Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 26, 2009



Thank you, Mr. Marbrooke, for the opportunity to read this excellent and flawlessly written piece about the man behind The Man.

Regarding the 1960 upset primary win of the underdog Claiborne Pell over the more popular Dennis Roberts, your tribute was indeed illuminating; more so by reading between the lines as by reading the lines themselves.

Corruption. Elections. Machiavellian Politicians. 'Murder by Typewriter.' Themes worthy of a crime novel by Dixon Hawke.

Surely Mr. Nelson, well entrenched himself in the imbroglios and other goings on in the capitol city not far from Warwick, also knew that the headquarters of the New England Mafia was located on Federal Hill in Providence. Fifty years ago the name of Raymond Patriarca was well known in R.I. circles and Mr. Nelson may have had, at least, a passing acquaintance with the legendary head of that crime syndicate, one who also controlled the labor unions.

Yes, it is the stuff of crime novels
. In fact, the famous crime writer George Higgins worked for The Providence Journal and, I'm sure, knew Ray Nelson. Raymond L.S. Patriarca was a ubiquitous figure back when Ray worked as a newspaperman. There were stories about him all the time, and The Journal was dogged in its coverage of this man's dark empire. I'm sure that there's much more than has ever emerged to Ray's death, and, like most of his friends, I'm inclined to think the pressures against solving the case were greater than the pressures for solving it. Policemen are like reporters in that their bosses do not always give them the time or resources to do the job. The will to solve such a case must flow down from the top. - Del Marbroook


Blackwater is a term used in water management to denote water contaminated with feces.


I suspect that this will not gain very much traction. Even that spineless bastard Harry Reid has come out in strong defense of Social Security. I went to an event held in Rhode Island shortly after Bush II proclaimed he was going to reform SS with all his political capitol. Reid and other democratic leaders toured the country saying no way, no how. And that was when Dems were in the minority. I know we can't count on the Dems for much, but even they know that massive loss of votes will be the only result of any attempts to cut needed benefits. - Lars

Social Security can always be made solvent through tax increases and benefit cuts (or some combination thereof). That's not the point. The point is that Social Security is a bad deal for the worker. It has been for years. According to the latest CBO report, the median worker won't even recover 100% of his Social Security taxes in the form of benefits. In other words, he's getting a negative real return. What's the point of such a program?

Cutting taxes, especially payroll taxes, is investing in the young. And as for today's young needing social insurance tomorrow, high taxes are a really good way to ensure that. If you take enough money away from today's workers that they're simply incapable of saving for their own retirement then, yes, they will have to rely on government assistance. - Bill Woessner


Obama offers people a few bucks here and there, and a few government jobs. But his tax policies will destroy many more private jobs, and that's where the real money comes from. - wellbasically

"there is not a popular left movemen."

This is not true. What is true is that the popular left movement is marginalized in the mainstream media and is entirely shut out of the "debate" that occurs in the MSM. Where do you ever hear Noam Chomsky, or leaders of ACORN or the unions being quoted regularly -- certainly not on any cable news channel, now without being screamed over anyway. - PlanB247


Obama continues failing Bush policy of ________________. Substitute as freely as you can imagine. - m


No, Sam. Stop. No. Lest you forget, the Chandra Levy affair was the great-granddaddy of all irrational missing cute white girl of the week media frenzies, the original useless, sensational lurid story which had no bearing on the real issues affecting peoples' lives, culminating in a veritable electronic orgasm with Connie Chung's ABC "Nightline" interview with then-Rep. Gary Condit, followed up with a Channel 7 live remote from Tryst's bar in Adams-Morgan where they interviewed people for their reactions to the Condit interview. Chandra Levy, who begat Elizabeth Smart who begat Laci Peterson who begat the Runaway Bride who begat the Octuplets Mom and the Berserk Homicidal Chimp.

Surely you remember, that one week in June of '01, when the NBC "Today" show -- the all-time worst offender in the Useless Lurid Story Beaten To Death Department -- opened every morning with a Chandra Levy story, even when there was no new news nor any new leads, even when people really wanted to know about really important things, like their jobs being shipped out of the country to sweatshops, like wage stagnation, like healthcare costs, and a fistful of other real issues of real importance. The morning that the verdict in the case of the NYPD officers' plunger-handle anal rape and torture of a black prisoner was announced, NBC "Today" spent a bare minimum of time reporting that story before immediately jumping back into the Chandra Levy Festival.

And now, all of a sudden, the police are close to making an arrest in the case that everyone quit giving a shit about long ago as if they ever did, and it's back all over the place again. President Timberlake...uhh, Obama... is announcing his intention of continuing the torture and rendition policies of ex-President Chimp, bombing Pakistan and Afghanistan, getting ready to escalate the ground war in Afghanistan, making noises about another attempt to take away Social Security, and what's been top-of-the-fold on the Post's front page? Chandra Fucking Levy.
I'm beggin' ya, dude. Don't go there anymore.


Conservative Republicans keep talking about "how Obama's term will be like Jimmy Carter's".

Thinking it through, I believe another cycle will instead happen. It will be similar to Lyndon Johnson's period, producing social programs of all sorts but still being very much entangled in at least one on-going war. He will run against an aggressive hard core conservative Republican for re-election, but will survive for another term. Once that second term is over, a new Republican with a less overt approach, being someone with Midwestern charm and polish, and the Nixonian shrewdness and smarts of say Rep. John Boehner, will then win. Where we go from there is anyone's guess. - Robert LeMay


It is not just the war on Afghanistan, as bad as that is. But also the continuing invocation of the states secret privilege to prevent civil litigation on rendition and torture issues that are already public. The refusal to investigate or prosecute criminality in the Bush 43 administration. The continuation of rendition and torture. Wiretapping. Lobbyists had copies of the bailout before the Congress, presumably because lobbyists wrote the bailout. And more. Obama has earned the appellation Bush 44, and its only a month into his occupancy of the White House.


My grandfather was a civilian carpenter on a Military Base, and in his old age he repeatedly told me to "don't wear your worth on your sleeve"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>According to the latest CBO report, the median worker won't even recover 100% of his Social Security taxes in the form of benefits. In other words, he's getting a negative real return. What's the point of such a program?

It's called "insurance". Read up on it. If you live to 100 you're a big winner.

February 26, 2009 8:58 PM  

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