I’d Like To Talk About Roger Stone’s Latest Bizarre Comments But I’m Really Bothered By His Nixon Tattoo

Any time embodiment of villainy and Trump advisor/friend Roger Stone says something like

“Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen.”

I feel like I should forcefully object to Stone’s practiced inflammatory remarks. I can – and have – made well-crafted arguments against that kind of rhetoric with ease. And yet? And yet. I have real difficulty getting past‏ the man’s tattoo of Richard Nixon. It blots out all other thoughts in my mind.

Not only does Roger Stone have a Nixon tattoo, it’s of Tricky Dick’s face and it’s on his back.

See? SEE?! Per Snopes, It’s the real deal. Stone claims “women love it”, which if true means Nixon’s disembodied head gets some women’s motors running. The next time you come across a news item Stone is featured in, good luck trying to think of anything else.

You’ll never guess what part of his body Roger had tattooed with The Donald’s face.

(Year Zero/Day Two Hundred and Eighteen)

Washington, Oct. 20–President Nixon, reacting angrily tonight to refusals to obey his orders, dismissed the special Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox, abolished Mr. Cox’s office, accepted the resignation of Elliot L. Richardson, the Attorney General, and discharged William D. Ruckelshaus, the Deputy Attorney General.

The President’s dramatic action edged the nation closer to the constitutional confrontation he said he was trying to avoid.

Senior members of both parties in the House of Representatives were reported to be seriously discussing impeachment of the President because of his refusal to obey an order by the United States Court of Appeals that he turn over to the courts tape recordings of conversations about the Watergate case, and because of Mr. Nixon’s dismissal of Mr. Cox.

The President announced that he had abolished the Watergate prosecutor’s office as of 8 o’clock tonight and that the duties of that office had been transferred back to the Department of Justice, where his spokesman said they would be “carried out with thoroughness, and vigor.”

Events Listed

These were the events that led to the confrontation between the President and Congress and the Government’s top law enforcement officers:

Mr. Cox said in a televised news conference that he would return to Federal court in defiance of the President’s orders to seek a decision that Mr. Nixon had violated a ruling that the tapes must be turned over to the courts.

Attorney General Richardson, after being told by the President that Mr. Cox must be dismissed, resigned.

Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus was ordered by Mr. Nixon to discharge Mr. Cox. Mr. Ruckelshaus refused and was dismissed immediately.

The President informed Robert H. Bork, the Solicitor General, that under the law he was the acting Attorney General and must get rid of Mr. Cox and the special Watergate force.

Mr. Bork discharged Mr. Cox and had the Federal Bureau of Investigation seal off the offices of the special prosecutor, which Mr. Cox had put in a building away from the Department of Justice to symbolize his independence. Some members of the Cox staff were still inside at the time.

The F.B.I. also sealed off the offices of Mr. Richardson and Mr. Ruckelshaus.

Mr. Richardson had no comment tonight, but he scheduled a news conference for Monday. Mr. Ruckelshaus said, “I’m going fishing tomorrow.”

Mr. Cox’s reaction was brief: “Whether we shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people [to decide],” he said.

The President’s decisions today raised new problems.

For one, he must seek his third Attorney General in a year, now that Mr. Richardson has followed Richard G. Kleindienst as a victim of the Watergate affair.

Moreover, he has risked the possibility of a public and Congressional outcry over disbanding the Watergate force assembled last spring under Mr. Cox to allay suspicions that a Justice Department responsible to the President might not have been prosecuting those responsible for the Watergate break-in and cover-up with enough vigor.

Ford Backs Nixon

In addition, the confirmation of Representative Gerald R. Ford, the Michigan Republican who was designated by Mr. Nixon as his choice for Vice President after Spiro T. Agnew resigned, may run into trouble in Congress. Mr. Ford issued a statement tonight supporting Mr. Nixon’s actions.

The announcement of the President’s decisions came at 8:24 P.M. at an unusual Saturday night briefing by Ronald L. Ziegler, the White House press secretary.

By late this evening, some public reaction was already visible at the White House. Crowds of young people gathered at the northwest gate, some shouting anti-Nixon slogans. One youth held up a large sign saying, “Resign.”

All evening, the White House switchboard was so swamped with calls that it was almost impossible to get through. Lights in the offices in the West Wing burned late into the night.

All day, newsmen in unusual numbers for a weekend wandered aimlessly through the press area of the White House, waiting for Mr. Cox’s televised news conference from the National Press Building, and then for the President’s reaction.

What Mr. Cox said when he appeared, relaxed and amiable as he slouched at a table, was that the President’s proposal to make an edited summary of the tapes available to the Senate Watergate committee and the grand jury had created “insuperable difficulties” for him in conducting a criminal investigation.

“I think it is my duty as the special prosecutor, as an officer of the court and as the representative of the grand jury, to bring to the court’s attention what seems to me to be non-compliance with the court’s order,” he declared.

Making it clear that he would defy the President’s order “not to seek to invoke the judicial process further to compel production of recordings, notes or memoranda regarding private Presidential conversations,” Mr. Cox added:

“I’m going to go about my duties on the terms of which I assumed them.”

No Official Reaction

But for hours after Mr. Cox’s news conference, there was no official reaction from the White House.

During the day, White House sources continued to provide background briefings to small groups of newsmen on Mr. Nixon’s reasons for not appealing the appellate court’s ruling on the Watergate tapes, but seeking instead to provide a summary that would be verified by Senator John C. Stennis, Democrat of Mississippi.

About 4:45 P.M., Mr. Richardson’s limousine appeared in the driveway, and disappeared a half- hour later. But for hours, no one would even confirm that Mr. Richardson had seen the President.

Then, shortly before 8:30 P.M., a grim-faced Mr. Ziegler appeared at the podium in the press room with his deputy, Gerald Warren.

Reading from a prepared statement and later refusing to take questions, Mr. Ziegler reported that the President had discharged Mr. Cox and broken up the special Watergate prosecutor force.

Mr. Ziegler said the President had sought by his move tonight “to avoid a constitutional confrontation by an action that would give the grand jury what it needs to proceed with its work with the least possible intrusion of Presidential privacy.”

“That action taken by the President in the spirit of accommodation that has marked American constitutional history was accepted by responsible leaders in Congress and the country,” Mr. Ziegler added. “Mr. Cox’s refusal to proceed in the same spirit of accommodation, complete with his announced intention to defy instructions from the President and press for further confrontation at a time of serious world crisis, made it necessary for the President to discharge Mr. Cox and to return to the Department of Justice the task of prosecuting those who broke the law in connection with Watergate.”

Then, in four brief paragraphs, he announced the resignation of Mr. Richardson and the dismissal of Mr. Ruckelshaus.

–Douglas E. Kneeland, Nixon Discharges Cox For Defiance; Abolishes Watergate Task Force; Richardson And Ruckelshaus Out

Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

You might think Donald Trump would have had plenty of time to absorb the lessons of Watergate, but the president seems determined to follow a Nixonian path. It’s not exactly an obscure connection (and I’ve noted the similarities before), but the fact that my social media feeds are blowing up with the below New York Times front page indicates the more politically aware among us are seeing shades of Tricky Dick in Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Comey is no innocent. His eleventh hour chicanery may have tilted the election just enough to give Trump the keys to the White House. But he can at least be useful as a martyr in Trumpworld’s increasingly frenzied attempts to stop the mounting investigation into unsavory business connections, ties to Russia and inexplicable bulk spray tan purchases.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Ten)

Great Nixon’s Ghost!

Richard Nixon was a volatile man. The “law and order” president was prone to violent outbursts and bouts of paranoia. His drinking problem was so out of control that

The CIA’s top Vietnam specialist, George Carver, reportedly said that in 1969, when the North Koreans shot down a US spy plane, “Nixon became incensed and ordered a tactical nuclear strike… The Joint Chiefs were alerted and asked to recommend targets, but Kissinger got on the phone to them. They agreed not to do anything until Nixon sobered up in the morning.”

When Nixon wasn’t busy getting shitfaced and almost nuking North Korea and Southeast Asia, he would fiddle around with his substantial list of political enemies. His obsession with containing, one-upping and punishing his enemies eventually led to his downfall.

It’s been drilled into every student of American history’s head that the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up delivered the coup de grace to 37’s presidency. As the Congressional investigation broadened, Americans learned of Nixon and his associates’ brazen criminality; that the figurehead of the government was willing to engage in a conspiracy to maintain his grip on power. Questions about what the president knew and when he knew were of paramount importance.

Because this all went down in the  early 1970s, it’s useful to understand that although his misdeeds were eventually exposed, he was five years into his presidency before it collapsed under the weight of his misdeeds and he was forced to resign in disgrace.

Donald Trump is not Richard Nixon (He doesn’t need a legendary drinking habit to be paranoid and ill-tempered, for one. KFC does the trick just fine.). And yet as the leaks come out day after day, there’s a feeling Nixon and Trump are of a kind. This probably does a great disservice to Nixon, bastard though he was.

What’s striking about the Trump White House is how much we know now. How during his first hundred days (a terrible conceit but one that Washington insiders and the press corps hold on to), there’s a mounting effort within the government to unseat him. You have in our somewhat recent past a figure who is almost universally vilified in popular history, and he’s being upstaged by our unhinged-troll-in-chief. Impressive.

Thanks to The Apprentice‘s own Omarosa Manigaut, we know there’s a good chance he has an enemies list and compiles dossiers on black journalists.  We know of his many gross personal defects because there are recordings and living witnesses who can independently verify them. New anecdotes concerning flaws like his violent temper come to light almost on the daily. And his ill-advised war with the Deep State means we get to learn about his back-channel dealings not decades after the fact, but months.

[T]he proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

At a time when Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, and the people connected to him, are under heightened scrutiny — with investigations by American intelligence agencies, the F.B.I. and Congress — some of his associates remain willing and eager to wade into Russia-related efforts behind the scenes.

If the question is what did the president know and when did he know it, the answer is “everything” and “from the start”. Will it be enough to bring him down, though? We now know the president’s own private organization drafted a plan to remove sanctions and gave it to disgraced National Security adviser Michael Flynn, who was ditched for making illicit contact with Russia and then getting tangled in the web of his profligate lies. But these are uncertain times. Who will claim victory in this internecine war is unclear.

At least we’ll be entertained while the fate of our country sorts itself out.

(Year Zero/Day Thirty-Two)