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Long before Richard Nixon died, I wanted to piss on his grave. Perhaps sometime in this year of the 100th anniversary of his birth, I'll get around to it. I suppose that seems to some people like a puerile act of carrying bitter memories too far. What's to be gained other than perhaps an arrest for indecent exposure? To tell the truth, I don't know whether that will give me any satisfaction or not. If I actually drive down to Yorba Linda in the next nine months and do the deed, I'll let you know.

I do know how I felt that Aug. 9 morning 39 years ago. It was also a Friday and along with thousands of others in town, I had spent the previous night in revelry until the wee hours. And then, up before 8 to watch Tricky Dick climb aboard Army One for a helicopter ride to Andrews Air Force Base before heading to California.

With a couple of friends, it was off to the discount Liquor Mart, a barn of a store. The queue was stunning. A couple of clerks would wait until a dozen or so people left the store, then let in a dozen from the front of the queue that snaked around the building, down the sidewalk and halfway 'round the block. It was more than an hour before we reached the doors, by which time some cops had arrived to tamp down any over-eager patrons. They ignored the sweet smell of burning cannabis coming from those in the crowd unwilling to wait for liquid alteration. The shelves were pretty well cleaned out by the time we were let in, but we managed to find some tequila to get us through the day.

It wasn't that we figured Nixon's departure would bring on a new dawn of American politics. Watergate was, after all, one of the lesser of his myriad crimes. But seeing him clamber aboard that helicopter and give his clumsy full-arm salute to the crowd on the White House lawn was temporarily cathartic.

That was before Congress shut down its impeachment proceedings, which it did not have to do, and before Gerald Ford gave a "full, free and absolute pardon" to Nixon for any crimes he may have committed during his presidency. Not just Watergate and associated crimes, mind you. Any crimes.

It was said by many that Nixon had suffered enough, that a trial would traumatize an already traumatized nation. As if victims are ever blessed by a prosecutor who chooses to give a pass to the perp. Thus was the precedent set for additional lawlessness by presidents to come. Nobody at this late date can say, of course, that had Nixon been tried no future president would have engaged in criminal behavior. That no civil liberties would have been violated. That no war crimes costing the lives of—at the very least—many hundreds of thousands of people would have occurred.

But the history of the past four decades might well have been a good deal different in a positive way had Nixon been called to the dock. Taking a leak on his grave is surely a poor substitute for that what if.

••• •••

JekyllnHyde has some details and discussion here.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009Idiot Nation:

Ugh. I just have to highlight this again, as perfect example of Everything. Sarah Palin, determined to battle healthcare reform:
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
Seriously? I mean, come the flying monkey hell on. How is it that this hollow-headed dimwit doesn't get run out of town for statements like that? Obama's going to come murder her son?

Tweet of the Day:

There are no "cushy" government jobs. It's a right-wing invention. There are only incompetent bosses. No gov job is cushy if done properly.

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, East Central Indiana's Summer of #GunFAIL. A fourth child is accidentally shot by a family member since mid-June. The most recent of them from a family that "practiced gun safety." Not unlike some other recent cases. It happens. The bulk of the show, however, was given over to continuing discussion of the Snowden/NSA saga. Armando joins in for a bit as we finished up the reading of Jay Rosen's "Toobin principle" piece and other concurrent writing, to take a deep dive into some of what's wrong with our surveillance regime and what might be our misplaced faith in the system's ability to address abuses.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest.

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