“I am not a crook”

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Famous words of President Richard Nixon in a speech to the nation before he resigned under the threat of impeachment. If the media then were like the media now, they would have accepted his words and stopped pursing the truth of Watergate, just shrugging their shoulders and saying that there was a difference of opinion. Nixon would have remained in office until the end of his term in January, 1977, and Gerald Ford would have remained Vice President.

If someone in a crowded theater yells “Fire” and people are injured or trampled to death while fleeing and there is no fire, the one person yelling “Fire” was just expressing a difference of opinion and/or was mistaken. The media have a responsibility to determine and report the truth, even though Chuck Todd contends that as a reporter, it is not his job. Reporting what different sides say is much easier than trying to determine the facts and the truth. In climate change, if 999 scientists say that climate change is real and likely caused, in part, by man, and one scientist disagrees, current media are likely to report both sides and say that there is disagreement. We, the voting public, are not well served by today’s media

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Gold

Polski: Sztabka złota ważąca 12,5 kg. Własność...

Polski: Sztabka złota ważąca 12,5 kg. Własność Narodowego Banku Polskiego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until I was age thirty,  the price of gold was fixed at $35.00 per ounce. In 1971, Nixon devalued the dollar by 20% and fixed the price of gold at $42.00 per ounce. Now the price of gold is determined by supply and demand in the free market and is currently around $1600.00 per ounce. Throughout history, the rule of thumb was that an ounce of gold would purchase a good suit. I don’t know what a good suit costs today, since I stopped purchasing and wearing suits thirty years ago.

When I occasionally turn to FOX News, I am bombarded with ads for gold, sometimes at 1% over dealer’s cost. I don’t understand how the company can pay for national TV ads and still profit at 1% over dealer’s cost. The gold pitchmen remind me of used car salesmen. The companies they represent must be making their money with hidden extras, just as used car dealers, and new car dealers too, add warranties, tinted glass, and weather sealing to raise the price of the vehicle and their profits. I have never purchased gold so I don’t know how they operate.

Newspeak –> GOPspeak

newspeak_2

newspeak_2 (Photo credit: krisis magazine)

At the conclusion of 1984, George Orwell devoted 12 pages to the principles of Newspeak, a language and a vocabulary designed to prevent thoughts considered dangerous by the regime of Big Brother. If there were no words to express a thought, then the masses could not hold those thoughts. Orwell predicted that full implementation of Newspeak would occur by 2050. We will reach the halfway point between 1984 and 2050 in just four years, in 2017. The Republican Party has their own version of Newspeak which I call GOPspeak.

The first instance of GOPspeak that I can remember specifically was Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” speech. Of course, he was a crook and worse and was forced to resign not long after his vice-president, Spiro Agnew, was forced to resign for similar reasons. First time in our history that occurred.

On a lighter note, there was Christine O’Donnell‘s “I am not a witch” speech in 2010. That charge was never conclusively proved or disproved. In colonial times, suspected witches were subjected to a form of water torture by being tied to a dunking stool and then submerged in a pool of water. That practice was cruel and fell out of favor. Now we use the more humane form of water torture called water-boarding.

The 2012 Mitt Romney campaign lied 24/7 claiming that it would not be limited by facts. And Mitt still doesn’t understand why he lost. The only thing that you can be sure of when a Republican uses GOPspeak is that he/she means the opposite of what those words meant until recently. Eventually, if the voters and the media allow GOPspeak to continue, then GOPspeak may become Newspeak in fact. That is a result we must work to prevent if we wish to preserve democracy in the US.

Please see Republican newspeak

Surtax

The Reagans meeting with then-President Richar...

The Reagans meeting with then-President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon in July 1970 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surtax: a temporary tax on top of another tax. If your effective tax rate is 10%, and a 10% surtax is added to it, your effective tax rate is really 11%. If your effective tax rate is 30% and a 10% surtax is added to it, your effective rate is really 33%.

To help pay for the Vietnam war, LBJ had a 10% surtax enacted in 1968 on top of the Federal income tax. Since it only applied to 9 months of 1968, the actual tax rate was 7.5%. Congress renewed the temporary surtax for 1969 and the first half of 1970 at the reduced rate of 5%, and then let it expire. During Ronald Reagan’s governorship, temporary increases to the sales tax were enacted to help pay for flood damage in Northern California. Some say that there is no such thing as a temporary tax, but both LBJ and Reagan promised that the taxes were only temporary and both kept their word.

My first ever letter to a president was sent to Richard Nixon favoring an additional surtax to combat inflation of 2% in 1971. Someone in the Treasury Department responded with the word that a different solution had been selected. Nixon announced a wage-price freeze that ultimately did not work. I supported the surtax to protect people on fixed incomes from inflation. Inflation is a tax that affects everyone, while a surtax only affects those paying an income tax.

Once the fiscal cliff is behind us and we have enacted tax reform, I think that we should keep an income tax surtax in reserve for future emergencies. In times of war, natural disasters like Katrina and Sandy, or recession, we could enact a temporary surtax to provide revenue to pay for unusual expenses.

Fathers and sons

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Mitt’s father, George Romney, failed to win the GOP nomination in 1968 for two main reasons: he did not endorse Goldwater in 1964 and he said that he had been “brainwashed” about Vietnam. In 1964, Romney was a stronger supporter of civil rights than Goldwater was and that led to his refusal to endorse Goldwater. It was a standing joke in Washington during the LBJ presidency that LBJ was “brainwashing” everyone about Vietnam. The brainwashing comment was not meant seriously, but it haunted the Romney candidacy.

George Romney was a moderate-to-liberal member of the GOP, and he was somewhat to the left of where President Obama is now.The Democratic Party then contained a wide variety of political views, but the dominant view then was further to the left of George Romney. If he had been elected in 1968, I think that George would have been a good president, certainly much better than Richard Nixon.

Mitt Romney shares few, if any, of his father’s political strengths, and he lacks his father’s honesty and decency. Like many father/son rivalries of the past, Mitt wanted to equal or surpass his father’s achievements, but lacked his father’s abilities. We have just lived through eight years produced by the father/son rivalry between George H W Bush and George W Bush. George H W Bush was an average president; George W was a terrible president. With the results of their example still affecting millions around the world, we must avoid repeating it with the Romney father and son rivalry.