Archive for April, 2007

Where are the Nixon’s Nixons of olde?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

I picture Richard Nixon sitting around alone, watching through the three network news programs — special focus on the hated CBS News, Washington Post and New York Times at hand — the Enemies.  He watches Spiro Agnew work in his role as hatchet-man, pleased when he says “nattering nabobs of negativity”.  Why, Nixon himself had told Buchanan and Safire when they passed their proposed slogan to them that “neener weiners of negativity” needed some tweaking!

The smile turns to a frown when Nixon reads through a New York Times editorial that labels Spiro Agnew “Nixon’s Nixon”.  His face turns red, steam runs out of his ear.

“Nobody.  Is.  Nixon’s.  Nixon.  There is only One Nixon, and I am Nixon.  Goddamnedit!”

Pausing to reflect, Nixon makes a mental note.  “I must destroy this ‘Nixon’s Nixon‘.”  Nixon then clears out the path to Agnew’s fall from grace, such that he was at a stage of grace, and so it was.

I suspect there are predecessors for Eisenhower’s use of Nixon — but within the framework of the president — vice-president relationship I just wouldn’t know what it would be.  Perhaps Nixon really was the first Nixon — the first vice-president to be granted enough responsibilities — Henry Wallce was said at the time to be a bell-weather of vice presidential power in the same way Walter Mondale is now —  and walk back from him and you see John Garner actually worked against his president, Franklin Roosevelt, helping the anti- court packers.

Agnew was a little more crude than Nixon — difficult to ever picture him being sent out to the kitchen-table debate with a Kruschev — and Nixon not exactly ever coming out as the statesman that Ike seemed to be.  Maybe I’m viewing these the individuals through a false lense, but the path from Eisenhower — Nixon to Nixon — Agnew is a steep slide downward.  Try to imagine Agnew in the presidency and figure out who “Nixon’s Nixon’s Nixon” might be.  Ann Coulter?

This week, we’ve witnessed a further degeneration of this dichotomy.  Witness the attacks coming from Dick Cheney on the Democrats, against the backdrop of a sometimes congenial respectful statement of “disagreements”.  Bush pulls off the “statesman” not at all — and doesn’t appear to be even trying — Cheney lacks the wink and a nod found in Agnew.
Beyond which, haven’t we already established that Cheney is the man in charge here — literally hiding in the bushes, as that soon to be iconic photograph and video shows?  The effect is a lesson of lack of style.  We need a new Nixon.  And to compliment Nixon, we need a new Nixon.

Once more into the abyss

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Y’know, when I linked to this in the “erstwhere” category to the side with the comment “a cryptic post made stranger by the fact that I happen to know what he is referring to”, I was evidentally talking out of my butt, to a certain extent. I don’t know what he was talking about.

Which is that I didn’t have a clue who “Prince” referred to. Apparently “Prince” refers to Star Trek: Voyager star and Lyndon Larouche accolyde of sorts, Robert Beltran — official Theater Director and Acting Coach for the Larouche Youth Movement.

What? You don’t believe me?

Actually what I had been wondering was when Dennis King would get around to sticking up whatever he was going to stick up on the Death of Ken Kronberg. (Disclaimer, as this is the first attack-line from Larouchians against him — and what a nonsensical attack it is!–, slightly distorted but I’ll straighten it out: Dennis King once wrote an article that appeared in High Times magazine). This is the internal memo that did it. We all presume.

I’ve long been bemused by Larouche’s current line of attack against “baby boomers”, the Larouche Youth Movement (again: name me one other organization with the word “Youth Movement” in it) having been started in 1999, reportedly, for the purpose of “solving the Baby Boomer Problem”. (“Part 9″ in that series of posts I did at the end of last year and beginning of this year.  I actually have a certain pride in that series of posts.).  Dennis King’s link to Larouche discussing the “baby boomer problem”, so as to fit together the storyline, is almost arbitrary: he could have linked to any number of pieces (this, for instance), and to any number of quotes.  I must admit — Shedding off the Baby boomers and moving onto a younger, more supple age, all the while “dividing and conquering” within your ranks, does make sense in terms of operating a cult.  I find fascinating the manner in which the LYM has absorbed the “baby-boomer” meme, and indeed some things about that Robert Beltran interview crack me up.

Dennis King’s linking to the FACTnet page is somewhat strange, only in so far as — for whatever reason that message board chooses to dump all of its discussions into one topic forever. Hence this begins in February of 2006, and to get to everything about Ken Kronberg, you have to jump to the bottom. Presumably King might just excerpt the comments pertaining to Kronberg, and stick them on a page at his server.
Like so:

As someone who also knew Ken, and knows people still in the orbit of WorldComp-PMR Printing, to have read the briefing where the organization spits on the “baby-boomers” who commit suicide was one of the most despicable things I have read by Lyn, even beyond his frantic postings about Jeremiah Duggan, since this involves someone who gave thirty plus years of his life to a megalomaniac. The best thing we can do is be life affirming and show people still locked inside that there is life on the other side of bizarro world. Perhaps LaRouche’s postings about “baby-boomers” committing suicide was his fearful recollection of his personal suicidal tendencies from the 1950s. (borisisbad)

AND

I went to Ken’s funeral last week, and there was a surreal quality to the easy mixing of past and current members, especially at the reception following the service. Members who quit 5, 10, 20, even 30 years ago circulated freely, chatting with current members about children, high school sports, colleges. I got the distinct feeling that the psychosis of the morning briefing has less and less of a hold on many of the current members. I discussed this with Fernando, whom I greeted as the antichrist in league with the black guelph. After a good laugh, we agreed that members must not believe the nonsense they’re forced to spout; otherwise how could Fernando be greeted as a long-lost friend.

It was heartbreaking to talk to some current members, now out of a job since Worldcomp’s and PMR’s bankruptcy. They face the job market in their mid-50s, with few skills and a checkered work history. Listen dear friends: It’s never too late to quit. The real world seems scary, but it can be wonderful. I can’t promise miracles; you may have to work low-wage jobs the rest of your life. So, would you rather work low-wage, or no-wage jobs for Larouche, and be subjected to constant harangues about how ineffectual all you useless eater baby boomers are. If you think facing the job market now is tought, stay in the org another 10 years. Then you’ll be in your mid-60s, Lyn wil be dead, Helga will be the sybaritic titular head of the org, and the day-to-day ops will be run by some thirty-something who hates you and wishes you would jump off an overpass. You may not have to quit. You may be kicked out. Or pushed out.

Commented here:

I knew the deceased very well, and I think the odds are good that the “morning briefing” referred to in the Benton article triggered his suicide. The fact that this so-called briefing was written by Tony Papert, according to Benton, would be significant first because Papert is used by LaRouche to launch purges, and second because Papert hated Ken Kronberg and his wife passionately, although I do not know the reasons. Papert hates a lot of people.
I’ve developed a suspicion that my blogging on what can only be called a hobby horse has an effect of (a) turning off and confounding readers of my blog, largely a boiler-plate liberal political blog — sometimes a bit more askew than boiler-plate (I probably should force some more conspiratorial ramblings in, to live up to the name)– and (b) giving me a completely different audience — one who has zeroed in on the topic of Larouche for one reason or the other.  I particularly like Dianne Bettag, — 2 comments means Bettag is reading this.
At a certain point, beyond a certain morbid fascination in trying to untangle this guy and answer a multitude of seemingly unanswerable questions (all of them under the umbrella of “WTF?”) — it becomes a strange public service. I acknowledge people like Bebe.  I’m not saving the world or anything, but what the Hey!  Bebe needs to know the extent of what his (her?) friend is getting into, as Larouche has bounced about in a strange orbit in a strange corner of our political spectrum since the late 1960s.
I have occasionally thought of quarantaining my postings on Larouche to maybe a once a week schedule.  But I’ve shrugged that off.  This is a goddamned blog — nothing more, nothing less — I shouldn’t overthink it.  I do want the “Oregon Blogs” site to quit correlating this category into its “Oregon -centered blog posts” designation, though.  I don’t understand why it does that.

Boris Yeltsin stands atop that tank, and then what?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Granted, the funniest thing about this is the deadpan delivery of the translator (which is the way any comment by Hugo Chavez works), but, the preceeding transcript is thus:

President Yeltsin. Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear journalists: I want to say, first of all, that when I came here to the United States for this visit at the invitation of the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, I did not at that time have the degree of optimism with which I now am departing.

And this is all due to you because, coming from my statement yesterday in the United Nations, and if you looked at the press reports, one could see that what you were writing was that today’s meeting with President Bill Clinton was going to be a disaster. [Laughter] Well, now for the first time, I can tell you that you’re a disaster. [Laughter]

President Clinton. Be sure you get the right attribution there. [Laughter]

I remember watching the news reports of his re-election which tied him as “The Comeback Kid”, what with him having overcome an approval rating of, reportedly, seven percentage points to win an easy re-election victory in the run-off.  I called shenanigans, the shenanigans being merely in the realm of what was termed “Authoritarian Democracy”, which came in the control that the government exerted over the media.  It seems kind of inevitable that Yeltsin would fall away, giving a tearful and apologetic farewell address, and his self-picked successor, a former KGB head, would carry the day forward — with ever more “Authoritarian Kleptomancy”.
An interesting game is to name all of Russia’s leaders, starting with Lenin.  The glitch comes in after Brezhnev.  Name the two Soviet premiers between him and Gorbachev.  I dare you to.

Yeltsin’s Dance Machine.  A model of perfect health, I tells you.
……………….

In 1989, Yeltsin had to account to the Supreme Soviet how he had ended up at a police post outside Moscow dripping wet and wearing only his underwear.

He said he had been attacked, his head covered in a sack and dumped off a bridge into a river. Top communists said he had been drunk while on his way to a tryst with a lover.

In 1992, he played the spoons, a popular musical instrument in Russia, on the head of Askar Akayev, the president of ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.

In 1994, Yeltsin shocked officials during a picnic on a boat steaming down the Volga by suddenly ordering his border guards to toss his spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov into the cold river.

Officials marking the departure of the last Russian troops from Germany the same year looked on aghast as he stumbled after a champagne lunch, seized the baton from the leader of a military band and insisted on doing the conducting himself.

Later the same day, he grabbed a microphone at a reception and sang tunelessly.

In perhaps the most celebrated incident, Yeltsin failed to emerge from his plane for talks with Ireland’s prime minister during a stopover at Shannon airport in 1994, leaving his hosts stunned on the tarmac.

An aide said he was exhausted, not drunk, after a US visit.

Fatigue was used to explain a 1997 gaffe when Yeltsin startled listeners in Sweden with a dramatic pledge to cut Russia’s nuclear arsenal and seek a total world ban.

A Kremlin spokesman said Yeltsin had made the comment after a long day of meetings.

Never the one to respect political or gender correctness, television cameras caught him at a 1995 meeting with foreign correspondents playfully tweaking the backside of a secretary.

Something I meant to air out, but never got around to. The “N” word, redux.

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

03-26-2007, Time Magazine, "10 Questions for Chris Rock"

There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding the N word recently. Are you ever going to stop using it? Nyamisi Muindi, BUFFALO, NEW YORK

Will I stop using the N word? I won't even say "the N word." Will I stop saying "nigger"? Nope, not me. Never. I'll stop using it in church. Is that O.K.?

……….

I post this in part because of the website linked to a comment made with this blog entry that was tangantly-related to the Don Imus controversy, but centered around a particularly strange moment when the word was used.  I had thought I heard that Chris Rock was one of the celebrities who, at the time of the Michael Richards controversy (more closely related to the controversial word, as he used the word and Imus only had a stated policy of when and where his on-air team did “n–er jokes”, hence we get the racial stereotypes and slurs, but not that word) — made a commitment that, no, the word is tarnished.  That seemed out of character for Chris Rock, but then again his big influence, Richard Pryor, had an epiphany and stopped using the word that had been a staple of his stand up career.  Nay, I look into it — starting simply with the website provided for me and going back to that Time Magazine feature– and see that Chris Rock continues with its prominent use in his stand-up.  Which is his prerogative.

Thinking about the word , and its current use and line of defense in terms of generational divides, and attempting to formulate the reason for my aversion to it– the best I can say is that it shows an irreverent attitude toward history.  The worst I can say is that it shows an ignorance toward history.  Either way, it’s a little too a-historical for comfort.

summing up the lessons learned from the –um– “multimedia manifesto” (why must we call it a manifesto?)

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

I suppose I should have flown over to Virginia and apologized for raping his soul. If I, and a number of the other 5,999,999,999 others who also raped his soul, had done that this might never would have happened. I thought it was consensual, I swear! When his soul said “no” — somewhere where I and his soul were at “Third Base” — I thought it was a kinky bit of role playing. Ah well. I wasn’t the only one who raped his soul, thus putting him in that corner.  And as the ‘Dirty Dancing’ line goes “Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner.”

In summary: I don’t know how airing that videotape shed much light on anything at all.  The way NBC branded the video so that its use would be a permanent product placement for the network was fascinating, though.

like a sphynx rising from the ashes… so comes … the OCA… or something.

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

One of those things that the Willamette Week has been dripping out — first with this news item and later with a “Murmuring” and a piece by the “Queer Window” columnist (God, his adolescence in Kennewick must have tough) — which is a sort of “huh” — is the current strategy of the OCA to return to their anti-gay initiative glory runs through…

… recruiting Russian and former Soviet Union immigrants.  Rummaging around their churches
I can’t quite wrap my mind around that concept, and I’m having trouble imagining them as a particularly strong voting bloc.  But I guess it’s more than they have right now.

An inexact Thought Experiment

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

This is a line that I hear used from time to time, most recently with the Supreme Court ruling over late term abortions.  “If Gore had been president, this would not have happened.”
For the record, if Gore had been elected President in 2000, we would currently be in year 3 of the first George W Bush administration.  Think about it.
At any rate, I think a couple of the ‘liberal’ judges might have retired during Gore’s four year term.  Maybe.  Which would have left Bush to replace his two Justices during … right around when he did in this version of reality…

Assuming we had a President Bush in there and not a — say, President McCain.  In which case President McCain would have replaced those two Justices … right about when he did.

Junk Food.

Friday, April 20th, 2007

The problem with Voodoo Doughnuts is that in the end, you are standing outside a tiny room with a buck and a quarter less in exchange for a Doughnut with Fruit Loops placed on the frosting.  It is a genius business model, I suppose — a drunken mob wander in and out with doughnuts with bacon stuck to them, leaving swiftly enough — by business design — so that another mob — this one of wandering goths, perhaps, can wander in.  The cash rushes in.  A veritable Portland Institution.  More power to them!
On a whim and because I passed by it, I stood in line at Ben and Jerry’s on “Free Cone Day”.  The weather patterns of frequent shower-clusters rushing in at a moment’s notice shortened the line compared to last year, where the line was prohibitive enough that I passed on it.  Once in the Ben and Jerry’s, the man ahead of me asked “Hey!  Is this Dave Matthews?”  Sure.  Dave Matthews.  Phish.  The Greatful Dead.  On an endless loop.  And all merged together into a black vortex, a trinity, the alpha and omega Holy Trinity of Ben and Jerry’s background music.