On the morning of Friday, January 25, 2019, dark and early, NPR popped up on my clock radio and Steve Inskeep said the following words: “Roger Stone is set to appear in federal court. He was arrested in Florida.” Continue reading “The Art of Distraction…”
So, just last week, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump himself admitted it was because of Comey’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 US Presidential election. Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 3): People will NOT SEE this coming…”
When I started writing online, way back in 2004, my blogging was a combination of minutiae designed to keep a then-deployed husband in the loop on day-to-day life at home. We were not quite to the end of W’s first term, but it was already clear to me what his election meant to the country, in terms of an erosion of civil liberty, of a dramatic (but by no means complete) shift to the right, and long term lasting damage to our reputation as a world leader by his creation of the USA Patriot Act.
In an ever-increasing feeling of depression and anger over last November, I’ve lashed out repeatedly at people who still seem to think that we are operating “business-as-usual” even in the face of abject corruption and cronyism not seen in decades in this country, going all the way back to the Gilded age of the robber barons.
The Republicans won and they’ve wasted no time showing us liberals what they think of us. They don’t give an actual damn who they harm at this point. They’ve done such a good job snowing their base, those folks will happily walk straight into their graves still believing that the people they elected to office care about anything but their own personal economy and to hell with their constituents. Yes, yes, those town halls are sure something, aren’t they? Meaningless political theatre. It makes the proles feel good, so why not? At least until things get violent, anyway.
Meanwhile, Bernie supporters who voted Anyone But Clinton are still making feeble attempts at explaining their relevance to the future, because they think their candidate still means something. He doesn’t, of course, except as the perfect foil for the Democrats whose last, best hope was to take the White House, and who failed to push enough of the agenda to ensure that would happen. He won’t last past 2018, if I’m guessing right.
In the heat of frustration earlier in the day, on Facebook (that bastion of modern nonsense and bluster that passes, for now, as something resembling a communication tool, if only for one’s personal echo chamber), I started to outline a timeline of damage.
I’ve explored that timeline throughout my Dots posts, but not in anything like a complete way.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I am considering creating a video timeline, which (at least until the government figures out how to shut down YouTube) might be the best way to explain what happened and how we got here.
In the interest of generating the outline, for future reference, here’s my take on the whole shebang, from Nixon’s disgraceful departure through to present day.
I can’t provide proof because a lot of what I think happened because, frankly, either the evidence is gone or it’s still out of view, thanks to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA).
So while I’m saying this is what I think, I have no proof that this is what actually happened. I can infer, guess, or in some cases prove that these things are what happened, but I do not have either the time or the funding to go and research these statements. So let’s say this is all fiction. It “could” have happened the way I’ve laid it out. Or not. You be the judge.
I’m stealing data from Wikipedia’s existing timeline to save myself the typing time, but you’re welcome to go visit the original and see for yourself what I’ve edited out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_history)
- Civil Rights Act of 1960
- CIA U-2 spy plane shot down over Soviet airspace.
- The 50-star flag is adopted.
- John F. Kennedy elected
- President Eisenhower warns of the “military–industrial complex” in his farewell address
- President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
- The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution grants electors to the District of Columbia
- Bay of Pigs Invasion
- The Freedom Rides begin in Washington D.C.
- Vietnam War (1955-1973) continues
- Cuban missile crisis: A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law.
- Medgar Evers is assassinated
- March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gives “I Have a Dream” speech
- The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, carried out by a KKK splinter group, kills four African-American girls
- The Atomic Test Ban Treaty is signed.
- President John F. Kennedy assassinated
- Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as President
- Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy, killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
- President Johnson establishes The Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
- The Clean Air Act signed into law.
- The Twenty-fourth Amendment eliminates the poll tax
- The Beatles herald the British Invasion of pop music
- President Johnson proposes the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
- President Johnson signs The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
- Robert McNamara helps orchestrate the Tonkin Gulf incident (a false flag operation with ‘deliberately skewed’ intelligence, used to expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam).
- The bodies of three missing civil rights activists, working to register voters as a part of the Freedom Summer, are found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson defeats Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.
- African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated
- “Bloody Sunday” (Alabama State Troopers severely beat and used tear gas against the nonviolent demonstrators on the Selma to Montgomery marches)
- March Against the Vietnam War:
- President Johnson signs the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, establishing Medicaid and Medicare in the United States. He also signs the Voting Rights Act
- The Watts riots in Los Angeles, result in the deaths of 34 people.
- President Johnson signs the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, establishing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- The Immigration Act of 1965 is signed into law, abolishing the National Origins Formula.
- The Higher Education Act of 1965 is passed.
- Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position.
- Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court establishes the rule that becomes “Miranda Rights”
- National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.
- The Freedom of Information Act is signed into law.
- The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is passed.
- The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing succession to the Presidency and procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, was ratified.
- The United States Department of Transportation is established.
- Loving v. Virginia: The Supreme Court overrules the prohibition of interracial marriage.
- Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice to serve on the Supreme Court.
- Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, prompting riots in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Kansas City and Louisville; leaving 36 people dead.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1968, providing equal housing protection, was signed into law.
- Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on the Presidential campaign trail
- The United States signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Chicago City Police clash with anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- The Gun Control Act of 1968 is signed into law.
- Former Vice President Richard Nixon is elected President
- The Stonewall riots mark the start of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.
- Senator Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne and ruining any future bid for the White House.
- Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins land on the moon, and Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.
- The Woodstock Festival takes place in White Lake, New York
- Sesame Street premieres on National Educational Television.
- President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.
Okay, so that establishes many of the changes over the course of a decade, without laying out the horrible details of the Vietnam war, which ran throughout the entire decade.
From here on, things get truly ugly, as the country struggles with changes in policy and freedom for young adults, women, and people of color. And that ugliness continues for the next 40 years, even as we fool ourselves into believing Johnson’s glorious vision of the Great Society, built on FDR’s vision of the post-Depression world. In hindsight, even as it appears that we’ve won freedom to choose and we’ve come to believe in the American Dream, that dream has become a nightmare. Fake news. The worst propaganda story possible, because it worked as a carrot for the common man, the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” who voted Trump believing naively that Trump and his cronies cared about anything other than rising to power.
Buckle your seat belts. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The management bears no responsibility for lost limbs or life. Ready?
In 1970, Nixon’s Southern Strategy started the shift, turning Southern Democrats away from the party and converting them to Republicans. (Remember this fact, when your Libertarian friends want to try and rewrite history. The racists left to join the Republicans under Nixon.)
When Jimmy Carter went on to win the presidency in 1976, beating Gerald Ford (who took over for Nixon, the only President to date who ever resigned from office), the shift from Southern Democrat to Republican was complete. And at about this time, I got involved in politics, working in support of Carter’s run for president at the local level. Ambitious work for a 12 year-old kid, but then I was rooting for McGovern in 1972, and by then the racists had already fled the Democratic party, leading to Nixon’s landslide victory.
In that same election, Carter’s administration saw filibuster-proof Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. (See: House vs Senate control by party.) Note that this didn’t save Carter’s presidency for a second term, because on November 4, 1979 (a little over a year prior to elections in 1980), Iranian students took over the US embassy and held over 50 embassy employees hostage. President Carter’s response was considered too weak, and some suggested that this is how Ronald Reagan rose to power.
I explained some of this here and some more of this here, but the big part is really here. (Don’t just look at the pretty bright letters. Click through and READ these three posts, and every link embedded in them.
Done? Great. Moving on.
I invite you to read everything I’ve written since November 8th. It’s not all that much, really, but it’s not above me to say “I told you so.”
Tonight, Trump launched a direct attack on Syria, doing precisely what he (and a lot of theoretically liberal apologists accused Hillary Clinton of planning to do throughout her presidential campaign).
“But her emails…”
Save it. You did this. Own it.
Today is a day for quiet celebration and for concern.
Yesterday was my 49th birthday. Today is the 40th anniversary of Richard M. Nixon’s landslide victory against George McGovern; 40 years of watching and waiting through the rhetoric, the endless punditry, the concession speeches and victory cheers. It’s been 30 years since my first voting year.
In the end, despite heaps of cynicism and skepticism, my electoral college guesses proved right. I recorded my bets when states hit about 60% of precincts reporting in clear majorities, 75% or higher in closer races. I spent most of last night, into the wee hours of the morning, watching Huffington Post’s Election Results. This morning I checked back in and saw no overnight surprise upsets.
Interestingly, only a few of those listed in the Washington Post’s Pundit accountability summary got the numbers close to right. Three assumed Florida would go to Governor Romney, two to President Obama (the more likely outcome in the light of day), with the votes for third-party candidates appearing to affect Governor Romney (Gary Johnson) somewhat more than President Obama (Jill Stein), though neither one did enough damage to change the final numbers:
Josh Putnam, Davidson College: Obama 332, Romney 206. ”Everything above is based on a graduated weighted average of polls in each state conducted in 2012,” Putnam wrote in explaining his methodology. “The weighting is based on how old a poll is. The older the poll is the more it is discounted. The most recent poll is given full weight.”
Markos Moulitsas: Obama 332, Romney 206. “Currently, national polling assumes a big dropoff from registered voters to likely voters. I don’t believe that’ll be the case, and we’re certainly not seeing it in the early vote—Democratic turnout is up. And the RV models have been more accurate historically.”
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight: Obama 303, Romney 235. ”The model estimates that Mr. Romney would need to win the national popular vote by about one percentage point to avert a tossup, or a loss, in the Electoral College,” Silver writes.
Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium: Obama 303, Romney 235. “In terms of EV or the Meta-margin, [Obama has] made up just about half the ground he ceded to Romney after Debate #1.”*
Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect: Obama 303, Romney 235. “[I]f Obama wins on Tuesday, the political science on debates will have won out; they can shift the short-term situation, but they don’t fundamentally change the direction of an election.”
*NOTE: Since I first published this post, the Washington Post has revised Silver’s estimate to include Florida’s numbers, putting him up with the 332/206 numbers.
Here in Maryland, as in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington (as well as Iowa, where a judge’s status was in question because of his support for Marriage Equality), we have affirmed that Marriage Equality is right. In Maryland in particular, we have upheld the right for same-sex couples to marry by a majority of 52%.
Maryland also affirmed the Dream Act, and will now be able to hold our politicians involved in corrupt or criminal activity accountable, suspending them without pay. While I’m not thrilled to see gambling expansion in my state, the barn door’s already open, and there’s no turning back now, I guess. In Colorado, for the first time, a state (Colorado) has made recreational marijuana use legal, which will likely push the question to the Supreme Court. With luck, the Court will also address jailing for marijuana use and start to cut our prison population as well.
In general, I’m happy to have a quiet house today, and the sense that things will be calmer, at least for a while. Friends will find a way to mend relationships torn by political grief and misunderstanding.
Though the fiscal cliff still looms large, congress will hold its lame duck session shortly and (with luck) will see a way to steer clear of the threat to our programs. If not, I hope President Obama and the confirmed Democratically controlled Senate will find a way to smooth out the mess the Tea Party-controlled House has made of our politics in the last four years.
Meanwhile, I’m turning my attention to unfinished projects over what remains of November. I have a novel that needs serious revision, assorted tasks for work that are near completion, and the rest of 2012 to survive, assuming the world doesn’t end on December 21st. There are bills to pay, tax forms to file, chores that always need doing.
Life goes on, even as we fit the new changes into our lives and hope for the best.
I mentioned earlier that I grew up in a single-parent household. Dad was as devoted to his role as a Democrat as some were to their various religious sects. By observing my father as he worked to protect and improve the School Without Walls (SWW), I learned early how much politics affects our day-to-day lives.
Dad, part of a group of students, teachers and parents joined together at the height of the 1968 riots, became the representative and eventual leader of the program, using John Bremer’s Parkway Program in Philadelphia as a guide. Based on Bremer’s educational philosophy, SWW followed a path of learning and exploration that widened the base of each student’s experience far past the traditional chalkboard and into the community at large.
SWW suffered through the Rochester City School District’s repeated attempts to shut the program down, forming grass-roots movements that helped preserve the program so that each year it grew stronger and more stable. Over the first three years, the school community held long meetings to work on strategy and to protest the nearly continual threat to the school’s existence.
In 1972, when I was in 4th grade, I began my life-long love-hate relationship with American politics. My school assignment was (and remains) a classic: Follow the election and report back what you learned. The 1972 Presidential Election was a major life lesson for me, because I was rooting for Senator George McGovern.
There were a lot of things happening in 1972. On TV we were watching All in the Family, Maude, M*A*S*H, and other shows in addition to the news. I was so wrapped up in family TV time I had goldfish named Huntley, Brinkley and Walter (because Cronkite was harder to pronounce, I guess). Dad had reel to reel tapes of the Beatles, Pete Seeger, Hair, Buffy Ste. Marie, and others. I was as much into the anti-war movement as an eight-year-old could be.
So when Senator McGovern became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, I knew who I wanted for my president.
The night of the election I sat in the kitchen, watching our small portable TV (featured prominently on our round, white table, very similar to the one pictured above). I sat and swiveled around, because sitting still wasn’t one of my strong suits, watching the returns as they rolled in. As the hours rolled by, I watched in horror as Nixon took state after state.
The experience shook me so, I cried.
I recall being in Sun Valley Idaho at a relatively posh (for us) hotel room watching TV on August 8th, 1974, hearing Dad holler at the TV screen “They got the son of a bitch,” as Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. During our Spring Break in 1976, we took a trip to Washington, DC. I believe it was our first, though I could be remembering wrong. It was a long time ago.
Dad took us to the FBI, the Mint, on a tour of the White House and Washington Monument, and to the Capitol, where we happened across Senator McGovern on his way elsewhere. I don’t remember what I said, only that he was substantially taller than Dad, very gracious and willing to shake my hand.
Senator McGovern died two days ago, having served a long and respected life, even as he is most remembered for that bitter defeat. As our country has become increasingly divided, it saddens me that the legacy people will remember most is Nixon’s landslide victory, however ill-gotten it might have been, and Gerald Ford’s subsequent pardoning of a man who should have gone to jail. Nixon set a precedent that is so firmly in place today, in our current election, that the Republican candidate can say anything and still be a serious threat, even in the face of what his predecessors have done.
I hope, for our sake, we can learn from history. I fear that we will not, and that we will pay a far higher price than anyone might imagine when we go to the polls two weeks from today.
Rest in peace, Senator. I believed in you then and I still believe in you now.
Huffington Post: McGovern’s Patriotism — And How the 2012 Campaign Dishonors It
The Washington Post: George McGovern, the man who never gave up