"As years go by, Watergate drifts toward myth" by Marc Fisher | Washington Post, June 17, 2012
WASHINGTON - Forty years after Watergate, a central question about the scarring chapter in US history lingers: Did Richard Nixon’s misdeeds and downfall strip the nation of its innocence or affirm the resilience of the American system?
In one vision, Watergate turned Americans into cynical people, mistrustful of government, ready to believe the worst of their leaders.
I was made to believe that after I discovered the truth.
Forty years after the botched burglary, the squalor of Nixon’s presidency remains visible in our paralyzed, polarized politics, our alienation, our insistent disunity.
Considering what we have been through since, what with the abominable false flags of OKC and 9/11, and the horrendous lies of Iraq, what Nixon did was chicken s*** (unless you happened to be a Cambodian under one of the US' bombs).
Alternatively, Watergate shines as proof that the system works, that law and the Constitution prevail over the excesses of craven politicians. The details of the scandal, which resulted in the only resignation of a president in US history, may fade with time, but Watergate lives on in the idealism of those who hold government to account - through grass-roots movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, investigative reporting, and public and private watchdog groups.
I know they don't mean it, readers, but THEY MEAN ME and YOU now. And it looks like Watergate has passed through history and into myth.
The principal figures in the Nixon presidency and the two-year drive to reveal its misdeeds are mostly elderly men now, and the scandal that riveted the nation like no other is barely mentioned in most high school American history courses.
Don't even start with me.
But in politics, popular culture, the news media, and the perception of the United States at home and abroad, Watergate was a watershed, a turning point with as powerful an impact as the Vietnam War or the civil rights movement.
“Our long national nightmare is over,’’ the new president, Gerald Ford, said in his first address after Nixon resigned in August 1974. “Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.’’
For those that don't know, Ford was a member of the Warren Commission and was leaking information back to the FBI.
That notion of Watergate governed for many years; in 1974, Americans elected to Congress a huge class of idealists bent on wresting power from the few. Reporters became unlikely heroes, portrayed by Hollywood and best-selling books as so many Davids taking on dubious Goliaths of politics and business.
The indoctrination and inculcation in its early form.
Whistleblowers - once derided - became a protected class, celebrated in pop culture and defended by new laws.
As the years slip by, the Watergate story - the complicated but dramatic tale of a criminal conspiracy to cover up misdeeds by a president and his top advisers - loses some of its nuance. Fact and fiction blur. Hollywood’s rendition takes up more bandwidth than the original journalism.
And journalism's account was already slanted.
The 1976 movie version of “All the President’s Men’’ - the film about Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein that inspired a generation of journalism students - made it into the American Film Institute’s list of 100 best movies of all time and remains a well-rented classic.
"Now, for a bit of cognitive dissonance. Woodward's signature achievement--bringing down Richard Nixon--turns out not to be what we all thought....
Here's the deal: Bob, top secret Naval officer, gets sent to work in the Nixon White House while still on military duty. Then, with no journalistic credentials to speak of, and with a boost from White House staffers, he lands a job at the Washington Post. Not long thereafter he starts to take down Richard Nixon. Meanwhile, Woodward's military bosses are running a spy ring inside the White House that is monitoring Nixon and Kissinger's secret negotiations with America's enemies (China, Soviet Union, etc)....
That's not the iconic Woodward of legend, of course--so it takes a while for this notion to settle in the mind. But there's more--and it's even more troubling. Did you know there was really no Deep Throat, that the Mark Felt story was conjured up as yet another layer of cover in what became a daisy chain of disinformation? Did you know that Richard Nixon was loathed and feared by the military brass, that they and their allies were desperate to get Nixon out and halt his rapprochement with the Communists?
"As Carl Bernstein documented decades ago, the CIA "ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were 'taught how to make noises like reporters,' explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. 'These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told, 'You're going to be a journalist,' the CIA official said. Relatively few of the 400-some [media] relationships described in Agency files followed that pattern, however; most involved persons who were already bona fide journalists when they began undertaking tasks for the Agency."
By way of an initiative called "Operation Mockingbird," the CIA built a large seraglio of paid media courtesans.....
The tendrils of "Operation Mockingbird" extended through every significant national media organ, from the Washington PostNewsweek to the Time-Life conglomerate, from the New York Times to CBS. As a result, according to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, the Fourth Estate "has been captured by government and corporations, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus." It is, in everything but name, an appendage of the Regime. This is clearly seen every time the Regime decides the time has come to mount another campaign of humanitarian bloodshed abroad....
Do you feel like your being mocked, readers?
Only a couple of decades after the scandal, an academic study on Americans’ collective memory concluded that “the only vivid personal memory of Watergate was the feature film ‘All the President’s Men.’ ’’
Yet in subjects as disparate as campaign financing, media responsibility, and corporate ethics, Watergate is still regularly summoned as an explanation for today’s troubles.
“Watergate was the onset of the change in relationships between Republicans and Democrats,’’ says Tom Railsback, 80, a Republican congressman from Illinois from 1967 to 1983 and a member of the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Nixon. “It made the American people very cynical about government and created a real mistrust between the parties. Before Watergate, Republicans and Democrats traveled together, our families were friends, and we would seldom report out legislation that didn’t have support from members in both parties.’’
That's only true when it is something you want, Americans; if you ever noticed, anything Israel wants usually sails near-unanimously through Congress.
Watergate is Sheryl Longin’s first political memory. She remembers her family watching the hearings on TV, “seeing my parents so upset and shocked that the president lied,’’ she says.
Now we are if he doesn't.
By the mid-1990s, Longin was a screenwriter with an idea about a Watergate spoof in which The Post’s inside source on the scandal, code-named Deep Throat, turns out to be two teenage girls.
Some Hollywood f***s really are sick.
When Longin and director Andrew Fleming pitched their concept to studio executives, the suits worried that the public’s knowledge of Watergate had grown so thin that the movie - 1999’s “Dick’’ - would flop.
The public's knowledge of anything is sheer.
“Does it have to be about Nixon?’’ they asked.
It did, the writers insisted. And the movie worked: Even those who didn’t get its inside jokes identified with its cynicism.
I didn't see it, and will not.
I really hate to do this, and I know some will think I'm going way off the rails on this one; however, in light of my recent soul-searching and reexamination of history it must:
".... Nixon, too, knew that the Jews held the power to do him in, and he was constantly watchful to make sure he didn’t slight a rich Jew or displease an Israeli leader. As President, Nixon showered the nation of Israel with foreign aid money and military arms.
President Nixon Saves Israel From Disaster
In 1973, the arrogance of Israel resulted in a major shooting war between Israel and the neighboring Arab nations of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Arabs had the upper hand and their armies were advancing into Israeli territory. It seemed that all was lost and that Israel would be overthrown and extinguished as a nation. President Nixon, however, just in the nick of time ordered the U.S. Air Force and the whole U.S. military machine on alert.
The Air Force sent huge cargoes of tanks, munitions, and military supplies to Israel via gigantic, oversized C-5 transport aircraft. The Arab military could not compete with this overwhelming infusion of military aid by Nixon and the U.S. Armed Forces. The tide turned and the Arabs were forced to retreat. President Richard Nixon became the undisputed worldly Savior of Israel!
But a loyal servant is not honored by corrupt princes, and so both Nixon and his friend, Billy Graham, continued to be treated like mangy dogs at a royal barbecue by the Israeli and Jewish elite.
Nixon spoke of the Jews’ control of the press and media, including Hollywood....
Nixon, too, became the victim of the Jewish-owned media, and his many Zionist enemies used the pretext of Watergate to utterly destroy his presidency....
The Jewish-owned New York Times and Washington Post were constantly at war with President Nixon. The Zionists thought they had conquered America with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Belatedly they realized that Nixon, too, would not submit to being their lackey and go-for boy....
Did he really say:
“Politicians are often controlled by the media ... People have to realize that the Jews in the U.S. control the entire information and propaganda machine, the large newspapers, the motion pictures, radio and television, and the big companies. And there is a force that we have to take into consideration.”"
Also see: Iran says Watergate a Jewish conspiracy against Nixon
(Blog editor sighs)
Leave it to Iran to be the lone truth teller in this world right now.
I have belatedly come around to this view. Nixon too smart and too experienced. He was an intelligent man who had been around a while and understood the unseen and invisible forces at work out there. All presidents since have violated Constitution and law. You are only outed if you begin straying from the dezignated path.
Of course, my mouthpiece media controlled by you-know-who will never go near it. The cultural myth is good movie and a likely true accounting of the reporters' experience and surrounding events; however, nothing is ever as it appears.
But like the film they follow the money:
"Post-Watergate campaign funding reforms fade away; Candidates now rely mostly on private money" by Brian C. Mooney | Globe Staff, June 21, 2012
Forty years ago this week, five burglars were arrested in the Watergate complex in Washington, touching off a seismic scandal that brought down a president and bared rampant campaign finance abuses.
Not to minimize it, but we have had torturers and mass-murdering, war-criminal liars since and nothing.
Now, as the nation prepares for its 10th national election since Watergate, the linchpin of reforms enacted in the aftermath — public funding for presidential campaigns — is all but dead.
The system crumbled in recent years because of the successful campaigns of candidates who relied on privately raised funds rather than voluntarily accept spending limits that came with public money.
But before it became irrelevant....
This year, the federal Treasury thus far has dispensed only $285,470 to Buddy Roemer, the former Louisiana governor who suspended his candidacy last month after leaving no footprints as a Republican or third-party candidate, and $100,000 to Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor, another early washout in the crowded GOP field, who became the nominee of the Libertarian Pary.
Related: Sunday Globe Special: Americans Expect Election Fraud
The fix is in, folks. Mitt Romney will be president.
Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes all voluntarily took the public grant in the general election phase of their campaigns. In 2008, Barack Obama was the first major party nominee to opt out of the system, which puts limits on candidates’ spending, and he smashed all fund-raising records in the process.
This year, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have both said they will not accept public funding....
Both bought and paid for already.
Congress has made no serious attempt to update the public funding mechanism, nor has Obama, who in 2008 said he intended to.
What's one more broken promise, 'eh? He probably just flipped that comment off his cuff on the campaign trail.
The demise of public funding coincides with the increased deregulation of federal election spending that, because of court rulings, allows corporations, labor unions, and wealthy individuals to raise and spend unlimited amounts independent of the candidates and parties.
Reformers decry the influence of big money in the political system, but Bradley A. Smith, a professor at Capital University Law School in Ohio and former federal election commissioner, recently described campaign finance reform as “a failed 35-year experiment to allow members of Congress to regulate free speech.”
“It’s very hard to point to any concrete benefits from the public funding and you’ve got [reformers] who say it’s functioned well or served the country well, but they can’t point to any way in which it’s served the country well,” Smith said. One of the most flagrant abuses of the Nixon campaign of 1972 was the solicitation of numerous large corporate contributions that went into secret slush funds. They were as illegal before the post-Watergate reforms as they are today, Smith said.
Related: Latest On Rabbi Zakheim And The Missing $2.3 Trillion
They announced that a day before 9/11 and the plane(?) that hit the Pentagon hit the offices doing the audit?
The 1974 changes, however, brought stringent new requirements of public reporting of expenditures and contributions and set limits on the amounts, including the aggregate in a two-year period, that individuals could give to candidates, political action committees, and parties. The Nixon campaign had set up a vast array of political entities that allowed individuals to funnel what were then enormous sums — some of it arriving in cash-filled suitcases — into an array of front committees and secret slush funds.
I guess that's a little more dignified than cereal boxes.
Whatever happened to that case anyway?
Public funding functioned well until 1996, when eventual GOP nominee Bob Dole’s campaign exhausted its treasury in the primaries trying to offset the advertising onslaught of self-funded candidate Steve Forbes. This gave Bill Clinton, the incumbent Democrat, a huge financial advantage for several months before the party conventions, at which point the candidates could begin using public funding of $61.8 million apiece for the general election campaign.
With that lesson in mind, four years later Republican George W. Bush bypassed primary matching funds and raised a record amount to defeat Forbes and other challengers, principally John S. McCain, whose candidacy was hamstrung by the state-by-state spending limits that came with accepting public money.
In 2004, Democrats John Kerry, the eventual nominee, and Howard Dean declined matching funds in the primaries, and in 2008, only Democrat John Edwards, among the top candidates in either party, took public money during the nomination process.
“I lived through both McCain campaigns, which were witnesses to and victims of the demise of public funding,” said Trevor Potter, counsel to the McCain presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2008. He is now president of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which focuses on issues of money in politics.
Four years ago, McCain, a leading advocate of campaign finance reform, bypassed matching funds in the primaries, but as the party’s nominee, was the last nominee to take the public match in the general. He lost after being heavily outspent by the unconstrained Obama in the general election.
“Once a candidate has successfully shown the advantage of raising and spending unlimited funds, it makes no sense to stay in the system when the opponent is outside it,” Potter said. “It could have been fixed, but Congress has done nothing about it. It’s not a hot issue.”
As a result of the dropoff in candidates taking public financing, the fund, which in times past nearly ran out of money, has a record balance of $249 million, according to the Federal Election Commission. It is funded in $3 increments by taxpayers who voluntarily check off a box on their income tax returns. Participation has dropped precipitiously, from a high of 28.7 percent of all returns in 1980 to 6.4 percent last year, Internal Revenue Service data show.
I never check the box.
While candidates may no longer be availing themselves of public funding, the Democratic and Republican parties continue to cash in on one of its vestiges — money to help pay for their quadrennial presidential nominating conventions. Over the years, this amount has totaled $183 million, and this year each party will receive more than $18.2 million in federal aid from the presidential fund, the commission reports. That supplements $50 million approved by Congress for each host city to defray security costs, and even larger sums contributed by corporate and individual sponsors.
Also they can have a party while Americans suffer.
Related: Democrats to Have Dry Convention
Also see: Democrats Caught With Drawers Down
Repugs are no better; they were caught without a shirt.
That is what your campaign contribution is paying for, fool.
“If the purpose is to keep out private money because of its corrupting influence, the grant is so small you can’t run a modern party convention on it,” said Smith. “It’s just a subsidy for the party but doesn’t even accomplish what it’s intended to do.”
I don't know what the answer is, but putting more of a burden on the public's back for politics, I don't know.