Leading up to the Red Power Movement

RPM 1

People often try to pinpoint specific events when they talk about the birth of wars, happenings, fads, and major movements. For instance, it is easy to say America entered into a war with Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is a lot harder to retrace historic and cultural events which paved the way for Japan to ally itself with Germany and Italy. The same concept applies with consideration over what paved the way for the Red Power Movement of the 60s and 70s among the Native Americans. Similar to a chef adding various ingredients to some meal a variety of events occurred among Indians, over a thirty to forty year period, that created the recipe which brought forth the Red Power Movement. It is a complex issue that could easily require a volume of text to do justice. However, for the sake of brevity, I will point out some of the predominant ingredients which helped create the socio-political concoction known as the RPM: government policies, poverty, perseverance, and place paved the way for the Red Power Movement. Continue reading

War touches all

The following is a term paper based on several books written about the Vietnam War; but it is just as relevant for any war… and for any time.

[Take your ego and preconceived notions out of the equation and it’s never too late to learn.]

Fly the friendly skies0001

War touches all

War is greedy. A little thing can release it, but after it is let loose it cannot easily be tamed. It has no loyalty, not even to those who cast it forth. It seeks to ravage anything and anyone it touches, and it touches everyone. And anyone touched by war will never be the same. But individuals who experience war firsthand will, inevitably, bear a bigger cross: a burden uniquely forged by their experience and perspective. Continue reading

Deceptions: Do the ends justify the means?

It is said, that “All is fair in love and war.” However, history suggests that the cliché should be, “All is fair in love, war, politics, and personal agendas.” In a system that is supposed to be “by the people and for the people,” the overwhelming evidence of scandal and controversy throughout the political arena, term-after-term, should dispel the myth of democracy being alive and well in the United States of America.

Gone are the days when honorable men would stand their ground, face-to-face, and fight their own fights. Gone are the days when truth, honor, and integrity were woven into men’s hearts like they were woven into the flag and sanctified with the anointed blood of patriots who sacrificed all for a glorious ideal. America has peaked, and now slides precariously down the shadowed side. The political system has failed, and it has created a chain-reaction, with far reaching effects, that will inevitably decimate this once great nation. All because of two predominant political tenants: “money buys power” and “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

All the President’s Men, by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, is a detailed journalistic retelling of the infamous Watergate fiasco. It is a look at pompous politics inspired by the aforementioned thirst for power, and energized with a mountain of money. In fact, hundred-dollar bills appeared to be the favorite flavor throughout the affair.

Five men were arrested at 2:30 am on June 17, 1972 for burglary. They had broken into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the executive office section of the Watergate hotel complex. Along with “a walkie-talkie, 40 rolls of unexposed film, two 35- millimeter cameras, lock picks, pen-size tear gas guns, and bugging devices” (p.15-16), almost $2300 dollars was taken from the five suspects:“Most of it was in $100 bills, in sequence” (p.16). And the Washington Post reporters would follow the money trail back and forth through the insulated web of conspiracy for the next two-years, all the way to the top levels of the White House.

“Insulated” was the primary defense; a solid foundation of legal loopholes and loyal flunkies to hinder all investigative attempts to reach the inner-circle of collaborators. Fortunately, for the American people, there is no honor among crooks. When the majority of conspirators saw their defenses unraveling their resolve caved, and they told their tales in attempts to ease the inevitable consequences. Unfortunately, for anyone still wishing to believe in right and wrong, by the time the scandal was over even Woodward and Bernstein sacrificed their integrity as an acceptable cost in pursuing the story. They both crossed moral and ethical boundaries, and were a mere breath away from felony charges on occasion. And they were willing to place the lives and reputations of others at risk as long as they met their deadlines, or got a new clue or piece to the puzzle. “Sloan wondered if newspapers weren’t a little hypocritical, demanding one standard for others and another for themselves; he doubted that reporters had any idea of the anguish they could inflict with only one sentence” (p.86).

During the period that Nixon’s crew of misfits was busy little beavers attempting to dam up the leaks and arrest the scandal, Woodward and Bernstein were equally obsessed.

Their next move represented the most difficult professional –

unprofessional, really – decision either had ever made. They

were going to blow a confidential source. Neither had ever

done it before; both knew instinctively that they were wrong.

But they justified it (p.190).

 

And a FBI supervisor even told them the following:

 

“You realize that it’s against the law for one person to monitor

a call that goes across a state line,” he told them (p.190).

 

We also read how “Woodward wondered whether there was ever justification for a reporter to entice someone across the line of legality while standing on the right side himself” (p.210). The thought came to mind when he and Bernstein were attempting to get members of the Grand Jury to break their legally given oaths, and risk jail time, just to give them additional clues.

Another deception that permeated the media push to dethrone Nixon and his administration was the solidified portrayal of Republicans versus Democrats. The media, including the Washington Post and its reporters, downplayed, buried, or ignored the facts that Nixon’s misfits carried out similar attacks against other Republicans. And we see the identical agenda in All the President’s Men. There are two minor mentions of Nixon’s people going after his Republican opponents; such as the following: “The President’s forces had been out to wreck the campaigns both of the Democrats and of Nixon’s challengers within his own party – Representative Paul McCloskey of California and Representative John Ashbrook of Ohio” (p.133). But there was a conspicuous absence regarding any follow-up investigation pertaining to Republican targets, even though additional clues suggested Nixon’s people had used similar tactics in his earlier campaigns. And the Washington Post maintained a strict Republican versus Democrat perspective throughout the entire affair (as did most media forums).

Logically speaking, the only advantage to bury attacks on Republicans by Nixon’s crews is to enhance the liberal agenda – by deceiving the public into believing the only victims were Democrats. And it worked. That’s how I remembered it coming across back then. Not until I dissected their text – like they dissected the White House denials – did I realize the lack of follow-up in the investigation down the Republican path and earlier campaigns was intentional.

Spalding Gray used deception in a far different way than Nixon’s administration, the Washington Post, and Woodward and Bernstein. He allowed the facts surrounding the Cambodian situation to digest before composing his magnum opus, “Swimming to Cambodia.” He was not a journalist regurgitating facts; he gave birth to a truth based on emotion: similar to Tim O’Brien in The Things They Carried. Gray did not report, he enlightened. He manipulated words to inflame the sensorial experience, provoke thought, and tug at the heart. He epitomized the contemporary version of the ancient storyteller: the oral tradition of passing on historical truths.

Nixon and his lackluster loyalists, the Washington Post, and Woodward and Bernstein all utilized deception to further their personal agendas, and to hell with anyone that got in the way. Yes, the paper and reporters came out smelling like a rose in the public’s perspective at the time. But the loss of integrity on the part of the Post and reporters is clearly evident. They were considered heroes for bringing down Nixon’s administration (a positive outcome to be sure). But they were actually anti-heroes, similar to Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, or any of Clint Eastwood’s characters in the days of the Spaghetti Westerns. On the other hand, Gray’s manipulation of the truth was not to deceive the public but to make the truth more palatable to digest.

 

 

© JW Thomas

I’m not…

I’m not Franken-stupid

I leave that to the President

He’s never been touched by a “truth” bid

There’s too much room in his brain to rent

 

I’m not Dracu-lame

Like every blood sucking politician

Knowing if they lose the game

They can make it as a mortician

 

I’m not Mummy-fried

Like every dead thinker in the Senate

Voting like they drank formaldehyde

Open their mouth; stick a big foot in it

 

I’m not Jekyll-hiding

Like the CEOs in the corporate trade

The moral compass, down it keeps sliding

Screw Grandma, as long as they get paid

 

I’m not Zombie-crazed

Resembling the judicial system

Cannibalizing honesty

Had the crooks, but said they missed them

 

I’m not Ghostly-pimped

Selling my soul to elect a fool

Celebrity Ho’s are cheap to rent

Election year, watch Hollywood drool

 

I’m not Werewolf mooned

Blinded by the light of the spin-doctors

They tell us everything’s going to bring us doom

Unless we give our freedoms to the socialist hucksters

 

So don’t be Franken-stupid

Don’t be Dracu-lame

Don’t be Mummy-fried

Don’t be Jekyll-hiding

Don’t be Zombie-crazed

Don’t be Ghostly-pimped

And don’t be Werewolf mooned

Keep your moral compass

And stay politically tuned

 

 

© JW Thomas