There are pundits already lathering themselves up about how this is the most seriously dangerous inflection point in all of American history — which is, thankfully, untrue. It’s probably not even the most dangerous time in living memory, among other reasons because things have changed in response to earlier crises. In the New York Review of Books, Robert G. Kaiser reviews a new batch of Nixon studies:
… Thanks to his gross abuses of presidential power symbolized by the Watergate scandal and to his own decision to record the details of his presidency on tape, Nixon seems destined to remain an object of fascination, amazement, scorn, and disgust for as long as historians pay attention to the American presidency. When the subject matter is their foreign policy, Nixon’s sidekick, Henry A. Kissinger, will be right there beside him…
Vietnam was the defining issue of Nixon’s presidency, as he knew it would be. Months before he became president, Nixon assured H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, his closest aide, that “I’m not going to end up like LBJ, Bob, holed up in the White House, afraid to show my face on the street. I’m going to stop that war. Fast.” Antiwar protesters had driven Lyndon Johnson into early retirement, which allowed Nixon to become president. Nixon played to the country’s war weariness in his 1968 campaign, implying that he had a plan to end the war.
But he had no plan. Ironically, even before he took office Nixon personally sabotaged an opportunity he might have had to avoid Johnson’s fate. The books under review suggest that this is one of the stories that will continue to stain Nixon’s reputation.
In late October 1968, when Johnson’s negotiators in Paris finally reached an agreement with North Vietnam to end American bombing and begin negotiations on a political settlement, Nixon took an enormous personal risk to derail the peace talks before they could begin. At the time, polls showed that Hubert H. Humphrey, Nixon’s Democratic opponent and Johnson’s vice-president, was rising fast—so fast that Nixon feared he might lose the presidency because of the peace deal. So he performed a dirty trick that foreshadowed many more to come.
In September the Nixon campaign learned that something big would soon be announced from Paris. Haldeman wrote a memo to Nixon on September 17, 1968 saying that he learned from a source that Johnson would likely announce a halt in the bombing campaign in mid-October. In a diary entry of January 13, 1972, Haldeman identified this source as Kissinger, recording that “We’ve got to remember he [Kissinger] leaked things to us in ’68.” Kissinger at the time was a Harvard professor busily cultivating relationships with both the Humphrey and Nixon camps, apparently hoping for a big job in Washington whoever won the White House that year. Kissinger had been a consultant to the US delegation, although he wasn’t directly involved in the negotiations when he visited Paris in September 1968. Richard Holbrooke, a member of the delegation, said that “Henry was the only person outside the government we were authorized to discuss the negotiations with.”
On October 31, the day Johnson announced the suspension of bombing of North Vietnam and the imminent beginning of peace negotiations, Mitchell called Chennault, said he was speaking “on behalf of Mr. Nixon,” and told her it was “very important that our Vietnamese friends understand our Republican position”—that Thieu should wait for a better deal from Nixon. The same afternoon the FBI watched Chennault pay a call on Bui Diem, Thieu’s ambassador. A National Security Agency listening device in Thieu’s Saigon office heard him tell aides that Nixon wanted him to wait for the next president to take office. Thieu did refuse to send negotiators, and no peace talks began. Nixon won the election by a whisker—a popular vote margin of 0.7 percent, though he won in the electoral college more easily…
Kissinger, according to Burr and Kimball, favored a further escalation of the war with an aggressive bombing campaign against the North in 1969. Nixon authorized planning for such a campaign. Kissinger’s staff and Pentagon officials conceived Operation Duck Hook to be executed in October, shortly before Nixon’s November 1 deadline. In addition, the navy conducted exercises off the coast of North Vietnam that Nixon hoped Hanoi would interpret as practice for the mining of Haiphong harbor. Quite amazingly, Nixon and Kissinger, according to documents cited by Burr and Kimball, also ordered an unannounced, worldwide nuclear alert: an elaborate military exercise that put US strategic forces—missiles, missile-carrying submarines, and bombers—in a position of high readiness, as though the US was preparing to launch a nuclear attack…
Prolonging the war was an expensive choice. More than 21,000 Americans died in Vietnam after Nixon became president, more than a third of our total losses in the war. Tens of thousands more were wounded. But Americans suffered the least; hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives were lost after 1969. The bombing of Cambodia, and then Nixon’s 1970 invasion in search of a target that never really existed, the “Central Office for South Vietnam,” COSVN, which US intelligence thought was a field headquarters for the Vietcong, contributed to the destabilization of Cambodia…[that] eventually killed some two million Cambodians.
The bombing of Cambodia was part of a failed effort to avoid what ultimately could not be avoided: the reunification of Vietnam. For more than four years Nixon and Kissinger looked desperately for a way to salvage the American commitment in South Vietnam and minimize the repercussions of losing the war. But they did so cynically, clumsily, and ultimately forlornly. Robert Dallek captured the essence of their Vietnam policy in two words: “a disaster.”
The disaster extended to Nixon’s presidency. In Haldeman’s memorable statement, “Without the Vietnam war, there would have been no Watergate.” Haldeman used the term not to describe just the break-in at the Democratic National Committee, but more broadly to cover all the craziness that John Mitchell memorably called “the White House horrors.” Haldeman realized how the war poisoned Nixon’s presidency. As Carl Bernstein wrote in a review of the books by Thomas and Wiener, “Vietnam and Watergate are inextricably linked in the Nixon presidency. They are an intertwined tale—one story—of sordid abuse of presidential power, vengeance, cynicism and lawlessness.” The connection between Vietnam and Watergate is often missed…
Deceit and disregard for the law were the common threads. The abuses that constituted Watergate began with events tied to the Vietnam war: first was the attempt to sabotage LBJ’s peace talks in October 1968. In 1969 came the secret bombing of Cambodia and the wiretapping of reporters and White House aides, provoked by a leak to The New York Times about the secret bombing. Then the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the war. The Huston Plan, drawn up by a White House aide in 1970 and approved by Nixon, proposed break-ins and black-bag jobs aimed at radicals, especially anti-Vietnam activists. The plan was rescinded, but many were kept under surveillance. Nixon explicitly ratified the use of illegal break-ins when he ordered aides to “blow the safe” at the Brookings Institution in Washington in search of Vietnam secrets from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. That order was also never carried out, but soon after Nixon issued it, Mitchell and others came up with the idea of breaking into the Democratic committee offices. Ultimately, deceit and lawlessness forced Nixon from office, and sent twenty-two of his colleagues to jail…
Unfortunately, there were many more Nixon ‘colleagues’ who were allowed to scuttle away into think tanks and safe GOP state offices when they should also have gone to jail, which allowed the worst of them (Dick Cheney, for one) to continue undermining America for decades. And even that failure to prosecute was instructive, if only as an object lesson…
The really offensive part of all of this.
Iowa Old Lady
It’s occurred to me that young voters don’t appreciate Obama as much as older ones do (and scorn Bill Clinton more) because they don’t remember W , much less Nixon.
Hey! That sounds familiar… like candidate Reagan’s people undermining the Carter Administration on the Iran hostages, or Republican Senators trying to derail Obama’s nuclear treaty with Iran.
I disagree. In the early seventies, there were still many liberal institutions and few conservative ones. That situation has reversed.
Davis X. Machina
‘Party before country’ is hardly a recent GOP phenomenon.,, after all, the organs of the State exist to serve the Party, and not the other way round, because the Party, and not the State — which is fated to wither away after the Revolution — is the Vanguard of the Revolution.
Thankfully, Trump isn’t at all small-minded and vindictive like Nixon. Oh, wait…….
Some of those that were in this administration were cheney and rumsfield. There job was to dismantle the Great Society. Robert Parry has a lot of info on his site about the time. Tricky dick might had to resign but also laid down the plans to take the demodog party over with so-called moderate repugs who switch to the demos.
Davis X. Machina
@Baud: I’m not so sure about that, at least in government. The Democratic Senate caucus of the day featured John Stennis sitting next to Ted Kennedy, in the House caucus, Larry McDonald — a former president of the John Birch Society – sat next to Ron Dellums.
Adam L Silverman
@Baud: Actually its not. This is what the NSA is supposed to do: conduct signals and electronic intelligence on foreign targets in support of American interests. That intercept was conducted on foreign soil and was of a foreign national,
specifically one of the military leaders against which we were then conducting operations. Collecting that information was essential because you had an American, Chennault, commit an act that undermined American efforts to bring about a timelier conclusion to the war in Vietnam. President Johnson received the information in a timely manner and then decided he couldn’t do anything with it as its disclosure – that a former Vice President of the United States (Nixon), acting in conjunction with a consultant that the Johnson Administration had cleared as a subject matter expert (Kissinger) and a US citizen with access (Chennault) had acted to undermine a sitting President and his diplomatic team negotiating an end to an unpopular war – would be too much for the United Stated to handle and would destroy the country. President Johnson made the wrong call. That information should have been used. Not using it created the playbook that the GOP has been utilizing ever since. Moreover, that information should have been used to end Kissinger right then and there. He should have been arrested, charged, and tried. Even if he’d been acquitted, he would have been done. What the NSA did in this regard is not comparable to the current concerns over what is has been authorized and allowed to do since 9-11 occurred.
@Iowa Old Lady: Exactly.
This differs from the eight years of Shrubbery, how, exactly?
There’s no long-term memory in the US electorate. If there were, there would be strong resistance to Gilded Age policies, to disassembling the social safety net and to virtually every Conservatist proposal currently on the table. Instead there’s BSDI BS about how there’s only Ahmurrcans and Soshulists and how Koch=Soros and why bipartisanship is somehow The Only Thing That Will Save The Republic. It’s no wonder the younglings gravitate to the Trumpster and BernItDownism when there’s no cultural recollection of what the Reichwing has been capable of in the past or how and why leftie purists’ promises of unicorns and rainbows don’t materialize.
@Adam L Silverman:
imagine how different the following years would have been if tricky had lost that election due to his chicanery.
Adam L Silverman
@tybee: Nixon, Kissinger, Chennault, and anyone else on Nixon’s staff involved should have been charged and tried.
@Adam L Silverman:
Whatever construction one might put on the details of the conduct of the Vietnam War, I don;t think President Thieu of South Vietnam was one of those parties we were fighting “against”. Not in principle, anyway…
Yep, “Southern Stategy”, anyone?
Adam L Silverman
@Jay C: Good catch, I need to go back to sleep. I fixed it.
I’m still not sure I would downplay the importance of this election. Somebody is going to replace at least three liberal to moderate Supreme Court justices. Electing a Democrat means we keep the status quo on the court. Electing a Republican means the end of Roe, Griswald, the Voting rights act, and the ACA.
 I realize we have a Dem running on the Republican “repeal and replace” strategy, but there won’t be a replacement.
@Adam L Silverman: Wow. That is mind-blowing information. I had no idea. I’ve been meaning to dive into reading about the Johnson administration and the transition to Nixon.
It’s funny how Nixon lies at the heart of so much that is rotten in the state of GOP-dom. I keep thinking about the transition from the shock of Watergate to the Iran-Contra scandal, and how Pres. Reagan and his cronies were essentially able to walk away from all that unscathed and unfazed. Would we have had Reagan and Iran-Contra – or a Nixon presidency – or a lot more deaths in Vietnam – if Johnson had decided to nail Nixon’s and Kissinger’s asses to the wall? Impossible to know, equally impossible not to speculate upon.
Amazing how topical one of TBogg’s all-time hits was and remains….
Your Mumia sweatshirt won’t get you into heaven anymore
@Adam L Silverman: He (LBJ) should have used that information. Doesn’t mean he should have necessarily publicized it, but he should have used it. The right word in the right ear could have saved us a lot of heartache.
Besides, I have never understood the reasoning by which having a fight over putting a sidewinder in power could destroy us, but giving power to said sidewinder will all work out for the best.
I understood Baud’s #1 to mean that the really offensive part was Nixon’s sabotage of the peace deal.
If Baud meant that the really offensive part was the NSA’s bugging of Thieu’s office, then I agree with Adam’s #10.
I try and try and I cannot understand the idea that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein somehow helped our country.
[Put aside the terrible model of “great journalism” as source vs government, a model perfectly designed to kill poor people.]
What would have future presidents have done that we were saved from? What was it about Nixon that wasn’t just horrible, but somehow would cause people to be horrible in the future?
James E Powell
Where to begin? No Burger, no Rehnquist . . . totally different country.
Nixon and snark apparently don’t mix.
Yeah, without Vietnam there would have been no Watergate. But without Vietnam there likely would have been no Nixon Presidency in 1968. And without Vietnam there might not have been a JFK assassination (Cuba and the Domino Theory and all the rest were all tied together, and maybe Oswald wouldn’t have been so unhinged) and an RFK assassination, etc., etc.
Counter-factuals are fun. ;-)
My recollection is that Citizen Hughes argued that Watergate was (mostly?) all about Nixon trying to find proof that Howard Hughes was bankrolling the Democrats under the table like he (thought he?) did LBJ. If that’s the case, then Vietnam had little or nothing to do with it. Not saying that he presented an open-and-shut case, but it’s interesting to think about, especially if you have an interest in conspiracy theories. ;-)
Note: even when the liberal Democrat really *is* doing something really bad (the Vietnam War in that case), replacing him with a Republican – even one who’s promising to fix that particular problem – made everything worse. Even the war, the reason Johnson got thumped!
@Marshall Eubanks: my suspicions (and it’s just that, nothing more) is that LBJ thought Nixon would end up negotiating a similar deal and so the war would still end.
Or he just underestimating how evil Nixon would be. Hard to imagine LBJ! being that naive though.
For that matter, imagine how differently the following years through today would have been different had RFK not been assassinated. RFK was every bit as ruthless as Nixon as a hardball political player, without the amorality. 1968 also featured its own version of a Bernie-righteous-against-corrupt-establishment candidate, Eugene McCarthy, whose focus was anti-Vietnam war rather than economic inequality – I was a volunteer canvasser for McCarthy, traveling by bus from NC to Indiana to help McCarthy in the Indiana primary. I remember the disgust many of us felt toward RFK (similar to Bernie -supporters being dismissive of Hillary as corruptly, insincerely co-opting Bernie’s platform ideas after Bernie showed they were more popular than supposed) – and we utterly failed to see McCarthy’s own flaws, particularly in a general election matchup against Nixon. With the benefit of over four decades hindsight, RFK looks pretty damn good, as will Hillary to BernieBros four decades forward from now if Trump wins.
You can hear him pledge to end the war right here . There was also a lot of talk about Nixon’s “secret plan to end the war,” which was definitely part of his campaign, although I have not found a video of him saying those words.
By the way, I have often wondered what discussions Richard Nixon might have had (and with whom) when he toured the Soviet Union as a private citizen in the 1960’s.
@Adam L Silverman:
Nixon and Reagan’s shenanigans always remind me of that episode of TNG where Worf accepts the blame for the crime of a Klingon high council member:
1) Psycho in high places commits a crime.
2) The reasonable people decide that they can’t expose the crime, because the psycho is so highly placed and has so many supporters that it would do too much damage to the nation.
3) So the psycho gets to stay where he is, and continue to rise, and eventually does all that damage to the nation anyway.
Although honestly, that episode isn’t Nixon or Reagan so much as the entire history of United States politics in a nutshell. Let’s not punish the Confederate leaders, because “the nation needs to heal…”
@Baud: Maybe adding a bit about a gap to help those of us still working on our morning coffee requirements? I tend toward leisurely brew on days beginning with s.
@Kirbster: It’s a feature not a bug
@Baud: I think you’re just up against Poe’s Law in ascendance.
OT: Question for BJ hive mind. Our lease is coming up and we are looking into may be buying a house. Going to an open house tomorrow, to a house in my neighborhood. What should I look for? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.
P.S. Went to the HUD website and already printed their check list.
Interesting. Yes, the McCarthy devotees have quite a bit in common with the BS Crowd.
McCarthy was a much brighter and interesting fellow than BS. But, his devotees were definitely proud of their purity.
Adam L Silverman
@Woodrowfan: There’s a record of LBJ’s response. He did not think Nixon would immediately negotiate the same thing. He was furious. He was also very, very concerned that any disclosure would rip the country apart.
@schrodinger’s cat: First question: How long do you plan to stay in the neighborhood? If the answer is less than 5 or so years, don’t buy.
Assuming you’ve made that decision, get a pre-approval letter from a bank or mortgage broker. It doesn’t commit you to getting a loan from that entity, but it will tell a prospective seller that the offer you’re making is serious and that you’ll be able to get a loan to back it up.
Get a good realtor to work with. Talk to friends and colleagues who have bought/sold in your area to get recommendations. Especially for first-time buyers, having someone who knows what they’re doing is important.
@Chris: Lots of similarities between Kingons and GOP, lots of empty talk of honor, while being thoroughly hypocritical and compromised in practice.
@Adam L Silverman:
I think Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre was more emblematic of the GOP’s future actions. I remember reading about the firings in the Sunday Boston Globe and being very worried.
@dmsilev: And a couple of other things. Know your budget, and stick to it. Even if you see “the perfect house”, if it’s too expensive, walk away. Long run, it won’t be worth the trouble and there will always be another place on the market to look at.
Once you’ve made a decision and come to an agreement with a seller, a thorough professional inspection is an absolute must. Every place has issues, and it’s important to know what they are. Some, the seller will fix (or give you a bit of a rebate on the price). Others you’ll fix after moving in. Sometimes, there will be a sufficiently important issue that you’ll want to back out; make sure that the sales contract allows for that (rare) possibility.
A Ghost To Most
Look at the bones of the house; foundation, roof, kitchen, bath(s),floors
Instead of “Get clean for Gene” we can have “Bob that bun for Bern.”
@danielx: One of the commenters over at that link
And Trump or Stein(maybe) represents those interests?. When Trump and the GOP repeal Obamacare, repeal the minimum wage, load SCOTUS with young Scala’s that declare unconstitutional anything that the GOP in Congress has missed, I hope this voter is happy with the ‘no more lesser of two evils’ outcome. IF not then STFU and go live on an ice flow, of which there will many since the GOP has announced that global warming is not happening. This voter and the others who commented on that thread may be happy living in an America where as FDR said 1/3 are ill housed, ill clothed and ill fed, but I’ll take the ‘lesser of two evils’ and vote for Hillary. Besides even if Bernie wins he will be running as a democrat, using the corrupt democratic organization, spending corrupt dirty money raised by the DNC and needing those corrupt democrats in Congress to get his agenda passed.
Flint has lead it its water but I think a lot of America has a dangerously high concentration of stupid in theirs. I can understand a reasonable difference of opinion on say healthcare, but the list of complaints in those comments and viewing a GOP victory, regardless of who was the nominee as a better outcome is delusional.
@Adam L Silverman: Johnson actually named it treason during a conversation. There was an archived tape of it. It was during this Dirksen phone call IIRC. ETA Looks like you mentioned it.
To up the stakes a bit: I think Watergate was the worst thing to happen to American Democracy since the 3/5ths clause. Not the burglary, the actions of Woodward and Bernstein.
Go back and re-watch Colbert at the Correspondent’s Dinner. The subject he is attacking is the model of journalism created by Watergate. When a journalist compliments another he calls him “well-sourced”.
Bob Woodward is called the greatest reporter of all time by an endless string of white men who continue to control the media today. Nellie Bly went undercover in an insane asylum and improved the lives of millions of people. Bob Woodward hung out in a parking garage and improved the lives of nobody.
We live in a world where “the greatest reporter of all time” was reporting on the clowning of G. Gordon Liddy while somehow missing the fact that uniformed agents of American government were murdering unarmed Black men at a rate of one per month. No one even bothered to keep statistics on monthly police murders, even as the Washington Post, in the tradition of Woodward and Burnstein, spent millions of dollars creating a list of people who work in the American intelligence community. Millions of dollars!
Trump and the GOP that spawned him are at least partially a result of the press paradigm that became religious dogma thanks to Watergate. In a world of source vs source there is no truth. But there’s always a villain: whatever institution you source holds a grudge against.
“Good journalism is expensive.” The nerve! It makes no sense. GM can’t say that “good ignition switches are too expensive”. Good journalism sells newspapers. This got lost thanks to mid-Century monopolies that gave 15 or so white men the power to decide what is news and what is not. They justified their power as just swell as long as they spent some of their monopoly rent on “the public interest”.
Have 15 white men ever known what the public interest even is, let alone acted on it? The idea is absurd. You think things are better now? Why won’t the NYT release their diversity numbers? Why do black employees periodically sue them?
@D58826: That crows and coyotes blog post about working poor angst was full of it. Making excuses for Trump, about how he is not Hitler, let’s burn everything down mentality. I don’t get it.
@Thornton Hall: I never got the Woodward worship of the MSM either.
@schrodinger’s cat: 1. They were part of the club. 2. with luck you too could have Robert Redford play you in a movie.
@Miss Bianca: This would start the story a little bit earlier than the time frame you seek. “Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur M. Schlesinger.
It’s begins before JFK’s election and ends with Bobby’s death. It’s a great look inside the Johnson White House and exposes the distance given to staff loyal to JFK and RFK.
No much on Nixon.
@Thornton Hall: @schrodinger’s cat: I think the bestselling book, & the movie where Woodward played by Redford was the thing that probably guaranteed his inflated reputation.
Just read a Daily Beast profile on Anthony Hopkins and how he was nominated for playing Nixon. I decided to watch it again and while waiting for the download decided to look here to see if anything was new. Saw this thread. I love when that stuff happens!
@D58826: Huh, great movie minds etc.
@schrodinger’s cat: It’s like the past 30-40 years simply do not exist. I’m not saying the DNC, Debbie and the democratic establishment are perfect, but since 1980 the GOP has controlled one or both houses of Congress for most of that period. Since 1970 the GOP controlled the WH for 28 years and the democrats 20. Carter had a democratic Congress but in the 16 years that Bill and Obama were POTUS, they had a democratic congress for 4 years. And except for part of Obama’s first two years they never had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.
But the party is hopeless corrupt and totally in the pocket of Wall street because they would not use the special democratic green lantern powers to over come this political reality. Jill or Bernie of course will use that power while giving their inauguration speech and the pink unicorn will arrive in every driveway. And for those w/o a driveway then he will deliver the driveway first and then the unicorn. As I said – delusional.Even Alice’s Red Queen only demanded that 3 impossible things be done before breakfast
Considering that at the time hundreds of “uniformed agents of the American government” (many of them black) were dying in Vietnam every month, not to mention thousands of Vietnamese, reporting on an attempt to subvert a presidential election doesn’t seem like such a bad call.
Christ, of all the reasons to criticize Woodward, you’re mad that he didn’t report on the story you thought was more important forty years later. Better trolls, please.
@Adam L Silverman:
Remember that 1968 had already been an explosive year. Not only the assassination of RFK, but also of MLK and the rioting that ensued, massive antiwar protests, and the Soviet crackdown in Czechoslovakia. I still think of it as a landmark year in my life, when all the shit seemed to be hitting all the fans at once. I’m not sure LBJ’s fears were misplaced.
@danielx: As great as Tbogg’s response is, the comment that prompted it is even funnier in hindsight. Yeah, when will Dems pull troops out of Iraq, rein in Wall Street, reform the tax code, and move on universal health care?
@D58826: Ok can’t edit that comment. Even when the democrats controlled congress from 1968 on they did not have the votes to override a presidential veto.
Rocket science is hard. This is not rocket science
Jack the Second
@schrodinger’s cat: Is the house part of a neighborhood subject to a HOA? What are their rules and governance?
@Mike J: I would put it this way: We will have no idea how much danger we are in — or might avoid — until well after the potentially fateful decision has taken place. It is fatuous to suggest that we might not be in as much danger from a Trump presidency as we were from Nixon’s. I have a hard time understanding which institution, exactly, has been put in place to save us from threats that have not yet materialized. The best thing you can say about Trump, IMO, is that his planning capacity pretty much begins and ends with what serves his ego best, and he is thus most likely to adopt what he perceives to be the position that makes him most popular. Right now, in the Republican primary, that is a pretty odious bill of goods. It might change, but that’s just a guess.
@Baud: G. Gordon Liddy would turn your office upside-down for a comment like that and then he’d have Checkers leave you a special present on the carpet.
@schrodinger’s cat: Somewhere early on you will want to line up a good home inspector.
Also check to make sure your realtor represents only you and doesn’t have a conflict by representing the seller of any property that you look at.
And when you sign on the dotted line get property ins. coverage. Your apt./car ins. company can help on that.
Check if the property is in a flood plain as flood ins. would be a good idea.
Title insurance is a must also.
A good realtor will probably tell you all of these things anyway.
@dmsilev: even with professional inspection, some expensive issue will pop up fairly soon after you move in. It’s the way of houses. So it’s important to set & stick to a budget that will allow you to have some funds available for a repair bill. Realtors tend to be optimistic about what you can “afford”.
Oh, is that how the kids are saying “expand upon” these days?
@Barbara: The institutional differences between 1968 and now 1. the democrats controlled both houses of congress. 2. congressional republican were not crazy. Howard Baker on the Watergate committee and a number of house republicans on Judiciary who voted yes on articles of impeachment come to mind. 3. SCOTUS was not a bought and paid for part of the GOP like it was till Scailia’s death and will be again if the GOP gets to fill the open seat. .
@schrodinger’s cat: Don’t trust anything the agent tells you, no matter how nice they seem. I learned that the hard way. Get an independent home inspection in your offer and find him or her from friends who have bought houses or organizations like NAHI or ASHI. I learned that the hard way. Good luck!
@Iowa Old Lady: You can’t remember presidents who were in office before you were born, so you cannot expect young voters to remember Nixon or W. At best they were toddlers or pre teens when Doubts was in office. You also cannot expect young voters to spend a lot of time putting their lives into perspective or weighing the merits of various presidents.
Otherwise, as far as I am concerned, Nixon is not a danger. He’s gone and we survived him. The history is interesting, but the Political Now is about defeating Trump.
Not counting the current opening it would be two liberal to moderates, which would not change the courts direction and one unreliable whishy washy Kennedy which would flip the balance. Garland obviously flips the balance if he is confirmed. That is assuming the grime reaper works based on age. Kennedy at 77 is the youngest of the three elders. Thomas is 67/68 and the rest are much younger.
@Prescott Cactus: Ooh, I thank you – sounds like an excellent read!
ETA: Just ordered it from library!
@dmsilev: Agree about inspector. Start looking for one now, in the beginning of your search. Ask to look at a copy of some of his previous reports. Compare with others. Ask what they did before getting into home inspection. Former construction worker or former bank VP ?
@Jack the Second: My 24,000+ home community is part of a Master HOA. Within some areas they have a secondary governing structure for under a hundred homes. Financial strength can be looked at by their balance sheet bottom line. Home much does each unit / home have in the HOA’s “kitty”? Another HOA thing to examine is dues. If they are too low, they may be in need of a massive raise. Some keep the prices low and do “special assessments”. So, take a look at their dues and special assessments over the last 5 to 10 years.
@Mary G: True on the agent but in theory if you are dealing with a buyers agent they should be on your side. If it an agent representing the seller you are on your own and in deep dodo. I’m not sure if the fiduciary laws apply to a realtor. May vary by state
@Jack the Second: Nope no [email protected]D58826: I would prefer if Priyanka Chopra played me in a movie, not some blonde old dude.
@schrodinger’s cat: I would add that it’s good to think about whether you want a house with a basement, a crawlspace or a slab.
Around here, everyone with a basement has to run sump pumps, which always give out in the end and then you have to deal with everything in your basement getting wet. But they are nice for tornado season! I have a crawlspace, which I think is best because of all the flooding, but there’s nowhere to go when there is a tornado warning. You have to know the area you are looking at, and if there is a basement, it’s important to look closely to see if it looks like there has ever been water damage.
@dmsilev: We would like to stay in this neighborhood, right now we can. 5 years is too far into the future to be 100% sure.
@D58826: I would lay good money that the person who wrote that comment is not a member of the group “working people” but someone from a highly-educated, high-socioeconomic status background. This election, at least on the left, has seen “working class” become a sort of minstrel show, an exaggerated portrayal of comforting stereotypes.
@Miss Bianca: Great read !
Schlesinger was Kennedy insider from way back.
Plot spoiler ; – )
BTW, LBJ was a SOB and truly sad character in the end .
Right now we are at a very early stage of the homebuying process. Checking listings online, doing research at the HUD website etc. Will go to the bank at the end of the month. Have an idea of what loan we would qualify for by a quick back of the envelope calculation. One of the properties that seems to have most of the criteria we want has an open house. So just wanted to go and look. I have lived in this neighborhood for 4+ years and this house is just 4 miles down the road. Don’t have an agent yet.
@Prescott Cactus: Also see what kind of arbitration ruiles they have in place. Some folks on HOA boards think they have been appointed GOD. Also the general rules of the HOA, i.e can you paint the house purple. In our subdivision a guy got in trouble for growing vegetables (tomatoes, that kind of stuff, not corn) in the front yard. Front yards are for grass or apple trees. He was a botany professor at the local college was part of his job. Check what kind of vehicles you are allowed to park out side the garage and if you can do auto fix up on the drive. If you are self-employed can you run your business out of your home and see clients at home. A lot of HOA restrictions might not apply to most people but if you have something unique in your lifestyle it could get flagged by the HOA. Most folks would object to parking a dump truck in the drive but if you are a one-person electrician you might want to park your business truck on the drive. Boats and trailers, RV’s are another bone of contention
We were lucky the front half of the subdivision had a HOA but the back didn’t. We managed to get it voted down. And since it wasn’t part of our deed, they could not force us to join any way.
@schrodinger’s cat: Presumably you’re going to have to get a home inspection. Be aware that you don’t have to use the one your agent recommends, but it’s usually Ok to do so.
Basically, you want to see that there are signs that the place has been reasonably well cared for. Don’t be fooled by a quick repaint – it can hide other issues.
When you first walk in, take a deep breath and see if you smell anything unusual. Excessive smell of cleaning products? Might be fine, might be hiding a mold problem or mustiness due to water leaks. Look for floors that aren’t level – might be normal settling, might be something else. Look for doors that don’t close properly – might be normal settling, might be something else. Check that the plumbing works and doesn’t leak. Check that lights don’t flicker when you turn them on. Be quiet and listen – do you hear neighbors or airplanes or traffic or other things that might annoy you? Go in the back yard and look for signs of pooling water around downspouts and around the foundation. Water destroys houses over time. Listen for noisy dogs or other annoyances. Check the trees for large dead limbs and the like – taking down dead trees can be expensive, especially if they’re close to the house. Check the windows – do they open and close OK? Replacing windows can be expensive (we spent about $1k a window, installed, including the sliding patio door) but can pay-off over time. If it has a fireplace, look to see if it has been cleaned – fireplace and chimney repairs can be expensive. Check the furnace and AC to see how old they are. If they’re older than 10 years, you might need to replace them in the next 10 years or so, or sooner. Similarly with the water heater.
If the place still has furniture and pictures on the wall, make sure to look behind them. Sometimes things are used to hide holes or cracks in the wall and the like.
See how the house works for your normal way of living. How would you take out the trash? How would you cut the grass? How would you bring in groceries from your car? Will your furniture fit? How’s the commute? How is the traffic? How is the drive to wherever you’ll need to go to get your staples? Is there room to store seasonal stuff (clothes, decorations, etc.)?
We looked at over 100 homes before we bought ours. Don’t be afraid to look at lots before you make an offer. Even if the market is hot, seeing what’s out there is important to know what’s a fair price and what you like and don’t like – it can save you from annoying and expensive mistakes.
HTH a little. Good luck!!
@WaterGirl: We had a basement and an attic. The attic came in real handy for storing all of the overflow my Mom could no longer find space for at her house.
@D58826:I’m 99% sure the “I’m kind of a Democrat” opening is a dodge. The guy is such a clumsy fake that he can’t even hide his use of the most basic of tells: “Democrat party”. He is a Limbaugh/Hannity fan no doubt, and has voted Republican his whole life.
@Prescott Cactus: Yeah, but in a word or two, he was the epitome of the epitaph, “he was *our* son-of-a-bitch.”
And Kissinger is back.
Why, yes, ravens can scream and bang their heads against walls in frustration.
From Clean Gene to Crooked Hillary. The times change, but the simplistic labels do not.
Some of the Bernie Bros seem fanatically devoted to a cause, but they don’t seem to care as much about actual human beings. We’re McCarthy supporters like this? I was a kid when RFK was running for the presidency. I don’t know about the ruthlessness, but I know that people loved him and felt that he connected to them. We followed his campaign as students for a history class. We junked the standard curriculum to study current events. My history teacher was so devastated when he was killed that she had to take a leave of absence.
And living in LA, I thought it cool that football players Deacon Jones and Rosie Greer were unofficial bodyguards. It’s insane to think that there was not standard Secret Service protection back then. But again later seeing these grown ass men wrecked by Kennedy’s death made more of an impression on me than the political or historical implications.
But I guess this view affects my view of Sanders. I don’t think much of his ideas, but he comes across to me as seeing people as abstractions, factors in an economic equation, not as folks with problems, hopes and dreams. This does nothing for me.
ETA. For the record in case anyone is confused I reject the label that Hillary is Crooked.
My uncle lived in one of the Sub HOA’s within our Master Community HOA. They cut a deal with the local cable company. Give us the 100 homes and we’ll knock $7 off every cable TV bill.
So suppose you were only “snowbird” who lived there part time or a cord cutter who didn’t watch TV. Didn’t matter.
Part of your monthly dues was a cable bill, and STFU if you don’t like it.
It would be one thing if he were like a policy wonk, casting off the welfare of specific individuals in order to calculate some greater average good. But there’s no actual equation here — it’s just a belief system. (And I’m not saying that belief system has no merit; I’m only saying math ain’t a part of it.)
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Thanks, those are some good pointers.
@WaterGirl: Thanks for the tip. BTW what is a crawlspace? Basements are more common here.
@different-church-lady: Fair enough. Either way, people are abstractions in Bernie Land.
@Mary G:Good tip about home [email protected]D58826: I will ask some of my friends who have recently bought houses in the area for recommendations for agents.
Crawlspace is the air gap between the ground and the flooring in raised-foundation homes–those with neither slab foundation nor full basement. Have spent much quality time wriggling around mine.
@schrodinger’s cat: A “crawl space” is what it sounds like. The house isn’t built directly on a concrete “slab”, there’s air space between the ground and the bottom floor – usually just enough space for a person to crawl in if necessary. There are advantages and disadvantages of that type of construction (between a full basement and a slab), and it’s more common in some areas of the country than others, but it can make it messy to check underneath for an inspection or if repairs/changes need to be made. And you have to make sure you can keep critters out. And you need good drainage away from the house if you have a crawl space – you don’t want water pooling under there.
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Most houses have basements in this neck of the woods.
@schrodinger’s cat: I’m a big fan of basements. We’ve got one. Note that they are often divided into 2 kinds: 1) Walkout, 2) Walkup. Walkout basements mean that you can walk out the basement door without going up stairs. They’re handy if, say, you want to have a bunch of woodworking tools in a shop in your basement. Lots of people like them a lot. 2) Walkup basement require outside stairs. They’re better than nothing, but it means moving things like washers and dryers into the basement can be quite a challenge.
Enjoy your hunt!
@schrodinger’s cat: Some of it depends on the type of ground in your area. Sandy subsoil doesn’t work well with a basement. I suspect age of the house also makes a difference. More expensive to build a house with a basement than a slab or crawl space. So years ago when housing wasn’t as expensive you could afford the full basement. Today not so much.
Ken ThomasVerified account
Hillary Victory Fund putting $$ into CO FL NV NH NC OH PA & WI for DNC coordinated campaigns. Eye on Senate.
@Bob In Portland: Well if I can overlook Bernie’s love affair with the Castos, the Sandinistas and his association with the Trotskyite Socialist Labor party (and their support of the hostage takers in Tehran in 1979) then I can put up Kissinger.
Headline on sponsored content on MSNBC – ‘Schools almost out. Keep the kids busy this summer with a drone’. What could possibly go wrong
@D58826: Minor quibble: I have kind of a soft spot for the Socialist Labor Party. They’re old industrial-unionist guys, not Trots. You may be thinking of the Socialist Worker Party.
@Bob In Portland: I said I can put up with not approve. And we can pick any president from at least Wilson and list the various sins, dictators, murders, etc that they have condoned, supported, or looked the other way on. We are voting for the first citizen, warts and all, not the first Saint. But FDR did send tons of war material to Putin’s hero Stalin so I guess we can forgive that one
Now that is two more reply’s than you deserve so good day to you
@El Caganer: Maybe. If I remember correctly those groups used to splinter on obscure points of purity until each group had one member.
@Bob In Portland: Murphy may not be particularly liberal, but I don’t think Grayson is the horse you want to hitch your wagon to.
I’m glad to see the Nixon/Chennault treason remembered in this thread, and associated with the later Reagan subversion of the hostage negotiations in Iran.
I think that a third event belongs in this set: well before the 2004 election, the NYT had good evidence that the W administration was illegally gathering data on America citizens. They sat on the story for about a year before publishing, IIRC for fear of affecting the election — as if affecting the election by reporting relevant facts was not the core of their job.
The use of the term “Democrat party” is a dead giveaway – it’s most likely a republican troll.
@Michael Bersin: likely
@D58826: So, basically, we are not as well protected as we were.
@Bob In Portland: Not disagreeing with you about Murphy; it’s just that Grayson isn’t a very good alternative.
@Bob In Portland:
You think the Sandanistas were the bad guys in Nicaragua?
Breaking my normal rule to reply
The claim here is not that the Sandinistas were the bad guys.
The claim is that more than a majority of the American electorate can be counted on to vote as if the Sandinistas were demons out of Morgul Vale.
Maybe Bernie was wrong to express affiliation with the Sandinistas, maybe he was right. Nusuth.
A US electorate that is aware of that opinion will give the victory to his opponent.
@Barbara: The short answer is we are not. The counterbalancing institutions, even within the GOP, are much weaker. I don’t remember government shutdowns and debt limit breaches as a way to gain political concessions prior to the Gingrich era. I’m sure there were times when the debt limit was reached and Congress was still arguing over the budget but it wasn’t used as a hostage taking exercise.
@joel hanes: and so will I. Sandinistas or Anastasio Somoza. Pick your poison. I would not like to live under either one. Same thing with Castro vs Batista. Havana under Batista was a playground for the rich and infamous. A home away from home for the mob. Other than the property class in Cuba no one was sorry to see Batista go. Did Castro turn out to be a murderous thug – yes. Did he betray the people he claimed he was fighting for – yes. But Batista killed his opponents just as quickly as Castro.
As to the relevance to this years election. There are millions of Americans who do not make/understand the difference between socialism and communism or what democratic socialism means in western European terms. For millions of Americans socialism = communism = Joe Stalin/Fidel Castro.
Failing to prosecute the residual Watergate bad actors was the first of three opportunities that Democrats had to rock the GOP back on its heels and make them play defense, which they really hate to do. It happened again as George H.W. Bush’s pathetic one term was coming to an end and the cockroaches from the Iraqgate scandal were scurrying for the dark corners. Remember, those rat bastards secretly armed Saddam, then extinguished him when he overran the CIA’s puppets in Kuwait. Had they prosecuted that investigation and Iran-Contra properly, Reagan might have been impeached and the Bush family name tainted so badly, that the idiot son could have never run, let alone steal the election in 2000! Finally,as the idiot son, Dubya’s second disastrous term was coming to an end, Obama should have formed a Truth Commission and investigated the lies that took us into Iraq, the attorney general rigging scandals, the missing Rove e-mails, etc. and had the slimeball Republicans playing defense for eight miserable years instead of the other way around!
This demonstrates the problem with the media history of Watergate which, surprise, portrays the media as heroes. It’s a magic Nixon transitive property whereby “Watergate” stands for the media’s effective takedown of every bad thing Nixon did.
Does the secret bombing of Cambodia make Bob Woodward a better journalist? Does the Chenault affair make Bob Woodward a better journalist? Does the existence of the White House tapes provide evidence that Woodward’s style of reporting is a good way to get truth???
I use the contrast of police murder because reporting on it would have directly helped people and because to do so required no time “cultivating sources” in a parking garage. It just required a journalist to know some black people and believe what they had to say.
The fact of the matter is that Woodward et al did nothing to prevent the GOP from nominating a dangerous psychopath three times. Then, the fact that he was a psychopath is used to deify a man who wrote down what he was told by a government lawyer whistle blower.
It’s not so much that most of us didn’t care about actual human beings, as it was that the demographics of McCarthy’s supporters then were similar to those of Sanders’ supporters now – i.e. skewed to younger folks (especially college-aged), and we had accumulated just enough experience with the politics of the establishment to be resentfully cynical and extremely distrustful of it, without enough life experience to really have a 3-dimensional view of people, life and politics with all their messy imperfections. McCarthy was our magic unicorn (just like Bernie is for some in today’s younger generation) – and we saw RFK as having jumped into the race as a cynical opportunist who was in the administration when the Vietnam war started, who didn’t jump into the race until McCarthy had demonstrated that LBJ could be successfully displaced. Yeah, we judged RFK by the same shallow, harsh cynicism too many Bernie-bots feel toward HRC. And to get back closer to your original question – yeah, in the callowness of youth we had only a very shallow understanding of the complexity of humans and their problems.
Those of us who were guys had LOTS more skin at stake then than merely frustrating economic prospects – in 1968 it wasn’t just that the disastrous Vietnam war was still raging at its peak of American troop involvement, but we who are guys were personally subject to the voracious sweep of the military draft the moment we left college. By 1968 EVERY one of us knew someone we went to high school with who had been killed, and also someone who had come back severely messed up either physically or mentally. You could only escape either by staying in college, by successfully obtaining a disqualifying deferment, emigrating to Canada, or else via a more humble version of GW Bush’s escape route – finding a slot in some reserve branch at particularly low risk of being sent to Vietnam, or perhaps enlisting in the coast guard or navy. By contrast in more recent times, NO ONE was vulnerable to being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan who didn’t voluntarily sign up for the military under no duress.
@srv: Ah one more troll heard from.
False equivalency. Obama would love to leave office with just the Marine Embassy guards left in Afghanistan. At the moment there is very little chance of a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.
There was a chance to get a negotiated ending to the Vietnam war in the fall of 1968. Whither an agreement could have been reached before the election, or one reached just after Nixon was sworn in, we will never know because Nixon torpedoed it. From what I’ve read, the deal they got in 1972 was pretty much what was on the table in 1968 and more GI’s died on Nixon’s watch than on LBJ’s to get back to square one. Watergate happened and what ever Nixon planned on doing after the treaty was signed will be subject to debate. Just like the claim by JFK supporters that he would have pulled American troops out after the 1964 elections. But from what I’ve read the consensus opinion seems to be that Nixon would have continued the air war in support of the Saigon government..
@schrodinger’s cat: Yes, most Massachusetts homes have basements, not least because the soil is mostly clay with many loose rocks and a basement foundation is much less liable to settle unevenly.
FWIW, when we bought our house on the opposite side of the state 20+ years ago, we were warned that houses on crawl spaces (not many slab foundations around here) were mostly retro-fitted vacation cabins / cottages… where the remodellers *might* have upgraded the insulation, made sure the electricity & plumbing were up to code, and maybe shored up the foundation before adding that second story. Or then again, maybe not. Feeling lucky?
Two other New England-centric problems: If it’s oil heat, you’ve got either an above-ground tank or an underground one. Both have predictably limited lifespans, and both are very expensive to clean up once they start leaking, even just a little bit. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a house with oil heat, but make sure you get the tank inspected & have a reliable estimate of its age.
Other hidden problem is asbestos. Lots of houses in use between the 1920s and the 1970s or so will have asbestos roofs, siding, insulation, or floor tiles. Sooner or later those shingles/boards/tiles will have to be replaced, or at least encapsulated. You don’t want to do this yourself, because even a little floating asbestos fiber is dangerous to breathe. And getting it removed/disposed of/covered over by licensed professionals is NOT cheap. Again, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy that perfect house (especially if the only asbestos is, say, 1950s basement floor tiles that can be safely covered), but you need to be prepared if the $10k roof replacement suddenly turns into a $25k project. (P.S. those are twenty-year-old estimates, from a neighbor who had to find registered contractors partway through the renovation process.)
hard to say. I live in seattle, where the process goes like this: find a house online, contact the seller’s broker and offer to write them a check for 100K over the asking price, waiving everything. when the broker asks if you want to see the house in person first, you say “does it matter?”.
P.S. You’ll probably still not be the winning bidder.
“Too big to fail” seems to be a thing in politics as well as banking.
And having Kissinger back is apparently now part of the lesser evil. Dear gods, is there any hope for the USA?
Both srv and BOB In Portland, who seems to disappeared from this thread have been quite vocal in your criticism of American foreign policy under a number of Presidents. So lets turn this around and play a little game.
By the green lantern powers invested in this blog by Mr Cole and Steve the cat you are now POTUS. What would you do to solve the worlds problems. Now I realize that is a tall order so lets set up some ground rules
1. name your national security team(DOD, State, DOJ, Treasury and security adviser). Your mother-in-law is fine but it would be nice if they were people that we could google.
2. Lets just confine this to Afghanistan
3. You play the game with the pieces that are on the chess board right now. No going back and adding/removing a few pieces.
4. you play the game as the situation is in Afghanistan today. No going back and saying Presid. so and so should have done this or that in 1992 or the Brits should have done something different in 1898.
5. Just some policy recommendations. They don’t have to get down to what brigade will be deployed at what fire base.
I realize this is a lot top chew over and this thread is getting a bit long in the tooth. If you want overnight to think about it, I’m sure one of the FPers will open a thread that we can use tomorrow,
@chopper: So its a seller’s market in Seattle.
@D58826: Brits should have stayed the fuck out of India and the Middle East. Their hold on Afghanistan was always tenuous.
@schrodinger’s cat: true but no changing the past.
@D58826: Brits should have stayed the fuck out of India and the Middle East. Their hold on Afghanistan was always tenuous. I love how imperialists like Niall Ferguson like to claim credit for India’s resurgence. If they get credit for that then they should also be praised for Pakistan’s mess and the Burmese junta among other things.
that’s putting it mildly.
@schrodinger’s cat: Not only is history 20-20 hindsight but you can look at it with both eyes closed and crossed
Oh and if he is elected Bernie will replace DWS as DNC head because of her corrupt handling of the primary. . I’m sure Debbie is quaking in her pumps, since her term ends in January 2017 and the new President get to choose the next head of the DNC.
Strange that same group of Sandinistas you despise won the first free election in Nicaragua’s history and then willingly gave up power after getting 41% in the second free election in Nicaragua’s history. I don’t think the Nicaraguans would agree with your Somoza/Sandinista equivalance.
@Ian: I don’t despise the Sandinista and I suspect that you are right about how the Nicaraguans would feel. I thought Reagan and his ‘freedom fighting contras’ was a stupid policy and just another ex-dictator and his crony’s ripping off the taxpayers. Clear enough? ‘I’ as in me would prefer not to live under either one. My larger point, which you seem to have missed, is that for most Americans the word Sandinista brings up images of the cold war, communism in central America, and Castro being allied with the Sandinistas. The GOP will play Bernie’s words on an endless loop. There will be no context. Recent events with Chavez in Venezuela and Obama’s opening to Cuba show that the central American/Caribbean communist boggy man is still alive and well in much of the US
@D58826: well, to begin with, one doesn’t take Henry Kissinger advice and also ignore Benyamin Netanyahu. I figure that’s already a hundred percent improvement.
Why is the focus on Afghanistan? It seems to me the most pressing problems in the region are in Syria. As to Syria it seems obvious that there’s a pressing need to take in refugees. Beyond that, simply not getting into wars in the region, not meddling, would seem to me to be most sensible thing. This also applies to Latin America. It was at least partly our own policies that put thousands of child refugees on our Southern border.
The bottom line seems to be “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot,” which really ought not be difficult advice.
@D58826: Oh, just to shake things up just a little more, Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour killed in Pakistan by US air strike.
The last part of your comment reflects every male I knew in the late 60s. We were over 18 so draft eligible, unless you decided that jail was better, so it was college, the draft or enlist. Of myself and my two best buds, I enlisted, one joined the NG and the other just waited out the Dec 69 draft lottery. His number was over 300, mine was 15 but I had joined prior. Coming home every day dreading that letter in the mail…….. The draft took about 1/3 of the eligible and I’d bet that number would be at least half if not for enlistees.
And all of this was tempered by the politics of the war. Nixon promised to end the war but of course that was BS for the most part. LBJ I never quite figured out, did he trade the war for the civil rights act and Medicare? The cost of 53,000 US lives and dramatically more in Asia makes me wonder in looking back if it was a good trade or not but then we’ll never know, we are where we are. Don’t get me wrong, those laws were/are absolutely necessary, not questioning that, only the price paid by people that had crappy choices, like a lot of the draftees, who were minorities. IOW was the trade off the only way to accomplish them.
@Raven Onthill: I picked Afghanistan as it was relatively ‘simple’. It could have been Syria, Iraq, Libya, the Arab-Israeli dispute, etc , etc ,etc.
There might have been a time when a ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ so just don’t go to Vegas might have worked but the US has been meddling in various parts of the world since atleast Spanish American War.
One criticism has been that Obama’s drone program has created more terrorists than it has killed. Probably true but there was no drone program on 9/11. The Belgians don’t have a drone program yet they were attacked.
IIRC, it was other anti poverty programs but you’ve got the basic idea. Myself I think it was a devil’s bargain, one that still haunts us.
Maybe and maybe not. But remember the time and place. JFK had promised to bear any burden. The Berlin crisis occurred in 1961. The missile crisis in 1962. IT was in the late 50’s early 60s that the two Chinese islands Qumoy and Matsu were being bombarded by the Red Chinese. The Taiwan lobby was as strong as the Israeli lobby is today. The GOP in general and McCarthy/Nixon in particular had been pillorying the democrats over ‘who lost China’. LBJ just didn’t want the debate to change to who lost Indochina.
And besides we whipped the Germans and the Japanese at the same time so a bunch of guys running around in black pajamas? We can do it blindfolded with one hand behind our back.
It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who’s basically a criminal but I’ve always felt a little bad for LBJ. True, he was at heart a plutocrat (too dumb to be a commie) but it was the Kennedy boys little sojourn into war that pilloried him to the earth. “Jack needs a war” said Bobby after the Cuban invasion fiasco and we got one. LBJ let Nixon (the liberal Republican in many ways) happen but then LBJ (and Dailey in Chicago) stole the 1960 election from Nixon in the first place, so what goes around,,,etc. But in perspective Nixon, LBJ, Carter, our own Penna Buchanan and all pale into magnificence compared to the vacuum that currently occupies the Executive Mansion, so sleep well Lyndon, Dick, Jimmies both, etc. You’re no longer on the bottom as far as evil in the government.
The real question would be would it still haunt us if he hadn’t made them?
We are a nation that tries to sweep shit under the rug and hope it goes away. It doesn’t. Woulda, coulda, shoulda are useless because we don’t really know what the outcome would have been had X not happened instead of X happened or if X had happened instead of X. We can make some general assumptions but we can’t know. If Gore had been elected instead of GWB being anointed, would 9/11 happened, Iraq, Afghanistan? We can assume but we will never know. And on and on. We have to take history as it was not as we wanted it to be, just like we have to elect the best person running, not someone who isn’t.
Yes I remember all that. I was around then. Lot of people I knew didn’t make it out of the shit. That’s why I question if it was the right thing to do. Or if it was the only thing to do.
But you also bring up a another point.
This. Was this for the good of the country or the good of LBJ? And we did lose anyway. How’s that working out 40+ yrs later?
J R in WV
Realtors ALWAYS represent the seller, it’s how the industry works, how they are paid, how the rules work. Your interests are defended by the inspector, your lawyer who reads the contract(s) before you sign them. That said, you can hire a Realtor, but they will make most of their money from the commission on the sale, and so really represent the seller, really.
If there is a homeowners association, I would walk away – the board of the HOA are in control and can put it to you if they care to. They can control what you put in your yard, what color you paint your door, what vehicle you drive, anything they care to control is theirs. Cats? Maybe, maybe not, ask the HOA first.
J R in WV
The historian Robert Caro has managed to write five quite large volumes about LBJ. Yes, he was an SOB in many ways, and crooked in some ways, probably cheated to be elected class president at the small teachers college he attended. It’s hard to be sure, nearly all the college annuals for the years LBJ attended are either gone or have relevant pages cut out of the books.
But he passed the Civil Rights Act, and Voting Rights Act, and the Medicare Act, if I recall correctly, which is a heap of good on the other side of the scales of justice. And he was OUR SOB, which counted. If only he had arrested Nixon, etc for the treason they committed, when they were nailed… Maybe Reagan’s side-kicks wouldn’t have jumped on their treason as they did.
But we can’t even know what the future would have been. We can’t even know 6 months from now.
@Ruckus: Well I certainly think that he wanted to avoid lbj=lost indochina, but in the 50’s it grew from Truman lost china to democrats are soft on communism that’s why we lost china. So I think it was more complicated than just personal ego. I think he would have preferred LBJ defeats poverty. And at least in the beginning I think they were convinced that we would win.
Well Obama is going to stop in Hanoi and Ho Chi Ming city next week. I saw somewhere that there is talk of the Navy returning to Cam Rahn bay.
The root cause mistake, I think, is we got hung up on the word communism. Yes Ho was a communist but he was a Vietnamese nationalist first and foremost. The Vietnamese have been ‘at war’ literally and figuratively with China for at least 1000 years. Ho could have been an Asian Tito., not an ally but at least a buffer between China and the rest of Indochina. One episode of the PBS special on Vietnam had an extensive bio on Ho. It talked about his family’s nationalist background and the long bloody history between China and Vietnam. The political right went nuts. The episode was obviously liberal lies because PBS didn’t use the word communist in every sentence. Today the magic boggy word is radical Islamic terrorist, back then it was communist. .
I recently read a book on the Chinese emperor Genghis Khan. At one point they sent a military expedition to teach those pesky Vietnamese a lesson. Well the Vietnamese pull back into the highlands and proceeded to attack the Chinese with hit and run attacks. Eventually the Chinese limped back to China. General Westmoreland would have understood how the Chinese commanders felt.
@J R in WV: I’ve only bought two house. One was from the builder so that kinda doesn’t count. But what I was told/learned is that you should select a realtor that will be your representative not the sellers. Maybe the laws have changed or maybe they are different in Penna. Obviously the realtor that the home owner picks represents the seller.
J R in WV
But in 1969 the college student draft deferments ended, and the birthday lottery was held. My number was a two-digit number, and they drafted into the mid-200s if I recall correctly. At least in my lottery they did.
It’s a small world. And getting smaller every day. ;-)
@D58826: That’s what I’ve never been able to figure out. Why no one who knew anything about the history of Vietnam imagined that it was going to be any different for the US than for any other invader that had ever tried to take it over.
@schrodinger’s cat: go to the neighborhood in the evenings and at night. Park and walk around the block. Do this on different nights, different times. How’s it feel and sound? Is a nuisance dog in the next yard constantly barking? does it feel right to you, is it quiet? do streetlights glare into the windows? will power lines limit where you can plant shade trees? will the guy in the house next door use the gas-powered blower to blow dust off his driveway every Sunday morning at 8:00 am? Do people greet you?
J R in WV got the big points right – RUN, don’t walk, from an HOA – they attract the Nazis-in-spirit who couldn’t be elected dogcatcher. And the realtor wants the sale. Period. He also wants the highest sale price because his commission is a percentage of it. You CAN get a “buyer’s agent”, who will split the standard commission percentage with the realtor, and she will protect you, as much as possible – she wants an eventual sale, too, though, so it’s not perfect.