Thursday, October 13, 2016

In which the pond reluctantly spends time with the bromancer and the Bolter. Will there ever be an end to human misery?

In other news, the pond was amazed to discover that sitting during the national anthem is a matter oforpolice arrest.

Not that the pond attends venues or events where the national anthem is played, but on the rare occasions it does, when confronted with the dismal dirge the pond makes it an occasion for a sit-down strike, in much the same way as the pond disapproved of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In even more other news, the pond noted a report in the mighty local rag, the Inner West Courier's streetwatch, that the Newtown fuzz were investigating a report of an elderly man sitting down next to a fifteen year old girl after she emerged from a youth club "and he touched her on the leg."

Good on them, and after they're done with him, perhaps the pond should send the local coppers to the United States to investigate American presidents ...perhaps they could advise the local elderly that a touching on the leg doesn't cut it, not if wanting to boast of sexual assaults on women ...

And that helps explain why the reptiles - and so a reluctant, unhappy pond - have been dragged back to contemplate American politics yet again.

Choices, smoishes. The pond could have gone with Savva scribbling on about Turnbull's dilemma, which is a bit like Sophie's choice, in that Malware long ago surrendered to the minions of the onion-muncher, but say what you will, the pond is loyal, and the siren song of the bromancer took sway ...

Now the pond knows that as soon as the bromancer puts the word "truth" in his commentary, it's necessary to get out the central scrutiniser to give the text a going over ...

Others will have their fond bromancer moment arising from the read, but for the pond, the one that leapt off the page was the sentence "Richard Nixon was hounded from office not for the Watergate burglary of which he probably knew nothing ..."

It's that sort of careless way with the truth, or the discussion about the truth, that is a hallmark of the insolent bromancer ...

It reminded the pond of what might be called the Bolter gambit ...

Now that verges on gibberish. How on earth did tricky dick get to stand alongside two other, let it be said, extremely divergent historical figures, Roosevelt and Reagan? A

nd how is it possible to imagine a downward arc from the criminal, foul-mouthed, anti-semitic, paranoid, devious Nixon and his cronies, not least Spiro, a serious role model for Dick Cheney?

It was like the pond's interest in American politics, cultivated over decades, had somehow missed out on the majesty and grandeur of Nixon's time in power, and somehow the glossing over of the crimes done in his name saw him worthy of standing alongside FDR ...

Naturally this is the sort of thing that sends the pond off down the rabbit hole.

It should be acknowledged, pace the bromancer's blithe, carefree assertion, that there is no firm evidence in relation to what Nixon knew, or what he ordered, but there are a number of smoking guns.

Once more the pond reverted to the jeans-hating conservative George Will reviewing a 40th anniversary book on the subject at the WP here ...and amongst the many matters discussed ...

At about 5:15 p.m. on June 17, 1971, in the Oval Office, the president ordered a crime: “I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.” The burglary he demanded was not the one that would occur exactly one year later at the Democratic National Committee’s office in the Watergate complex. 
Richard Nixon was ordering a break-in at the Brookings Institution, a think tank, to seize material concerning U.S. diplomacy regarding North Vietnam during the closing weeks of the 1968 presidential campaign. 
As they sometimes did regarding his intemperate commands, Mr. Nixon’s aides disregarded the one concerning Brookings. But the president eventually created a White House atmosphere that licensed illegality to the point it came to destroy him. 
Forty years have passed since Aug. 9, 1974, when a helicopter whisked Mr. Nixon off the White House lawn, and questions remain concerning why he became complicit in criminality. 
Ken Hughes has a theory. Working at the University of Virginia, in the Miller Center’s Presidential Recording Program, Mr. Hughes has studied the Nixon tapes for more than a decade. 
In his new book, “Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate,” Mr. Hughes argues that Mr. Nixon ordered a crime in 1971 hoping to prevent public knowledge of a crime he committed in 1968.

And so on, there's more by following the link, but what about this, by Timothy Noah at MSNBC, another 40th anniversary piece, Did Nixon really order the Watergate break-in?

Though hardly definitive, the evidence suggesting Nixon ordered the break-in is substantial.

Well at least there's enough not to be so blithe and carefree as a bromancer.

Noah discusses a number of matters, but ends with this flourish regarding Nixon and his anxiety about donations from the mad Howard Hughes...

...the most important believer in the Hughes motive is Jeb Stuart Magruder. Magruder, who died this past May, was Mitchell’s deputy at Nixon’s re-election campaign. Magruder didn’t merely speculate that the Hughes transactions were the reason for the break-in; he affirmatively stated it. His source, assuming he was speaking truthfully, was impeccable. In a 2003 interview Magruder said for the first time that he’d heard Nixon tell Mitchell, “John, we we need to get the information on Larry O’Brien, and the only way we can do that is through Liddy’s plan. And you need to do that.” Previously, Magruder had never identified anyone higher than Mitchell to have known about the break-in in advance. Now he was saying that Nixon ordered it. 
To be sure, Magruder did jail time for committing perjury with respect to his own role in Watergate. And in a 1974 memoir Magruder wrote, “I know nothing to indicate that Nixon was aware in advance of the plan to break into the Democratic headquarters.” But Nixon was still president when Magruder wrote that – the book came out seven months before Nixon’s resignation – and it’s easy to imagine that Magruder feared tangling with him. By 2003 Nixon was nine years in the grave and Magruder had no obvious reason to lie about Nixon’s role. 
A final consideration is this. Put yourself in the shoes of Mitchell and Magruder. Would you give Liddy a green light on burgling the DNC if you didn’t know for sure that your ultimate boss wanted it done? On the Watergate tapes, Nixon never admits knowing how the break-in came about, and he questions its wisdom. But he never expresses the slightest shock that anybody in his employ would commit such a crime.

And so on. It's as if the bromancer had deliberately said something inordinately stupid about the assassination of JFK or the authenticity of Capricorn One in relation to the moon landing. These are matters for endless hours of fun, not a glib and silly bromancer throw away line ...

And now, to be fair, the pond must run the rest of the bromancer, but with dull, glazed eyes of the kind that indicates the fish is a few days old and far from fresh ...

The pond encourages any stray reader who made it through to select their own bit of bromancer silliness for their delectation - the pond delighted in talk of "the waning power of facts against partisanism" coming at the very end of a piece wherein the bromancer displayed an enormous capacity for partisanship ...

The notion that it's all the fault of Bill Clinton, and if not Clinton, then certainly the whining Obama is also a matter covered by the Bolter, and the pond is not only loyal but a completist - don't you just hate it when a volume of profound reptile insights go missing from the shelves?

So duty calls and we must wrap up the Bolter's contribution in a flurry of verbiage ...


Again there are rich pickings, none more sublime than that line "Ted Cruz deeply informed on foreign affairs..."

And again the pond must revert to others ... and If You Hate Trump's Foreign Policy, Wait Until You See Ted Cruz's ... bad as Donald Trump’s jumbled foreign policy views are, Ted Cruz’s may be even worse. From his assertion that he would use carpet bombing and see if “sand can glow in the dark” in the fight against ISIS to his pledge to mindlessly lavish 4 percent of our Gross Domestic Product on the Pentagon, Cruz is arguably even more reckless than Donald Trump. 
Threatening to carpet bomb Iraq or Syria, with the massive civilian casualties and devastating human and environmental consequences that would entail, is not worthy of a major presidential candidate - or any candidate. And the notion of “making the sand glow” suggests that Cruz may have been referring to the use of nuclear weapons, an issue he has never clarified. The fact that Cruz made the remark in a flippant fashion with a smile on his face makes it all the worse. 
And Cruz’s plan to throw 4 percent of the United States’ economic resources at the Pentagon would be both costly and counterproductive. Benjamin Friedman of the Cato Institute estimates that Cruz’s proposal would add another $1 trillion to the Pentagon’s budget in his first term alone, money that could have a huge impact if spent on health, education, infrastructure and other essential needs. And in a report commissioned by the National Taxpayers Union, Matthew Fay of the Niskanen Center dismantles the argument for spending four percent of GDP for defense, noting that linking defense spending to GDP is “neither fiscally responsible nor strategically coherent.” Fay’s analysis is worth reading in its entirety, but the basic point is clear - spending on the Pentagon should be tied to a strategy to address the actual threats facing the country, not to an arbitrary number. 
Cruz’s recklessness extends to his choice of foreign policy advisors. His chief advisor is none other than Frank Gaffney, an uncritical booster of Star Wars anti-missile systems and a major league Islamophobe who has suggested that President Obama himself may be a Muslim, and that the president has some sort of secret plan to undermine America from within (there go those secret plans again). The fact that any candidate would take any advice on any subject from Frank Gaffney is troubling in the extreme. 
Much more could be said about Cruz’s world view. But what is clear is that in choosing between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on defense it’s a case of choosing your poison.

And so on. It's just as well that the Bolter usually leaves most of his foreign affairs commentary in his blog to the recycling of informed pieces from reptile commentators like the bromancer ...

Oh wait ... that didn't come out the right way, did it?

Talk about a coarsening of the culture. Clowns, bromancers and Bolters ...

And so to a Pope cartoon today which the pond admits to finding irredeemably delicious, and there's more delicious, delectable, dish-licking papery here ...

And to add to the pond's blessings, its American correspondent just now forwarded this snap of Nixonland ... haven for the crook and not shabby for a crooked lifestyle ...


  1. Oh come on, DP at least Nixon visited China - a bit before Gough's PM visit (but after his Australian sponsored trip, of course) - and he did take the USA (and hence Australia) out of Vietnam.

    And he's the only Pres to have a whole opera written about his grand foreign adventure, plus that glorious out-take The Chairman Dances.

    All of that was more than worth the Watergate peccadillo, wasn't it ?

    1. The pond stands corrected GB, the world of opera needed tricky Dick ...

    2. The pond stands corrected GB, the world of opera needed tricky Dick ...

  2. Hi Dorothy,

    Nixon was obsessively fixated on the national security leaks that started to occur from the very start of his presidency. Increasingly paranoid he insisted that the leakers be identified and prosecuted.

    He had the Department of Justice and the FBI investigate but no leakers were uncovered and the leaks increased.

    After the release of the hugely damaging "Pentagon Papers" a furious Nixon created the super secret Special Investigations Unit within the White House using his own staffers.

    "David Young, an attorney and former aide to Henry Kissinger, was assigned to the new unit.  When David went home for Thanksgiving that Fall, his grandmother asked him what he was doing at the White House.  David said, “Oh, I am helping the president find and fix leaks.”  To which his grandmother responded, “Well, David, that is very nice, you’ve become a plumber.”  When David shared this Thanksgiving story with his colleagues in the Special Investigation Unit, they cracked up, and he could not resist breaking their secrecy protocol by placing a sign on the unmarked basement door of their unit that read: “The Plumbers.” While the sign was not there for long, the name stuck."

    The Plumber's methods increasingly veered into the 'what ever it takes' territory including breaking into the offices of the psychiatrist who was treating Daniel Ellsberg, who was suspected of releasing the Pentagon Papers in an attempt to find evidence.

    Having become relaxed with such illegal methods it wasn't long before former Plumbers, Gordon L Liddy and Howard Hunt could easily contemplate breaking into the Watergate building satisfied they were doing Nixon's bidding.


    1. Ah, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind plumber, DW.

  3. There won't be too many more embarrassing backflips, now that Baird has a sign on his desk, WWAD? - What would Alan do?


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