VLADRUSHKA by John Linton Roberson (c) 2022.
I Didn't Write That!
26 June 2003
  Issa Criminal!

As is hopefully well-known by now, a certain Darrell Issa is attempting a legal coup against the democratically elected governor of California, Gray Davis.

Why exactly do you think the Republicans prefer to get rid of Democratic leaders by means that don't necessitate running against them? What do you think they fear?

That they'll lose because the people aren't behind them, that's what. Like the way they did in the last election.

Keep in mind, as a former California resident, I was never too big a fan of Davis. But he was elected, and this Issa fellow wants to perform a legal coup de'tat.

And why does no one mention the part Enron played in creating the huge budget deficit Davis is being blamed for?

Why do I even keep asking these questions?...Urgh...Well, here's some statements instead.

I was in California during that crisis. Davis was being screwed all around. Enron pretended, as you may remember, that this was just the free market when in fact they(as we have found out since) were just milking California because they could, and because it would make Davis look bad. (which is odd--there were many legit ways to criticize Davis but the decision seemed to be simply "destroy") PG & E also had little problem with this, as they aren't fond of Davis--they want more nuke plants and he, and most Californians, didn't(they're really not a good idea in such an earthquake-prone state even if you are pro-nuke). And much more. Like the money they too could skim off this scam. It was about trying to suck money out of what was then the 6th largest economy in the world, even despite the dotcom collapse. Not any more. And the ripple effect was even more massive job losses--me included, that's why I'm here now--statewide in a state where at one time job offers were so plentiful they'd tangle in your bloody hair.

There was an obvious fix in when the commission that is supposed to oversee this(I mean the one in CA, and I forget its exact name because I've been gone for a year) decided to do nothing. This was so obvious it provoked outrage but no one could do anything. What liberal ideas could you possibly be referring to? This was robbery plain and simple, and now known to be since the Enron collapse. "Liberalism" had nothing to do with it.

It was a shitty situation all around. You try coming home to find no power available, and worse, rarely knowing when it was going to happen--and paying more for this privilege. They CLAIMED there was a rotating schedule, but that wasn't really the case.

It's known that Enron was purposely trying to take advantage of California, and that PG & E smelled rustling cash(this was their way of raising rates they'd been legally prevented from raising before and crying poor at the same time) and went along. What's not known for sure is whether this was a Republican-planned attack on a Blue state. During the very late campaign it was used to try to make the incredibly stupid Bill Simon look like a viable alternative to Davis, because Simon's campaign wasn't gonna do it--it was terribly run. And this was how the deficit was achieved. It smells.

To get a full picture of this you'd really have had to be there during the governor's election campaign, possibly one of the nastiest in California's history.

And whereas people might say, "Oh, poor widdle California, boo-hoo," well, you know what, we worked our asses off when there were jobs, at very long hours. I don't know about others but I certainly had none of the perks you hear about at the dot-com companies and such--I was admin support and I worked hard. Surely conservatives respect work, do they not? This situation forced me to go on unemployment for the first(and so far only) time and I deeply resented that. If conservatives don't want people on social programs they shouldn't fuck up any chance people have of getting work. Which it appears they did.

This had nothing to do with liberal or conservative; very few would call Gray Davis a liberal, least of all himself. Yet conservatives crow this was an example of liberal programs not working.

But that deregulation was instituted under PETE WILSON. I know because it was begun when I first got to the state and Wilson was governor. The consequences came to fruition once Davis was governor. He didn't cause it. Typical of a conservative to "forget" a little detail like that. But remember, conservatives are into meme warfare these days, not debate.

But he's a Democrat and that was enough. The main point of this is power. They wanted him out of the way. The most you could say about Davis is that, as he wants to remain in office, he tends to at least try to appear he's responsive to, duh, the voting public. Which is of course hardly appropriate in this day and age for an elected official to do, as our wonderful president has shown.

Some suggest the whole crisis was an attempt to punish one of the most important "blue states." I believed this when it was going on and believe it now. Now extend that theory to the White House and entire country and you have the reason America's economy has been wrecked. They don't represent the American people in this day and age--if anything they seem to think WE should represent THEM in some way. We wouldn't go with them on their little mad excursions(like the impeachment of Clinton--remember Hyde saying, "What is wrong with people in this country?" in bafflement over Clinton's surging approval ratings) so they're just going to keep pounding the square peg till it fits into their round hole.

But there is hope at the end of all this. It turns out Darrell Issa, who made his fortune from car alarms, is in fact a perp himself. I quote:

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, the driving force behind the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis, was prosecuted with his brother in San Jose in 1980 for allegedly faking the theft of Issa's Mercedes Benz sedan and selling it to a car dealer for $16,000, according to court records.

Issa, in a phone interview with The Chronicle Tuesday, blamed his brother for the car theft, which was detailed in documents on file in Santa Clara County Superior Court and which has never been made public.

Oh my. Now we know how he made such a fortune with that Viper car alarm.

Do spread this information far & wide.


  Scalia Loses Again

Joy reigns momentarily throughout the land as another stupid law is struck down. The private activities of gay men are no longer criminal in the United States. (and Senator Rick Santorum, by his own logic, can even make sweet love to his dog now without fear; good for him!) It even overturned the 1986 decision which asserted that states had a legitimate interest in preserving this view of "morality."

Scalia, as usual, was the major dissenter in this 5-4 decision. But in a statement that must have had conservative bigots everywhere going, "Shut up, Scalia," he offered this fact:

This reasoning leaves on pretty shaky grounds state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Justice O'Connor seeks to preserve them by the conclusory statement that "preserving the traditional institution of marriage" is a legitimate state interest. But preserving the traditional institution of marriage is just a kinder way of describing the State's moral disapproval of same-sex couples...Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is "no legitimate state interest" for pruposes of proscribing that conduct; and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense at neutrality) "when sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring"; what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising "the liberty protected under the Constitution"? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case "does not involve" the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of the Court.

Why, that's all correct! How helpful of Scalia to dismantle whatever feeble arguments might have remained against allowing gays and lesbians to marry. "As the court coos." You can almost hear the sarcastic snarl in his voice. But no matter. He can mutter "Curses, foiled again" as many times as he likes to Clarence Thomas and it won't make any difference.

Scalia did think to mention he has "nothing against homosexuals." Well, except criminalizing the very activity that is the expression of said homosexuality. This is not unlike saying you have nothing against Jews while depriving them of citizenship.

Maybe now my gay friends won't give me so much crap for being married, eh?...A fine day in America. We were all entitled to one after the past 3 years.


21 June 2003
  NY Democrats Fund GOP Convention--HUH?

The Democratic Party: "We'll hang ourselves if that's what it takes for you to like us better!"

Pride in the Big Apple has been the incentive for several deep-pocketed Democrats to cross party lines and promise millions to help stage the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

The city's host committee has collected $60 million in pledges -- $4 million short of its fund-raising target -- 15 months before the political event. Wealthy executives, Republican and Democrat, are tapping their own bank accounts, companies and associates.

Among those backing the convention is real estate mogul William C. Rudin, a Democrat who has donated to the campaigns of the party's lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

"Some people relate it to the party, I relate it to New York City," Rudin said. "It's about uptown and downtown and being able to show the world what this city is about and how we've recovered."

Okay, we have Too Stupid To Be President already. Do we really need Too Stupid To Be The Opposition? I agree with the Greens on one and only one idea: that the Democratic party has compromised itself fatally. Where they and I disagree is that they think it's worth keeping Bush in power if the Democrats aren't perfect by their standards. I believe the top priority is getting Bush out of office and as the Democrats are the only viable opposition party I can overlook the occasional flaw or two. Just because a bottle of Coke might be a bit flatter than I'd like doesn't mean that to spite the bottle, I'm going to drink turpentine.

But my god, this is far beyond a flaw.

What in hell is going on here? I mean, I can almost understand it as an act of compassion, being that the Republicans are so cash-poor and the Democrats have so much control of the government, but...but...

But really. What the fuck? Is this more of the "Give 'em a mile and eventually they'll stop asking for inches" policy of the party that's been working so very well so far? Or are they just afraid the government will spread anthrax throughout Congressional offices again? This is diverting resources that the party should be using to get its candidates elected to making the GOP convention, already disgusting in its placement and timing, a whitewash of what shape New York is in fact in after 9/11, mostly due to federal neglect and mayoral mismanagement. Both, I might add, the work of Republicans. This funder mentioned in the story, does he realize the Republicans already have plenty of their own money?

The party does not need to be splintered by the Greens or anything like that, though. That only helps the GOP. The Democrats are merely incompetent and feckless. The GOP are actual evil.

What needs to be done is a revolt in the party, this goddamn year, to take it away from Lieberman, Gephardt, MacAuliffe and Pelosi, and bring it back to being a party that actually opposes the Republicans. Successfully, we would hope, but goddamn it, one that at least tries!


20 June 2003
  Lawmaker For Rent Promises Media Oligarchy Will Survive

Remember Billy Tauzin below, who along with Tom DeLay solicited bribes from Westar?

A key House lawmaker is pledging to derail legislation that would reverse the Federal Communication Commission's decision to relax limits on how media companies can merge and grow.

The proposed legislation, approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, would roll back changes the FCC made June 2. That decision allowed individual companies to own television stations reaching nearly half the nation's viewers and combinations of newspapers and broadcast stations in the same city.

While passed by a bipartisan majority on the committee, the bill faces an uncertain future in the full Senate and a big obstacle in the House, where Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, supports the changed media rules.

"We have no intentions of taking up that bill," Tauzin spokesman Ken Johnson said. "This has become a political soap opera, and given the chance Chairman Tauzin intends to cancel its run."

Of course he will, because the media have been so accomodating in not reporting that he's about as clean as a crack whore. We've already seen the House GOP knows the meaning of quid pro quo.


19 June 2003
  Oh, a wee update:

Still no WMDs found in Iraq.



07 June 2003
  Republicans Beg For Bribes, Country Not Surprised

Now that House Majority leader Tom DeLay is l'etat, I suppose the ancient rules regarding political bribery are beneath him. But not, apparently, begging for them, as did his colleagues Rep. Joe Barton (Tex.), Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (La.) and Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), basically Westar Energy Inc.'s now-leaked plan exchanging $56,000 in campaign contributions to the campaign committees of these and other Republicans for a "seat at the table" for the White House energy plan, no doubt allowed to come out over the weekend so it can be forgotten by Monday.

So the question is: since contributions for years have been regarded as virtual bribery, hell, why not allow the real thing? That certainly seems to be DeLay's attitude. Oh, those pious, moral leaders of our great nation. Something to be proud of. Something to die for. Right?


04 June 2003

Robert Scheer today has this tidbit:
Leave it to a Marine to be blunt. When Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, was asked Friday why his Marines failed to encounter or uncover any of the weapons of mass destruction that U.S. intelligence had warned them about, his honesty put the White House to shame.

"We were simply wrong," Conway said. "It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered [nuclear, chemical or biological] weapons" in Iraq. And, he added, "believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwait border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."

Of course not; they never were. Bush wanted to go to Iraq whether the people of this nation wanted it or not, so he lied.

He wasn't incorrect. He did not misspeak. He lied. How many of you can live with that? And those of you on the right--so you'll even back Bush when he puts American lives, both military and not, at risk for Haliburton(who moved in before the war was even done--and that's VERY fast, innit?) and lies to do it? If so you aren't Americans. Simple as that. You're callow toadies of a dangerous regime that doesn't care about your lives or safety any more than that of those of us on the left. The attacks on 9/11 didn't care if you watch Fox News or not; right and left-wingers both died on that day.

So since Bush has, in his attempt to take advantage of people's fear to institute an agenda he already had planned, allowed Al-Quaida to regroup, my question is: how could you think he's doing a good job? In what way are we being protected? All I see is our rights being destroyed but no safety, even, in exchange. One, as Franklin said, who is willing to sacrifice liberty for a little temporary safety is deserving of neither liberty or safety. Well, soon we'll have neither. I can almost kind of understand--if not agree with--those who say these are dangerous times and liberty needs to be restricted for safety. But what kind of idiot gives up their liberty and, in exchange, gets far less safety than ever before?

And that's leaving aside the thousands of Iraqi civilians Bush murdered, and is starving right now. And even laying off the few who have jobs, which I guess is his way of bringing a bit of America to Iraq.


By the way, if you'd like to see a left-winger stand up to a right-wing demagogue for once, have a look at this RealPlayer clip of the BookTV conference at which Al Franken got Bill O'Reilly to lose it. Seems O'Reilly claimed INSIDE EDITION had won not just one but a few Peabodies. They never even won one, and Bill, as you know, never likes to admit he's wrong. But he also forgets he's not on his show when he tells Franken to "SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!" but he can't cut Franken's mike. To get to the exact spot on the clip(and I do recommend watching the whole thing), fast forward about 40 minutes in.

Oh, by the way, it did win something called a Polk award, but after O'Reilly left.


03 June 2003

As of 4 am central time, the last page of Vitriol, the graphic novel I've been drawing since Fenruary 1997, is finished.

I'm too tired to say more on the subject. But thank god: IT IS ACCOMPLISHED.


"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil."
--E. Blackadder, 1789

JLRoberson Self-Portrait 2005.
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WHERE IT BEGAN: John L. Roberson's first graphic novel
VITRIOL(serialized in PLASTIC from 1998-2003)
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