Friday, August 17, 2007

A fable too over-the-top for Hollywood?

 I had to wonder when I found this jewel:

Most of us, myself included, tend to take our democratic institutions for granted. They were there when we were born. They were there for 200+ years. The idea that the US could somehow no longer be a representative democracy does not resonate at the gut-level, even when events should demonstrate the vulnerability of our system.

Yet, twice in the last 4 decades, the US Constitution has come very close to extinction. Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, each occurred in the setting of a war begun with a series of lies, and continued beyond the point when everyone knew the ultimate outcome would be unaffected, but was pursued just for the vanity of those in power.

He is, of course, referring to then-Nixon and now-Bush.

He starts his hyperbole by praising a judge for getting angry and imposing a maximum sentence as a result of that anger. Given almost any set of principles, no one would support a judge acting out of anger. The reality is that they do, but it's not something that is praiseworthy. Yet this guy does find it praiseworthy because he isn't commenting from principle, he's just anti-Republican so he doesn't care why the judge acted like he did.

As a result of the judge's anger, varied and assorted people turn on Nixon, and Watergate comes to light. All fine and good until...

Without Judge Sirica, there would have been no John Dean, no special prosecutor, and no impeachment.

Uh, Paul, there was no impeachment, with or without Judge Sirica. Nixon wasn't impeached. Maybe I should say that a third time: Richard M. Nixon wasn't impeached. There is evidence to support the position that he was about to be impeached, but he resigned before it could happen, so it never happened. There was no impeachment. Those leaning leftward ho like to ignore that because they can't stand the fact that the only president impeached in the 20th century was, ahem, a Democrat.

It was clear I was reading a tale from an alternate universe. I read on:

Dallek's book, "Nixon and Kissinger", indicates that both realized they could start ending the Vietnam war in 1971, but wanted to wait so it would not impact Nixon's re-election chances---i.e., ~20,000 additional Americans lost their lives for Nixon's re-election.

Uh, that's not right either. It's unclear where he starts/stops his calculations, but according to Wikipedia US KIA's in Vietnam from 1970 through 1973 were less than 10,000. (There entry, inexplicably, then totals casualties from 1974 through 1998.) If you don't include 1970 then US KIA's were less than 3,000. So where in the wide, wide world of statistics does this guy get his figure of 20,000?

Who knows? He never sources anything. Besides, it soon became clear that he was too busy fabricating a vast right-wing conspiratorial coup attempt that was thwarted...by Hurricane Katrina.

That's when I realized I was reading the outline for a work of alternate reality fiction, so I stopped. It was so boringly familiar, but even by the standards of today's Hollywood, it's all so very over the top.

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