Nixon Loyalists Blame US Loss in Vietnam on Watergate Investigation

MaxSpeak You Listen!:

One wild-ass accusation comes from Ben Stein (subsequently channeled by Peggy Noonan), son of the very wise and liberal Nixon-era economist Herb Stein, to the effect that Felt and the Watergate affair set the stage for the defeat of South Vietnam (sic) and the Cambodian genocide. This after giving credit to Nixon for ending the war in Vietnam.

A very sketchy (corrections welcome) history review: Cambodia was ruled by Prince Sihanouk, who survives to this day and actually has a sort of blog (in French). The North Vietnamese were using Cambodian territory to prosecute their war with the U.S. Nixon responded by bombing Cambodian territory. U.S. college campuses erupted. Sihanouk was deposed in a coup by pro-U.S. Lon Nol, sparking the Khmer insurgency, which eventually prevailed. The Khmers began massacres of their own and of border-region Vietnamese populations, and the victorious Vietnamese Communist government deposed the Khmer. The Communist Chinese supported Khmer guerrilla warfare and invaded Vietnam itself in 1979.

Laying the defeat of the U.S. in Vietnam to Watergate is a huge whopper. The U.S. had already lost but was throwing good money after bad. (Sound familiar?) How can you give credit to Nixon for ending the war, at the same time you blame liberals for losing the war?

O’Reilly’s Ratings Continue to Slide

Read through to the “Update” and see how the spokesman from Fox pulls the classic conservative ploy – smear the messenger who reveals the bad news.

“O’Reilly’s May numbers dipped below 2 million for the first time in a year,” the Washingtonian’s Harry Jaffe notes. “In October, during the election season, more than 3-million people were tuning in to O’Reilly’s diatribes.” TVNewser first reported this trend last month. CNN says O’Reilly has lost 1,181,000 viewers since October:

October: 3,166,000 / November: 3,080,000 / December: 2,610,000 / January: 2,478,000 / February: 2,391,000 / March: 2,320,000 / April: 2,178,000 / May-to-date: 1,985,000

O’Reilly has also consistently lost viewers each month in the 25-54 demographic, from 951,000 in October to 420,000 in May, a decrease of 531,000 viewers.

But, Jaffe adds, “a Fox flack said his numbers were up from last May.” And, as a Fox insider said last month, “who do you think CNN would rather have at 8pm?”

> Update: 10:14pm: A Fox News spokesperson responds to Jaffe’s story: “Once again Harry proves he’s a CNN toady in using their tired revenue spin which is better known as loser’s lament and by misrepresenting O’Reilly’s ratings…he begrudges everyone’s success, including that of the highest rated show in cable news… as everyone in the Beltway knows, Harry is understandably bitter but we wish him well in overcoming his personal demons.”

Fat Cat Donors Have Hotline to Das Guber

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s polling has deflated since he took on popular groups in California, like teachers, nurses, and firefighters, whom he has labelled “special interests.” Now we learn in a scoop from the Los Angeles Times that Das Guber is laying the groundwork for a scorched-earth campaign to create a “phenomenon of anger” against these popular groups and others.

That fact comes as a result of the scoop. The big news here is that Schwarzenegger’s biggest donors are treated to regular phone conferences where they listen to the governor’s schemes and plots, and are invited to join in.

When wealthy contributors write checks to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, they often get a few canapes and a drink — and a secret telephone number that grants them access to his closest advisors and even the governor himself.

Twice a month, donors can become insiders’ insiders — invited to participate in conference calls featuring information about Schwarzenegger campaign strategy that his political enemies would love to have. In turn, donors who dial in can give the governor advice.

In the latest such call, a few days ago, Schwarzenegger’s media expert, Don Sipple, outlined a strategy “based on a lot of polling” to create a “phenomenon of anger” among voters toward public employee unions. Firefighters, police officers, teachers and other state-paid workers have become the governor’s harshest critics this year.

“The process is like peeling an onion,” Sipple said, describing a multi-step plan for persuading voters that public-worker unions are “motivated by economic self-interest” instead of “doing the best job for the state…”

The governor has dubbed 2005 the “year for reform,” and he needs millions of dollars for support, mainly for TV ads. The Times was given access to Thursday’s half-hour call through a participant.

“It’s a good way to keep in touch with you, our most important supporters, about the latest developments in the campaign,” Schwarzenegger’s chief fundraiser, Marty Wilson, told the contributors…

Contributors to Schwarzenegger’s causes are first invited to join the discussions in e-mails, which tell them how to get — for each call — a phone number and a password. The campaign staff decides which significant donors will be included each time. The discussions feature a “special guest,” such as Sipple, talking about the governor’s plans, as well as information about fundraisers and a question-and-answer session.

In the latest call, the advisors said Schwarzenegger had spent $8 million so far on television ads defending and promoting his agenda. He launched another TV ad campaign the same day that will cost $2.5 million for a few weeks of air time, and he wants to collect $31 million to $32 million to run his initiative campaign through the fall, the advisors said.

Ismail Merchant No Longer Gay in Obits

Turns out there is a cure for being gay – death. Washington Blade has a great story on how the late Ismail Merchant’s gayness was deleted in his obituaries:

Merchant Ivory Productions is synonymous with films that are rooted in ornate and authentic history. With the death of film producer Ismail Merchant on Wednesday, May 25, however, some major news organizations are rewriting history, or at least omitting some of it.

It is well known that the 44-year relationship between Merchant and James Ivory — who was the director of the duo’s films like Oscar-nominated “Howard’s End,” “Room with a View,” and “Remains of the Day” — was romantic as well as creative.

Of the mainstream news accounts reviewed for this article, only the Los Angeles Times explicitly states that the two were a gay couple.

“In a business where professional marriages last hardly any longer than personal ones,” the L.A. Times writes, “Merchant’s association with the German-born [screenwriter Rita Rawer] Jhabvala and the American Ivory, who was also Merchant’s life partner, spanned more than 40 years and yielded as many movies.”

The New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters and the Washington Post all omitted the fact that Merchant and Ivory were life partners.

The Post obit writer, who included a very old quote in which Merchant said he had a “crush” on an actress, defended omitting Merchant’s relationship with Ivory because he said he could not find definitive proof that they were a couple.

“I feel uncomfortable writing about someone’s personal life unless it’s something they talked about extensively in print,” the Post’s obit writer Adam Bernstein told The Blade. Bernstein pointed out that the Post routinely lists gay partners as survivors in obituaries if the relationship can be proved.

The Blade’s Brian Moylan also points out that a similar “de-gaying” happened recently when Susan Sontag died. Many obituaries glossed over her relationships with women, including famed photographer Annie Liebowitz.

Jeb Tried to Save Schiavo from Aromatherapy Abuse

Excellent coverage of Jeb’s delusions of grandeur and delusions in general at Florida Politics. Now that we’ve all had some time to look into the hysterical claims made during the Schiavo fiasco, it appears just barely possible Jeb was…bluffing? Exaggerating? Um…lying? Yes, that’s it — Jeb was lying.

Will the media ask “Jeb!” to explain whether he was lying about “new and compelling allegations of abuse” in advance of the aborted Schiavo snatch and grab mission? After all, “Jeb!” specifically,

“claimed there were new and compelling allegations of abuse or neglect that the state Department of Children and Families had to investigate.”

“…the only allegation in the batch not heard before: A March 7 complaint that accused a nursing assistant at Schiavo’s Pinellas Park hospice of using an “air freshener substance” in her bath water in July, which caused a rash. DCF investigators learned the substance was an aromatherapy oil that the assistant placed in a spray bottle, not in Schiavo’s bath.”

… “Jeb!” better have had something more than “air freshener” complaints when he claimed there was “new and compelling allegations of abuse” as justification for nearly causing a constitutional crisis; recall that, as a result of the need to “save” Schiavo, “‘There were two sets of law enforcement officers facing off, waiting for the other to blink,’ said one official with knowledge of Thursday morning’s activities.”

A note to folks outside Florida. Jeb’s campaign materials consist of red signage with “Jeb!” reversed out in white. That’s all, just “Jeb” with an exclamation point. Seeing this year after year, those of us who live here tend to think of him as “Jeb!” all the time.