Being Nixon

DickStump

Being Nixon – A Man Divided by Evan Thomas (2015) Sentimentality – which friend and foe agreed Nixon had in spades – was probably the trait that betrayed him.  The Peter Sellers of politicians, Nixon (9 January 1913 – 22 April 1994) never got comfortable with his own skin, so he posed as – machismo, family-man, kindly, bold, psycho, sucker and reclusive seer, etc., those personas he schmaltzily thought would play with the silent majority, or make him feel better.  In this very balanced and readable book, Mr. Thomas gets fairly close to the enigma of ‘Tricky Dick‘ without vituperation or high-falootin’ prose. Nixon’s life is…

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Prohibition Ends

December 15, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, LIFE, POLITICS, Ulalume, USA History |
Party

The Twenty-first Amendment was adopted on December 5, 1933 and became became officially effective on December 15. The (1920) 18th Amendment (that “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited”) was thereby repealed and such activities (albeit subject to regulation) became legalised.  This wowser-inspired law conclusively demonstrated that when you wish to ban a well-established vice, be careful what you wish for… Repeal was enough to justify reaching for the nearest bottle of really good…

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Red Sails in the Sunset

November 27, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS |
(photo by Marcelo Montecino)

(photo by Marcelo Montecino)

Fidel Castro (13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) Like his father, Angel Castro (who was certainly not angelic), Fidel was never particularly faithful.  A communist from his student days at Havana University, he and his followers were generally wealthy scions, the kind of folks that formed the vanguard of the French Revolution.  They were not Communists; they were ‘Marxist-Leninists’.  So on taking power in 1959, Castro and his cohort set about doing to Cuba what Marxist-Leninists do best: economic liquidation by the trashing of large scale private enterprise, ‘agrarian reform’ through the forced appropriation and division of land into meagre allotments, monopoly control…

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Mourning in America

November 19, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, POLITICS, USA History |
citizen-Kane_fraud-at-polls

As the dust settles from the US election, the clearing horizon fills, not with limousines heading towards the Canadian border, but with enemies of democracy, carrying torches (on a sunny day). Democracy isn’t easy and supporters of the losing side will generally feel there’s been a mistake.  But short of a kind of existentialist dictatorship – each of us having plenary power for a short burst, akin to Swiss round-robin rule – it is the only way.  Churchill recognised this, although he suggested that brief time spent with the average voter would put anyone off democracy, and to paraphrase Tom Paine, even…

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Trump’s Grand Slam

November 9, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, POLITICS |
The Donald in Philly, PA, which might put him over the top (picture: Michael Candelori)

The Donald in Philly, PA, which might put him over the top (picture: Michael Candelori)

9 November 2016 We have been rebuked quite harshly over a previous post containing some mild objections about Donald Trump, so we have no wish to endure further ‘trolling’… It looks like Mr Trump has won a stunning victory.  As at 5 pm Australian Central Standard time, he has 244 electoral college votes to Ms Clinton’s 215, needing 270 to win the election. He is likely to gather the balance he needs by winning Arizona (11), and he is narrowly ahead in Pennsylvania (20), with almost all votes counted there.  This puts him over the top, but he also has handy…

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