It’s Not The Coverup, It’s The Crime

Look Away! washington-slaves.jpg

Archaeologists have wrapped up digging at President’s House, the Philadelphia site where George Washington lived during the city’s period as the Capitol. They have covered the remnants of the slave passageway discovered while investigating the site as the city and the National Park Service ponder how to memorialize the location and it’s past residents, including Washington’s slaves.

Finalists in the site design competition are available on-line.

From the Philadelphia Daily News’ reporting on visitors reactions they may have a hard time pleasing some quarters.

Discussing the Father of the Nation’s slaves seems to set off some visitors, who offer the 18th Century version of JFK-was-about-to-pull-out-of-Vietnam: “George Washington wanted to end slavery, but he was concerned that it would start a civil war at a time when the nation was just being formed,” a white historian claimed to an archaeologist working on the site. She was also asked why at least two of Washington’s slaves would want to escape such a “nice house.”


Analogise This!

Those who study history are doomed to recycle it?

Jeremi Suri is a history professor at the University of Wisconsin and author of “Henry Kissinger and the American Century.” He writes on The Huffington Post [doubling up on History News Network] that Nixon’s overture to China offers a model for how the US might cuddle up to Iran.

“Thirty-six years later the historical parallels are striking…Leaders in Washington and Tehran need one another as never before. The time is ripe for the White House to pursue a “China opening” with Iran.”nixon-brain-vietnam.gif

What a powerful vision! If Bush starts tomorrow and the past is perfectly replicated we can look forward to five more years of the Iraq War, millions of dead, Iran and the US allying to back a Pol Pot-ish regime in the region and Iran invading Iraq! After a while the US and Iran can pair up and fund future Ben Laden’s in whatever approximation of Afghanistan can be ginned up. Who gets to play the Soviet Union?

Further problems might arise if the parties have no interest in a deal, which would seem likely.

The Flame Yet Burns

nixon-watergate-exhibit.jpgNixon Foundation Executive Director John H. Taylor continues to lash out in exile, now that the Nixon Museum is in federal hands.

He’s emitted another cry for help, a “Letter From Yorba Linda” titled “Don’t Mention Bella,” which explains that “It supercedes “Letter from Yorba Linda #63, entitled “Lies.”

Taylor begins by painting a sad portrait of a Nixon Museum in tatters. “Its Watergate exhibit is closed, the long, narrow hallway stripped to the bare walls as our new government director plans a strictly neutral alternative to the Nixon Library’s old exhibition on the epic scandal.”

Then the cryptic title is [sort of] explained. The document should be read in its entirety to capture the tone of barely contained rage.

Short version: historian who slammed the old exhibit tells Taylor, according to Taylor, that what he objected to especially was a claim that Bella Abzug* and other House members tried to block Gerald Ford’s confirmation as Vice President. The hope was that with Nixon’s looming impeachment they could leave the post vacant and the Democratic House Speaker would assume the Presidency. Taylor quotes others calling it a coup attempt and implies the demolished exhibit did as well.

Then he sort of defends the old Watergate hall, while implying he’s moved on, while ratting out other Presidential Libraries for their crimes of omission.

“Since President Nixon resigned before being impeached, it can be hard to argue, as the old gallery did, that his Watergate misdeeds were overblown and many of his opponents politically motivated. But as far as some scholars were concerned, it was a crime to try. They have graded other Presidential museums less strictly. The Bill Clinton museum reveals that his impeachment was a right-wing plot. The Lyndon Johnson museum opened in the early 1970s without much on Vietnam, and today the Ronald Reagan museum has little if anything on Iran-Contra. All three are operated with taxpayers’ funds. But don’t dare murmur “Bella Abzug” at the Nixon.”

*Youngsters may not recall, but Abzug in her day was sort of an all purpose boogywoman to the right – lefty, Jewish, New Yorkish, loud. She left Congress when she and Ramsey Clark split the left vote and let Daniel Patrick Moynihan win the 1976 Democratic primary for Senate. The moles at Wikipedia push the coup line too, quoting the same source as Taylor, who in turn attribute the coup line to “some historians.” Case Closed!nixon-letter-from-yorba-linda-abzug.jpg

Keep Smiling!


A Quote of the Day web-page is digging deep to find inspiration in Nixon’s farewell address:

“Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

Let’s enjoy the moment again in blur-o-vision!

Man & Machine


Reagan has Air Force One, Nixon has Marine One. Is this and Segways the only transportation modes left for display at the Bush Library to be?