Let’s say it was the 1940s and a guy who had secretly "ratted out" Lucky Luciano finally surfaced. Would the press (now known as "the media") rush out to get quotes from Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky about the ethical behavior of the "rat," and would these esteemed authorities receive a respectable hearing in the press? We think not.
We see the credence given to the likes of Chuck Colson (guilty as charged), G. Gordon Liddy (likewise), and Pat Buchanan (no charges, but a lifelong butt-boy for Richard M. Nixon) in about the same light.
After the revelation last week that W. Mark Felt was the legendary "Deep Throat" of Watergate fame, the aforementioned clowns emerged to serve as the equivalents for our "Sympathy for Lucky" scenario. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball here, folks. Nixon lied. Nixon was running a criminal enterprise inside the White House. Colson and Liddy went to prison for their part in these criminal operations, and they richly deserved it.
Yet here they are, criticizing what Mr. Felt did when he was in the FBI. Perhaps Mr. Felt does not fit the typical description of "hero." But so what! Get a clue! Nixon was the president of the United States. He or his factotums had administration black-bag boys break into the apartment of Arthur Bremer. (Remember Bremer? The man who shot George Wallace?) The covert operatives broke into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. They broke into Larry O’Brien’s office at the Watergate building. They conducted numerous illegal wiretaps, etc., and they and their backers then lied about it all to the American people. They paid hush money to criminals, and used federal agencies like the IRS to harass and attack those Nixon perceived as enemies. The president even cheated on his income tax, a story revealed in the Other Paper by Little Rhody’s Jack White. If the American people knew about all this before the 1972 election, do you think they’d have happily returned him to office with such big numbers?
Maybe — maybe not. Regardless, criminals like Colson and Liddy — who, to the best of our knowledge, have never expressed an apology for their illegal activities — have no ethical standing. Yet they are being quoted in the media as if their opinions matter and are worth consideration.
These jerks can spin all they want. The guilty party was, and always will be, the criminal enterprise served by Colson, Liddy and Buchanan — the Nixon Administration. Their self-serving comments are far more pathetic than Providence’s own Bud-I apologists, who keep pointing out all the great things that the former mayor did for the city. Nixon was also brilliant and did some very good things. But he was a criminal, just like the Bud-I. We don’t care if "Deep Throat" Felt was motivated by how he was passed over for FBI chief. (Real people tend to have numerous motivations for their behavior, as well as mixed feelings about all sorts of things. We know that far-right Republicans can’t grasp this concept, because it’s not black and white, merely true). Ultimately, Felt performed a great public service by leading Woodward and Bernstein to Nixon’s crimes. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
And the procedural debate about "shouldn’t Felt have gone to a grand jury or to his boss, L. Patrick Gray"? Felt already knew Nixon had gotten to Gray and that the then-FBI chief was destroying documents for Nixon. When it appears that the entire government is corrupted and controlled by the person at the top, you do what you have to do to end it. Perhaps younger people who didn’t live through Watergate may be motivated to read up on it. Maybe they’ll even see some parallels to what is happening right now. We sure hope so.
HANDBAGS AT 10 PACES
Mee-oww! P&J guess we won’t be seating our old pal Guy "Tonto" Dufault and radio jock Dan Yorke next to each other at our next dinner party.
According to the folks at the BeloJo’s "Political Scene," Tonto invited Danny Boy to attend the big union rally at the State House last week. But instead of Yorke being greeted as a B-list celeb, he was supposedly the subject of thinly veiled intimidation by some of the attending firefighters.
Tonto claimed ignorance of the incident, which led Yorke to tell Political Scene, "For Guy to say something like that, it shows what kind of disingenuous lobbyist spin he brings to the table." Hey, Dan, why do you think we love him? If he isn’t our favorite disingenuous lobbyist spin-doctor, we don’t know who is. Atta boy, Tonto.
Phillipe & Jorge have deep roots in the environmental community, so we usually avoid writing about our tree-hugging buddies. But two rather momentous events last week render us susceptible to being accused of blowing a seal (on our car’s engine, of course).
First, there was the opening of Save the Bay’s new headquarters at Field’s Point in Providence. Every prominent politician not currently incarcerated was in attendance, and the praise showered on the site, the building, and its green-friendly surroundings was well deserved. Huge kudos to Johnson & Wales University, which gave the land to Save the Bay, nicely enhancing J-Woo’s image beyond its lauded culinary arts program.
P&J will be the first to toast the university’s commitment to the community, especially since Phillipe, a former Save the Bay employee, was delighted to see the start of the likely resurrection of a long-forgotten piece of the Providence waterfront. (Even if we never did get lucky at the old Shipyard Drive-In.) Thirty years ago, the Field’s Point sewage-treatment plant was pumping huge balls of excrement into Narragansett Bay. The achievements of the Narragansett Bay Commission in rectifying such problems, and Save the Bay’s symbolic resurrection of the notorious site, represent a huge Little Rhody success story.
Our second brown-nosing tribute goes to Peter Lord of the Urinal, for his long-awaited series on Block Island. BI is one of the Ocean State’s crown jewels, and the way the islanders have treated their home turf is admirable. Lord’s first piece of an enormous seven-day run on Rob Lewis was absolutely touching and telling, and Lewis’s son, Keith, who has carried on his father’s legacy as a conservationist, must be busting his buttons. P&J have spent some time on the Block, celebrating the millennium New Year’s there, including a dip in the ocean on January 1, 2000. (Whew, talk about shrinkage!) The BIers have a lot to be proud of about their prize turf, including folks like our favorite resident, Johnny C., who is still walking on air after his beloved Red Sox won the World Series, therefore justifying his BoSox tattoo.
Nice work, everyone.
"Riddle me this, Batman," as the recently deceased Frank Gorshin might have said. Why does multi-millionaire Mikey Jackson have to go to a hospital to get treatment for his very suspect ailments, rather than just consulting a personal physician? Not quite as dramatic? Or does he just like hanging out with some of the 40 million-plus Americans who can’t afford health insurance, one of the biggest black marks on this country?
Nothing would make us happier than to see this freak of nature get his comeuppance.
Sleep tight, Liz Taylor and Diana Ross. And roll over.
President Bush has got a near-perfect record when it comes to appointing extremists to high public office. Last week, he named Representative Christopher Cox (R-California) as his choice to replace William Donaldson as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a front-page story about the nomination in the New York Times of June 3, Cox is described as "a devoted student of Ayn Rand, the high priestess of unfettered capitalism." Isn’t it nice to have a follower of someone who does not believe in any regulation of the marketplace nominated to run a regulatory agency?
By the way, a front-page story in the New York Times on Sunday, June 5, headlined "Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind," points out how the Bush tax policy overwhelmingly benefits the super-rich at the expense of everyone else. Right-wing ideologues do not believe it is "at the expense of everyone else," but we urge you to look at the numbers in the article. All boats are not rising and not all yachts, either.
KUDOS AND CONGRATS . . .
. . . to Michael Corkery, just-departed scribe for the Other Paper, who is taking on the real estate beat for a small daily called the Wall Street Journal. Although Corkery, a fine reporter and good guy, is hardly the first BeloJo reporter to move to a prestigious Gotham rag, the move is twice as nice for him since he’ll be living in the same city as his fiancé.
. . . to Providence neighborhood activist Jennifer Cole, who, enhanced with a saucy new tattoo that will impress even the most fervent Red Sox fan, is embarking on a cross-country ballpark tour.
. . . to Sue Pegden, longtime press secretary for Lieutenant Governor Charlie Fogarty and one of P&J’s favorite humans. Sue recently gave notice that handling her full-time responsibilities in the LG’s office, juggling night classes at RWU law school, and being wife to Rob (Horowitz, a political consultant) and mom to Emily was a bit much. No kidding! Your superior correspondents have always assumed that Sue has been able to do all that she does because she doesn’t sleep.
Despite her giant plate of duties and responsibilities, Sue’s biggest concern last week was how she had been (in her words) "Ma’amed" by some upcoming teen rock sensations making a local appearance with Fogarty in support of anti-drunk driving initiatives. Sue’s daughter Emily and some of her friends were adamant that Sue get autographs from these guys, and when Sue approached them for their hoof prints, one of them referred to her as, "Ma’am."
"It’s the first time I’ve ever been ‘Ma’amed,’ " a shaken Pegden confided to P&J. Your superior correspondents also find it a bit strange considering how Sue, according to her resume, is 40, but still looks like a springy 25-year-old.
Send banana peels and Pulitzer-grade tips to p&j[a]phx.com
The Phillipe & Jorge archives.
Issue Date: June 10 - 16, 2005
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