History Whacked

February 10, 2012

Old men, they are now — the big three of the scandal of scandals.

The Washington Post blog The Reliable Source reported on a chance encounter in late January of John Dean, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., and the quick whiplash of history — this June will be 40 years, a generation in Biblical terms, of the infamous Watergate burglary which changed the face of American life.

(Illustration: Bob Woodward, John Dean, Carl Bernstein — found here).

According to the Post, Dean was in California for a legal conference and  with Cleveland attorney Jim Robenalt (who has credit for the above pix) decided to visit the Nixon Library:

Well, soon as they walked in, who should they see in the lobby but Carl Bernstein.
It was too crazy of a coincidence, so Robenalt blew his pal’s cover and approached the former Washington Post journalist.
“I said, ‘You don’t know me, but I’m here with John Dean.”
Bernstein grabbed Dean and walked him around the corner to. . . Bob Woodward.
The reporting duo who broke the Watergate story 40 years ago this spring (which, ultimately, sent Dean to prison for a couple months), were in the neighborhood for a speaking gig and also happened to drop by.
The guys sat down and talking about the old days, consulting a timeline display nearby — and it sounds like their fellow tourists felt like it was worth the price of admission:
“There was practically a flash mob around us,” Robenalt said, “everyone taking photos.”

Celebrities of history, with a nowadays touch (‘flash mob‘), but maybe this is a history far, far away and long, long ago.
Most everybody has heard about Watergate — of course, ‘Gate‘ has been added to just about every kind of scandal since then, i.e., Troopergate (Sara Palin shit), Bumpergate (a NASCAR uproar), and even Nipplegate, sometimes called Boobgate (Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl) — but the reality behind the event has most-obviously been lost in the fog of time.

Immediate history appears to mirror a conclusion that the actual Watergate scandal was nothing compared to the nowadays.

In the words of ‘gonzo journalism‘ originator and one of the most interesting of US writers ever, Hunter S. Thompson: “I miss Nixon. Compared to these Nazis we have in the White House now, Richard Nixon was a flaming liberal.”
Thompson was talking about George Jr. and his bunch — even commenting in one of his last articles, that Nixon was the “good old days.”
Currently, however, it’s a horror.

Right now, there’s not much to journalism itself with newspapers folding and national (and even local) media becoming a horn for government, with few exceptions.
And government is headed into a direction Nixon and his cronies couldn’t even imagine.

(Illustration found here).

In 2012, the shoe has found its way to the other foot.
A Washington PostABC News poll last week revealed that apparently Democrats have become Republicans.

The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
He pledged during his first week in office to close the prison within a year, but he has not done so.
Even the party base appears willing to forgive that failure.
The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of President George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.

Glenn Greenwald expanded on the poll in a post last Wednesday.
The money quote:

Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo.
A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist — even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. whacked
But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process.
As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: “We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?”
That is indeed “something,” as is the fact that Bush’s mere due-process-free eavesdropping on and detention of American citizens caused such liberal outrage, while Obama’s due-process-free execution of them has not.

A shame history has twisted back even more nefariously via a guy who gained hearts and votes on the concept of ‘change.’

During the opening stages of the Watergate scandal I was in J-school at the University of Florida.
Teachers and classmates watched the drama unfold (during the Senate Watergate hearing, where John Dean made his big splash — his comment, there’s a “cancer growing on the presidency,” became infamous — I had the mumps and spent a great deal of time in front of the TV) and wondered how it would all play out in the end.
One conclusion was that it was way-good for journalism.
In fact, after graduation and employment at a newspaper in Alabama, I kind of fashioned myself as a reporter after Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Carl Bernstein in ‘All the President’s Men‘ — looking sloppy and chain-smoking cigarettes.
And I was good, taking to a newsroom like a duck to water.

However, that was long, long ago in a weird place far, far away — the really, truly ‘good old days.’

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