On a article reprinted from the LA Review of Books on how -- belatedly -- we should realize how Progressive Nixon was

I was around as an adult when Nixon was president, even knew about his quiet campaign promise to Wall Street groups that he would keep the Vietnam war going long enough for companies to amortize the expense of re-tooling for military production. (It was his SECRET PLAN.)

But ironically, I only realized what good Nixon had done in environmental matters when Ronald Reagan was gutting every environmental protection on the books (with his Secty of Interior James "Jesus is coming back so we need to use it all up" Watt) and when each unkind cut was reported, it was mentioned that it had been signed into law by Richard Nixon.

So good for him.

Unfortunately, he also created the DEA -- transformed a White House informational department into a Godzilla-class monster that grew from a small outfit doing $75 million a year to nearly 5,000 Special Agents and a budget of $2.02 billion at the end of the Bush-Cheney Show in 2008. 

Nixon understood that while the feds couldn't prosecute people for having the wrong sort of political ideals (other than communism or anarchism or anything like it), they could -- and did -- bust anyone with the wrong political ideals AND a lid of grass.

Since then, every police force in America knows that, while they can't keep the cars, the gold, the weapons, the planes, the houses, and all the rest of the goodies they seize in a drug bust, they can turn them over to the DEA and the DEA in turn, will give them some sort of equivalent of federal money for "drug enforcement."

Still works today -- and the racial aspect of drug busts definitely exists, but mostly because it's a way to continue the monstrously huge money - maker without making the good white folk have to worry about their own rights being crushed.

The drug-enforcement-prison complex is pretty much as profitable as the Military-industrial one -- or maybe it's just another part of the same thing. Either way -- there's waay too much money involved in busting dopers and building prisons, too many people dependent on all those jobs, too much profit in "legitimate" pharmaceuticals  for anyone in political office to go up against it.

In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the philosopher Nietzsche said: "Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful"  and it was a pretty good and useful warning  -- so how much more so when that impulse to punish is so damned profitable? 

Nixon progressive? There is evidence he once spoke in favor of such things, but those things didn't get him elected to the Big Captain's Chair, so he went the other way... or as Attorney General John Mitchell -- the man Richard Nixon selected and put in charge of national law enforcement -- as Mitchell said most gleefully in a put-down to a Liberal reporter --- "This country's going so far to the right you won't be able to recognize it."

It's only because that's actually happened that anyone would look back toward Nixon and think of him as having been Progressive.
The environmental protections he signed into law are all gone. 

But a nation destroying itself in order to stop people from playing with their own reality --- that's Nixon's legacy.

(I remember driving down the coast road the day of Nixon's funeral,  listening to the live report on the radio. And the reporter's surprise when -- on a clear day -- the sky became dark and clouded and there was thunder. And all I could think to say to the late Mr. Nixon, thinking of the pain and deaths he caused, not only by extending that war for so many more years, but by destroying so lives in so many of the ways a chickenshit, terrified man could come up with, all I could say  was: "Hey -- don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way down to Hell."

Nixon Progressive? 

By the end of his hard hungry road to power, he was barely even human.



On Statements of Tolerance and Bullshit... or is that repetitive?

When I was growing up they used to quote some historical hypocrite to show us just how wonderful America is (and it is, BUT) to show us how much MORE wonderful America is than any other/ EVERY  second-rate piece-of-crap country in the world.
He'd said:
"I may not agree with what you said, but I will defend -- with my life, if need be  -- your right to say it."*
What a steaming pile of pompous self-serving crap.And not even true, even way back then.
Ralph Waldo Emerson observed ... waaay back then:
   "The only sin we never forgive each other is difference of opinion."
 Sure as hell not true today when people who speak their minds -- even about the quality of a movie or restaurant -- can receive death threats.

 The great social philosopher, the late Howard Gossage -- a man with a habit of actually observing what's going on and stating the facts as he saw them, once said to me while in his instructive mode:

"Tolerance means 'You stink but I don't mind holding my nose.' Well, b-b-buddy, I DO mind holding my nose."

In a society still dominated by various people's ideas of who is actually American, who has a right to live here and who doesn't, a society where it took more than three years until someone of media courage actually suggested that the fact of the color of the president's skin MIGHT just have something to do with the obsessively virulent hatred of him, and since -- in practice -- NO ONE defends anyone's right to say something, even less anyone's right to not have to LISTEN TO ** the effluent crap that comes pouring out of the mouths of rubes, a properly pretentious and idealistic fellow might say:

"I may not live the way you do but I would like to believe that I actually would defend -- with my life if need be -- your right to be who you are... if you'd only shut the fuck up about it."  

Have to modify it since you never really know until the situation arises.
*Yeah, yeah I know -- it was Voltaire who said it about defending the right for someone to say something -- at least I know it since Dick Lupoff took the time to tell me. And certainly Voltaire had the motivation to stand up for people's right to say whatever, having landed in the joint (The Bastille) and getting one month short of a solid year for smartassing Phillippe II (The Regent) in print.

** Some years ago, I was in Berkeley, had a bad day, went to Moe's books to find something to clater my viewpoint, cheer myself up ... couldn't get interested in anything and was coming out of the bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in a worse mood than when I'd gone in, when a sidewalk evangelist grabbed my jacket and began to lecture me on his version of moonlight... when I tried to pull away, he got mean, talking how I hate God and hellfire would await me and etc... and it was the wrong day for ANYONE to try to sell me ANYTHING ... so I let go (didn't "lose it" just decided to let it fly) and said:

"Listen -- I didn't live my life waiting for some sociopath in a cheap suit to threaten me with eternal punishment because I don't like being grabbed ... and I don't hate God -- I don't even know if there is one -- but I really REALLY dislike YOU, so just fuck off, you and the Holy Ghost you rode in one."

AND -- ok, immodest of me to mention, but I remember the moment so clearly because it so satisfied my ego needs --  I GOT APPLAUSE --- CHEERS AND APPLAUSE -- from the dozen or so people on the street -- street people who were hanging out and shoppers walking by. And I can tell you, having a dozen people cheer and applaud you for throwing down on someone who pissed you off .. .can really cheer up a foul mood.



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