The New Dorp public library finally got my copy of Holtzman's autobiography on interlibrary loan, and I've spent the weekend reading. Nothing here, just the typical fake "insider" tidbits, the unavoidable namedropping and backstabbing, self-justification, and overdetermined explanation. Not that it's a bad book, quite the opposite. For something written by a politician, it was quite enjoyable, and I did learn a bunch of backstory that may be valuable as connection points. She was probably recruited by White Umbrella forces at Radcliffe. Don't all secret organizations have outposts at the Ivies and seven sisters? I mean, really, where do you think they get their people? Kingsborough Community College?
After watching hours and hours of House Judiciary footage and reading endless transcripts and reportage, I'm even more certain that Elizabeth Holtzman is the fulcrum of the Nixon resignation. Like all conspiracies, Watergate is a public facade of "facts" and faces -- the Rodinos, Siricas, and Ervins and the puppet show for the cameras. And then there is the other order behind the visible. Those who want to know what is really going on know to look past the theatrics and search for fact patterns. Why did Holtzman win unexpectedly in 1972? Why did she lose her later Senate bids? Why did she advocate the impeachment of George W. Bush at a time when doing so was political suicide?
Only one hypothesis fits the facts, and you know what it is by now.
I was noodling with teh google this week -- as I always do in my stultifying hours as an underleveraged, underappreciated microserf -- and came upon an image of Mary Poppins, drifting over the skies of London under her magic umbrella. That led me into a maze of twisty passages about Dickensian chimney sweep children and the incidence of cancer of the scrotum, as well as a scene in a 1967 Dick Van Dyke movie called "Fitzwilly" which features umbrellas deployed by the eponymous scapegrace in a climactic Christmas robbery of Gimbels department store.
But the root question seems to me to be whether Poppins is a symbol of one of the Umbrella factions. And if so, which one?
Absence of evidence...
...is not evidence of absence. If it's a good enough axiom for Carl Sagan, it's good enough for me. Sometimes, when I find myself becoming obsessed with a minor detail -- in this case, Elizabeth Holzman -- I question whether I'm going off down a rabbit hole. Especially when the trail is cold and there's no information to be found.
And then I realize: that absense of evidence is, in fact, evidence. If you were trying to hide the action of a conspiracy, what better way than to emulate a bland, normal event. Of course people move away, die off after 40 years. Of course no one remembers. It was a momentary blip, an unexpected win in a primary. Who even remembers such things three-score years later.
In just such normalcy does the perfect conspiracy lie.
Black swan, white umbrella
Interesting weekend of work. Here's what I think I know.
In 1972, Emmanuel Cellar had been the Congressman from Brooklyn's 10th district for almost 50 years. He had been the chair of the House Judiciary Committee for over 20 years. To say his seat was safe is an understatement.
And suddenly, he's defeated in the Democratic primary by an upstart lawyer named Elizabeth Holzman, who had never held elective office before. A neophyte beat the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives.
Not only does Nixon not have a friendly face at the gavel, but Holzman contributes actively to building the case against him.
That is just about the textbook example of a Black Swan.
Spent the whole weekend reading about the impeachment forces gathring around Nixon in 1974, and one thing really stuck out. The House Judiciary committee. Up until the previous election, it had been chaired by Emmanuel Celler, a 25-term incumbent, and a known friend of Nixon's. If Celler had been chair, the hearings would almost certainly have had a different complexion. Could Nixon have escaped? Maybe not, but he might have dragged things out longer, perhaps long enough for another Hail Mary play like China. (Notice how the Dark Umbrella cabal thinks in the long run -- they knew China was a sleeping giant market for their capitalist wares, and that may well have been the reason Nixon was euchred into making that trip.)
But seriously. A 25-term friend of Nixon's suddenly fails at the polls just when he might tip the balance? I'm thinking I see the shadow of the White Umbrella.
After much soul searching and pouring over notebooks, I've decided to turn to one of my long-suspected connections with the white umbrella: the Nixon resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.
I've figured out what's been nagging at me about the Sixites and Seventies. If we assume that the Nixon Administration was aligned with the Dark Umbrella (a given) and that the counterforce was effectively muted (which also appears the only conclusion from the evidence) then how does one account for the Weathermen.
Their goals are too orthogonal to the Adminstration to consider the possibility of a splinter cell of the Dark order. I suppose that a false flag operation cannot be entirely ruled out (with the operatives themselves, perhaps, not even knowing that they were operating in service of the Dark. Could Nixon's people have infiltrated and run a fifth column of Manchurian insurrectionists?
I have learned not to put anything beyond the pale of the Dark Umbrella cabal, but that seems to strain credulity. Will need to think.
The failure of the counterforce
With all the research I've done on the Weathermen, I keep coming back to the same question: why did the forces of the White Umbrella not take better advantage of their momentum during the 1960s? There is no question that they were overmatched; not since the 1930s, when the new medium of radio propelled Hitler to power had a major political figure been in such a position to control a uniquely penetrating medium (Television, in the 60s was very different that today, my research has shown. There were only three networks, and you could control content quite effectively. The Administration managed to do this for nearly ten years.)
There were several key points of failure. In some of them (RFK, MLK) one can discern the work of the Dark, but what to make of the collapse of the anti-war movement? Or, especially, the curious blindness America has about the Weathermen?
We had a full-fledged revolutionary force operating within our borders, and nobody today even remembers it. We talk about Al Qaeda all the time, and they never even get a sidebar.
Of course, deliberate elision is always the work of the Dark Umbrella.
If we assume that Nixon held the Dark Umbrella (I'm speaking loosly and metphorically here; obviosusly I don't believe that the umbrella iteslf has any power) and that he ran point for the Dark forces during the 1960s, where was the counterforce?
Obviously in San Francisco, it goes without saying. And New York. You had a loose cabal of drug-addled anti-government forces in both locations, with Kesey and the Grateful Dead on the Left Coast and the Greenwich Village intelligentsia (Ginsburg, Rubin, Dylan) on the other, with yeasty campus outposts spread between. It is no accident that the Weathermen arise from this dynamic. Of which, more anon.
Back to work tomorrow. Did I mention work sucks?