) One need only spend a few minutes reading McCarthy's quotes to see that he was, in a myriad of ways, a founding father (along with Richard Nixon) of the Cult playbook. Say it and it's true...attack your opponent with what is, in fact, your greatest weakness (see the forthcoming comments below for what will be excellent examples of this), ignore facts, think with your guts and, above all, distrust anyone who doesn't think EXACTLY like you do. Joe McCarthy spawned the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. It's no wonder they are fighting tooth and nail to re-imagine him in history. All three of them, as well as the Cult, are still paranoid about Commies (ahh!!! Commies!!!) even years after communism FAILED and whatever remnants are left (save North Korea) are embracing capitalism or some quasi form of it.

I stated previously that I am nauseated by the clear heroification of McCarthy. Honestly, that's not much redeemable about him. Rarely do secondary school texts get it right when it comes to wrongdoing but the American Pageant does in their McCarthy entry. I wonder how many of the facts listed there will be completely left out. Ah well, no matter. Anyone critical of a Cult forefather is a lying Commie which would include yours truly. Cue the red herring of Venona.

As an educator, I am tasked to present the basic facts of what happened in any historical period. To leave out McCarthy's lying, alcoholism, assault on civil liberties, and attacks on distinguished members of the military like George Marshall would be historically dishonest. It would be like showing the happy go lucky side of Stalin and skip over the whole gulag thing. Stalin was an asshole who murdered people. McCarthy was an asshole who destroyed people's lives due to a psychosis that forced an ideology on people. This ideology has now morphed into a faux critical thinking devoid of reality.

Yet I would still be more interested, given all of the facts about McCarthy and what the Cult will now be teaching in Texas, what my students think about Joe McCarthy and why. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what my view is or what the Texas School Board's view is regarding McCarthy. It matters what they think and how they evaluate the facts.

Since close to 5 million students in Texas and perhaps more nation wide will be missing key facts, critical thinking skills have been hijacked. And that's the real fucking travesty.
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