a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

If Noah Cross were alive today, he’d be giving to the Tea Party!

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 13th October 2010

It’s good to be Noah Cross.
From his point of view, anyway.

“I don’t blame myself. You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of ANYTHING.”
Noah Cross, “Chinatown” (1974)

Make of the following links what you will:

    (extremely well documented — e.g., DNA results — Village Voice article by editor-in-chief Tony Ortega titled, ahem, “MEMO TO BRUCE McMAHAN, DAUGHTER-SEDUCER”)
  2. (FEC donation record)
  3. (FEC donation record)
  4. (personal web site)
  5. (…Greenwich CT)
  6. (Tea Party PAC)

Mr. Ortega’s article appears to have been precipitated by legal harassment from Mr. McMahan, specifically McMahan’s appeal of a judge’s decision that Ortega should not have to testify about the 2006 publication of “Daddy’s Girl” in the related publication “New Times.”  On a whim, I looked up and discovered the FEC information myself (links 2 and 3).  The point of links 4 and 5 is to make plausible-to-certain that the two $500 donations to “Our Country Deserves Better PAC –” are indeed from the same Mr. McMahan:

  • the personal web site lists his alma mater as USC 1957; both that and the photo match information on an image in the Village Voice article.
  • the site also lists one of the firms he’s associated with as “Centaur”; that firm is headquartered in Greenwich, CT, the listed address listed in the donation record.

Are all Tea Party contributors as completely amoral as Mr. McMahan appears to be?  No, of course not.  But between Mr. McMahan, Mr. Rand Paul, Mr. Ron Johnson, and my general impressions of the Tea Party phenomenon, I feel justified in connecting the dots into a picture spelling “financial might makes right.” Here’s the rest of the dialogue that goes with the Noah Cross quote above:

Jake Gittes: How much are you worth?
Noah Cross
: I have no idea. How much do you want?
Jake Gittes
: I just wanna know what you’re worth. More than 10 million?
Noah Cross
: Oh my, yes!
Jake Gittes
: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can’t already afford?
Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gittes! The future. Now, where’s the girl? I want the only daughter I’ve got left. As you found out, Evelyn was lost to me a long time ago.
Jake Gittes: Who do you blame for that? Her?
Noah Cross: I don’t blame myself. You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of ANYTHING.

Chinatown (1974)

That’s your future and mine Cross is talking about buying. That’s your future and mine people like the Koch brothers are buying right now.

EDIT, 10/13: Extended quote and final paragraph added.

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The white supremacist roots of Glenn Beck’s ideology

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 9th October 2010

Last weekend I went to the “One Nation” march — a rally designed at least in part as a rebuke to Glenn Beck’s 8/27 event at the Lincoln Memorial, hijacking the date and meaning of the March on Washington 47 years earlier.  At least one “Tea Party” advocate stood alone (and unmolested) among the swirling crowd near the Washington Monument on their way towards the event.  His sign had words to the effect “I’m with the Tea Party .  But I’m not racist, I don’t hate.”

Maybe not.  Few people like to think they’re racist.  Many people try not to be.  But we’re not usually the most objective judges of whether we’ve succeeded.

More to the point here, when their leaders — by intent, by ignorance, or by intentional ignorance — misrepresent the history of race in America that they claim to be explaining, the practical effect is racist.  Listen to the ‘MediaMatters’ tape excerpt of the October 1 Glenn Beck show, starting at 2:14:

…I would like to propose that the president is exactly right when he said “Slaves sitting around the campfire didn’t know when slavery was going to end, but they knew that it would.” And it took a long time to end slavery. Yes it did. But it also took a long time to start slavery. And it started small, and it started with seemingly innocent ideas. And then a little court order here and a court order there, and a little more regulation here and a little more regulation there, and before we knew it, America had slavery. It didn’t come over on a ship to begin with as an evil slave trade, the government began to regulate things because the people needed answers, they needed solutions. It started in a courtroom, and then it went to the legislatures. That’s how slavery began. And it took a long time to enslave an entire race of people and convince another race of people that they were somehow or another “less” than them. But it can be done. I would ask you to decide: are we freeing slaves, or are we creating slaves? That’s a question that must be answered.

Hokaaay.  There’s a whole discussion one might have about how all this is delivered — the weary would-be freedom rider’s ‘yes it did,’ the oddly mocking, skeptical ‘evil slave trade.’  But it’s the content that concerns me here: where in God’s name does Beck come up with this stuff?

W.C. Skousen and the Lost Cause
The answer appears to be that ‘in God’s name’ is about right: it may be largely from one Willard Cleon Skousen (1913-2006).  National Review Online’s Mark Hemingway described him as “by turns an FBI employee, the police chief of Salt Lake City, a Brigham Young University professor, consigliore to former secretary of agriculture and Mormon president Ezra Taft Benson and, well, all-around nutjob.” (emphasis added)

Read the rest of this entry »

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“It’s an absurd situation”

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 2nd July 2009

Via Larisa Alexandrovna (“atLargely”), I learn that former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer thinks the only way we’ll be safer is if many of us die. Media Matters provides this clip of newly confirmed psychopath Scheuer’s remarks to known psychopath Glenn Beck on FOX News.

SCHEUER: It’s an absurd situation, again — only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.

BECK, nodding: Which is why I was thinking this weekend that if I were him that would be the *last* thing I would do right now.

That no-good bastard Osama — by failing to attack us, we grow lax and weak.

It’s almost unpatriotic to say it, I guess, but I hope we all have a happy, safe, terrorist nuke free July 4th.

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Good for a grin

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 7th January 2008

# Kenneth Pollack — Incredibly Enough, He’s Even Stupider Than You Thought (Jonathan Schwarz, “A Tiny Revolution”) — Schwarz reviews Pollack’s book “Persian Puzzle”, in which Pollack thinks it odd and irrational that Iranians were stocking up on naval equipment, which implied to Mr. “Threatening Storm” that they were spoiling for a fight with the good old U.S.A. Turns out they had a pretty decent reason for doing so — the US was sinking Iranian ships. Schwarz:

…it’s standard in government bureaucracies for people to become blithering idiots who have no idea what’s going on right in front of their face. So Pollack isn’t unusual in that regard. But it takes a special man to use his own blithering idiocy about his own country as justification to believe another country is mysterious and incomprehensible. Kenneth Pollack is that special man.

# This is the way, step inside (Spencer Ackerman, “toohotfortnr”) — Ackerman wades into Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” book and finds its definition of fascism overbroad, not applicable to Goldberg’s “exhibit A” — the Wilson era — even by Goldberg’s own definition. Ackerman concludes:

I’m starting to think Jonah Goldberg is not an intelligent man.

# Bad News for Mike Gravel (Jim MacDonald, “Making Light”) — New Hampshire citizen gets a two question phone call from a pollster:

“Are you planning to vote in the Democratic primary?”
“Sure am.”
“Who are you planning to vote for?”
“Mike Gravel.”
“Oh, you mean you’re going to vote in the Republican primary.”
“No, Mike Gravel is a Democrat. Two-term Democratic senator from Alaska.”
“Are you sure?

# I can press when there needs to be pressed (WIIIAI, “Whatever it is, I’m against it”) — WIIIAI observes today’s Bush interviews with Israeli television, Al Hurra, and Al Arabiya, featuring several gem-quality Bushisms:

“I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be — hold hands. […]

And what ends up happening in this process is that the leaders will commit, and then they’ll get their committees to work, and it gets stuck. And that’s when I’ll have to work with Condi Rice to unstick it.

Ahem. Does Laura know about this? Does she help? WIIIAI: “I’d put a joke in here, but each version of “Like the time I got my () stuck in ()” I come up with is more disturbing than the one before.”

# The Republican debates according to a 9-year old (DailyKos diarist 8ackgr0und N015e) — This guy gave his 9 year old the job of following the GOP debate on Saturday: “Follow me below the fold for the 9-year old’s rendition of a fight between Sarge, Wrinkles, Bunny Ears, Oily, Beagle Eyes and Carrot Face…” From the resulting transcript:

They are rude
Interrupt alot!

Beagle Eyes
Arrogant foreign policy
We need 400,000 troops
Don’t let politicians get involved
Leave it to military with blood on their boots. […]

John Micane never supported amnesty
Charge $5,000 to stay
attack ads

Immigrants should not be rewarded

Fight.Fight. Interrupt. Fight

Do not sent 12,000,000
Ronald Reagan on some commercial. […]

Obama doesn’t have the background to lead.

No candidate likes Obama.
Republicans don’t think he’ll be a good president.
Obama gonna win.

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Red Dawn, eh?

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 23rd March 2006

From the first post in Ben Domenech’s new “I’m a wingnut AND I’ve infiltrated the MSM” blog Red America, unaccountably hosted by the Washington Post:

…for the MSM, Dan Rather is just another TV anchor, France is just another country and Red Dawn is just another cheesy throwaway Sunday afternoon movie.

Red Dawn… Red Dawn… isn’t Red Dawn the one where an overseas superpower invades and occupies another country, and then faces endless resistance by locals armed with nothing but guns, bombs, and RPGs? Thought so.

And maybe I’m misunderstanding him, but I agree: France is a really great country, everyone should go visit sometime. Great food, great wine, great scenery, nice people, great health care — what more could you want? Dan Rather — now there’s another story. Sorry, Ben, gotta disagree — Rather may have had the stuff of greatness, but if he hadn’t muffed that Texas National Guard story we might be talking President Kerry now.

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A classy guy, a way with words

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 14th May 2004

Senator Zell Miller (“D”-GA), quoted in the Washington Times:

“Those who are wringing their hands and shouting so loudly for ‘heads to roll’ over [the abuse] seem to have conveniently overlooked the fact that someone’s head has rolled — that of another innocent American brutally murdered by terrorists” […]

“Why is it that there’s more indignation over a photo of a prisoner with underwear on his head than over the video of a young American with no head at all?”

Memo to White House: easy on the Zarqawi thing
Meanwhile, Eric Alterman is reminded by a reader of a a March NBC report by Jim Miklaszewski:

…long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself… Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

Maybe Nick Berg’s dad has a better complaint than some people think.

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From Big Fat Idiot to Slimmer, Fitter Sociopath

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 8th May 2004

Via “Media Matters for America,” via Rush Limbaugh’s own web site (login required),* some incredible statements by someone I thought couldn’t surprise me any more:

CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men —

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off? (emphases added)

Listen for yourself, MediaMatters provides an audio file (MP3). A day earlier:

LIMBAUGH: And these American prisoners of war — have you people noticed who the torturers are? Women! The babes! The babes are meting out the torture.

LIMBAUGH: You know, if you look at — if you, really, if you look at these pictures, I mean, I don’t know if it’s just me, but it looks just like anything you’d see Madonna, or Britney Spears do on stage. Maybe I’m — yeah. And get an NEA grant for something like this. I mean, this is something that you can see on stage at Lincoln Center from an NEA grant, maybe on Sex in the City — the movie. I mean, I don’t — it’s just me.

It clearly wouldn’t take much for Rush to be another Goebbels, if he isn’t already. It would be interesting to get Dick Cheney’s response to Rush’s outburst, he just let Rush interview him a while back. Or Rumsfeld’s response.

I await Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz’s de-mainstreaming of Rush Limbaugh with bated breath.


* … and 129 blogs as of tonight.

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Karen Hughes followup

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 29th April 2004

Via Kathryn Cramer, I see that Karen Hughes has denied making the implication that abortion rights advocates were like terrorists, calling that a “gross distortion” of what she said.

But the Washington Post article by Dan Balz provides the “bridge” between the two remarks I quoted Monday, and basically, she made the implication that abortion rights advocates were like terrorists:

Asked by host Wolf Blitzer how big an issue she thought abortion would be in this year’s presidential election, Hughes responded: “Well, Wolf, it’s always an issue. And I frankly think it’s changing somewhat. I think after September 11th the American people are valuing life more and realizing that we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life.”

The former White House counselor then noted that President Bush has urged Americans to “be reasonable” about the issue and to encourage a reduction in the number of abortions performed each year in a variety of ways, including by encouraging more adoptions.

“And I think those are the kind of policies that the American people can support, particularly at a time when we’re facing an enemy, and really the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life,” she added.

You can believe Hughes’ denial this was an incredible insult to pro-choice demonstrators — fellow Americans too, remember? — if you want to. But you’d be wrong. This was a nasty, clumsy shoe-horning of the abortion issue into the war on terror as copyrighted by the “anything goes” Bush administration.

Shame on Karen Hughes, and shame on George W. Bush for letting her speak for him. John Kerry ought to get that CNN tape and turn it into a campaign advertisement.


UPDATE, 4/30:

  • CNN covered a press conference in which leaders of last weekend’s march demanded Hughes apologize for her statements; they’re also providing a provisional transcript of Hughes remarks, which bears out the Washington Post account.
  • Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood has a web page where you can add your name to a petition demanding an apology. But since they know that apologies don’t come naturally to the Bush administration, they also provide Ms. Hughes with helpful pointers, developed by the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, about “When And How To Apologize“:

    One key to getting along well with people is knowing when to say you’re sorry. Sometimes little comments or actions can hurt or offend others. Heavy workloads and stress may keep us from seeing how our actions make others feel. The little things can add up. It doesn’t take long for someone to hold a grudge and for grudges to grow into conflicts. In most cases, if someone is offended by something you do or say, it’s much better to apologize right away. That solves the small problem and keeps it from getting bigger.

  • Who knows, maybe Karen would even get a great big hug!

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    Terrorists and Nazis take over Washington, D.C.!

    Posted by Thomas Nephew on 27th April 2004

    The Center for American Progress highlights a couple of rabid reactions to this weekend’s huge pro-choice rally in Washington, D.C.:

  • Karen Hughes, Bush’s close political advisor:

    “I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life….Really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life.”

    (via Kevin Drum)

    The New York Times — which Bob Somerby is persuading me is a dysfunctional newspaper — dropped the Hughes quote from the final version of their story about the rally.

    I remember happening to watch Hughes for a while on Charlie Rose a few weeks back, and, so help me, I thought she actually seemed OK. (The low expectations two-step: they don’t froth at the mouth and presto! they’re reasonable people.) It’s one thing to be sincerely troubled by or opposed to abortion; it’s another to group your opponents with terrorists. Given the Times’ past artful use of ellipses, it’s just possible there was some kind of sane bridge between Hughes’ first and second sentence. Probably not, though.

  • Terry Randall, long-time pro-life activist and current president of the anti-abortion group Society for Truth and Justice, speaking to CNN:

    “These celebrities who have attached their names to [the march], their names are going to have a certain amount of shame with it. Remember, Adolf Hitler in the mid ’30s had really big crowds and had a lot of famous people saying he was a great guy. It didn’t do him much good in 1945.”

    Both items are clearly not designed to win over middle-of-the-roaders, they’re “just” more red meat for the religious far right. As long as we’re throwing around “Nazi” charges, allow me to guess that Randall Terry would probably like the Nazi Party’s social prescription for women (Kinder, Kueche, Kirche: children, kitchen, church) a lot more than, say, Kate Michelman or Hillary Clinton ever would.

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    Michelle Malkin: symptom of a culture

    Posted by Thomas Nephew on 18th July 2003

    At lunch I often head over to Wendy’s. I’ve already read the Washington Post on the way to work, and I don’t just want to chew a hamburger, so I get the Washington Times. (That’d make a nice ad on a bus for the Times, I think.)

    That’s how I happened to come across “A somber summertime toll,” by Michelle Malkin. It starts off badly enough:

    Every summer, the stories come. And the tiny bodies pile up. “Toddler trapped in hot van dies.” “Kids die from heat in SUV.” “Baby boy dies in hot van.”

    “Tiny bodies pile up” kind of put me off: it managed to be unctuous, and oddly contemptuous and detached all at once. But whatever; goodness knows I can write a weak lead, too. That’s so sad, I thought, you hate to hear about that stuff. Poor kids. So bad writing or not, I read on. And, one more annoying paragraph down, Malkin discovers a pattern:

    But in what seems an increasingly common trend, too many of these horrible deaths share a common denominator: day care.

    Hey, I thought in dull surprise, how’s that going to work? So I read Malkin’s recital of a number of cases in which, indeed, some poor child was left in a vehicle outside a day care center, either by its guardian or by the day care staff. I noted that vans, SUVs, and Bible Belt states seemed to play recurring roles, too, but dismissed that as a churlish, unworthy thought. I know I shouldn’t think ill of SUV and van owners, they’re persecuted enough as it is. Let alone the Bible Belt: the salt of the earth, except of course sometimes in the college towns and big cities.

    What would Michelle make of all this, I wondered. And all too soon I found out:

    I believe Dakota, Nehemiah, David, Amber, Brandon, Darnecia, Dominique, Zaniyah, Chloe and Alan are not merely victims of isolated day-care accidents. They are also symptoms of a culture where parents treat children as disposable as their diapers. Some of these kids probably spent more of their brief lives in their deadly car seats than they did in their own parents’ laps.

    It is absolutely unfathomable to me that anyone could leave a child forgotten in a car, like an old umbrella or a fast-food wrapper. But then again, we live in an age where teens dump their newborns in toilets and junkies sell their offspring for drugs and “liberated” women pick up and drop off their kids at day care as nonchalantly as their dry cleaning.

    Why must it take the unforgettable suffering of innocents, stifling to death in sun-baked cars, to remind mothers and fathers of the sanctity of life?

    Aha. YOU INSUFFERABLE, ARROGANT PIG, I thought quietly, and returned to chewing my hamburger. At least I don’t use dead children and — who knows — maybe add to their parents’ anguish to make crappy little culture war points, I thought furthermore. FATHOM THIS, YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS TWIT, I added silently: the hell with you and all your nasty right-wing pals wagging their fingers at me and my wife and all the other decent people who put their kids in day care. MAYBE YOU HAVE A CRACK HABIT OR SOMETHING AND JUST REALLY NEEDED THE MONEY, EVEN IF YOU HAD TO WRITE A SHAMEFUL PIECE OF TRASH LIKE THIS, I mused more charitably.

    I then regained the Zen-like composure that so many have noticed over the years, and reflected that Wendy’s makes good hamburgers. Too bad I nearly ruined one having my wife and me and our friends compared to junkies or teens throwing kids in toilets.

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